Using passive speakers with a non-powered Mixer

Discussion in 'Live Sound' started by Dscandal, Apr 16, 2016.

  1. Dscandal

    Dscandal Member

    Apr 16, 2016
    I am trying to use passive speakers as monitors. (I don't have anymore powered speakers). Would it be okay to plug passive speakers into a powered mixer and plug that powered mixer into the monitor out of a non-powered mixer. I already have 2 powered speakers for my 2 main speakers.

    Powered mixer - Pyle PMX840BT
    Non powered mixer - Mackie profx16v2

  2. Boswell

    Boswell Distinguished Moderator Resource Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    I guess what you are trying to do is use the Pyle mixer as the power amplifier, fed from the output of the Mackie.

    I would use the jack outputs below the main XLRs and take a pair of TRS or TS cables from there into two line inputs on the Pyle. Pan these channels hard L and R for stereo work.

    The quality won't be great, but it will work.
  3. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    Boswell says:" I would use the jack outputs below the main XLRs and take a pair of TRS or TS cables from there into two line inputs on the Pyle. Pan these channels hard L and R for stereo work."

    Not sure I would do that.

    First, I'm not sure that Pyle is stereo, so 2 lines is likely unnecessary. Second, you are taking the post-effected outputs from the Mackie into the Pyle inputs.

    The Pyle does appear to have an 'effects loop' (1/4" TS jack on back). What I would try FIRST, is to take the Mackie monitor 1 line out to the Pyle loop return. That bypasses a lot in the Mackie, and the preamp of the Pyle, using it only as a power amp. .The only problem may be that NOW...there may a lack of ANY EQ. In that case, running it through an outboard EQ would work...but what if there is none?

    Well...the second best choice may be to just run it into CH1 of the Pyle, and add EQ and levels there. BUT...will have to do some very careful gain-staging, as it's now coming out the Mackie monitor out with its level control, and into the Pyle, with channel input level and main level. But, he'll at least have treble, bass and EQ control. And...more noise.

    BUT...less noise than taking it from the Mackie main 1/4" out, and he won't have to fight against the EQ set for the mains to try to tweak to the monitors in the Pyle. The Mackie Main out to the Pyle preamp in would be absolutely the noisiest solution possible, and should be avoided, if at all possible.

    IF the Pyle "master EQ" is post-preamp, and the effects loop return is pre-master EQ, then that might be the best scenario available, to take one 1/4" TS cable from Mackie Monitor 1 out, to Pyle Effects return, and adjust EQ with the 5-band EQ. is that. That will be the absolute minimum circuitry possible to have to pass through, and the least noise possible.


  4. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Moderator Resource Member

    Dec 18, 2008
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    What am I missing here? It appears to me he wants to use the Pyle 8-ch(mono) head to power monitors in a live PA.

    There is no combination of these things that is going to sound stellar, but it is doable at modest volumes.

    I'd agree coming out of Aux 1 / Mon 1 on the Mackie, gives you the best (pre-fader / pre-EQ) control like you'd expect from a monitor send. But you might just as well use an unbalanced ΒΌ" cable from the Mackie Aux Out into Input Channel #1 of the Pyle, because I don't believe the Pyle effects loop in / out behaves like patch points between the mixer section and the amp section - as you would find on a better powered head. If it had a patch point to bypass the mixer section and go straight to the amp, I'd agree that's the best / cleanest way to go. The Pyle manual doesn't indicate otherwise, so I'm going to assume the FX loop just brings you back into a different part of the mixer section. It's true it may have less circuitry going that route, but it would also have less control. Going in through Ch1, you have the 'benefit' of the 2-band Eq on the channel and the 5-band master EQ, and you could put a touch of reverb on the monitors - if you're into that sort of thing.

    And as noted, be EXTREMELY careful setting the levels. Make absolutely certain you're staring with the Pyle channel and master at ZERO, and the Monitor Auxes on the Mackie at ZERO and ease into it. The unbalanced input of the Pyle should be pretty tolerant to a wide range of levels, and the signal it will be receiving from the Mackie is likely to be on the hot (loud) side.

    Keep your levels under control and it should be OK.

    Best of luck.
  5. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    dvdhawk may be correct.

    With no schematics or block diagram for signal flow, it's difficult to know for sure.

    BUT, there is one clue in the manual. It is the description for the Send Out (exactly as written in badly-translated English):

    "18) SEND out-this is a 1/4" 2-conductor line output. The impedance is 1k ohm @-10dB. it is used to connect the either additional power or as and additional Recording device. This line level signal is the mirror image of the mail outputs."

    Well, I suppose it IS possible that they chose a completely stupid place to put an Effects Loop....or they just don't know what they were writing?

    IF it is a "mirror image of the mail (main) outputs", (which I would guess they mean 'duplicated image', as a 'mirror image' would be reversed), then THAT means it's even post-master volume, since the Main Outputs are that.

    And, if THAT is the case, then there IS no place to inject the signal back into it. SO...we have concluded that the Chinese don't know how to write a usable manual. A loop AT the MAIN OUT has no place to get back in!

    I think dvdhawk may have been saying that it could be post Master EQ (the 5-band graphic) but pre-amp. Which is STILL a completely stupid place to put an effects loop, but who knows what the Chinese are thinking when they design those things?

    The more logical place to put one (that far into the system) would be right before the Master EQ (5-band graphic), so that whatever comes out of the 8 channels, submixed, can be dealt with (effects and eq) separately from the mains.'s still a mystery about EXACTLY what that thing does, where. Lacking a block diagram or schematic, the only way to know for sure would be to connect it, and see if the Master EQ and Master Volume affects the Send Out (of which the manual insinuates that it does). Which doesn't make any sense, if it does. Or, if the Master EQ affects it, but not the Master Volume. Which is only SLIGHTLY more sensible, but still stupid.

    One thing I'm pretty sure of is that the manual sucks!

    I'd just experiment a bit. matter how it works...don't power up ANYTHING until ALL volumes are DOWN! And, from there gradually. If you can get the Pyle turned up quite high in the Main output, and the channel volume on the Pyle fed from the Mackie reasonably centered, and it's still clean...that may be the best you get.'ll probably have to do a lot of small adjustments ( a touch less here, a smidge more there) at any point that can manipulate the output levels of the Mackie, and anything that can affect the levels in the Pyle...input to keep hiss and distortion as low as it can get.


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