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  • Newbie questions on using powered speakers with a powered mixer

    My band has a Mackie 808s powered mixer that we use for gigs. We normally set it up using;

    2 passive speakers on poles for FOH on the mixer's MAIN channel.
    3 passive wedges for monitors on the mixer's MONITOR channel.

    We have an upcoming gig where the venue already has powered speakers mounted to the walls. There's XLR cable routed from the speaker to the bottom of the wall inside the wall cavity.
    It would be nice not to schlep our pole speakers & take advantage of the venue's powered speakers, but I'm a newb on using powered speakers in conjunction with a powered mixer.

    Looking at the mixer I see there are "Left mixer out" & "Right mixer out" connections but they are 1/4" TS. Do I need to get some sort of TS to XLR adaptor or is there a different way to make the connections? A band mate who has seen the venue (I haven't) said they were Yamaha powered speakers & he thought he saw 1/4" connections on the back of them too. If they're 1/4 to 1/4 TS connections, I'm assuming I use instrument cable, not speaker cable right?

    Also on my Mackie mixer there is a power amp routing switch that selects either STEREO MAINS or MAIN/MONITOR. I'm assuming I have to leave it in the main/monitor position to have the mixer still power the passive monitors correct? Or will this damage the main channel since there won't be a speaker load on it?

    Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.


  • #2
    I'm not familiar with the Mackie 808s, but as a rule you do not use a powered mixer with powered speakers. Either get a passive mixer [and an amp to power the monitors] or schlep your whole rig.
    "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
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    • #3
      I'm pretty sure you can do what you are suggesting, but I would be inclined just to bring my whole rig. You don't have any experience with the house speakers, have no idea how they sound, if they actually work, how they will sound with your system, etc. It's never fun to move your own rig, but you know how to set it up and it's predictable. To me, if the venue is only providing part of the PA, then I bring my own.
      Bill Lawrence custom Strat
      Ibanez Artcore AS-73 (Member Ibanez Art Corps)
      1991 Peavey Classic 50 2x12 Tweed

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      • #4
        I would BRING my whole rig, but if the house speakers are flown and working, they will likely sound better than your speakers on sticks. I have an XLR cable made up with a 1/8" TRS end that takes 1/2 of an iPhone cable............I would use that test the speakers before I even loaded in.

        Assuming the speakers sound good, push the "power amp routing" switch IN, and use the L MIXER OUT and R MIXER OUT jacks to drive the speakers. You can use TRS to XLR male cables for this, although TS will work just as well with this mixer. The output is unbalanced.
        Do daemons dream of electric sleep()?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by wesg View Post
          I would BRING my whole rig, but if the house speakers are flown and working, they will likely sound better than your speakers on sticks. I have an XLR cable made up with a 1/8" TRS end that takes 1/2 of an iPhone cable............I would use that test the speakers before I even loaded in.

          Assuming the speakers sound good, push the "power amp routing" switch IN, and use the L MIXER OUT and R MIXER OUT jacks to drive the speakers. You can use TRS to XLR male cables for this, although TS will work just as well with this mixer. The output is unbalanced.

          Thanks for your insight! I checked the house speakers yesterday & they're a lot better than what I have (Yamaha DXR 12's).

          One question though. If I run the powered mixer with the "Power amp routing" switch in the IN position, i'm assuming there's power to both the MAIN & MONITOR amplifiers. Will I need to put a load on the Main channel to prevent a problem? I suppose I can always put another wedge on the main channel if that's the case...

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          • #6
            On the 808 you'll see Line Out section. These are line level outputs using 1/4" connectors. You can use the Main left and right outputs for the house speakers and use the powered section for your monitors as you normally do.

            Thanks,
            Bill Cronheim
            Entertainment Systems Corporation
            Back stage since 1965
            Equipment specialist since 1973

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            • #7
              Originally posted by BillESC View Post
              On the 808 you'll see Line Out section. These are line level outputs using 1/4" connectors. You can use the Main left and right outputs for the house speakers and use the powered section for your monitors as you normally do.
              Thanks Bill, I think i'm clear on connecting the powered speakers thanks to you & Wes, but i'm still unsure on whether I need to put a load on the MAIN section of the powered monitor. I could be wrong, but the way I understand it is there are 2 amplifiers (Either used for LEFT/RIGHT mains or MAIN/MONITOR). Is it like a guitar amp where you shouldn't power up without a speaker load? I found the user's manual in pdf form on line for the powered mixer, but i'm not seeing a wiring scenario for what I'm trying to accomplish. If I select the power amp routing to MAIN/MONITOR, Should I put a speaker load on the MAIN section or am I just being paranoid?

              I've read a lot of advice that you & Wes have posted here in the past & you guys obviously know what you're talking about...

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              • #8
                You could use Main left and right. Put two speakers on left and one on right, you'll be good to go.
                Thanks,
                Bill Cronheim
                Entertainment Systems Corporation
                Back stage since 1965
                Equipment specialist since 1973

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                • thatsbunk
                  thatsbunk commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Set up this way the monitor signal will be same as FOH won't it? (sorry told you i was a noob on this)

              • #9
                You don't need to worry about providing a load to the main amplifier. These solid-state things just don't care if they are run unloaded.

                The configuration I suggested was suggested so that you could have a different signal out your monitor speakers than your main speakers. That said, it's plausible that I read your manual wrong.

                Don't forget not to overload the amp by running too-low an impedance. You can't run any more monitors in this configuration than you can in your usual setup. The way your mixer is setup internally - I think - is that there are two amps, each amp is connected to the same physical output port regardless of configuration. The routing switch selects whether the amps receive input from the main mono bus and the monitor bus, or if they receive their input from the main left and main right busses.

                Wes
                Do daemons dream of electric sleep()?

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                • #10
                  ^^^^ Thanks, that's what I thought. Minimum load is 2 ohms & I have three 8 ohm wedges so I should be ok. Just didn't want to blow anything up!

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                  • #11
                    Yep. You're at 2.67 ohms. The math says you can add another, but I wouldn't. Unless Don Boomer pops by and tells it's one of the indestructable Peaveys.
                    Do daemons dream of electric sleep()?

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