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Question about hooking up studio monitors...

shango

Member
Messages
445
Hey, guys! I have what is probably a stupid question, but what do I use to hook up studio monitors to an interface? 1/4" balanced or unbalanced? I am new to home recording, so please go easy on me if this is a stupid thing to ask. :) Thanks!
 

Rex Anderson

Member
Messages
5,079
You need to look at the specs on your interface and the speakers.

What are the connection types (1/4", XLR etc)?

1/4" can be balanced (tip/ring/sleeve) or unbalanced (tip/sleeve only)

You can get cables that are 1/4" on one end and XLR on the other

Balanced is preferred if possible.

Be sure you have level control to the monitors-don't send full mix output to them or damage may occur!
 

taez555

Member
Messages
8,252
A Cable. :)

It depends. Are your monitors powered or not? If not, do you have a preamp to power them? Is your interface putting out -10dB or +4dB? Are the monitors (or preamps) inputs XLR, TRS, RCA, other? Are the interfaces outputs balanced or not? Are you running the interface into a mixer first? Does your interface have a master volume, or do you want external control? (Trust me, if you can't control it with the interface, you WANT external control)

Basically though, just match the cable type from the interfaces outputs to the monitors (or the monitors amp) inputs and that will get the job done. After that it's all up to how you want your studio to run. :)
 

shango

Member
Messages
445
I am sorry, I forgot to mention that. lol The monitors are powered KRK Rokits and the interface is on it's way to me, so I don't know very much about details yet. The interface is an M-Audio Fast Track Pro. The main reason I bought the interface is to hook up the monitors. Just want a simple listening setup for right now while I am acquiring the rest of the gear I need. All I want is Macbook Pro>Interface>monitors. Thanks for the help! :)
 

weshunter

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,265
Be sure you have level control to the monitors-don't send full mix output to them or damage may occur!
Really? What do you mean by this -- like if I have my monitors hooked up through my apogee duet's outs and i'm using logic, do i need to do something special to make sure they don't' get messed up? I don't turn it up crazy loud or anything, but I do usually try to master everything right at 0db.
 

shango

Member
Messages
445
:eek:Ok, I see. I need 1/4" balanced cables. I feel like an idiot because I didn't know that's what TRS meant. :eek: The outputs from the interface are TRS and there is that option on the KRKs. Thanks for the help, guys!
 

Nelson89

Member
Messages
3,609
Really? What do you mean by this -- like if I have my monitors hooked up through my apogee duet's outs and i'm using logic, do i need to do something special to make sure they don't' get messed up? I don't turn it up crazy loud or anything, but I do usually try to master everything right at 0db.
Dw....if you have powered monitors, just make sure they're down when you turn them on, a full mix output signal won't blow them, so long as it's line output and not headphone output (where a preamp would be present)
 

Rex Anderson

Member
Messages
5,079
Sorry if I was not clear.

I meant some way to control the level going to the speakers if they are powered or the power amp if used.

A "volume" control somewhere.

You do want to mix so the level reaches close to 0 dB full scale (leave some headroom for mastering).

You generally don't want to send that level straight to the monitors-it may not damage the speakers bit it will be might loud.
 

Nelson89

Member
Messages
3,609
Sorry if I was not clear.

I meant some way to control the level going to the speakers if they are powered or the power amp if used.

A "volume" control somewhere.

You do want to mix so the level reaches close to 0 dB full scale (leave some headroom for mastering).

You generally don't want to send that level straight to the monitors-it may not damage the speakers bit it will be might loud.
Exactly right, level wise mixing in 24bit depth, you wanna be between -12db and -6db. Mastering you wanna be between -6db and -3db. Mastering to 0 can cause a lot of CD players to jump or the burning of the file either clip or fail entirely. Another possibility is if you master to 0db you could clip the signal coming out of the interface or clip the input stage of the monitors, while it won't damage your speakers, it won't SOUND the best.
 

Rex Anderson

Member
Messages
5,079
Most mastering guys I have dealt with and CD's I play and check reach -0.2 dB re: 0 dB full scale. That's only 2 tenths of a dB below 0.

That is plenty to avoid crummy CD players DAC's crapping out.

Only mastering to -3 dB is wasting 2.8 dB and makes it harder to compete in the loudness war.
 

Nelson89

Member
Messages
3,609
Most mastering guys I have dealt with and CD's I play and check reach -0.2 dB re: 0 dB full scale. That's only 2 tenths of a dB below 0.

That is plenty to avoid crummy CD players DAC's crapping out.

Only mastering to -3 dB is wasting 2.8 dB and makes it harder to compete in the loudness war.
I also personally do it to -0.2, except most people won't have a decent enough limiter to do so in a budget home studio, and in a loudness war, home studio's shouldn't really be competing.

Another point would be if you master to -3db with regular home studio gear, you might get a peak or two above that, at like -2.8db or whatever, if you sell that as a digital file, most people's iTunes or whatever is set to normalize it. The end result is a song that stacks up fine next to other commercial releases in a playlist. CD version, so long as the rest of the songs are the same volume as each other on the CD, then it's fine, you'd just have to normalize the file if you wanted to put it on a compilation with other commercial releases.
 




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