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Plugging synths into Mic input of Soundcraft Signature 12
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author Plugging synths into Mic input of Soundcraft Signature 12
chamomileshark
hi, I've been struggling a getting a decent level out of some of my synths - particularly the OB-6 module (but also some of the others).

I'm wondering if I'm careful and keep the volume levels on the synths low if I can plug them into the Mic inputs and use my Soundcraft Signature 12 pre-amps do the job of getting a decent signal in.

I'm not very technical so the specs don't mean alot to me. From the Soundcraft manual it says

"Mic Input: +12.5dBu max
- Mic Input: 1.2kΩ
- Hi-Z Input: 968kΩ"
nostalghia
chamomileshark wrote:
hi, I've been struggling a getting a decent level out of some of my synths - particularly the OB-6 module (but also some of the others).

I'm wondering if I'm careful and keep the volume levels on the synths low if I can plug them into the Mic inputs and use my Soundcraft Signature 12 pre-amps do the job of getting a decent signal in.

I'm not very technical so the specs don't mean alot to me. From the Soundcraft manual it says

"Mic Input: +12.5dBu max
- Mic Input: 1.2kΩ
- Hi-Z Input: 968kΩ"


Sure, just use a direct box (aka "DI"). These are specifically made to let you plug a keyboard, bass, guitar, etc. into a mic input.
Matches impedance correctly, has unbalanced 1/4" input jack, balanced XLR output jack.

Basic low cost ($53 USD)but decent quality example (had a bunch of these in a studio I worked in in the 80s): Whirlwind IMP 2
Better quality, stereo in/out, more $ ($300 USD) example (what I would buy today for a nice synth like the OB6): Radial Engineering JDI Stereo Passive DI
If you need multiple channels for live sound or recording several instruments in one pass, there are a few rack mount 8-channel DIs like this (about $100 per channel): Radial ProD8

And here's a good page on the Radial site, with general info about direct boxes (why you need one, what they do, different types): https://www.radialeng.com/comparing-direct-boxes

After writing all that, though, I realized I'm surprised you can't get adequate level using the line inputs on your Soundcraft mixer-you may not need to spend any money at all. Are you using the stereo line inputs on channels 7/8 or 9/10? You don't need the channels with the Hi-Z switches-that's for guitars. All line inputs on your mixer go through the preamps * too, not just the mic inputs-so you need to turn up the gain knobs a bit-were you keeping them down all the way, or thinking they were only in the signal path for mic inputs? Volume up all the way on the OB-6?

*See pages 4.1 & 4.2 of your manual:https://3e7777c294b9bcaa5486-bc95634e606bab3d0a267a5a7901c44d.s sl.cf2.rackcdn.com/product_documents/documents/4347_1477345892/Soundcr aft_Signature_10-12_User_Guide_original.pdf
MarcelP
[/quote]so you need to turn up the gain knobs a bit-were you keeping them down all the way, or thinking they were only in the signal path for mic inputs?[quote]

I run all modular audio outputs directly into the line inputs on a MTK22 - just have to give a little gain (knob at 9 o'clock) and never had issues with level - certainly never been tempted/had necessity to use the Mic.inputs or use any kind of DI.
chamomileshark
thanks Nostalgia I'll have a look at that. I'm sending the DSI OB-6 going into the 7/8 channel. I have turned the pot up - maybe I just need to turn it up further. My Korg Odyssey was a bit quiet but I'm now using the higher output.

MarcelP - modular levels are alot hotter and I don't need to fiddle about with gain so much. I've noticed the older analogues tend to be alot louder.
nostalghia
chamomileshark wrote:
thanks Nostalgia I'll have a look at that. I'm sending the DSI OB-6 going into the 7/8 channel. I have turned the pot up - maybe I just need to turn it up further. My Korg Odyssey was a bit quiet but I'm now using the higher output.


Yep, turn those preamp gain pots up as high as you need to. Many mixers like yours have a "pad" (resistor basically) in the circuit between the line input and preamp, which knocks down the level so you can use the gain knob to accommodate all kinds of "line level" devices that may vary in the actual max voltage they are putting out, and still have a useful range of adjustment on the knob. So crank it up! If the preamp begins to overload, it will do so gradually and some slight distortion might sound quite good if it's a decent quality preamp design.

Best way to set your gain pot on that mixer: start with the input channel fader at zero. Play the synth with the patch, velocity, etc that will let you see/hear the highest level you expect to hit while playing. Turn up the preamp gain until the Peak LED starts to flicker during the loudest parts, then back down slightly.
Another tip-pressing the PFL (pre fader level or listen) button will let you see the level on the master stereo/solo bus meters (could get loud-be ready to turn down monitor volume). Adjust preamp gain until meters go a bit above "0" only during the loudest parts of the tune or jam you're working on. Now you've found the best setting for the preamp gain for good signal to noise ratio. Now you can use the fader on the channel to adjust relative level vs other inputs, fine tune level for recording, etc. Don't change the gain knob setting unless you hear objectionable distortion, or if you change patches, start playing harder, etc.-just use channel and master faders (try to keep the master fader up around zero as well by the way).
slumberjack
...now i learned what to use a d.i. for. just right in time because is added a sl1210 to the studio and want to incorporate pedals for my dj sets.
and i found a bluetooth receiver at radial too!

once again i learned some important stuff here. w00t
and another grand - which i don't have - to spent...
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