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Help: Balanced gear to unbalanced insert points Mixers (Analog)
Old 3rd January 2011
  #1
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Help: Balanced gear to unbalanced insert points

Hi,

I have a zed R16 and want to insert a dbx 160X and a Summit Audio EQP200. Actually the chain would be insert send to dbx in, dbx out to summit in, summit out to insert return. The issue is that the R16 inserts are unbalanced and the gear have balanced i/o. Will I need to build a special Y cable that has TRS for the insert and unbalanced XLR connectors at the ends? I guess I would also have to connect the dbx to summit with an unbalanced XLR as well. Am I on the right track? Any ideas? Please. Thanks.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #2
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slug1 View Post
Will I need to build a special Y cable that has TRS for the insert and unbalanced XLR connectors at the ends?
That's one way to do it. Patchbay would be another. Both require unbalanced to balanced termination of the wiring. Or you can convert to balanced and back again (more expensive).

unbalanced to balanced converter - Google Search


Quote:
Originally Posted by Slug1 View Post
I guess I would also have to connect the dbx to summit with an unbalanced XLR as well. Am I on the right track? Any ideas? Please. Thanks.
No, stay balanced between the two balanced pieces, and then convert again to unbalanced at the return.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #3
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Just what the doctor ordered!! This is GREAT advice. Use an unbalanced to balanced converter at the send, and then a balanced to unbalanced converter at the return. Priceless!! Thanks a bunch man.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #4
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slug1 View Post
Just what the doctor ordered!! This is GREAT advice. Use an unbalanced to balanced converter at the send, and then a balanced to unbalanced converter at the return. Priceless!! Thanks a bunch man.
No problem. That's what some people prefer, but myself, I do not take that path, but instead wire everything with correct terminations for balanced to unbalanced. Less electronics in the path, simpler and less expensive. If you're unsure about how to do this, there are lots of posts here, or you can go to redco.com, explain what you want (Y insert cable with M and F XLR's) and they will have it at a great cost.

Good luck.

bp
Old 3rd January 2011
  #5
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Hmm. Yeah. That's why I came here. I've been trying to decide how to set up my outboard inserts. So for the chain I mentioned above where you will use the insert point, you would use a Y-cable with 1/4" TRS in the insert, but with XLR unbalanced send and return. But you would use a balanced out from the dbx, to balanced input on the Summit Audio EQ. Then the unbalanced XLR return would be plugged into the output of the SUmmit Audio EQ. Is this what you would do? If not, can you shed a bit more light on how you would set that up. I have 10 dynamics units that will provide 16 channels of insert dynamics. So I could buy these 1/4" TRS to dual male female XLR (unbalanced) cables and hook all of these up. What do you think? I'm really looking for some guidance here. Thanks a bunch mate.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #6
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Well, I use a patchbay, and ultimately, that might suit you better with all the processing you've got. It gives you the flexability to chain and put things into different paths easier and without climbing behind racks, worrying about balanced/unbalanced, and proper termination.

So, I come out of my console inserts (ring = send, tip = return) and go to the PB, but in your case with no PB, I'd use XLR's terminated correctly for unbalanced to balanced - and reverse - balanced to unbalanced connection.

Once your'e balanced, I'd stay that way until you return to the insert return. Now, to complicate issues, if SOME of your outboard is "unbalanced" then you complicate issues exponentially with the option to patch anything anywhere.

That's where you'd really need to consider a patchbay. The patchbay stays balanced at all times, with individual wires going to each piece of outboard being terminated as balanced or unbalanced as each piece of gear requires. (The beauty of a well designed patchbay is that you can patch anything into anything without worrying about these issues) BUT in your case, if it's all balanced gear, just connect balanced via XLR or TRS between units and don't unbalance until you hit the return on your inserts.

bp
Old 4th January 2011
  #7
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Ok, I'm sold on the patchbay path forward. So with a balanced patchbay, I can use the standard TRS-TS insert Y-cables, with the send going into the top back and return going into bottom back in a normalled or half-normalled setup. Then I put the output of say a compressor in top back and input in bottom back of another patchbay point. Then even if the insert send/return are unbalanced, I can use a short TRS patch cable to connect the send of the insert to the input of the compressor and the output of the compressor to the insert return.

I saw an older post of yours where you made your own ground lifted TRS-TRS insert Y-cables, but that can get expensive quick. But with a balanced patchbay I won't have to worry about this. Especially if I use short (<3 foot) insert Y-cables and keep the TRS cables hooked to my gear <12 feet long, and away from power. Correct? Also, I'm assuming I'll have the dreaded 6dB signal loss, but I can push the fader up after the insert processing to make up that gain loss, hopefully without adding too much to the noise floor.
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