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Unbalanced console line out to AD converter
Old 26th July 2014
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Unbalanced console line out to AD converter

Hi, I'm looking to buy a vintage console soon for tracking and the ones I want all have unbalanced direct or line outs. What are the options for taking the signal from the direct outs into an AD converter? Right now, it would go into a digi003 or Digimax D8 (I know that going into the digi's line ins is right for that, I'm mainly addressing the xlr only D8). But also, I am upgrading to a converter probably with D-subs in the future.

Am I going to need something like an Art T8 or other multiple input direct box type device, or are there cables that make the unbalanced to balance conversion right inside the cable? .. Or something else I'm not considering or understanding right?
Old 27th July 2014
  #2
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
Why do you think you need balanced connection? Balanced is not REQUIRED. It is not a CURE-ALL.
If you connect your gear unbalanced and discover there is some problem, then address that problem.
I don't see any reason to go looking for trouble where it may not exist.
Old 27th July 2014
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
Why do you think you need balanced connection? Balanced is not REQUIRED. It is not a CURE-ALL.
If you connect your gear unbalanced and discover there is some problem, then address that problem.
I don't see any reason to go looking for trouble where it may not exist.
Ah, thanks Richard. That's good to know. I have had situations where I've gone balanced to unbalanced and gotten bad ground hums and times when it was fine.. So I was wondering if for some reason, someone would know if it was going to be a problem for sure.. But I guess probably not!

So the right thing to do would be to buy a trs to xlr snake for the 8 inputs going into the D8? I don't think they make a ts to xlr snake. That's ok to assume that plugging in a trs cable into a ts direct out should be fine?

And then then I would be using a trs to trs snake going from the ts direct out to the trs line input on the digi003 for the other 8 inputs.

I guess I was trying to know for sure before spending hundreds of dollars on the wrong snakes if there would be a problem.
Old 27th July 2014
  #4
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToneAlive View Post
Ah, thanks Richard. That's good to know. I have had situations where I've gone balanced to unbalanced and gotten bad ground hums and times when it was fine.. So I was wondering if for some reason, someone would know if it was going to be a problem for sure.. But I guess probably not!
IMHO, it is silly (and potentially wastefully expensive) to try to GUESS what will work before actually TRYING it.

Quote:
So the right thing to do would be to buy a trs to xlr snake for the 8 inputs going into the D8?
NO! Why would you want to buy something before knowing it will work?

Quote:
I don't think they make a ts to xlr snake.
Sure, you can have one made to your exact requirememts by several online sources. My favorite is Redco. Excellent selection, very sensible pricing.

Quote:
That's ok to assume that plugging in a trs cable into a ts direct out should be fine?
NO!. If the output connectors are truly TS, then connecting a TRS plug will result in floating R and an open circuit = no audio!

Quote:
And then then I would be using a trs to trs snake going from the ts direct out to the trs line input on the digi003 for the other 8 inputs.
TRS to TRS? What happened to the XLR?

Quote:
I guess I was trying to know for sure before spending hundreds of dollars on the wrong snakes if there would be a problem.
An excellent concern. Certainly you should try the proposed connection before spending ANYTHING on snakes. You didn't mention the distance of the connection(s)?
Old 27th July 2014
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
IMHO, it is silly (and potentially wastefully expensive) to try to GUESS what will work before actually TRYING it.


NO! Why would you want to buy something before knowing it will work?


Sure, you can have one made to your exact requirememts by several online sources. My favorite is Redco. Excellent selection, very sensible pricing.


NO!. If the output connectors are truly TS, then connecting a TRS plug will result in floating R and an open circuit = no audio!


TRS to TRS? What happened to the XLR?


An excellent concern. Certainly you should try the proposed connection before spending ANYTHING on snakes. You didn't mention the distance of the connection(s)?
Problem is I don't have the console yet, and I just don't think I'm gonna come across one before I find the one i would buy. So I can't try anything out specifically until then

The digi003 has 8 balanced line inputs and the Digimax d8 has 8 xlr mic pres only, that's why I need two different snakes. They aren't going that far, only 10-15'. Great answer about the floating signal with trs into ts thanks.. AND that I can get a ts to xlr made if need be. Oh yeah, and duh, I WOULD have thought of trying an individual cable with the right connection before buying a whole snake of it. Lol. Don't know what I was thinking.

So the plan is to try ts to ts for the digi003 line ins and ts to xlr for the D8 xlr ins. Then, if there is ground loop hum, the solution would be to get something like the art t8 rack space 8 channel direct box type thing?

Sorry if it seems like I'm over thinking it at this stage, it's just that it could significantly increase the cost of the whole console addition if I have to buy double the amount of snakes and a bunch of direct box channels.
Old 27th July 2014
  #6
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
The next thing to try is to float the ground at the console and take advantage of the balanced/differential input to cancel the hum. That doesn't require a balanced source.
And you can also try creating a "balanced impedance" output connection from the console by adding a resistor at the console end which matches the console output impedance.
Old 28th July 2014
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
The next thing to try is to float the ground at the console and take advantage of the balanced/differential input to cancel the hum. That doesn't require a balanced source.
And you can also try creating a "balanced impedance" output connection from the console by adding a resistor at the console end which matches the console output impedance.
Float the ground at the console means that I would use a ground lift between the console plug and the outlet?

Hopefully it won't come to doing any kind of mods like adding resisters!
Old 28th July 2014
  #8
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToneAlive View Post
Float the ground at the console means that I would use a ground lift between the console plug and the outlet?
Float the shield in the signal cable, yes. Connect XLR hot (pin 2) to the signal (tip). And connect XLR cold (pin 3) to the console ground (sleeve). Connect the cable shield to XLR pin 1, but leave the shield floating at the console end.

DO NOT disable the safety green-wire ground connection in the console power mains connector! That is potentially dangerous.

Quote:
Hopefully it won't come to doing any kind of mods like adding resisters!
The mod would be to the (likely custom, anyway) TS plugs which connect to your console. This is a trivial "mod". If your console has TRS output connectors (even though unbalanced, that makes the mod even MORE TRIVIAL.
Old 28th July 2014
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Richard, thank you so much. Your info has kept me from making a potentially bad choice about eliminating good console options and wasting a bunch of money!
Old 4th August 2014
  #10
Here for the gear
 

Response

As Richard pointed out, you don't HAVE to run balanced signals. I've built many small, budget home studios for folks using predominantly unbalanced signals because so much low-cost equipment is unbalanced. If your cable runs aren't too long (and it sounds like they're not), and you don't live in a high interference environment, that shouldn't pose a problem and you certainly shouldn't need to use something like the ART device except in extreme circumstances.

The bigger issue I see here is impedance - not knowing what the output impedance of the console is, and not knowing offhand what the input impedance is on the Digi equipment, I can't know but if you run a high impedance signal into a low impedance input, you will have a problem. I know a lot of vintage equipment can run at relatively high impedance on unbalanced signals. Most modern low-impedance balanced inputs are still relatively high impedance for proper matching, so it might not be a problem.

I'd suggest finding a single cable to test with as was mentioned, then decide on a snake. We sell quality snakes using Gotham cable at affordable prices, and I can customize it specifically for your needs (e.g., TS to XLR, TS to TRS, etc) at no extra cost. Not sure if mentioning that will violate forum rules, I hope not.

Rhiannon
Rising Professional Cables
Old 4th August 2014
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Thanks Rhiannon, that's great info. I HOPE it doesn't violate any kind of forum rules because that's just the kind of specific professional advise that I need, and now I have another purchase option for getting the snake made as well.

So like Richard said too, I should try it first with one cable before committing to the snake. But what kind of problem would there be with an impedance mismatch? .. Just a loss of signal strength? What can be done to make them match up correctly?
-—----------------
Soundcraft 8000
Input/output impedances:

Mic input. 2kohm
Line level inputs 10kohm
Any output <75 ohm

Max output levels

Unbalanced outputs. +21dbu into 5kohm

Balanced outputs. +26dbu into 600ohm

--------------
Digimax d8

Balanced input 1600ohm
---------------
Digi003

Mic inputs Input Sensitivity: +2.2 dBu. Input impedance 2 kohm.

Line input sensitivity

Input Sensitivity: +17.38 dBu

Input Impedance: 22K Ohm

DI Inputs
Connector: Four unbalanced 1/4 in. jacks

Input Sensitivity: +17.16 dBu

Input Impedance: >300K Ohm
Old 3rd September 2019
  #12
Here for the gear
Hi, sorry to bump a 5 year old thread but I feel like I'm having a similar issue and have a question about it.

I am also using a Soundcraft 8000 console (specs in the last post) with an Antelope Orion 32+ as my converter. I'm finding that the unbalanced direct outs are coming in pretty quiet into the converter where the balanced outputs on the bus and master outs are extremely hot, I was wondering if anyone knows if there is anything I can do to eliminate this volume difference/make it so that all the inputs come in at a nominal level? Apologies if this has (it probably has) been posted elsewhere, I did a search and couldn't find anything on it.

Cheers,
Lewis
Old 3rd September 2019
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by a_normal_dude View Post
Hi, sorry to bump a 5 year old thread but I feel like I'm having a similar issue and have a question about it.

I am also using a Soundcraft 8000 console (specs in the last post) with an Antelope Orion 32+ as my converter. I'm finding that the unbalanced direct outs are coming in pretty quiet into the converter where the balanced outputs on the bus and master outs are extremely hot, I was wondering if anyone knows if there is anything I can do to eliminate this volume difference/make it so that all the inputs come in at a nominal level? Apologies if this has (it probably has) been posted elsewhere, I did a search and couldn't find anything on it.

Cheers,
Lewis
Hi, check this thread out below. I had an issue with using a balanced cable snake out from the direct outs of my 8000 that would significantly lower the level coming out of the input channel’s direct out, as well as drastically reducing the amount of low end.. the solution is to use an unbalanced cable or snake into the direct out, or, what I did was modify my snake. Here is the thread:
Rosetta 800 problem - it adds high eq to the signal


Also, does your converter have options to change the level of how hot the channels take in the signal? Mine does.. the Apogee Symphony has options in its software controller that allow you to vary the input level of each individual channel.

Also note that the direct out level of the input channels is POST Fader so try starting with the faders at nominal gain. Using the Apogee software, I have my converter set up so that when the fader is at nominal gain, an input signal clips the preamp of the 8000 at the same level that clips the converter input.. Leaving the fader of a channel at nominal when tracking is a good way to gain stage because you can use the meter of the input channel in your DAW to know exactly how hot the input is hitting the preamp of the 8000
Old 10th September 2019
  #14
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audiospecific's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by a_normal_dude View Post
Hi, sorry to bump a 5 year old thread but I feel like I'm having a similar issue and have a question about it.

I am also using a Soundcraft 8000 console (specs in the last post) with an Antelope Orion 32+ as my converter. I'm finding that the unbalanced direct outs are coming in pretty quiet into the converter where the balanced outputs on the bus and master outs are extremely hot, I was wondering if anyone knows if there is anything I can do to eliminate this volume difference/make it so that all the inputs come in at a nominal level? Apologies if this has (it probably has) been posted elsewhere, I did a search and couldn't find anything on it.

Cheers,
Lewis
They are generally -10 unbalanced direct out and the bus is +4 balanced. It should be 1 to 1 with the antelope with the correct headroom (clip indication on the board=-10dbfs). The master on theses are high output (+26dbm before the clip indicator) .... about 12 db more than the standard output of a P.A. mixer.

edit: one think you should keep in mind is that you should run the mixer channels on the hot side so there is more signal than power supply noise, and bring it in at a modest level to the converter.
Old 10th September 2019
  #15
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

The direct out can be ANY level you want..Up to clipping (+20 to +23dB)..
The balanced out are probably 6dB higher than the Unbalanced, plus gain staging plays a part...
Old 15th September 2019
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nosebleedaudio View Post
The direct out can be ANY level you want..Up to clipping (+20 to +23dB)..
The balanced out are probably 6dB higher than the Unbalanced, plus gain staging plays a part...
Not sure what you mean, how would you change the level of the direct out level?
Old 15th September 2019
  #17
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ToneAlive View Post
Not sure what you mean, how would you change the level of the direct out level?
Maybe we are thinking of different things..
But, depending on how the channel is designed (Direct Out) On some mixers the direct out can be an isolated output (no bus assigned) allowing the signal to be cranked up to what ever level I want/need..Which is handy for some situations.
Follow me?
Old 15th September 2019
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nosebleedaudio View Post
Maybe we are thinking of different things..
But, depending on how the channel is designed (Direct Out) On some mixers the direct out can be an isolated output (no bus assigned) allowing the signal to be cranked up to what ever level I want/need..Which is handy for some situations.
Follow me?
Not really, so sorry! I understand that the direct out is post fader, so it’s overall output is directly related to the fader.. but it sounds like you are talking about some way to electronically modify the circuit to change its total possible output level or something.. not sure what the buss output assigning has to do with it either since the direct output works without routing the signal anywhere, including the main outs..
Old 15th September 2019
  #19
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ToneAlive View Post
Not really, so sorry! I understand that the direct out is post fader, so it’s overall output is directly related to the fader.. but it sounds like you are talking about some way to electronically modify the circuit to change its total possible output level or something.. not sure what the buss output assigning has to do with it either since the direct output works without routing the signal anywhere, including the main outs..
Well the bus outs do come into play, IF you have NO bus assigned THEN you CAN drive a higher level output on the Direct out...
IF there IS a bus assigned then a higher level WILL also go to the bus, with NO separate level adjustment..See my point?
The fader drives BOTH..as you know..

This is kinda getting out of hand..
I posted my first comment directed at the "-10 output level" , no reason why the Direct out can't be the same or close to any other output from the same channel..
Old 15th September 2019
  #20
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

So, IF you wanted a balanced output on the Direct Out something like this would work very well..
Attached Thumbnails
Unbalanced console line out to AD converter-jm-ebld.jpg  
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nosebleedaudio View Post
Well the bus outs do come into play, IF you have NO bus assigned THEN you CAN drive a higher level output on the Direct out...
IF there IS a bus assigned then a higher level WILL also go to the bus, with NO separate level adjustment..See my point?
The fader drives BOTH..as you know..

This is kinda getting out of hand..
I posted my first comment directed at the "-10 output level" , no reason why the Direct out can't be the same or close to any other output from the same channel..
I’m just gonna have to plead ignorance on this one then... cause I just tried running a test signal through a channel and recorded the direct out signal. No difference in the level no matter what bus/ group/ aux was assigned, all of them on or all of them off.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ToneAlive View Post
I’m just gonna have to plead ignorance on this one then... cause I just tried running a test signal through a channel and recorded the direct out signal. No difference in the level no matter what bus/ group/ aux was assigned, all of them on or all of them off.
Not sure I understand 100% what or how you did this..
But; IF you didn't change the main fader on the channel you have a signal fed into then the Direct out or bus out it was assigned to would NOT change..

Look at the block diagram for a input channel, this should help you understand what does & does NOT change levels to certain outputs..Not all mixers/consoles are the same..There are no doubt similarities on most..

By the way, I would have to disagree with Richard regarding Unbalanced signals.
And it does NOT have to be a long cable..
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