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How to connect preamp to mixer?

Discussion in 'Preamps' started by Spectrumband, Jan 2, 2005.

  1. Spectrumband

    Spectrumband Guest

    I have a Mackie 8-24 mixer and am wondering how to connect an external preamp (when I get some). I looked at the wiring diagram for the board and it appears that I should use the "channel insert" to feed the signal to the board. This way I would be entering the board's input chain AFTER the Mackie's internal preamp. I assume that you wouldn't want to use the "line" input to the board since it appears that the signal would then be processed through the Mackie preamp. It occurred to me that perhaps you would use the "line" input but keep the trim turned all the way down but then the Mackie preamp is still in the chain. However, if I use the "channel insert" as the input I can't use a compressor on that channel while tracking. Am I missing something or is this just the way one utilizes an external preamp relative to connecting it to a board?

    Thanks in advance,
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  2. jonyoung

    jonyoung Member

    Tim, I have a 32-8 and usually bypass the board completely when using an outboard pre. If I'm going to use compression at all while tracking, I feed the pre out to comp in, comp out to channel input of my recorder. Since the returns are hardwired from the recorder to the board, I can use EQ and aux busses there. Keep the initial signal to the recorder as clean as possible, especially when going to the trouble of using a decent outboard pre.
  3. Spectrumband

    Spectrumband Guest

    Thank Jon. I still consider myself a novice and have learned most of what I know from my owner manuals and good old trial-and-error. Does your statement above mean that you record the compressed signal in real time on your recorder (an ADAT?) and then feed that track's output from your recorder into your board via the board's tape return? I suppose that you then can take the EQ'd track of that signal from your board and pass that back to your recorder on an additional track so that you would be recording two versions of the track: one directly from the compressor with no EQ and a second version of the track with EQ from the board. Otherwise, it would seem that the purpose of passing the signal to the board is only for monitoring purposes without the intent to record the EQ'd signal. Am I close to understanding the routing path?
  4. jonyoung

    jonyoung Member

    Yup, I'm talking EQ in monitor terms only. I tend to be old school and prefer not to EQ while tracking. I like to shoot for the sound I'm looking for with mic choice and placement. Then again, a high end piece like Avalon 737sp or API 7600 channel strip will have EQ and compression built in, so you can add whatever you like. But, once something's added, good luck getting rid of it if you change your mind later. With dry, raw tracks you can mix it six ways to Sunday. Obviously, with a really dynamic vocalist, you need to do some compression or limiting to keep things under control, but the guy who taught me what I know always stressed that less is better when tracking. The more stuff you add up front, the more you'll be adding noise, phase shift, etc.....
  5. Spectrumband

    Spectrumband Guest

    Thanks again, good to know that I had at least some idea what was going on. I forgot to go back and ask my original question in the event that I ever did want to send a signal from a preamp into the Mackie 8-24 board. Is the proper way to do this by using the channel "insert" or the "line" input? Just to be sure...
  6. jonyoung

    jonyoung Member

    Use the insert, just pay attention to whether the pre out is balanced or unbalanced, and whether you should insert to the first or second "stop" on the insert jack. You can set up a feedback loop if done improperly.

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