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Should I run long XLR cables or long headphone cables

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Should I run long XLR cables or long headphone cables

Postby solaris » Wed Mar 04, 2020 1:05 pm

Hi there,

I am trying to figure out what is best:
Should I have the headphone amps in the control room and sent the outputs with a (multi x16 Cable) to the studio.
OR
Have the pre amps in the recording room and sent the line levels with balanced cable (multi x16 Cable) from the RME to the headphone amps.

The length of the cable in both cases will be 50 feet (15m)
I am going to have 8 stereo outs from the RME so I will control the volume from software on both cases. So there is no need to have access to the HP amps.

What I am wondering is which is going to have the less noise, interference or something else I haven't thought about.

Thank you very much for your help.
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Re: Should I run long XLR cables or long headphone cables

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Mar 04, 2020 1:15 pm

solaris wrote:Should I have the headphone amps in the control room and sent the outputs with a (multi x16 Cable) to the studio.
OR
Have the pre amps in the recording room and sent the line levels with balanced cable (multi x16 Cable) from the RME to the headphone amps.

The latter without any doubt!

I am going to have 8 stereo outs from the RME so I will control the volume from software on both cases. So there is no need to have access to the HP amps.

You might want to revisit that thinking. I reckon it's a better idea to have the users control their own headphone levels. It's more practical and it's safer.

What I am wondering is which is going to have the less noise, interference or something else I haven't thought about.

A long distance balanced line-level signal will receive -- and generate -- far less interferfence than a high-level unbalanced headphone feed... And running headphone lines down a multicore is asking for crosstalk hell...

H
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Re: Should I run long XLR cables or long headphone cables

Postby solaris » Wed Mar 04, 2020 3:46 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:A long distance balanced line-level signal will receive -- and generate -- far less interferfence than a high-level unbalanced headphone feed... And running headphone lines down a multicore is asking for crosstalk hell...

Thank you sooo much for that info. Really useful. I was afraid of exactly that.

Hugh Robjohns wrote:You might want to revisit that thinking. I reckon it's a better idea to have the users control their own headphone levels. It's more practical and it's safer.

I have mixed feelings about this. And I would like your opinion.

I have played around with giving control to the musician and I was very disappointed. In my studio the musician has a volume control just beside and they never use it. They always ask me to change the volume. At one point I used a tablet with volume of them-self and the backing track and sometimes of reverb.
That plan totally backfired and they seemed lost. Especially the singers.
As soon as they had control they started not hearing their voice as it should be. :headbang:
What can I say, I didn't try it for long after that. Maybe it was just these few musicians that I tried it.

Anyway the headphone amplifier will be in one side of the room so I guess it will not be very practical for them. Maybe I could try with a table/phone. RME can be controlled with (I think) up to four.

Thank you very much for your help.

P.S.
Can I send one or two MIDI from the multicable or am I looking for trouble again?
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Re: Should I run long XLR cables or long headphone cables

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Mar 04, 2020 4:13 pm

It can be done, and it will work over mic cables up to 60 feet or so...
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Re: Should I run long XLR cables or long headphone cables

Postby CS70 » Thu Mar 05, 2020 12:19 am

solaris wrote:That plan totally backfired and they seemed lost. Especially the singers.
As soon as they had control they started not hearing their voice as it should be. :headbang:
What can I say, I didn't try it for long after that. Maybe it was just these few musicians that I tried it.

My own experience is that it's very different between singers who do studio sessions often and have had the basics of vocal monitoring hammered into them and the occasional or beginning ones which come straight from last night's open mic.

The former usually want control of their vocal mix in the cans, even the reverb, the latter have often not even an idea of which level they need to have the guide base in the cans to pitch right. :)
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Re: Should I run long XLR cables or long headphone cables

Postby solaris » Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:44 am

CS70 wrote:The former usually want control of their vocal mix in the cans, even the reverb, the latter have often not even an idea of which level they need to have the guide base in the cans to pitch right.

Yes I think that is right. It depends on the person. Maybe giving the option to some would be a good thing. I will start experimenting again. At least with the RME it is easy to make a monitor controller with an old mobile phone or tablet.

Also I think it is important to say that sometimes, you can control the performance of the artist by controlling the volume. Make them sing louder or quieter. This is one more tool.

Thank you all for your help.
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Re: Should I run long XLR cables or long headphone cables

Postby DanDan » Mon Mar 09, 2020 6:24 pm

Musicians LOVE having their own controls. I have heard them wax eloquently about other studios which have this facility. I would regard it as the new norm. Mandatory. There are solid reasons..... e.g. someone might want to hear literally none of some other....... Hard to ask for that publicly...... I have a slant on the trad ways. I turn off the speakers, and leave the talkback mic on permanently. No goldfish bowl, no paranoia, and everyone gets a half decent mix to add 'more me' to. Earlier systems had 250-600 Ohm cans with big power amps. These days I would say most of us are on 80 Ohms with individual small amps per one or two people. I use a beautiful sound DACS Headlite, customised with 'More Me' inputs. Even using decent mains lighting cable, the volume loss over 10-15 Metre runs is very audible.
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