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Old March 11th, 2010, 05:06 PM   #1
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Xenxy 1204 multiple outputs

What's the recommended way to feed powered speakers PA system and camera at same time? The 1204 has XLR L&R main out for my camera, there appear three options to feed PA at the same time:

1) get pair RCA <--> 1/4" jacks made up to go from tape out to speakers

2) turn up aux send on all channels, route 1/4" jack aux send connectors to PA system.

3) 1/4" jack <--> 1/4" jack control room out to speakers

option 2 adds two more level controls to the main and channel faders i.e. aux send cntrl for master and the aux send in the channel strips

option 3 risk is that not only must the channel and main mix faders be set, but the control room out level knob adds another volume level to check and also the cntrol room monitor buttons cannot be changed during event.

EDIT:
Recommendation from Behringer:

"Feed the PA via the XLR outputs using some microphone cables.
Feed the Camera from the TAPE outputs (RCA) to the camera."

problem for me is I only have XLR -XLR or XLR to 1/4 jack cables on hand.

Last edited by Mark Joseph; March 11th, 2010 at 07:02 PM.
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Old March 12th, 2010, 05:32 AM   #2
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You don't want the changes to the FOH levels going to the PA to affect your recording levels going to the camera. How many sources are you recording and are they mics or stereo playback feeds? Are you using the 1204 or the 1204FX? (Alas, both have limited routing options ... are you stuck with using the Behringer?)
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Old March 12th, 2010, 06:19 AM   #3
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I can't get an independent feed for the camera though can I? Any changes in the strip or master fader is going to affect cam feed.

We only have an 802 & 1204 (not fx).

Mics only: typically 2x wireless, 1 boom, 1 boundary or omni 'conference' mic on table to record seminar participants.

Also mindful of being stuck with the mix - at best can separate to two channels only, so the potentially troublesome table mic and boom on 1, lapels on the other?
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Old March 12th, 2010, 06:31 AM   #4
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Mark,
I have the same mixer. You can get adaptors to go from 1/4 to XLR (either XLRF or XLRM) which I have done OR I can run audio out from the mains and use a splitter cable to run an XLR to the camera as well as one speaker.
I understand that while it may not be the most desirerable way to do it, it depends on the clients budget. If they weren't willing to pay to have it done properly but just "want it done" they may get this setup. It does work. The best way to go? Nope, but with a bit of careful planning and diligence it can work out OK.
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Old March 12th, 2010, 08:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Joseph View Post
I can't get an independent feed for the camera though can I? Any changes in the strip or master fader is going to affect cam feed.

We only have an 802 & 1204 (not fx).

Mics only: typically 2x wireless, 1 boom, 1 boundary or omni 'conference' mic on table to record seminar participants.

Also mindful of being stuck with the mix - at best can separate to two channels only, so the potentially troublesome table mic and boom on 1, lapels on the other?
According to the manual, the 1204 Aux Send 1 is permanently prefader, Aux Send 2 is permanently postfader. You absoutely want to avoid mixing the lavs with the boom/boundary mics when recording so as to avoid phasing issues. How about potting up Aux Send 1 on the lavs so you can set and forget levels on them and potting up Aux Send 2 on the other mics. Route both Aux's to the camera, one to left and the other right. Send the Main Outs to the PA speakers. The channel strip faders for the radios will affect their level sent to the PA but not to the camera. The channel strip faders for the boom and the boundary will affect their level being sent to the camera (so your FOH operator will have to leave 'em alone once set up) as well as their level in the main mix going to the PA. The channel strip pan controls for all inputs will affect their position in the PA but not their distribution between the Aux's as both of them come off pre-pan control. The Main fader will only affect the levels to the PA speakers.

Too bad it doesn't offer selectable pre- or post- fader Aux's and/or a true submix output bus - the best would be to put all the mics into prefader Aux sends but you can't do it with that mixer without putting everything into a single mono mix which would be very risky. With my Mackie 1642 it would be a no brainer as I can route a strip to any combination of Aux1 & Aux2 prefader, Aux3 & Aux4 postfader, any of 4 submix outputs, and the Main Outs all at once.
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Last edited by Steve House; March 12th, 2010 at 10:00 AM.
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Old March 12th, 2010, 09:49 AM   #6
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Steve,
While I don't use the mixer all that often, I for one appreciate the information you have just given on this particular piece of gear. You opened my eyes to other proper ways to use it.
You are a warehouse of great audio information and I almost always get something from what you say. Almost always because I'm a bit dense :-)

Again thanks for clearing up things I didn't know about live event audio with this mixer which BTW, I've been using for 3 years (I think it's 3 could be 2 - can't remember but regardless) Thanks again.
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Old March 12th, 2010, 02:01 PM   #7
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I do this type of work very often, using mixers with similar routing abilities.

As for the routing you'll choose, that's up to your specific situation as well as your comfort and experience level. While simple can be important especially for live events, sometimes the simple solution doesn't give you enough control for the vastly different levels that can be needed for recording versus PA with no feedback.
For me, "simple" means I've created a system where every output destination can be controlled independently and those controls are clearly labeled. Often that makes for a rather complicated system behind the scenes if I'm using a simple mixer so it does have some risk of complexity involved. Read ahead if you want my list of techniques; but for a paying, live event it's critical to create a routing system that's workable for you.
Generally I use the MAIN Outs to feed the destination that will receive all the input sources even if that destination isn't the most important device. I do this since it's easier to have all signals in the MAIN Output and use a lesser number of sources in the AUX Sends or the MUTE/Alt3-4 buses.
In many cases, I have some output destinations that absolutely must not receive some input sources. For example the sensitive ambient mic that goes to the camera only to sustain some sound when all wireless mic sources are turned down in between presenters, must never go to the PA or it would create huge feedback! So I don't route the Mains to the PA but generally use the post-fader AUX Send since I can be selective about what goes to the PA and have both individual channel control (both input fader and aux fader) and the Aux Send Master.
In your case, I think the boundary layer mic could have feedback problems if routed to the PA unless you can turn it way down independently of its level going to the camera.

So here are some additional tricks (with both risk and advantage) you can use to expand the routing capabilities of what you already have to work with:
(Or like Steve said, just buy a Mackie 1642 and it would be easier!)

1. Send out just one channel to one powered PA speaker and then loop out of the speaker to the second PA. This lets you use the other mixer output for something different and it allows you to use the pan controls without affecting a source's position in the sound field of the loudspeakers, which is now mono from 2 speakers. (The main disadvantage is if your cable to the first PA goes bad then you have no redundant path to the loudspeakers).
If the speakers don't have a loop out, which is rare for powered speakers, you can use a Y-cable to send one output to both speakers. Unless you must play back music or other stereo sources and maintain stereo, going to mono 2-speaker PA for mics is just fine.

2. Return the TAPE OUT connectors to an un-used input and press the MUTE/Alt3-4 switch.
This gives you additional control points (the "muted from Main/1-2" input fader and the Alt/3-4 Master Fader) for using the TAPE OUT connectors with independant control that still follows what you do with the regular input faders and the main master faders. In the case of the Behringer mixer it doesn't gain you the benefit of a balanced output connector since the MUTE/Alt3-4 outputs are unbalanced TS 1/4-inch jacks, but on a Mackie it would turn the TAPE OUT RCA's into balanced TRS jacks with extra control.
The main disadvantage would be accidently "unmuting" the input receiving the signal from the TAPE OUTS and creating a feedback loop, but if you've clearly marked the input it should be fine. I've never accidently done this in years of work. YMMV

3. For a Mackie 1402 or 1202, route several inputs through the MUTE/Alt3-4 bus and return the MUTE/Alt3-4 outputs to an used input. That turns the input you're returning the MUTE/Alt3-4 signal to, into a submaster control. In the case of the Behringer, the MUTE/Alt3-4 already has a submaster control, so you could just use it as is.
The main disadvantage is you can't have an input source go to both the MAIN 1-2 and the MUTE/Alt3-4 buses totally independently. On a Yamaha mixer I have you can do both at the same time and it's very advantageous. At least on the Mackie's you can tap into the preamp jacks for the mono input channels and get a second copy of for example a mic after it's been preamped and trimmed but pre-fader. This second copy of the signal can run into a MUTE/Alt3-4 input or to a second mixer.
The main disadvantage is if you accidently "mute" the input you're using as a MUTE/Alt3-4 submaster, you'll get an unheard internal feedback loop and will rob those signals from the MAIN Outs. Again I've never done this mistakenly. An additional advantage is if you need to return a "muted" input to the MAINS, you just release the MUTE/Alt3-4 button on that input and it reappears in the Main Mix.

So to sum up these techniques, you can have 5 totally independent control paths through your mixer for up to 5 sources that remain separate: Main 1-2, Mute/Alt3-4, Pre-fader Aux Send.
Or you can have 5 somewhat independent paths for a single source or sources that can be mixed together: Main 1-2, Return Tape Out to Mute/Alt3-4, Pre-fader Aux Send.
In addition, the post-fader aux sends and the Aux Returns can give you even more choices if needed.

4. Use a second mixer. I do that often when I want two totally independent mixes (sometimes controlled by two totally independent people who can each concentrate on their specific mix). The disadvantage is you must create two clean copies of your mic-level sources. In the case of Mackie's I use the preamp jacks associated with the mic-input channels. That creates a pre-amped line-level signal of a mic input that I can send to a second mixer without robbing it from the first mixer. The only control that affects both copies of the signal is the input TRIM for that input on the first mixer.
You can also use mic preamps or active splitters with 2 outputs, or in the case of some wireless receivers you have the choice of using line out instead of mic out.

5. Use devices like passive direct boxes to turn unbalanced outs like the TAPE Outs into balanced mic-level signals that can use your XLR cables for the long haul to the camera.

6. Get plenty of adapter cables in both balanced and unbalanced types.
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Old March 12th, 2010, 04:06 PM   #8
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To be a little more brief, here is how I would route the signals differently than Steve:

Pan the two wireless lavs to the Left. Pan the other two mics to the Right.

Bring up all mics on Aux 2 Post-Fader to the level needed for PA. Send Aux 2 to the first PA speaker and loop out the signal to the second PA speaker.

Send Main 1 and 2 to the Camera Inputs 1 and 2.

Hold Aux Send 1 in reserve to feed something else that can be a safer destination for a pre-fader signal, like a stage monitor, or quick and dirty documentation recorder, or as the guide-audio-track on a 2nd camera if needed (*See note below). It's very rare I would send a pre-fader aux to the PA or to a main 2-channel recorder with 4 mics where un-wanted consequences could occur unless two different controls are both raised or lowered to change a signal to all of its destinations simultaneoulsy.
In other words I think it's safer to have an Aux Send that follows the input fader but can still be adjusted independently if needed, versus a pre-fader aux send that MUST be adjusted independently from the input fader (unless it's a stage monitor where pre-fader is just the ticket).

By panning the mics left and right you can still reduce the mixing of the lavs with the room mics when going into the camera inputs. By using only one output going to the PA system you eliminate any effect the pan control has on the PA image (which as Steve said is already eliminated anyway if using the AUX sends which are pre-pan).

In addition you still have the TAPE Outs to use as needed as a second copy of the MAIN, possibly to a backup 2-channel audio recorder!

If you absolutely must maintain two separate signals to the PA speakers for stereo, there's an easy way to do that also but I'm risking not being brief...
To maintain two signals to the PA system, you could return the Aux Send 2 into an unused input and make certain to press "MUTE/Alt3-4" for that input. Then connect the Alt3-4 outputs to the two PA speakers. If you need music playback into the PA in stereo, you could connect a source such as a CD Player or iPod and also press the "MUTE/Alt3-4" button for that input.

*Note: Another use for the pre-fader Aux 1 Send that I just thought of based on work I did this week: Send that signal to the line audio input of the computer that's generating the PowerPoint Show. That computer would also be recording its own screen using software like Debut or Camtasia. You can use this recording to get very clean footage not only of the live PowerPoint Show but also have guide audio for syncing up the PowerPoint with other video sources in post!

Last edited by Jay Massengill; March 12th, 2010 at 05:31 PM.
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Old March 12th, 2010, 04:26 PM   #9
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Thank you for taking the time to reply - especially insights from Steve & Jay.

FWIW background is I work in a Govt dept internal comns, primarily on corporate messages and documenting events. We went with basic mixers with simply to allow me to grab a feed when filming live award ceremonies.

The challenge is selecting or adapting hardware as our scope expands from a very modest internal video production unit established last year. I have flagged this risk in a memo, because unlike other govt departments which have spent big on a holistic approach, ours is dipping a toe in the water and then expanding - which make it hard to know what equipment level I should recommend.
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