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Scarlett 2i2 not playing nice with Ecler Esam603

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Scarlett 2i2 not playing nice with Ecler Esam603

Postby matt_england » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:35 pm

Hi!
Using a 3rd Gen USB-C Ecler ESam603 mixer with a scarlett 2i2. Coming out of the TRS jack on the back of the scarlett to a single RCA connector on the Ecler and having that set to mono mode the level output on the scarlett is REALLY low. By cranking the output of the scarlett to max and pushing to +15dB gain on the back of the Ecler AND turning the pot all the way up on the front I'm able to get a decent level out but all other signals are running without issue (got a line in and a feed from a delay box, same setup all fine. Have tried in different outputs and everything and not having any luck annoyingly. If anyones got any ideas I'd love to hear them. Cheers!

Matt
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Re: Scarlett 2i2 not playing nice with Ecler Esam603

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:05 pm

Monitor control turned down?

Dodgy cable or adaptors?

What exactly is the wiring setup?

I have a sneaking suspicion that you might be using a passive stereo-mono summing cable that will effectively be summing the hot and cold lines (tip and ring of a TRS plug) from a balanced output to feed the unbalanced input of the installation mixer... If so, the output will be extremely low.

(It's a broadly similar problem to summing left and right channels from a pair of unbalanced outputs into a single balanced input, which leaves only the 'stereo difference' signal.)

Try using a mono TS plug to RCA-phono cable... and make sure the monitor control on the Scarlett is turned up!
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Re: Scarlett 2i2 not playing nice with Ecler Esam603

Postby James Perrett » Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:07 pm

Are you using a TRS to twin phono cable? If so, have you tried the other phono connector? Many balanced outputs on budget gear are actually impedance balanced which means that only one output is driven while the other is connected via a resistor to ground.

If your cable is connects the Tip and Ring together you will also have a problem. The best way to connect this is to connect the tip to the tip of the phono and the ring to the outer ring of the phono connector.
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Re: Scarlett 2i2 not playing nice with Ecler Esam603

Postby matt_england » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:24 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Monitor control turned down?

Dodgy cable or adaptors?

What exactly is the wiring setup?

I have a sneaking suspicion that you might be using a passive stereo-mono summing cable that will effectively be summing the hot and cold lines (tip and ring of a TRS plug) from a balanced output to feed the unbalanced input of the installation mixer... If so, the output will be extremely low.

(It's a broadly similar problem to summing left and right channels from a pair of unbalanced outputs into a single balanced input, which leaves only the 'stereo difference' signal.)

So wiring setup I've been using a mono TRS connector to single RCA connector. Monitor control Up/down where ever doesnt seem to make a difference.
Try using a mono TS plug to RCA-phono cable... and make sure the monitor control on the Scarlett is turned up!
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Re: Scarlett 2i2 not playing nice with Ecler Esam603

Postby matt_england » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:26 pm

James Perrett wrote:Are you using a TRS to twin phono cable? If so, have you tried the other phono connector? Many balanced outputs on budget gear are actually impedance balanced which means that only one output is driven while the other is connected via a resistor to ground.

If your cable is connects the Tip and Ring together you will also have a problem. The best way to connect this is to connect the tip to the tip of the phono and the ring to the outer ring of the phono connector.

That is what I have, I've got a mono TS connector to RCA, seems to be the same annoyingly
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Re: Scarlett 2i2 not playing nice with Ecler Esam603

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:36 pm

Odd. I would expect a mono TS jack plug to RCA-phono cable to work...

You could try the same cable in the Scarlett's headphone output, just to check that the routing in the Scarlett is working as expected.

I presume you've checked the installation amp's input with another source (like a CD player etc)?

H
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Re: Scarlett 2i2 not playing nice with Ecler Esam603

Postby matt_england » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:56 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Odd. I would expect a mono TS jack plug to RCA-phono cable to work...

You could try the same cable in the Scarlett's headphone output, just to check that the routing in the Scarlett is working as expected.

I presume you've checked the installation amp's input with another source (like a CD player etc)?

H

So, plugging the same cable into the headphone jack on the front of the 2i2 yields the same results. Very low levels unless fully cranked.

Yes, using a feed from the sound department of the master mix (this is being used on a film set) theres no issues with levels at all. I havent even had to touch the gain control on the back
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Re: Scarlett 2i2 not playing nice with Ecler Esam603

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:01 pm

I guess it's worth asking what the DAW signal levels are averaging/peaking?

...but assuming they are not excessively low I'm thinking there could be an issue with the signal routing in the Scarlett.

If you plug headphones into the headphone socket, do you get a decent listening level?

H
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Re: Scarlett 2i2 not playing nice with Ecler Esam603

Postby matt_england » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:17 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I guess it's worth asking what the DAW signal levels are averaging/peaking?

...but assuming they are not excessively low I'm thinking there could be an issue with the signal routing in the Scarlett.

If you plug headphones into the headphone socket, do you get a decent listening level?

H

Meters within QTAKE are showing the level at around -12dB which is where it goes from green to yellow. Headphone behaves exactly the same as the TRS connection.
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Re: Scarlett 2i2 not playing nice with Ecler Esam603

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:20 pm

Does that mean low level in the headphones, too?

If so, you need to take another look at the Focusrite control app because there's something amiss in the signal routing from the DAW through the interface and on to the physical outputs.
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Re: Scarlett 2i2 not playing nice with Ecler Esam603

Postby matt_england » Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:23 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Does that mean low level in the headphones, too?

If so, you need to take another look at the Focusrite control app because there's something amiss in the signal routing from the DAW through the interface and on to the physical outputs.

Correct, low level in the headphones to the mixer. (If I put headphones into the headphone jack the volume is absolutely fine)
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Re: Scarlett 2i2 not playing nice with Ecler Esam603

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:34 pm

Okay, so let me get this right...

The mixer input works fine with other sources.

The interface headphone output works fine with headphones.

The signal into the mixer -- from the balanced line output or the headphones -- is okay only when the levels are pushed...

So... It would seem that your problem is basically one of incompatible signal levels.

Sadly, my ancient iPad can't open the Ecler or Focusrite websites to check the specs, but I'll have a look tomorrow and see if we can identify the problem.
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Re: Scarlett 2i2 not playing nice with Ecler Esam603

Postby matt_england » Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:43 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Okay, so let me get this right...

The mixer input works fine with other sources.

The interface headphone output works fine with headphones.

The signal into the mixer -- from the balanced line output or the headphones -- is okay only when the levels are pushed...

So... It would seem that your problem is basically one of incompatible signal levels.

Sadly, my ancient iPad can't open the Ecler or Focusrite websites to check the specs, but I'll have a look tomorrow and see if we can identify the problem.

All of the above is correct.

Really appreciate the help!
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Re: Scarlett 2i2 not playing nice with Ecler Esam603

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:41 am

Okay... so the 2i2 specs say the maximum level from the line output is +15.5dBu, but since your signal level is around -12dBFS that translates to about +3dBu.

The Ecler says the line input sensitivity is 0dBV (+2dBu) for inputs 1-5, while input 6 can be boosted to -6dBV (-4dBu) via an internal jumper. However, it doesn't make clear whether that it a peak level, or a nominal alignment level, or how much headroom there is, or what
the clipping level is... so it's all pretty unhelpful really.

It also doesn't say whether pressing the MONO button introduces a pad to prevent overload -- most mono summation system pad the signal down by 3-6dB because it's expecting signal on both inputs which will combine to raise the overall level. If you only have signal on one input selecting mono will reduce the level of that signal, and there's nothing to boost it on the other channel!

So, it seems to me that you have a few different options.

In order of convenience and ease, I'd suggest:

1. Duplicate the signal to both outputs 1/2 at the Focusrite (so you have dual-mono) and connect two lines to the Ecler input. That will raise the signal level in the mixer by 6dB. You may also find that deselecting the mono button raises the level further.

2. Use Input 6 on the Ecler and change the internal jumper to the -6dBV position. That will also raise the input by a further 6dB.

3. Switch the output to the +6dBV mode via the internal jumper to boost the output level of everything by a further 6dB.

4. Connect the balanced output of the Focusrite into the balanced mic-level input of the Ecler. You will obviously need to be careful with signal levels from the Focusrite and into the Ecler, and routing via a 10dB in-line XLR pad might help.... but that route should give you plenty of gain! Make sure the entirely non-standard +18V phantom power is turned off (it's off by default and set by an internal jumper)!

Hope that helps....

You do seem to have a lot of trouble using a weird selection of audio equipment... ;)
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Re: Scarlett 2i2 not playing nice with Ecler Esam603

Postby matt_england » Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:52 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Okay... so the 2i2 specs say the maximum level from the line output is +15.5dBu, but since your signal level is around -12dBFS that translates to about +3dBu.

The Ecler says the line input sensitivity is 0dBV (+2dBu) for inputs 1-5, while input 6 can be boosted to -6dBV (-4dBu) via an internal jumper. However, it doesn't make clear whether that it a peak level, or a nominal alignment level, or how much headroom there is, or what
the clipping level is... so it's all pretty unhelpful really.

It also doesn't say whether pressing the MONO button introduces a pad to prevent overload -- most mono summation system pad the signal down by 3-6dB because it's expecting signal on both inputs which will combine to raise the overall level. If you only have signal on one input selecting mono will reduce the level of that signal, and there's nothing to boost it on the other channel!

So, it seems to me that you have a few different options.

In order of convenience and ease, I'd suggest:

1. Duplicate the signal to both outputs 1/2 at the Focusrite (so you have dual-mono) and connect two lines to the Ecler input. That will raise the signal level in the mixer by 6dB. You may also find that deselecting the mono button raises the level further.

2. Use Input 6 on the Ecler and change the internal jumper to the -6dBV position. That will also raise the input by a further 6dB.

3. Switch the output to the +6dBV mode via the internal jumper to boost the output level of everything by a further 6dB.

4. Connect the balanced output of the Focusrite into the balanced mic-level input of the Ecler. You will obviously need to be careful with signal levels from the Focusrite and into the Ecler, and routing via a 10dB in-line XLR pad might help.... but that route should give you plenty of gain! Make sure the entirely non-standard +18V phantom power is turned off (it's off by default and set by an internal jumper)!

Hope that helps....

You do seem to have a lot of trouble using a weird selection of audio equipment... ;)

Thank you so much for looking so deep into this, I really do appreciate all your help. I've done some digging today and what I've come to the conclusion is the amplifiers within the mixer are very weak, not a problem for the feed from the sound department which is coming in at +4dBV but is an issue for the scarlett outputs which are sitting around the -10dBU level. I've decided that instead of trying to eek out gain in little bits from every stage I'm going to put a good quality mono amp circuit in between the scarlett and the mixer then set my gain staging correctly for all other stages of the process, that way I can centralise the process and try and avoid excess noise. I've got some very good quality OpAmps laying around and some audio grade caps so I should be able to produce something pretty decent.

As for me having weird audio issues, you're correct. In the application that we use them in we need very particular features and unfortunately it seems that a byproduct of this is they are shit products but hey ho we live and learn.

Thanks so much again!

Matt
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Re: Scarlett 2i2 not playing nice with Ecler Esam603

Postby Eddy Deegan » Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:13 am

matt_england wrote:As for me having weird audio issues, you're correct. In the application that we use them in we need very particular features and unfortunately it seems that a byproduct of this is they are shit products but hey ho we live and learn.

All things are relative - trust me, they are a lot better than some of the stuff I was using as a teenager and I'm sure I'm not alone!
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