Mixer Amplifiers - AvNetwork.com

Mixer Amplifiers

Publish date:

When most users think of a sound system, they think of the visible endpoints: microphone or the loudspeaker. But neither of these passive components can create any sound without active components between them. Microphone signals require a preamp, signal processing, and

Image placeholder title

amplification before the loudspeaker can do its job.

For small sound system requirements, there's nothing more convenient than combining some of these tasks into a single component, and that's where the mixer/amplifier (or powered mixer) really shines.

Mixer/amps are most commonly used by solo musicians, or for smaller venues such as clubs, coffee houses, and even school/church multi-purpose rooms. But they are equally useful in any building where a sound system might be temporarily set up in different rooms (or outdoors) on different days. In some cases, portable mixer/amps are even permanently installed, despite their ultra-portable nature.


Mixer/amplifiers usually combine a mixer, equalizer, and amplifier all into one unit. They typically range from six to 20 inputs, and up to 1,200 watts total power output.

For portable applications, the advantages are obvious. Most manufacturers provide units with built-in carrying handles to take full advantage of the compact size and feature combination. Since all three components are included, there is only one box to carry instead of three. There is also less set up required, since you don't need to interconnect the components.

There are some disadvantages with powered mixers for permanent installations, however. For one thing, a high-quality mixer/amp can cost as much or more than its separate components. Also, if one part of the mixer/amp fails, you need to replace the entire unit in order to get your sound system up and running. And since the equalizer is always exposed (as opposed to being in a separately located rack somewhere), it is susceptible to tampering by unqualified (or curious) hands. Some of the more sophisticated features that are available on separate mixers may not available on mixer/amps (such as mute, subgroups,

Image placeholder title

more than two or three Auxiliary sends).


Here are some of the more popular features, and the decision you need to make before choosing the right one for your application.

Mic/line/instrument inputs: How many microphones will you be using? Don't forget to include direct inputs from DVD players or musical instruments. And keep future expansion in mind.

Equalization: This can range from simple treble, mid, bass control to multi-band graphic or parametric equalizers. It depends on how much control over tone shaping or feedback you think you'll need.

Direct Outs/Inserts: If you'll be using external sound effect devices or other signal processing, you'll want input/output access to individual channels.

Onboard Effects: Some small mixer/amps include impressive builtin digital effects like delay and reverb.

Mono or stereo: Stereo amplifiers are important for high-quality music, but it's also useful for sending different output levels to each loudspeaker.

Monitor outs: For musicians, separate monitor outputs can be essential. But it's also useful for sending signal to outboard amplifiers for control over multiple loudspeaker zones.


Image placeholder title

RDL Introduces Energy-Saving Mixer Amplifiers

RDL is now shipping its new HD Series 35 Watt Mixer Amplifiers.     RDL HD Series ultra high efficiency amplifiers draw less than 1 Watt of mains power while in standby mode. RDL HD Series ultra high efficiency amplifiers are designed for commercial installations. An internal

Premier Mounts Ships Compact Power Amplifier

Premier Mounts is now shipping the CPA-50, a 50 Watt compact power amplifier, as a standalone product. This amazing little audio amplifier is everything integrators have been asking for in an amplifier to deliver high quality audio in classrooms and small systems. The energy-efficient CPA-50 has sufficient power to ac

Powersoft Ships Ottocanali Amplifier

Powersoft has announced the availability of the Ottocanali 1204 8-channel power amplifier, designed to meet the demands of audio professionals working in fixed installation applications. At only a single rack space and standard depth, the Ottocanali 1204 provides 8 channels with 160 watts each at 4 ohms, and 80 wat

PreSonus Ships StudioLive 24.4.2 Digital Mixer

PreSonus is pleased to announce that the StudioLive 24.4.2 digital mixer is now shipping. Like the 16-channel StudioLive 16.4.2, the 24-channel StudioLive 24.4.2 is designed for both studio recording and live sound, without compromising the requirements for either. StudioLive 24.4.2 sports the same friendly user int

Image placeholder title

Understanding IoIP

In October 1998, Cisco announced that it was acquiring Selsius, a manufacturer of packet based phone systems. That signaled the beginning of a new era in how we think about the use of our IP networks. Now, we routinely think