How to Connect a Mixer to a Receiver

By Matt McKay

Connecting a mixer to a receiver will expand input capabilities to include musical instruments, microphones and other sound-producing equipment. Requiring a stereo connection cable with plugs to fit both units, any receiver that contains auxiliary inputs -- AV. AUX, TV, TAPE, LINE -- can be used. Mixers are available in a variety of configurations and are used as a central connection point and volume control for external devices.

Things You'll Need

  • Shielded stereo connection cable (connector types will vary)

Step 1

Locate the left and right main output jacks on the sound mixer and determine the type of jack. Depending on the mixer, the jacks may be found on the top or back panel, will be clearly marked and be of the RCA, 1/4-inch or XLR variety.

Step 2

Inspect the back of the receiver to ensure that auxiliary input jacks exist. The jacks will be labeled, are located near other input jacks for the tape or CD player and will be of the RCA variety. Any input may be used except the phono input reserved for turntables. Phono inputs employ a stronger signal preamp, which will cause distortion and poor sound when used with mixers and other devices.

Step 3

Purchase a shielded stereo connection cable at a local electronics retailer or music store with two RCA plugs on one end and two plugs matching those of the mixer outputs on the other.

Step 4

Power off the mixer and receiver and ensure that all volume levels are down.

Step 5

Plug the cable's dual RCA plugs into the receiver's auxiliary left and right input jacks.

Step 6

Plug the cable's two remaining plugs into the mixer's main output jacks.

Step 7

Plug the desired device into one of the mixer's input channels and turn the device's power and volume off.

Step 8

Select the auxiliary or source channel on the receiver. The selector will be marked and located on the front panel in the form of a selector knob or push-switch.

Step 9

Turn on power to the receiver, mixer and device and set all main volume levels to approximately halfway.

Step 10

Play or apply sound to the connected device and slowly turn up the mixer channel volume until clear sound is heard.

Tips & Warnings

  • Experiment with different volume levels on the mixer and receiver to achieve the best sound and circumvent distortion. Ideally, keep the receiver volume at higher levels, the mixer main volume at mid- to high-level and the mixer channel volume at lower levels.
  • Do not connect powered mixers with built-in amplifiers to the receiver. Severe damage to one or both units will occur.
  • Keep volume levels to a minimum to prevent speaker damage, especially when using musical instruments and microphones. Receivers and stereo speakers are made to reproduce processed recorded or broadcast sound and are not as robustly manufactured as pro-audio power amps and speakers to which mixers are typically connected.