ProSoundWeb Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: How do you know the correct PC headphone OUT level to use?  (Read 603 times)

Mike Henderson

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 174
How do you know the correct PC headphone OUT level to use?
« on: March 05, 2021, 07:49:12 am »

Hey guys, with your pc connected to the Line IN on a Mixer, how does one know the correct Headphone Out level to use please, is this done by ear or by some other method please?
Logged

David Morison

  • SR Forums
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 702
  • Aberdeen, Scotland
Re: How do you know the correct PC headphone OUT level to use?
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2021, 08:32:18 am »

Hey guys, with your pc connected to the Line IN on a Mixer, how does one know the correct Headphone Out level to use please, is this done by ear or by some other method please?

Same way we check any level - activate the PFL function on that mixer input, turn gain up slowly till a healthy but non clipped signal shows on the meters while playing typical content on the source device.
I usually start with the source (ie PC) volume full up for this, as that way I'm less likely to be surprised by any unexpected jump in volume later.
If that's too loud for the mixer (ie you can't lower the gain enough to stay out of clipping), then pad that input either with onboard pad if the mixer is so equipped or outboard eg using a DI between PC and mixer.

HTH,
David.
Logged

Mike Henderson

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 174
Re: How do you know the correct PC headphone OUT level to use?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2021, 09:06:49 am »

Same way we check any level - activate the PFL function on that mixer input, turn gain up slowly till a healthy but non clipped signal shows on the meters while playing typical content on the source device.
I usually start with the source (ie PC) volume full up for this, as that way I'm less likely to be surprised by any unexpected jump in volume later.
If that's too loud for the mixer (ie you can't lower the gain enough to stay out of clipping), then pad that input either with onboard pad if the mixer is so equipped or outboard eg using a DI between PC and mixer.

HTH,
David.

Thx. What I think is to turn up the pc volume to have the mixer show only green led's, if it starts showing the yellow then I drop it back to green, would this work please?
Logged

David Morison

  • SR Forums
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 702
  • Aberdeen, Scotland
Re: How do you know the correct PC headphone OUT level to use?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2021, 09:52:00 am »

Thx. What I think is to turn up the pc volume to have the mixer show only green led's, if it starts showing the yellow then I drop it back to green, would this work please?

On traditional analogue mixers that's pretty much it, yes, some digital mixers have slightly different calibration of their meters, so RTFM for your particular mixer to check.

Also, in case it wasn't clear, do this with the channel muted/fader down and only unmute/raise fader once you're sure your level isn't crazy high ;-)
Logged

Geert Friedhof

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 688
Re: How do you know the correct PC headphone OUT level to use?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2021, 11:18:07 am »

You should use an USB interface. Sounds much better. Preferably with balanced outputs.
Logged

Brian Jojade

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2007
    • HappyMac Digital Electronics
Re: How do you know the correct PC headphone OUT level to use?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2021, 03:41:51 pm »

You should use an USB interface. Sounds much better. Preferably with balanced outputs.

How do you know his machine doesn't have fine audio out capabilities?  Many computers today have perfectly acceptable audio out.  Balanced connections do NOT make a difference in sound quality. They help for noise rejection from external sources, but for short interconnects often are not necessary.

As far as matching the levels from your computer to your mixer, what the other guys said before is generally all you need to do.  Turn on the source, starting at max volume.  Adjust gain on mixer until level is appropriate for your mixer, and you're pretty much done.

Now, in some devices, you may find that running at full tilt output you'll have higher than desirable distortion levels.  Turning the volume down and increasing the gain on the mixer can help.  The last time I ran into that issue was early gen iPods. Newer stuff is so much better in this regard.

If you really wanted to get technical about it, you could measure the voltage coming out of your headphone jack to 'calibrate' everything to be a nice even level, but it's not really necessary.  Most current equipment can comfortable handle signals up to +18dBu which is a little over 6 volts RMS. Headphone outputs generally will max out at around +10dBu, or about 2 volts, so even at wide open you'll be well below the input capability of the mixer.

When working with audio signals, all you need to do is make sure you're within the happy range where you're not distorting anything and you're hot enough that the noise floor is overcome.  That range is SO much greater today than in day's past that it's less necessary to be dead on accurate with levels at all stages of the game.
Logged
Brian Jojade

Mike Caldwell

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2154
  • Covington, Ohio
    • Mike Caldwell Audio Productions
Re: How do you know the correct PC headphone OUT level to use?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2021, 08:22:55 pm »

With a computer you may need some form of isolation between the computer and
the sound system your connection to.
A usb interface or a simple DI on the head phone output.
If the computer is connected to a video system the chances of need some isolation
is even greater.

Remember don't use a straight through TRS cable from the headphone jack to a line input on the mixer.
Get one that breaks out the 3.5 TRS into two lines.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2021, 08:25:33 pm by Mike Caldwell »
Logged

Luke Geis

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2262
    • Owner of Endever Music Production's
Re: How do you know the correct PC headphone OUT level to use?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2021, 10:01:39 pm »

I typically turn the computer's volume all the way up and then click it down two or three taps. I find it is usually best around 70-80% of full volume. Sometimes at full volume, there can be distortion. I find this more prevalent with Mac's, but PC's have done it as well.
Logged
I don't understand how you can't hear yourself

Mike Henderson

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 174
Re: How do you know the correct PC headphone OUT level to use?
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2021, 08:41:54 am »

I typically turn the computer's volume all the way up and then click it down two or three taps. I find it is usually best around 70-80% of full volume. Sometimes at full volume, there can be distortion. I find this more prevalent with Mac's, but PC's have done it as well.

Thanks guys, sorry for the late response, the email notifs from this board does not work for whatever reason.

Yeah Luke that is pretty much what I have always done. I use a quality 3.5mm Y cable.
Logged

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: How do you know the correct PC headphone OUT level to use?
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2021, 08:41:54 am »


Pages: [1]   Go Up
 



Page created in 0.028 seconds with 20 queries.