Four Superhero Uses for Aux Sends

aux sendAux sends provide a great opportunity to use output audio signals for something other than monitors.  Here's a list of aux send uses that will make you look like the superhero sound guy that you are!

Aux sends on a mixing board send audio signals out to sources other than the house mains.  They can be controlled at both the channel level and the over level.  Now let's rock out some ways to use this audio.

1. Mixing to a recording.  The mix in the house doesn't sound the same when record.  Plug a board-level aux out into a recording device.  Next, plug headphones into the recording device.  Now you can mix the recording using the channel-level aux sends.  Remember to use the same aux send in all cases, for example Aux Send B.

2. Send audio to a video camera.  Some video cameras have an audio input.  Using this, you can get a better sound onto the recording.  This is great for weddings.  Make sure you've got your sends matched up and levels set.  I always test the video recording and play it back to make sure I can hear it.

3. Send audio to an effects processor and then patch back into a channel thereby creating an effects loop.

4. Send audio to another room.  Add ceiling speakers in the church nursery or in the hallway and no one misses the service even when they are volunteering outside the sanctuary.

Don't just let those aux sends sit idle!

Use them!

Too much coffee for me?   Hmmmm…..

Question(S): How have you used aux sends? 

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  1. david says

    I have a Teak 80-8. 8 track recorder. Is it possible to hook it up to an Allen & Heath GL 2400?
    If so. How do I go about in doing so. I’ve tried using Aux and Matrix,but can’t seem to get it to work.

    • RWood says

      Yes you should be able to do that. The A&H has both Matrix and Aux outputs.
      The Matrix can be built from (IIRC) a dedicated input, Groups 1-4, Main L-R. And there are 4 (mono) of those.
      The Aux’s can be fun due the fader-flip function. Basically the 7 main faders can be flipped with the 6 pots above them (the rightmost fader does clever things, like being either: summed L+R; Aux 6; or tech wedge)
      So you can either have 4 group faders, and 3 main faders, and 6 aux pots. Or faders for the auxs, and groups and mains controlled by pots (Or anything in between. Each set of fader+pot can be played with individually)
      When you flip the faders the outputs on the back of the desk switch around as well. So you might want to take the O/P from the Jack marked AUX1 / GRP1 or the XLR marked GRP1 / AUX1.

  2. david says

    ahhhhh… just what i was hoping for… we’re trying to record, we have only 8 channels into a computer running old pro tools. i’m sub mxing horns to aux 3&4 (L&R), all vox into aux 1, FOKit and Over Head into 2, bass, kick, guit, & keys, are all channel outs. wondered if i could / should compress the OH and FOK then send out the aux? or can i comp the aux send itself, and use the other compressor for another instrument or group?
    ps 9 guys playing all at once in recording

  3. says

    @David: You make some excellent points regarding simply sending the FOH mix into any fold back on the stage. However, keep in mind that for some, vocalists especially, its crucial that they have exactly what they need in the their mix. Many of them find it difficult to sing when there are several other vocalists also blaring through their monitor. They may want to be able to really hear the keyboard to find their pitch, but for the FOH mix, you probably wouldn’t want it to be that keyboard heavy.

    Being a musician and having played multiple instruments, I do understand why many would need it done this way.

    Jeffrey Miranda

  4. Cajundaddy says

    I concur, keep it simple sherlock. For outreach worship ministries we often do this due to setup time constraints. A simple FOH mix works well.

    When running monitor sends we rarely put heavy drums or bass in cause it tends to muddy up the vocal mix. Musicians need cues, clarity and definition. Usually just vocals, acoustic guitar, and keys in the monitors. If the drummer is in isolation we will add a little snare/hi hat but normally you can hear them fine on stage. A good snare is easily 120db when the drummer is digging in. Same with a kick drum.

  5. says

    A cool aux trick passed down to me from another engineer:
    If your venue (or budget) is too small for subs, run the kick and bass guitar thru an aux to your bassist’s amp. He’ll be happy cuz he can really hear both those instruments, and you’re happy cuz you have a sub!

    If your using low on compressor channels, route all your vocals to an aux. Run it thru the comp. Bring it back into the console thru a channel. You now have compression on all your vocals and you’ve made a “Vocal Group”.
    (you can do the same for feedback eliminators, effects, …)

  6. Chris says

    Matt, that's a very good point regarding speakers in the nursery.  I would never feed video for that reason.  Regarding the audio portion, the way our church is set u, it's in the 3-4 year-old's room but not the nursery.

    You make a good point that caring for young children should be the focus of that time and not provide a distraction.

  7. Matt says

    One thought on feeding audio to a nursery.

    My mother has been a children’s ministry leader for many years and through her experience I’ve learned that it’s not a good idea to feed audio/video to a nursery. It’s one thing to feed to a nursing room but in a nursery the focus of the workers should be on the children they’re there to care for and begin teaching about God (yes even 1-2 year olds can begin to learn about God, my daughter will point to her heart when you ask where Jesus is). Even if there is not much instruction going on, a nursery worker who’s intently listening to a sermon can easily become distracted from watching the children, which my daughter will also prove can allow a lot to happen in a very brief moment (cue hospital visit for falling off a chair at grandma’s, only a few seconds makes a huge difference).

  8. Chris says

    We found that with the use of Aviom's, it was best to give musicians a channel with the house mix.  Then, if they were having a problem dialing in their mix, they'd use the house mix as the foundation and boost channels from there.

    Thanks for the tips!

  9. says

    I know using monitor “sends” seems to be the industry standard practice for providing a source to the stage. I know that various performers, whether vocal or intstrument need to hear not only themselves, but at times other critical contributions. Having worked with bands both as performer and tech for almost 30years, and in churches for 17, sometimes the business leads me to ask… “Arent we all just making it all tooooo busy on stage, both for the performers and the tech?”
    May I offer an alternative im sure many have tried at times, but we seem to automatically avoid.

    Scenario…Lead vocal wants to hear their voice, some of the backing vox, and other critical instruments…thats it…Keyboard wants themselves, lead vox, maybe some guitars etc…Drums want lead vox…maybe bass and guitars…thats 3 different mixes…ALL FIGHTING on stage.

    Why not send FOH to the wedges!!!

    I think we have all become lazy listeners, only EVER hearing what we want to hear, and not really hearing the mix.

    Try it!…during a prac session of course…save all the sends…and just send the FOH as foldback thru the wedges…it may take a lil different EQ…a lil tweaking…ok.
    I recall many a gig using ONLY a set of double 15″&horn bins sat behind the FOH point at the stage as the foldback…we all really felt the groove of the FOH…it was GREAT!

  10. says

    Aux 1: Stage monitor
    2: Spare
    3 and 4: CD recorder
    5 and 6: Internal effects 1
    7 and 8: Internal effects 2

    Yeah I know I have a lot of stereo auxes but they can be monos if we need more sends.

  11. Glenn says

    We use the aux sends on our Mackie 24.4 in this manner …

    1: Praise team monitors
    2: Piano monitor
    3: Drumset monitor
    4: Output to PC for recording/video camera for nursery audio/video feed
    5: Effects
    6: Subwoofers

    I’m hoping that the church can upgrade the mixer in the next year or so … it’s starting to show its age, and we’d like to have some matrix sends(or at least more aux sends).