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Recording from 1/4inch outs on mixer??

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by JB09, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Let me be up front and apologize if this information is anywhere else in this forum b/c I couldn't find it....

    I am attempting to record from a 6-channel mixer/pre-amp/amp to a Macbook using the 1/4in. "Effect Sends" on the back of the mixer. The sends are non-powered and I bought a 1/4in female stereo to 1/8in mono adapter to go to the line/mic-in on the laptop. The mixer does NOT have RCA outs. The only outs on the back of it are 1/4inch

    I'm using Garageband and when I try using the line-in, I get no audio whatsoever on the level meters of Garageband. I thought it may have been a bad patch cord so I plugged in headphones to the sends on the mixer and have good audio from all the tracks going through the mixer.

    Is my issue related to the 1/4 stereo to mono adapter?? I would have bought stereo to stereo but Radio Shack didn't have any in stock at the moment.

    I changed the audio driver setting to line-in rather than mic and have also fooled around w/ the audio setting in Garageband, switching between mono(channel1/2) and stereo to no avail....

    I don't want to get a midi interface unless I absolutely have to. We are just trying to get some rough cuts of our set list so these guys have something to practice to, so the audio quality really isn't that important yet

    Any advise would be greatly appreciated!

    I tried googling my question and the responses were just too much to handle all at once. I am a total newb so, please, be a kind as you can!


  2. macrumors 65816


    Effects send is just that. Its an output that is derived from the level you set your Aux pot at on the desk (You should find those pots on all/most of your input channels).
    You either need to use one of the main outputs on the mixing desk, or I guess you could crank the aux pots on the channels some, then you'll have an output from the effect sends. It would work, but isn't ideal.
    Main outputs or monitor outputs is what you want really.

    btw, midi has nothing to do with this, but you probably meant an audio interface ;) You might still want to consider getting an audio interface sometime though.. The quality of the built in audio in's/outs on new Macs these days is not great.
  3. macrumors G4

    "Stereo 1/4 inch" Why "stereo"? I'm pretty sure you have the wrong cable but more importantly are you sure you have the right audio signal at the mixer's 1/4 inch jack? Are all six channels being sent there? Is it a two channel signal?

    The Mac if it has an audio input will be a two channel line level input.

    One way to test your cable setup that is very easy: Find a cheap $20 powered "computer speaker" that has a 1/8th inch stereo input. Connect that to your mixer and get it to play the way you like. Then remove the 1/8" plug from the speaker and put it into the Mac. Then if no sound you know it is a Mac problem and not a mixer/cable problem. But if the speakers don't play then you'll have to read up on how the mixer works
  4. macrumors 65816


    On almost all cheap mixers the effects send is a mono bus, and the output is usually balanced.

    Any reason you're coming off the effects output?
  5. macrumors newbie

    The sends aren't powered- I mean that it's not an amplified signal coming from those outputs. The effect sends have all 6 channels w/i them, each channel input on the mixer has it's own, independent level out to the sends.

    I would use the monitor out on the mixer but my understanding was that output is an amplified signal. We are using one of the monitor outs to run one of our cabinets

    And by MIDI interface, I did mean A/D controller....sorry. I know the inputs/processor in this macbook is kind of janky, but the quality really isn't that important yet.
  6. macrumors newbie

    I'm getting good audio right out of the back of the mixer w/ stereo headphones. I will absolutely try the "powered speaker" thing....thats easy!
  7. macrumors newbie

    Because I thought if I used the monitor outs, because they are amplified, they could torch the input on the macbook.

    So if the sends are mono, then the adapter I need to go to 1/8 inch would need to be mono-to-mono right?.....going into the mic/input jack on the macbook.

    Sorry for the multiple posting. I haven't figured out to multi-quote edit yet.
  8. macrumors 601


    most likely, those monitor outs are line level, meaning you can monitor your signals in the control room, not that they're meant for immediate hookup to a passive monitor.

    you're right, though, that it is worth double checking. Unless it's a powered mixer, I'd think you'd have no reason to worry.
  9. macrumors newbie

    Well the mixer is a pre-amp/amp/mixer combo, so a few of the outs on the back are powered. Now that you said it I think that there are seperate "powered" outs we are using for the cabinet. I just figured the monitor outs were powered to run a "passive" floor monitor.

    It's a piece of garbage(the mixer), but it's all we have right now. Heck, for all I know some of the outs don't even work on the thing anyway and we are just spinning our wheels with it.

    I'll try some of the above suggestions next time we get together(wednesday)and let you know what I find. In the meantime, keep the ideas coming!


    Since each channel has independent level control to the effect sends, would the monitor outs have the same levels as the overall volume of each channel(gain/low/mid/high, etc...)or would they be "dry" levels?
  10. macrumors 601


    many if the cheapie powered mixers I've seen have a monitor send per channel; if so, that's where you'd set the levels. If not, you could use the effects send in that way; sounds like you tried that?
  11. macrumors 65816


    This whole thing would be much easier if you would post the brand and model of the mixer.
  12. macrumors newbie

    The individual channels DO NOT have a monitor send level. They have effect send and "effect rev" pots. I'm going to assume that the effect "rev" would be the level coming back from some type of effects processor, going then into the master mix of said channel.

    So the short answer is: yes, I tried that

    A band-mate tried using a PC(ahhhhh!....PC) w/ Audacity(freeware) and an inboard sound card he has used for A/D recording before and has duplicated the same issue we were having w/ the Mac. My suspicion now is that the trouble we are having is the stereo-to-mono adapter I bought. He tried the monitor outs and the effect sends again last night and got nothing hitting the software on the PC.

    I'm gonna find a stereo-to-stereo adapter and try that tonight at practice.

    I'll get the make/model up of the mixer tomorrow. I don't need you guys to research the manual on that, I'll find it. It is a PA mixer one of the guys had from like 10 years ago....no joke

    Thnx again
  13. macrumors newbie

    Just an update:

    The stereo-to-stereo adapter worked fine to record off of the monitor out from the mixer.

    Quality was so-so, but it'll be fine for now. It's tough to get good levels through headphones when you're in the same room with all the cabinets and amps!


    Thanks bunches to everybody that chimed in with their ideas!


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