IPB

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

 
Reply to this topicStart new topic
Hooking up PC to powered speakers with XLR?, How to connect to pro-audio gear?
TooSteep
post Feb 9 2012, 19:44
Post #1





Group: Members
Posts: 26
Joined: 10-August 06
Member No.: 33910



Hello all:

I believe I am about to come in to possession of a pair of powered DJ speakers. I believe they have XLR connectors on the back.

What is the simplest method of connecting my PC to them and controlling the volume from my desk, strictly for playback (no recording)?

Right now, I have an external 24-bit USB box, with analog RCA outs that I run into my amplifier that sits on a shelf at the side of my room. The amp has a simple little remote control that I use from my desk to control the volume on my stand-mounted monitors. I keep the volume control in Windows and on Foobar set to maximum - assuming (hoping?) that it gives me maximum bit depth for the music.

Is there a 'de facto' standard method around here for hooking up to Active pro-audio gear?

Thanks.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
punkrockdude
post Feb 9 2012, 20:05
Post #2





Group: Members
Posts: 267
Joined: 21-February 05
Member No.: 20022



Be sure that the output that the sound card puts out does not exceed the input the speakers can take. For example if your sound card output +21 dBU and your speakers accepts up to let's say +18 dBU then you might get clipping since the sound card can output 3 dB more than your speakers can recieve. If hope I have got it right. If not, someone else will correct me.

Check your active monitors that any eq shelves on the back is set to their 0 positions to start with to have an unaltered sound. Regards.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
DVDdoug
post Feb 9 2012, 20:17
Post #3





Group: Members
Posts: 2712
Joined: 24-August 07
From: Silicon Valley
Member No.: 46454



QUOTE
I believe I am about to come in to possession of a pair of powered DJ speakers. I believe they have XLR connectors on the back.
Virtually all computer speakers are powered/active. Just make sure those are line-level inputs, not microphone inputs.

The XLR is normally a balanced connection (two "push-pull" signal wires plus a ground). But, with the appropriate adapter, you can connect unbalanced (computer or "RCA") signals.

If you know how to solder, this page has all of the information about mixing & matching balanced & unbalanced connections. There are "more adavanced" ways of converting between balanced & unbalanced connections involving transformers or active adapter boxes, but these are usually not necessary for home use.

QUOTE
I keep the volume control in Windows and on Foobar set to maximum - assuming (hoping?) that it gives me maximum bit depth for the music.
It's generally a good idea to keep the strongest signal possible though the audio-chain. But, any loss of bits/resolution at low listening levels is at levels you can't hear anyway. Essentially the same thing happens with analog... i.e. The signal-to-noise ratio is reduced when you lower the volume, but hopefully the noise is below the threshold of hearing and at low levels, you can't hear the little low-level details. The "damage" happens only when you reduce the level (analog or digital) and then re-amplify it.

And, any noise you hear from the active speakers will be more noticeable if you reduce the volume digitally. (The analog gain control on the speakers may reduce the signal and noise together). But hopefully, you won't be hearing noise from the speakers and this won't be an issue
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
dumdidum
post Feb 9 2012, 20:23
Post #4





Group: Members
Posts: 57
Joined: 21-January 12
From: Germany
Member No.: 96595



well, there are volume controls for studio monitors (e.g., tc electronic level pilot). there are also variations of these that come with a remote.

however, the problem with those volume controls/monitor management devices from your perspective is that they come with balanced ins and outs. i mean, you could go from your 24-bit interface into a DI box to a volume control and finally to your monitors. but that's a bit convoluted as a solution, you'd have to add two pieces of gear.

alternatively, you could purchase an audio interface with balanced outputs. or maybe the monitors have RCA inputs. (in fact, most DJ monitors do.) also, some DJ monitors include a volume control (e.g., pioneer s-dj05/08)
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
punkrockdude
post Feb 9 2012, 20:41
Post #5





Group: Members
Posts: 267
Joined: 21-February 05
Member No.: 20022



QUOTE (dumdidum @ Feb 9 2012, 20:23) *
however, the problem with those volume controls/monitor management devices from your perspective is that they come with balanced ins and outs. i mean, you could go from your 24-bit interface into a DI box to a volume control and finally to your monitors.
Isn't a DI box' intention to convert a high Z to low Z?

This post has been edited by punkrockdude: Feb 9 2012, 20:41
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
dumdidum
post Feb 9 2012, 21:06
Post #6





Group: Members
Posts: 57
Joined: 21-January 12
From: Germany
Member No.: 96595



QUOTE (punkrockdude @ Feb 9 2012, 20:41) *
Isn't a DI box' intention to convert a high Z to low Z?

yeah, usually it takes high impedance unbalanced and converts to low impedance balanced. they're also used to break ground loops. is there something deeper behind your question? that is, are you trying to say my suggestion of using a DI box is unreasonable?
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
punkrockdude
post Feb 9 2012, 21:57
Post #7





Group: Members
Posts: 267
Joined: 21-February 05
Member No.: 20022



QUOTE (dumdidum @ Feb 9 2012, 21:06) *
QUOTE (punkrockdude @ Feb 9 2012, 20:41) *
Isn't a DI box' intention to convert a high Z to low Z?

yeah, usually it takes high impedance unbalanced and converts to low impedance balanced. they're also used to break ground loops. is there something deeper behind your question? that is, are you trying to say my suggestion of using a DI box is unreasonable?

Did I make you upset?
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
TooSteep
post Feb 10 2012, 03:30
Post #8





Group: Members
Posts: 26
Joined: 10-August 06
Member No.: 33910



Interface that takes USB input, outputs XLR and has a volume control?

It looks like these ones only have XLR inputs. So it seems that I want an interface that accepts a USB input, has an internal DAC, has XLR outputs, and has a volume control. I guess I could sit it on my desk and have a long run of XLR to the speakers.

Any suggestions on a good quality interface, with minimum extra features, and minimum processing in the volume control?

Thank you.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
TooSteep
post Feb 10 2012, 04:12
Post #9





Group: Members
Posts: 26
Joined: 10-August 06
Member No.: 33910



Passive Volume Attenuator

I just found this:
http://www.smproaudio.com/index.php/en/pro...llers/nanopatch
http://www.amazon.com/SM-Pro-Audio-Passive.../ref=pd_cp_MI_0

I think it is exactly what I need. It appears that it will accept the unbalanced analog RCA outs from my USB DAC (I'll need an RCA-to-1/4" stereo TRS cable), and feed the active monitors using a 1/4" TRS-XLR speaker cable.

It's a lot of wires and boxes, but it should do the trick if I cannot find a USB-DAC/attenuator combo.

Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
pawelq
post Feb 10 2012, 05:05
Post #10





Group: Members
Posts: 541
Joined: 20-December 05
From: Springfield, VA
Member No.: 26522



QUOTE (TooSteep @ Feb 9 2012, 21:30) *
Interface that takes USB input, outputs XLR and has a volume control?

For example, an M-Audio Fast Track Pro like on playing in front of me right now. It has TRS (not XLR) balanced outputs, but that's not a problem, you'll just get two TRS-to-XLR cables, like I did.


Fast Track Pro has analog volume control on line out (speaker) outputs, and separate analog volume control on headphone output. There are also unbalanced RCA outputs. It has some additional features, like microphone preamps with Phantom Power, but I did not mind getting them as the interface is rather cheap anyway (I think I paid ~$150 at B&H and got a free dynamic microphone as a bonus). Ultimately, I even used these Phantom Power preamps a few times.

Quality is not bad, the line out volume pot could be better. Sometimes it can slightly crackle when turned, and there is also a bit of channel imbalance but both only occur right above zero, extremely low levels, which I never use anyway. At low, normal, and high volume levels - no problems.

Rarely I experience problems with USB transmission, typically when graphic intensive operations are performed on the computer - tests on another computer suggest that this may be a pecular feature of my machine.

Headphone amp could produce a bit higher volume than it does with my low-sensitivity Sennheisers HD580; I guess it could be remedied if I powered the interface from a 9V power supply, not from 5V USB.


There are several other options, e.g., Lexicon Alpha, Alesis iO2 Express, PreSonus AudioBox USB, E-mu 0404 USB2.0.


--------------------
Ceterum censeo, there should be an "%is_stop_after_current%".
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Glenn Gundlach
post Feb 10 2012, 06:20
Post #11





Group: Members
Posts: 372
Joined: 19-April 08
From: LA
Member No.: 52914



QUOTE (punkrockdude @ Feb 9 2012, 11:05) *
Be sure that the output that the sound card puts out does not exceed the input the speakers can take. For example if your sound card output +21 dBU and your speakers accepts up to let's say +18 dBU then you might get clipping since the sound card can output 3 dB more than your speakers can recieve. If hope I have got it right. If not, someone else will correct me.

Check your active monitors that any eq shelves on the back is set to their 0 positions to start with to have an unaltered sound. Regards.


Every sound card I've run into over the years puts out 2 V p-p at 0dB Fs. Obviously there are specialty cards that do more but they're the exception rather than the rule. At work (broadcast, commercial duplication and post production) the common way to interface pro and consumer gear is to use a Henry Matchbox. There are of course others and the ambitious can build an equivalent since it's nothing more than opamps and a power supply. You'll find however that if your time is worth more than minimum wage it's cheaper to buy one ready to go but there is always the satisfaction factor.

http://henryeng.com/matchbox.html

G
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Arnold B. Kruege...
post Feb 14 2012, 14:20
Post #12





Group: Members
Posts: 4473
Joined: 29-October 08
From: USA, 48236
Member No.: 61311



QUOTE (TooSteep @ Feb 9 2012, 13:44) *
Hello all:

I believe I am about to come in to possession of a pair of powered DJ speakers. I believe they have XLR connectors on the back.

What is the simplest method of connecting my PC to them and controlling the volume from my desk, strictly for playback (no recording)?

Right now, I have an external 24-bit USB box, with analog RCA outs that I run into my amplifier that sits on a shelf at the side of my room. The amp has a simple little remote control that I use from my desk to control the volume on my stand-mounted monitors. I keep the volume control in Windows and on Foobar set to maximum - assuming (hoping?) that it gives me maximum bit depth for the music.

Is there a 'de facto' standard method around here for hooking up to Active pro-audio gear?


About as close to that as there to a standard for interconnecting balanced and unbalanced equipment as there is would be this page on the web:

Rane Note 110

This post has been edited by Arnold B. Krueger: Feb 14 2012, 14:21
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
LocrianGroove
post Jul 1 2012, 06:57
Post #13





Group: Members
Posts: 107
Joined: 28-February 07
Member No.: 41051



I also would like to connect my PC, as well as TV (with fixed volume level output) to active studio monitors. I'd like to control volume via a handheld remote control (e.g. an IR type used in controlling A/V gear), without having to buy a receiver. Basically a line level controller with a remote control for cheap is what I'm looking for. Are these device available?
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Roseval
post Jul 1 2012, 12:52
Post #14





Group: Members
Posts: 496
Joined: 26-March 08
Member No.: 52303



QUOTE (TooSteep @ Feb 10 2012, 03:30) *
Interface that takes USB input, outputs XLR and has a volume control?


Many USB DACs today do have volume control. We call it a DAC but a pre-amp with USB input is what they are
Have a look at Benchmark DAC1, Mytek, etc
http://www.thewelltemperedcomputer.com/HW/USB_DAC_Async.htm


--------------------
TheWellTemperedComputer.com
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
mzil
post Jul 1 2012, 17:12
Post #15





Group: Members
Posts: 735
Joined: 5-August 07
Member No.: 45913



QUOTE (TooSteep @ Feb 9 2012, 14:44) *
I believe I am about to come in to possession of a pair of powered DJ speakers. I believe they have XLR connectors on the back.

I bet they already have unbalanced inputs too, in which case you won't need to buy/make any adapter. What are they exactly?

XLR is a nice beefy connection useful in a professional setting like a stage or studio where equipment is constantly being connected and disconnected. Balanced runs also have a theoretical advantage that they are less prone to picking up any "common mode" noise, such as hum from extraneous noise generators, when used over long runs such as across a stage or across a studio, however for short range desktop use, where you connect once, let it sit that way for months or even years without disconnecting, and send the signal only a short distance, balanced connections have no real world advantage. It is a myth that they do. [Barring some unusual common mode noise source induced over that short run, which isn't likely.]

This post has been edited by mzil: Jul 1 2012, 17:41
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
RonaldDumsfeld
post Jul 1 2012, 22:18
Post #16





Group: Members
Posts: 350
Joined: 12-June 09
Member No.: 70617



As several correspondents have already observed, It makes sense to connect pro quality speakers to a audio interface from the same stable of pro gear producers. pawelq has made some good suggestions.

QUOTE
I'd like to control volume via a handheld remote


This is a bit more tricky. The only one's I know of atm come from leading supplier RME.

RME UCX

Although the unit is not really dear compared to hi-fi grade gear I doubt many people would be prepared to pay $1,000+ plus for such a luxury.

However since where RME leads the herd tends to follow we can look forward to less expensive alternatives appearing in the coming months.

Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post

Reply to this topicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 



RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 22nd December 2014 - 17:06