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Inserts?

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by 9voltnewbie, Oct 13, 2003.

  1. 9voltnewbie

    9voltnewbie Member

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    On one of the schools mackie boards, I have another instrument input below the line in that's labelled insert... what is insert and how do I use this feature?
     
  2. cruiser

    cruiser Active Member

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    An insert basically will intercept the signal of only one channel somewhere along tis journey through the desk.

    Inserts are used to add a special dynamic effect or eq to that channel. as oppose to using the foh eq.
    Unlike a reverb which is usually added into the dry signal dynamic processing is applied over the whole channel.
    The signal is sent through the insert and then back into that channel through the same place it left. This signal is normalized, so the signal is only interupted once a jack is plugged into the insert.

    Basically... the insert applies a specific effect or eq to one channel as oppose to Aux Sending and having many channels on the one send.

    I dont rarely use the insert feature on sound desks, but when I do i will generally run a gate or compressor and the like for drums etc. I have never tried eq'ing just one channel through an insert i see it as fairly pointless for most applications unless you want a very specific sound which cannot be achieved with the desks own eq.

    Hope this helps...
     
  3. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hiya,
    Cruiser did a great explanation of what an insert is and does. I just wanted to add a bit more in that an Insert uses a special cable called an insert cable. Its a TRS or Tip Ring Sleeve 1/4" plug that splits the signal to a "Send and Receive" to two TS or Tip Sleeve 1/4" plugs. Basically it will look like a Y cable--one TRS to two other cables that are TS, however it is not a Y cable and is sold under the title Insert Cable. On these cables, the Tip is usually being SEND of the signal out of that channel, and the Ring (the little part between the tip and the sleeve) being the return of the signal back into the channel. However each desk can vary as there is no real "standard" that is universally recognized as to whether tip is send or receive.

    ASCII drawing:

    /_\ <-TIP (SEND)
    |_| <-Ring (RETURN)
    | |
    | | <-Sleeve (GROUND/COMMON)
    |_|
    | |

    A TS Cable is the same 1/4" jack as above excpt there is no center ring band at the end.

    As Cruiser said--this allows you to "insert" an effect, compressor/gate or EQ onto that channel alone to effect that channels sound alone. The Insert breaks the signal path in the console--routes that signal to whatever you want, and returns it back in the chain right where it broke it. Inserts can be on channels, but they can also have inserts on the Mains Outputs--which allows you to insert a limiter or compressor on the entire mix, or you may have inserts on Auxillary outputs to do the same. Inserts are usually very common on most sound consoles, they are fun to use and very useful for certain things if you have the outboard gear and the time & need to use them.

    Hope this helps...

    -wolf
     
  4. cruiser

    cruiser Active Member

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    Yeah good point wolf..... thanks for adding that bit on. Using a normal jack to jack wouldnt get you very far... would you go as far as saying it could possibly cause damage to your gear?

    ive heard that some computer soundcards when run through a desk will blow up because of the signal differences??
     
  5. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hiya,
    No--using it as a one-way patch won't kill your gear..just won't get you anywhere. However you may run into issues of crossing voltages which could be a problem for the pre-amp and channel when you plug and unplug as the jack does touch all areas of that connector on a 1/4" when plugged in. As for the Computer Sound Card question--only time I have heard of problems is when someone patches into a console that uses a "global" phanton power supply to power all channels and not an individual channel phantom control. Signal differences shouldn't be a major problem--however if your sound card output is supplying VOLTAGE as if to power the PC speakers--then you would dead-short out the card when you plugged it into the console. A lot of times its usually best to run the signal thru a DI to isolate it from the console--and take the designated output that is NOT powered..to attachs to an outside source. This is usually line level at best. But the phantom power on a global system such as is on Mackie and others is usually the culprit of problems on the return end. This, from my knowledge of things on PC interfaces to audio consoles, is what kills sound cards on computers...and doesn't too very well for the console either. ;)

    wolf
     
  6. cruiser

    cruiser Active Member

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    Yeah.... hmm thanks for that wolf!

    I dont generally run my laptop through the sound desk as all the music on the laptop is also on cd or md. ahh gotta love the mini disk!!!
     

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