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Am I connecting all of this right?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by sshack, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    WICKED NOOB QUESTION HERE! (but I'm not afraid) :D

    So, I picked up a Great River ME-1NV and want to get it running..have to go through the Apogee Duet though to get to the iMac, so here's what I've been through...

    The Duet had two XLR connections and two Instrument (1/4"). You can run the XLRs as:

    1) XLR
    2) XLR line level +4db
    3) XLR line leve -10db

    The GR output has:

    Line out via XLR
    -10db unbalanced 1/4"

    I called the guys at Great River and in spite of my horrible descriptions of the Apogee they suggested NOT to run at 1/4 instrument, but rather XLR line level and set the Duet at +4db. This I did and it seemed that the signal was VERY weak, I was cranking the gain to get anything...couldn't be right. I switched it (on the Duet that is) to straight up XLR (neither +4 or -10) and it was MUCH louder and seemed to be where it needed to be.

    Now, does this sound right or am I in danger of blowing something up? I recorded this way for a while all the time being gentle on the gain and everything seemed to work out fine. So, to be clear, here's the path.

    Guitar>Amp>Mic>XLR into GR>XLR out of GR into XLR of Duet>Duet to iMac....yada, yada.

    Sound good or did I miss anything?

    Thanks in advanced.
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I would think the only thing that you might be in danger of blowing is if you have phantom power turned on? If you are feeding the Great River output from its + 4 DBm output to the Apogee's XLR input, make sure phantom power is turned off on the Apogee. If you have the Apogee set as + 4 at/for the XLR input and you have to crank the gain, that's fine. Gain should be cranked to at least 3/4 of capable gain.

    You will be pleased to know that folks like Bob Clearmountain happens to really like the microphone preamplifiers in these Apogee's better than some others. So I'm not quite sure why you would want to have both? You can get Apogee's without microphone preamps, virtually designed to be fed from your Great River. I mean this is like, you can have toilet paper in both hands but you can only wipe your self sequentially unless you are that big?

    Making love to Rupert Neve & Paul Walker
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    In the Duet manual, the following instructions tell me that the XLR line in is the correct setting.

    This pop-up menu is used to select the input connector and level:
    XLR Line +4dBu – A balanced (pro) line level input is accepted from the IN-1 and IN-2 (XLR) connectors; gain is fixed: maximum input level is 20 dBu.
    XLR Line –10 dBV – A balanced (consumer) line level input is accepted from the IN-1 and IN-2 connectors; gain is fixed: maximum input level is 8 dBu.
    XLR Mic – A balanced input is accepted from the IN-1 and IN-2 (XLR) connectors; gain is adjustable between 10 and 75 dB.

    Yes, you have it connected correctly, but setting the input on the duet to XLR (which I believe is mic level) doesn't sit right with me.
    How hard are you driving the GR's input and output?
    You should be running it as close into the yellow led as you can without clipping, same with the output stage.
    I imagine that's a bit difficult, being that it only has five before it clips!
  4. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    Remy - My intention is to use the GR as the preamp and the Duet as the interface/converter. Am I way off course here? If I had THREE hands however, I'd certainly use two to wipe at the same time!

    Bent - I'm not driving the GR much at all. If I do crank it, I'm almost all the way down with the gain on the Apogee. Sounds like I'm off base with this. Should I go back and set it at +4db again on the Apogee and try again. Realistically, I could never see using all the gain on tap unless I had a very weak ribbon mic waaaay far away.

    Darn I wish I was smarter with this. You guys rock, thanks for the help so far.
  5. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Yes, you've gotta use proper gain structure!

    You gotta feed the GR all it can take, just avoid hitting clip.

    Make it light up, show it who's boss!

    Then you'll be cooking with gas!
  6. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Take the ribbon statement out of the equation.

    Use the gain, all of the 'gain on tap', always, and forevermore!!!
  7. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    Wow, you're hardcore.
    Ok, don't go anywhere...I'm gonna give this a try before we get pummeled by tornados n' crap.

  8. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    You've got about 20 minutes.

    Hit the GR as hard as it can stand, adjust the output of the GR to compensate for the level hitting the Apogee (lower the GR output if the apogee is getting slammed - you have to get to a common ground, where all the gear is speaking on the same level).

    ...and make sure everything's set to +4!
  9. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    Ok, well that works (obviously) and it sounds good, however my gain dial on the GR (adjust in increments of 5db) is cranked all the way and the output level is at about 3/4.
    I'm playing a 100 watt head through a 2x12 at about room volume.

    So, I know that when I 'really' record, the amp will be much louder, but what about for softer applications like acoustic or vocals.

    I mean, when I'm running the Apogee at straight XLR I've got more than enough room to 'grow', but this way it seems like I'm tapped out.

    Also, I should note that when the Apogee is +4db line level XLR, it's fixed, you knew that, you pointed it out. However, when I'm straight XLR I have a gain adjustment in addition to the GR's. So I essentially have to balance the two.

    I totally trust what you're saying, I'm just trying to make some sense of it. I didn't think that I'd have to run the input so hot all of the time.

  10. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    Furthermore, I know you're right because when I set the Apogee back to XLR mic, it's loud as piss, but I get virtually no lights.

  11. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    No lights on the GR that is..
  12. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    That's because you're feeding a line level signal into an input that is expecting to be fed mic level (much lower).
    Like I said, line out (GR) to line in (Duet).

    You should not have to turn up the GR full blast to see a good signal there. I bet you're hearing a good bit of noise floor when you do that, as well.

    You should be able to get more than enough gain from the GR, or any preamp for that matter, regardless what you're putting your mic on, within reason of course.

    What mic are you using, and what's the placement?
  13. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    Using a 57 right at the cab, off axis a bit. It's warm and smooth for sure, no complaints there. Not sure what noise floor is (sorry), but it's not noisy...if that's what you're getting at.

    I digress a bit though. Of all the input stages on the GR (remember, in 5db steps), I can really utilize the top three, while adjusting the output knob accordingly, decreasing it as the input is cranked.

    All in all, I can certainly live with this, it does sound good.

    I'm not asking you to do the homework by any means, but in case you haven't seen or checked out the GR manual and descriptions, here you go. You can find the bit about the input stages on page 2 or 3 I believe.


    Again, many thanks. Once all of this gets sorted out, I'll get some sound clips.

    Lastly, for the purposes that we're talking about, I'm recording distorted guitar, again at about room volume.
  14. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    I read it (and the Duet manual) immediately after reading your original post - I don't like flying blind!
  15. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    But thanks for posting the link for others to check out.
  16. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    Ok, one more thing before dinner. Consider this....

    I think when I talked to the guy at GR he was saying NOT to use 1/4" he probably thought I was using the Apogee as a converter only...which I am now. He probably didn't realize that the Duet has preamps too. So could I by running XLR to the Duet from the GR be utilizing the Duet's pre's at the same time as the GR's?
    I don't want to do that.
  17. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    HA. I just talked to Apogee. When you run into the Duet via 1/4" or XLR Mic, you're utilizing its preamp, so all the while it was 'loud as piss' was because I was throwing another (potential 75db) of its pre's on TOP of the GR.
    +4 and -10, it's just a converter.

    I'm gonna try -10 next as it's the only thing left to do.

    At least I'm on the right path.

  18. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    I thought I said that already:
    You want to try the -10 input on the duet?
    Why? You are not sending a signal out at -10, the GR sends out +4 balanced.
    You are mixing and matching levels.

    Take a look here:

    I apologize for the real estate this picture takes up on-screen, but for clarification it needs to be this size.

    Check this out:
    Follow these steps to set this up correctly.
    (You can substitute your voice for steps one and two, but you'll have to project a bit)
    1) Setup a mic in front of the guitar amp, aim it straight into the driver, just off center of the dust cover.
    2) Turn the amp up to a casual listening level.
    3) Plug the mic into the GR and the GR via XLR into the Duet. Follow the picture for the connections and settings.
    4) Start setting gain with both knobs on the GR all the way down.
    5) While playing guitar (this is tricky, I know, just do hammer ons) turn the GR's Gain knob up until the LED's on the left hit the unity spot I notated.
    6) While still playing, turn the output level up until the LED's on the right hit unity.
    7) Does the Duet look the same as it does in the picture at bottom right?
  19. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    While I'm on this topic, I'll throw another big pic up for you to check out...

  20. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Whoa! Nothing left but a pulpy mass on that question. :shock: I think it's covered. :lol:

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