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Technical question regarding +4 vs -10 on moniotrs

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Technical question regarding +4 vs -10 on moniotrs

Postby Glenn Bucci » Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:38 pm

I noticed my monitors are louder when they are set at the -10 setting compared to the +4 setting. I am aware that professional gear is at +4 and consumer gear at -10. I understand that the clipping point of cheaper analog gear is much lower and many consumer gear can distort before it actually reaches the actual clippoing point. With higher end gear you have a higher clipping point or higher headroom.

My question is am I correct that +4 offer more headroom so with higher end gear will benifit from this? From my understanding this is the reason why +4 is preferred. However if your volume is lower with +4, and you have to crank your volume on your monitoring system higher......at the same volume as -10, is there more headroom. I am sort of thinking out loud as I type this.
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Re: Technical question regarding +4 vs -10 on moniotrs

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:19 pm

It's just a nominal voltage level. I'm not even going to quote the figures, because they won't help. Suffice it to say that there's two standards, a lower one (-10) and a higher one (+4). Well-designed equipment should have plenty of headroom above its nominal level. I suppose you COULD see running a -10 output into a +4 input as "maximising headroom", but it's really just "not sending enough level" :-) Read up on "gain staging".

Neither is "preferred". Professionals might have long cable runs in electrically noisy environments. A higher voltage can theoretically help. But they also routinely use long microphone cables at a much lower level.

You should send any input an appropriate level. End of story.
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Re: Technical question regarding +4 vs -10 on moniotrs

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:43 pm

This is just a sensitivity control, marked in nominal operating levels instead of a rotary knob marked from 1-10... Or whatever.

There is roughly 12dB level difference between nominal +4dBu and -10dBV levels (the latter being the lower level), so if you switch the monitor to the -10 position it will be 12dB more sensitive than in the +4 position... and hence a lot louder.

All analogue equipment is designed with a headroom margin above the nominal level, and in general it will be around 12 to 20dB. Good pro gear might have 20dB of headroom, or maybe a little more. A lot of consumer gear might have only 12dB to 16dB headroom...but some might have more. Regardless, the absolute clipping point voltage of consumer gear with -10dBV nominal level will always be lower than the clipping point of pro gear working with higher nominal level, simply because they have different nominal levels? But it doesn't matter unless you intend to send the output of pro gear into consumer gear without first attenuating it!

As to the headroom question with your monitors, if you connect a nominally -10dBV signal and select the +4 position, you will have 12dB more headroom than the designer intended, and if you connect a +4dBu signal with the -10 setting selected you will have 12dB less headroom than intended. You should select the appropriate sensitivity setting for you system's nominal operating level, and then adjust the level trimmer on the speaker (if present) or the gain structure of the monitor controller to establish a sensible reference monitoring SPL.

H
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Re: Technical question regarding +4 vs -10 on moniotrs

Postby Glenn Bucci » Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:10 pm

Thanks guys, so the important thing is to match your gear with the correct signal strength. I confirmed my new Dangerous D Box is +4, so I will adjust my monitors to +4 to match them. :angel:
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Re: Technical question regarding +4 vs -10 on moniotrs

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:29 pm

Good plan.
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Re: Technical question regarding +4 vs -10 on moniotrs

Postby Burdenko » Sat Aug 08, 2020 7:55 pm

Through +4 Dbu input is playing more quiet than through -10DbV input

I have kind a same thing, but it is really a problem for me. I just bought Adam audio monitors and I have UR22 MKII steinberg interface, that have "Impedance Balanced" output. But when I switch to balanced Jack-XLR cables, it starts to play more dimm and quiet, than through unbalanced Jack-RCA cable. How to check where is the problem? cables are good, I checked on other gear.
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Re: Technical question regarding +4 vs -10 on moniotrs

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Aug 08, 2020 9:16 pm

Burdenko wrote:Through +4 Dbu input is playing more quiet than through -10DbV input

Yes, it would. The +4dBu input needs 1.228 Volts of signal level to deliver its nominal acoustic output power, whereas the -10dBV input only needs 0.316 Volts. There's around 12dB of difference in level between the two, with the -10dBV option being the more sensitive.

But when I switch to balanced Jack-XLR cables, it starts to play more dimm and quiet, than through unbalanced Jack-RCA cable. How to check where is the problem?

There is no problem, it's exactly as it should be. You can turn up the volume (input sensitivity) of you monitors if you want it louder. There may also be options to increase the output level of your interface's line outputs.
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Re: Technical question regarding +4 vs -10 on moniotrs

Postby Burdenko » Sat Aug 08, 2020 11:40 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:There is no problem, it's exactly as it should be. You can turn up the volume (input sensitivity) of you monitors if you want it louder. There may also be options to increase the output level of your interface's line outputs.

Thanks! So it means, that this is of what my audio interface (UR22) is capable.
I just tried to plug monitors to my old pci sound card (M-audio delta 192) with ballanced cables to +4 and there was a big difference - much much louder with same gain monitor settings, on computer I even could not make max vol level, it was too loud.

I just can't belive that this is normal for such solid, well built, functional interface to give such little ammount of power to speakers. Though it is almos the cheepest among similar devices, so it is kind'a fare :))
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Re: Technical question regarding +4 vs -10 on moniotrs

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Aug 09, 2020 12:06 am

Burdenko wrote:Thanks! So it means, that this is of what my audio interface (UR22) is capable.

Er... Yes, presumably. The UR22 maximum output level appears to be just +10dBu which is quite a bit lower than most.

I trust you have the front-panel Output Level control turned up fully?

I just tried to plug monitors to my old pci sound card (M-audio delta 192) with ballanced cables to +4 and there was a big difference - much much louder with same gain monitor settings, on computer I even could not make max vol level, it was too loud.

The Delta card has a maximum output level of +14, which is louder than the UR22, but not that much louder. Something doesn't add up here...

I just can't belive that this is normal for such solid, well built, functional interface to give such little ammount of power to speakers.

Nor me...
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Re: Technical question regarding +4 vs -10 on moniotrs

Postby CS70 » Sun Aug 09, 2020 10:52 pm

Burdenko wrote:Through +4 Dbu input is playing more quiet than through -10DbV input

I have kind a same thing, but it is really a problem for me. I just bought Adam audio monitors and I have UR22 MKII steinberg interface, that have "Impedance Balanced" output. But when I switch to balanced Jack-XLR cables, it starts to play more dimm and quiet, than through unbalanced Jack-RCA cable. How to check where is the problem? cables are good, I checked on other gear.

Didn't ADAM monitors have a switch to change between the two levels? You are using it when moving from RCA to XLR, right?
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Re: Technical question regarding +4 vs -10 on moniotrs

Postby Burdenko » Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:53 pm

CS70 wrote:Didn't ADAM monitors have a switch to change between the two levels? You are using it when moving from RCA to XLR, right?

Yep, exactly. There is a switch, I use it. In previouse post I wrote that with another sound card ti is super much louder - I am lissening now and really differecne in volume is not that drastic, and I even wouldn't have written about it here if it was only about volume, cause I can rise it on monitor (now it is on 0 and can be rised up to +18db). But boosting it like that does not giving desired result - sound becomes muddy. So for now I tend to think that there is some problems with my UR22. It behaves like if it have only unballanced outputs - through unbalanced cable it sounds rather loud (if to compare with same levels but through balanced) and quality of sound is normal, and with M-audio through ballanced cables it sounds about 30% louder, but it percived even louder because of entire range of frequencies and especially low and high frequencies are better heard.
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Re: Technical question regarding +4 vs -10 on moniotrs

Postby ef37a » Mon Aug 10, 2020 7:21 am

Hugh, tis early so my brain is fuzzy but the 192 is, I assume 'fully' balanced whereas the UR22 is Z balanced and so only driving half the Adam's balanced input?

I am not so sure a maximum output of +10dBu is that rare on budget interfaces? The Behringer UMC204HD is I am sure even lower. Will check a few out.

Oil be bek.

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Re: Technical question regarding +4 vs -10 on moniotrs

Postby ef37a » Mon Aug 10, 2020 8:09 am

The 204HD is indeed a weak sister with a maximum output of just 0dBu! which is crazily low, even if the supply rail was a paltry 5V they should be able to deliver at least +6dBu?

Around +10dBu seems however to be the norm...

NI KA6 +11.5dBu*
Zoom U-44 +6dBu
P audiobox +10dBu
Audient iD4 +12dBu
Onyx 2x2 +10dBu
Mtrack 2x2 +7dBu

And note, these are maximum outputs at a presumed and sometimes stated 0dBfs and so your 'working' level is going to be a lot lower. Most claim to be balanced but not how!

There would seem to be a market for a Stereo Booster? Takes anything from 0dBu to +10 and cranks out +20dBu 'properly' balanced. Mr Orchid?

*Not that I have ever had a problem driving my Tannoy 5As with it. I could not find a spec for the Darling of the Internet, the F'rite 2i2 but have never read of a problem with one re output. My original model 8i6 seems about the same output as the KA6.

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Re: Technical question regarding +4 vs -10 on moniotrs

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Aug 10, 2020 10:08 am

ef37a wrote:Hugh, tis early so my brain is fuzzy but the 192 is, I assume 'fully' balanced whereas the UR22 is Z balanced and so only driving half the Adam's balanced input?

Oh come on Dave... have a coffee and realise the nonsense of that statement!

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Re: Technical question regarding +4 vs -10 on moniotrs

Postby ef37a » Mon Aug 10, 2020 10:12 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
ef37a wrote:Hugh, tis early so my brain is fuzzy but the 192 is, I assume 'fully' balanced whereas the UR22 is Z balanced and so only driving half the Adam's balanced input?

Oh come on Dave... have a coffee and realise the nonsense of that statement!

H

Yes, I agree my head is not with it today but there can be no dispute surely that the 'cold' side of the balanced input is not getting signal? Without digging out the formula I am not sure how that affects the output.

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