Direct Boxes (DI’s) with Stereo to Mono Summing

0_dn200

In my article, The Stereo to Mono Summing Cable that No One Makes, I described how to build (or buy) a cable that will take a stereo unbalanced signal and sum it to mono for connection to a PA system (mixer, power amp, etc.). You can connect the output end of such a mono-summing cable directly to a regular line 1/4″ line input. If, however, you need a balanced signal for connection to an XLR mic input on a mixer, you’ll need to use a mono-summing cable in conjunction with a DI box. Since writing that article, there have been several DI boxes that have hit the market that do something similar to what the mono-summing-cable-plus-DI-box combo do, so I thought it might be good to provide a quick overview of some of them. I’ve decided to list these in the order of the selling price from least to greatest. Continue Reading »

My Favorite Kick Drum Mic Stands

onstageprokick

After years of recording and doing live sound, I’ve discovered that buying a mic stand for your kick drum is NOT where you should try and save some money. It’s just not worth it. A cheap stand will be tipping and slipping until you’re ready to pull your hair out. You’ll try all kinds of creative hacks involving duct tape, string, and sandbags to prevent it, only to have it happen again in the middle of a session or live gig. With that being said, I’d like to recommend a couple of specific mic stands that should serve you well in this application. Continue Reading »

Behringer X-Air XR18 Wi-fi Woes

xr18_angle

I’ve owned a Behringer X-Air XR18 digital mixer for a few years now. I still love it and highly recommend it. I’ve used it mostly around my studio for band rehearsals, and for a while at church while we were waiting for warranty repairs on our X32. In both of those settings, I used it in Wi-Fi Client mode, with it logging on to an external router so my control devices (phone, tablet, & PC) could also have access to the Internet. I’ve also used my XR18 in Access Point mode briefly around my studio and had used it as an Access Point on one gig. In both of those scenarios I had zero problems out of it. I had read some gig horror stories on forums about Wi-Fi problems using the built-in Access Point with the X-Air series, but had not experienced it for myself–until recently. Continue Reading »

Summing Two Mic Signals

summing_two_mic_signals

One of my most popular articles has been The Mono Summing Cable that No One Makes. I’ve been contacted by more readers regarding that article than probably any other that I’ve written. That article details why it’s a bad idea to use a regular Y-cable or TRS-to-TS cable to sum two (usually stereo left & right) line-level signals to mono by simply shorting the outputs together. It’s ok to use such a cable for SPLITTING a signal, but not for COMBINING or SUMMING two signals. That being said, it can work ok on some devices, but on others it can cause distortion, weird phasing artifacts, and possibly even damage the outputs of your gear. However, combining the outputs of two dynamic microphones is a different story, and in some applications it’s ok to do so with a regular XLR Y-cable, as we will soon see. Continue Reading »

Sennheiser e609 Silver Electric Guitar Microphone

e609
In this post, I’m going to discuss a mic that I’ve owned for a number of years: the Sennheiser e609 (also referred to as the “e609S” or “e609 Silver”). Like its sibling and confusingly-similar named Sennheiser e906, this dynamic mic is designed for use primarily as a guitar amp mic, but you could just as easily use it on a snare drum or rack tom of a drum kit. It employs a side-address design (similar to many large-diaphragm condensers) that makes it ideal for hanging it by the mic cable from the top of an amp, with the capsule pointing straight at the speaker. Some people will try this same trick with other dynamic mics (e.g. the Shure SM57), but that generally doesn’t work as well, because the source is off-axis with relation to the capsule. So if you like doing that sort of thing for miking an amp, the e609 may be just the thing for you. Even if you’re not hanging it by its cable and are putting it on a mic stand, it’s side-address design keeps the mic cable and connector pointing up or down instead of out, allowing the mic to sit closer to the amp and more out of the way than an SM57 or other similar mic. Continue Reading »

Behringer iNuke NU4-6000/NX4-6000 4-Channel Power Amplifier Review

nu4-6000_1

For a number of years, my live sound system was limited to only two monitor mixes shared between 4 stage monitor speakers. So for a typical 4-piece rock band, the drummer & bass player might share a mix, and then the guitar player and singer would share a mix. Each band member had their own monitor speaker, but they did NOT have their own monitor mix. There were two reasons for this. First, my old analog mixer only had two pre-fader aux/monitor sends. Second, the power amp that I used for my monitors was a standard stereo/2-channel amp. However, when my analog mixer bit the dust, I purchased a new Behringer X-Air XR18. The XR18 has 6 Aux Buses, each of which can be assigned as a pre-fader monitor send. This opened up some new possibilities for me: if only I had a 4-channel power amp, I could run 4 separate, independent monitor mixes–one for each speaker. Enter the Behringer iNuke NU4-6000, a 4-channel amp that seemed to be tailor-made for my intended purpose. Continue Reading »

Connection options for the Behringer Powerplay P2 Headphone Personal Monitor Amp

P2_P0CH4_Left_L
A couple of years ago, Behringer released the Powerplay P2, a beltpack headphone/personal monitor amp that has opened up the world of In Ear Monitors to even the most budget-conscious musician. What this compact, flexible little gem allows you to do is this: Continue Reading »

ART Pro MPA II VU Meter LED Bulb Lamp Repair and Tube Swap

prompaii

I own an ART Pro MPA II mic preamp, which I really like. I most often use it for tracking vocals, in conjunction with my ART Pro VLA II compressor. I bought the Pro MPA II used, and ever since I’ve had it, it’s had a problem: when the unit was first powered on, the right VU meter would not light up. If it was left on for a while (usually a few hours), the light would usually eventually come on and stay on until I powered it off. This didn’t affect the performance of it as a mic preamp in any way, but it was annoying and looked bad when paying clients would come into the studio and my gear didn’t appear to be working correctly. That doesn’t exactly instill confidence in your customers. Continue Reading »

How to Reinstall Android Firmware for Dragon Touch M7 Tablet

m7-01

I’ve got a cheap Android tablet (the Dragon Touch M7) that I use for controlling our Behringer X32 at church. I typically run the excellent Mixing Station software to do this. I also connect the headphone out of the tablet to a DI box and connect that to our system to run some stems on a few songs in our repertoire. I paid around $60 for this tablet back in 2015, and it only gets used for a few hours a week during band rehearsals and church services. And it really only gets used for that purpose–I don’t use it for web browsing, watching YouTube videos, etc. So the tablet really sees very little use. A few weeks ago, it starting acting a bit erratically. I noticed a couple of times that it automatically rebooted. It had never done that before. Continue Reading »

MXL A-55 Kicker Bass Drum Mic Review

A55_1

The MXL A-55 Kicker is a dynamic instrument mic that’s specially designed for use on kick drums and other low frequency instruments such as bass guitar amps. The mic has a tailored frequency response that gives you plenty of low-end punch and beater snap–what you typically want and need in a kick drum mic. I wasn’t necessarily in need of another kick mic, but I picked up an A-55 when I saw a deal on one that was just too good to pass up. Continue Reading »