Mic/Line inputs and DI box newbie question

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This topic contains 22 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of monki monki 3 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #70212
    Profile photo of whatsoup
    whatsoup
    Participant

    Hi all, new to the forum and pretty new to the world of mixers, even though I’ve been programming synths and drum machines for quite some time now.

    By the end of this month I’m hoping to expand my setup and buy myself an SQ-5, but I’m still at the research stage (where are all the reviews??). I was only going to buy an analogue mixer, now here I am looking looking at something 5 times more expensive!

    So my question is, as a friend pointed out, I won’t be able to go out from my synth’s 1/4″ TRS outputs straight into the mixer’s XLR input. Is this correct? Will I need to use a DI box before I go into the mixer?

    This is all new to me, but What I gather is I’d need a DI box for each input, or one per stereo input. Is this correct? It seems like I’d have boxes everywhere, and it could get expensive fast, having about 10 (mono) synth parts to cater for. Am I missing something really simple? Thanks

    PS. Expect many more newbie questions from me up until the end of this month as there’s a lot of things I need to clear up before I buy this thing :))

    #70213
    Profile photo of Mfk0815
    Mfk0815
    Participant

    If your synths have ballanced TRS outputs you can use simple cables from TRS to XLRs. If your synths have unballanced TS outputs you better go with passive DI boxes for each of such connections.

    #70215
    Profile photo of GCumbee
    GCumbee
    Participant

    You could go with QU series which have 1/4″ inputs.

    #70216
    Profile photo of whatsoup
    whatsoup
    Participant

    Thanks for your reply mfk. I seem to be getting mixed messages if i can do this. Even though my main synth does have TRS outputs, what I’m reading online is I should still use DI boxes, which is adding to my confusion. Do you think I’d be safe?

    #70217
    Profile photo of whatsoup
    whatsoup
    Participant

    Thanks for your suggestion GCumbee. I noticed a few minutes ago the Qu has 1/4″ inputs, and I was nearly swayed, but for the relatively small price difference I would really like to pay the extra for the updated tech of the SQ.

    With the quick start manual for the SQ-5 mentioning “Line/Mic inputs” I thought maybe there was some clever combination of ports going on, but I wouldn’t know if this is even possible or normal wording anyway!

    I thought maybe there was such a thing as 8 port DI boxes or more but I can’t seem to find such a thing.

    #70219
    Profile photo of D.J.
    D.J.
    Participant

    If you determine that you really need a DI for each source, Whirlwind makes this product: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PCDIQ–whirlwind-pcdiq-4-channel-passive-a-v-direct-box . I own one that I use in the studio, but don’t find I need it all that often. I don’t recall coming across a true 8-channel DI, but the Whirlwind unit I referenced above does have 8 physical inputs (they are just arranged into 4 stereo pairs). That may be what you need for synths anyway, assuming each is a stereo out. If your cable runs are 20′ or less, you can probably get by using a 1/4″ TRS – XLR cable in every case like Mfk0815 said. If the runs are going to be longer than 20′, you are still fine using that kind of cable without a DI IF your outputs are balanced (again, like Mfk0815 said). If your outputs are unbalanced and you have to run them longer than 20′, then it is always best to use a DI. Hope this helps!

    #70220
    Profile photo of whatsoup
    whatsoup
    Participant

    Thanks DJ for your reply and suggestion. If I’m honest, it’s an expense I have not budgeted for. I’m pretty sure my synths are using (balanced) TRS out and it’s just for a bedroom set up, so my cables wouldn’t be any longer than a few feet.

    Even if I can simply use a TRS to XLR cable at short lengths, I still don’t want to compromise sound quality. Should that be anything to be concerned about?

    #70221
    Profile photo of GCumbee
    GCumbee
    Participant

    It’s likely your keyboards are not TRS. Maybe but I haven’t seen any unless they happen to have associated XLR. Maybe some newer models are. There are so many factors here that you have to be concerned about rather than a microbe of quality you might lose. I’ve been doing it for 45+yrs. Have just about done it all.

    #70222
    Profile photo of whatsoup
    whatsoup
    Participant

    I am more than confident in taking your word for it GCumbee, I’m just sad it’s just not the answer I wanted to hear 🙁

    It seems impractical to buy a DI box for every synth output I want to plug into this mixer. I feel like I must be missing something really simple to fix this. I’ve had my sights set on the SQ for months now and it seems like such a silly hurdle to fall at.

    #70224
    Profile photo of SDCyclist
    SDCyclist
    Participant

    Just curious… What do you have them all plugged into now? And some food for thought… Some of the potential problems of skipping DI boxes such as ground loop issues and protection from phantom power may well still present challenges even if you buy another mixer with high impedance inputs on the channels.

    #70225
    Profile photo of NZdave
    NZdave
    Participant

    Whatsoup..
    What is the end result you want to achieve?
    Recording your synths?
    And then once recorded what then ? Sell off that recording or for personnel use?
    You might be far easier just getting a QU mixer which has 1/4″ jacks.
    Sure the QU mixers runs at 48k
    A lot of music was made using a far less quality.
    And if you are going to use Direct injection boxes.
    Use good ones! not necessarily active but transformer type.
    And quality transformers [inside Di Boxes]can cost quite a lot of money.
    And George is correct. not all synths have balanced TRS sockets.
    A lot of thinking to do.
    For ease of use… my opinion from reading here is to just buy a QU for ease of use.

    #70226
    Profile photo of GCumbee
    GCumbee
    Participant

    More hits have been cut at 44.1 and 48 over last 25yrs than ever have been at 96k. Or maybe will be. That’s the mistake newbies make. They think all this fancy new technology is going to make up for lack of talent or other things. Just doesn’t work that way.

    I was extremely disappointed as an AH dealer with the SQ not having 1/4″. In fact that will play into my promoting it to churches. It already has been the case.

    #70240
    Profile photo of whatsoup
    whatsoup
    Participant

    Thanks Cyclist, I am currently just using an 8 part multi-timbral synth and using the master stereo out, going into an audio interface with just 2 inputs. The synth itself does have 8 mono outputs though and I have just bought a new synth, with another one not far behind it.

    #70242
    Profile photo of whatsoup
    whatsoup
    Participant

    Thanks for your input, Dave. The reason I want to buy the mixer is to record and EQ each channel as I go, without recording to audio and EQing later. I’m not fan of pressing stop and I also like to avoid touching the computer as much as possible, so direct recording to USB is a big plus. I understand the Qu does this too, which is cool.

    Right now this is all for personal use but one day it would be nice to turn this into a profession, but I don’t like to think that far ahead too much, even if going for the SQ was looking that way 😉

    You make a lot of valid points and things do point towards the Qu right now, even though I still have reservations, that I don’t seem to have much control over

    #70244
    Profile photo of whatsoup
    whatsoup
    Participant

    Thanks again Gcumbee for your input. I see 96khz as icing on the cake with the SQ, but I know full well it is not needed to make good music. The 4 extra effects alone was a good reason for me to prefer spending the extra, as well as the deep processing preamp emulation and potential for updates to the eco system.

    As you make quite clear though, going for the SQ might just be too much a work around to make it worth my while

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