The low-cost mixers used for recording music have so many knobs and buttons, most any of them should work for radio, right?
Well… no. It’s not just the number of controls that matter. It’s more about the suitability of those controls.
– Many general-purpose mixers don’t have powerful enough microphone preamps to work properly with the dynamic mics that we prefer in radio.
– In radio, we generally prefer to have no EQ controls on the mixer. EQ should be “baked in” during production. The on-air person should not have the opportunity to “mess it up”.
– Some small mixers have compressors on every mic channel. That’s nice, but those compressors are better suited for singing… not speaking. They generally don’t sound right on the radio.
– The reverbs, echos, and other “effects” don’t add any benefit to a radio presentation.
– While some general-purpose mixers can be set up to work with a telephone interface, mis-adjustment is easy.
– The mixer’s built-in USB connection commonly directs computer playback only to the monitor speakers and headphones. But for broadcast use, we need to route the sound into an input channel. Only a few mixers can be configured that way.
– The announcer often needs to hear the sound from an assistant (whether on the phone or on a mic) only in his headphone, without that assistant’s voice going on the air. Many small mixers can’t do this.
From these few examples, you can see that, even though a low-cost mixer may have a lot of controls, most of them are not appropriate for broadcast. And mis-adjusting them can cause headaches. Better to use a mixer that’s made specifically for broadcast.
A music dealer may not understand all the non-typical things we need to have in place to make a radio broadcast happen. It’s best to talk to someone that’s been there, and knows what capabilities you need to have available.
Most of the salespeople at BSW have spent many years (or decades) in broadcast, either in front of the mic or behind the equipment racks. We know what needs to be done, and we know what gear it will take to make it happen.
We know which mics to use, which mixers work well with them, which ones do USB right, and how to route signals from most anywhere to most anywhere else.
(We know a few other things, too.)
Give us a call. We’ll help identify which items will get your program working just the way you want it to.