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I guess the question should be simple:

I own a Juli@ interface from ESI, it has always been a fantastic-sounding tool, and it's got a unique feature: it lets you swap the card into two positions, RCA unbalanced I/O and TRS balanced I/O.

I've always stuck to the rca because I always used it solely to record synths, and they had much more volume through the rca input than the TRS (some people here told me this has to do with the level of the synth outputs and that that's the way they behave as they are instruments), but the thing is that now the situation has changed (or is about to): I've acquired a Mackie 402-vlz3 mixer to record basses and guitars with (perhaps some day even vocals) and I'm planning to buy a pair of decent monitors.

as regards the Mackie mixer, I see that its outputs are either balanced or unbal, which I guess would allow me to connect them straight to the rca inputs in juli@, and most monitors, as far as I've seen, also have either rca unbal or trs/XLR balanced inputs; so the question is...

I realise that I can probably stick with the rca setup all throughout (unbal cables from the mixer into the juli@ and unbal cables from the juli@ to the monitors), but would it be sensible to do so? would I get a better sound quality if I change the whole setup toward TRS balanced? (bal TRS from the mixer to juli@, and bal TRS from juli@ to the monitors?)

is it necessary or should I try both settings up and see what happens?

any help appreciated! cheers!


djmukilteo Thu, 03/04/2010 - 19:15

You can certainly try out both and you can use both...see what you think, but using balanced (TRS or XLR) inputs and outputs throughout your system is always preferred! Some things are unbalanced to begin with, so sometimes it's just better to stick with that...that's my approach anyway. If I'm using some CD player that has RCA connectors unbalanced and that's all it has...then I'll use unbalanced RCA cables, if the equipment has balanced connectors then I will use those instead....

djmukilteo Thu, 03/04/2010 - 19:43

yes...balanced connections will always have less chance of noise getting into the signal for recording and playback!
you keep asking it is fun chatting...and I think this is exactly what the forum is for!!
chatting with people from all over the world who have the same interest in music and recording!!

ferchis Thu, 03/04/2010 - 19:58

yes! It looks more like chatting, and I have to say that I REALLY appreciate your help and support, dj. to be honest, I sometimes find it so hard to read some posts here because of the disguised "hostility" towards newbies such as myself (I'm aware that it might be way TOO much to put such a word, but I can't help feeling that way when reading some responses), I feel as if it were a sin to start recording and not be experienced. and there's the other downside: if you listen to the advice given by experts and try inserting your OWN ideas, that could lead to some serious patronising...

nevertheless, I really find the forum extremely useful since I've learnt a lot from pros and not-so-pros

djmukilteo Thu, 03/04/2010 - 20:46

I think in life and the world, there are all kinds of people with all kinds of agendas, personalities and attitudes. Some people have an attitude some don't....this is a great discussion forum with lots of experts with lots of different experience levels. I don't claim to be an expert by any means but I enjoy this forum and reading posts and if I can I offer some help or explanation, fine...I give it my best shot anyway. I might not always have the best advice, but that's why this is such a great place....someone will always come along with more expertise than you have and correct you....I try and learn something new everyday...wanting to learn new things and ask questions should never be avoided....but that's just my opinion!....