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Avantone Mixcube Connection Problem!

Postby iasomph » Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:57 pm

Since I just received my Avantone Mixcube, I decided to try to connect it to my current audio interface (Focusrite Saffire 6 usb) and see how it works for the moment.

1) I first connected the mixcube to the left balanced output of the soundcard...then in Ableton I set the master in mono (with utility audio effect), and everything seems to work fine.

2) At this point, I thinked about trying to connect the mixcube to the Headphone output of the soundcard. This would be more helpful to me, since I don't have to disconnect my left main monitor everytime I want to use the mixcube, but just to raise the headphone volume. So I connected the Mixcube with a Balanced TRS to XLR cable (same cable I used to connect the mixcube at point 1)...but this time I experienced some problems:

- If I don't set the master to Mono, the volume seems pretty normal, but it seems that I can hear only the side information...it's really strange. It totally lacks definition and I almost just hear a strange "reverbish" sound.
- If I set it to mono, the volume become really really low, and I can clearly see that there is something wrong. When I turn the volume knob I hear a lot of noise and crackles.


What I did wrong? Cannot I connect the mixcube in this way to the headphone output?

Thanks and happy new year to everyone!
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Re: Avantone Mixcube Connection Problem!

Postby The Elf » Wed Jan 01, 2014 8:19 pm

You've run foul of the confusion between stereo and balanced connections - it seems to be a hot topic this past few weeks!

Put simply you need to connect your Avantone to a balanced mono output. As it is you have connected it to an unbalanced stereo headphone output - and that's not going to work.

I don't know anything about your audio interface, or your DAW, but the way you connected it at first was technically correct (i.e. you were using a mono balanced output) - maybe you can connect to a spare output from your interface and ask your DAW to use that output for mono monitoring?
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Re: Avantone Mixcube Connection Problem!

Postby iasomph » Wed Jan 01, 2014 8:33 pm

Hi Elf,

You're right, I may be little confused yet. Connections and cables are definitely not the things I love most. I don't know why, but they seem to be overcomplicated sometimes and I probably have to understand and study more these things :)

I connected the Avantone in both cases using this cable: http://www.thomann.de/it/cordial_cpm_25_mv.htm

My audio interface has only 2 balanced outputs....so for just one set of speakers. Then I have unbalanced (RCA) output and the unbalanced stereo headphone output.

I hoped that setting the master in my DAW to mono could solve the fact that the headphone output was stereo (unbalanced), while the mixcube input was mono (balanced). Couldn't it work so simply?
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Re: Avantone Mixcube Connection Problem!

Postby Mixedup » Wed Jan 01, 2014 8:39 pm

*In practice* with a short cable run, running unbalanced out (eg one side of your phones output) into your speaker will probably be fine. In which case a cheap insert Y lead will allow you to tap off one of the two channels. Any level issues can be atoned for using the volume control on the speaker/amp. Not sure what connections the avantone offers but a jack y lead with a jack/xlr adapter should sort you out. If there is an issue there, you're just going to need a balanced/unbalanced interface, such as offered by ART or Orchid.
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Re: Avantone Mixcube Connection Problem!

Postby The Elf » Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:36 am

jasno84 wrote:I hoped that setting the master in my DAW to mono could solve the fact that the headphone output was stereo (unbalanced), while the mixcube input was mono (balanced). Couldn't it work so simply?

No. Stereo and balanced are two completely separate considerations.

Let's make this simple...

Mono balanced = needs three bits of wire
Stereo unbalanced = needs three bits of wire

The two both use three bits of wire, and so often use similar connectors (i.e. a TRS jack), but they are not the same.

+1 to Mixedup's suggestion. It's a bit of a bodge, but you should be OK. A quick look at Avantone's site suggests it is designed to be happy with an unbalanced TS (jack) connection.
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Re: Avantone Mixcube Connection Problem!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:02 pm

jasno84 wrote:I connected the Mixcube with a Balanced TRS to XLR cable (same cable I used to connect the mixcube at point 1)...but this time I experienced some problems:


Of course. As The Elf has explained, the Mix cube has a balanced input (which looks for the difference between the signals presented on its two input wires), while the headphone output is unbalanced stereo.

The result will be that anything in the centre of the image is lost completely, and you'll only hear things panned hard to the sides. If you have a mono mix you'll hear nothing from the Mix cube.

We discussed in the previous thread you posted precisely what is required to connect a mono Mixcube to a stereo headphone output:

http://www.soundonsound.com/forum/showt ... =5&o=&vc=1

H

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Re: Avantone Mixcube Connection Problem!

Postby iasomph » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:46 pm

@ Elf:

Mono balanced = needs three bits of wire
Stereo unbalanced = needs three bits of wire

The two both use three bits of wire, and so often use similar connectors (i.e. a TRS jack), but they are not the same.

So, if they look the same but they are not the same, how to distinguish them, especially when shopping? And what about Mono Unbalanced and Stereo Balanced? I'd like to learn well which cables I exactly need to use for certain situation (like connecting monitors to soundcard, monitors to monitor controller, mono speakere, instruments like keyboards or guitars or bass...). Any source where I can learn exactly which cables I need for this differen uses?


@ Hugh: Yes I remember well that passive mixer cable you suggested, but this time I was just looking about a simpler solution/cable to use in conjunction with pressing the mono button on the monitor controller. Without the need of building a passive mixer cable :)
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Re: Avantone Mixcube Connection Problem!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:07 pm

jasno84 wrote:So, if they look the same but they are not the same, how to distinguish them, especially when shopping?


There is no practical difference. They both involve two signal wires with an overall screen, so are built the same way, using the same cable and the same plugs.

And what about Mono Unbalanced and Stereo Balanced?


Mono unbalanced uses a single signal wire with an overall screen, and two-pole connectors like RCA-phono plugs or TS jack plugs. Stereo balanced is rare, but requires four signal wires, plus an overall screen, and a five-pole plug. Normally only found with 5-pin XLRs.

I'd like to learn well which cables I exactly need to use for certain situation (like connecting monitors to soundcard, monitors to monitor controller, mono speakere, instruments like keyboards or guitars or bass...). Any source where I can learn exactly which cables I need for this differen uses?


I'm think someone might have recommended this to you before:

http://www.rane.com/note110.html

And you could do a lot worse than working your way through here (especially the first two sections):

http://www.rane.com/library.html

I was just looking about a simpler solution/cable to use in conjunction with pressing the mono button on the monitor controller. Without the need of building a passive mixer cable :)


All you need to do is wire the left output of the monitor controller or interface to the single mono speaker using a balanced cable. If you don't press the mono button you'll only get the left channel. If you do press the mono button you'll get a mono sum of both channels. Simples.

It was your option 1 in your original post and, as you said, it works fine.

If you want to connect it to the headphone output (your option 2) then you need to build that special mixing cable as we've previous discussed. A headphone output is stereo unbalanced so you can't directly connect it to a mono balanced input... At the very least you'd need to use an adapter to split the two channels onto separate connectors, and the neither put up with the unbalanced signal and likelihood of ground loop issues, or balance the signal in some other way.

H
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Re: Avantone Mixcube Connection Problem!

Postby coreyautobee » Sun Nov 08, 2020 12:56 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
If you want to connect it to the headphone output (your option 2) then you need to build that special mixing cable as we've previous discussed. A headphone output is stereo unbalanced so you can't directly connect it to a mono balanced input... At the very least you'd need to use an adapter to split the two channels onto separate connectors, and the neither put up with the unbalanced signal and likelihood of ground loop issues, or balance the signal in some other way.


Hugh, revisiting this to clarify: If I want to use the headphone output of my Scarlett for a single Avantone, all I need is a cable like the one in Senior's book and Im good to go? Nothing in between it/ no other adapter needed? Thanks for any help!
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Re: Avantone Mixcube Connection Problem!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Nov 08, 2020 2:02 am

There was a typo in the book which Mike corrected on his website. You need a cable built like this:

Image
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Re: Avantone Mixcube Connection Problem!

Postby forumuser931182 » Sun Nov 08, 2020 2:52 am

The Avantone will also accept unbalanced input ( Inputs: XLR & TRS (COMBO JACK) +4/Balanced and -10 unbalanced ) so you could use something like the Behringer MX400 mixer to combine left and right channels from the headphone out.
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Re: Avantone Mixcube Connection Problem!

Postby coreyautobee » Sun Nov 08, 2020 5:02 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:There was a typo in the book which Mike corrected on his website. You need a cable built like this:

Image

Excellent, Ill have a cable built like that to go from my headphone out straight into the monitor! Thanks Hugh
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Re: Avantone Mixcube Connection Problem!

Postby CS70 » Sun Nov 08, 2020 11:27 am

All this said, get yourself a monitor controller. One of the main reason they exist is to allow you to connect multiple monitors and switch easily among them.

Normally I don't recommend buying gear, but in this case it's worth it. And while the ones with most functionality are pricey, a passive monitor controller like the old M-Patch 2 will serve you well enough, and used they dont cost much at all.
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Re: Avantone Mixcube Connection Problem!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Nov 08, 2020 11:50 am

coreyautobee wrote:Excellent, Ill have a cable built like that to go from my headphone out straight into the monitor!

Whoever you get to build it*, they will find it much easier to locate those two resistors inside the XLR plug where there's more space, rather than the TRS plug.

In other words, wire the TRS plug as normal with balanced cable. At the XLR solder one end of both resistors into pin2, and link pin3 to pin1. Then connect the hot and cold wires to the ends of the two resistors, and the screen to pin1. Obviously, it will be necessary to insulate the joints to prevent shorting against the shell.

*If you need a suggestion for a cable-builder, you could try John at Orchid Electronics.

http://orchid-electronics.co.uk/custom_products.htm

...other custom cable manufacturers are available!
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Re: Avantone Mixcube Connection Problem!

Postby Andy McBain » Mon Nov 09, 2020 4:30 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
coreyautobee wrote:Excellent, Ill have a cable built like that to go from my headphone out straight into the monitor!

Whoever you get to build it*, they will find it much easier to locate those two resistors inside the XLR plug where there's more space, rather than the TRS plug.

In other words, wire the TRS plug as normal with balanced cable. At the XLR solder one end of both resistors into pin2, and link pin3 to pin1. Then connect the hot and cold wires to the ends of the two resistors, and the screen to pin1. Obviously, it will be necessary to insulate the joints to prevent shorting against the shell.

*If you need a suggestion for a cable-builder, you could try John at Orchid Electronics.

http://orchid-electronics.co.uk/custom_products.htm

...other custom cable manufacturers are available!

I'll second John at Orchid - he made a cable for my Mixcube a few months back and it was with me in under 48 hours!
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