View Single Post
Old 5th January 2011
Lives for gear
E.rOk.stA's Avatar

Excellent! I'll do just that.
Originally Posted by myles View Post

Look, the whole thing is based on machines being similar. +4 is a professional, high-level standard. Used to be, all the stuff you'd find in a studio was +4, it all played nice together.

-10 came into the studio in the 80's with the first home recording stuff. Manufacturers realized that home recorders didn't want to pay pro prices, and that 97.3% of the time, they wouldn't notice if all their equipment used RCA plugs because everything would operate at -10, with input sensitivities and output levels matching up. Noise was demoted in importance.

The problem now is that manufacturers started placing +4/-10 switches on things to help interface equipment that used different operating levels, and everyone's confused.

Now - is the 003 rated at +4 or -10? Is the 1073 rated at +4 or -10?

You'd want to use +4 on the 003 unless the 1073 is rated at -10, which is doubtful.

+4 on output = more voltage, stronger output

-10 on output = lower voltage, lower output

+4 on input = less sensitive, but capable of handling much greater voltages, hence more headroom - it can take more level before distorting

-10 on input = more sensitive input, coresponding to the lower output of -10 equipment.

So, the danger in going from a -10 device to a +4 device is raised noise floor as the +4 machine makes up for the feeble output from the -10 machine.

The danger in going from a +4 machine into -10 is distortion on the input of the -10 machine because it can't handle the larger voltage swings from the +4 machine.

Now, if you don't understand the difference between voltage and current, and how something could be referenced to a certain voltage, please, you really should grab a basic electronics book and read it. You'll lose a couple of days of your life, but then you'll actually begin to understand what your equipment is doing, and everything you record the rest of your life will be better.