Alesis Palmtrack line in too sensative / reducing line out signal at DVinfo.net

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Old August 20th, 2010, 07:00 AM   #1
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Alesis Palmtrack line in too sensative / reducing line out signal

I have just got a SWISSONIC MDR-4 (which is an unbadged PalmTrack) but when I try to record using line in the recording is very high and peaks around 10% of the time. Anyone know if this is a known problem. If not is there a way of reducing the level (a inline resister?).

Ben
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Old August 20th, 2010, 07:45 AM   #2
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What is the source of the line level signal you are trying to record? There are two definitions of line level, professional studio line at +4dBu and consumer line at -10dBv. Because of the difference between the two units' zero points, there's about 12dB difference in level between them. It's very likely that the 'line input' of your recorder is expecting to be presented with a consumer line level signal. If you're connecting to something like a PA mixer, it may very well be outputting the studio line level instead. If so, you need to get a couple of -15dB pads to put in the line between the two devices.

(I HATE companies like Alesis that think 'specifications" in their online product literature means the voltage rating of the power supply and nothing else! Not one word is mentioned that provides actually useful information, like what levels are expected on the inputs and what their impedences are!)
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Old August 20th, 2010, 08:07 AM   #3
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Thanks for your reply. It is actually domestic kit I am connecting (Mission Cyrus 1 amp via tape out) so from what you are saying if I connect it to a mixing desk it will be even worse. Excuse my ignorance but what do you mean by pads (pots). The way to go may be to put a dual pot in line but I am not sure what rating to use.

(I actually got my unit for 65 so did not expect much but I would of thought line in from domestic kit was not too much to ask).
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Old August 20th, 2010, 08:52 AM   #4
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Some RCA tape outs are much hotter than -10db, it depends on the specific device.

Are there any other input sensitivity or level controls in the PalmTrack's menu or on the body of the recorder?

There are various attenuated dubbing cables available that will take dual RCA line-level and bring it down to mic-level on various connectors. In that case you'd connect to the recorder's mic-level input.

There are probably attenuating cables or connectors with less attenuation, so you could take a hot line-level down to a consumer line-level, but they aren't as common for unbalanced cables as they are for balanced XLR lines.

You can also search online for the needed values and wire one up yourself.

To get an idea of how much attenuation you need, you could connect a small mixer like a Mackie 1202-VLZ to the tape output of the amp. Then use the trim controls and metering to find out exactly how hot the signal is. You could also then connect the Tape output of the Mackie to the recorder to fully control the levels going into the PalmTrack.
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Old August 20th, 2010, 09:20 AM   #5
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I also tried it with a phono out on a CD player and it was very similar. There is a level control that I have set to minimum but I am plunging it into 'line in' so it does not seem to have any effect. Regards, Ben.
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Old August 20th, 2010, 09:32 AM   #6
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Are "Auto" levels selected in the Recording Setup Menu?
That would prevent the level control from having an effect.
According to the Quick Start Guide for the PalmTrack, the recording level should effect the line-level input jack also.
(Of course, just turning down the recording level control won't successfully control clipping if the input signal is way too hot for the input connection.)
Any chance the jacks are labeled wrong? The external mic jack and the line jack are right next to each other.
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Old August 21st, 2010, 07:13 AM   #7
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Yes there is auto gain but it looks it still has the same range at the manual. Effectively it turns gain down to 1 automatically but this is still to high. I have tried mic socket but this is worse;).

Have a SWISSONIC MDR-2 which handles line in but needs a preamp for microphones. I think with these budget devices they can only handle line of mic. I have heard the Zoom H4N has a simelar problem in that line in is to hot.

I will post a question about Tascam DC 07 separately as this may be a good solution.

Thanks for your help,
Ben
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