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I was wondering if anyone could bring me some clarity (of mind AND sound) for my little problem.

I am running a keyboard mixer in the front of house (for live performances) and use a Mackie 1202 VLZ. It gives me lots of control as well as 3 separate mixed outs. With this mixer, i have my keyboards (obviously) as well as a good amount of rack gear... Compressors, FX, etc...

My question is...
will running these pieces of rack gear (inserts and sends) give me better results if i run them balanced? most of them do have balanced outs, and the Mackie has all balanced ins and outs... so i have the option to do either TRS or 1/4.

If i have the option to give a balanced out of my mix to the House, should i do that? or use a DI box with a line level signal?

i'm going to need to buy a lot of new cables and i just wanted to get this all strait so i dont buy the wrong ones.

thanks for your help!


RemyRAD Thu, 01/18/2007 - 22:13

While balanced circuits can prevent interference from appearing in your signal, it's really only necessary for longer cable runs and if you are having interference problems from broadcast facilities and other electrical interference.

Sometimes, in the case of interfacing your equipment with a PA Company's equipment, your 3 pin balanced outputs can still cause problems since the grounds are connected, in most cases. The PA Company, may prefer to use a transformer isolated direct injection box. They would do this because the transformer electrically isolates each device from each other, while allowing one to "lift" or disconnect the grounds.

In many cases, unbalanced can provide a better quality signal since less circuitry and devices are needed. One of the most famous hit record mastering facilities, which had all custom-made equipment, was specified to be unbalanced since this actually creates a better "LESS IS MORE" signal path.

So the answer to your question is, if you are having problems with interference, humz and buzzes, go balanced. If you're not having problems like that, then make sure you just KISS and make nice.

Don't worry darling, mother still loves you.
Ms. Remy Ann David

anonymous Fri, 01/19/2007 - 11:12

thats most illuminating. thanks so much for your reply! I'll probably go unbalanced for most of the chains...
i do have some hum problems with one of the keyboards, but i have a hum-eliminator that seems to bring it down quite a bit. Though i might try a balanced line to see if that does it too...