Tuesday, 20 September 2011

DJ Settings with Traktor Kontrol S4, Yamaha MG82CX and Behringer Active speakers

Ok, so I had to learn a bit about balanced and unbalanced cables. The Traktor Kontrol S4 has only 1/4" balanced and RCA unbalanced cable outputs. I had already found that going from the S4 to my Rokit 5 studio monitor speakers required balanced (TRS) 1/4" cables, because if I use the RCAs, I get loads of noise - even with nothing playing. So I figure I have to use those balanced 1/4" TRS cables. Now, when plugging the S4 into my Yamaha mixer, the mixer only offers either mono XLR inputs, mono (balanced) 1/4" inputs, stereo RCA inputs, or stereo unbalanced 1/4" inputs. Sheesh - can't win! I have a brainstorm and come up with the brilliant plan of using the only two mixer channels with compressors - one for left and one for right. Pan left and right respectively. Only problem with that is that a) I've got to keep the two sets of eq's etc in sync on the mixer, and b) I have no compression if I want to plug a microphone into the mixer. I only have the basic remaining channels which only have eq. Anyway, I try it out and come to the conclusion that I may as well plug my two balanced 1/4" cables into the unbalanced 1/4" stereo inputs on the mixer, thereby freeing up the two compressable channels for other purposes. My feeble knowledge of cabling and mixing and pa's in general doesn't go far enough to tell me whether I would get the same degradation of signal quality that I get when going direct to the monitor speakers in my studio - if not using balanced connections. I have to assume that possibly the main benefits of balanced cabling comes in between the mixer and the speakers, because that's also where the cables have to be longest. My routing goes: S4 to mixer, mixer to 18" powered sub (Behringer B1800D), sub to left and right active 400w/450w 12" speakers (Behringer B212D Eurolive). After listening in depth to all setups, I come to the final conclusion that as there's only about .5 metres between the S4 and the mixer, I should be fine. I have a balanced signal between the mixer and the sub, and between the sub and the other two speakers. The sound is fantastic. My research shows that the volume/level on the S4 should be as high as possible (without clipping), which is something I didn't do last time I set this up, and struggled for volume. So now I've got the main volume on the S4 up about 3/4 of the way, not clipping, which I reckon should be between 0db and +6db. The Gain knob on the MG82CX is at 0db or slightly above, the channel level is at about 7, the main out of the mixer is about 4, and at these levels, I get the 'signal' light flashing on the sub (which is taking the entire output from the mixer and distributing it between the two smaller speakers and itself). Previously I couldn't get the signal light to flash on the sub, which I think was because I wasn't inputting enough from the S4. Tweaking the knobs on the sub will eventually provide me with the right high-cut and bass boost I need for whatever gig I'm doing, so that's just a matter of trial and error. The good thing is that I now have a bit of headroom and PLENTY of FOH volume to play with ;)