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"Best" cables for keyboard to mixer?

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  • "Best" cables for keyboard to mixer?

    This is about whether to chose balanced mic cables or unbalanced instrument cables to connect keyboard to mixer.

    The keyboard offers two sets of output connections: "Balanced Out" (L/Mono and R) using XLRs, and "Output" (L/Mono and R) using 1/4" jacks.  The connection diagram in the manual illustrates cables using TS plugs with the latter; that and the labeling suggest unbalanced output.  The keyboard manual is silent on voltage or impedance levels, mic/line/instrument levels, etc.

    I can connect the keyboard to the mixer via:

    - mic cables with XLRs into the mono channels (-5 to +50 dB gain available)

    - instrument cables with TSs into mono channels (-15 to +30 dB gain available)

    - instrument cables with TSs into the stereo line-in channels (-20 to +20 dB gain available)

    Should we want stereo keyboard, we have capacity in the mixer (so far) to dedicate two mono channel strips, or we can instead use a single stereo channel strip.  Either way, I can adjust various gain/fader/etc. settings to achive pretty much the same levels on the meters, same volume in the room, etc. without clipping.

    All the mixer's 1/4" jacks are TRS (but I think keyboard output is unbalanced.)  Distance from keyboard to mixer is usually about 20', sometimes slightly less.

    Should I favor one or the other cable/connector type?  And if so, or not, it would still help to know a bit more of the "why?" 

    -D44

     

    ************************************************** *********************************

    Old guy, just trying to play through the arthritis...
    - Balance is a virtue; loud for its own sake is not... and loud won't fix bad
    - I may not interpret ridiculous, crazy, or stupid the way you intended
    - Common retail products are never awesome (thermo-nuclear probably is, though)
    Assume the requisite list of stuff...

  • #2

    My preference is to use balanced TRS to TRS cables between my keys and the mixer.   Even though my CP300 and my RD700SX support XLR connections - on several occasions, I've discovered that the input gain on the mixer simply could not pad down the incoming signal from the keyboard enough - and resulting in the keyboard overdriving the channel input.   I've NEVER had that experience using balanced TRS to TRS cables and connecting into the mixer's "line" inputs.   

    It seems to vary by mixer - I had no problems with my MixWiz - however lots of problems with my Yamaha MG12/4FX and the Behringer Eurodesk somethingthat my guitar player has set up in our rehearsal space.

    The SpaceNorman

    www.facebook.com/SuperstarsOfRock
    www.souldoutrocks.com

    Keyboards and Tone Generators: Yamaha CP300, Kronos 88, Roland AX Synth, Motif ES Rack
    Keyboard Rack: Samson SM10 Line Mixer, Motu MIDIExpressXT MIDI Interface, Shure PSM200 IEM system, M-Audio Wireless MIDI, Live Wires IEM ear buds, iPad wOnSong.
    Stage Amplification: Stereo via 2 Yamaha DSR112s

    Comment


    • wasRbts
      wasRbts commented
      Editing a comment

      I would prefer the balanced XLR if I could make them work.


    • Drummer44
      Drummer44 commented
      Editing a comment

      SpaceNorman wrote:

      My preference is to use balanced TRS to TRS cables between my keys and the mixer.   Even though my CP300 and my RD700SX support XLR connections - on several occasions, I've discovered that the input gain on the mixer simply could not pad down the incoming signal from the keyboard enough - and resulting in the keyboard overdriving the channel input.   I've NEVER had that experience using balanced TRS to TRS cables and connecting into the mixer's "line" inputs.   

      It seems to vary by mixer - I had no problems with my MixWiz - however lots of problems with my Yamaha MG12/4FX and the Behringer Eurodesk somethingthat my guitar player has set up in our rehearsal space.


      Very useful you've mentioned the RD-700SX, since that's exactly what we're working with here.  I haven't noticed any need to attentuate the signals using either... But you can maybe speak to a couple 700SX-specific things. 

      Do you think the keyboard's 1/4" outputs are balanced? Hence the TRS-TRS cables?  I've been assuming (yeah) the jacks are unbalanced.  Our mixer's mono and stereo line-in jacks are all balanced but will work fine (according to them) with unbalanced TS plugs -- and that seems to be the case.  At least I can't hear any difference...

      Do you use the stereo feauture?  Or mono only?  I've been connecting both channels, but mostly simply because I could... not because I'm able to actually hear a signficant difference (here) in stereo versus mono.  What do most keys guys do?

      -D44

       


  • #3

    I see there are alot of recommendations to buffer the keyboard to mixer connection thru a DI.  In my case - I use a dedicated mixer specifically for my keyboard rig (CP300, Kronos 88 and Motif ES Rack module - all run in stereo).   I don't use a DI for the direct connection from my keyboards to the "keys" mixer.   However, I do use a DI for the feed from the keys mixer to the FOH board.   Note that the AC cables that I use for my keys rig (keyboards, keys rack wmixer, etc) designed such that everything gets fed from a single wall socket - so it's got a single path to ground (which I believe eliminates the issue of electrical isolation to prevent hum).  The connection from keys mixer to FOH board however doesn't have that "guarantee - thus the DI.

    The SpaceNorman

    www.facebook.com/SuperstarsOfRock
    www.souldoutrocks.com

    Keyboards and Tone Generators: Yamaha CP300, Kronos 88, Roland AX Synth, Motif ES Rack
    Keyboard Rack: Samson SM10 Line Mixer, Motu MIDIExpressXT MIDI Interface, Shure PSM200 IEM system, M-Audio Wireless MIDI, Live Wires IEM ear buds, iPad wOnSong.
    Stage Amplification: Stereo via 2 Yamaha DSR112s

    Comment


    • Drummer44
      Drummer44 commented
      Editing a comment

      SpaceNorman wrote:

      I see there are alot of recommendations to buffer the keyboard to mixer connection thru a DI.  In my case - I use a dedicated mixer specifically for my keyboard rig (CP300, Kronos 88 and Motif ES Rack module - all run in stereo).   I don't use a DI for the direct connection from my keyboards to the "keys" mixer.   However, I do use a DI for the feed from the keys mixer to the FOH board.   Note that the AC cables that I use for my keys rig (keyboards, keys rack wmixer, etc) designed such that everything gets fed from a single wall socket - so it's got a single path to ground (which I believe eliminates the issue of electrical isolation to prevent hum).  The connection from keys mixer to FOH board however doesn't have that "guarantee - thus the DI.


       

      Thanks, I appreciate the additional insight, including the comments stereo vs. mono.!

      -D44

       



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