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Old April 21st, 2008, 12:17 PM   #1
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Connecting Studio Monitors to my PC - Need Help :)

Hello,
I recently purchased these studio monitors:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...#goto_itemInfo

I knew that I wouldn't be able to automatically connect them to my computer because they use XLR jacks instead of the standard PC audio jacks.

I am looking for some help on picking a sound card that can handle these monitors. The only card that I have found that I think would work is this one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829121011

Can anyone lend me some guidance in this area? I would really appreciate it!
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Old April 21st, 2008, 12:37 PM   #2
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Jordan,

What you need is called an "audio interface". It provides analog audio I/O (such as for the XLRs going into your monitor speakers) to a computer. Choices are internal or external (to the computer), the interface used (PCI, USB, FireWire), whether it's integrated with another audio function (such as a mixer with built-in audio interface). There are too many choices to name them all here.

Maybe you can start to get an idea of what's available here:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/shop/1..._FireWire.html
Then come back with more specific questions. Or, tell us more about what you plan to do, e.g. if you have any mics/instruments to hook up to the computer, or if there's a need for a mixing board or control surface. Also consider what you are willing to spend.

- Martin
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Old April 21st, 2008, 12:43 PM   #3
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Can't you simply get a 1/8 inch stereo to 2 XLR adapter cable and use any soundcard?
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Old April 21st, 2008, 12:48 PM   #4
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I agree with Martin...

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Interface.html

I have this and it works great...plus you can record mic and instruments directly into your editing software.

Not cheap...but there's no such thing as cheap when it comes to high quality sound and video!
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Old April 21st, 2008, 01:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Moore View Post
Can't you simply get a 1/8 inch stereo to 2 XLR adapter cable and use any soundcard?
No, because the XLR connectors on the monitors are balanced inputs. However, you could use the 3.5 mm output on the soundcard to 1/4-in inputs on the monitors, since those are unbalanced inputs.

Wayne
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Old April 21st, 2008, 02:11 PM   #6
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Thank you all for posting. Martin, you are right - I don't really know a lot about these products or what they are capable of. Here is what I'm planning on using it for:

I currently record voice overs and other sounds using an XLR to USB adaptor called MicPortPro made by Centrance. It would be nice to not have to use this adaptor and be able to plug into a mixer with the Mic's XLR cable.

I would also like to use my studio monitors to listen to timelines in Premiere Pro, edit audio in Soundbooth, and listen to any other audio that comes through the computer. I could connect to my computer using firewire or usb, whichever you think would be faster/more reliable.

As far as price goes, I would really like to stay under $250, but I'm not sure if that will be possible with what I would like to do. If there is a product that is more expensive but works a lot better i would definitely like to get that one, but 250 is what I would like to stay under.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 02:29 PM   #7
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Hi Jason,
I recently bought a pair of powered monitors and like you need an A/I . I tried a couple and settled on the Apogee duet. It's a bit more than your budget ( It was a bit more than my budget too!) but it has everything that I needed, I recommend it.
http://www.apogeedigital.com/products/duet.php
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Old April 21st, 2008, 02:46 PM   #8
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Look, your speakers are POWERED. Bi-amplified, in fact.

The fact that they're fed by XLR connectors strongly supports the contention that they're looking for a MIC LEVEL signal.

That's the lowest level audio signal you'll commonly encounter anywhere.

That means that virtually ANY way you get the audio signal to the speakers, there's PLENTY of juice in the built-in amps to drive them properly.

WHATEVER you use to feed these speakers, all you'll really need is a way to adapt the physical connectors.

The simplest way to do this is to buy a couple of XLR-Female to RCA adaptors and plug them directly into the speakers. Then feed any signal you like, from a mixer, from your micPort, from your computer - from anywhere to the speakers via simple RCA cables and you'll be good to go. If it's a line level signal, you'll just turn the speakers WAY DOWN. If you're feeding a Mic Level signal - you'll turn the levels up.

If you want to use a mixer go right ahead - that that will certainly make things easier for you since you can set the channel input sensitivity properly for a whole bunch of different kinds of feeds on the individual channel strips.

Then just set your mixer output to Mic Level - and run standard XLR cables (available at any music store) from the mixer to the speakers and you're done.

Then the mixer can set levels for your various sources.

Bottom line. Don't overthink this. You don't need any kind of "audio interface" whatsoever - to feed these. A mixer, even a $50 used Mackie 1202 would be all you need for convenience, but you don't actually even need that to match a single source to these.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 03:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
The fact that they're fed by XLR connectors strongly supports the contention that they're looking for a MIC LEVEL signal.
Taking a mic level signal would be highly unusual for a powered speaker. At first glance, I can't tell if it's +4dBu or -10dBV, but I'm willing to bet it's a line level signal.

- Martin

http://www.m-audio.com/images/global...UG_EN02_V2.PDF
Appendix A - Technical Specifications
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Old April 21st, 2008, 03:37 PM   #10
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Okay - so now I'm a little confused about everything. What you're saying is that i could just use a couple adapters if I wanted, or i could buy a mixer. Either way, the speakers are going to work with my system.

If I decide to buy a mixer, it will help me out when i want to record voice over or an instrument. I would connect the mixer to my computer via firewire.

If I buy adapters, all I do is just plug them into my studio monitors and into my pc - end of story.

Am I correct? :)
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Old April 21st, 2008, 03:45 PM   #11
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Your asking two seperate questions here, right? one is how to hook up your speakers, the other is how to hook up microphones for a voiceover. they are not going to use the same thing. assuming a low budget, you need to not use the xlr input on the speakers, use the 1/4" unbalanced connector, and an adapter.
To hook an XLR microphone to your computer, on a budget, use something like the 1202 mentioned earlier, or better yet, a small mixer with a XLR input and USB output.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 03:52 PM   #12
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A cheap way to bring in audio is to hook the microphone to the camera, use it as a pass through into your editing capture program, or even record on the camera, assuming your camera has XLR capabilities.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 04:00 PM   #13
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I use this mixer http://www.zzounds.com/item--YAMMG102C to hook up the RCA OUT from my sound card to the mixer IN and then from one of the mixer OUT to the Monitors..

I'm using an M-Audio Audiophile 2496 sound card.

Going in the other way, another OUT (separate from the output to the monitors) from the mixer goes to the RAC IN on my sound card, which means I can hook up any other audio device to the Mixer and they will be all routed to my monitors (for listening) and to my sound card (for recording)
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 07:49 AM   #14
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You'll have to forgive me because I'm getting confused about what everybody is saying. Here are the features that i am looking for:

- Be able to plug in my studio monitors
- Be able to plug in a microphone to record audio
- Be able to monitor the sound coming through my computer

What kind of product do I need? I started off thinking I needed a new sound card, then a mixer, then adaptors now I don't know what to think! :)

Can anyone clarify things for me? I'm trying to accomplish those objectives at the top. I am currently using the onboard audio for my motherboard, so i don't have a real sound card at all. I would need to connect a device through firewire or usb whichever is better. I have these studio moniotors:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...#goto_itemInfo

Thank you for your help! :)
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 08:44 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
..
The fact that they're fed by XLR connectors strongly supports the contention that they're looking for a MIC LEVEL signal.

...
Then just set your mixer output to Mic Level - and run standard XLR cables (available at any music store) from the mixer to the speakers and you're done.

...
Sorry to have to correct you on this one, Bill, but XLR connectors are not always a give-away that the device expects mic level signals and this is one of those exceptions. The inputs to these speakers are line-level, regardless of whether one chooses to use the XLR or the 1/4 inputs. According to the m-Audio user's manual they accept either balanced or unbalanced line-level signals at either input. These monitors are the same as my JBL Pro's XLR inputs in that regard.
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