getting started? Monitor mixer into interface

Brian Sansone

Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2016
Location
ATL
I have had pretty good results just plugging stuff up and making it all work.
I think its time to start doing it correctly.

I bought a Yamaha 3210 monitor mixer for my home studio. Its got 32 channels and 10 buss channels.
It seems a great match for me. I have lots of instruments, and an 8 channel interface.
So I want to run the 8 mono bus channels to my interface. That way I can send any input channel, or combination of channels to any input channel on my interface, easily. The left over bus on the 3210 mixer is a stereo bus. I will use that to carry the main mix to my Monitors.

I'm quickly running into all the details. Such as how to treat the unbalanced outputs I have, to pair with balanced mixer inputs. Like My Rhodes. Actually I have 2 Rhodes. One with an amp, and one without.
The one without an amp sounds great run through my Behringer mixer with Xenyx pre-amps. Ive been reading the manual on the Yamaha 3210m. It says nothing about a pre amps, but it does mention a "head amp"
It has Low z xlr inputs, phantom power, and High z 1/4" inputs. Hopefully I can plug my dynamic mics in that way.
I know I am asking things that have been asked a million times before. My previous studio set up sounded great, but I think I mostly just got lucky, and had mostly newer stuff. Im ready to learn to do it correctly, and my collection is becoming varied, old and new, digital and analog. Including a 1949 Hammond that I hope to pick up this week.
Where to start?
Thanks
Brian
 

Boswell

Moderator
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Location
UK
The type of input configuration used in most mixers of this sort is differential. That means it takes the difference between the + and - inputs, and so it can correctly deal with balanced or single-ended (unbalanced) signals. Connect your line-level sources to the 1/4" jack socket inputs and use the pad switch to give the correct amplitude (level) match.

Each mono input channel in the 3210 has an input pre-amp. You can plug microphones in via the XLR inputs, engaging phantom power where necessary for condenser mics or for DI boxes. Note that both the XLR and jack (TRS) inputs are routed through the pre-amps, so the Yamaha pre-amp sound is imparted to all sources.

The Group outputs from the 3210 are balanced, so you must use balanced cabling from them to the balanced line inputs on your interface. You don't give the model number of the interface, but it's likely that the line inputs are 1/4" TRS sockets. You will need an 8-way XLR(F) to TRS cable loom.

Good luck, and come back to tell us how you got on!
 

Brian Sansone

Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2016
Location
ATL
The type of input configuration used in most mixers of this sort is differential. That means it takes the difference between the + and - inputs, and so it can correctly deal with balanced or single-ended (unbalanced) signals. Connect your line-level sources to the 1/4" jack socket inputs and use the pad switch to give the correct amplitude (level) match.

Each mono input channel in the 3210 has an input pre-amp. You can plug microphones in via the XLR inputs, engaging phantom power where necessary for condenser mics or for DI boxes. Note that both the XLR and jack (TRS) inputs are routed through the pre-amps, so the Yamaha pre-amp sound is imparted to all sources.

The Group outputs from the 3210 are balanced, so you must use balanced cabling from them to the balanced line inputs on your interface. You don't give the model number of the interface, but it's likely that the line inputs are 1/4" TRS sockets. You will need an 8-way XLR(F) to TRS cable loom.

Good luck, and come back to tell us how you got on!
That is so much great info. Thanks!. I haven't made it all the way through the manual yet, but I haven't come across anything as concise as you lay it out.
I guess the mixer is so old that it pre dates the term pre-amp, and instead uses "head amp"? My interface is a motu ultra 8. It has those combi jacks.
I was starting to think I was in over my head with such a large old mixer. I was already looking up how to make the cables I thought I needed.
It seems like the engineers of the mixer really put thought into versatility.
Thanks
Brian
 

dvdhawk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Location
Western Pennsylvania, USA
My band bought an MC2404 in the mid-'80s and it was a workhorse. If we weren't gigging, we were renting out our fairly large PA system. We took pretty good care of our equipment, but that thing still took a lot of abuse touring regionally and living in a truck for the better part of 15 years. And with the exception of the occasional squirt of DeOxit, and one screw needing tightening on a panel mount XLR jack, it never gave us a moment's trouble. It still works and has been passed around among some of the other band members, because no one has the heart to put such a reliable friend out to pasture.

So as a former MC user, the only advice I would add to Boswell's post is MC-series specific and has to do with the preamps. With the MC series consoles, you HAVE to be VERY mindful of your gain structure. You cannot crank the gain on the channel(s) up to 10, plow the preamp(s) with too much signal, and expect anything good to happen at the Main output (or buses in your case). You have to maintain unity-gain as much as possible throughout. With an MC console, you cannot cheat by simply turning up the preamps.

As I said, we had a fairly large PA of our own and were often renting out our system for small-medium outdoor festivals, dinosaur bands, multi-band benefits, battle-of-the-bands type things. In those situations where some other soundman would have to mix his band through the MC, you could tell the pros from the hacks pretty quickly. The pros paid attention to the meters and knew if they needed more volume on something it would have to be generated somewhere downstream. Although the MC consoles were fairly decent and fairly common in 2nd-3rd tier rental companies, they were still the low end of the Yamaha console line. The pros who had used them before knew the limitations of the MCs - and the hacks (who couldn't/wouldn't take advice) just kept repeating the same mistakes and having fits. One time, one of the hacks accused us of having a limiter in the amp rack that we'd secretly engaged just to keep him from getting the same volume as everyone else. But the truth is, that when push comes to shove, the MC console will behave almost like a limiter. Once it hits the wall, you're not going to get another fraction of a dB out of it. At that point, your only recourse is to start gaining things down until you're not crushing the signal and start over, this time paying attention to your gain structure.

The guy who ran sound for us all those years is one of my best friends and a master live sound and recording engineer. I've worked with him, doing live sound and recording projects since I was a teenager. He knew the MC2404 and 30 spaces of outboard gear like the back of his hand. But if we were playing a festival or multi-band thing where PA was provided by a bigger rental company or house-system, he was on it. He'd watch the other guys mix and take note of what was working for them and what wasn't. He knew what he was doing and could make us sound good through any system. He often wore a narrow knit necktie and if I'd look up halfway through the first song and see he was adjusting his tie I knew we were off to the races - he'd already adjusted everything else to his satisfaction.

Anyway, good luck with the Yamaha. Be nice to it and it will be nice to you.
 
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