Connecting powered speakers to a mixer is a great way to get maximum audio power output from your audio system. In this article, we will explain how you can successfully connect powered speakers to mixers quickly and easily.
You have most likely seen these speakers in clubs, concerts, or parties. Also known as active speakers, powered speakers have built-in subwoofers and crossovers.
You do not need therefore to connect them to an amplifier. Most of them come with EQ presets, and can be easily used as computer speakers.
Advantages Of Powered Speakers
Some of the key advantages you get from using powered speakers are:
- They are cheaper and easy to use
- Won’t burn your mixers easily
- Consumes less power
- Better sound quality
Mixers on the other hand are designed to combine different audio signals. It is therefore quite similar to a human interpreter as it gives a harmonic combination to the different audio signals.
Besides, mixers allow you to produce and record sound. It also supports the adjustment of bass, midrange, and treble for improved sound quality.
The other functions of mixers are listed below.
- Changing dynamics and timbre of the sound
- Controlling the loudness of speakers
- Changing quality of the tone of the sound
Types Of Mixers
Mixers are generally of three types:
- Analog – uses analog circuitry to change the volume and tone of audio signals. They also add warmth and character to the audio.
- Digital – uses digital signal processing technology to manipulate audio signals. They are more advanced than analog mixers.
- Powered mixers – these types of mixers have in-built amplifiers and can mix both analog and digital audio signals. In fact, a powered mixer can be used instead of a powered speaker. To find out more, check out our comparison of powered mixers vs powered speakers.
- Examples: There are many brands of mixers out there. Popular brands include Yamaha, Soundcraft, Midas, Allen & Heath, Tascam, and Behringer which makes the Behringer X32 Compact and the Behringer X32 Producer mixers.
In our case, we will be connecting our powered speaker to an analog or digital mixer. You can also connect the powered speaker to a powered mixer, but you must bypass the mixer’s inbuilt amplifier.
The Parts Of A Mixing Board
Mixing boards are made up of the following parts:
- Channels – channels are the signal paths and indicate the number of sources a mixer has. Each channel holds the following buttons:
- Aux – it sends a secondary feed of audio signals to another destination.
- Gain – this is the input level of the clips and refers to the loudness of sound.
- PAD – short form for Passive Attenuation Device, it prevents sound distortion in the channel.
- Fader – it adjusts audible signals from the different selector routes of the channel. Used in stereo monitoring.
- EQ – also Equalizer, it is used to adjust flexibility and precision of sound frequencies.
- PAN – also known as the protection meter, is used to set the Left/Right position of the channel in the stereo field.
- Mute – disable audio in a particular track. It puts the mixer in “solo mode” as opposed to disabling the whole audio system.
- Phantom Power – this is used for condenser microphones.
- The Aux Bus – aux bus is the circuit that sends sound signals to the other devices.
- The Master section – also known as the master volume, is a button that can be used to control the volume of the mixer.
How To Successfully Connect Powered Speakers To Mixers
Now try not to get nervous at the sight of different cables, ports, and plugs. For instance, the several buttons on the mixing board alone are enough to intimidate one into thinking that either the board or speakers can easily break in the process.
If you want to have your active speakers successfully wired to the mixer, rest assured you can do it easily.
We have outlined precise instructions to guide you in the process until you get audio signals from your speakers.
Let’s do this step by step.
Step 1: Know How Your Mixer Should Be Connected
Knowing your mixer’s connection will help you avoid noise or any other form of interference. There are two types of mixer connections available.
- Balanced lines: this type of connection can easily reject induced noises in the mixer. If you have long cables, “balanced lines” are the most ideal type of connection. XLR and TRS jacks transmit audio signals from one balanced device to another.
- Unbalanced lines: this type of mixer connection is more vulnerable to induced noise. If you have unbalanced connections, keep them short to reduce interference and noise.
Step 2: Position The Components
The equipment must be properly positioned before it is connected. This is important as it helps you to achieve maximum audio amplification.
Position powered speakers in front of the audience. Also, make sure they are in front of the microphones to eliminate interference with sound signals.
Position the mixer behind the powered speakers and make sure they are apart and are not touching each other.
Step 3: Check The Equipment
You will not be very sure that the speakers and mixer are in good operating condition until you check them.
Check the mixer and ensure all the buttons are down. Turn on the power button and confirm that all the buttons on the mixing board are functioning.
Turn off the power button and repeat the same procedure to check powered speakers.
Step 4: Lay Out Speaker Cables
The speaker cables will help in connecting the devices to other sources. It is recommended that the cables be kept short to prevent interference with the sound signal.
If you have long cables, coil the excess at the bottom of the speaker stand to avoid further sound interference and even accidents.
Step 5: Connect The Speakers To The Mixer
Turn off all the speakers and the mixer. If you have two speakers, connect each one of them to a stereo output of the mixer.
Make sure the cables are firmly connected. Once you connect all the speakers to the output channels of the mixer, turn them on. Turn on the mixer.
Step 6: Connect The Mixer To Source Components
You may use source components such as a laptop, cellphone, or CD-DVD player. One end of the cable should be plugged into the headphone jack of the source component, while the other end goes into the “Line-In” port of the mixer. Play some music and listen to the sound from the speakers.
Step 7: Set The Buttons Of The Channel To Minimum
Put the Master volume button, Fader, and Gain to minimum levels to prevent unnecessary sound. If you are using your phone as a source, switch it to airplane mode.
Step 8: Adjust The Sound Output
Use the EQ button to adjust treble, volume, bass. Some mixers have a separate EQ for each channel, while others may have a global EQ that controls the whole mixer. Enjoy the mix. Have fun!
What Cable Do I Use To Conncet Mixer To Powered Speakers?
It is best to make use of XLR cables.
A balanced or unbalanced cable is the most frequent connection between a mixer and a powered speaker. Because a balanced line has greater noise rejection, this allow for extended cable length between the mix station and the speakers without interference or noise. XLR or TRS jacks o both are the most common balanced lined found on most powered speakers. This they are also advisable since they allow for more noise reduction.
So that’s how you connect your powered speaker to your mixer for maximum power output. You’ve surely now realized how easy it is to do this and how powerful this setup is.
For more information on how to complete these setups, please check out our article on how to connect speakers, monitors, amps and mixers.