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Old 8th August 2019
  #1
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Synth > ??? > Audio Interface

So I wanna connect synths and pedals to my audio interface but it seems due to impedance mismatching it’s a no go

There don’t seem to be that many 8 channel DI’s out there

Not touching Behringer due to the reviews, the Radial has the output jacks backwards (on the front) and the Phoenix is just priced very silly

EDIT: Radial can be flipped

People seem to be using mixers, do they have DI’s built in or?

New to this hardware world


Cheers

Last edited by XAXAU; 9th August 2019 at 02:47 PM..
Old 8th August 2019
  #2
Back around 2000 I ran into the same dilemma.
Synth outputs are rarely of the Low Z variety...

I have seen Roland synths with a 3K output Z!

The synths that don't need it are the Minimoog Voyager RME which has balanced outs and the Emu E4XT Ultra which also has balanced outs.

I built a box with a 1M Ohm input Z, some gain and balanced output driver ICs, dubbed the Synth DI 8 and synth DI 12, one with 8 channels one with 12 channels. Connections are on 1/4" TS jacks and XLR males on the back panel.

Talk about a sonic difference, and the lowered noise from hum was a nice cherry on top!

I have only built them for my synth racks, but no reason they couldn't be built for other studios... It had seemed to me that nobody else had ever needed this type of box except me? But I always thought there must be others that use a system like that, anything high z on the input and an output capable of driving 150 Ohms at the outputs will work but might get expensive buying a preamp per synth, so the SDI-8 and SDI-12 were a good less expensive option. They could be built on perf board pretty easily if you are into DIY.

I etched my own synth boards and stuff since starting on my synth building obsession in 1977, so it was easy for me, but perf should also work.
Old 8th August 2019 | Show parent
  #3
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XAXAU's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerFoote View Post
Back around 2000 I ran into the same dilemma.
Synth outputs are rarely of the Low Z variety...

I have seen Roland synths with a 3K output Z!

The synths that don't need it are the Minimoog Voyager RME which has balanced outs and the Emu E4XT Ultra which also has balanced outs.

I built a box with a 1M Ohm input Z, some gain and balanced output driver ICs, dubbed the Synth DI 8 and synth DI 12, one with 8 channels one with 12 channels. Connections are on 1/4" TS jacks and XLR males on the back panel.

Talk about a sonic difference, and the lowered noise from hum was a nice cherry on top!

I have only built them for my synth racks, but no reason they couldn't be built for other studios... It had seemed to me that nobody else had ever needed this type of box except me? But I always thought there must be others that use a system like that, anything high z on the input and an output capable of driving 150 Ohms at the outputs will work but might get expensive buying a preamp per synth, so the SDI-8 and SDI-12 were a good less expensive option. They could be built on perf board pretty easily if you are into DIY.

I etched my own synth boards and stuff since starting on my synth building obsession in 1977, so it was easy for me, but perf should also work.
Cheers Roger

Pardon my french but I think this is a ****ing mystery

People have a **** tonne of synths but I don´t see any DI´s or mixers with Hi-Z inputs lying around their studios

Everyone and their buddy at the gym seem to be propagating that you can´t plug a synth into an audio interface (hf loss, hum due to being unbalanced etc) yet most people do it?

I´m clueless

Last edited by XAXAU; 8th August 2019 at 10:18 PM..
Old 8th August 2019
  #4
Yeah, I never did understand that either...
But been building these forever and people have NEVER shown an interest in it...

I mean if you plug one of those Rolands that have a 2K resistor in series with the output, you will experience losses when you plug that puppy into a 10K or 20K input impedance. Not just level, but the tone is improved.

The most important aspect to me was that since we are converting to balanced, we can cut the shield on the XLRM and wham, your system is 6-12 dB quieter... Not just hum but trash from the computer/interface which will always be with us it seems.

I have had people laugh it off saying "Synths don't need buffers"
WRONG answer! Bzzzt, we need another Timmy Mr Lizard!
goof

Equipment makers have no interest because they would not cost much.
In my rig, the only things that are not run through the SDI are my RME and E4XT, but the sampler is in storage... The RME has all the right stuff in the drive train!
Old 8th August 2019 | Show parent
  #5
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XAXAU's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerFoote View Post
Yeah, I never did understand that either...
But been building these forever and people have NEVER shown an interest in it...

I mean if you plug one of those Rolands that have a 2K resistor in series with the output, you will experience losses when you plug that puppy into a 10K or 20K input impedance. Not just level, but the tone is improved.

The most important aspect to me was that since we are converting to balanced, we can cut the shield on the XLRM and wham, your system is 6-12 dB quieter... Not just hum but trash from the computer/interface which will always be with us it seems.

I have had people laugh it off saying "Synths don't need buffers"
WRONG answer! Bzzzt, we need another Timmy Mr Lizard!
goof

Equipment makers have no interest because they would not cost much.
In my rig, the only things that are not run through the SDI are my RME and E4XT, but the sampler is in storage... The RME has all the right stuff in the drive train!
So your snipping off the ground on the output of the balanced side of the DI (ground lift switch) and only letting it be connected to the audio interface (if that unit is next in the chain) ?

I hope more people who have ears and synths chime in about their setup and discoveries
Old 9th August 2019
  #6
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Talked to Universal Audio support about my interface and they say I need a DI to be able to plug in synths?
Old 9th August 2019 | Show parent
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by XAXAU View Post
Talked to Universal Audio support about my interface and they say I need a DI to be able to plug in synths?
Well, not exactly...
You need a buffer followed by a balanced line driver.
That is a "Synth DI"

A regular DI will work as long as it has a relatively high input Z.
Like >100K Ohms

The coolest part is to be able to use correct balanced connection with shield ONLY connected on one end once your synth signals are balanced.

I prefer that the output carry the shield since the interface input ground is where HDD and bus trash come from in all DAW systems...

It is also critically important to use proper balanced connection (shield on one end only) from your interface or monitor controller to your powered monitors.
Old 9th August 2019
  #8
Synths -> Ashly LX308B -> Thermionic Culture Rooster -> Interface. Sometimes I swap out the preamp with a Chandler or Sebatron depending on what I'm going for.

Not the biggest fan of the Ashly, though. When it clips (and it clips easily) it's just farty which means you can't just set it and forget it for the color. Looking at getting a Speck or other summing mixer with 1/4" inputs.
Old 9th August 2019
  #9
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Avedis KeyPre
Old 10th August 2019
  #10
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It seems that most people making electronic music are just trying to keep the cables as short as possible and not cross any live cables to keep the noise and hf loss at a minimum

I can try this but those unbalanced cables are going into the rack with all the hardware and Patchbay, it has failure written all over it
Old 10th August 2019
  #11
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It’s still unclear if people are oblivious as to how the source really sounds, if they don’t care or if they’re really nifty with cable lengths and power cable routing

Please chime in gang
Old 10th August 2019
  #12
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I think you are wanting a good direct box. Depending on the DI, you may also want a preamp. Many mixers have a high Z input that acts like both a DI and preamp.

The staple for DI's is the Radial JDI for passive and P48 for active.

If you want really really good DI, ZOD or Reddi. Not cheap.

Many preamps also come with a built in DI. So then you get into preamp worth. Can spend a ton to enhanse the signal just a bit.

Sometimes cheaper preamps just fit better with a specific piece of gear. It's a case by case bases. For example, an RNP is not a high end preamp, but it worked very well with roland drum brains.
Old 10th June 2020
  #13
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Avedis Audio KeyPre KP6 !!!!
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