Let’s take a look at one of the lesser-known but incredibly useful features of an audio mixer: the Hi-Z button.
If you’re a beginner in audio mixing, you might not be familiar with this button, so let’s dive into what it does and why it’s important.
Quick Answer: A Hi-Z (or High-Z or high impedance) button will change the input on a channel to be ready for a high impedance input from an electric guitar, bass guitar, or other instrument that uses magnetic pickups.
What Is The Hi-Z Button?
Simply put, the Hi-Z button is a switch that changes the input impedance of an audio mixer channel.
Impedance is a measure of resistance to the flow of electrical current, and the Hi-Z button raises the input impedance of the mixer channel.
When the Hi-Z button is engaged, the input can handle the higher impedance signal from the instrument without overloading or distorting it.
Where do you find the Hi-Z Button?
You will typically find the hi-z button at the top of a channel strip of an audio mixer. Sometimes this button will be called “instrument”, “inst”, or “guitar”.
It’s also common to see a Hi-Z button on audio interfaces like the SSL2+.
If you don’t use the Hi-Z button with your guitar, you will notice that you need to add a lot more gain than usual and the tone will sound flat and empty.
If you connect a line-level input to your audio mixer when the Hi-Z button is on, you will notice that it sounds chunky, and distorted, and it needs a pad in order to lower the volume.
When Should You Use The Hi-Z Button?
You should use the Hi-Z button any time you connect an instrument with magnetic pickups directly to an audio interface or audio mixer.
This will make sure that the input is properly calibrated for you.
Some examples include:
- Electric Guitar
- Bass Guitar
- Acoustic Guitar with pickup
- Other stringed instruments with pickups
What Mixers / Interfaces Have a Hi-Z Button?
Out of all of the audio mixers in our inventory, we’ve noticed the following audio mixers have a Hi-Z button:.
- Mackie ProFX Series: https://currentprice.io/profx6v3
- Mackie Onyx Interfaces:
- Solid State SSL2+: https://currentprice.io/ssl2_plus
Hi-Z Button FAQs
The Hi-Z button will raise the impedance of your input for an electric guitar or bass guitar.
Inst and Hi-Z buttons do the same thing. They raise the impedance of the input so you can get better results from connecting an electric guitar, bass, or another instrument with magnetic inputs.
Line-level inputs are different than Hi-Z inputs. Hi-Z inputs have a higher impedance for connecting guitars to your audio mixer.
Hi-Z Button Pricing
Here is the equipment we used while filming the video in this guide.
- Mackie ProFX10v3 Audio Mixer: https://currentprice.io/profx10v3
- Mackie ProFX6v3 Audio Mixer: https://currentprice.io/profx6v3
- Rodecaster Pro II: https://currentprice.io/rodecaster2
- NEAT King Bee II Microphone: https://currentprice.io/king_bee_ii
- Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro Headphones: https://currentprice.io/beyer_dt_990
- XLR Cable: https://currentprice.io/xlr_cable
- TRS Cable: https://currentprice.io/trs_cable
- Mic Stand: https://currentprice.io/desk_stand
- Rode PSA1+ Boom Arm: http://currentprice.io/psa1_plus
- Quality Acoustic Treatment Panels: http://currentprice.io/soundpanels