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Which mixer or audio interface?

 
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Sancta



Joined: 13 Apr 2018
Posts: 6
Location: Münster, Germany

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 12:21 pm    Post subject: Which mixer or audio interface? Reply with quote

I bought an Alto ZMX 52 to connect my Krome 88 and an iPad to my monitors. I used the two instrument inputs of the mixer for that.
After a while I bought a second keyboard and also wanted to add my old iMac (for using a DAW) to the setup.
I used y-cables to connect the two keyboards to the mixer (the two keyboards are never used simultaneously) and used the line input and the headphone output of the mac to connect it to the mixer.
My problem: When the volume is high I hear noise. Also the iMac seems to make some problems. If turned on, the noise coming out of the monitors is even louder.
I tried to find a better mixer and/or audio interface for my needs but simply have not the technical background to know what to buy.

Any suggestions?

2 Keyboards (not used at the same time)
1 iPad
all connected to a PC/Mac for using a DAW
1 Headphone out

This must be a common configuration so you guys should be able to help a noob like me.
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voip
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Joined: 27 Nov 2014
Posts: 1472

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a bewildering array of choices out there but, for the price, the Behringer RX1602 would be an excellent straightforward line level mixer, with stereo line out and headphone outputs. It is a slim (1U) rackmount device, so the two keyboards iPad, and iMac DAW would use 8 inputs (4 pairs) leaving plenty of room for future expansion e.g. rackmount hardware synths, other keyboards, and so on.

As far as white "smooth" noise is concerned, having low noise components is important, but getting the gain balance right also matters. Any noise early in the signal chain tends to get amplified further down. As a suggestion, try running the keyboard output volume setting at least half way, and preferably three quarters of maximum setting, and the iPad and iMac audio outputs near maximum. Set the levels of the mixer channels being used to their "nominal" 0dB (i.e. close to maximum), or to minimum if not being used, and the main level control to a point where the 0dB output LEDs illiminate briefly on signal peaks, and then adjust the main volume at the monitors. Try to use the monitor line level audio inputs (avoid microphone inputs) and use the monitor line level input controls to adjust monitor volume or, if that is inconvenient, then set them to expected listening level and then use the mixer main level control to vary speaker levels for the mix. Since microphone inputs are designed for low input levels, they have high gain and can introduce quite a bit of noise, so set any unused microphone mixer input levels and gains to minimum. Set any other unused input level controls to minimum.

If the noise being heard is more like mains hum, or has some other non-white noise characteristic, then consider the signal earthing arrangements, and check all cables and connections, and also power cables/plugs/sockets. Electrically noisy items e.g. washing machines, switched mode power supplies (such as laptop power supplies), possibly even the iMac, should be kept away from the audio system and audio leads.

.
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iowagold
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 6:13 pm    Post subject: try unplugging one unit at a time to find the noisy unit Reply with quote

try unplugging one unit at a time to find the noisy unit...

i use noise isolators here in the studio...
several brands out there...
some complex some simple!
watch the impedance make sure it is correct!
or you can get tilt on the fq response!!

that could be where you are right now!!

big rule never use y cords for joining audio!!
you can Y for separation of audio but not for joining!
the 2 outputs will fight each other... noise at the least!
at the worst burn things up!!

best way to do it is a simple quality mixer!!
every component output isolated that way!!
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megamarkd
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Joined: 15 Aug 2017
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Location: Australia

PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another thing to consider is the mixer itself. I have owned a few Behringers and thought after reading about how bad others claim them to be that I might try a small Yamaha. Bad move. High noise floor and channel bleed on every channel. I've never had noise nearly as bad on my Behringers (they have been really good considering their bad reputation) and never any channel bleed.
Alto have been around for awhile, but they are a rather budget mixer company. I can't say if they are noisy or not as I've never used one but if after checking every other possibility the noise is still there, good chance it's just a high noise floor on the mixer.
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amit
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your still looking, get an iconnecaudio 4+ interface.
I am using it and it allows for two devices pc / mac or mac / ipad etc.
for both audio and midi. (also get a powered usb hub if you have many usb midi devices).

I have my ipad and macbook connected along with for midi
ableton push 2, novation launchpad, novation circuit,akai ewi,waldorf pulse 2,49 key midi keyboard controller, korg nankokeys and korg kronos through a usb hub and a yamaha bluetooth transreceiver on DIN.

outputs go to iloud monitors as well as my yamaha mixer > presonus monitors.

and they all work out with flexible routings.
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Sancta



Joined: 13 Apr 2018
Posts: 6
Location: Münster, Germany

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2018 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the answers!

I changed a few things and the noise is almost gone, ordered a bigger mixer with a usb-interface.

I managed to find out what caused the main noise when using the imac: Not the computer but the USB cable i used to connect the Krome with the Mac made the noise. Now I am looking for a quality USB cable.
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megamarkd
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Joined: 15 Aug 2017
Posts: 274
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sancta wrote:
Thanks for all the answers!

I changed a few things and the noise is almost gone, ordered a bigger mixer with a usb-interface.

I managed to find out what caused the main noise when using the imac: Not the computer but the USB cable i used to connect the Krome with the Mac made the noise. Now I am looking for a quality USB cable.


You are most welcome! What mixer did you buy?
USB, enemy of the earth pin! No earth on USB cables so they love bringing the noise. Arturia supplied a splitter for if their units introduce noise when connected to a computer via USB. One plug off the the computer and one off to a regular power point USB charger adapter to provide an earth and it really makes a difference. An old USB 1.0 power-over-usb twin header USB cables might do the trick, but I'm not sure about how they go with the speed required for audio-over-usb.....(I really don't know the difference between USB 1.0 and 2.0 cables and if they do have different transfer speeds as the actual different versions of the buss specs do).
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Last edited by megamarkd on Tue May 15, 2018 12:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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voip
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Joined: 27 Nov 2014
Posts: 1472

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Using a USB isolator may help in resolving noise issues related to USB connections. No quality of cable will remove the ground loop that a USB cable will introduce. The ground loop itself needs to be broken, which is what an isolator will do.
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