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Following my previous question regarding which mixer to buy, I have now bought the one I was talking about but I'm having some issues setting it up.

My understanding of balanced/unbalanced audio is alright, but not amazing. I have my electric piano (Yamaha DGX 640) connected to a mixer via a stereo audio jack, however the audio sounds really distant and quite echoey. When I pull out the jack about halfway, so that I can feel the tip is touching the connector inside, the sound is marginally better (with no echo), and then I also have no control over the pan/balance setting.

I believe this is a problem with unbalanced audio coming from my piano (from the 'phones/output' output), and then the mixer interpreting it as a balanced signal (thus destroying a good 1/3 of the signal due to the way balanced signals cancel each other out).

I'm confused as to why this setup isn't working anyway (seen as though the mixer inputs have 'bal or unbal' written on each one) and how I could fix it. I've read that I might need a TRS to 2x TS (so essentially stereo to 2x mono) cables, but that then renders my first four inputs on the mixer (with equalizers) useless because they only have single inputs. Another idea was to buy either a DI box or stereo to XLR cable - would any of these work?

Apologies for this being so long :)

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  • If you have to pull the jack out 1/2 way to get a decent signal try a mono TS jack! Bear in mind you're sending a left / right signal from the console to create stereo in your monitoring environment..
    – Lucifer
    Jan 8 at 21:58

2 Answers 2

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Most sound boards use mono channels. You can't feed stereo in to a mono channel. Since it supports TRS balanced audio, one channel is inverted and combined with the other, this results in canceling out all but whatever is different between the left and right channel. XLR won't help because XLR is designed for mono audio and still is going in to a mono channel on the board anyway.

As you mentioned, you have to use a splitter to separate the Left and Right components of the signal and put them in to separate channels on the board. Alternately, you can combine them to a single mono channel, but at that point, you may as well only take a mono output from the keyboard.

You can still use the first 4 channels with the EQs, you simply need to make sure you keep the gain and level consistent on both channels. You will also want to adjust the pan to send the left channel to the left output and the right channel to the right output.

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  • Right on the dot, AJ! Also depending on the set up ToshNeox will want a TRS to TS, occupying only 2 channels of the console (not 4?). A DI will be more pricey and you will need two (one per channel), and you will still get to two channels in the console.
    – cbarg
    Feb 5, 2014 at 19:53
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    @cbarg - he was saying the 4 channels were useless because they can't take two inputs. He's used to thinking of consumer gear where things are done in stereo rather than pro-gear where things are done in mono. He was thinking he would have to use one of the stereo inputs (5/6, 7/8, 9/10 or 11/12) that the board provides without EQs. It threw me for a minute too until I figured out where he was coming from.
    – AJ Henderson
    Feb 5, 2014 at 20:12
  • @Aj Thanks - I just tried to 2-channel technique but it still sounds strange, and the quality still improves when I pull the jack out half way (and I don't think that is good). (I have recorded my piano in different setups and uploaded the results)[rubidiumlabs.net/files/piano/], so you know what I'm hearing. Currently I'm splitting the audio from my piano with a typical splitter - do I specifically need a cable that splits stereo to 2 mono connectors? I noticed one channel doesn't have much sound, while the other has a lot, perhaps this is the issue?
    – ToshNeox
    Feb 5, 2014 at 20:29
  • @ToshNeox - any chance you can take photos of the cables and splitter that you are using?
    – AJ Henderson
    Feb 5, 2014 at 20:33
  • @AJ Of course; it's in the same folder as the mp3s. The 1/4" jack is from the piano, then to the splitter and to the cables running to my mixer.
    – ToshNeox
    Feb 5, 2014 at 20:40
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The only time I have ever had a problem like the one you have described (where the signal improves if I pull the cord out half way) is when there is something wrong with the cable I was using. One time I bought a 2$ TS cable from the local music store and couldn't figure out why my brand new out of the box pre-amp wasn't working for 48 hours. It took me 48 hours to realize the brand new (albeit cheap) cable was already shorting itself, despite the fact it hadn't even been used a single time yet. So there is something wrong with either your connection cables, either TRS or TS, or the connectors into your computer or out of your keyboard. To trouble shoot which one it is, try hooking up your keyboard into something else, like a home amplifier, and if both channels work, then it has to be the connector into your computer. Or if the problem still happens, try changing the cord, if changing the cord works, then it was your cord in the first place. If changing the cord doesn't work then it's clearly the connection on the back of your keyboard.

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