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newbie question about mic connections

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by griffiti, Sep 2, 2004.

  1. griffiti

    griffiti Guest

    I am new to this forum. I've been reading it for a couple of weeks now. I apologize for asking this question if it has already been addressed. My search was unsuccessfull.

    I am looking at buying the MOTU 828mkII audio interface. In addition to the 2 XLR mic/line inputs in front, it offers 8 1/4" inputs in back. Ok, now the question...

    If I want to hook up more than 2 mics at once, would I just need to get some XLR to 1/4" couplers ?

    I know this is a simple/stupid question but I'm a beginner. Thanks! :oops:
  2. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    I'm not familiar with the MOTU stuff, but the upshot is you want to use a low impedance input for a mic, otherwise you won't have enough gain to work with. 1/4" inputs are generally high Z. You'd be best off buying a fourway or larger mic preamp and feeding the outputs of that into your available 1/4" inputs, assuming they can be set to line level.
  3. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    You can record a microphone's output through the back, but you will need some kind of preamp. The level of signal coming out of the mic is very low and the 1/4 inputs on the back expect a much louder signal such as what would come from a keyboard or CD player. The two XLR inputs on the front have preamps built in that give the mic's signal gain before it is recorded. You should look into buying a multichannel preamp. Most of these have 1/4" outputs, so you could plug your mics into the preamps, then plug the preamp outputs into the 1/4" inputs on the 828. As for which multichannel preamp to buy, you will find lots of opinions by using the search feature. I haven't heard this pre, but you might want to look into the Studio Projects SP828. It would be a good match for the MOTU, in I/O and in name ;)
  4. griffiti

    griffiti Guest


    Thanks so much for the fast response and helpfull info.

    I checked out the SP828 web site. Looks nice and ZZounds has it for only $599.

    Could another alternative be to use a small mixer board with Lo-Z XLR (w/ phantom power) inputs that have 1/4" (line level) outputs?
  5. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Yes, that would work also, but most of the small format mixers have pretty crappy pres. Also, the SP828 basically is a mixer, although it is not a flexible routing wise as a small format mixer would be.
  6. griffiti

    griffiti Guest

    Good point. And it's rack-mounted so it takes up less space too.

    I picked up a book called, "Practical Recording Techniques" by Bartlett. It has explained alot. I guess I just missed where it explained the difference or what it means - balanced and unbalanced.

    Could you explain the difference between balanced / unbalanced?
  7. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Hey, grifitti, reread that last post of mine. I think I made an edit while you were typing - this is almost like real-time chat!
  8. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Balanced has three conductors, two for signal and one is a shielded ground. It has a couple of advantages. It will reject noise from power cords to nearby gear and also from RF sources. A long unbalanced mic cable will cost you high frequency content also, because it's a crude capacitor, whereas a balanced line will not lose high frequencies over a long run.
  9. griffiti

    griffiti Guest

    Thanks jonyoung.

    Hey David, I also found a mic preamp by PreSonus...the DigiMAX LT. It looks pretty cool. I can pipe the output to my MOTU 828 via ADAT lightpipe, leaving my existing 8 1/4" MOTU inputs free for other stuff.


    Anyone have any experience with either the SP828 or the DigiMAX LT ?

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