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Connect Acoustic Image Clarus to Mixer properly?

I have an Acoustic Image Clarus Series 4 amp:
http://www.soundpure.com/p/acoustic-image-clarus-2-series-4plus-2-channel-amplifier/8177

As well as an Allen & Heath ZED10FX mixer.

What is the correct way to connect the guitar to the Clarus (just one channel), and the Clarus to the mixer? Which out on Clarus should I use, and which in on the Mixer?

We tried the preamp out on the Clarus, to a Line in on the mixer and the signal was weak, so I had to increase the gain on the channel to get anything usable so I'm guessing that wasn't correct. I don't need to use the power from the Clarus, because I have a power head as described in this older thread:

http://recording.org/threads/solved-clipping-on-zed10-mixer.59198/

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Comments

dvdhawk Thu, 12/08/2016 - 15:30

Take the "Direct Out" XLR on the front panel of the Clarus into the channel of your choice on the ZED. Sending a signal that is "mic-input friendly" is the Direct Out's primary purpose in life.

If the incoming signal is too hot for the ZED, engage the "DI Pad" button on the Clarus,
If you get a buzzing noise, try pressing the "Gnd Lift" button on the Clarus.
If you want the tone controls on the Clarus to be reflected in the signal going to the ZED, press the "Post EQ" button on the Clarus.

After that, it should be as simple as establishing good gain structure on the ZED.

Good luck.

dvdhawk Fri, 12/09/2016 - 19:17

The 0 (zero) setting on the output knobs indicates zero cut / zero boost, and is the "Unity" gain level. Ideally, that is the optimum setting - but don't get too hung up on that. Set the channel gain correctly, and if the Aux level for that source is too hot or too cold, make the adjustment. Just try to avoid bottle necks, where the Aux on the channel is high, and the Aux output knob is low (or vice versa). Balance it out.

MC208 Sun, 12/11/2016 - 11:29

That makes sense to me, thanks. One other question I have is about connecting a microphone to channel 1 on the ZED. My question about the mic is with regard to when it's not in use, i.e. when we're recording a backing track and the guitar, I don't want the microphone to come into play. I can turn down the output level on the channel and that keeps the signal from going to the main outs. However, the mic is still being picked up and indicated on the meters. So when you have loud music going, it makes the ZED clip. The only way I've found to take the mic out completely so it doesn't interfere is to unplug it from the channel but I can't imagine that's correct?

dvdhawk Sun, 12/11/2016 - 21:52

Turn the Mic Channel Gain AND Mic Channel Output Level to zero, or unplug it. A more comprehensive mixer would have a Mute button on each channel that would disable the output to the Mains, Monitors, Recording, Aux, and FX all at once, but the ZED 10FX doesn't have them, maybe simply because of limited space on such a compact mixer.

On another note that might be coming into play here and may overlap into the previous thread….

What are you doing with the "Listen" buttons?

When one (and only one) channel's Listen is pressed, two things happen;

1) the audio from that channel will be discretely routed to the headphones, or Monitor Output (if selected), with no regard for that channel Fader Level knob or EQ (PFL = Pre-Fader Listen). That lets you single out one source from your mix, and listen to it individually without disrupting the mix going to your Main Outputs / Recording Outputs.

2) the big LED meters will switch from metering the mains to showing the level of that single channel with the Listen button pressed.

If there is a Listen button pushed, the PFL/AFL light under the meters will light to let you know that you are monitoring the levels of an INPUT channel. Since there are no meters on the individual input channels, using the Listen button can help you visually set the Gains on your channels.

If you leave a Listen button(s) pushed (monitoring an INPUT) the meters might have you believing your Main OUTPUT level is higher, or lower, than it really is. Does that make sense?

You can press more than one Listen button, which occasionally can be useful to monitor multiple channels in the Phones. If you press more than one Listen button, the sum of all those input channels will be sent to the Phones and LED Meters. (Still not the same as metering the actual Output).

If no Listen buttons are engaged, the LED Meters and the Headphones usually default to the Mains.

*Word of caution: Before putting on headphones and pressing Listen buttons, it's a good idea to turn down the Headphone Volume to prevent potential hearing damage.

**Note: Pressing the Listen button on the FX allows you to listen to just the FX mix, there's no Gain to adjust, and it appears to be affected by the FX fader (Level Knob) and EQ (AFL = After-Fader Listen).

MC208 Sun, 12/11/2016 - 22:05

I am in bed as your reply came in. Crap, I thought the listen buttons were for something entirely different! I thought they had to be pushed in because if they aren't, there's no activity on the LED meters. So I have them pushed in on all the channels I use. It's amazing just how many ways one (me) could get it wrong on this mixer. Like every step of the way I learn I set it up wrong lol. So if im just using main for camcorder, and aux for listening to guitar and track, outputs, then none of the listen buttons should be pushed in?

MC208 Mon, 12/12/2016 - 17:01

Didn't get a chance to test the guitar today, but I did de-press the listen buttons and tested the backing track, sure enough, the levels looked entirely different without those buttons pushed. You're the man!

One more question - we might try micing the guitar for solo guitar recording by way of that Clarus and a raezer's edge amp. I have a Shure SM58 microphone. Any tips on that with the ZED?

dvdhawk Mon, 12/12/2016 - 22:30

You didn't really give much information to go on.

Electric guitar, acoustic with a built-in pick-up? Is the Raezer's Edge a combo amp, or just a speaker cabinet? You generally don't want to run an amplifier into an amplifier. If you do it wrong, results could vary from just being needlessly complicated, to looking for the nearest (preferably Halon) Class C fire extinguisher - depending on how wrong you got it.

If it's a combo amp:
Guitar -> ¼" TS Shielded Instrument Cable -> Raezer's Edge

SM58 in front of cabinet -> Mic Cable -> ZED Mic Input -> Go Nuts

If it's a speaker cabinet:
Guitar -> ¼" TS Shielded Instrument Cable -> Clarus -> Unshielded Speaker Cable -> Speaker Cabinet

SM58 in front of cabinet -> Mic Cable -> ZED Mic Input -> Go Nuts

The position of the mic in front a speaker is a matter of personal preference and experimentation. An SM57 or SM58 (as most other cardioid-pattern, dynamic mics) right up against the grill will have a lot of "proximity effect", where the bass gets heavily emphasized, but that's one reason a lot of people like using 57s and 58s. ( am not one of those people, but it's a classic, familiar sound. The tone and definition will change as you work the mic from the edge of the cone to the center. Turning the mic a few degrees left/right as you work the mic can make a difference you may like. The best place to start is to put your head in front of the amp (one ear turned toward the speaker) and try to let your ear find the sweet-spot, then put the mic where your ear says it sounds best. You'd be surprised how few people will bother to do something so simple.

MC208 Wed, 12/14/2016 - 13:10

Testing now, the Direct out XLR is working. I didn't even need to add any gain on the ZED. Is that normal as I remember you said to establish a good gain structure on the ZED.

The EQ controls are coming through on the ZED as you said they would, however, the Effects are not being sent through that direct out. Is there a way to get the effects from the Clarus into the signal?

Attached a couple of photos of the equipment.
The output from the Clarus is going into channel 2 on the mixer photo.
Notice, the gain on the channel is all the way down, plenty of signal strength from Clarus.

Attached files

dvdhawk Thu, 12/15/2016 - 11:10

To me, the signal flow chart they have in the manual looks like in the "Post EQ" setting the Direct Out should include the effects (both internal and external).

The ¼" TRS Pre-Out jacks on the back panel look like they should include effects, as would the Simulated Stereo outputs.

The next question is, would the Reverb and Delay effects you're looking for be just as easily applied in the FX section of the ZED?

MC208 Thu, 12/15/2016 - 11:51

Yes, we are using the effects in the mixer. Just wanted to hear how the effects sound from the Clarus. No big deal really. Did notice a buzz that wasn't cleared when pressing the gnd lift button. Didn't get buzz when going direct into the mixer.. But it could be my xlr cable. Will have to test with another.

MC208 Fri, 06/16/2017 - 09:56

dvdhawk, post: 445706, member: 36047 wrote:

If it's a speaker cabinet:
Guitar -> ¼" TS Shielded Instrument Cable -> Clarus -> Unshielded Speaker Cable -> Speaker Cabinet

SM58 in front of cabinet -> Mic Cable -> ZED Mic Input -> Go Nuts

So if I go into channel 1 of the Clarus with the guitar, does it matter which speaker output from the Clarus (looking at it from the back panel, there's a left and right) I plug into the speaker cabinet?

MC208 Fri, 06/16/2017 - 14:24

We did some test recording with the speaker mic'd. I connected the USB to the computer, and used that as a source for recording directly to the Vegas timeline. Have some questions about setting levels though. See attached photo. I had to take this microphone level setting in Windows all the way down almost because the signal was super strong. What should the input gain on the channel be set to? I'm using the first MIC channel on the ZED.

Also, what about phantom power for the mic? it didn't seem to make a difference on or off. First it was off but the mic was still working, and then I thought about it so I turned it on, but no change. Does the Shure not req phantom power?

One other question, that I think I know the answer to.. In order to record the mic'd guitar with a backing track, the performer would have to use head phones, correct? We can't play the track through speakers because the guitar mic would pick it up. Any way around using head phones?

Attached files

dvdhawk Sat, 06/17/2017 - 14:41

I don't have any experience using the A-H stuff via USB. The ZED series apparently doesn't require their own specific drivers. Do you have any other USB choices if you scroll down on the audio input options? A generic USB mic input might be applying too much gain, even at such a low setting - expecting it to be a simple microphone that hasn't already been amplified twice. Do the corresponding levels in Vegas change when you adjust the volume settings on the ZED?

If it's a Shure SM57 or SM58, no it would not require phantom power. Unless something else requires it, leave it off.

You're right, playing with backing tracks will require headphones unless you're OK with a certain amount of bleed. There are tricks that can help minimize the bleed discussed and demonstrated HERE, but I don't know if you're ready for that yet. No offense intended, but given your equipment and other questions, I'm not sure you're equipped for the phase-reversal technique demonstrated.

MC208 Sun, 06/18/2017 - 11:36

No, no drivers required, just plugin the USB cable in, and that's how it gets recognized. There's of course other options, but that is the option that corresponds with the ZED. Perhaps this is a question for AH. And yes, when I arm the track for recording in Vegas, having selected that USB input, I'm able to record and change the volume levels. But I have to turn that level down in the screenshot, in Windows, nearly all the way down or it's just way too much volume coming in.

Thanks for clarification on the phantom power.

Thanks, I watched the video you linked to. I understand what he said he did, but not sure how it works. He recorded his vocalist, then he recorded the song without the vocalist to capture the bleed that was getting picked up by the vocalist's mic. Then he did something in his software that subtracted the bleed out. The something is the part I didn't understand, and I don't even know if whatever he did can be done in Vegas? If it is possible to do in Vegas, I wonder if I could put the RE cabinet and mic in an adjacent closed off room to minimize the bleed, and then apply that technique? The guitarist would still be able to hear the guitar through the AUX mix. Perhaps, I can have the guitarist record at the lowest volume he's comfortable with to minimize that amount of bleed.

dvdhawk Mon, 06/19/2017 - 11:00

To clarify, when you are recording via USB, and you make physical volume adjustments on the ZED (turn down the Master Volume / turn down the Mic Channel for instance) is the volume change you've made on the ZED reflected in a lower reading on the meters in Vegas?

Is one of those other USB input options "USB Audio Codec"?

Because according to A-H Support, "Just plug the mixer into a computer via USB and your're ready to go,
the device will present itself as 'USB Audio Codec' in your audio software or operating system."

MC208 Tue, 06/20/2017 - 12:23

Yes that's what it says, USB Audio Codec. The top one in the screenshot. That's the input that controls the ZED. And yes, if I make adjustments on the mixer, they are of course reflected in a change on the meters in Vegas. I know that's the correct device. I just don't understand why it says Microphone when it's not a Microphone.

Do you think I need to dump this ZED mixer and get something else?