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Speaker Switch Suggestion Monitor Controllers
Old 26th February 2014
  #1
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Speaker Switch Suggestion

Im looking to put a speaker selector with no level control, after my RME Babyface. One pair of monitors is xlr and another is trs. I have adapters (xlr female to mono) for my trs speakers.

Im looking to go in to a switch from the interface and out to 2 pair of speakers. So far the Goldpoint SW2X-O seems to be what i need, however it seems to come with the SW2X-I as well which i dont need. The pair puts it at $382 which is high for only needing half of it. Another one is the Pro Co Switch Witch which is ideal incase i decide to add a 3rd or 4th pair of speakers,however ita wide and made to be rack mounted.

Im really looking for something like theKramer VS4X 4X1 except the opposite configuration... in other words instead of 4 ins and 1 out....4 outs and 1in.

Can someone recommend what im looking for? I cant seem to find anything after numerous searching
Old 26th February 2014
  #2
The Hosa SLW-333 is an excellent monitor switcher. It will take a pair of balanced TRS outputs and allow sending to up to (3) pairs of active monitors.

Since the Babyface main outputs are on XLR males, you need a pair of XLR Female to TRS cables to connect to the (2) Hosa jacks marked "Output". That is correct since you are using it in reverse as an output switcher.

Use a pair of TRS/TRS cables to connect to monitors which have TRS inputs and uses a pair of TRS to XLR male cables to connect to monitors with XLR inputs. The switcher to speaker cables are connected to the jacks marked "Input", again because you are using it in reverse. The "Input/Output" markings in this case are irrelevant. The switch doesn't care which way the signal flows.

Just be sure to use this with dual, balanced outputs and inputs (separate channels from your interface on (2) separate connectors). Don't mix in any unbalanced Stereo outputs on TRS single-jacks, such as headphone outs or headphone amp inputs.

The SLW-333 is completely passive, so it can also be used to switch (3) pairs of inputs to one output, but you won't use it that way to select between multiple sets of active monitors.

If you prefer push-button monitor selection, the ColemanLS3 has exactly the same function as the Hosa. It costs more, and IMHO is not built as well as the Hosa (light weight plastic case instead of an all-metal chassis), but it works fine and does give PB switching instead of a rotary switch. It's marked "3-in/1 out", but again is a purely passive switch so works equally well as a "1-in/3 out" switcher.

I have no idea of what you mean by "xlr female to mono" adapters. That is not correct terminology for any adapter. If you mean XLR to 1/4-inch TS adapters, they should not be used because they will unbalance your interconnects. If you mean XLR to 1/4 -inch TRS balanced adapters, they can be used, but you will have a more reliable system if you just use cables with the correct connectors on each end. Every additional adapter adds one more place that the connections can fail, so should be avoided if at all possible.

Hope this helps.
Old 26th February 2014
  #3
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Im not looking for a trs switch. Im looking for xlr since the babyface outputs are xlr and 1 pair of monitors is xlr. As far as the 1/4 inch L mono and R mono speakers i have, this is the adapter i was referring to..
Attached Thumbnails
Speaker Switch Suggestion-2014-02-26-00.45.07.jpg  
Old 26th February 2014
  #4
Since you need cables to connect to the switch and then from the switch to the monitors, it does not matter at all if the switch is XLR or TRS. Functionally, they are the exactly same. You just need to use the correct cables which is why I took the trouble of listing them and included links. Because of the larger physical size of XLR panel connectors, a XLR switch will usually be a rack-mount unit.

The adapter in your PIC is a XLR(F) to 1/4-inch TS male unbalanced adapter. It will totally eliminate the advantage of using balanced interconnects and can lead to ground loop noise issues. As long as your monitors have balanced inputs it should never be used to connect to the Babyface balanced outputs. Something like that is only used to connect to cheap "computer speaker monitors" with unbalanced inputs. It's totally inappropriate for use with any decent monitor with balanced inputs.
Old 26th February 2014
  #5
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Right but im trying to minimize the amount of adapters. I only have to use them om the TRS speakers this way. Im really looking for help with XLR switch. A more compact Pro co Switch Witch would be perfect if anyone knows of one.
Old 26th February 2014
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozzlvlosis View Post
Right but im trying to minimize the amount of adapters. ....
Get rid of all the adapters.

Use the correct cables.

Using the correct cables and a Hosa TRS switcher will cost much less then the cost of a XLR switch alone.

Save your current XLR/XLR cables for something else.
Old 26th February 2014
  #7
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Xlr > trs
Old 26th February 2014
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozzlvlosis View Post
Xlr > trs

Yep--whatever you say.
I defer to your expertise as demonstrated by your use of the TS adapter on a otherwise balanced connection.
Old 26th February 2014
  #9
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Theres no such thing as balanced mono. So whether theyre cables or adapters, something needs to go from xlr to mono whether its an xlr switch or a trs switch. A left Mono and a Right mono are each unbalanced
Old 26th February 2014
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozzlvlosis View Post
Theres no such thing as balanced mono. So whether theyre cables or adapters, something needs to go from xlr to mono whether its an xlr switch or a trs switch. A left Mono and a Right mono are each unbalanced
Mono = one channel. Can be either balanced or unbalanced.
Old 26th February 2014
  #11
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Im gonna go with the Goldpoint Sw2x-O bc its compact. I guess if want to get a 3rd pair of crap speakers to see how the mix translates, i'll go out the headphone jack.
Attached Thumbnails
Speaker Switch Suggestion-sw2x_rps_3.jpg  
Old 26th February 2014
  #12
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I was misinformed about mono being unbalanced at Sam Ash. Either way i want to have an xlr setup. I'll go from the Goldpoint to both sets of speakers and use the xlr to mono adapters going into my 1/4 inch jack speakers
Old 26th February 2014
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozzlvlosis View Post
Theres no such thing as balanced mono....
Oh my!...
Old 26th February 2014
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozzlvlosis View Post
I was misinformed about mono being unbalanced at Sam Ash. Either way i want to have an xlr setup. I'll go from the Goldpoint to both sets of speakers and use the xlr to mono adapters going into my 1/4 inch jack speakers

You need to get your cable terminology correct. Completely eliminate the word "mono" when referring to cables and connectors.
1/4" plugs can be either T/S, (tip sleeve)or TRS (tip, ring, sleve.) If your speaker's 1/4" inputs are balanced, it's best to use XLR to TRS or TRS to TRS.
Old 26th February 2014
  #15
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Lotus i dont know why youre laughing. 1 this a forum for newb questions. 2 i asked for apples and you recommended oranges.
Old 26th February 2014
  #16
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Also i read on another forum on herebthat an xlr to ts cable is unbalanced anyway. This lotus character wants me to go xlr to ts from my interfact into his recommended speaker switch, then ts to xlr to my Jbls...

So what does it matter if i have an xlr to ts adapter. The same thing is happening inside the cable/adapter
Old 26th February 2014
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozzlvlosis View Post
This lotus character wants me to go xlr to ts from my interfact into his recommended speaker switch, then ts to xlr to my Jbls...

So what does it matter if i have an xlr to ts adapter. The same thing is happening inside the cable/adapter
I think you need to re-read his responses.

Quote:
If you mean XLR to 1/4-inch TS adapters, they should not be used because they will unbalance your interconnects.
Quote:
The adapter in your PIC is a XLR(F) to 1/4-inch TS male unbalanced adapter. It will totally eliminate the advantage of using balanced interconnects and can lead to ground loop noise issues. As long as your monitors have balanced inputs it should never be used to connect to the Babyface balanced outputs.
Old 26th February 2014
  #18
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Just spoke to someone from Sweetwater. What i didnt understand was that i could go into a mono jack with a trs cable to remain balanced.
Old 26th February 2014
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozzlvlosis View Post
Lotus i dont know why youre laughing. 1 this a forum for newb questions. 2 i asked for apples and you recommended oranges.
Your statement I reacted to is so blatently wrong it's laughable.

I could go on about how every input and output on your RME Babyface is balanced mono except the headphone output (which is unbalanced stereo). And, I could write a long detailed explanation about the differences between balanced and unbalanced connections as used in both mono and stereo audio transmission, and why using an adapter that unbalances an interconnect is a bad idea, but that would be a waste of my time, since that info is easily available on-line from many sources.

Your recent statements demonstrate a complete lack of knowledge about how audio connections work.

Your statement "This lotus character wants me to go xlr to ts from my interfact (sic) into his recommended speaker switch, then ts to xlr to my Jbls.." is totally incorrect, and is insulting since it misrepresents what I said. My recommendation was to use XLR to TRS cables and not TS, you clearly didn't read my comments correctly. The only mention of TS connectors in any of my posts referred to the adapters and not to use them. I even included hyperlinks to the correct cables so there would be no confusion, but somehow you are still confused about the difference between a balanced TRS interconnect and an unbalanced TS interconnect.

Saying "Theres no such thing as balanced mono.." would be extremely funny if it were not so sad. The majority of professional audio interconnects are via "balanced mono".

This is a "newbie" forum and it's an opportunity to learn. Making declarative statements about something you clearly know nothing about that are dramatically incorrect will not get you very far.

In a previous post I mentioned why adapters are to be avoided if possible. There is obviously no point in repeating myself.

Good Luck!
Old 26th February 2014
  #20
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Like i said inwas misinformed at Sam Ash on what balanced and unbalances was. He said there was no such thing as balanced mono bc theres nothing in the cable to be balanced with.

Either way Im looking for an xlr switch not a trs Switch.

Thank you guys for your insight. This forum should help out anyone else with these questions
Old 26th February 2014
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozzlvlosis View Post
Like i said inwas misinformed at Sam Ash on what balanced and unbalances was. He said there was no such thing as balanced mono bc theres nothing in the cable to be balanced with.

Either way Im looking for an xlr switch not a trs Switch.

Thank you guys for your insight. This forum should help out anyone else with these questions
OK, but WHY?

It's been explained here why that's not necessary. Yes you're asking for an apple and getting recommendations for an orange...and that's because your situation calls for an orange and not an apple. If you want to use an apple instead that's your prerogative, just realize you're doing it the hard way.

You also don't seem to realize that XLR and TRS carry the same info. A cable with an XLR connection at one end, and a TRS at the other is perfectly normal, and doesn't require any adapters. Both connectors are set up to terminate balanced cable connections. Using a TRS switch and the appropriate cables means everything remains balanced, and no adapters are required.

You want to buy a $400 switch instead of a $80 switch, because...well, I don't really know why. Do you?
Old 1st September 2014
  #22
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I'm actually building some TRS/XLR cables for my set up its cheaper and fun(If you're into soldering) I was wondering if there are any complaints about HOSA SLW333 Monitor switch. I was looking at the Mackie Big Knob but I don't need a built in Talkback. Any inquiries?
Old 1st September 2014
  #23
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Hi
The HOSA switch box is simply some switches and connectors in a funky box. NO 'electronics' as such, just wires.
It is on an entirely different planet to a Mackie Big knob but if the simple functions are all you need then it will be excellent.
If you are actually soldering some connectors you could splash out and make a switch box too but I expect the cheap nature for an already built pretty box may outweigh a morning drilling holes!
Sound wise the HOSA probably won't be beaten as it is only wires inside.
Matt S
Old 1st September 2014
  #24
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I never thought of building a switch box. That sounds fun. I know the big knob has alot more features. I have a hear back system set up so thats not needed. Plus i heard the big knob being active adds color to the signal. I think ill get the Hosa. Thanks for your time.
Old 14th September 2014
  #25
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Switch box question

Hey guys,
I was searching the forums for topics on switch boxes and felt that this was the most relevant.

I just built a switch box and signal is flowing correctly. It has 1 main input- Mono L & R 1/4" sockets and 3 outputs (2 mono L & R and 1 1/8" stereo [for little pc speakers]) I added a 1/8" stereo input and a toggle switch to choose the input source. (main or aux).

I used toggle switches, DPDT (dual pole dual throw).

Here is a photo of the wiring schematics:Speaker Switch Suggestion-20140913_184106.jpg
Not indicated on the photo is that all Sleeves were connected to each other.

And photos of the switch box. (please excuse the temporary labels )
Speaker Switch Suggestion-20140913_150553.jpg
Speaker Switch Suggestion-20140913_150557.jpg

My audio interface is the Balance interface used for Reason software. It has balanced outputs. I originally had TRS to XLR cables to connect my interface outs to my monitor inputs.
I bought TRS to TRS cables to connect my interface outs to the switch box inputs. My switch box output is the original TRS to XLR as before.

My issue is the playback level (and tone?) when using the switch box is significantly lower. I believe the inputs and output sockets in my switch are not balanced. I did solder the Tip, Sleeve and Ring terminals of the sockets in the switch box, but I used 18 gauge speaker wire, so perhaps I'm using wrong wire? My understanding is, the box is just passing the signal so If I can keep the signal balanced, the level should not be effected so drastically...?

If anyone can shed light as to what I'm doing wrong, it'd be greatly appreciated. My gut tells me the switch box is just passing the signal as TS, but I can't understand why. (and Yes, the 1/4" mono sockets have the TRS terminals)
Thank you all!
Old 14th September 2014
  #26
Your circuit is not correct. You have the (-) polarity lines (the "blue-colored" wires on your wiring drawing) all connected together causing one side of your input signal to go to all of the (-)(ring) outputs all the time regardless of which output selector switch is operated. That unbalances the output by feeding the (-) polarity signal line to everything, all the time, but the (+) polarity only to specific outputs. That will not work for a balanced signal switcher. You can't switch outputs by only switching one side of a balanced line. Your circuit design only is switching half of the lines which must be switched.

To correctly switch stereo, balanced outputs you must completely switch all four lines. That's most easily done with a 4-pole, multi-position switch which allows selecting one output path at a time. If you want independent selection of each output using toggle or push-button switches, each switch must be a 4-Pole, Double-Throw switch or a 4-pole relay. It can't be done with simple DPDT (Double Pole, Double Throw switches).

What's wrong, is that you're using incorrect parts (DPDT switches) in an incorrectly designed stereo switcher. You have (4) lines that must be switched for each output:

Left (+) --Tip
Left (-) --Ring
Right (+) --Tip
Right (-) --Ring

All must be switched, and none can be left connected to unselected outputs. For three independently selected outputs, and two (alternate) inputs, that requires a single 4PDT (4pole, Double throw) switch for the input selector and three 4PST (4-pole, Single Throw or Double Throw) switches for the output selectors.

In addition, your 3.5 mm stereo input (your AUX) is not a balanced input and is wired totally incorrectly. Your switch box connects the right unbalanced input to one polarity line of a balanced output and the left unbalanced input to the other polarity line. That will result in the balanced outputs receiving the difference between the stereo signals. An entirely different, signal splitter wiring scheme must be used to connect a stereo (really, dual-unbalanced mono) to balanced L/R outputs.

I'm attaching a "quick and dirty" schematic of a correctly designed 2-input/3-output balance switcher using toggle switches. I have not included the additional switching necessary to connect an unbalanced 3.5 mm stereo input, but that could be substituted for one of the pair of balanced inputs, but requires another switch (in addition to the input selector switch) to ground the (-) polarity outputs lines when the unbalanced stereo input is used as a source. There are many alternate wiring schemes that can be used depending on the way you want to use the switcher (if used as a monitor switch, it's unlikely you'd want three outputs all on at the same time). Then switching can also be arranged to ground unused outputs to reduce noise and/or cross-talk on the unselected output paths, but I've kept it very simple so you can follow the signal paths.

Sorry for the hand-drawn schematic, but I don't have time to make a "pretty one" on the computer at the moment.

Hope this is clear.
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Attached Thumbnails
Speaker Switch Suggestion-balanced-switcher.jpg  
Old 14th September 2014
  #27
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I use a Babyface, XLR outs to 2 balanced TRS jacks through a Coleman LS3 - exactly the suggestion here - feeding 3 pairs of speakers, balanced TRS jack outs on the LS3 to XLR ins on the monitors. I've found the Coleman to be very reliable and though light, of very solid construction.

Works perfectly, no problem...
Old 14th September 2014
  #28
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Lotus, that makes complete sense. Thank you for the thorough response and for the schematic; much better and clearer then mine.
I now have the sudden urge to facepalm for not realizing this before.., and also because I have to start all over.

So maybe I should scratch the 1/8 aux input. (Thought it was a cool option to connect a laptop or media device for playback only. Not really a need though).

So with a 4PST switch I should be able to maintain the balanced signal? As I mentioned before the unbalanced (just TS) signal when connecting the switch box was significantly lower and a little lifeless.

I really wanted the 1/8" output though (small pc speakers for referencing mixes). I know it won't be balanced out, but is it possible? Just connecting the tips L and R (and ground) of the signal?

Back to the drawing board. Thanks again Lotus!
Old 14th September 2014
  #29
A 3.5 mm unbalanced stereo input can be easily added, by changing the input selector from a toggle switch to a Speaker Switch Suggestion4Pole, 3Position Rotary switch. However, since the 3.5 mm input is always unbalanced, using the third position will make all of the outputs unbalanced when it is selected.

A 3.5 mm unbalanced output stereo output can also be added by simply selecting the (+) polarity switch busses using a DPDT switch, but if that is selected, even with only balanced inputs being used, all of the outputs will become unbalanced. You can use the 3.5 mm stereo jack alone, but not if any of the other balanced outputs are selected.

In a hard-wired balanced switching system, any introduction of an unbalanced input or output will unbalance the whole system, unless transformers are used to isolate the inputs and "float" outputs. The proper way of introducing unbalanced inputs and/or outputs to a balanced selector switching system is with transformers or active balancing buffer amplifiers.

See revised schematic for 3.5 mm unbalanced stereo jack additions. Remember selecting either will unbalance all the switcher outputs.

To really provide complete flexibility and to keep all outputs isolated and to mix balanced and unbalanced inputs and outputs takes active circuitry and/or transformers. That's why real monitor controllers like the Radial MC3, Mackie "Big Knob" or Presonus Monitor Station are fairly expensive.
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Attached Thumbnails
Speaker Switch Suggestion-balanced-switcher-v-2.jpg  
Old 14th September 2014
  #30
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Aghh, even more "face palms" for me!!
Ok...so if I understand: if the 1/8" output is selected along with another output, then ALL outputs become unbalanced?
Even if wired individually with a toggle switch?

I'm hoping I can salvage what I can from this project.

If I just make it, one a/b switch. 1 input and 2 outputs (L/R balanced and 1/8"). Only one output can be selected for playback at a time. Would I be able to maintain a balanced signal throughout output A (L/R), while keeping B as 1/8" unbalanced stereo ?
I want my monitors to have the balanced sound. The pc speakers are just to reference.

Sorry if redundant, just want to understand.
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