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Phantom Power?

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21 minutes ago, phil_m said:

 

The technical reason that I've been given for the XLR outs not liking phantom power is the anti-pop circuitry on those outputs.

 

As always Phil, u da man! Thanks very much for responding, that is the first time I have ever heard a justification for the design. Now all they have to do is figure out a way to keep the anti-pop feature and get rid of the vulnerability to phantom power. Hopefully they are not mutually exclusive.

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20 minutes ago, phil_m said:

 

The technical reason that I've been given for the XLR outs not liking phantom power is the anti-pop circuitry on those outputs.

 

I've read that as well... but it leaves more questions than answers. 

What exactly do they mean by anti-pop... 

  • Toggling on/off the unit doesn't pop in the outputs? (< assuming this one)
  • Unplugging the XLR doesn't pop at the board? (kind of impossible to do that one)
  • Unplugging the XLR doesn't pop at the Helix through other outputs? 

and when did that "non-standard" take precedence over the standard of being able to use the XLR jacks without any worry like they always were with previous Line 6 devices? (and the vast majority of 3rd party devices on the market)

 

IMO - this engineering oversight is even sillier than the HD500 not having a power switch. Not enough to anger me, but it certainly makes me shake my head. 

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3 hours ago, codamedia said:

 

I've read that as well... but it leaves more questions than answers. 

What exactly do they mean by anti-pop... 

  • Toggling on/off the unit doesn't pop in the outputs? (< assuming this one)
  • Unplugging the XLR doesn't pop at the board? (kind of impossible to do that one)
  • Unplugging the XLR doesn't pop at the Helix through other outputs? 

and when did that "non-standard" take precedence over the standard of being able to use the XLR jacks without any worry like they always were with previous Line 6 devices? (and the vast majority of 3rd party devices on the market)

 

IMO - this engineering oversight is even sillier than the HD500 not having a power switch. Not enough to anger me, but it certainly makes me shake my head. 

 

Really good points. Perhaps initially there was some scenario or potential in the firmware/software that could blow out PA speakers if people did not follow the correct power-up protocol(Helix first, then PA) and/or power-down(PA first then Helix). Or maybe it wasn't just about the plugging-unplugging scenario and they were also trying to guard against random ghosts in the machine during normal operation while already being connected.

 

Also curious regarding your observation about the other outputs. Just speculating but perhaps the anti-pop circuitry exists in for example the 1/4 outputs as well but as we know, because it is a TS instead of TRS connection, it is not impacted by phantom power. Just clutching at straws and I will certainly take the phantom power issue in lieu of blown speakers just because I forgot one time and neglected to follow the proper power-up procedure or because, and this is wild irresponsible speculation, there is the remote possibility that there could be a speaker damaging pop during "normal" operation. Have to agree with you though, that is quite a trade-off and it seems like it would be worthwhile for Line6 to meet the challenge of dealing with the pop potential and also being able to deliver a worry-free standard XLR connection.

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I can't think of a time where I've played somewhere that had a board that had "all or nothing" phantom power that I would have been plugging in to FOH anyways. That's not a real a venue, and that's not a real board. If you're playing basements/garages/backyards, just bring your own amplification anyways. I do carry a DI (actually two, one stereo, one mono) everywhere I go, but I've never actually needed it for the Helix. It's usually the other band's bass player, or the sound guy didn't know that the first band had six keyboards he wants to run to the board separately instead of having his own mixer like a normal person. 

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2 hours ago, HonestOpinion said:

...as direct from XLR outputs to the PA is the gold standard and at least theoretically the best way to go. Any solution that requires additional cabling, impedance changes, jacks, and boxes to get there is in my mind less than ideal...

In theory perhaps, but have you ever done an A/B comparison? I have. With a decent DI (I used 40-year old Whirlwind IMP2s by the way) there was no discernible difference, even isolated.

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5 minutes ago, gunpointmetal said:

I can't think of a time where I've played somewhere that had a board that had "all or nothing" phantom power that I would have been plugging in to FOH anyways. That's not a real a venue, and that's not a real board. If you're playing basements/garages/backyards, just bring your own amplification anyways. I do carry a DI (actually two, one stereo, one mono) everywhere I go, but I've never actually needed it for the Helix. It's usually the other band's bass player, or the sound guy didn't know that the first band had six keyboards he wants to run to the board separately instead of having his own mixer like a normal person. 

Even in cases where it's properly done, I've been in places that turned on phantom (which adds noise to a couple things I used to use, so I noticed) by accident.

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37 minutes ago, gunpointmetal said:

That's not a real a venue, and that's not a real board.

 

Sure...they may not own the best consoles - but many small to medium size clubs are real venues that provide real gigs and pay in real money :) 

 

In those clubs I see many A&H, Soundcraft or Mackie  16 - 24 Channel boards that have a common phantom power. A lot of venue's also went to the Mackie digital consoles (run from iPads) and those are usually have common phantom power.  

 

Just because you are fortunate enough not to run into a board with common phantom power, that doesn't mean they aren't in the wild. Not to mention... aside from phantom power, the boards work just fine at their intended purpose. 

 

 

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This is just my personal experience and opinion.

 

I carry a DI's, a Triton Phantom blocker, a dual hum eliminator, a 650 APC UPS, a Monster 3500 conditioner, and a three wire electrical outlet tester.  Sometimes I may have up to three DIs ands two dual hum eliminators but that is rare.  I may not use them or take them out but they are there just in case.  We've played some really great outside venues that had been wired in the 1940's, upgraded in the 1990's, and modified in the past three years.  And we have played on postage stamp stages.  I can never tell about the physical layout or requirements until I arrive but I can find a good circuit even if it is 100 ft away from my gear; me sending a Stage Plot to "them" doesn't help "me".  I know this thread is about Phantom Power however it appears to have expanded into more.   I just like to be safe since I just enjoy playing whether for a benefit or a high ticket performance.  But that is just me.

 

Dennis

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35 minutes ago, jpdennis said:

This is just my personal experience and opinion.

 

I carry a DI's, a Triton Phantom blocker, a dual hum eliminator, a 650 APC UPS, a Monster 3500 conditioner, and a three wire electrical outlet tester.  Sometimes I may have up to three DIs ands two dual hum eliminators but that is rare.  I may not use them or take them out but they are there just in case.  We've played some really great outside venues that had been wired in the 1940's, upgraded in the 1990's, and modified in the past three years.  And we have played on postage stamp stages.  I can never tell about the physical layout or requirements until I arrive but I can find a good circuit even if it is 100 ft away from my gear; me sending a Stage Plot to "them" doesn't help "me".  I know this thread is about Phantom Power however it appears to have expanded into more.   I just like to be safe since I just enjoy playing whether for a benefit or a high ticket performance.  But that is just me.

 

Dennis

 

I'm with you, I'm a freaking boy scout when it comes to redundancy and unexpected contingencies and I always carry a couple of DI's, but it is a disruption to my setup. For example, my master volume only controls my 1/4 outputs and goes to my stage monitors. My XLR outputs go direct out to the board. That means that not only do I need an extra TS cable(s) and DI(s) but I also have to remember to switch what is controlled by my global Master volume setting. If you know you are dealing with phantom power ahead of time, it only takes a couple extra minutes to set up, not a huge setback but yup, less than ideal. If like me you set up directly from the XLRs to PA by default and you are caught off guard by the phantom during the show a bit more of a problem. I realize I could set up with DIs by default but I prefer the more direct approach wherever possible for the reasons I listed in my previous post.

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4 hours ago, PeterHamm said:

In theory perhaps, but have you ever done an A/B comparison? I have. With a decent DI (I used 40-year old Whirlwind IMP2s by the way) there was no discernible difference, even isolated.

 

I have not done the A/B comparison although it appears to be close enough for rock & roll. It is great that there is a workaround and one that works well; contingent as it may be on having extra cable(s) and DI(s) in good working condition. I will never be as much of a fan of a jury-rigged workaround with additional points of failure as I am of an elegant solution that uses only the core equipment as intended with minimum fuss.  In the big picture though this is just not a looming issue for me. Hopefully it will be addressed at some point, even if only on later hardware but you won't be seeing my Helix up on REbay any time soon over this. Lastly if the choice was damaging speakers or alternatively sometimes necessitating a DI connection it would seem Line6 made the correct decision. At least for now...

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I had phantom power accidentally turned on my XLR channel before. My sound/volume was completely attenuated to zero. It didn’t sound bad or weak, but there was no sound at all. As soon as phantom power was lifted, full volume was back. No damage to the unit. 

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15 hours ago, codamedia said:

 

Sure...they may not own the best consoles - but many small to medium size clubs are real venues that provide real gigs and pay in real money :) 

 

In those clubs I see many A&H, Soundcraft or Mackie  16 - 24 Channel boards that have a common phantom power. A lot of venue's also went to the Mackie digital consoles (run from iPads) and those are usually have common phantom power.  

 

Just because you are fortunate enough not to run into a board with common phantom power, that doesn't mean they aren't in the wild. Not to mention... aside from phantom power, the boards work just fine at their intended purpose. 

 

 

If they're on that kind of board, the room isn't going to be very big and there's hardly a need for anything outside of your own amplification anyways. If a place is that small/running that cheap of gear, the room isn't gonna be big enough to necessitate a powered on mic on anything onstage anyways. My redundancy in those situations is our IEM rack with an XR18 in it (a $450 digital mixer with separate phantom power on every channel) and we'll just go through that and send a master two-channel to the house board/amps/speakers because so far, 100% of the time, if that's the PA situation, we're gonna be better served doing our own mix anyways. 

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3 hours ago, gunpointmetal said:

If they're on that kind of board, the room isn't going to be very big and there's hardly a need for anything outside of your own amplification anyways.

 

I've played countless rooms that are more than big enough to require full sound re-enforcement when the console might end up being a 24 channel Mackie, or an A&H, or a basic Soundcraft. I've seen the likes of Bill Wyman, Albert Lee, Redd Volkaert, Marty Stuart, NGDB and many others in some of those same rooms with the same gear. You simply have to work with what you are given sometimes. 

 

Respectfully, we should just agree to disagree on this matter.

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