We’re going to walk you through the basics of setting up a sound system. You’ll see how we connect an analog 10 channel audio mixer (Mackie ProFX10v3) to powered speakers (Mackie SRT210). 

Then we’ll go over how to connect a microphone (Shure SM58) and use a headphone cable to connect a phone to the system.

Quick Answer: Consider where you are going to setup your sound system, then connect everything, and make sure it’s working and reset. Finally, connect your audio sources and make adjustments to get the volume and effects just right. 

Sound System Mixer and Speaker Placement

When you arrive at a venue, you need to do a few things before you start unpacking your gear. Life gets much easier if you can answer two basic questions before you do anything else.

Mackie SRT210 Powered Speaker

Can you get power in the room, and where are you going to put your mixer and speakers?

Even if you’ve visited a venue before, it’s good to check that you have a safe, functional outlet to power your equipment.

In our experience, 10-15% of the outlets in any given event space don’t work. Therefore, we recommend using an extension cord with an LED light to check which outlets are working.

Speaker Placement
This will vary based on the needs of the event and the layout of the venue. You’ll be able to come up with placement ideas in advance, but it’s always good to walk through the room on the day to get things figured out.

We typically advise positioning two speakers, left and right, on the front corners of the stage. The one exception to this is if you’re DJing. Then we’d recommend putting the speakers to the left and right of your table, out in front.

Mackie ProFX10v3 Audio Mixer

In all cases, we want to avoid a situation where a microphone ends up in front of a speaker. This is the most effective strategy for preventing feedback.

Mixer Placement
Your mixer will typically be positioned at the side of the stage; however, at some corporate events, the organizers may hide you behind a screen or similar. This can be tough as you can’t see or hear what’s going on very well.

If you get to make the call, the ideal spot for your mixer is somewhere out in front of the stage. You’ll be able to hear the sound coming from your sound sources, and you have line of sight with the stage.

Sound System Mixer Location

How To Setup A Sound System

XLR Cable

We like to work from the mixer out, so we’ll talk you through setting up a sound system using this approach. We’ve already looked at speaker and mixer placement, so we’ll pick things up from that point.

Time needed: 10 minutes.

  1. Connect the audio mixer to a power outlet.
  2. Turn the audio mixer on.
  3. Connect the speaker to a power outlet.
    We recommend upgrading to a 25’ IEC power cable as it gives you greater flexibility.

    Tip: Don’t plug your speaker into a power bar or anything with a built-in surge protector, as this can interfere with the speaker’s internal limiter.
  4. Turn the speaker on.
    Make sure it’s getting power, is booting up correctly, and then turn it off again.
  5. Connect the mixer to the speaker.
    Run an XLR cable from the main out on your mixer to the input on your speaker.

    The Mackie ProFX has balanced 1/4” outputs too, but longer XLR cables are more readily available.
  6. Repeat steps 2 to 5 for your second speaker.
  7. Turn on the speakers and perform a factory reset.
    The SRT210 menu sequence for this is: Menu > Config > About/res > Factory Reset > Yes.
  8. Set the speaker input gain.
    Turn the channel 1 gain knob on each speaker to U/unity found at the 12 o’clock position.
  9. Reset the audio mixer.
    – All buttons in the up, unpressed position.
    – Mute FX.
    – All EQ knobs in the 12 o’clock (neutral) position.
    – FX sends set to zero.
    – Pan knobs centered.
    – All channels muted.
    – Individual channel level & gain knobs turned down.
    – Master level set to zero/unity.

Connecting A Microphone To Your Sound System

Shure SM58 Dynamic Microphone

These are the steps you’ll need to take to connect a dynamic microphone (Shure SM58) and a condenser microphone (Shure MX412C) to your sound system.

  1. Connect both microphones to the mixer.
    Both microphones require a standard XLR cable.
  2. Turn on phantom power (48v).
    This is needed to power the condenser microphone. We’ve never known phantom power to damage a dynamic microphone, but we would leave it turned off if we were not using a condenser microphone.
  3. Set the gain for each microphone.
    Unmute the microphone channel, set the level to zero/unity, and adjust the gain to your desired level.  

Connecting A Phone To Your Sound System

Headphone Cable

These are the steps you’ll need to take to connect a phone or other line level source to your sound system. This works well for audio sources that are close to you.

  1. Insert a headphone adapter into your phone.
    Many modern phones don’t have a headphone jack, so you’ll need an adapter, such as the lightning to headphone jack adapter for iPhone.
  2. Connect your phone to the mixer.
    Use a headphone to dual 1/4” cable to connect your phone to a stereo pair channel on your mixer. The red connector to the right input and the grey to the left.
  3. Set the volume for your line in audio.
    Unmute the channel and adjust the level to your desired volume.  

Using a DI box to connect line level sources.

Radial ProD2 Stereo DI Box

If the phone, keyboard, or laptop you want to connect to your sound system is further than 15’ away, you’ll need to introduce a DI box to maintain audio quality over longer cable runs.

A standard DI box will give you left and right channels via two XLR cables. The downside to this is that you’re now losing two valuable XLR inputs to one source. Alternatively, an AV DI box sends both left and right channels back to the mixer via one XLR cable.

Sound System Monitor Setup

It’s super simple to add an on-stage floor monitor to your sound system. We prefer to run a line out from the FX send to the monitor speaker. This allows you to provide a separate mix for the monitor using each channel’s FX knob.

This is useful for musicians and speakers who need to hear their performance over other sounds and noises.

Mackie ProFX10v3 Channel Strip Controls

Mackie ProFX10v3 Audio Mixer

Now you have everything connected, set up, and ready to go, you need to know how to get the best sound from your audio sources. We’ll guide you through the mixer channel controls from top to bottom.

  • Insert
    Allows you to plug in a piece of outboard gear, like a reverb unit or compressor. The sound is taken from the channel strip, processed externally, and returned.
  • Low Cut
    Rolls off frequencies below 100 Hz. We use this setting for any microphone being used on a voice.
  • Compressor
    Compression “auto mixes” the volume level above a threshold to reduce dynamic range with a compression ratio of 6:1. Turning the knob clockwise lowers the threshold.
  • 3 Band EQ
    These 3 knobs let you adjust the volume of the highs, mids, and lows. Typical adjustments for voice: reduce the highs and lows, and boost the mids. Less is more!
  • FX Send
    With FX muted, it acts as an aux channel and can be used to control the mix for floor monitors. With FX unmuted, it allows you to adjust the effect strength.
  • Pan
    Allows you to pan the audio left and right.
  • Mute & Level
    Mute cuts the audio from that channel completely while level sets your final volume and allows you to mix throughout the event.

How To Setup A Sound System – Mackie ProFX & SRT Pricing

How To Setup A Sound System (Mackie ProFX & SRT) Topics

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 0:57 – Price & Specs
  • 1:30 – Power
  • 2:28 – Location Of Speakers & Mixer
  • 4:52 – Connect Mixer To Power
  • 5:07 – Connect Speakers To Power
  • 6:35 – Connect Speakers To Mixer
  • 7:10 – Connect Additional Speaker
  • 7:51 – Turn on Speakers & Factory Reset
  • 9:10 – Mixer Setup
  • 10:00 – Connect Dynamic Microphone 
  • 10:57 – Connect Condenser Microphone
  • 11:33 – Phantom Power (48v)
  • 13:05 – Microphone Gain Setup
  • 14:05 – Line Level Input Setup (Phone)
  • 16:11 – DI Box Setup
  • 18:50 – Monitor Setup
  • 19:40 – Insert
  • 20:10 – Low Cut
  • 20:40 – Compressor
  • 22:00 – 3 Band EQ
  • 23:30 – FX Send & Effects Setup
  • 24:31 – Pan
  • 24:50 – Mute & Level
  • 25:00 – Final Thoughts