Difference between Aux and Groups on a mixer

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by I-Love-Ratm, Feb 5, 2013.


  1. I-Love-Ratm

    I-Love-Ratm

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    Hey everyone,

    Probably a dumb question but could someone lay out what is the difference between having Aux Send and Returns and Group Outs and Returns on a mixer? I see the groups usually have fader channels and Aux's just knobs on the channels. You can see what I mean on this mixer. Any help is appreciated. Cheers!

    http://www.mackie.com/products/onyx24-4/index.html
     
  2. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

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    You can assign several different mixer channels to a group, and have one fader available to control the overall volume of that group to the main output of the console. All vocal mics, for instance, could be group one, all drum mics could be group two, guitars - group three... Again, the groups go to the MAIN output(s) of the console. Let's say you have a great balance of all the vocals at the console, but the overall volume of them isn't loud enough. With a group fader, you raise the level of all of them at the same time; instead of using multiple faders.

    Traditionally, aux sends are used for monitors, when you don't have a separate monitor mixer. Each aux would then have individual control over the level for each microphone and input to the aux send. Four aux sends can then have four different mixes.
     
  3. I-Love-Ratm

    I-Love-Ratm

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    Gotcha! Thanks for that!
     
  4. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

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    Auxes are typically used for effects sends or monitor mixes. Some people also use an aux to feed just the relevant instruments to the FOH subs. The aux pots on each channel let you vary how much of that channel's signal drives the aux. Auxes can also be pre- or post-fader (although on that Mackie board, I believe only some of the auxes have a pre-fader option).

    Unlike the custom mix available for each aux, when you assign a channel's signal to a subgroup, that subgroup pretty much gets the relative volumes as set on the channel trim and fader.

    Mixing a four piece band in which everybody sings, I might assign all the background vocals to a single subgroup, so I could adjust them relative to the main vox with one fader. OTOH, I might give each player a monitor mix driven by an aux. Rather than mirroring the main mix, each player's aux might have a little more of the player's vocal, as well as whatever instruments he or she wanted (for example, for the drummer's monitor mix, just kick, bass, and a general vocal mix w/ drummer's vocal a little louder).

    EDIT: a little late I see.
     
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  6. I-Love-Ratm

    I-Love-Ratm

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    On the back of the desk it has group out and group insert jacks? Would this be to send whatever is grouped to monitors perhaps?
     
  7. audioglenn

    audioglenn Gold Supporting Member

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    You can use the group out to send whatever is assigned to that particular group to a multitrack recorder or interface. That way if you were recording, you could send all of the drums to one track, all vocals to another track, etc. The insert is used to put an outboard piece of gear on that group, like a compressor, equalizer, etc.
     
  8. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

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    The inserts and out/in could be used for effects or compression. I use a group insert to send two keyboard channels to a single compressor. The insets require a special I/O cable, as the insert is a combined in and out in one TRS (stereo type) jack. The normal out and in are pretty self explanatory. I don't think they would ever be used for monitor sends. There may very well be different uses I'm not aware of.

    EDIT: My only experience is mixing live, so the recording guys may do different things.
     
  9. Hactar

    Hactar

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    Often, at least in a live mixing environment, one might route all the drums (except perhaps the kick) to a group, and then compress/gate the group as a whole. This gives control over the drum sound as a whole, and only uses one comp channel.

    The groups are then internally routed to the main mix, allowing the engineer to easily control the volume of the drums as a whole, with one fader instead of a ~8.
     
  10. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

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    you might also send all the vocals through a group (deselecting their channels from the main out so they only go through the group) and insert a compressor on that group.

    this way, the vocals all get some compression out front (good) while not having any compression inserted on individual channels, which would affect the monitor auxes (bad, compressing monitors is a no-no).

    i'm using a mackie VLZ with one band; it has that weird "aux 5-6 shift" thing where there aren't really 6 auxes, which leaves me short when i want 4 monitor sends, delay and reverb.

    i found a cheat by using a group out as my vocal delay send! i select all the vocal channels to go into a group (as well as to main out) and send that group out to my delay effects unit; since i want the same amount of delay on all the vocals, it works fine.

    this leaves me free to use auxes 1 through 4 as normal monitor mixes for the 4 of us in the band.
     
  11. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

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    If you select 1/2 or 2/3 on the channel, the sound should only be routed to the selected buss. EDIT: (unless you also leave the ST switch on, of course.)

    Also, if you run a single compressor on a vocal group, don't you run the risk of one of the backing vocalists (not thinking about mic techinque) pushing the lead vocal down in the mix?
     
  12. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

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    the group compression thing is a compromise, sure; if the band has their stuff together, it's one well worth making to avoid compressing monitor aux sends.

    as long as the backing vox are below the lead vox where they belong, it works pretty well.
     
  13. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

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    We have four lead vocalists. I use one side of a stereo compressor (2 stereo comps), via insert, on each vocal channel. That way, if anyone gets a little louder than they need to be it's not pushing anyone under. I've seen bands running one compressor on the entire mix. Not sure how they get away with it. I don't compress anything but the vocals and the keyboards.
     
  14. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

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    the trouble with that is unless you're splitting the vocals into two channels each or running a separate monitor board, you're compressing the monitor sends, which is a major [​IMG]

    compressed monitors seem less loud to the singers, who will unconsciously push harder into the mics (leading to blown-out voices) and after they've asked to get them turned up to compensate, an annoying feedback that goes away when they sing and comes back when they don't.

    +1 about comping the entire mix :spit:

    the singer belts out a note and the whole band squashes down behind him.
     
  15. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp Supporting Member

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    So - I wonder if the built in compressors on 4 mic channels of my Mackie PRoFX16 affect the aux (monitor) sends or not? I would assume no, but there's nothing that detailed about the signal routing in the manual.
     
  16. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

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    We're using in-ears, so the monitor issues don't happen.
     
  17. thumbknuckle

    thumbknuckle

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    According to the manual the compressor is right after the HPF, where the insert would be.

    So yes, it is compressing the sends.
     
  18. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp Supporting Member

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    Duh - I didn't look hard enough - I see it now in the diagram on pg 30. Thanks.
    I've been running a lot of comp on our vocalist (she is a rookie and has a huge dynamic range and doesn't really know mic technique) - may have to back it off some though.
     
  19. thumbknuckle

    thumbknuckle

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    If you have a free channel split the input and use one channel just for monitors.
     
  20. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

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    the feedback wouldn't happen, but i think you still risk the singers' voices when they push harder and it doesn't get louder.
     
  21. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

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    That depends on whether or not you squash the vocals. I'm only running about 3:1 and the thresholds are set for each individual as well as having the makeup gain set. Everyone still needs to know how to work the mics. No one has to scream to hear. Everyone can hear everyone else.

    Even if you squash the vocals, you can still get the levels where they need to be without feedback, using the in-ears. Over compressing removes any dynamics you might have, though. I like dynamics, so the settings aren't extreme. We're not making bubblegum POP records.

    Your advice is good. Knowing how to use the compressors and the microphones is the key, in both situations.
     

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