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How best to set up mixer for direct to HD24

Discussion in 'Recording' started by BobRogers, Jun 6, 2006.

  1. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I just got an Alesis HD24 to use for remote recording. One of the ways I want to use it is to record from the direct outs of my little A&H MixWiz when I'm doing live sound.

    I did this with my daughter's band last weekend. One problem is that the default for the A&H is that the direct outs are post fader. I usually start my individual faders out about -8dB so that I have plenty of head room. So I wound up with a lower level signal recorded than I would have in the studio. There was plenty of room above the noise floor to mix a rock show so in the end things were fine. On the plus side, there was plenty of head room in the HD24 - I never came close to clipping.

    So I'm a little torn between leaving things as they are and opening up the A&H and switching the direct outs to prefader. (I could also change the way I mix, but that's definitely the third choice.) What do you guys do in this situation?
  2. Gilliland

    Gilliland Guest

    I would always far prefer that my direct outs were pre-fader, pre-EQ. If you can change your board to work that way, it's probably a good idea.
  3. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I agree. I use a pair of A&H GL2s going to a Tascam 24-track. The Direct Outs on mine were factory-set as pre-fader. I didn't even know that there were mixers out there with Direct Outs that were post-fader (dopey me).
    If you're doing live sound at the same time off of the board, that's probably the best setting (pre-fader).
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Yes there are mixers out there that have both pre-and post fader direct outputs. Go figure?

    Many mixers that feature a post fader direct output, frequently feature an internal strap that can easily be changed (sometimes requiring a soldering iron) to enable them as pre-fader outputs. When you're doing multitrack recording and providing a PA mix, YOU ALWAYS WANT PRE-FADER DIRECT OUTPUTS for multi-track tracking. And generally you won't want to print the equalization you are using for the PA to your recorder.

    Now if you happen to have a desk that does not have the ability to feed the pre-fader outputs from direct outputs, here is a simple and sure alternative.

    You can either build this patch cord/adapter or even purchase it at Radio Shaft. This is only applicable if your board has "inserts" without direct outputs. Insert patches are generally microphone preamplifier output, pre-fader. Most inexpensive boards put their inserts Jacks on a single TRS 1/4" Jack but could also be configured with 2, 1/4" send and return jacks. Your adapter/patch cord would then be a single 1/4" TRS (tip ring sleeve "stereo") plug with the tip and ring shorted together. By shorting those two connections together you complete the continuity of the signal flow through the module. You then take the tip/ring connection to a mono 1/4" plug (or RCA or the plug of your choice). That 1/4" mono plug will now be your pre-fader output to plug into your HD 24 input.

    If the insert happens to be in use, patched to a compressor or other audio device, utilize a " Y " patch cord either before or after the inserted compressor or other device for your pre-fader isolated output.

    The only thing you must be careful of are ground loops. If you find you get hum or buzz, then you might need to start lifting grounds to your inputs or perhaps the use of a 1:1 audio transformer which can electrically isolate you from the other equipment.

    Insert me baby!
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  5. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    The MixWiz has an internal switch that lets me go prefader-preeq. I had assumed that this was the default when I plugged it in this weekend. They must actually want me to read the manual!? I couldn't think of any reason to do it post fader - all of my real time mixing mistakes recorded for all to see. Time to pop the top.
  6. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    If your mixer is the new Wiz3, changing the direct outs shouldn't be too bad. It's my understanding that they now have little jumper blocks like you'd find in a computer.

    Mine is the older Wiz2 with soldered jumpers. It was a pretty major pain to rewire it. I actually glued DIP switches to the PC boards and wired them in place of the jumpers, so if I ever want to make a change, I can pop the back and just flip switches. I didn't want to have to take that sucker apart more than once!


    The only issue I have is that the Direct Outs aren't Pre Insert. When I use my compressor for FOH work I have to record compressed tracks. I'm thinking of making some insert cables with two sends so I can record pre-insert when necessary.
  7. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Crap- Mine is a MixWizard 16:2DX. I haven't had time to open it up, and I'm not sure that I'm going to have time to solder 48 jumpers before I have to use it this weekend. Bad week at work. (Why am I on this board?) Going through the inserts (or buying a new board) seems like the best solution, but I haven't been inserting compression in the vocal channels lately, so soldering the jumpers does the same thing. Time instead of money. I'm short of both this week.
  8. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    The board needs to come pretty much completely apart to solder the jumpers.

    All knobs off
    All nuts off
    All the boards are wired together, so they all come out together.

    I wouldn't try to do it before the weekend - especially if you're busy otherwise. You need a few long evenings to devote to the job.

    A&H was very helpful with my mod - I can send you the info they sent me on jumpers, etc - if you like.
  9. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Remy, you beat me to it on this one; the part he'll need is from Radio shack, one their off the shelf audio adapters: Mono, Female RCA to Male 1/4" Stereo #274-365 (Looks very much like their RCA to 1/4" mono adapter.) This adapter ties the ring and the tip together, and leaves the ground intact. Perfect for taking signal out of an insert jack (assuming the console has them). Attach it to an RCA to 1/4" inch cable (or whatever is needed at the recorder-side), and you're good to go.

    I make these up frequently in a pinch, esp. if need pre-fader discrete sends from one of my mixer channels. (I've even made up a loom of these in pairs of 8, all labelled and ready to go).

    The only other thing I'd add is to keep the cables short, no more than 6 feet. (My standard version is 3 feet, but that may not get you from the mixer to the recorder....)

    Remeber that you're now sending UNBALANCED signal that normally belongs INSIDE the safety of the mixer, so any stray noise from lights, transformers or ground loops will do bad bad things to the sound. And again, long cable runs are a major no-no; it'll compromise BOTH the live sound and the feed to the recording.

    It ain't perfect, but it works real nice. :twisted:
  10. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member


    Thanks for the heads-up. I'd appreciate anything you got from A&H and I'll probably contact them when I'm ready to do it. Shooting contact cleaner into the open pots and faders is probably a good idea while it's open.

    I'm just going to leave it the way it is for this weekend and not bother to buy a bunch of insert splitters from RS. (Thanks for the tip anyway.) I'm mixing for a music school where my daughter is a student and ocassional substitute teacher. Pro Bono work. No one knows I'm going to record it, so if it comes out OK it's a bonus. I got very reasonable S/N ratio with my first experiment. It will sound a lot better than what these parents are getting with their digital video cameras.
  11. cusebassman

    cusebassman Active Member

    This is a slightly more complicated way of doing things, but my setup takes a slightly different route for live / studio recording. I have two Tascam DA38's, sync'd to 16 tracks. I also have a pile of condensor and other mics, and a Yamaha 24-track mixer. Since I like to use the inserts for things like compressors, etc., I didn't want to tie up the insert jaacks with outs to the recorders. The alternative to this involves not using the inserts or the pre's on the board. So, I bought a number of mic pre's of different quality (one is a cheap Nady 8-channel preamp that sounds great, surprisingly), and then a couple of Art 2-channels. Totalling 16 tracks, I run the balanced outputs from each channel of all the pre's to the 25-Pin connections on the recorders. Then i run the outputs from the recorders to the line-in's on the mixer, which then goes to a stereo out. So essentially, mics -> separate pre's -> recorder -> mixer -> mastering station (computer or digital stereo recorder).

    This, in the end, will cause you to spend more money than you may have wanted to, mainly because you have to buy separate mic pre's, but it will open up the option of switching pre's in the event that you grow out of the mixer's onboard stuff. Plus, you will have the inserts open to processors, and you will also not have to worry so much about pre/post fader issues.

    Just my two cents.
  12. separation

    separation Guest

    what about changing my A&H 32 channel GL2200 board to pre-fader direct outputs? I would love to do this myself if its just switching some jumpers but would rather not edit a new(er) board. I have been looking at the Soundcraft GB4 boards that have a button on the direct outs to switch them to pre-fader!! Not sure if the Soundcraft preamps and eq are as nice as the A&H but the pre-fader direct outputs is killing me. Also, the fact that the board doesn't have a solo switch on the channels is another bother. I can't solo a channel during the recording session off the board without muting all the other channels. What a pain. I end up having to listen through the Aux channels so I can just turn the other channels down and go one at a time. Surprising a board like that would have such limitations.

    Thanks in advance for any help. This place is amazing.


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