How to Connect Powered Speakers to a Mixer

How to Connect Powered Speakers to a Mixer

If you want a better sound quality for your powered speakers, you can connect them to a mixer. Even if you’re not electronically inclined, it’s a simple enough task to do.

Knowing what your equipment is and how it works is the first step to understanding how they can successfully combine.

After that, the basic steps to connection will be almost second nature. Through these instructions, you can learn how to connect powered speakers to a mixer with ease.


How Do You Connect Powered Speakers to a Mixer?

connect speaker cable to mixer's stereo output

First, turn off your components. Second, plug the cables into the powered speakers.

Then, use the speaker cable to connect to the mixer’s stereo output. Next, you can turn on both the speakers and the mixer and attach the source components.

The simplicity of these steps might surprise you. But though you might feel overwhelmed, a basic answer is all you need to know how to connect powered speakers to a mixer.

Keep in mind there are a few other things to consider.


Dry Hands

There is no significant danger to attaching speakers to a mixer unless your hands are wet. Generally speaking, the cables and connections involved are very safe, but they can still spark or malfunction if they get wet.

Dry your hands carefully before attaching the components. Otherwise, you risk getting electrocuted. It’s better to act smart and use prevention methods to keep yourself and others safe.


Volume Levels

Before you plug in your wires, make sure you turn both your speakers and mixer to a lower volume, or at least half the maximum volume.

This will prevent static from coming through when you first get them set up and turned on. If it’s not loud enough, you can adjust the volume after the fact.



connecting microphone to mixer

If you’re adding microphones to your set-up, connect them after you’ve attached both speakers and mixer and turned them on.

You can use the microphone to check that everything is working correctly. The sound coming in through the microphone will show up as levels on the mixer and come through the speakers.


Things to Check Beforehand

  • Does your equipment even work
  • The position of your equipment
  • How long your speaker cable is
  • Understanding your mixer’s connection

Working Equipment

checking mixer and speaker

If one of the components doesn’t work, the whole thing won’t work. Test your equipment beforehand to make sure both the speakers and the mixer are properly functioning. If they are, you can go ahead and connect them.

If one or neither is functioning, you will have to decide what you want to do next. You can try fixing the issue yourself, take them into a repair shop, or return the item for a functional component.


Equipment Positions

How you set up your equipment can affect how the sound comes out. The speakers should be in front of the mixer for the best amplification.

Don’t let the speakers and the mixer touch because the vibrations can disrupt the music and cause problems with the components themselves.

Placing the speakers appropriately for the audience will make sure the sound is clear and robust.

Their positions should be facing the listeners and close enough to be neither too quiet nor too loud. You’ll also want them on a flat surface, so they don’t get knocked over or slide to the floor.


Length of the Speaker Cable

things to check before connecting mixer to speaker - Length of the Speaker Cable

The speaker cable is the main link when discovering how to connect powered speakers to a mixer. The sound that transfers through the cable must be clear for the resulting music to be harmonious and full.

A shorter speaker cable will prevent sound interference. It will also help manage the entire system because you won’t have to struggle with a long cable or try and figure out how to make it fit.

However, even if you have a longer cable, you can prevent disruptions to your music. Simply coil the extra length of your cable behind or below your speaker. Coiling can also provide a neat workspace, so the cable doesn’t tangle.


Mixer’s Connection

For the best sound and less interference, understanding your mixer’s connection is key. Your mixer can have one of two connections; balanced or unbalanced.


XLR Connector for Balanced Mixer's Connection

A balanced audio connection can use long cables without gaining extra interference. The equipment uses balanced lines, which are less vulnerable to outside noise and can help protect the internal sound, so the music comes out clearly.

Balanced lines, or cables, each contain one ground wire and two signal wires. The ground wire works to cut out external noise.

The signal wires each transfer identical audio between the components. The double signal can give you a fuller, clearer sound, but it’s also susceptible to disruption if the audios don’t match up.

Both your mixer and your speaker should have a converter that will allow them to use the double signals. If they don’t have a converter, they use unbalanced lines instead.

Balanced connections use TRS or XLR connectors.



Unbalanced Mixer's Connection

An unbalanced audio connection tends to be shorter than a balanced one because it can be more vulnerable to external noise. A shorter cable will make it tougher to pick up unwanted vibrations.

Unbalanced lines use only two wires inside their casing. One acts as a signal wire, and the other is the ground wire. The ground wire removes excess noise from the transferred sound. The signal wire allows the audio to move between components without conversion.

The lack of conversion can give the audio a less manufactured sound. However, it also causes the audio to be vulnerable to disturbances where it could distort.

Unbalanced connections use Standard TS or RCA connectors.



A set of powered speakers connects to a mixer through a few simple steps.

Turning off all your components before attaching a cable to the speakers and the mixer will keep things running smoothly. Remember to check the state of your equipment beforehand and use the proper connections to get the best audio possible.


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