Get an overview of the Mixer panel and all of its components, from channel strips to staff groups, to virtual instruments and smart knobs.
- [Instructor] A discussion about playback would not be complete without a quick look at the Sibelius Mixer. The easiest way to access the mixer is by pressing the letter M on your QWERTY keyboard. You can also access the mixer by visiting two areas in the ribbon, the Play tab, Setup Group, Mixer, or the View tab, Panels Group, Mixer. I'm going to go ahead and resize my mixer. There's a little bit of a grabber tool here in the middle and drag that up.
There we go. Now, on the far left side of the mixer, there's a colorful vertical button strip that allows you to show and hide different sections of the mixer. I'm talking about this strip here on the very far left. At the top of the button strip is the CPU usage meter. During playback, the CPU usage meter can give you an idea of how much of your computer's processor is being used by Sibelius' audio engine. If the meter goes into the red, you'll likely hear glitches in your audio playback, at which time you'll need to make adjustments to help lighten the processing demands that your score is placing on your computer system.
Just below the CPU usage meter is the change mixer height button. This silver and black button gives you the ability to toggle through four different mixer height settings, each setting allowing you to view additional information on each channel strip in the mixer. The first level of the mixer displays volume faders for each of the channel strips. The second level adds solo and mute buttons as well as pan knobs for each channel strip. The third level adds features for choosing and adjusting sounds and effects.
The fourth and the top level of the mixer provides sliders for adjusting reverb and coarse levels. The master volume button below the change mixer height button lets you show and hide a master fader channel strip in the mixer. The master fader, which appears as a dark gray channel strip, controls the overall output of your Sibelius score including all staves and virtual instruments. Raising and lowering the master fader's volume fader will raise and lower the overall volume output of your score. If you drag the master volume fader all the way down, you will not hear any sound coming from your Sibelius score at all.
Clicking on the show/hide staves button will show and hide blue-colored channel strips for all of the staves in your score. You can adjust the overall volume output of each of the staves in your score by adjusting its individual fader. Every Sibelius score is automatically created with a click that follows the tempo and meter map of the score. In the mixer, the click is included as a blue channel strip. Even though it does not appear as an actual staff in the score, you can adjust the click's output volume and other settings from its channel strip in the mixer.
Clicking on the purple show/hide staff groups button will show and hide purple channel strips for predefined groups of staves that appear in your score. It's best to think of staff groups as families of instruments that the instruments are regularly grouped into. For example, a violin would be regularly part of the strings family. Therefore, a violin staff will be part of the staff group labeled strings in the mixer. Staff group channel strips contain volume faders and solo and mute buttons for each group. However, experimenting with these controls will reveal that the staff group channel strips do not function independently.
When you adjust a control on a staff group channel strip, be aware that you will inadvertently be adjusting the same control on all of the instruments or staves that are part of that group. To test this out and to see it for yourself, drag a staff group fader up and down and you'll also see the individual staff faders for the instruments that are part of the group moving up and down as well. Staff groups work great for quickly soloing and muting families of instruments in your score. If you're using any virtual instruments in your score including the Sibelius Player, you can use the green show/hide virtual instruments button to reveal bright green channel strips in the mixer for each virtual instrument that's loaded into your score.
On the virtual instrument channel strip, you can adjust the level and other settings for the virtual instrument. If you're using a third party virtual instrument, the green channel strip will provide you with a show plug-in interface button. Now, I don't have that here. It would be down here at the bottom of the channel strip and if pressed, it would launch the plug-in's interface window. Finally, the effects button opens four orange-colored effects bus channel strips, each of which can load up to two effects. You have to have effects plug-ins installed on your computer in order to utilize the effects buses.
You'll also need to set up your effects in the effects page of playback devices before being able to assign them here in the mixer. There's on more thing you should know about the mixer. Depending on your active playback devices, some staff channel strips will provide a show/hide smart knobs button just above the staff name that if pressed will reveal a secret strip of knobs, smart knobs, that allow you to make further adjustments to the sound assigned on the staff. Smart knobs strips can contain anywhere from one to six knobs, each assigned to different parameters of the sound.
You can click the show/hide smart knobs button to hide the smart knobs when you're done working with them. So this has been a quick but thorough overview of the mixer. If your score sounds a bit out of balance or if you'd like to adjust the timbre or position of an instrument, you should feel comfortable jumping into the mixer to do so.
- Installing and launching Sibelius
- Opening and closing a score
- Navigating through the score
- Using important single-key shortcuts
- Marking and coloring a score
- Playing and replaying a score
- Editing selections and deleting staves
- Creating a new score and inputting score objects
- Editing during and after note input
- Editing pitches and rhythms
- Working with text styles
- Finishing and printing a score