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Low Signal Output-Do I Need A Powered Mixer?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Bryan R. Tyler, May 16, 2005.


  1. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    I'm new at this PC recording thing, so please bear with me. Right now I've got an XLR out from my Sansamp RBI preamp going into the breakout box on my Delta 44 soundcard. When playing straight into the amp, I have a fairly low output into my recording programs, even with the XLR volume on at 3 o'clock. Now, when I add my Boss GT-6B into my signal chain between my bass and the preamp, my signal boosts up to what it should.

    Does this mean I should be plugging my XLR out into a small mixer or something to boost the signal into my PC? If so, does anyone have a recommendation for a small inexpensive unit? Thanks!
     
  2. Droog

    Droog

    Aug 14, 2003
    PDX
    I am not familiar with the gain staging of the RBI but... Generally a DI is a mic level signal intended to be going to a mic preamp to be boosted to line level. Being as you are taking the DI/XLR out and going into a line input on the Delta you may be bypassing a needed gainstage. The fact that the Boss is getting your signal where you like it could just mean that it is driving the RBI hotter. If you don't need to hook into your poweramp you may try taking the 1/4" out of the RBI and running that into the Delta. I thinkt he Delta is balanced or unbalanced. That should be a hot enough signal.

    As far as powered mixers go, I think you may have a misconception about them. A powered mixer is simply a mixer with a power amp in it. You can jack it straight into a PA cabinet and power it. Where as a regular mixer simply functions as a mixer, mic pres', faders, Eq, etc. and must be then plugged into a power amp and then PA cabinet. As far as gain staging for a source such a Mic,instrument or other, they function the same. If you simply want a mixer for recording uses then a simple non powered mixer is what you need. I like the Mackie stuff, tuff and cheap.

    Oh yeah you may be able to go into the Delta set up and change your line level input from +4 to -10, that may get you the appropriate level for using just the RBI. Also, you must be using an XLR to 1/4 cable, right?
     
  3. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    I use a cheap Behringer UB 802 mini mixer.
    Works fine for PC recording, and a bunch of other stuff.
    $49.
     
  4. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Thanks for your answers. I tried doing a line out to the Delta from the RBI where I normally line out to my power amp, and it does boost the signal to where I want it. The problem is, I'd like to hear myself through my amp if possible as well (my PC's speakers are terrible for monitoring). Here's a diagram of the back:
    [​IMG]

    I was using an XLR to 1/4" cable. The instruction manual lists the Sansamp XLR output to go to the recorder, so I had thougth it was at instrument level-it makes sense why the volume was so low if it's not. And the little button was pushed in to be at 0db, not out with a -20 db cut. In my Delta 44 control panel, everything's boosted to 0.0 dB; that appears to be the max with -144 db being the lowest. Am I looking in the right place?

    Thanks for the mixer info as well- I don't know musch about that stuff yet.
     
  5. Droog

    Droog

    Aug 14, 2003
    PDX
    I think the best choice would be to get a mixer or a mic pre of some sort. There are plenty of affordable (and not affordable) modles out there. M-audio has the Audio Buddy, 2 channel pre for 100 or so.

    However in the mean time you may be able to use your effects loop. Provided its is wired half normal, which simply means it does not break the signal when you plug into to effects out jack. I see there is a mix adjustment, you may have to toy with that to get optimal results.
     
  6. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut

    In the meantime, I figured out that I can line out to the Delta with the Sansamp out, and line out to my power amp through the uneffected out. What I hear through my amp is just my bass without the Sansamp eq, but it was close enough for me tonight (had to add bass to some mp3s and send them out).

    So how does the mixer work? Would I line out to it from the XLR out, then from it I'd be able to boost the volume to instrument level?
     
  7. Droog

    Droog

    Aug 14, 2003
    PDX
    Close, but your vernacular is not correct. Yes you would take the XLR out of the RBI, remember this is "mic" level. You would then go into a mic pre on a mixer (or a stand alone mic pre) and here is where you boost it to "line" level. That line level signal would then go to your line input on the Delta. The only place where instrument level occurs is coming out of your instrument, stomp boxes usually want an instrument level signal.

    I think the thinking behind the RBI is that if you are using it as a pre amp you would be using the line out for a poweramp and the XLR/DI out to go to the front of house or a mixer input. You just don't happen to have a mic input with your system, yet!
     
  8. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    You need a mixer, but not a powered one. Powered mixers are for running speakers. A regular mixer has a small preamp in it, which is all you need. A powered mixer has preamps on the inputs and a power amp.

    I use a SansAmp into my cheap Behringer mixer, works great.
     
  9. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Thank you for clearing that up for me- I think I'll spend some time on Home Recording BBS to get my knowledge of this stuff (and the proper terms) up to snuff. Thanks for all your help, Droog.

    And finger blister and seanm, I'll check out the Behringer mixers. I normally avoid their products, but since I only need a small inexpensive model for my needs, I imagine them or Yamaha are the way to go.
     
  10. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    After checking several out (and going to Home Recording BBS-I love forums that use the same software as TalkBass :)), I think I'll get the Yamaha 12/4. Thanks, guys.
     
  11. Droog

    Droog

    Aug 14, 2003
    PDX
    Cool! Happy recording!
     
  12. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I looked into that one. Good choice. I think you will enjoy it.