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Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

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DIY Mixer/PA Connections

natieboy

I'm looking into a small PA and before I buy what I want to buy, I want to make sure I can get the most for my money. The set up I'm looking into is a soundcraft 124fx mixer and 2 Kustom PW50s.
In order to connect the mixer to the speakers I was thinking I could make my own cables. The main mix out on the board is a 1/4" TRS (which i'm pretty sure is just stereo?), and the input on the speaker is for a male xlr. My debate is weather to use standard mic cable in the wiring, or if quad mic cable would work. The quad cable is supposed to help with noise rejection, but will it work for this instance?
Another question that I cannot find the answer to comes from wanting to run a keyboard or guitars through the board. Since I plan on using all 4 mic/line ins for mics, I am forced to move for the stereo inputs for the rest. If I want to plug in a keyboard, acoustic guitar, or headphone out of a small guitar amp into the board should I use a DI box? If I use a balanced cable without a DI box will a ground loop still occur, since it has a ground wire? Also, should I use just one mono 1/4" into the left stereo port, or convert to 2 separate 3 pole (TRS?) plugs and plug into both stereo channels for guitar and keyboard?
March 14, 2012 @02:04am
jpleong

TRS comes in two forms, balanced mono or unbalanced stereo. The Soundcraft has the prior for its main outs (two jacks for a left and a right).
Unless you happen to have some quad cable just lying around I would just buy a TRS-XLR adapter or a long mic cable with those particular ends. They're plentiful and cheaper than buying something like Canare Starquad and some quality connectors. To be honest, with a system as low-budget as the one you're proposing the benefit of using something snazzy like quad-core cable is negligible.
Another question that I cannot find the answer to comes from wanting to run a keyboard or guitars through the board. Since I plan on using all 4 mic/line ins for mics, I am forced to move for the stereo inputs for the rest. If I want to plug in a keyboard, acoustic guitar, or headphone out of a small guitar amp into the board should I use a DI box? If I use a balanced cable without a DI box will a ground loop still occur, since it has a ground wire? Also, should I use just one mono 1/4" into the left stereo port, or convert to 2 separate 3 pole (TRS?) plugs and plug into both stereo channels for guitar and keyboard?

The manual is here, in case you need it: http://www.soundcraft.com/products/product.aspx?pid=173
Do you need a DI? The issue isn't really one of grounding -Soundcraft makes its TRS inputs able to accept balanced and unbalanced signal- it's more a matter of impedance.
So...
Keyboard (assuming a "professional" keyboard with a pair of 1/4" outs), no, just plug straight into one of the four stereo channels. Output from 99% of keyboards is low impedance.
Acoustic guitar, depends. If using a passive soundhole or piezo pickup then yes (a BIG yes, most passive systems are extremely high impedance and very low signal). If using an active pickup system then likely no (most active systems output low impedance).
Headphone out, no, I would actually get a stereo Y-splitter to go from the headphone's TRS-stereo to a separate L/R to plug into the stereo input.
Are you buying these new? That Soundcraft Notepad is discontinued. I've never liked anything Kustom made but that's some old (pre-2000's) experience. There's certainly better for the money...
JP
March 14, 2012 @03:47am
natieboy

The soundcraft mixer I'm purchasing new because it's on clearance at musician's friend for $100, but I assuming that's because it's discontinued. Soundcraft is a pretty good brand for mixers right? And I'm not sure that Kustom made the speakers because the videos and sites that talk about the PW50 shows the same speaker with powerwerks logos. I think Kustom is just a middle man that is putting their logo on to increase sales for themselves and the designer powerwerks.
March 14, 2012 @02:19pm
jpleong

The soundcraft mixer I'm purchasing new because it's on clearance at musician's friend for $100, but I assuming that's because it's discontinued. Soundcraft is a pretty good brand for mixers right? And I'm not sure that Kustom made the speakers because the videos and sites that talk about the PW50 shows the same speaker with powerwerks logos. I think Kustom is just a middle man that is putting their logo on to increase sales for themselves and the designer powerwerks.

I'm still loaning out and, occasionally, using my original Soundcraft Spirit SX console purchased over a decade ago. At $100, that Notepad is at a good price-point so no reservations from me there.
As far as the Kustom/Powerwerks thing it's still a cheap product from a company with a non-existent track record in the MI/prosumer audio industry. There's an old saying, "buy cheap, buy twice," and I'm afraid that most likely applies to these PA boxes. They're cheap for a reason and I'd rather steer you towards something better designed and built, like a Peavey or Yamaha or Mackie Thump. A little more expensive, yes, but you're putting your hard-earned money into products with a much longer track record for quality.
JP
March 14, 2012 @08:04pm
Tomm Williams

Still trying to wrap my head around a Soundcraft/Kustom PA :D
March 25, 2012 @12:49am
jpleong

Still trying to wrap my head around a Soundcraft/Kustom PA :D

Hah! Try this: When I first purchased my Soundcraft Spirit SX, I had used all the pennies I had at the time to acquire it. I had no money for amps or speakers, so the first time I fired it up I used it with some friend's old (old) gear from when they gigged in the 70's and 80's. Namely: a Kustom PA head running into old-style Kustom 4x8" floor-standing PA speakers. To top-it-off, I had their classic mic collection at my disposal including a Shure Unidyne III (still can't find a 57 that sounds as smooth) and a Beyerdynamic M500(!!!). Talk about mis-matched components!
JP
March 25, 2012 @09:36pm