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Stage monitor level to line level conversion?

Discussion in 'Rigs and Routing' started by Theurge, Sep 30, 2018.

  1. Theurge

    Theurge
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    I've been predominantly in-ears for quite a few years, but recently I've been having to use stage monitors a lot. Maybe I'm getting old, but I just don't like the volume anymore, I'm worried about my ears and my tinnitus (the reason I first went IEM). Nor do I like the tone of the wedges.

    I have a Rocktron rack interface lying around, which would provide me a way to blend a monitor signal with my output from the fractal, so I could create my own basic IEM mix, albeit tethered to a cable. I'd have to solder a converter from speakon to jack, but what else?

    What I'm wondering is- how different is the level from a typical monitor power amp to passive monitors to line level, and how would I step it down? Would it possible with a couple of resistors? Sorry if it's naive- electronics is a dark art to me.

    Thanks
     
  2. Shenks

    Shenks
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    For unpowered applications the following applies (with a few caveats as there can be a bit of variance)

    +4 dBu is professional line level, common in modern pro gear such as the Axe FX
    0 dBv is an average line level, typical output from a lot of rackmount guitar/bass preamps
    -10 dBv is consumer line level
    -20 dBu is roughly a typical instrument's output such as an electric guitar
    -30 dBu is again roughly typical for a microphone or DI box

    You haven't specifically mentioned whether the monitors being used are passive or active. But anything coming out of a power amp (e.g. active monitor) is 'speaker level' and is hugely more powerful, and without using a load box or similar it would be an expensive fry up. In other words, do NOT connect Speakon to Jack and feed this into one of your desk/rack inputs.

    Since you already have an IEM feed then I'd assume this is coming from a mixing desk so can't you just use a spare input channel on the desk for the Axe FX? Or are there other limitations with the setup you are using?
     
  3. Theurge

    Theurge
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    Sorry, I thought the ‘a typical power amp to passive speakers’ made that clear :)

    The place where I’m playing once a month doesn’t have an iem set up. They’re using passive monitors, so yes, speaker level.
    I do not have my own iem gear per se ( I can’t mix inputs from the band etc) apart from the ears themselves. When I play bigger, more tech savvy places, and they provide the option, it’s wireless, and they can actually mix ears, I’ll always use my IEMs every time. With my own gear, I can run a wired headphone out from my rack interface, and use it’s ‘monitor in’ to blend in a line level monitor input. So, if I could convert it, I could bypass the speaker, plug in to my gear, ask for a mix of what I want, without any of me, and balance that with my guitar signal in my ears.

    So, to clarify, what I’m asking is, coversion from speakon to jack aside, how to step down from speaker level to line level.

    After the original post I realised I may have a solution built in to my rack already. I have an EMO 8 channel DI in my rack (I’m running laptop based click tracks and backing tracks sometimes). It has an option for speaker level attenuation on the channels and each has a jack out that can be parallel to the xlr out. So I’m thinking I could do speakon to jack - DI in (speaker level attenuation on)- jack out - rack interface monitor in.

    I’ve used the DI switch to attenuate line level before, but never speaker level. Can’t see why it wouldn’t work if that’s what they say it’s for, but it does make me nervous nevertheless. Rest assured it won’t be inputting to the fractal. I may even try it first with something I won’t miss, like inputting the attenuated signal into an old tape 4 track I have and see if the level is stepped down enough.

    Anyone ever used a DI that had a ‘speaker’ attenuation setting that could reassure me?
     
  4. chris

    chris
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    I’ve used this successfully: http://www.rolls.com/product.php?pid=PM52

    Just get a speakon to 1/4” speaker cable adaptor and a female-female speakon adaptor/coupler. The venue speakon cable goes to the coupler, to your speakon to 1/4” speaker cable, then to the PM52.

    I don’t know the technical terms, but Speaker level carries much more signal and “power” (voltage?) so be careful. This is the correct product to use.
     

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