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Splitting a TRS Balanced Connection?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I have a sound card in my computer that processes the audio for entertainment better than my audio interface does (Focusrite Scarlett 2i4). However, I want to be able to reference recordings on my monitors through the interface without constantly taking the cables out and switching between my sound card and my interface. 

 

What would be the best way to split the connection? I have a splitter to allow both the L and the R speaker go into the line in port on the sound card but do not know what the best way would be to split that connection into the interface.

 

Would a simple 1 -> 2 TRS cable suffice? Or would I need some sort of splitting box?

 

SOLUTION:

 

For the people who find this thread searching Google or otherwise, I figured out how to loop the sound without using any cables, connections or inputs. 

 

  1. Simply download the program VT Host (http://www.hermannseib.com/english/vsthost.htm).
  2. Within this program you can literally set an internal sound card or any device that outputs to output to another device essentially looping your connection from within your PC. You can even do this for multiple devices connected to your PC
  3. Download the file for your operating system. Extract the software to a permanent location on your HDD (the program does not have an installer)
  4. After opening the program go to "Devices" then "WAVE". 
  5. Set your input and output accordingly (use MME: options). In my case, I set my input as my sound card and my output as the Focusrite 2i4 (which my monitors are connected to). Don't worry about the sample rate as it has nothing to do with playback quality. 
  6. Back on the main screen of the program you have two windows within the program. The one on the left is your input that you selected before and the one on the right is the output you set before. On the right window (your output) click the little box in the top left of the output window that looks like a little chain. It will open up a new window. 
  7. Check the box to the left to select "Engine Input". 

 

That's it, you are done. Anything played when your sound card is selected as your default device will now output to whatever you selected as your output device. You can now take advantage of the DSP from your sound card or whatever you choose and allow whatever you have your speakers or headphones connected to serve as a splitter and route the connection. 

 

This not only saved me money but saved me inputs and cable clutter. I hope this helped. If you want, you can set the program to minimize to system tray by going to "View > Minimize to System Tray". 


Edited by Crook1d - 6/16/14 at 7:27pm
post #2 of 13
You need a switch box. You don't want the output of one device driving the output of another

Cheers
post #3 of 13

Why not permanently connect the line out from your sound card to a pair of line ins on the Focusrite?

 

Otherwise the rule is you can connect one output to up to 3 inputs but you should not connect more than one output to the same input.

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldDumsfeld View Post

Why not permanently connect the line out from your sound card to a pair of line ins on the Focusrite?

Otherwise the rule is you can connect one output to up to 3 inputs but you should not connect more than one output to the same input.

I didn't know I can do that so that works.

Will I still get the DSP from the sound card when I switch to it as my device? Also, I would need to go 3.5mm out to RCA correct and then have the monitors plugged into the balanced connection correct?

One more thing, if I do this will that mean I will get the headphone amp from the sound card through the headphone output on the Focusrite?

Thanks for the reply.

Edit: It looks like there is no way to do this with the Focusrite. There is no input besides the XLR connections.
Edited by Crook1d - 6/13/14 at 9:15am
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
It looks like I might have to get an interface with a balanced input as well.

The Komplete Audio 6 has a balanced input as well and I could run my line out from the sound card into that and then run the line out to the monitors. As long as that would allows me to hear through the monitors when I switch my audio source to the Sound Blaster Z then that would be ideal.

However, does anyone know how the mic pres in the Komplete stack up against the Focusrite 2i4?
post #6 of 13

The 2i4 has two combo inputs on the front panel. So all you need is the right lead or adapter. Doesn't matter it's not a balanced out from the soundcard. You have plenty of gain and a short cable run. So all you need is a lead with whatever is on your sound card on one end and 2 1/4 TS jacks on the other.

 

Just connect up the left and right channels. You'll still get the DSP (surprised you cannot do better with the Focusrite tools but fair enough if that's what you like.) You can then use the direct monitor control to listen to the soundcard output direct, the computer output or a mixture of both. That's what it's there for. 

 

The Ni Audio 6 is a fine unit but there is no real need for it with your existing gear. Unless I misunderstand what you are trying to do. I'd expect the mic pres to be better on the Focusrite because it's designed as a recording tool. The audio 6 is better if you want to cue or mix or use a TT. Could be wrong. Just guessing based on reputation.

 

I think you would be well advised to read up on the differences between unbal and bal connection methods. Rather than me repeating stuff have a read of this and ask a question if you still don't understand anything.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balanced_audio

 

ed : rd extra info


Edited by RonaldDumsfeld - 6/13/14 at 9:57am
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ahh, th
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldDumsfeld View Post

The 2i4 has two combo inputs on the front panel. So all you need is the right lead or adapter. Doesn't matter it's not a balanced out from the soundcard. You have plenty of gain and a short cable run. So all you need is a lead with whatever is on your sound card on one end and 2 1/4 TS jacks on the other.

Just connect up the left and right channels. You'll still get the DSP (surprised you cannot do better with the Focusrite tools but fair enough if that's what you like.) You can then use the direct monitor control to listen to the soundcard output direct, the computer output or a mixture of both. That's what it's there for. 

The Ni Audio 6 is a fine unit but there is no real need for it with your existing gear. Unless I misunderstand what you are trying to do. I'd expect the mic pres to be better on the Focusrite because it's designed as a recording tool. The audio 6 is better if you want to cue or mix or use a TT. Could be wrong. Just guessing based on reputation.

I think you would be well advised to read up on the differences between unbal and bal connection methods. Rather than me repeating stuff have a read of this and ask a question if you still don't understand anything.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balanced_audio

ed : rd extra info

Ahh thanks for the info, that certainly clears things up.

Before having a cable wrapping around to the front XLR port perhaps I'll try tweaking with the Focusrite tools. However, as it stands the audio was far better from the sound card. It was loud enough coming from the interface but even my DT990 Pros had harsh static like bass at higher volumes. Coming from my sound card (Sound Blaster Z) with the decent headphone amp, the audio was much crisper.

If I still find myself liking the audio more for entertainment coming from my sound card, perhaps I'll exchange the 2i4 for a 6i6 so the cables will run through the back and it won't need a 3.5 to XLR converter cable.
post #8 of 13

I'm not sure what you have against the dedicated headphone socket on the Focusrite but it doesn't matter. You can easily do what you want, and more, with the kit you already have.

 

Connect the line outs from your soundcard to the line ins on the 2i4. Connect your speakers to outputs 1 & 2. Then connect line outs 3 & 4 to the line ins on your headphone amp.

 

Job done. You can now listen to whats coming out of your soundcard on either 'phones or speakers or both. You can also listen to what's coming out of your PC on 'phones, speakers or both. Or mix them together on either or both. Or listen to something completely different on both at the same time.

 

You can probably do something similar by looping the soundcard output or using a return then sending out to the 2i4 via USB. You will find that out with a little more experience. That way you free up the ins on the focusrite again.

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

Awesome, thank you. 

 

I have nothing against the dedicated headphone socket on the Focusrite but the sound quality coming from it just isn't as good as it is coming from my amp. I'd much rather not go through all this looping, trust me. 

 

One last question. You say connect my sound card line outs to the Focusrite line ins. I am not sure if you meant plural, but if the only ins on the Focusrite are the multi-compatible ones on the front, should I be connecting into both of those? I'd rather not since I need one free to connect my mic. If I can only use one (1/8 to 1/4 cable from line out to input 1) and get what I need, that would be ideal. 

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

Okay, so here's the deal. 

 

I used one of the cables I had to send the Sound Card Z into the 2i4 and it works great. However, I need to use both inputs to get sound from both the speakers. This is a problem because if I want to connect my microphone, I am going to need to constantly take my cables out and plug in the mic. I am trying to avoid this as I want a seamless setup. So it looks like I am going to need to pick up the 6i6 so I have the extra inputs in the back.

 

I really want to like the Focusrite as a sound card for entertainment but the audio is clearly superior coming from the SBZ. The bass is crisper, the mids are clearer and the highs are clearer as well. I am not someone who gets jaded ears either and hears what they want to hear. This is evident because I wanted to like the Focusrite but still feel it is inferior in terms of listening quality for entertainment. Perhaps it is the tweaks I did to the SBZ EQs in the program or just how it processes the audio altogether. 

 

So before I return this and spend the extra money for the 6i6, is there an instructional I can read on how to loop the sound from inside my PC? In other words, is there a way I can send the signal sort of like the way I send the input signal from my XBox 1 out through my monitors by configuring "Listen to this device" in my PC's audio panel?

post #11 of 13
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

 

 

Alright, I hope there is something in there about looping it. Thanks for your help. 

 

P.S. Love the name. Another j.o. who had us killed in Iraq for no reason. 

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

For the people who find this thread searching Google or otherwise, I figured out how to loop the sound without using any cables, connections or inputs. 

 

  1. Simply download the program VT Host (http://www.hermannseib.com/english/vsthost.htm).
  2. Within this program you can literally set an internal sound card or any device that outputs to output to another device essentially looping you connection from within your PC. You can even do this for multiple devices connected to your PC
  3. Download the file for your operating system. Extract the software to a permanent location on your HDD (the program does not have an installer)
  4. After opening the program go to "Devices" then "WAVE". 
  5. Set your input and output accordingly (use MME: options). In my case, I set my input as my sound card and my output as the Focusrite 2i4 (which my monitors are connected to). Don't worry about the sample rate as it has nothing to do with playback quality. 
  6. Back on the main screen of the program you have two windows within the program. The one on the left is your input that you selected before and the one on the right is the output you set before. On the right window (your output) click the little box in the top left of the output window that looks like a little chain. It will open up a new window. 
  7. Check the box to the left to select "Engine Input". 

 

That's it, you are done. Anything played when your sound card is selected as your default device will now output to whatever you selected as your output device. You can now take advantage of the DSP from your sound card or whatever you choose and allow whatever you have your speakers or headphones connected to serve as a splitter and route the connection. 

 

This not only saved me money but saved me inputs and cable clutter. I hope this helped. If you want, you can set the program to minimize to system tray by going to "View > Minimize to System Tray". 

 

Note: Despite what the above poster mentioned, no experience is required. 

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