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gain booster for laptop for live performances

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gain booster for laptop for live performances

Postby huachamero » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:13 am

Hi. Can anyone give me some recommendations for a gain booster for my laptop? I have noticed when I plug the laptop into my mixer that goes into my PA it is like way quieter than all the other gear I got in there. I have heard that it is recommended to use a signal booster for live shows with a laptop but im not sure what works best
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Re: gain booster for laptop for live performances

Postby zenguitar » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:33 am

How are you connecting your laptop to your mixer? What output from the laptop are you using, and are you connecting to a mic input on the mixer or a line input? It would also help to know what mixer you are using.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: gain booster for laptop for live performances

Postby ef37a » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:23 am

J'know! I have never measured it but just found that this HP i3 laptop produces 140mV, about -17dBV at the HP socket for a 1kHz tone generated in Samplitude at -6dBF.

If the OPs stuff is where is should be, averaging -18dBFS then yes, the HP output is going to be pretty wee but rather than boost that I would strongly suggest, as I am sure will others soon, that he buys a USB interface with a balanced line output.

Even a fairly cheap £100 AI will deliver around +10dBu for 0dBFS, not "pro" levels but should easily drive any mixer's line input. The sound quality will also likely be vastly better.
I saw a S/H Native Instruments KA6 in my local Cash Generators a couple of months ago for £100. JUST the jolly job!

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Re: gain booster for laptop for live performances

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:03 am

huachamero wrote:I have noticed when I plug the laptop into my mixer that goes into my PA it is like way quieter than all the other gear I got in there. I have heard that it is recommended to use a signal booster for live shows with a laptop but im not sure what works best

Most mixers are full of 'gain boosters'... that's kind of the point, really... ;-) so I think to offer sensible advice we need to know more about how you are connecting the laptop to the mixer and what the mixer is.

I presume you have already experimented with the laptop's volume control?

...And is the sound just quiet, or is it missing the central-panned sources like vocals and bass?

While waiting for those responses, I can say there are several potential options.

1. Connect to a channel line input (or two for stereo) and increase the channel gain.

2. Invest in a suitable DI box (several are purpose-made for laptop connections) and connect via a mic channel (or two for stereo) -- there'll be plenty of gain on hand then!

3. Invest in a simple USB interface and connect via a line channel (or two) again.

H
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Re: gain booster for laptop for live performances

Postby huachamero » Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:59 pm

im just connecting the laptop to a mixer using a 1/8" cable with a 1/4" adapter on the end that goes to the mixer
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Re: gain booster for laptop for live performances

Postby MarkPAman » Tue Jan 10, 2017 6:18 pm

In that case I suspect it is
Hugh Robjohns wrote:missing the central-panned sources like vocals and bass?
as you're probably feeding L+R into a balanced input. Anything that's on both sides will be cancelling out.

Try a cable like this:
https://www.kenable.co.uk/product_info. ... ts_id=1818
into 2 channels.
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Re: gain booster for laptop for live performances

Postby huachamero » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:12 am

yes. that is totally the problem. I need that cord. I kind of realized this after reading the responses hehe
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Re: gain booster for laptop for live performances

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:37 pm

The difference between stereo TRS and balanced TRS is one of the most likely to trip up beginners in this game I think.
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Re: gain booster for laptop for live performances

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:44 pm

Yep.
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