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I have inherited the responsibility for a small music studio at the school I work at. It is currently in complete disuse and I'm hoping to make a few purchases to get it into a working state.

Many years ago, someone bought an Allen & Heath QU-16 mixer to be used as an audio interface for a DAW we have running in the control room. I'm under the impression that this was not the best choice for this use, being more of a live music mixer, but it's what I have to work with.

We would like to setup the space so that musicians can have individual headphone mixes. The trouble is, the mixer only has XLR outputs (10 of them). If these were line outs, I would just buy a headphone amplifier unit such as the Headamp 8, but I can't seem to find an equivalent for XLR outputs.

I am also aware that you can buy individual units that convert a single XLR input to headphones, but these tend to either be passive (which I'm not sure is appropriate) or battery powered (which is quite a faff to manage in a school setting).

Is there a recommended way to achieve individual mixes given this set of outputs?

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XLR outputs are line outputs. You can use XLR to TRS Jack cables to connect the Qu-16 outputs to a headphone amplifier like the Headamp 8.

The Qu-16 can also be connected to personal mixers. Those will be more expensive, but allow each musician to set their own mix.

Wiring for those cables: XLR pin 2 (hot) wired to the jack tip, and XLR pin 1 (ground) and 3 (cold) wired to the jack sleeve. enter image description here

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  • Ah thank you! I clearly had a misunderstanding there. When you say "All you need is some XLR to TRS Jack cables" are you saying that an amplifier is not needed? I.e. you can plug headphones straight into the line level signal? Apr 14 at 19:37
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    No, sorry. What I meant was you can use those XLR to jack cables to connect the Headamp 8 (or similar device) to the QU-16. A headphone requires more power than a line output can supply.
    – Hobbes
    Apr 15 at 6:53

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