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Old 12th March 2012, 04:48 PM   #1
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Default Mixing microphones with 5.1 audio

Hello. Not sure if this is the corect forum, but here goes. I am trying figure out how to switch between two 5.1 audio sources (TOSLink) and mix two microphones into the audio (using 3 sources to one output – preferably 5.1 TOSLink) . Based on my limited knowledge, I thought I would need a digital mixer of some sort, and I looked at various mixers on the net (the ones that do have digital I/O appear to be stereo or ADAT). However, I’ve become more confused, and now wonder if what I am attempting is possible (even if it may be expensive). Is this possible or do I need to start investigating another solution (e.g. converting digital to analog)? Thanks, Ken
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Old 12th March 2012, 06:05 PM   #2
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Being 5.1 channels rules out many of the simpler solutions. It means going to an 8 channel output mixer or console. What budget restriction do you have?
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Old 12th March 2012, 06:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedskater View Post
Being 5.1 channels rules out many of the simpler solutions. It means going to an 8 channel output mixer or console. What budget restriction do you have?
Probably ~$3000.
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Old 13th March 2012, 07:28 PM   #4
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The mixer you would need is not going to be a cheap and easy one, either. It needs (assuming you intend to run five point one, and it would be sad not to) six subgroups, and that is not often the case with small mixers. Furthermore, preamps that decode the 5.1 bitstream and deliver analogue outputs tend to be more expensive than "all in the box" home cinema systems, that do all that, and include power amplifiers and something they call speakers (I won't say what I call them; this is a family friendly forum) as well.

Questions (for me, but I suspect they'd be useful for everybody.

1: How many microphones do you intend to use, and how many speakers should each microphone come out of (announcement system or conference)?
2: Do you already own a multichannel receiver, amps and speakers or are we starting from zero?
3: If you have, or have chosen, the decoder/amplifier, does it have insert points for equalisers?
4: Do you have any basic knowledge of electronics and/or metalworking?

If you're only going to use the mic out of the centre speaker (or L/R) for announcements over an A/V production, and your receiver has insert (or tape send/return, but that's rare) it's relatively easy to add a little external box which can mix in either an external mic preamp, mixette, or even an external microphone, building in a preamplifier. This will be active and require a power supply, but needn't be very big (and if you're building it yourself you can add exactly the facilities you need.

All right, I'm a bodger; I'd be quite capable of opening up a unit that didn't have insert points on it, tracing the wires, and adding the mix amp in the box , taking the power supply from the internal electronics; the most difficult problem being finding space to mount an XLR. But I can't tell somebody else how to do this without having rooted about in the box myself. Firms like Studio Equipment make surround sound speaker controllers, and they are small enough that they could be persuaded to customise a unit with the talkback mic used as an announce system, but without EQ or any compression that isn't already incorporated, but a low volume, specialised market firm like this is not going to come cheap.

It could well be that a separate vocal system, with its own mixer and speakers is the most economic solution.

Otherwise, look at software mixers in a home computer, and a mic preamp with a large volume knob, and an interface; no few of the popular sequencer programs are surround ready, and there are software decoders for Dolby and DTS encoded bitstreams. What, Mr. Analogue preaching for the competition? It's not as much fun mixing with a mouse (and a laptop touchpad is worse) but whatever works…
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Old 13th March 2012, 08:57 PM   #5
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1: How many microphones do you intend to use, and how many speakers should each microphone come out of (announcement system or conference)?

Two microphones - they would only have to come from one speaker.</br />
2: Do you already own a multichannel receiver, amps and speakers or are we starting from zero?

Sony DA4400ES AV Receiver, speakers, and subwoofer.

3: If you have, or have chosen, the decoder/amplifier, does it have insert points for equalisers?

N/A

4: Do you have any basic knowledge of electronics and/or metalworking?

A little knowledge of electronics - probably not enough, none of metalworking. Although I may have some friends who can help out there.


Thanks a lot for the information. I thought about a separate system for the vocals, and maybe that is the way to go.
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