PA systems in Practice – Tips and Tricks

Information about powered and unpowered speakers, mics and DI's for instrument connections, audio connections, phantom power for DI boxes and condenser mics, equalization – channel and graphic, types of EQ, managing drums, filters, vocals, sends & faders brought forward to help you achieve a better understanding of how to operate your PA. This document highlights what should be connected to what including how to do it safely and cleanly.

Digital Mixers- Using the Flexibility

This document covers some of the ways to use features of many digital mixers available to schools, which teachers may not have encountered before and also great insights for students wishing to develop an understanding of current industry practice. Topics covered include auxiliary sends for monitors and effects, optimizing signal levels – gates and compression, how to use a matrix to send various signals to video or other applications using programmable buttons to keep sane during the show.

Digital Mixers – Making Student Performances Sound Great

This document examines the common features of Digitial Mixers that are not only affordable but provide unparalleled control over the sound for productions and performances. With focus on the Roland M200i Mixer, an advanced product that allows schools to experience great sound, powerful & flexible control, scene storage, multiple ins and outs, as well as iPad and laptop connectivity, this resource contains detailed product features juxtaposed with their corresponding applications and scholastic benefits.

Changes affecting wireless microphone users

ACMA (The Australian Communications and Media Authority) has put out a fact sheet on changes that will affect wireless microphones.

These changes are part of the Federal government’s work to clear specific radiofrequency spectrum (known as the ‘digital dividend’) to use for 4G mobile broadband services from 1 January 2015.  From this date wireless microphones and other audio devices in certain frequency ranges will become illegal due to potential interference with mobile broadband services.

Community groups and businesses using wireless microphones in schools and live music performance may be affected. This is a very real issue for some users and you can read the Music Council of Australia's statement on the subject, published on their website.

ACMA is strongly encouraging users to check their equipment and to start planning for the changes now. They have established a wireless microphone hub as an online resource for information on the changes.


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iPad and Jamhub Silent Rehearsal

This document outlines the range of technologies that are used in the Musical Futures classes at Doveton College –  a brand new school where it was decided to look at the music classes and department itself as a completely blank canvas, without any historical or cultural influences, and explore various hardware, including jam-hub, PA, Mixer, and iPad applications. It also documents the set up, the apps used, the strategies used every day in music classes, and discusses the thinking behind the strategies themselves.


This document discusses the integration of music technology into VET Music programs and demonstrates the TPN VET teaching and learning materials that are currently used in around 100 schools nationally. The first half looks at the VET in Schools sector, the arrangements between schools and RTOs, and also popular qualifications and units that incorporate music technology. The second half provides a demonstration of the TPN VET resources, and guides readers through the program design process.

Choosing a School PA System – Basics

This document outlines the simple considerations for choosing and learning how to run a small PA system for school use. It includes a discussion of the basic elements of the PA, and then looks at the use of the various mixer controls in a couple of small scenarios. The practical element of hands on sessions run at the conference is clearly missing, however some may find it a good basis for discussion, or the structural basis for teaching simple PA concepts.

Level It & Shut the Gate! – Learning How to manage signal levels on an Ipad Mixer

Whether it’s in a live performance situation or doing recordings, many of us have spent time trying to even out variations in sound levels of vocalists, instruments, and even the sound levels of a whole mix. We have had our hands almost glued to mixer faders to adjust to the changes.

This session will be a hands-on exploration of how to use Audio Compression to help even out levels.

Using the graphic interface of an iPad, in conjunction with listening and adjusting levels on wirelessly connected digital mixer, will have you understanding how to take the stress out of student performances, as well as achieve more punchy recordings.  Technical terms such as threshold, compression ratios, attack and release times, and gain will make perfect sense when you have worked through the practical examples in groups with headphones.

The other issue many of us have faced in school performances is the lack of ability to achieve a clean and clear sound for the audience. This is often due to the number of mics which need to be used on stage. The technique of gating mics is standard at concerts, and you will also learn how to significantly clean up the unwanted stage noise. Both techniques are also extremely valuable in the studio, and those needing to teach music production either live or in the studio will benefit from learning the tricks, and also saving them as presets to be called up instantly in the future.

Tweaking Tones – Learning Professional Equalizer techniques on an iPad Mixer

This  session  will  be  a  hands-on  opportunity  using  your  Ipad to learn the EQ techniques used by professional live sound engineers and in digital studios to sweeten the mix, optimize the sound in school performances. Whether you are a novice, or have some experience, using the simple and elegant visual interface on the Ipad, participants will be able to see and hear the impact of changes to the equalization of typical instrument,  drum  and  vocal  scenarios,  building  up  a  wealth of tips and tricks useful for enhancing student performance. The skills are invaluable as well for teaching music production in VET and similar courses. Typical examples include achieving clearer vocal tones, getting the nasty rings out of drum mics, and taming condenser mics used in school productions. 

Participants will work individually on their iPads, as well as working in small groups with headphones to wirelessly connect up to 8 iPads to the new Mackie DL1608 Digital Mixer to practice the techniques, and learn how to save the EQ settings they make as presets for instant recall. By the end of this session, the technical stuff about shelving, high pass filters, parametric EQ and Q values will all make sense. If you are thinking about purchasing PA equipment for your school in the near future, this session is also a must to see what is possible mixing from any seat in the audience with your iPad!