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Unbalanced/Balanced Mixer Connections

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Brewdork, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    I have a Peavey PV14 mixer that I am trying to incorporate into my mix/match home setup. I have some questions regarding balanced/unbalanced ins and outs. I would like to run either my control room or main outs (1/4" TRS L/R) to a basic home stereo receiver as a cheap/easy way to power some 100-150W speakers. Can I run these TRS outs to the stereo's RCA inputs (unbalanced) without causing too much crap? I can use very short runs if that helps.

    Similarly, I currently run the unbalanced RCA outs from my PC sound card to two 1/4" "Line In" ports on my mixer and pan them for stereo insertion of PC to mix. Is that bad?

    If I am using short runs (all this sits on the same table), should I worry about balanced/unbalanced connections, do I realy need to buy a "clean box" or some other transformer thing? I'd like to just use adapters.
  2. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    If it's only going a few feet you're fine.
    Unless it crosses power cables, that is.

    PC sound cards are generally bad although for a mere playback you should be OK.

    (BTW there are more people around here than me, this is just my time of night)
  3. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    Thanks again...now stop following me \,,/ (><)

    Cool, so this may buy me some time to shop for the real thing...who knows, maybe this'll do me. Everything should still be 8ohm/75-150 W.

    I'll get 1/4" > RCA cables, find a "good" old receiver and see how we do. Older the better, I say...f- it, if I'm straying from balanced cables, may as well get vintage on it.
  4. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    I believe your PV14 has L/R unbalanced RCA Tape Out's which would be a perfectly acceptable feed into your "line in" or "tape in" on the back of your receiver...there's no mixer volume control of that other than your receiver volume (not a big deal)
    Using your control room outs you have that headphone level control....either one will work just fine for 10-15 feet unless you have microwaves or light dimmers laying across your wiring....LOL
    The control room 1/4" Phone jacks on that Peavy can be either 1/4" TRS balanced or 1/4" TS unbalanced so no problem there.
    They make some really sweet 1/4" TS adapter plugs that have an RCA receptacle right on the end so all you have to do is plug the jack adapter into your mixer and then hookup any standard RCA L/R (red/white) patch cable to your receiver....no fuss no muss!
  5. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    Thanks! It does have the tape I/O you mention...but I use those to run to/fro a Boss multitrack deck, so it's occupied. The headphones are also occupied by the line to my headphone amp for the group, so that's out. The mains should probably stay reserved for a real amp or live feed someday....

    so, that's why I'm kinda stuck with the ctrl room outs (appear to be L/R 1/4" TRS) to run to the receiver. SO...you say I can go ahead and run unbalanced from that TRS out to the RCA in if I keep it short?

    Seems ok to me, easy in fact...and if there is a little buzz, it's not in the recording chain.

    I'm loving this little mixer, btw. perfect for any starter.
  6. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Unless your going down the block you'll be fine...
    Most RCA cables are 3-6 feet with no noise problems.
    Besides those outputs are +4dbu so plenty of level..
  7. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    nice, so the "last" connection to rig would be 1/4" unshielded cable I'm using on the speakers to the receiver. The speakers have a 1/4" jack, so the cables I have are both 1/4" TS ended. most receivers that I have/will find are "binding post" jacked. I suppose there's an adapter for that too? If not, can I solder the tip to pos and the sleeve to neg wire to clamp into the receiver?
  8. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Sure...not alot of good ways of terminating to binding posts...there may be a binding post 1/4" TS adapter out there....probably is now that I think about it....but "tinning" the raw copper ends with solder keeps all those little stray strands together and keeps em from crawlin' around and lettin' electrons touch bad places for sure!
  9. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    agreed...good "tip".

    someone will someday reply to this, "why not just cut the TS off"....because i want to maintain versatility, is why, and because I don't like spending money twice.--enter the fat 50 yr old struggling electrician with nothing else to do but spray his ego all over some previously optimistic egg who may just want to learn from the chickens--

    thanks again.
  10. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Well, no sense ruining perfectly good cables right?
    I'm right there with ya (I got 5 on your 50) working the fat....LOL...been there done that!...still like the smell of solder and making cables up for all my audio and studio stuff...it's more fun than pulling wire and sure beats sitting all day in a cube laying out designs for IFE systems on airplanes...
    I'd rather play and record music or chat on recording forums...but we all gotta make a buck to have fun!
    I don't think ego has anything to do with it....if it's interesting and you enjoy it why not!....life's too short!
  11. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    When you wire up the TRS plug for the mixer output, make sure you take only the tip and sleeve connections out to the RCA connectors and leave the TRS ring unconnected.

    Try something like this for the loudspeaker connections.
  12. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    See....I knew there was an adapter like that out there!
    Put the solder and wire cutters down and step away from the solder station!
  13. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    Boswell, thanks for the adapter idea for the speaker cables...done deal, I'm on the hunt for a power receiver for dirt.

    On the TRS to RCA issue...I believe my mixer's ctrl room out jacks work with either TRS or TS 1/4", so I was simply going to use unbalanced 1/4" TS > RCA cables to get the mixer to the receiver.

    Same page?
  14. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    "powerful", i meant...not a "power receiver"
  15. Snow

    Snow Guest

    Hi guys,

    I registered here because this thread shows good info.

    I do want to ask again though to get a conformation from you guys and I can go on with my purchase.

    I'm going to buy a pair of Tascam VL-A5 monitors which have balanced TRS/XLR outs.
    My audio interface only has unbalanced RCA jacks though (Presonus Inspire 1394)
    What cable should I buy to make the connection?
    Should I try to find a special designed unbalalanced RCA to balanced XLR (or TRS) cable or juts go for a unbalance TS (dont know if they switch to TS) to RCA?
    I'm running these monitors near my PC so a lot of wires (power) are located nearby. I can however do some cable management if it's really necessary.

    One last question. I was in doubt between buying KRK Rokit 5 G2 and Tascam VL-A5 and my mate almost convinced me into getting the Tascams for the better lows.
    What do you guys think?
    I'm a guitar player and play a fender trough the inspire, style goes from blues/jazz to flamenco but rarely distortion sounds. I also don't need them to play very loud but rather have them better detailed at lower volumes.
    Finaly I don't need the sub techno bass but still a good thumb to get the kicks out of BFD (or other drum VSTi)

    Thx in advance
  16. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    The Peavey PV mixers have choice of fully balanced XLR or impedance-balanced TRS on the main outs and impedance-balanced TRS on the control room outs. It's perfectly OK to use TS plugs in the impedance-balanced outptus, as the ring connection only makes contact with a resistor to ground, so shorting that out is harmless. You need a pair of 1/4" TS plug to RCA plug cables to go to your amplifier.
  17. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Hi Snow and welcome!

    It would normally be correct etiquette to start a new topic for a separate question rather than divert an existing thread, but your queries are closely related to Brewdork's, so it makes little difference in this case.

    The Tascam website is a masterpiece of non-information, so there is, for excample, no specification of the input sensitivity of the VL-A series monitors. However, it would be unusual if they could not be set to give adequate volume when driven from -10dBV domestic standard outputs. You would need the same cables as Brewdork (1/4" TS jack to RCA), but used the other way round. Assuming the Tascams have combo XLR/TRS input jacks, the TS plugs will work as they will correctly ground the negative (cold) inputs.

    On the choice of monitors, I would take the KRKs any time over the Tascams, but you should listen to them both under demo conditions playing your selection of CDs and make up your own mind.

    I agree that a guitar player needs a good thumb.
  18. Snow

    Snow Guest

    Alright thx for the info on the cable.

    Not so thankful for the other info hehe, now I'm back to where I started because the KRK were my initial preference.

    Sorry about hijacking the thread, I will make a new post if I have any further questions.

    Thx again

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