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Old Apr 24, 2008, 11:59 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2008
(Emergency!) Output sound from interface

Hi everyone. We have our first show on Saturday and I need to use my laptop as a backtrack. It's probably easier to burn a cd and make them play it through the PA, but what's the fun in that?

I have a Firewire 410 M-Audio interface but I don't know how to make it output the sound so I can plug it into a PA. I've used it for a year but to record, not for shows. I wanted to simply use iTunes, but I don't know if that's possible. Any ideas?

Also, I have a 1/8 to 1/4 converter which I can plugin to my headphone jack, and then to the PA. Is that safe though? I don't want to mess up anything. If it's safe, then I guess I don't have to worry about using an interface.

Please help! Thanks.

EDIT: I found out how to output the sound using Garageband, but I don't want to use Garageband. That probably wouldn't be simple to change tracks.

Last edited by usernamenotaken; Apr 25, 2008 at 12:11 AM.
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Old Apr 25, 2008, 05:20 AM   #2
doc james
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Join Date: May 2007
2 Options:

1) Yes, you can simply connect from the headphone socket to the PA. You'll need to go from 1/8 to 2*RCA jacks. This has the benefit of being really straightforward and as it seems you are quite new to this, will cause least stress on the night. The snag is you must remember to silence all other noises your mac might make - sound effects, warning bleeps, key taps etc as these will all be broadcast and will annoy the audience, but especially the sound engineer.

2) You can certainly use your audio interface. I don't have that particular one but it has 10 outputs which are 1/4 jack. 2 of these should be L+R masters, probably 1+2. In system preferences, simply select sound->output->your interface. Then go into sound effects and make sure these are playing through the internal speakers. I suspect these are "balanced outputs" and is a solution less likely to cause havoc with electrical noise going through the PA although any sound engineer will know how to get round this one.

Incidentally, although your Mac won't crash, there's always the exception that proves the rule and I would burn everything to a CD AS WELL.

Have Fun
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Old Apr 25, 2008, 10:21 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2006
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I had a FireWire 410 for a while, and it works just like doc james explained. However, the 410 has unbalanced line outs only. Still better than than the built-in sound, but make sure your cables are short and don't run near other electrical wiring. It was the lack of balanced outputs that made the 410 unusable for my setup, but I hear a lot of people are happy with it.

- Martin
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Old Apr 25, 2008, 12:20 PM   #4
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Also, I carry a set of music on iPod (with charger etc) and a set of burned disks for backup.

Last edited by Consultant; Apr 25, 2008 at 01:17 PM.
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