Unbalanced audio out to balanced audio in... Issues? I'm confused!

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Bradalogical, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. Bradalogical macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2009
    #1
    Hi guys,

    been browsing these forums for a while without any input but thought it about time i got involved. i have a problem as you can see but thought i'd give some background info:

    i'm a long time pc user, cubase sx3 and a shocking creative soundcard with firewire breakout box plus a pair of krk rp5's. i've been using this set up to produce (mainly) dance music for the past 5 years but have decided enough is enough after using my old college's new iMacs and Mac Pros and have finally bitten the bullet and switched allegiances.

    got myself an immaculate 8 month old 15" 2.4ghz penryn 4gig ram macbook pro and will be using logic pro 8, however i've hit a bit of a brick wall as regards audio interface. now i don't wanna turn this into a 'which interface is best' kinda thing as that's really not what i'm interested in - as a producer of primarily dance music, i don't need hordes of inputs and outputs as the majority of my work will be done within logic - soft synths, samplers, plug ins etc without the need to take external sound sources i.e. microphones, hardware synths etc into the laptop. i may occasionally have to record an acoustic guitar, or a vocal line or something for uni, but other than that it will all be as previously described, so I'd narrowed myself down to the apogee duet, as the most important thing to me is the best A/D/A conversion for the money without reems of unused inputs and outputs, and also portability in mind for when I take my work home with me.

    however, i'm confused as to hooking my monitors up to the duet; I currently have RP5s but am more than likely upgrading to vxt6's, however they both have the same inputs so that's trivial for now. i'm aware there are two very long threads in this forum dedicated to just the duet, and i have read through them, however all i can really find is conflicting information - simply, can I run an unbalanced output from the duet into a balanced input on the monitors without any problems? will i need to use any adapters, possibly 1/4" trs to xlr or something along those lines? will i have to put up with ridiculous mains hum and background noise? i'm currently running unbalanced rca's into my monitors and have a lot of noise, but i put that down to my shocking soundcard that really isn't built for musis production - here's hoping that's all it is!

    sorry for the length of this - this is my first post so go easy if ya could haha.

    thanks in advance for any help.
     
  2. MWPULSE macrumors 6502a

    MWPULSE

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #2
    I imagine that you can do what you say, have an unbalanced source to balanced speakers. Will work, the signal wont miraculously just disappear. The noise might well be reduced if you use a balanced, properly shielded jack to xlr though.

    (I also have the KRK RP5s, i use an Mbox 2, into a samson c-control and dont have any issues.)

    You wont get the ideal signal/noise ratio because the duet is only grounded to the case/chasis. Thus its unbalanced.

    I wouldnt particularly know what to do in your situation, as i havent got that here. In my experience having a balanced connection on one end of the signal is better than none, just make sure you use high grade shielded cables.

    I'd personally look to get the soundcard upgraded first. Heck even try the main macbook audio output jack and see how that compares

    Good Luck
    PTP :)
     
  3. Bradalogical thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2009
    #3
    Thanks for the input, really is much appreciated.

    The noise from my current set up is shocking at times so it can't be much worse - are there any cables you recommend in particular? I'm from the UK as well so there shouldn't be any problems with availability etc.

    Will just have to await the arrival of my macbook pro now... should be here in the next few days, can't wait!

    Thanks again.
     
  4. pkoch1 macrumors 6502a

    pkoch1

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #4
    I don't know if this will sound like a silly question, but why not go balanced out of the duet? The 1/4" outs on the duet are balanced so a TRS to XLR will maintain that.
     
  5. Bradalogical thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2009
    #5
    erm, i might be misunderstanding something here, but taken from apogee's website:


    Features

    *

    Two channels of professional-quality 24-bit/96kHz audio input and output
    *

    Two balanced XLR inputs, with selectable 48V phantom power on each input
    *

    Two unbalanced high impedance instrument inputs
    *

    One high-level stereo headphone output
    *

    Two unbalanced -10 dBV line outputs for powered speakers
    *

    Multi-function controller knob for volume and input gain control and assignable MIDI control
    *

    Multi-segment LED meters to display input or output levels
    *

    FireWire 400, compatible with Mac OS X Core Audio
    *

    Control functions built directly into Apple’s Logic Pro, Soundtrack Pro and GarageBand
    *

    Compatible with any Core Audio-compliant audio application
    *

    Apogee’s Maestro software for advanced control and low latency mixing
    *

    Dimensions: 4" W x 6.3" L x 1.5" H


    ...is there another pair of outputs i'm missing that is infact balanced? would make my life a hell of a lot easier if there were!
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #6
    Isn't that the problem with all of the audio interfaces? Every one of them has one thing you don't like. I'm shopping for one also. Seems you have to give up one thing to get another.

    I'd guess you are planning to use fairly short cable runs to the speakers. Lots of people use unbalanced line level cable and don't have problems. But if the run is long, or if you are going into a wall jack with speakers in another room, that's different.
     
  7. Bradalogical thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2009
    #7
    Yeah, granted you're not gonna get everything you want, especially at the lower end but the majority of audio interfaces in this price range (ie up to £500) have balanced line out's dedicated for monitor speakers - i wasn't moaning about the duet not having this, i was simply enquiring if there were any incompatability issues with mixing balanced and unbalanced equipment and if so if there was anything i could do about it, because I simply don't know and have read a lot of conflicting information.

    i fully intend to go with the duet still as i don't need many (if any at all 99% of the time) mic and instrument inputs - they're simply a luxury that may get used once in a blue moon, it is the digital to analogue conversion that matters to me most.

    thanks for the input anyway.
     
  8. MWPULSE macrumors 6502a

    MWPULSE

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #8
    Hey Brad,
    in relation to a previous post bout availability i gt my cables from Digital Village in london, just their general stock cable about 7 quid i think, jack-XLR. Other companies to try would be Planet Waves, they do awesome cables, with lifetime warranty i believe :)

    Cheers
    PTP
     
  9. Bradalogical thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2009
    #9
    Planet Waves are amazing, had a guitar lead from them years ago, lasted me till i stopped playing electric... Was a good 5 years, probably still works.

    Will check them out, and also the DV stuff - nice one!
     
  10. Bradalogical thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2009
    #10
    http://www.dv247.com/invt/28263/

    something along those lines, but mono MWPulse? cables and live sound really isn't a strong point of mine, so would like to be sure i'm on the right track before exploring further.
     
  11. MWPULSE macrumors 6502a

    MWPULSE

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #11
    i'd say sommat a bit more like this.. http://www.dv247.com/invt/94/ thats the equivalant of what i got.. huh! 28 pound i thought i paid less than that, apparently not!! lol. They are good cables though and the sound quality is goood :)

    PTP
     
  12. Bradalogical thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2009
    #12
    ah okay - so a stereo cable is fine? fair amount of money tho, will have to evaluate the bank balance by the end of the week - £800 on laptop, £350 on duet, £50+ on leads might be a tad excessive!

    thanks for the help anyway.
     
  13. pkoch1 macrumors 6502a

    pkoch1

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #13
    Wow...totally thought the Duet had balanced outs. Well anyways, just get a couple of cheap TRS cables that are under 12' or so and you should be fine. You won't hear any noise to write home about. ;)
     

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