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What's my signal problem?


thorneven
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I'm trying to do away with lugging an amp to gigs. My setup is one 500X XLR out (I know there's no automatic summing of the stereo signal like with the 1/4" outs) going into a channel in the PA mixing desk, and one 500X 1/4" out going into a channel in my personal mixer.   I get a mono AUX output from the PA mixing desk coming back to a 2nd channel in my personal mixer so I can mix the band the way I want.  I also have my Shure SM58 Beta mic(rophone) going into a 3rd channel in my personal mixer and a Y'ed cable sends the mic signal to the house PA. 

 

In summary my personal mixer is using 3 inputs and one output (the mixer has only one output buss although there are "main" and "control room" outputs but no controls other than volume to adjust the main and control room signals i.e. I can't mix how much of each channel's input signal goes to main and how much to control room outputs).  The personal mixer output goes into a Behringer HA400 headphone amp.  I'm using Beyer Dynamic DT880 headphones, 600 ohm version, which I've read take a lot of power to make them sound good.

 

The problem I'm having is that the mic signal is distorted when I get right up on the mic and the guitar signal is tinny, fuzzy and has no body.  I've played with adjusting the input gain on the personal mixer channels and channel output volume controls, but nothing I do seems to make a satisfactory difference.  I'm thinking that maybe the headphones are the problem, perhaps the ohmage is too high and the HA400 doesn't have a strong enough amp to power the headphones.

 

Anyone have any ideas for how I might get better sounding mic and 500X guitar signals in the headphones?  I've tried different guitars (single coil pups and humbuckers) which makes no difference.

 

One guy in the band said my problem is too many preamps in the signal path, referring to the 3 channels I'm using in my personal mixer and whatever preamp is in the headphone amp. My personal mixer is a Behringer Xenyx 1002FX. I use fx only on the mic input.  Turning off the fx makes no difference.  I do have the volume controls on my mixer all the way up so maybe the problem is not enough input signal.  I have the 500X master volume at the max.

 

Thanks.

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If I understand your routing your headphones are monitoring a doubled signal from both the POD and the mic. Once directly and again from the PA Aux send back to your mixer. Is there perhaps some phase issue going on? How do things sound if you disconnect the Aux feed and just listen to the direct POD/mic inputs in your mixer?

 

Or perhaps there's a signal level issue? Maybe the PA Aux Send is line level output while your personal mixer is expecting mic level input?

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If I understand your routing your headphones are monitoring a doubled signal from both the POD and the mic. Once directly and again from the PA Aux send back to your mixer. Is there perhaps some phase issue going on? How do things sound if you disconnect the Aux feed and just listen to the direct POD/mic inputs in your mixer?

 

Or perhaps there's a signal level issue? Maybe the PA Aux Send is line level output while your personal mixer is expecting mic level input?

That's exactly what I asked the guy who runs the PA... if he's sending me back the same signals I'm sending him.  He hasn't responded yet.

 

UPDATE: The PA guy says he was not sending back my mic and guitar signals so that's not the problem.  He thinks that I should try using a line out from my mixer instead of the phones out.  He thinks that using the preamp of the phones out plus the preamp in the headphone amp, hence using 2 preamps in series, is causing distortion.  I'll have to try it out.  However, since I had all the volume controls maxed out, I don't think that's going to work.

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Does your guitar sound tinny in the headphones when you plug the headphones straight into the HD500X?

I'm going to setup my gear and try your suggestion and some other things to see if I can isolate the problem.  I found I have some 32 ohm headphones so I'm going to see if I can make the 500X sound good through them and compare the sound to the 600 ohm headphones that sucked at the gig.

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