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Building a Custom Headphone System!!
Old 6th July 2005
  #1
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Building a Custom Headphone System!!

I looked at a few headphone distribution systems and they seemed either overpriced or lacking features or enuff channels.

I need 8 seperate channels for each station.

So I thought about buying 4 or 5 of these instead:



They have 8 plus channels and an obvious Headphone output. I can get them on ebay for about $100 - $125 each.

All I have to do than is make a breakout box that mults each of 8 sends out to 4 or 5 stations. That's 40 cables.

Any snafu's that I am missing?

You can safely mult an output out to 5 inputs, right?

Should I use 40 balanced 1/4" cables or 4 or 5 Dsub connectors?

Thanks
Old 6th July 2005
  #2
Lives for gear
 
cajonezzz's Avatar
 

I've seen exactly that done... works cool.

I gotta say though, the Aviom system is ROCKING. I've been using it on a couple live church gigs, and one studio has it installed... really intuitive, and super clean sounding. I'd like to put a system in our place and ditch the Furman.

The mackies should get it though!
Old 6th July 2005
  #3
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Isn't the Aviom 16 channels?

Way overkill.
Old 6th July 2005
  #4
Gear Nut
I'd look into the Hearback Technologies system. 8 channels on each unit, although 1 and 2 are always stereo. Two headphone outputs for each module and an extra line input. They drive 7506's to a loud level with no problems. I've had my system for about two years and love it. So do my clients. You can get a distribution unit and 4 modules with Cat5 cables for about $900.
Old 6th July 2005
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

i'm very curious about this as well. I'll be adressing this same issue in the next month and I've been considering the exact same mackie mixer as a possible solution.
You'd still need some sort of distribution amp wouldn't you? Or is that what you mean by mult? I figured that I'd use the amp at least to keep the signal hot and noise free going from the patchbay/aux send/whatever to the mackie. As well, the distribution amp gives you multiple outputs of each source to feed your different cue stations.
In my own experience, many of these customized configurations utilizing a mixer will have the main outs of the mixer feeding a homebrewed headphone amp with a master volume pot and 2-4 headphone jacks. I'm guessing that this offers better noise specs and is probably louder/cleaner than the built in headphone amp.
Anyway, i'll definitley be keeping an eye on this thread!

best of luck!
Old 6th July 2005
  #6
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
Seems like a pretty cool idea to me, Kenny. And you are right, the cost out is damn good.

Seems kinda like 40 cables runnin all over would be a hassle, though you could wrap them periodically, like a homemade snake kinda thing. That may be cheapest in the long run, if you buy cable by the spool and do your own soldering.

On the other hand, Dsubs would look sharper, and could possibly go flat under carpet if necessary. Again, you could buy bulk and solder it up, just a bit harder.

The only down side I see to the whole thing is the EQ per channel---I SHUDDER to think of letting some of my clients do their own EQ on cans mixes, LOL!!! Holy sh*t, talk about ruining the vibe! Just picture 4 or 5 band members all sitting around wasting hours bitching at each other and sayin, "Hold on MAN, I'm setting up my mix!" Then they all proceed to tweak and tweak, and tweak, and tweak, HOHOHOHO!

I dunno brothu, I might have 2nd thoughts!

Anyway, G'Luk on it. THough, I would take a hack saw and cut off the EQ buttons completely---bad enough letting em have balance controls---HAHA!





.
Old 6th July 2005
  #7
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

A little crazy glue to the EQ knobs ought to do it!!!!!!

So nobody sees a problem multing these 8 channels out 4 or 5 times without using a Distribution Amplifier?

I did consider the Hearback stuff. Although it seems a bit cheap and has no pan controls.
Old 6th July 2005
  #8
Lives for gear
 
bongo's Avatar
What you are describing is exactly what I have been using for a long time. I Wired a Elco connector to each of my mic panels and made a Elco to 1/4" snake with Mogami 12 pair. I also have a box that has several Elcos that will plug in if I need more than one mixer in a room.
I have the D/A outputs of my second 192 normaled to inputs 1-8. I give the musicians a stereo mix of what I'm listening to on 11 and 12. 1-4 get mono sources (bass, gtrs, click, etc.) 5-6 is usually drums and 7-8 is stereo piano.
I've often said this set up paid for it self in the extra studio time that it takes each musician to set up their own mix! No matter how many times I tell them "give me a little time to get the control room mix together before you start adding the extra channels". They can't wait to get their hands on them!
I've had as many of six 1202's going with nothing but parallel wiring.
Old 6th July 2005
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bongo
What you are describing is exactly what I have been using for a long time. I Wired a Elco connector to each of my mic panels and made a Elco to 1/4" snake with Mogami 12 pair. I also have a box that has several Elcos that will plug in if I need more than one mixer in a room.
I have the D/A outputs of my second 192 normaled to inputs 1-8. I give the musicians a stereo mix of what I'm listening to on 11 and 12. 1-4 get mono sources (bass, gtrs, click, etc.) 5-6 is usually drums and 7-8 is stereo piano.
I've often said this set up paid for it self in the extra studio time that it takes each musician to set up their own mix! No matter how many times I tell them "give me a little time to get the control room mix together before you start adding the extra channels". They can't wait to get their hands on them!
I've had as many of six 1202's going with nothing but parallel wiring.
Awesome. This is eaxactly what I was looking for. Thanks.
Old 6th July 2005
  #10
Lives for gear
 
DrFrankencopter's Avatar
Whether multing will be a problem or not depends on the output impedance of the source device. By multing 5X you are reducing the effective input impedance of the Mackie by a factor of 5, so you're going to want to make sure that whatever drives your cue mix system is low impedance. Odds are pretty good that you'll be alright since most modern output impedances are around 150 ohm and input impedances are around 10Kohm.

I've been pondering this sort of idea myself, but figure I'm going to go for a custom built box. I don't want EQ and auxes in my cue mix...its too much stuff out of my control. What's of paramount importance is gobs of clean drive power to the headphones. I don't remember what the Mackie is like in terms of headphone drive capability, but considering the price and the # of features I'm guessing it wasn't Mackie #1 design priority. For my system I'll likely go with a pair of Burr Brown BUF634 current drivers for the headphones. This should give plenty of power!

I'm curious about what features should really be included on a custom cue mix system. How many mixes are really needed? I think 2 stereo, 4 mono is ample, but what do you guys think? Pan controls on the mono ins. D-sub connectors, and distributed power. Ideally this sort of box should just have 2 wires coming off of it, one for the input/power, and another for the headphone cable.

Cheers,

Kris
Old 6th July 2005
  #11
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bongo's Avatar
I find the 1202's very well suited for the job. Although, I would recommend the older versions, if you can get them. They are smaller, don't have mute or solo buttons, only 2 band EQ, etc.

Sure it has aux's and stuff you don't need, but sometimes that 2 band EQ can come in handy. After a session, I always go out and look at what people's mixes look like. Some have taken a little high end off a click, some have added some, most do nothing.

The output seems to be enough for most people. I recently had Steve Smith out here, who has been know to hit the drums rather hard, in my really live, loud room, and he had no problem. I'm sure someone who knows something could modify them to make them louder if need be.
Old 6th July 2005
  #12
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

I actually used 1 Mackie on my last session to give the drummer his own mix.

No complaints about volume at all.

I think the extra EQ could be good. Some singers want to hear their voice brighter or darker and I'd rather not track that way.

Is cable length an issue?
Old 6th July 2005
  #13
Lives for gear
 
bongo's Avatar
I probably have 80' of cable to furtherest spot. The Elco to 1/4: snakes are about 15'. No problem here.

The mute buttons and the output assigns on the master section on the newer Mackies are the problem I have with them. They are easy to hit by mistake and then you have someone crying "I'm turning the bass knob and nothing is happening". Sometimes less is more.

The only down side I see to the whole thing is the EQ per channel---I SHUDDER to think of letting some of my clients do their own EQ on cans mixes, LOL!!! Holy sh*t, talk about ruining the vibe! Just picture 4 or 5 band members all sitting around wasting hours bitching at each other and sayin, "Hold on MAN, I'm setting up my mix!" Then they all proceed to tweak and tweak, and tweak, and tweak, HOHOHOHO!


I don't know about you, but I bill by the hour. Like I said, it'll pay for itself!
Old 7th July 2005
  #14
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

I don't bill by the hour but I'd rather have the band tweaking instead of hearing them whining.
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