quick reference

Channel/Master Controls

Gain Knob Sensitivity: (called 'gain' or 'trim' on most mixers) Matches the strength of the signal from the mic to what the mixer expects. Changes the level of the mic in the main mix and monitor. This setting will vary depending on the instrument.
Monitor Knob Monitor: Sends part of the signal through the monitor master to a jack which feeds the band's stage monitors. Keep this down to 0 in the caller channel, and low for the piano, too.
EFX/Rev Knob EFX: Some mixers have a control to send part of the signal to a jack on the back of the mixer which can be connected to an external effects box (for reverb, etc). You can also use this for recording, or for a second monitor mix. It's unamplified, and may or may not be affected by the EQ and fader controls below.
EQ Knobs EQ: There are usually 2-3 controls for equalization. This is just a fancy term for what your home stereo calls 'bass' and 'treble'. In fact, if there are only 2 controls, that is exactly what they are. If there are three, the middle one usually just gives you more control over the 'mid-range' frequencies. hi=bow and pick sounds, mid=high fiddle notes, lo=low piano notes. Avoid the common tendency to play with these a lot. Except for vocals (set bass at 9:00, mid at 3:00, treble at 2:00), they should be pretty close to the settings shown. Most of your attention should be on the volume and level settings.
Pan Knob Pan: Found only on stereo mixers. Sends the channel to the left or right submasters, or a blend of both. Since we run mono, just think of this as sending the signal to master volume controls '1' and '2' (sometimes the masters are labelled '1' & '2'), and pan the caller to one and the band to the other.
Fader Control Channel Faders: The last control that affects each channel separately is the fader. The level fader for each channel is used to make minor adjustments to the amount of each instrument in the hall mix, once you've got the gain and monitors set right. The suggested '12' starting point for the Entertainer shown here will be labeled '0' on most other mixers. If you have to move one instrument's levels far from this mark, the gain for that mic probably needs adjusting. If you have to move all of the instrument faders substantially, the masters probably need to be adjusted. To start out, set the channel faders at the dark line, then adjust the sensitivity (or gain) control at the top until the instruments sound balanced. Then adjust the monitors to the band's liking.

Master Controls Masters: The mixed mic channels pass through here to be amplified. Stereo mixers have sliders for 'left' and 'right' channels (or channel '1' and '2'); we set the board to mono (or 'monitor') and use one master for the caller and one for the band.

On the Entertainer there is also one 'mono master' knob for overall volume. Leave this set at '14', and reduce the left and right submasters if you need less volume. On other mixers, the submasters may directly determine the overall volume instead. These will work in unexpected ways if the 'main/mono' switch is set wrong.