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Live Show Splitter Snake Question

Member for

16 years 7 months

I am going to be recording a show this weekend in Detroit and need some advice.

I will be recording with the following:

G5 1.8 Dual
RME 800
Presonus Firestudio
Presonus LT Digimax

I will be taking the Firewire into the mac and linking the others to the RME. Here is my question. The Front of House board is a Crest Century VX and only has unbalanced outs...uggg. So I am thinking that using a splitter snake into my pre's would be much better than using the unbalanced outs into my line in's...right?



Member for

16 years 7 months

csi Mon, 12/17/2007 - 19:54
Hey Bent,

If I went TRS I could be within feet of the FOH console...if I go splitter I will be back stage with the monitor mix.

In regards to sound quality I am looking for the best solution not most convenient.

Let me know what you think.


Member for

17 years 3 months

JoeH Tue, 12/18/2007 - 06:24
I'm with bent on this....if you're right there, next to the FOH board; no big deal, take the unbalanced and make it work. if your cables are under 10 feet or so, and levels are set properly, you'll never know the difference.

On the other hand, if you're going to buy or rent a splitter, you'll need to make sure the live sound folks are aware of it, and cool with it. You'll need to get it in there early - BEFORE they do their line check, sound check, etc. No one will want to be messing with it an hour before show time. With a passive box using transformers, there can also be a level drop, so the sound folks will want to compensate ahead of time for that as well.

If you'll be using one - a passive box with transformers - (and most likely you will), you'll need to decide who's behind the transformers and who's direct. Some splitter boxes are all x-formers to all outs, but often at least ONE feed is a direct out. (Ideally, YOU can be the direct feed, but it's best to check and know which is which.) Hopefully, you'll have ground lift switches on each channel as well. (Whirlwind and Wireworks make some GREAT splitter and stage boxes, if your budget will support it.)

There's optical stage boxes & splitters as well, but that may be overkill for now, unless you know of a good rental company that can supply one just as cheap as the transformer version.

Ideally, you'll want a box with three outs: one for the monitors, one for the FOH/Mains, and one for YOU.

Member for

16 years 7 months

csi Tue, 12/18/2007 - 07:30
Hey guys thanks for helping me out!

I have some more information regarding the Crest FOH board that may affect using the unbalanced outs. Here is what the manual says:

Direct Out
This unbalanced 1/4" TRS jack delivers the direct output signal
(post fader & post mute) from the associated
input channel.

So this would be post EQ right? Meaning if I went this route I would be recording the EQ settings of the house, which this house is not the greatest in sonics. I believe the splitter is a transformer type. Number of tracks is between 18 & 22 total. I am not 100% on this but I believe the monitor console is also a Crest.

Does that help any more in direction?

Member for

13 years 10 months

bent Tue, 12/18/2007 - 08:46
So this would be post EQ right? Meaning if I went this route I would be recording the EQ settings of the house, which this house is not the greatest in sonics.

Yes, and any fader moves and mutes the FOH engineer does will go to tape as well.

That's why I'm saying that I'd rather take a split feed.

I have a Crest X series here, they're good boards. It's a shame that they didn't include a switch for pre/post - I believe you have to jump them internally.

One thing I've done in the past is put XLR 'Y' splits on each input at the splitter so I could run monitors from one half and FOH from the other half of a PM4000. It was dirty work, but it did work (this was in front of the Castle at the MK - it's a lot easier there to get at a splitter than it is to crawl behind the desk).

That might be a solution for you if all else fails.

Here's something else you could do, from the VX manual:
Aux 8 DIR OUT Switch w/LED
Removes the Aux 8 signal from the Aux 8 bus, and assigns the
signal to the direct out 1/4" connector on the rear panel, instead
of the normal post fader Dir Out signal.
AUX 8 PRE Switch w/LED
Switches the Aux 8 signal source between pre and post-fader.

If I'm reading that and the board's schematics correctly, it means that aux 8 can be switched to send the channel pre fader to the direct out.
I've never used the aux in that manner, so I can't vouch for it, also the FOH guy might need all his auxes...

Member for

15 years 7 months

Spase Tue, 12/18/2007 - 11:00
I often use the inserts out of the monitor board in this situation. I like the inserts because they give a line level that is otherwise unaffected by any eq or fader on the channel. Most boards can be set with a jumper for the line outs to do this as well, but they're usually set to post fader.

Member for

15 years 11 months

RemyRAD Tue, 12/18/2007 - 12:13
And this is precisely why I prefer to use transformer isolated splitters. The microphone goes in and comes out to you directly or off the secondary of a splitter transformer. That's the only place where coordination needs to take place. Most recording folks want the direct " first split" as opposed to taking the split from the secondary of the transformer but then you are also supplying phantom power which may not be an advantageous thing to do. I like active splitters like the BSS even less. That's because, the microphone is going through a general-purpose preamp before it gets to your microphone preamp. I'd rather have the transformer's secondary winding in comparison to that, thank you.

I preferred the transformer isolated splitters largely because I like my microphone preamps way better than even the finest PA boards preamps. So even coming off of the secondary of the microphone split transformer, I still get the quality of my sound the way I want it to be. Instead of the XYZ preamp into my Neve 3115 or API 312/3124m.

You never want to take your feed Post fader and especially never Post equalizer. I'm in the process of mixing a live recording that was tracked through a Soundcraft console and so, it's getting mixed through the Neve. If I mixed any of it ITB, you can be sure I'll include at least a single pass through the Neve, just for that flavor.

I like little sprinkles on top
Ms. Remy Ann David

Member for

20 years 6 months

MadMax Tue, 12/18/2007 - 18:13
I'm with Remy...

I've said this before on this subject... and I'll say it again...

Most production companies that I know of (and work for) will NOT let you tie in to the console via inserts or auxes. We'll put a Matrix together for ya', but that's about it.

You'll take a split from the snake or do without the connection... here's the reasoning... You take out a FOH or Mon console in the middle of the show because your gear took a surge, kicked cable, etc... it's either you cough up some serious cash, take the beatin' of a lifetime or both.

Check with the production company and make sure they have a 3Way split... or you need to supply it.

Member for

18 years 3 months

sheet Tue, 12/18/2007 - 19:21
Ditto. I would be calling up the band's tour manager, getting the sound company's name, then making sure that they have the proper splitter. Most sound companies aren't lugging around more than they need. Low budget companies doing local one-offs for sure will not.

As a band engineer, I would help out, but I certainly would not go out of my way to change my workflow for a recording...unless I am getting paid for it and the band knows their mix will suck that night.