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XLR Y splitter

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XLR Y splitter

Postby DamirBL » Wed Feb 26, 2020 3:46 am

Hi, new guy here. Got a question about xlr splitters:
How bad for me would it be to use this kind of splitter:

https://www.newegg.com/p/2D8-004K-00056

... on "a&h zed-12fx" mixer, having in mind that the only purpose of it would be to take 2 overheads into one channel... Are there potential problems with phantom power in this instance?

Also, this would be the only use of this splitter, two mics going into one channel, directly into the mixer, no preamps, no snakes etc.
We as a band are using this mixer for rehearsals and it seems as though we are soon going to be needing another channel input, which we don't have; all of them are already taken...

thanks
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Re: XLR Y splitter

Postby jimjazzdad » Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:13 pm

That would work but it begs the question: what is the advantage of having two drum overhead mics on one channel versus just one mono mic? Two overheads into two channels provide some stereo perspective of the drum kit, which is lost when you combine the mics in one channel. One well-placed mic should do the job, while avoid the potential for phase cancellation that you would have with two spaced mics combined.
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Re: XLR Y splitter

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:53 pm

As Jim has said there is little or no point in doing that (two tom mics maybe but not overheads). I'd just add that it would only really work with two identical mics.
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Re: XLR Y splitter

Postby James Perrett » Wed Feb 26, 2020 3:15 pm

While it may just about work in some cases, it isn't normally a good idea to combine microphones with a simple splitter cable like this. If you are wanting to combine two overhead mics into one it may be better to simply use one overhead mic instead.
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Re: XLR Y splitter

Postby ef37a » Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:51 pm

I did something similar many, many years ago. Needed to record and reinforce (a bit) a chorus line on stage (VERY amdram!).

I used 6 (iirc) cheap dynamics hung from a barrel to sit about a foot above the heads. All the mics were paralleled into a single input, a triode mixer with 1:60 rad spad traffs.

Worked well.

WRT "need another mixer soon"? Ok but, if cash is tight you don't have to go for a 16 inputs monster. You can keep the A&H and get something small and cheap with say 4 more mic ins and feed that to a line in on the existing mixer. In fact, not having all the electronics sat in 'one lump' might be a more flexible way to work?

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Re: XLR Y splitter

Postby OTE2020 » Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:51 pm

I see a few people on here say this will work .... but has anyone tried it :? Surely people wouldn't be buying 32+ / 48+ channel desks if it was just as easy as to add some y splits to make up channels when using mic'ing kits up.
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Re: XLR Y splitter

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Feb 26, 2020 5:17 pm

Yes, like Dave ef37a I've tried it but it was a very long time ago.

OTE2020 wrote:I see a few people on here say this will work .... but has anyone tried it :? Surely people wouldn't be buying 32+ / 48+ channel desks if it was just as easy as to add some y splits to make up channels when using mic'ing kits up.

WRT drumkits, I have used it to sum two tom mics when I was desperately short of channels. Live, distant miking does not usually work well so summing two mics instead of using a single mic to capture the toms seemed a better option as I could get the mics close to the heads, but summing mics is always a huge compromise as you only have one eq/comp/gate etc*. for both/all. For recording, either have a big enough mixer to give each mic a channel of it's own or use fewer mics (my fave is kick and two or even one overhead, I've achieved some of my best recordings that way).

But, you are talking about rehearsing, why mic the drum kit when rehearsing? It's completely unnecessary, drums are too damn loud at the best of times ;)

* If you have those things at all, minimal eq only back in the day in my case.....
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Re: XLR Y splitter

Postby The Elf » Wed Feb 26, 2020 5:44 pm

I see no point in bodgery when you can pick up simple four-mic input mixers for the price of a curry for four.
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Re: XLR Y splitter

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Feb 26, 2020 7:22 pm

DamirBL wrote:Hi, new guy here. Got a question about xlr splitters:
How bad for me would it be to use this kind of splitter:

It's a terrible idea! :o Don't do it.

...the only purpose of it would be to take 2 overheads into one channel... Are there potential problems with phantom power in this instance?

Yes, there are lots of potential problems when you're combing phantom powered mics...

You can often 'get away' with the parallel combining method if you're using passive dynamic mics, but even then it's not a great idea.

With phantom powered mics, the most immediate problem is that you'll be halving the phantom power voltage available at each mic (because both mics pulling current through the same phantom supply resistors will reduce the source voltage twice as much!) The effect of that is likely to be a substantial reduction in the microphone headroom and increase the transient distortion ... which isn't helpful when you're miking up loud things like drum kits ...

Another practical issue is that the low source impedance of the second mic will heavily load the output of the first mic (and vice versa), again reducing headroom and increasing distortion.

The good news is that you won't permanently break anything by doing it... but there is a significant risk that the sound quality from the combined mics will be seriously degraded. Depending on the circuit design of the specific mics you're using, you might get away with it... but in my experience it's more likely to be problematic than successful.

There's also the fact that you will inherently be creating a virtual single mic out of two mics which are, presumably, spaced apart. This is likely to result in comb-filtering colouration, further degrading the overall sound quality (making the cymbals sound phasey)... and it will be in mono, of course... when the whole point of using two overheads is usually to create a stereo effect!

Personally, I'd reduce your drum mic rig to a single overhead if you've run out of channels on the mixer (or free up another channel by ditching something else)... but if you really insist on doing this the correct method is to use a transformer combiner. There are some cheap and cheerful options around, such as:

Image
https://www.studiospares.com/Microphones/Splitter-Combiners/Studiospares-RED504-Microphone-Combiner_458230.htm

Or better engineered, but more expensive options such as:

Image
https://www.canford.co.uk/Products/20-345_EMO-E345-MICROPHONE-COMBINER

But these are just the first two that came up in a web search... there are plenty more along similar lines from other manufacturers. I've used the EMO and can vouch for it. I've not used any of the others... Sound quality is basically dependent on the quality of the internal transformer -- so the better the transformer, the better the resulting sound... and the more costly!

Also note that some mic combiners don't pass phantom power through to the mic sockets at all; some only pass to one of the input sockets, and some to both...

The EMO unit I listed above (which I have used and know to be a very good product) comes configured not to pass phantom at all, but a couple of internal jumper links can be moved to pass phantom power through to one or both inputs.

We as a band are using this mixer for rehearsals and it seems as though we are soon going to be needing another channel input, which we don't have; all of them are already taken...

If it's just for rehearsals, you really don't need two overheads! (You probably don't need any mics, really!) ... So I'd say save the money and the hassle... ditch one of the overheads and don't worry about it!

Edit: And I'm pleased to see that's the general concensus of the illuminati, too!
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Re: XLR Y splitter

Postby DamirBL » Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:18 am

Thanks guys for all the replies. I guess the mic combiner is the most hassle free solution. I feel I need to elaborate more so here goes:
I have two bands using two different mixers (qu16 and zed12fx) the latter has just been completely loaded with cables so if we get another vocalist, I need another input.

Now, the rehearsals: We've been doing inear/headphones+mixer rehearsals for like 2 years now and it has been a RELIEF. Especially since one of the bands plays this extremely loud metal/crossover/melodic type of music. Back in the day when we did "normal" rehearsals, we could last probably no longer than 1.5h; when I say "last" I mean, it was only so much noise and loudness we could endure for a single rehearsal.
Today, when I am using either in-ears or isolation headphones, we can basically rehearse until I am physically out of strength (with me being strong enough to do like 100 pushups within 3 minutes :) ) this translates to some good 2.5-3h of playing physically demanding music. So yeah, doing inear/mixer rehearsals, and walking away (this is the best part) as if we were on a music-listening session, has been the best thing that happened to us. And not only that, with different individual mixes for everyone with being able to hear vocalists clearly and them not singing their lungs out, we can better focus on the songs and stuff we are trying to create (the band is doing its own songs exclusively). Plus, singers no longer need no PA for themselves.

For the drummers out there, being able to play the drums on a rehearsal (or vice versa) exactly they way you would play them on a gig is also a big plus. Any non-beginner drummer knows this.
Finally, the other band that I have also has its own mixer and is rehearsing the same way even though the music is not as aggressive as the first one. The only difference is with mixer inputs that just got all taken on the smaller mixer..
In any case I am 41 yrs old and never going back to rehearsing without a mixer and an in-ear setup.
What's more, when I am practicing alone, I obviously need a click track, which, again, is more comfortable to setup with a mixer. Though, when I am practicing alone, I'd probably just use two condenser mics (one in front of the bass drum) or two over heads + a kick mic.
It not only saves some time on setting up the whole mic set, but it gives me the real dynamic feel of the drum set, ie my ghost notes and hard strokes are easily balanced, etc...

If anyone is thinking about trying rehearsing like this, I can strongly recommend them to do so :)
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Re: XLR Y splitter

Postby Wonks » Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:22 am

In case you're missing the point of what The Elf said, assuming you've still got some spare stereo line inputs, getting a small 4 x mic channel mixer will allow you to use it as a sub-mixer and add more mics, feeding the main outputs to a stereo line input. That way, you can still have two overheads with some panning, and have full control over the levels.

E.g. something like this: https://www.gear4music.com/PA-DJ-and-Li ... -Mixer/2A6
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Re: XLR Y splitter

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:50 am

Does everybody use their stage amplification at stage volumes when rehearsing or are they using some kind of modelling either in hardware (Helix/Kempler etc) on on a tablet/laptop? If the former I imagine spill into the drum mics is problematic.

I guess you are the drummer BTW?
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Re: XLR Y splitter

Postby ef37a » Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:02 pm

Wonks wrote:In case you're missing the point of what The Elf said, assuming you've still got some spare stereo line inputs, getting a small 4 x mic channel mixer will allow you to use it as a sub-mixer and add more mics, feeding the main outputs to a stereo line input. That way, you can still have two overheads with some panning, and have full control over the levels.

E.g. something like this: https://www.gear4music.com/PA-DJ-and-Li ... -Mixer/2A6

Indeed. I have a Behringer X802 in our bedroom amping up a couple of mics in the garden and it has not been turned off this six years.

Also handy sometimes to have the smaller mixer as a 'remote'. My son had need of this a couple of years ago. He needed to send a line level signal from a mic to a stage mounted PA but he wanted to control his local level. As it happened he had an M-Audio Fast track pro, an AI that can run stand alone so I sent him a 9V wall rat and a TRS cable. Worked a treat he said. Could of course have used a mixer.

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Re: XLR Y splitter

Postby DamirBL » Mon Mar 02, 2020 9:56 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Does everybody use their stage amplification at stage volumes when rehearsing or are they using some kind of modelling either in hardware (Helix/Kempler etc) on on a tablet/laptop? If the former I imagine spill into the drum mics is problematic.

I guess you are the drummer BTW?
Yep I am the drummer.
We solved the spill by placing the vocals in the other room. Luckily, our rehearsal place has got two rooms fitting enough so that the band can play in one room while the vocals are in the other (behind closed doors) :)
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Re: XLR Y splitter

Postby OTE2020 » Tue Mar 03, 2020 11:10 am

Never seen that EMO box before (ebay here we come) - There stuff is built to last forever as well :thumbup:
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