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kinda dumb question

Discussion in 'Recording' started by David French, Apr 15, 2003.

  1. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Here's the deal: I would like to use my RNC with my Sytek MPX-4a pres, but the Sytek has only XLR outputs whereas the RNC has only 1/4'' unbalanced inputs. Both operate at +4dBu. My 'mixer', an M-Audio Omni I/O, can take either +4 or -10 dBu, balanced or unbalanced, but has no inserts on the channels that I wish to use. It seems to me that I need a device that will simply unbalance a signal coming from an XLR or a TRS plug without changing its level. Is there a device designed for this purpose? Are there any other good ways to interface the RNC with this balanced pre?
  2. Mark Burnley

    Mark Burnley Guest


    There's no such thing as a dumb question! Getting equipment connected together and working happily is a constant challenge! :)


    "Oscillators don't, amplifiers do....."
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    David, Usually, if you impliment a balanced 1/4" patch bay to make your connections, and then run the appropriate cables to and from it to hook up your pres and compressor, balance cables for the mic pres and unbalanced for the RNC, that will solve the problem. This effectivly accomplished the same thing as custom fabbing cables. It is a bit more expensive to do but if you already have a patch bay, this works. IMO all recording set ups should be interfaced with patch bays. Kurt
  4. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the comments guys. The patchbay thing would be nice, but I don't own a patchbay and I don't own a lot of gear. My recording activities seldom involve more than the recording of vocals. I am interested in becoming a producer rather than a recording engineer (although I LOVE recording for recording's sake) and I use sampled instruments almost exclusively. Consequently, I don't anticipate ever owning a large ammount of gear so I don't see the need for a patchbay.

    About this custom cabling thig... I hate to admit that I don't know this, but... Will the wiring of the hot pin of a balanced line to the tip of an unbalanced line result in a drop of signal level? This may be a very dumb question, but here it goes. What happens to the 'other half' of the signal?

    Thanks for your patience with the ignorant.
  5. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    David, did you follow the link to the Rane info?


    Scroll down to the selector matrix, you will see that you need to use either diagram 3 or 5, depending on whether the Sytek is cross-coupled or not. (I don't own one - hopefully your manual will help)

    If the Sytek IS cross-coupled, you use diagram 5, which does NOT cause a 6 dB drop. Note, however, that diagram 3 DOES cause a 6 dB drop, as noted by the small "B" next to the diagram on the left. So it depends on the output circuitry of the Sytek as to which way you need to wire the cable.

    BTW, that 6 dB is the answer to your other question - grounding the other half of the signal is responsible for the 6 dB loss... Steve
  6. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the clarification, Knightfly.

    I emailed Mike at Sytek on the cross coupled issue, and he said:
    So, what does this tell me?
  7. Mark Burnley

    Mark Burnley Guest

    Hi David,

    Well now that we know it's an unbalanced-friendly (cross coupled/servo unbalanced) output, you can use lead number 5 in the Rane note 110..

    Rane Note 110 html

    If you don't want to make a lead, have you seen the Neutrik XLR adaptor series? They are a range of XLR plugs and sockets with an inbuilt 1/4" jack socket. If you use the NA3FJ adaptor, which is a female XLR to stereo 1/4" jack socket...

    Neutrik NA3FJ Adaptor

    ...you can connect this to the XLR output of your Sytek, and then using a standard mono jack-to-jack lead, connect the output of the adaptor to the input of your RNC. When the mono jack plug is connected to the NA3FJ adaptor socket, its' shield connects pin1 and pin3 of the XLR output together, and pin2 is connected to the tip, which then connects to your RNC as in the diagram #5 in the Rane note.....and your levels will stay correct!

    (This is basically the same setup as Kurt mentions above- but the NA3FJ acts as the jack-into-the-patchbay!)

    Hope this is cool :)


    "Oscillators don't, amplifiers do....."
  8. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    I understand now. Thanks for the help everybody.

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