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#28231 - 07/05/09 05:08 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Best way to connect PC to PA ?
Will_3 Offline
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Registered: 05/08/05
Posts: 85
Best way to connect PC to PA ?

I'm wondering how you guys connect your PC to your PA system?

I've made up a rig of adaptors and cables to go from the small connector on the sound card to a "pair" of standard quarter inch jacks... and plugging those into my Amp... but I'm getting a lot of noise along with the sound.

And... is the Sound Out connector on a typical PC sound card a 1/8 or 3/32 stereo female jack?

And the ultimate question... What is the best way to get professional quality sound out of your PC for a live rehearsal or performance?

Thanks for any help.

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#28232 - 07/05/09 05:21 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Best way to connect PC to PA ? [Re: Will_3]
Mac Offline
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Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 38502
Loc: Chesapeake, Virginia USA
Quote:

Best way to connect PC to PA ?

I'm wondering how you guys connect your PC to your PA system?

I've made up a rig of adaptors and cables to go from the small connector on the sound card to a "pair" of standard quarter inch jacks... and plugging those into my Amp... but I'm getting a lot of noise along with the sound.





The earphone jack on the standard laptop is electrically equivalent to an unbalanced stereo line output. Use of adaptors to break the signal out to L and R channels and then into any set of Line Level inputs on your PA will yield a very good result. (TIP: When doing this, make sure that the software mixer of your laptop has the Master and Wav, Software MIDI synth, outputs turned all the way up! This will drive the line the hardest, which is what we need here, for lowest signal to noise ratio and fullest sound. Get your volume level at the PA with the hardware fader.)

Quote:

And... is the Sound Out connector on a typical PC sound card a 1/8 or 3/32 stereo female jack?




Actually, most of them today are likely to be metric, but the 1/8" size will usually work.

Quote:

And the ultimate question... What is the best way to get professional quality sound out of your PC for a live rehearsal or performance?

Thanks for any help.




If your laptop is fairly new, there really is not a good enough advantage to buying an aftermarket soundcard for playback of programs like BIAB. This is because today's laptops are shipping with very good D-A output converters in them due to the customer demands to watch (and hear) multimedia.

*ANy noise you experience is likely due to an AC GROUND LOOP. Use of a Radio Shack Ground Loop Isolator between laptop output and PA will safely eliminate that noise. Less than $20US


--Mac
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#28233 - 07/05/09 08:22 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Best way to connect PC to PA ? [Re: Mac]
Ryszard Offline
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Registered: 09/28/07
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Loc: Kennesaw (Atlanta) GA
If you're using a laptop the ground loop is pretty much a given. But you are talking about a PC sound card.

Another potential source of hum twixt PC and PA is cheap audio cables. I had a nasty buzz coming from my DAW into my studio system until I trashed several 22-gauge Y-cords and multiple adapters for heavily-shielded brand-name home-theater grade AV cables. No more electrical noise. (And they look really cool!)

A surge protector with EMI/RFI filtering is a good idea, too, to keep hum from coming in on the AC line.

R.
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"My primary musical instrument is the personal computer."

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#28234 - 07/06/09 06:14 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Best way to connect PC to PA ? [Re: Will_3]
Jazzman Offline
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Registered: 01/10/02
Posts: 1456
Loc: UK
Hi Will,

Lots of great advice above which you need to use

When all this is done make sure that before each time you connect up you clean all jacks as they get smeared up with general handling (Perspiration/grime) and can bridge the seperators and also cause hum

A clean cloth and occaisionally an electrical contact cleaner fluid followed by a dry cloth wipe over works best
jazzman
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#28235 - 07/06/09 02:04 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Best way to connect PC to PA ? [Re: Will_3]
David Walker Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 10/19/05
Posts: 241
Try buying a two prong power cable converter that eliminates the ground wire. I have a older laptop which I have connected to a Peavy KB300 watt Amp, equivillant to a PA System. When I first started using it as a stand-alone system, I got line noise. I went to this forum a got a suggestion for a fix from a user and it works great. The fix cost about $2.00.

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#28236 - 07/07/09 09:42 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Best way to connect PC to PA ? [Re: David Walker]
Notes Norton Offline
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Registered: 07/06/00
Posts: 4262
Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
I use a USB to Audio interface. They are reasonably priced, the bandwidth is better than the audio jack on the sound card (higher fidelity), there is none of that loose connection static you get if you accidentally touch the audio jack, and I've never had a hum or ground loop issue with it.

I have a couple of different Edirol models. The low-end UA-1A works fine. I think that one has been discontinued, but there is probably another low priced alternative.

Notes
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#28237 - 07/07/09 09:26 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Best way to connect PC to PA ? [Re: Notes Norton]
Lawrie Offline
Expert

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 1439
Loc: NSW, Australia
G'day Notes,
Quote:

I use a USB to Audio interface. <snip> ...and I've never had a hum or ground loop issue with it.




Thant's a very good and interesting point. I thought about it for a moment then I remembered: the USB interface is a current loop - NO ground reference, therefore (probably) no ground connection thus no ground (or earth) loop therefore no interference from it.

A little more expensive than a ground lift/disconnection but potentially safer...
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#28238 - 07/07/09 10:22 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Best way to connect PC to PA ? [Re: Notes Norton]
Ryszard Offline
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Registered: 09/28/07
Posts: 3889
Loc: Kennesaw (Atlanta) GA
Quote:

I use a USB to Audio interface . . . and I've never had a hum or ground loop issue with it.

Notes




I had a bad hum in my portable system, which was comprised of a Compaq laptop and a TASCAM US-224 Audio/MIDI USB interface, which wouldn't go away until I used the two-prong adapter hack, so USB can't be the entire answer (unless I completely misunderstand the issue, which seems to be happening a lot lately . . . ) Never had it in a desktop except for the cheap cords I mentioned in my original post.

R.
_________________________
"My primary musical instrument is the personal computer."

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#28239 - 07/07/09 11:19 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Best way to connect PC to PA ? [Re: Ryszard]
Lawrie Offline
Expert

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 1439
Loc: NSW, Australia
G'day Rich,
I went and did a little more reading... I was mistaken, USB isn't actually a true current loop signal, it is an Asynchronous an/or Isochronous differential NRZI (Non Return To Zero Interface) encoding system using voltage reference between the D+ and D- wires. Now, while there is no actual ground reference in the data signal, the Data lines are tied to voltage sources that are referenced to "ground". If this "ground" is tied to the external ground somehow, then a ground loop is still possible, in a round bout fashion.

In addition, there is a 5V and ground extended up the USB cable for powering downstream devices.

So much for gettin' all excited there...
_________________________
--=-- My credo: If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing - just ask my missus, she'll tell ya laugh --=--
You're only paranoid if you're wrong!

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#28240 - 07/10/09 08:28 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Best way to connect PC to PA ? [Re: Will_3]
DrDUBose Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 03/22/07
Posts: 173
Loc: Greater Boston
Another way around AC noise is to run a laptop from batteries only. You need backups that are charged and ready to rock. That got old, and I got a Radial I/O box that accepts multiple L/R lead lines and outputs L/R balanced signals with pad boost options and ground lift button. It's the PRO AV2 box, but it sounds like there are cheaper options. This costs around a $100 as I recall, and has the options of flexible source input connectors inluding 1/8th" 1/4" mono and stereo. It's simple and is very quiet.
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#28241 - 07/10/09 03:12 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Best way to connect PC to PA ? [Re: DrDUBose]
Notes Norton Offline
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Registered: 07/06/00
Posts: 4262
Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
I also hook everything on stage to one outlet and I put a TrippLite power conditioner between the wall outlet and all my gear.

The power conditioner keeps the spikes and the voltage sags out of my equipment, and makes them all last longer.

Also, I play one-nighters, sometimes in places with less than ideal AC voltage supply and I've never had a ground loop problem. The only hum I've ever gotten is the mild hum from stage lighting from time to time. And it's so low that it is easy to ignore.

Notes
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#28242 - 07/10/09 03:35 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Best way to connect PC to PA ? [Re: Notes Norton]
Mac Offline
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Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 38502
Loc: Chesapeake, Virginia USA
That Tripplite can suppress transient surges and the like, provided the internal MOVs aren't worn out, but it won't do a thing to help with brownouts. Likely doesn't have to, either.


--Mac
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#28243 - 07/10/09 05:33 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Best way to connect PC to PA ? [Re: Mac]
Ryszard Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/28/07
Posts: 3889
Loc: Kennesaw (Atlanta) GA
Yeh - a good isolating transformer with a brick-wall surge suppressor and an uninterruptible power supply, that's the ticket. Belt, suspenders, staples, superglue, mebbe some rivets . . . da whole wazoo. Shouldn't run ya more than a couple grand. Oh, wait, and a generator, just in case. Yeh.
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#28244 - 07/10/09 09:16 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Best way to connect PC to PA ? [Re: Ryszard]
Mac Offline
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Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 38502
Loc: Chesapeake, Virginia USA
16 bux for the Radio Shack Audio Isolation Transformer will do the trick nicely enough for any laptop and PA out there.


--Mac
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PGmusic FAQs, Tutorials and Updates! click here

You must be Audiominds.
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#28245 - 07/11/09 08:03 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Best way to connect PC to PA ? [Re: Mac]
Notes Norton Offline
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Registered: 07/06/00
Posts: 4262
Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
If I remember my AC theory (it's been years since I went to college), a transformer resists changes in voltage, both dips and surges will be held steady, as long as they are of short duration.

The info that came with the Power Conditioner says both transient dips and surges will be suppressed. According to Tripp Lite, "Extends the useful life of connected equipment by providing optimum voltage conditions for enhanced efficiency and cooler internal operating temperatures. Reliable transformer-based voltage correction circuits maintain 120V nominal output during voltage fluctuations between 89 and 147V."

I would love to bring a UPS, but the size (and weight) needed for the power amp and everything else is just too excessive.

But I do think the Power Conditioner is worth it's weight in gold.

My gear lasts a long time, when the AC or ice machine kicks in I don't get that short dimming of the lights, and unlike a UPS, I still get a sine wave AC - which I am sure the audio gear likes better.

Notes
_________________________
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http://www.nortonmusic.com

100% MIDI Super-Styles recorded by live, pro, studio musicians for a live groove
& Fake Disks for MIDI and/or RealTracks

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Visit our Beginners Forum, and you'll notice our amazing Forum Community helping out new program users!

Like this recent post regarding Muting the Melody Notation: http://www.pgmusic.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=458716 - Forum user Matt Finley did a great job of answering the new program user!

Our Beginners Forum really is a great resource for new program users!

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A: There are several ways to do this. The easiest is probably to use the Mixer window and change the volume slider to zero for the Melody track. Or, hit the Mute icon on the Mixer for the Melody Track.

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David Wise: http://www.pgmusic.com/realtracks.artists.php?a=150
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To find out which version of the program you have, visit Help | About Band-in-a-Box within the program. You will see the full version number listing as:
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Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows customers can download the latest free patch update here: www.pgmusic.com/support_windowsupdates.htm#512

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