RME card has UNBALANCED inputs only . . . is that a problem?

Discussion in 'Accessories / Connections' started by tuco, Sep 15, 2004.

  1. tuco

    tuco Guest

    The PCI interface card I'm looking at buying (the RME Digi96/8 PAD) has only UNBALANCED analog inputs. Almost all the threads I've read here talk about the advantage of going all balanced. Should I drop it from consideration or is the lack of balanced inputs not a problem?

    Similar alternative cards like the M-Audio 2496 support both balanced and unbalanced. Open to other interface hardware suggestions. Only need two channels for voice-over work.

    Thoughts? Recommendations?
  2. MrPhil

    MrPhil Guest

    Definitely go balanced if you can get it within your price range. If it means too much strain on your budget, un-balanced may work very well - depending on your environment.
    Where are you supposed record? Are there any disturbances in the building, like hum or high tones that an unbalanced system may pick up?
    How do you plan to connect your mic? Directly to the soundcard, or via a mixer? Mic cables are balanced as default, and you would need that where you plug it in. if you connect it to mixer first, and then via line level from mixer to your soundcard, then unbalanced works.
  3. Sanity Inn

    Sanity Inn Guest


    as a small dealer of Synthax, i made a call and found out you can switch from balanced, to unbalanced via internal software driver,,,

    just thought you may want to investigate further so you don't discount RME line up


  4. tuco

    tuco Guest


    Yes, the preference for balanced was my understanding too. There are nearby power lines/air conditioning system -- could potentially be a problem, but not sure. I'm using mic > channel strip > card. Checked the specs on the channel strip (focusrite voicemaster pro) and it has +4 and -10 BALANCED outs.
  5. tuco

    tuco Guest


    Interesting . . . the manual doesn't say anything about that at all, nor does the RME site.
  6. tuco

    tuco Guest

    Got some clarification from RME tech support:

    "Yes,the inputs can be switched in the cards control panel; maybe the reference is to being able to switch from spdif to AES/EBU(unbalanced or balanced digital) in the cards control panel.Or,being able to switch from "analog"(built-in unbalanced) to "adat" with AEB-4x connected(balanced)."

    So . . . no balanced analog on the RME.
  7. Sanity Inn

    Sanity Inn Guest

    good stuff tuco,,,

    i'll have to have a chat with my distributor,.,,

  8. tuco

    tuco Guest

    The RME FireFace 800 has a full complement of balanced in/outs . . . nice box!


    Thanks for your help.
  9. MrPhil

    MrPhil Guest

    Well, it seems like alright then. I think that un-balanced RME will be safe. You'll just have to get the right kind of cable going from Focusrite to RME.
    To check disturbances you can take a guitar amp, connect a guitar, preferably low budget crap one, pull up volume and some distorsion on the amp, and listen if it picks up disturbances. No more than the usual minor ones that a low budget guitar will give, than you're safe. This may sound very un-professional, but it works. :)
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