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Mixers – Native American Flute

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[Native American flute playing] Welcome to this FluteCast on mixers. This is one of the series of technology FluteCasts that includes microphones, mixers, and in the future, digital effects. This is my mixer. It might look complicated, but I will break it down and make it very simple. This is my “road” mixer – an Alesis MultiMix8. It has a lot of inputs, but we will only use one. The microphone is going out into a loop pedal and it comes in this blue wire, which is our microphone input. The sound comes straight down this channel. It says “Mic” so I can find it on a dark stage. The sound will go across to the “Spkr”, up and out the two black wires out to our Recording Kiosk that we use at workshops. I am monitoring that in earphones. Eliminating Hum The first thing you will want to do is activate the switch that cuts out low-frequency sounds. It says “HPF” for “High-Pass Filter” and 75 Hertz. The lowest frequency a mid-range Native American flute will produce is about 350 Hertz. If you go down to a low A minor flute, it is 220 Hertz. 75 Hertz is well below that. This HPF button eliminates that any low “Hum” in your system. Pre-Amps The next item is the Pre-Amp. It is the first and most important amplifier you have. Setting it is simple: Play loud and watch the meter. Turn up the preamp until the meter is just below red clipping light. Here is a demonstration. Clipping! That “sawtooth” sound is the sound of clipping. Clipping! Back off the pre-amp to a reasonable setting. so that the signal is reading in the meter but far from clipping. EQ – “Equalization” We move down the channel to the knobs that give you direct control over the quality of your sound. First I will record a loop that we will use to see how these controls affect your sound. [Recording a loop] There is our loop playing … the meters are just below clipping … I will turn down the pre-amp just a little … to avoid clipping. First we look at the controls marked “EQ” EQ stands for “Equalization”. These three knobs control the high-frequency, mid-frequency, and low-frequency sounds. If we select just low-frequency sounds, turning down the high and mid and turning up the low-frequency, You can hear in my voice what this does. Here is the sound of the flute: [Loop playing with maximum low-frequency] Now I will select only mid-frequency sounds. [Loop playing with maximum mid-frequency] Those are the mix-frequency sounds, you can also hear that in my voice. I will now select the high-frequency sounds … cymbals and the “S” in words have a lot of high frequencies. [Loop playing with maximum high-frequency] Now I will bring it back to normal. [Loop playing with normal EQ] Personally for Native American flute I typically like to do is leave all three centered, except lower the high-frequency just a little bit. Especially if the flute is breathy or high-pitched. If you want the breathiness, leave that up or increase it, but I like a slightly more mellow sound, especially on a higher pitched flute. Panning Now we will move down the channel. We will ignore the next two controls. These control digital effects and that will be the topic of the next FluteCast. We come down to “pan”. This gives you control of the left and right channels. Most systems have a left and right speaker or left / right channels if you are doing recording. The pan lets you control how much of the signal goes to the left and right output channels. [Demonstration of panning] Why would you want to do that? Remember that we have several input channels. Here are the channels I plug my iPod and laptop into. You can take each channel and pan them left and right. If you are on playing on the right side of the stage you might want to pan your flute to the right speaker. You might want to put the players on the other side of the stage into the speaker on their side, so that what the audience sees on stage matches what they hear from the speakers. The knob at the bottom is a volume control. Once you set the pre-amp at the top, you can use the volume control at the bottom of each channel to balance the sounds across all the channels. You can also use the main volume control. That’s all for mixers. It really is a simple system once you get some experience, and you can really get control over the quality of your sound. Next time we will look at the control that really gives the flute that sound that you hear on recordings, this control which gives us “Reverb”. I will play the loop and bring in some Reverb. [Loop playing with Reverb] And if you leave the reverb up … you will sound like you are talking in a canyon. So when you talk into the microphone, bring the reverb back down. So have fun with mixers. If you enjoy this technology, you can get direct control over your sound. But if this turns you off, there is no problem at all. Take your flute outside, play to the four winds, and enjoy yourself. There is nothing about any of this technology that is required. It is an opportunity to take control of your sound Everything that you do on this instrument should be to satisfy your own heart-space … your own goals. If you want to get into this, great! If you want to just play your flute, that’s great too. Everything we do in our workshops has that philosophy. We don’t teach things that you have to learn, we’re offering tips and techniques that might be useful. In workshops, we try to stay as much as possible in the heart space. It is why we put these out on YouTube. You can take it and make use of it, or move on to something else. In our workshops we love to get together and play with others, and we will also be there recording and giving you the opportunity to record, if that is what you would like to do. And we would love to have you join us at a workshop.

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6 thoughts on “Mixers – Native American Flute”

  1. R lowle says:

    so far just spent the new year listening to all your Flute Casts, thanks so much for sharing the wealth.

  2. Darryl Switzer says:

    This is great because I actually own said mixer!

  3. Dan Shankle says:

    Thanks, Clint! As always Valuable material. Is the Full nomenclature of the Mixer you used in this video : Alesis MultiMix 8 USB FX ??? Nice little board and very affordable. Thanks again! Great stuff!!

  4. Randy Motz says:

    As usual, a very professionally done and informative video. Only clarification I would suggest is to explain that the "Gain Knob" controls "input" to the channel from the microphone and the "Channel Volume Knob" controls the "output" of the channel to the speakers.

  5. Dan Shankle says:

    Thank you, Again! WAAAAY PAST useful! Would gladly invest in a workshop focused on JUST technology! I am confident there are numbers of us that want to augment our "playing from the heart" with this wonderful technology that we only seem to catch as catch can in tiny dribs and drabs in private conversations at workshops and now in these WONDERFUL videos. Please, Please many of us do NOT feel there is ANY Sacrilege in spending time on these subjects. These videos have been AS excellent and Valuable as the workshop! GORGEOUS FLUTE…Is that the Myrtlewood by Gary Kuhl? We are investing in THAT board and LOOP Pedal for Valentine's day! My little Behringer board is about same size but doesn't have the bells and whistles…Having a hard time finding THAT model of LOOP pedal….except for EBay!

  6. JPockets says:

    Could you do a flutecast on what you use for your recording kiosk? These are very helpful for me as I would love to set up a home studio.

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