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Author Topic: XLR Splitter for 1 Microphone to 2 Different Mixers  (Read 1244 times)

Sean Chen

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XLR Splitter for 1 Microphone to 2 Different Mixers
« on: April 04, 2019, 01:35:47 am »

A group I am working with remotely has been complaining about the audio quality of the mix of their house system. Their main board is A&H GLD. Each source goes into a XLR Y-splitter before splitting to 2 different destinations: 1) XLR input of digital snake hooked up to the GLD, and 2) the studio audio interface for DAW recording. Some are condenser mic that have phantom power on the preamp.

When I heard it, it didnít sound right to me: wouldn the 2 different preamps that are basically hard wired in parallel play nicely? But they assure me that the splitting is not the cause of audio quality degradation. They have recorded many years like this. They also claim that this was how the broadcast system was set up using splitter to send a mic signal to different consoles back in the days. I have not physically been there to check out the set up.

Does anyone have the technical explanation why this would or would not cause problem?
« Last Edit: April 04, 2019, 01:38:48 am by Sean Chen »
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Steve M Smith

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Re: XLR Splitter for 1 Microphone to 2 Different Mixers
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2019, 03:08:22 am »

Should be fine. It's very common to connect inputs to both a FOH and a monitor mixer.


Steve. 
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Brian Bolly

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Re: XLR Splitter for 1 Microphone to 2 Different Mixers
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2019, 03:39:29 am »

To compound on what Steve said, every passive XLR split in existence (read: every FOH/MON split snake not using transformers) is a glorified Y-cable.

A passive split is not a problem.  Unless of course the cables are not wired properly.
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Bob Faulkner

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Re: XLR Splitter for 1 Microphone to 2 Different Mixers
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2019, 06:57:25 am »

Unless there is something very wrong with the splitter, it is not the problem.  Also, you should only need phantom power on one console (either FOH or the DAW) if using a passive splitter.

Sounds like an issue with how the GLD is setup (gain...?  EQ...? channel phase activated on some channels...? etc...)
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Jain John

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Re: XLR Splitter for 1 Microphone to 2 Different Mixers
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2019, 07:19:21 am »

As Bob said it might be the processing. Try bypassing Eq, Compression,Gate,phase even effects either on channels or main bus.
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Art Welter

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Re: XLR Splitter for 1 Microphone to 2 Different Mixers
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2019, 10:26:19 am »

They have recorded many years like this. They also claim that this was how the broadcast system was set up using splitter to send a mic signal to different consoles back in the days. I have not physically been there to check out the set up.
"Back in the days", microphone splits often used transformers, some of which would degrade audio quality. If you have not actually checked out their split, don't rule out crappy transformers.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: XLR Splitter for 1 Microphone to 2 Different Mixers
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2019, 11:09:37 am »

It is *possible* that the 2 input devices have low input impedance and when driven parallel, the microphone "sees" a lower impedance that it was designed for..

That said, in modern devices that circumstance is unlikely.

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Eric Snodgrass

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Re: XLR Splitter for 1 Microphone to 2 Different Mixers
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2019, 12:21:07 pm »

A group I am working with remotely has been complaining about the audio quality of the mix of their house system. Their main board is A&H GLD. Each source goes into a XLR Y-splitter before splitting to 2 different destinations: 1) XLR input of digital snake hooked up to the GLD, and 2) the studio audio interface for DAW recording. Some are condenser mic that have phantom power on the preamp.

When I heard it, it didnít sound right to me: wouldn the 2 different preamps that are basically hard wired in parallel play nicely? But they assure me that the splitting is not the cause of audio quality degradation. They have recorded many years like this. They also claim that this was how the broadcast system was set up using splitter to send a mic signal to different consoles back in the days. I have not physically been there to check out the set up.

Does anyone have the technical explanation why this would or would not cause problem?

If you haven't seen the setup, does this mean that you've only heard the recordings and not the live setup?
If that's the case then it's hard to determine if there is an issue with their setup or with their recordings. 

Are they too far away for you to visit?
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Sean Chen

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Re: XLR Splitter for 1 Microphone to 2 Different Mixers
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2019, 01:16:09 pm »

If you haven't seen the setup, does this mean that you've only heard the recordings and not the live setup?
If that's the case then it's hard to determine if there is an issue with their setup or with their recordings. 

Are they too far away for you to visit?

They are 3 time zones away, but I will have to be on site soon. Let me first find out if they are duplicating phantom power in parallel.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2019, 01:32:44 pm by Sean Chen »
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John Sulek

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Re: XLR Splitter for 1 Microphone to 2 Different Mixers
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2019, 01:39:39 pm »

They are 3 time zones away, but I will have to be on site soon. Let me first find out if they are duplicating phantom power in parallel.

Phantom power in parallel should not cause any issues. Still 48v.
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Stephen Beatty

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Re: XLR Splitter for 1 Microphone to 2 Different Mixers
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2019, 04:26:34 pm »

What didn't sound right? Have you heard the actual recordings?
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Jean-Pierre Coetzee

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Re: XLR Splitter for 1 Microphone to 2 Different Mixers
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2019, 06:00:48 am »

A group I am working with remotely has been complaining about the audio quality of the mix of their house system.

Before messing with all that check the transducers, input and output. If there are crap mics or crap speakers then there is no way it will sound good in the house. After that check the quality of the instruments on stage, if they are all cheap then well crap in = crap out.

Checking the processing has already been mentioned.

Is there anything wrong with the recordings?
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Sean Chen

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Re: XLR Splitter for 1 Microphone to 2 Different Mixers
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2019, 09:09:45 am »

Before messing with all that check the transducers, input and output. If there are crap mics or crap speakers then there is no way it will sound good in the house. After that check the quality of the instruments on stage, if they are all cheap then well crap in = crap out.

Checking the processing has already been mentioned.

Is there anything wrong with the recordings?

I hear their live recording, and it sounds, how should I describe, not as open or transparent, but not technically "problematic". Their external studio recordings don't sound like this.

House speakers EAW FR153Z definitely could use upgrade,  but it shouldn't affect the recording. Perhaps its lack of pattern control causes unwanted bleed into the microphones. I just hooked them up with RCF NXL44a to improve the pattern control of mid lows. It will definitely sound better, but should also help clean up the live mics pickup.

They feel perhaps the preamps on the GLD/AR not as high end as their studio preamps, or the onboarding EFX are not like the studio EFX. I hooked them up with SQ and DX stage box along with Waves interface, so there may be incremental improvements in each of these. They truly wanted to go to DLive or Yamaha QL5,  but I talked them into trying the SQ/DX before taking the plunge for a $20k mixer.

They are using wired Beta 87a for lead vocalists, and I felt there is room for improvement there, and I sent them  KSM9HS, KSM9, & KSM8 to try.

I know, this is a shot gun approach, without me being there to pinpoint the weak link of the system in person.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2019, 10:29:33 am by Sean Chen »
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Don T. Williams

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Re: XLR Splitter for 1 Microphone to 2 Different Mixers
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2019, 04:28:07 pm »

If they are expecting the "live" recording to sound as good as the studio recording, that a pretty high expectation.  I'm not saying it can't be done, but sound on a stage almost never has the same kind of isolation between sources and lack of background noise as can be achieved in a studio.   Very few stages will have the same reverberation, resonance and reflection control, and diffusion characteristics that studios usually achieve.  Theaters are designed to support the live performance firstly from the visual perspective.  Sound in the audience area is important, but not in the same manner or for the same purpose as the recording environment.  This doesn't mean there aren't, or can't be, great live recordings.  But I think most peoples expectation of live recordings are not the same as for that for a studio album.
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Re: XLR Splitter for 1 Microphone to 2 Different Mixers
¬ę Reply #13 on: April 05, 2019, 04:28:07 pm ¬Ľ


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