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Single XLR3 output for Rode NT4 ?

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Single XLR3 output for Rode NT4 ?

Postby marco_breton » Mon May 06, 2013 8:59 pm

Hi,

I'm planning to buy the new Apogee One for iPad/Mac as soon as it's released and I would really like to use it with my Rode NT4 stereo mic. The obvious problem is that the NT4 is normally used with the provided 5-pin XLR to dual left/right 3-pin XLR (DXLR), and there's only one XLR input in the Apogee One. So this raises some concerns :

#1- Could I use a 5-pin XLR to single 3-pin XLR cable to plug it in (does it exists)? Or any kind of cable/converter that could do the same?

#2- How would it affect the quality of the recording? Would the result be a mono recording with both heads mixed together?

#3- Would the converter/cable be able to supply enough power to both heads?

I'm trying to figure this one logically but my lack of experience pushes me to approach it with caution. I would not like to damage the mic or pay for some useless cable/converter. So I will wait for your help and suggestions.

Thanks!
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Re: Single XLR3 output for Rode NT4 ?

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon May 06, 2013 9:39 pm

Hi Marco and welcome

Why do you want to use the NT4; is it the only mic you have?

The reason I ask is that by connecting to the single XLR input of your interface you can only ever get a mono recording with the output of the two capsules summed to mono. (Fortunately, because the mix capsules are in XY configuration the stereo image will collapse into mono nicely with no nasty artifacts.)

The easiest solution if you really want to do this is to use an adapter consisting of two female XLR sockets wired to one male XLR plug.

I'll steer clear of any implications when using phantom-power - those with appropriate letters after their name are better qualified than I to address such matters!

BUT why don't you just power it with a 9v battery for which there is provision? In all the reviews and specs I've read there's no mention of lowered dynamic range etc when using battery as opposed to phantom. That may be your easiest route if you really do want to connect this mic to a mono XLR input.
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Re: Single XLR3 output for Rode NT4 ?

Postby marco_breton » Tue May 07, 2013 4:15 am

Hey Mike,

I was thinking of selling the NT4 to buy something else but since I really like the work it does with an acoustic guitar I'm wondering if it's not better to use it as a mono mix than buying another mono mic.

I'm preparing to go mobile soon and I would like a simple setup made of 2-3 mics top which I would use mostly to record my voice and guitar but also keep it versatile in case I want to record something else. Knowing that I have maybe $400 left to invest, I was thinking of selling the NT4 and buy the Apogee One + a Shure X2u + a Beta 58A + a SM57 but I though, since I already have the NT4, maybe it's better to keep it and use it instead of the SM57. This way if I need an overhead or a stereo mic, I will have it. That's why I wanted to know. But honestly, even it works, I'm still hesitating about selling it and buying a Zoom H4n. I don't know yet.

Maybe some of you have a better idea of what mics I should get?
Keep in mind that they should be affordable, versatile and preferably robust.

BTW, I asked about the power to be sure not to damage the mic but mostly to save on batteries.

Thanks Mike!
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Re: Single XLR3 output for Rode NT4 ?

Postby Fran Guidry » Tue May 07, 2013 7:21 am

I've used my NT4 as a mono mic several times. I simply use one of the XLR-3 output plugs and ignore the other one. The result is basically the same as using a single NT5.

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Re: Single XLR3 output for Rode NT4 ?

Postby marco_breton » Tue May 07, 2013 11:49 am

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Re: Single XLR3 output for Rode NT4 ?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue May 07, 2013 12:06 pm

As your favourite mic is a NT4, presumably you favour stereo recording? (I quite agree with you BTW.) So why buy a mono audio interface?

If you MUST use the NT4 into a mono interface, connect just one channel and angle the mic appropriately. It's only two NT5s in one box. If you only have enough input channels for one of them, just ignore the other.
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Re: Single XLR3 output for Rode NT4 ?

Postby marco_breton » Tue May 07, 2013 7:08 pm

It's simple, because the One is the only portable audio interface of quality and versatility I know. Even if I get a Duet, which is bigger and doesn't have an integrated mic (limited versatility), I would be stuck having to choose only two sources between a stereo X/Y (which counts for two), my voice and the DI of my guitar. I also thought about the Quartet but it's really too big to carry around in a backpack with the mics and everything else. That's why I prefer the One, because it the best compromise and it's more affordable. Like I said on Gearslutz, I'm also thinking about buying a Zoom H4n. For now it's proving to be a better solution for my needs.
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Re: Single XLR3 output for Rode NT4 ?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Tue May 07, 2013 8:02 pm

Perhaps you can explain exactly what it is you want to do and to what quality level, what do you want to do with the finished product.

The on board mic on the Apogee looks like a small omni and is probably not suitable for serious recording. You could easily be wasting your money there.

How many tracks do you want to put down at a time?

What sources do you want to record at the same time?

How portable are you going? Laptop? iPad? Standalone recorder?

And what is your budget?

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Re: Single XLR3 output for Rode NT4 ?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Wed May 08, 2013 12:18 am

marco_breton wrote:It's simple, because the One is the only portable audio interface of quality and versatility I know. Even if I get a Duet, which is bigger and doesn't have an integrated mic (limited versatility), I would be stuck having to choose only two sources between a stereo X/Y (which counts for two), my voice and the DI of my guitar. I also thought about the Quartet but it's really too big to carry around in a backpack with the mics and everything else. That's why I prefer the One, because it the best compromise and it's more affordable. Like I said on Gearslutz, I'm also thinking about buying a Zoom H4n. For now it's proving to be a better solution for my needs.

It's not very versatile to have only one input channel when you want to record stereo :-)

Don't get your opinions from Gearslutz. They're all mad.
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Re: Single XLR3 output for Rode NT4 ?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed May 08, 2013 9:52 am

marco_breton wrote:I got the answer I was looking for right here :


Good God! You seem to have got a response from someone who actually knew what they were talking about on Gearlsutz -- that's about as rare as rocking horse poo! You're a very lucky man!

As the Lotus chap says, paralleling the two outputs of a stereo mic like the NT4 is a complete-non starter for several important reasons. First, the two mic output stages won't like trying to drive signal into each other and you risk blowing them up if you simply connect their outputs in parallel. Second, the phantom power supply will be degraded substantially, which will affect the performance even if the output drivers manage to keep the magic smoke inside the chips... And third, even if it all worked as hoped for, you'll just end up with a dumpy cardioid polar pattern... in which case you might just have well of used a single cardioid capsule output in the first place, without risking anything at all, and just aimed the mic accordingly!

But fundamentally it does seem that you might need to rethink your interface choice given your current microphone options and future plans... A single input interface isn't exactly very versatile at the best of times, and certainly not if you're intending to get involved in mobile recording with multiple sources.

There are lots of very high quality, compact and multi-input interfaces on the market that are easily the equal the Apogee One (and many are less expensive). I would strongly recommend expanding your horizon beyond the single brand you have considered to date...

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Re: Single XLR3 output for Rode NT4 ?

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed May 08, 2013 3:16 pm

I stand corrected...

(and now I think about it, I know full well that my suggestion is a BAD idea - it's something I bang-on about enough in other contexts... old-age never comes alone. )
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Re: Single XLR3 output for Rode NT4 ?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Wed May 08, 2013 3:58 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:There are lots of very high quality, compact and multi-input interfaces on the market that are easily the equal the Apogee One (and many are less expensive). I would strongly recommend expanding your horizon beyond the single brand you have considered to date...

The Apple Store pushes Apogee gear. It has the Mac look. And Blue mics, for some reason (I suppose they look satisfingly "creatively" odd? :-)
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Re: Single XLR3 output for Rode NT4 ?

Postby Rain » Thu May 09, 2013 12:57 am

Mike Stranks wrote:

BUT why don't you just power it with a 9v battery for which there is provision? In all the reviews and specs I've read there's no mention of lowered dynamic range etc when using battery as opposed to phantom. That may be your easiest route if you really do want to connect this mic to a mono XLR input.

To complete the correction I have an NT4 and you do lose a lot of headroom if you run it on battery power...
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Re: Single XLR3 output for Rode NT4 ?

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu May 09, 2013 8:23 am

Rain wrote:
Mike Stranks wrote:

BUT why don't you just power it with a 9v battery for which there is provision? In all the reviews and specs I've read there's no mention of lowered dynamic range etc when using battery as opposed to phantom. That may be your easiest route if you really do want to connect this mic to a mono XLR input.

To complete the correction I have an NT4 and you do lose a lot of headroom if you run it on battery power...
Thanks! I have an NT4 too, but have never used it on battery-power...
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Re: Single XLR3 output for Rode NT4 ?

Postby Fran Guidry » Sat May 11, 2013 7:42 pm

Rain wrote:
Mike Stranks wrote:

BUT why don't you just power it with a 9v battery for which there is provision? In all the reviews and specs I've read there's no mention of lowered dynamic range etc when using battery as opposed to phantom. That may be your easiest route if you really do want to connect this mic to a mono XLR input.

To complete the correction I have an NT4 and you do lose a lot of headroom if you run it on battery power...

This doesn't match my experience.

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Re: Single XLR3 output for Rode NT4 ?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sat May 11, 2013 8:40 pm

Fran Guidry wrote:
Rain wrote:

To complete the correction I have an NT4 and you do lose a lot of headroom if you run it on battery power...

This doesn't match my experience.


Were you recording something loud that REQUIRED headroom?
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