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Mac to XLR audio monitors?

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Philip Fass
Mac to XLR audio monitors?
on Nov 25, 2008 at 3:19:04 pm

I'd like to monitor my podcasts with XLR-equipped audio monitors. Is there a sound card or a peripheral I should add to my Mac? I don't need input, as I"ll be working with digital files. Thanks.


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Jordan Wolf
Re: Mac to XLR audio monitors?
on Nov 25, 2008 at 11:23:43 pm

First off, what monitors do you have in mind? I always enjoy seeing what others are looking at.

You might want to look into some of the smaller M-Audio interfaces. You won't really find one that only does outputs, and besides, it's always good to have some inputs handy - I'm sure you'll find a use for them.

Try to go for one that has balanced TRS (most common) outputs for L&R. Some units have multiple outputs, too, for routing separate mixes elsewhere.

Also, you don't NEED an interface, but it is highly recommended you use one. In reality, you could buy or make up your own 1/8"-dual XLR(M) cable.
TIP goes to Pin 2 of left XLR
RING goes to Pin 2 of right XLR
Pins 1 & 3 both get connected to the Sleeve

Realize, however, that you'll either need powered speakers or a power amplifier matched to the speakers AND that this connection method is unbalanced and should only be run a short distance.

Terms:
unbalanced
1/8"-Dual XLR(M)

Wolf
<><


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Philip Fass
Re: Mac to XLR audio monitors?
on Nov 26, 2008 at 11:22:52 am

I've read good things about Genelec, and they seem to have quite a broad price range.

In a full-blown studio setup, what would typically be the piece of equipment that feeds into the XLR inputs of active speakers? Not that I need it, but curious. They must use something that goes directly from XLR to XLR.



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Ty Ford
Re: Mac to XLR audio monitors?
on Nov 26, 2008 at 11:45:07 am

Hello Philip and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

The system audio circuitry in a Mac is unbalanced. While not impossible to deal with, there are cautions. I use a hum cutter that takes the Mac audio and outputs it as a balanced signal via TRS jacks. You could simply try that first. You amy or may not need a TRS to XLR cable for each monitor. Some monitors have both inputs.

How are you creating your podcasts? Software, hardware, etc.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Ty Ford
Re: Mac to XLR audio monitors?
on Nov 26, 2008 at 11:50:39 am

BTW, here's the one I use.

http://www.zzounds.com/productreview--EBTHE2PKG


Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Jordan Wolf
Re: Mac to XLR audio monitors?
on Nov 26, 2008 at 1:36:49 pm

Usually, it would be the recording console's control room outputs (or a number of others, I'm sure).

As long as the signal is balanced, it doesn't matter if XLR's or TRS connectors are used. It depends on the particular "level" delivered by an output and expected by an input. The 3 types I come into contact with are Line Level @ +4dBu, which usually has TRS connectors, Instrument Level @ -10dBV, which usually uses RCA's, and Mic Level @ -50ish dBu, which uses XLR's. I think it is safe to assume that most standalone power amplifiers and/or active speakers are expecting to see Line Level (unless, of course, otherwise specified).

Coming from the world of live audio, most of the Line Level I/O that I see involves TRS connectors - mainly due to the fact that they are cheaper and take up less precious space than XLR connectors. Some high-end consoles (Cadac, for one) use XLR's for everything - even their balanced inserts. XLR's are favored for a few reasons. They're a locking connector, they tend to be more robust over time (not as easy to snap off if hit hard from the side), and they aren't made in a way that innately shorts the circuit every time they are plugged in or taken out.

Wolf
<><


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Philip Fass
Re: Mac to XLR audio monitors?
on Nov 26, 2008 at 1:59:24 pm

This is very helpful, and I really appreciate....but there's one major issue that I just have to resolve, and it's not about equipment.

If you have less-than-great hearing, is there any point in great speakers? I have tinnitus and the kind of medium-high-frequency, moderate degree of loss that comes with age. The kind that makes it difficult to hold a conversation in a crowded room.

With that permanent limitation, I just have to wonder if highly accurate speakers add any value to my work.

Any opinions? Thanks.



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Ty Ford
Re: Mac to XLR audio monitors?
on Nov 26, 2008 at 2:44:56 pm

Hello Philip,

A lot of audio pros have tinnitus. As we age, most of us have some hearing loss. I used to be able to hear ultrasonic traffic light changing sensors and security systems in stores. I still hear things that other people don't. I'll be mixing or mastering something and hear something. After pointing it out to the clients, they'll will say, "How did you hear that?"

Only you can make the decision. In order to do hat you need to hear if you can tell a difference. There's really no other way to conduct a practical test. If you can't, then, no, it's not worth it. If you can, then, yes.

Regards,

TY Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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