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Connecting 4 Synthesizers to an Audio interface


sacredmimi

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So, my scarlett 18i8 audio inteface has only 4 audio inputs, and all of my hardware synths say (in the manual) to use 2 TRS cables for stereo, hence requiring a total of 8 audio inputs to do this. However, I can still connect all of them just by connecting the TRS via mono, but will this negatively affect the overall sound? Or should I consider upgrading my audio interface with more audio inputs?
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sacredmimi,

 

Just by looking on the Focusrite website, it appears there are a total of 8 line level inputs on the device.

 

Line inputs 1-4 are on the front panel (combo jacks can be used both as XLR mic inputs or Line level inputs using TRS), and Line inputs 5-8 are on the rear panel (TRS only).

 

Can you connect your four stereo pairs to both the front and rear panel and use all the inputs in your environment? You didn't mention if you were recording to a DAW, trying to use the interface as a live mixer, or something else.

 

Hope that helps you a bit.

 

 

..
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sacredmimi,

 

Just by looking on the Focusrite website, it appears there are a total of 8 line level inputs on the device.

 

Line inputs 1-4 are on the front panel (combo jacks can be used both as XLR mic inputs or Line level inputs using TRS), and Line inputs 5-8 are on the rear panel (TRS only).

 

Can you connect your four stereo pairs to both the front and rear panel and use all the inputs in your environment? You didn't mention if you were recording to a DAW, trying to use the interface as a live mixer, or something else.

 

Hope that helps you a bit.

 

 

Hi timwat, thanks for the response.

 

This setup is for my home studio. I just realized that too but one input in the front is hooked via XLR for my microphone. So I guess that makes it 7 inputs in total?

 

I'm kinda confused about this whole mono/stereo thing. So what is the difference between getting a stereo sound using 1 TRS cable via L/Mono ouput of the synthesizer and 2 TRS cable via Left AND Right output? Isn't TRS cable itself considered as a balanced stereo?

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sacredmimi,

 

Just by looking on the Focusrite website, it appears there are a total of 8 line level inputs on the device.

 

Line inputs 1-4 are on the front panel (combo jacks can be used both as XLR mic inputs or Line level inputs using TRS), and Line inputs 5-8 are on the rear panel (TRS only).

 

Can you connect your four stereo pairs to both the front and rear panel and use all the inputs in your environment? You didn't mention if you were recording to a DAW, trying to use the interface as a live mixer, or something else.

 

Hope that helps you a bit.

 

 

Hi timwat, thanks for the response.

 

This setup is for my home studio. I just realized that too but one input in the front is hooked via XLR for my microphone. So I guess that makes it 7 inputs in total?

 

I'm kinda confused about this whole mono/stereo thing. So what is the difference between getting a stereo sound using 1 TRS cable via L/Mono ouput of the synthesizer and 2 TRS cable via Left AND Right output? Isn't TRS cable itself considered as a balanced stereo?

 

TRS used as stereo is unbalanced. TRS mono is balanced (i'm sure I'm oversimplifying for the EEs in the crowd). If you connect any cable to a single output of the synth it is mono. Stereo requires both left and right outputs be used. Might be helpful to identify which synths you're connecting.

 

Busch.

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a TRS cable is just a balanced jack connector. Most keyboards send L&R mono that you use two cables for to get a stereo reproduction of the sound. Where it gets annoying is sometimes (headphone output for example) TRS is used for stereo in the same cable. But just being a TRS cable doesn't make it stereo. A bit like how an XLR (mic cable) is ground (X) Left and Right and carries balanced mono sound (assuming you know how balanced and unbalanced audio works) a TRS cable is Tip/Ring/Sleeve connections and does the same thing.
Viscount Legend, Leslie 142, Nord Stage 3 HA88, Rhodes MK1 1977, Moog Sub 37, Dave Smith Rev2, Juno 106, DX7
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sacredmimi,

 

Just by looking on the Focusrite website, it appears there are a total of 8 line level inputs on the device.

 

Line inputs 1-4 are on the front panel (combo jacks can be used both as XLR mic inputs or Line level inputs using TRS), and Line inputs 5-8 are on the rear panel (TRS only).

 

Can you connect your four stereo pairs to both the front and rear panel and use all the inputs in your environment? You didn't mention if you were recording to a DAW, trying to use the interface as a live mixer, or something else.

 

Hope that helps you a bit.

 

 

Hi timwat, thanks for the response.

 

This setup is for my home studio. I just realized that too but one input in the front is hooked via XLR for my microphone. So I guess that makes it 7 inputs in total?

 

I'm kinda confused about this whole mono/stereo thing. So what is the difference between getting a stereo sound using 1 TRS cable via L/Mono ouput of the synthesizer and 2 TRS cable via Left AND Right output? Isn't TRS cable itself considered as a balanced stereo?

 

TRS used as stereo is unbalanced. TRS mono is balanced (i'm sure I'm oversimplifying for the EEs in the crowd). If you connect any cable to a single output of the synth it is mono. Stereo requires both left and right outputs be used. Might be helpful to identify which synths you're connecting.

 

Busch.

 

These are: Kronos 2, Montage, Kurz Forte and Integra-7.

I have been connecting both Kronos and Montage via L/mono with TRS cable so I guess that makes it mono?

 

Can you help me explain a little further about: TRS used as stereo is unbalanced. TRS mono is balanced

 

The Kurzweil manual says to connect two TRS cable for stereo but then also talks about how the Forte can benefit from balanced output.

I've always thought that TRS= balanced / TS= unbalanced.

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That's a powerful rig. Good on you.

 

There are two separate distinct concepts going on here.

 

The first is balanced vs. unbalanced. Rather than recreate the wheel, here's a link to an article that might be educational.

 

The second is stereo vs. mono. This topic is debated a lot around here, mostly when talking about what type of piano patch to use when playing out live. But the topic is also important for studio recording, and touches upon the important topic of instrument placement in the stereo field.

 

Generally, microphones are mono sound sources. Even stereo mics are simply two mic elements packed in one housing. Most synths (and every synth you listed you have on hand) provides a stereo output (left and right). In other words, two outputs (not one) that may be useful if your program is set up to benefit from a stereo output.

 

What you choose to record, for what reason, will inform your decision if you want to use stereo or mono to feed your DAW. A general guideline might be to record stereo outs of your keyboards as a default as long as you have the hardware inputs to do so. Unless you're constant recording all four at once, I'm not sure why you'd need to upgrade to an interface with more than 8 physical inputs. But that's just me.

 

 

..
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Seems that a lot of people are answering the question but it's still not making sense to you.

 

Try this:

http://www.aviom.com/blog/balanced-vs-unbalanced/

 

IMO, I would run the Kronos, Montage and Forte in stereo and leave the Integra-7 in mono. I own the Integra and it doesn't have the same "big stereo" sounds you find in the Kronos and Montage. Don't know the Kurzweil as well. You could just add a small mixer. BTW, ALL four of these synths have balanced outputs so all would benefit in the same way using TRS balanced cables.

 

Yes, if you use only the L/mono output (it's called mono for a reason) regardless of the cable, it will be mono.

 

Busch.

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I also have an 18i8 - very good for what it is, but it only has the eight analog audio inputs (4 on front, 4 more on back).

However, depending on what features your keyboards have, you might just be able to add an additional (and stereo) input without any added purchases.

 

My Kurzweil PC3 has both analog outputs and also coaxial digital outputs (called SPDIF). The 18i8 has SPDIF in and out, so the in can be used to add one stereo instrument IF you have a board with coaxial digital output.

 

Also, some devices have an optical digital signal, using TOSlink connectors. This can also be used in two ways: for one way, a single instrument that has ADAT TOSlink output can be used for two channels (or 1 stereo). Another way is to use an external mixer with analog inputs and ADAT digital output, such as the Focusrite Octopre, which provides eight additional channels (although the Octopre sells for a bit more than the 18i8.

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Seems that the Integra-7 is the one you'd want to try running digitally. It has a single coax S/PDIF output connector. The Kronos has optical digital outs but uses S/PDIF format and the Focusrite only accepts ADAT. The Montage and Forte lack any digital audio outputs.

 

Busch.

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That's a powerful rig. Good on you.

 

There are two separate distinct concepts going on here.

 

The first is balanced vs. unbalanced. Rather than recreate the wheel, here's a link to an article that might be educational.

 

 

 

Thanks to both for providing such a useful links! Well now everything makes sense. I've been connecting my Kronos via single TRS and have been thinking that it was stereo this entire time.. lol. I just tried connecting the kronos in stereo and already sounds different.

 

 

Unless you're constant recording all four at once, I'm not sure why you'd need to upgrade to an interface with more than 8 physical inputs. But that's just me.

 

 

Quite true.. I do however run all four at once and constantly play this and that.. and whatever comes out as a good multi.. then I start from there. But since Busch says that it's fine to run the Integra via mono, I think the problem's solved, not having to worry about upgrading the interface or selling what I have now. Thanks!!

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Seems that the Integra-7 is the one you'd want to try running digitally. It has a single coax S/PDIF output connector. The Kronos has optical digital outs but uses S/PDIF format and the Focusrite only accepts ADAT. The Montage and Forte lack any digital audio outputs.

 

Busch.

 

So if I connect the TRS cable from the Integra's S/PDIF output to my Focusrite's S/PDIF input would result in stereo sound?

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