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Mini to XLR

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by dvlasak, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. dvlasak

    dvlasak Active Member

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    Ok, I've been so busy for the 3 months or so that I haven't been reading CB. A new job I have been given is to get the school AV equipment to work. One thing I want to do is to be able to plug the computer or LCD projector into any sound system. I just don't have time to make my own cable. There must be a company out there that makes mini to XLR cable. Can anyone steer me in the right direction? Thanks!!!
    Dennis
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Does it exist, YES, should you do it, NO. Mini (3.5mm) is a stereo line level source, meaning you get 2 channels out of one cable at line level. XLR in's are mic level, which sparing you the details is a different type/level of signal. You will need to 3.5mm plug from the computer, split it into the two seperate channels, then move those to channels to a mic level signal, then into the console. 3.5mm to 1/4" TS are pretty easy to find, look at HOSA, they make them in a pretty good quality. You will then need a direct box for each channel, which changes the signal from line to mic level, these are pretty easy to come by, then you will run XLR from the direct box to your console. Now.... how far away is the computer/projector from the sound system? Is it less then about 10'... if it is and your mixer has line level inputer (1/4" usually) then you can forgo the direct box and just run the 3.5mm out to the console, going 1/4" in.

    Another option would be to get a sound card that has mic level outputs....
     
  3. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Isn't there a switch on some consoles/channels that would allow line level inputs? IIRC, some smaller Mackie desks have some line level input channels.

    And Radio Shack will likely have connectors that will get you from one to the other. But you'll suffer some signal loss.

    Or you could have a cable custom made. Call Bill @ ESC. It won't be that much different in price than an RS solution.
     
  4. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Most consoles will take a line level input just fine, it just depends on the distance that you are sending the line level source. Line level works fine for short distances, when you get over about 10-15' you start pushing the gear too hard. Over time, you will slowly destroy the output source. I have seen way to many computers come to me with blown sound cards because of this exact thing. Just because you can make the cable does not mean you should.
     
  5. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Use a Minijack to dual RCA cable and a Whirlwind PCDI (scroll down the page to find it). This works very well. While it's a large initial investment, it's well worth it to have one or two of these for an AV department. They'll take all sorts of inputs that people throw at you - computers, iPods, DVD players, VCRs, and all sorts of other random input devices that you find in an AV department.
     
    dvlasak likes this.
  6. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Pretty cool product, might have to pick one of those up.
     
  7. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    It's one of the most useful things ever for anyone who regularly uses sources with minijack or RCA outs.
     
  8. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Yep, I love the thing to death.
    That may be the one I will never sell.
     
  9. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    It is not a combiner, that "hot switch" is a pad.
    You can plug in any line level device, but remember that turntables require a preamp.
    Buy one on eBay, they are at least $125 on Amazon.
     
  10. BNBSound

    BNBSound Active Member

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    If stereo isn't important, which for getting Power Point or educational video out to the masses in a classroom or aud, there's a real cheap fix you can do.

    Use a "Y" cable to go 1/8" mini to a pair of 1/4" and plug that into the in AND out off a direct box. The trick is to add a pair of 1000 ohm resistors to each of the 1/4" inputs inside the box. The resistors should cost about US$2 for a dozen or so at Radio Shack and you can have the mod done in about five minutes.

    While adding a resistor is not a true impedance match, it does isolate the two sides from one another, thus eliminating phasing and loss due to cancellation and attenuates the level enough to run through the DI without distorting. Also, having them in-line doesn't drastically effect the performance of the DI when being used on a single, mono source. While the lab coat types can probably quote you figures on what this actually does to the sound quality, I've been mixing for 15 years and my ears weren't able to detect any difference at all through a system. (I thought there might possibly have been a slight difference in the headphones). And really, what else are you going to use that thing for except to insert some low buck, poorly adjusted teenage bass player's floppy sounding rig?

    While this is far from the ideal situation it does have the following merrits:
    • You save having to use two channels to get the stereo source to the desk.
    • A lot of venues and small systems are run in mono anyway, so why burn the channel?
    • If you have to make any number of these, it's a good deal cheaper because it cuts the number of impedance matching devices (DIs) you have to buy in half.
    • You could go even cheaper by using a simple in-line matcher such as the ones sold at Radio Shack for about US$15 and incorporate the resistors directly into the "Y" cables with some careful cutting and shrink wrap. (Make sure you lable them)
     
  11. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    One of those sets of switches is a pad and the other is a ground/lift switch.
    I got mine for $65 including shipping.
    You made up "hot switch" and a pad is, well look here:
    http://www.uneeda-audio.com/pads/
     
  12. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Do I need to go down to the basement with a camera to give you a satisfactory answer?
     
  13. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    [​IMG]
     
  14. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Sad state of affairs when I get dragged into an audio thread.:mrgreen:
    Charc, a "pad" is used to attenuate a signal that would otherwise overdrive the input electronics due to it's intensity. Think of it as a gray, Neutral Density color filter, that lowers the signal by 20dB.

    A "ground lift" in audio terms removes the connection to chassis ground from the audio signal. This can often, but not always, result in removing hum/buzz/interference from the signal. This is not to be confused with an AC Ground Lift which removes the electrical ground--those should never be used.;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2008
  15. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    If you get within ten feet of me with one of those I will promptly seize it and direct toward the nearest refuse receptacle.
     
  16. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I'm warning you in advance, you're not gonna like this link on "impedance matching." Bet now you wish you'd paid more attention in Algebra class, huh? Here's one more on topic.
     
  17. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Avkid and others, I've looked at the photo on the whirlwind website and it has a stereo / mono switch above the ground lift switch. So my bet would be that you have an earlier version of the unit and they have since added the mix capability...
     
  18. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Maybe they give you funny stuff in Australia.
    This is the only picture on the Whirlwind site:
    [​IMG]
    I'll get a hold of someone at Whirlwind and find out for sure.
     
  19. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    That would be the same picture I made my statement based upon. If you look in the lower image, there is a red rocker switch above a white rocker switch. Reading the microprint on the top above them, it's stereo / mono on the red and ground / either on or off, I can't read the print, on the white switch...
     
  20. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Great little box... don't leave home without it.
     

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