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Thread: Low synth output

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    Simpler to just slap them into a DI box and use the mic inputs? When I face something a bit lower than usual, like one of my guitars that has trouble plugged into the instrument input of my interface, I just add a compressor in Cubase, with no compression dialled in, enable it and then turn off the auto makeup gain, and turn the knob - it works rather well and I can't detect any noise issues as long as I don't start dropping the guitar volume even further. I would try something like this before spending money.
    If the OP was going to do that he may just as well use the line inputs on those channels since those have the gain needed to get the VU meter levels where he wants them. It's the stereo channels 5-12 that are 1/4" inputs that don't have the gain to get where he 'thinks' he wants the levels to be.
    He's trying to use the mixer as a 'patchbay', leaving cables from different synths plugged in and only enabling the channel(s) that he wants to record sent to the interface. As long as the mixer doesn't throw any noise in he can makeup the gain he doesn't have with the gain control of the interface.
    Mark.......

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  3. #22
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    When the cats away the (gear mice) will play. So..

    I had a ZED14 sitting unused in my attic (long story) and someone on gearslutz told me that unit had gain knobs on mono AND stereo channels. So I hooked it up right next to the Mackie and did a side by side: the same synth voice at max volume into the stereo channels of each, both in pre-fader-listen mode so I could see raw input levels. It was an oboe sound so nothing spiky and I kept keyboard velocity the same.

    With the ZED gain at 0 the ZED had a slightly higher reading but not much. With its max +10db gain the ZED level was just over 0. I did the same test with another synth and had a similar result, both synth outputs were reading around -20 and needed gain. I don't know much about this but from the little I have read on gain staging, starting with a -20 signal is probably not good.

    So I may go with the ZED now and I doubt I'll need +10db on every synth or voice but it will be nice to have it. My old Ensoniq voices are loud and wild. Yes I am using the mixer as a patchbay I am old school. Also the ZED also seems to have less color than the Mackie but I'm not sure yet.

    I have to read up as this discussion is very interesting, thanks and sorry I was absent ha.

    I have found a lot of threads about synths having low output levels which people have tried to address by tweaking voice levels and global synth parameters. I can see that causing me more headaches than adding a gain control.

  4. #23
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    While you likely can setup a 'patchbay' of sorts with a mixer, perhaps a mixer like this would be something to look at in the future...
    Behringer Eurorack Pro RX1602 Rackmount Line Mixer | Sweetwater
    Mark.......

  5. #24
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    Thinking on....I dare say a lot of synths just use a single 5V* supply for the logic circuits and CPU?

    That would give an absolute maximum output of +5dBu and so "operating level" would need to be 20dB below that so the common -20dBV/u figure found makes sense (crap audio engineering but makes sense!)

    *Many can use a 9V wall rat PSU but since they are commonly USB bus powered that 9V is smashed down to a regulated 5V.

    Dave.
    Last edited by ecc83; 04-04-2019 at 22:38. Reason: nil joe yet

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    I suspect the standard is simply to allow connection to guitar amps, nothing cleverer.

  7. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    I suspect the standard is simply to allow connection to guitar amps, nothing cleverer.
    I suspect that's the case, or that instruments like the Fender Rhodes used magnetic pickups that were already compatible with guitar amps so that became the standard for keyboards. If you change from -20dBV output on one product to +4dBu on the next, customers are going to be confused and angry.

  8. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by bouldersoundguy View Post
    I suspect that's the case, or that instruments like the Fender Rhodes used magnetic pickups that were already compatible with guitar amps so that became the standard for keyboards. If you change from -20dBV output on one product to +4dBu on the next, customers are going to be confused and angry.
    Yes well, but at an original price of nearly $1000 you would think they could have stretched to a switch and a couple of resistors!

    Dave.

  9. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecc83 View Post
    Yes well, but at an original price of nearly $1000 you would think they could have stretched to a switch and a couple of resistors!

    Dave.
    It would have been easy to do, but I think it would have confused people rather than met a market need.

  10. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by bouldersoundguy View Post
    It would have been easy to do, but I think it would have confused people rather than met a market need.
    Really? Don't recall any confused gitists regarding the FX loop +4/-10 switches on most of "our" amps? Not talking drummers here?

    Dave.

  11. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecc83 View Post
    Really? Don't recall any confused gitists regarding the FX loop +4/-10 switches on most of "our" amps? Not talking drummers here?

    Dave.
    That changes the operating level of both input and output. If it's in the wrong position you get more noise or more distortion. Maybe a lot of players just wouldn't notice anything other than having to turn a compressor threshold or distortion gain to some extreme position. I bet a lot of guitar players had no idea what it did.

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