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2 or 3 mixing desks into one amplifier

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David Aberdeen:
We have a setup at church that requires 2, possibly 3 audio mixing desks to go together into one amp!  The space is shared by several groups, and they have separate mixing desks.  Only one mixing desk will be used at a time, but they all need to share the main amp and speakers.  Currently this is resolved by unplugging and reconfiguring the amps, but we need a solution that doesn't involve unplugging anything, and without manual switching.

I am imagining a simple 2 into 1 stereo mixer - 4 XLR input and 2 XLR output.  Then a similar box at another location in the building, so that a mixing desk can be attached at the other location.  Passive mixers are a possibility, but I assume active mixers will give a better result, for sound quality, and maintaining signal levels through the system.

I've looked, but can't find a box that will do this, unless I get two mono mixers.  My other alternative might be to build it, but that will be a lot of extra work.

Anyone know where I could buy such a box?  Any potential problems with this setup?  Alternative solutions?

Thanks.  :)

Tim Weaver:

--- Quote from: David Aberdeen on November 20, 2022, 06:39:53 AM ---We have a setup at church that requires 2, possibly 3 audio mixing desks to go together into one amp!  The space is shared by several groups, and they have separate mixing desks.  Only one mixing desk will be used at a time, but they all need to share the main amp and speakers.  Currently this is resolved by unplugging and reconfiguring the amps, but we need a solution that doesn't involve unplugging anything, and without manual switching.

I am imagining a simple 2 into 1 stereo mixer - 4 XLR input and 2 XLR output.  Then a similar box at another location in the building, so that a mixing desk can be attached at the other location.  Passive mixers are a possibility, but I assume active mixers will give a better result, for sound quality, and maintaining signal levels through the system.

I've looked, but can't find a box that will do this, unless I get two mono mixers.  My other alternative might be to build it, but that will be a lot of extra work.

Anyone know where I could buy such a box?  Any potential problems with this setup?  Alternative solutions?

Thanks.  :)

--- End quote ---

You can do this with any small format mixer just like you said, but that opens you up to some potential issues should some "helpful" person decide to tweak the setup unbeknownst to you.

The better option is to get one of the very many DSP's on the market that can handle your input/output needs then make it a simple switcher. You can then recall presets (desk 1, desk 2, etc) via the front panel, or by whatever button widget that particular DSP can use. Most will support simple contact closures (spst momentary switches for example). This would allow you to simply press a button and recall the proper preset for the desk you are using.


Clearly this is barely scratching the surface as to what the DSP can be used for, but you can start here and grow if you need to.

Maybe the spanish service wants a different EQ curve? Maybe the modern service needs to be limited so they don't blow up the rig again? You can do it all through the DSP and save it to their preset.....

Mike Caldwell:
There are various and fairly easy ways to switch multiple mixers to feed one common main PA but what about any stage monitoring mixes and possible other needed output mixes?

Matthias McCready:

--- Quote from: David Aberdeen on November 20, 2022, 06:39:53 AM ---We have a setup at church that requires 2, possibly 3 audio mixing desks to go together into one amp!  The space is shared by several groups, and they have separate mixing desks.  Only one mixing desk will be used at a time, but they all need to share the main amp and speakers.  Currently this is resolved by unplugging and reconfiguring the amps, but we need a solution that doesn't involve unplugging anything, and without manual switching.

I am imagining a simple 2 into 1 stereo mixer - 4 XLR input and 2 XLR output.  Then a similar box at another location in the building, so that a mixing desk can be attached at the other location.  Passive mixers are a possibility, but I assume active mixers will give a better result, for sound quality, and maintaining signal levels through the system.

I've looked, but can't find a box that will do this, unless I get two mono mixers.  My other alternative might be to build it, but that will be a lot of extra work.

Anyone know where I could buy such a box?  Any potential problems with this setup?  Alternative solutions?

Thanks.  :)

--- End quote ---

There are lots of solutions that do what you speak, however many of them cost as much as decent quality digital console.

---

So I would ask, why not all just use a single console?

I am going to leap to the assumption that all three desks might be analog?? If you had a digital desk, each church can have their own showfile (many desks can have passwords for a showfile, or you could always keep backup files on a USB stick).

---

I know sharing a space can be difficult, however I have actually had this work out quite well for many smaller churches. Where I built a standard showfile (something that made sense and I could teach) for groups that didn't know much I did that, or built them a baby-session. For groups that knew a little more I would stop by for an hour or two and help them build out what was needed, or answer questions about how to navigate the console. I also available by phone when needed, which gave them "support," and allowed me to keep tabs on how the system was being used.

George Friedman-Jimenez:
How about a simple old school TRS patchbay? You would just have to label it clearly and teach each crew how to move the 2 patch cable input plugs from the output jacks from one mixer over to the output jacks from another mixer, before turning on the amplifier. Lots of unused channels on a rackmount patchbay but patchbays are cheap.

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