Mixer Insert List
I've been keeping a list of different mixer insert details since there isn't any clear standard and working with various mixers can get confusing.
Help me keep this list up to date! Email me with any new info you have on old or new live mixing boards. If you can, let me know the type of jack, the jack pinout, the dBu level, and the placement in the circuit (such as pre-EQ.) Also, which inputs and outputs have inserts?
Here's the page for immediate viewing via left-click, or right-click on the link to download. When you print it out make sure your font is small so you don't print too many pages.
Bink Audio Test CD
I was always unhappy working in live sound with the usual recording studio or home audio test CDs I've seen in the last 20 years so I made one of my own. I believe it is better suited than most for the Live Sound mixer to carry around.
Do you have a fast internet connection? You're in luck! You can download the Bink Audio Test CD from a mirror set up by Bennett Prescott of Campus PA. Here's the full collection of zipped WAV files ->- this single download is 423 MB and will take anywhere from 40 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your speed.
If you have a slow connection via dial-up then the best hope you have for getting the test files is by downloading them individually. Here they all are... Right-click on each one to Save Link/Target As.
If you already have a copy of the Bink Audio Test CD, here's a retro image file you can send to your printer's label-making software and apply to your backup copies for that warm sense of authenticity.
Here is a tracklist for your reference. Right-click on either the Word for Windows file or the simple text file to download.
Here is a sort of User's Guide to help you get the most from your Bink Audio Test CD. Right-click on either the Word for Windows file or the simple text file to download.
For a taste of the Bink Audio Test CD here is one popular and unusual track: The Log-scale Sine Wave Sweep.
This a zipped WAV file that is 5 MB in size. Right-click on the link to download it. Unzip the file and play it ->- you'll see it named track06.wav. Notice that both the Left and the Right channels carry the same information plus two seconds of silence at the end. If you like, you can just use one channel for testing. This test tone is a pure sine wave which takes 32 seconds to steadily move from 20Hz to 20,000Hz while gently and smoothly dropping in level from 0dB (full-range digital) to -6dB.
One caveat: I'm not familiar with the audio codec which plays sounds on your computer. This sound could come out compressed, processed and generally horrible sounding. One report is that Windows Media Player makes it sound bad by adjusting the high frequencies for you (Thanks, Bill) but Cool Edit Pro reproduces it faithfully. If your computer ends up sounding like a multi-toned sci-fi movie soundtrack near the end of this pure sine wave file then your playback codec is using some unseen tricks and is not going to work for testing. Burn it to CD and play it in a CD player to get the real deal.
To get you started we'll quote from the "Using..." guide:Track 6: Log Tone Sweep.
This track is very useful for listening to your speaker systems in order to catch any peaks or valleys in the response. You will hear a brief dip or jump in SPL where the response isn't ideal. Outdoors the response curve you hear will be mostly speaker- and array-related. Indoors you will also get a lot of room response characteristics coloring the pure sound of the sweep. Knowing your own personal hearing curve will help you translate the sound of this track into beneficial system adjustments.
A note: Listen for swishing and swirling sounds mixed in with the pure tone sweep to see if your CD player is poorly made or if something in your sound system generates harmonic distortion. Before critical listening please ask others in the venue to be quiet as this track more than any other makes people want to joke around by whistling or singing along ->- it reminds many people of a cartoon where something is going to blow up..! But the high frequencies are rolled off at a gentle and constant rate to keep them from taking anyone's head off. This track is meant to be played at a constant fader level from start to finish.
Right-click on the link. 56k modem time - roughly 35 minutes to
download. DSL is about a minute: