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Author Topic: How to Connect Stage Monitor to Mixer  (Read 1942 times)

jackmoore

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How to Connect Stage Monitor to Mixer
« on: October 14, 2018, 03:50:08 pm »

Hi,

This may be a silly question, but I'm trying to sort out the audio at my church.

We have a Tascam M224 mixer which has a foldback out on it, which I think is more commonly called an Aux Out now. This is a 1/4 jack connection.

We want out musicians to hear themselves so are looking at getting a Mackie SRM450 to be a stage monitor. This however doesn't have a 1/4 jack connection, and instead has XLR and RCA.#

What is the best way to connect this? Do I need to use a DI box or is there a cable I can run to connect this?

Thanks,
Jack
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Brian Jojade

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Re: How to Connect Stage Monitor to Mixer
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2018, 05:43:07 pm »

All you need is a 1/4" to XLR adaptor and you're good to go.
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jackmoore

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Re: How to Connect Stage Monitor to Mixer
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2018, 05:55:04 pm »

All you need is a 1/4" to XLR adaptor and you're good to go.

Thanks!

So this?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/VCE-2-PACK-6-35mm-Stereo-Adapter/dp/B072N56F2S/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1539553703&sr=8-4&keywords=1%2F4+to+xlr+adapter

And then run an xlr across the church to the stage monitor?
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Ray Aberle

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Re: How to Connect Stage Monitor to Mixer
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2018, 08:20:33 pm »

Thanks!

So this?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/VCE-2-PACK-6-35mm-Stereo-Adapter/dp/B072N56F2S/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1539553703&sr=8-4&keywords=1%2F4+to+xlr+adapter

And then run an xlr across the church to the stage monitor?

Yarp. You can also use something like the Audiopile Adapter Cable that will accomplish the same goal.
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Rob Spence

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Re: How to Connect Stage Monitor to Mixer
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2018, 01:37:14 pm »

If buying the speaker, there may be many better choices than the Mackie unless it is practically a gift.


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Brian Jojade

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Re: How to Connect Stage Monitor to Mixer
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2018, 06:18:25 pm »

If buying the speaker, there may be many better choices than the Mackie unless it is practically a gift.


Yeah, I concur with this. The sound of the SRM450 is not the greatest, and as a stage monitor, not all that pleasing.  Of course, there are worse units available, but given the opportunity, I'd stay away from that box.
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jackmoore

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Re: How to Connect Stage Monitor to Mixer
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2018, 04:56:40 am »

If buying the speaker, there may be many better choices than the Mackie unless it is practically a gift.


Yeah, I concur with this. The sound of the SRM450 is not the greatest, and as a stage monitor, not all that pleasing.  Of course, there are worse units available, but given the opportunity, I'd stay away from that box.

What would you recommend instead?

I've seen the JBL EON612 and Yamaha DBR10. Are either of these good?
« Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 04:58:48 am by jackmoore »
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Ken Webster

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Re: How to Connect Stage Monitor to Mixer
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2018, 06:04:48 am »

As you are connecting ľ with XLR, this suggests there may be a mismatch of balanced and unbalanced signal types.  This may in some cases get tricky and there is also the issue of keeping noise low over long unbalanced cabling runs.  So, the 1st thing to determine is the input and output signal types.  ľ TRS may or may not be balanced while ľ TS is always unbalanced.  There are ways to test this but it is easier if your user manual tells you.
I couldnít find a user manual for the Tascam M224 mixer.  However, I did find a service manual here:
http://thesnowfields.com/manuals/Tascam%20M-208,%20M-216%20Service%20Manual.pdf
The service manual suggests that all of the mixerís outputs including XLR! are unbalanced.
The specs on the Mackie SRM450 speakers here: https://www.fullcompass.com/common/files/19262-MackieSRM450V2SpecSheet.pdf
say the XLR input is balanced.

You may/probably be able to connect them directly as suggested but it depends on the type of balanced implementation used (there are 3 major types).  However, even if you do successful connect this way, you are likely to get noise, radio interference etc over what I assume is a long cabling run.  The general rule of thumb with unbalanced cabling is no more than 3 m or 10 ft.  You could use a DI at the mixer end so the major length of the cable is balanced and therefore rejects noise.  A much cheaper way is to use an audio isolation transformer like this:
https://www.selby.com.au/unbalanced-to-balanced-converter-rca-xlr-male.html?gclid=CjwKCAjwmJbeBRBCEiwAAY4VVVAeod1jqQUbSvvYAik7i05J_734gTu6WcAkg2XZkQtXSYSkyiZNnRoC4joQAvD_BwE
The trick is to keep the unbalanced cable as short as possible.

The advantages in doing the connection this way are:
1.   There is no direction between the mixer and the stage amps which eliminates any possibility of ground loop hum which can occur when equipment is operating at different earth potentials and appears to be greatly exacerbated if the earth connection between them is at high impedance which is often the case with aged wiring.
2.   Optimal S/N is maintained.

Ken
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jackmoore

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Re: How to Connect Stage Monitor to Mixer
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2018, 06:33:12 am »

As you are connecting ľ with XLR, this suggests there may be a mismatch of balanced and unbalanced signal types.  This may in some cases get tricky and there is also the issue of keeping noise low over long unbalanced cabling runs.  So, the 1st thing to determine is the input and output signal types.  ľ TRS may or may not be balanced while ľ TS is always unbalanced.  There are ways to test this but it is easier if your user manual tells you.
I couldnít find a user manual for the Tascam M224 mixer.  However, I did find a service manual here:
http://thesnowfields.com/manuals/Tascam%20M-208,%20M-216%20Service%20Manual.pdf
The service manual suggests that all of the mixerís outputs including XLR! are unbalanced.
The specs on the Mackie SRM450 speakers here: https://www.fullcompass.com/common/files/19262-MackieSRM450V2SpecSheet.pdf
say the XLR input is balanced.

You may/probably be able to connect them directly as suggested but it depends on the type of balanced implementation used (there are 3 major types).  However, even if you do successful connect this way, you are likely to get noise, radio interference etc over what I assume is a long cabling run.  The general rule of thumb with unbalanced cabling is no more than 3 m or 10 ft.  You could use a DI at the mixer end so the major length of the cable is balanced and therefore rejects noise.  A much cheaper way is to use an audio isolation transformer like this:
https://www.selby.com.au/unbalanced-to-balanced-converter-rca-xlr-male.html?gclid=CjwKCAjwmJbeBRBCEiwAAY4VVVAeod1jqQUbSvvYAik7i05J_734gTu6WcAkg2XZkQtXSYSkyiZNnRoC4joQAvD_BwE
The trick is to keep the unbalanced cable as short as possible.

The advantages in doing the connection this way are:
1.   There is no direction between the mixer and the stage amps which eliminates any possibility of ground loop hum which can occur when equipment is operating at different earth potentials and appears to be greatly exacerbated if the earth connection between them is at high impedance which is often the case with aged wiring.
2.   Optimal S/N is maintained.

Ken

Thanks for this! Would have missed that. I'm now thinking getting the JBL EON612 or Yamaha DBR10. Are either of these good? And does the same as you said above apply?

Also, the transformer you linked goes to RCA, does it not need to be an XLR output?
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Ken Webster

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Re: How to Connect Stage Monitor to Mixer
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2018, 07:07:17 am »

Thanks for this! Would have missed that. I'm now thinking getting the JBL EON612 or Yamaha DBR10. Are either of these good? And does the same as you said above apply?

Also, the transformer you linked goes to RCA, does it not need to be an XLR output?

I canít advise you on the speakers, best to just go and listen before you buy IMO.  However, you just need a short cable with a ľ TS at one end and RCA at the other to connect the mixer's unbalanced foldback out to the transformer's RCA (16a in link below). Then itís XLR to XLR for the longer balanced line.  We just have a roll of cable and a few spare plugs etc at church that I use to I make up whatever we need.  You can buy converters but they tend to be trouble IME.

https://www.rane.com/note110.html

See connection 13 if you just want to use a direct cable, but I think the transformer is worth the money.  If I had to lash something together fast or for a 1 off, I'd probably use the direct cable method but for the permanent system, definitely recommend a better solution.

Ken
« Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 07:34:25 am by Ken Webster »
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Rob Spence

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Re: How to Connect Stage Monitor to Mixer
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2018, 01:01:03 pm »

Are we sure the 1/4Ē connector is TS and not TRS?

I would skip the EON. Same class as Mackie in my view.
I have bad memories of past EONs.



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Ken Webster

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Re: How to Connect Stage Monitor to Mixer
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2018, 05:59:40 pm »

Are we sure the 1/4Ē connector is TS and not TRS?

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No, not absolutely certain.  The Service manual says all outputs (including XLR) are unbalanced which suggests the 1/4" is most likely TS.  Unbalanced XLR seems highly unusual to me so I am a bit suspicious.  I would always test 1/4" outputs to be absolutely sure what I am dealing with but I don't know what the OP has available to do this and it seems long winded to explain clearly on the forum.  If you think you can, please do so.

Another option for the OP is to have feedback control between the mixer and FB speakers.  Either an equaliser or feedback eliminator could possibly also convert unbalanced to balanced.

Ken
« Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 06:25:00 pm by Ken Webster »
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jackmoore

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Re: How to Connect Stage Monitor to Mixer
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2018, 05:40:34 pm »

No, not absolutely certain.  The Service manual says all outputs (including XLR) are unbalanced which suggests the 1/4" is most likely TS.  Unbalanced XLR seems highly unusual to me so I am a bit suspicious.  I would always test 1/4" outputs to be absolutely sure what I am dealing with but I don't know what the OP has available to do this and it seems long winded to explain clearly on the forum.  If you think you can, please do so.

Another option for the OP is to have feedback control between the mixer and FB speakers.  Either an equaliser or feedback eliminator could possibly also convert unbalanced to balanced.

Ken

How would you check the 1/4 jack?
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Ken Webster

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Re: How to Connect Stage Monitor to Mixer
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2018, 11:29:31 pm »

How would you check the 1/4 jack?

You could test with a meter across TS, RS and TR but Iíve decided the simplest and easiest way to explain it on a forum is just plug any ordinary low impedance stereo headphones into the output jack.  Then bring up the output level until you can hear something.

If you hear the signal only in the left ear, then its unbalanced TS.

If you hear in both, then itís either balanced, or stereo but since this is PA, stereo TRS is most unlikely.  However, in this case if you plug in via a stereo/Mono converter and you have no sound at all, then itís balanced, but if there is sound, itís stereo.

If you hear signal only in the right ear, then you are wearing the phones the wrong way around. 😉
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: How to Connect Stage Monitor to Mixer
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2018, 05:05:22 pm »

You could test with a meter across TS, RS and TR but Iíve decided the simplest and easiest way to explain it on a forum is just plug any ordinary low impedance stereo headphones into the output jack.  Then bring up the output level until you can hear something.

If you hear the signal only in the left ear, then its unbalanced TS.

If you hear in both, then itís either balanced, or stereo but since this is PA, stereo TRS is most unlikely.  However, in this case if you plug in via a stereo/Mono converter and you have no sound at all, then itís balanced, but if there is sound, itís stereo.

If you hear signal only in the right ear, then you are wearing the phones the wrong way around. 😉

If the output connector is unbalanced, then use a short 1/4" TS cable from the output to a passive* direct box with no attenuation to convert to a balanced XLR signal line.

If the output is balanced (or you're not sure) you can still use a 1/4" TS cable and direct box in the exact same configuration. An advantage of a direct box (either way) is that you can easily lift the ground if needed to combat noise.

*Or active, if you already have an active direct box and don't have a passive one to spare.
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Ken Webster

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Re: How to Connect Stage Monitor to Mixer
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2018, 06:33:50 pm »

If the output connector is unbalanced, then use a short 1/4" TS cable from the output to a passive* direct box with no attenuation to convert to a balanced XLR signal line.

If the output is balanced (or you're not sure) you can still use a 1/4" TS cable and direct box in the exact same configuration. An advantage of a direct box (either way) is that you can easily lift the ground if needed to combat noise.

*Or active, if you already have an active direct box and don't have a passive one to spare.

You could but:

I am actually horrified by the suggestion to put possibly unnecessary electronics in the signal path.  Surely the game is to keep the path as clean as possible and to do that you need to determine what is and is not necessary.  Also, some churches run sound on a shoestring budget so the sound person simply can't waste even the smallest resource on an off chance.  The sound person simply must know what they have, and target only the weakest links in the system.

I have used DIs as well as these transformers.  IMO these transformers are the cheaper and more reliable option.  They are well suited to this specific application where impedances and levels are so well defined.  You could certainly do much worse with some of the DIs I've seen over the years.

Ken
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Re: How to Connect Stage Monitor to Mixer
¬ę Reply #15 on: October 19, 2018, 06:33:50 pm ¬Ľ


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