The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Preamp to USB Interface - XLR or TRS?
Old 25th February 2013
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Preamp to USB Interface - XLR or TRS?

Here's my scenario: I'm running my condensor mic (Oktavamod MK-319) into a ART MP Project Series preamp (XLR->XLR), then from that I need to go into my USB interface, which is a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.

Now, from the ART preamp I have the output choice of either Balanced XLR or Unbalanced 1/4". On the Scarlett, both the 1/4" inputs and XLR are balanced. For reference on the specifics see page 4 here: http://artproaudio.com/files/owners_...ubemppsusb.pdf

The 1/4" out from the preamp has a lower signal level, line output, which is what i want I believe, but i didn't know if I should use it because it's unbalanced. I'm talking a 3 foot run here, maybe 6, so it's not that long.
The Scarlett 1/4" takes line input and almost completely bypasses the preamp, so that's why I think I should be using a TRS cable, but I'm not sure.

Should I be using a TRS cable? Or run a XLR cable from the preamp to the Scarlett??

My setup is for voice over work.
Old 25th February 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Analok's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Personally I'd go XLR to XLR, for this seems to be the only way you're going to have true balanced signals point to point. Regardless how short the cable runs are, balanced connections will grant you the best signal available. And as you say your pre's 1/4" outs are unbalanced, a TRS plug here will have no benefit, for you'd only be utilizing two of it's three contact points. You "could" go XLR to TRS, but I feel you'd then end up with "one trick pony" cables-cables that'd find no other use within your setup. Whereas XLR>XLR might find use in the future for monitors, mics etc. HTH
Old 25th February 2013
  #3
Lives for gear
 
loujudson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
For under six feet balanced hardly matters. Why not try it both ways and see what works best?
Old 25th February 2013 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Analok ➡️
Personally I'd go XLR to XLR, for this seems to be the only way you're going to have true balanced signals point to point. Regardless how short the cable runs are, balanced connections will grant you the best signal available. And as you say your pre's 1/4" outs are unbalanced, a TRS plug here will have no benefit, for you'd only be utilizing two of it's three contact points. You "could" go XLR to TRS, but I feel you'd then end up with "one trick pony" cables-cables that'd find no other use within your setup. Whereas XLR>XLR might find use in the future for monitors, mics etc. HTH
What I don't want is to amplify the signal twice, once at the preamp and then again on the Scarlett. I think if you use the xlr input on the Scarlett, it will amplify the signal, but I don't think the 1/4" jack does. So I guess that begs the question, if I went xlr-trs, would that work?

But then the signal still isn't a line level signal out of the preamp... This is quite confusing for a noob like me!!
Old 25th February 2013
  #5
Lives for gear
 
loujudson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Both outputs are line level, one is just 6 dB lower. Just try it both ways, and even using a guitar type TS cable. See what sound bst and gives best gains settings. You won't hurt anything by trying it and just might learn more than the internet can tell you.
Old 25th February 2013
  #6
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
You don't want to go XLR to XLR as you'll be running the output of your mic preamp (now line level) to the Mic input of the Focusrite.

From the manual:

Quote:
Note the Scarlett 2i2 has no “Mic/line” switch – the Focusrite preamplifier stage is automatically configured for a microphone when you plug an XLR into the input, and for a line or instrument when you connect a jack plug. Set the LINE/INST switch next to the socket to INST if you are connecting a musical instrument (a guitar in the example) via an ordinary 2-pole (TS) guitar jack, or to LINE if you are connecting a line level source such as the balanced output of a stage piano via a 3-pole (TRS) jack.
You could go 1/4" to 1/4" but then it will be unbalanced.

I would buy (or make) an XLR to 1/4" TRS cable and go out of your preamp XLR and into the Focusrite 1/4" TRS.

In fact, that's exactly how I do it for voiceover work.

Good luck.
Old 25th February 2013 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by zm15 ➡️
What I don't want is to amplify the signal twice, once at the preamp and then again on the Scarlett. I think if you use the xlr input on the Scarlett, it will amplify the signal, but I don't think the 1/4" jack does.
Correct. Only plug microphones into the XLR of the Scarlett.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zm15 ➡️
So I guess that begs the question, if I went xlr-trs, would that work?
Ding ding ding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zm15 ➡️
But then the signal still isn't a line level signal out of the preamp... This is quite confusing for a noob like me!!
All of the signals coming out of the preamp are line level. But if you use TS instead of TRS it will be unbalanced.

Quote:
The 1?4” Output jack is unbalanced and has an output impedance of 600 Ohms. It can be used to send signals to an amplifier, processor, line input on a computer, or any unbalanced input. The output level is 6dB less than the XLR Output and the slightly higher output impedance makes it a better choice for driving into more sensitive inputs like on an instrument amp. Since it can still put out up to +20dBu, the Output control should be set at lower levels when driving sensitive equipment.
I would use the XLR output.
Old 25th February 2013
  #8
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Thanks for the awesome replies everyone, super helpful.

So, what/why would I use use the 1/4" out on the preamp for? If its unbalanced and 6db less than xlr?
Old 25th February 2013 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by zm15 ➡️

So, what/why would I use use the 1/4" out on the preamp for? If its unbalanced and 6db less than xlr?
For plugging into unbalanced equipment. Like a guitar amplifier or an unbalanced input on your interface.

Being that you have a balanced input on your Scarlett, you should use it.
Old 25th February 2013 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia ➡️

In fact, that's exactly how I do it for voiceover work.
When you do Voice Over work, what does your signal chain and connections look like? (Mic, preamp, interface, etc...)
Always curious about how other vo artists set up their studio.
Old 25th February 2013 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by zm15 ➡️
When you do Voice Over work, what does your signal chain and connections look like? (Mic, preamp, interface, etc...)
Always curious about how other vo artists set up their studio.
I make tutorials. See my sig.

So I have a dedicated iMac 27" for making and editing the videos. I also have a Pro Tools TDM system in the same room for record production. So I use all my typical recording equipment for the voiceover. Except I needed another computer interface for the iMac computer. I chose a cheap Tascam $100 unit.

But the mic preamp sounds horrible so I did like you are doing and use an outside preamp.

I'm using a Brauner Valvet into a Chandler TG2 into a Distressor (compression) into a Daking EQ into my computer interface.

It's overkill for voiceover but it's what I use for recording.

Good luck.
Old 25th February 2013 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia ➡️
I make tutorials. See my sig.
Hey Kenny, I'm not seeing any links in your signature. I'm a video guy myself, so send me a PM or post them here and we can talk shop.

That's an insane setup!! Wow, super nice.

Thanks a ton for your detailed help!!
Old 25th February 2013
  #13
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Here you go:



Feel free to PM me with any questions or you post them here.

Thanks
📝 Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 167 views: 71543
Avatar for adam_f
adam_f 2 weeks ago
replies: 2543 views: 484701
Avatar for didier.brest
didier.brest 3 days ago
replies: 52 views: 136906
Avatar for paul12341234
paul12341234 23rd January 2021
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump