Montage Balanced Outputs to Unbalanced Audio

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Montage Balanced Outputs to Unbalanced Audio

Unread post by vertig0spin » Sat Feb 16, 2019 6:21 pm

This may be the opposite problem for someone who bought a MODX synth; however I ordered my Montage 8 a couple of weeks ago and it could be here soon. I am just realizing now that with my current setup, I have no audio cables or inputs that are 'balanced'. Everything I have is unbalanced mono cables and unbalanced 'line' inputs.

(a) Is there a setting on the Montage that allows me to switch the outputs to unbalanced, or (b) will it just work regardless without too much loss of signal, if I use unbalanced cables to unbalanced inputs, or (c) do I need to have balanced cables and inputs, such as the XLR mic inputs on a PA mixer board?

If the last one (c) is true and I need to have everything balanced (and there's no way around it), are there any relatively inexpensive Transformers or something that I can use to convert the balanced output to an unbalanced inputs?

Because I went with the Montage over the MODX, my budget is more than maxed out and I am hoping not to have to spend more money if possible.
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Re: Montage Balanced Outputs to Unbalanced Audio

Unread post by Derek » Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:22 pm

Hi,

(b)

A balanced TRS (Tip Ring Sleeve) balanced output will work with unbalanced TS (tip/sleeve) cables into an unbalanced input. The only thing you lose is the extra common mode noise rejection that balanced lines provide. So long as you are not going over massively long distances and you are not in a very noisy environment, you'll be hard pushed to notice any issues if you use unbalanced. Try it first.
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Re: Montage Balanced Outputs to Unbalanced Audio

Unread post by vertig0spin » Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:59 pm

Derek wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:22 pm
Hi, (b)
A balanced TRS (Tip Ring Sleeve) balanced output will work with unbalanced TS (tip/sleeve) cables into an unbalanced input. The only thing you lose is the extra common mode noise rejection that balanced lines provide. So long as you are not going over massively long distances and you are not in a very noisy environment, you'll be hard pushed to notice any issues if you use unbalanced. Try it first.
Perfect, thanks Derek! That's what I was hoping the correct answer would be...

What really got me wondering about this is that I've been reading up a bit on the best setup for hooking up a mic to the input port on the Montage to trigger vocoder sounds. It appears that if you don't have the correct setup, it won't trigger properly &/or have other noise leakage. From what I've read so far, the consensus is to use a Dynamic cardioid mic (not condenser), Unidirectional, decent quality mic that reduces noise in the room, and need an XLR (TRS) to 1/4" (TS) mono cable.

What I also read was that using a Transformer such as the Shure A85F Line Matching Transformer, would also increase the signal closer to 'line' level than just a standard XLR (TRS) to 1/4" (TS) mono cable would! ... Do you know if this is the case?
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Re: Montage Balanced Outputs to Unbalanced Audio

Unread post by pologuy » Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:18 pm

vertig0spin wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 6:21 pm
Because I went with the Montage over the MODX, my budget is more than maxed out and I am hoping not to have to spend more money if possible.
Mind telling us what made you choose the Montage 8 over the MODX8?

Especially at more than twice the price...
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Re: Montage Balanced Outputs to Unbalanced Audio

Unread post by Derek » Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:26 pm

vertig0spin wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:59 pm
Derek wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:22 pm
Hi, (b)
A balanced TRS (Tip Ring Sleeve) balanced output will work with unbalanced TS (tip/sleeve) cables into an unbalanced input. The only thing you lose is the extra common mode noise rejection that balanced lines provide. So long as you are not going over massively long distances and you are not in a very noisy environment, you'll be hard pushed to notice any issues if you use unbalanced. Try it first.
Perfect, thanks Derek! That's what I was hoping the correct answer would be...

What really got me wondering about this is that I've been reading up a bit on the best setup for hooking up a mic to the input port on the Montage to trigger vocoder sounds. It appears that if you don't have the correct setup, it won't trigger properly &/or have other noise leakage. From what I've read so far, the consensus is to use a Dynamic cardioid mic (not condenser), Unidirectional, decent quality mic that reduces noise in the room, and need an XLR (TRS) to 1/4" (TS) mono cable.

What I also read was that using a Transformer such as the Shure A85F Line Matching Transformer, would also increase the signal closer to 'line' level than just a standard XLR (TRS) to 1/4" (TS) mono cable would! ... Do you know if this is the case?
Hi. I only ever use TRS or TS in my studio wiring for synth outputs as they all go into line inputs.

Not sure about Montage inputs and if they match to mic levels (which are quite low). You may need a mic preamp first or the transformer you mention.

I fed a mic into my Kronos many years ago, but that was via a TC-Helicon box that gave Me a line level.
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Re: Montage Balanced Outputs to Unbalanced Audio

Unread post by parametric » Sun Feb 17, 2019 1:09 am

My Alesis fusions both have 8 line inputs (for the internal HD Recorder), but they are TRS LINE LEVEL -10dbA - OR +4dbA,

which is software selectable. When set to -10dbA, a Dynamic Mic (in my case, a Shure SM58) will not come anywhere

near the correct level.

I use one of these:

Mic Preamp.jpg

This matches a mic level to LINE LEVEL - and results are perfect. I have recorded vocals using this arrangement.

As far as the Montage is concerned - if it professes to have a mic input, then I would expect (this far down the road

and at THIS price point) the socket to be labelled as such, and (of course) have a pre-amp built in . . .

parametric
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Re: Montage Balanced Outputs to Unbalanced Audio

Unread post by vertig0spin » Sun Feb 17, 2019 3:54 am

pologuy wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:18 pm
Mind telling us what made you choose the Montage 8 over the MODX8?
Especially at more than twice the price...
Not at all.
After demoing the MODX8 and fighting with getting the the mid-lower keys to trigger the sample velocities properly, I found the velocity curve setting, which seemed to make it much better, but then the highest notes were WAY too hot! I've proposed to Yamahasynth.ideascale.com ideas to correct this with either implementing Velocity Scaling or some kind of BHE Emulation for the MODX8 that provides a setting you can choose to rebalance the GHS keybed of the MODX8 to match the Montage 8, in terms of how it triggers the velocity layers.

But synth sounds are secondary to me, and piano is primary. The MODX8 didn't feel or sound like an actual CFX grand piano. Approximately 1 month later I unexpectedly had the opportunity to try the Montage 8, and it felt and sounded so perfectly like an actual acoustic grand piano, compared to the MODX8, that I was completely spoiled and could no longer look back to justify the MODX8. Sure, the price was awesome and the weight was 1/3 that of the Montage 8, but the MODX8 doesn't feel nor trigger piano sound velocities like a real grand piano, whereas the Montage 8 DOES!! The quality of the Montage 8 keybed was so evidently on another level and felt the closest I've felt to an actual acoustic grand from any synth. As I demoed the Montage 8, I closed my eyes and it felt & sounded like I was playing an actual acoustic grand. Whereas the MODX8 was a struggle to get it to feel and sound right, especially in the mid-lower range.

The other thing, was that I love piano sounds the most out of any other sound, and the MODX8's 1GB User memory was very limiting, if I want to have all the pianos available at the same time (each of which is approximately 300MB). Having 1.75GB of User memory is almost double, and just enough for me to have the piano sounds I want available at any given point in time, plus room for other sample based sounds.

In the end it came down to the Montage 8 vs the Korg Kronos 2. The Montage had more polyphony when using multiple engines, splits/layers, than the Kronos, and a shorter learning curve, since I've had a DX7-II-FD since 30+ years. I don't have the time to learn 9 different engines, when I can learn just 1 new engine and basically already know the FM-X one. Plus the more I compare sounds, the Montage is right on par with the Kronos with most things, especially piano. Yamaha, did an outstanding job on the Montage CFX and Imperial Bosendorfer pianos, that there is nothing on the Kronos that beats them!

The short answer is: The BHE keybed!
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Re: Montage Balanced Outputs to Unbalanced Audio

Unread post by EXer » Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:24 am

vertig0spin wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 3:54 am
I've proposed to Yamahasynth.ideascale.com ideas to correct this with either implementing Velocity Scaling or some kind of BHE Emulation for the MODX8 that provides a setting you can choose to rebalance the GHS keybed of the MODX8 to match the Montage 8, in terms of how it triggers the velocity layers.

What you need is not velocity scaling, but key scaling, and it's already there (as it was on the EX and the Motifs).

In the Montage documentation it's called "Amplitude Scale": Amplitude Scale function controls the Amplitude output level according to the positions of the notes on the keyboard.
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Re: Montage Balanced Outputs to Unbalanced Audio

Unread post by vertig0spin » Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:08 pm

EXer wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:24 am
What you need is not velocity scaling, but key scaling, and it's already there (as it was on the EX and the Motifs).
In the Montage documentation it's called "Amplitude Scale": Amplitude Scale function controls the Amplitude output level according to the positions of the notes on the keyboard.
I think what you are referring to only scales the 'volume', but not how the velocity sample layers are triggered, which is the real problem. Hence the need for velocity scaling.
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Re: Montage Balanced Outputs to Unbalanced Audio

Unread post by Stevie18 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:27 pm

Derek wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:26 pm
Not sure about Montage inputs and if they match to mic levels (which are quite low). You may need a mic preamp first or the transformer you mention.
Just to clarify: You can just plug a dynamic into the MODX input. In the Utility menu select as input level "microphone", then it works fine. No need for a pre-amp.
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Re: Montage Balanced Outputs to Unbalanced Audio

Unread post by Derek » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:07 pm

That is good to know :)
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Re: Montage Balanced Outputs to Unbalanced Audio

Unread post by SysExJohn » Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:27 am

parametric wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 1:09 am
My Alesis fusions both have 8 line inputs (for the internal HD Recorder), but they are TRS LINE LEVEL -10dbA - OR +4dbA,
So sorry to be a complete pain in the butt, Chris, :oops: but your levels should read -10dBV (decibel volts) or +4dBu (decibels unloaded) as they are measured against different criteria.

The decibel volt reference voltage is 1 VRMS = 0 dBV.
0 dBu, is the AC voltage required to produce 1 mW of power across a 600 Ω impedance (approximately 0.7746 Vrms). :confusion-confused:

Once again apologies, Chris, but as a one time electronic engineer, it hurt my sensibilities to see it. :roll: :cry:

Please don't take offence from a pedant and an old git! (Y)

ATB, :whistle:
JohnG.

P.S. Like the little pre-amp box. Nice one.
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Re: Montage Balanced Outputs to Unbalanced Audio

Unread post by SysExJohn » Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:56 am

vertig0spin wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:59 pm

What really got me wondering about this is that I've been reading up a bit on the best setup for hooking up a mic to the input port on the Montage to trigger vocoder sounds. It appears that if you don't have the correct setup, it won't trigger properly &/or have other noise leakage. From what I've read so far, the consensus is to use a Dynamic cardioid mic (not condenser), Unidirectional, decent quality mic that reduces noise in the room, and need an XLR (TRS) to 1/4" (TS) mono cable.

What I also read was that using a Transformer such as the Shure A85F Line Matching Transformer, would also increase the signal closer to 'line' level than just a standard XLR (TRS) to 1/4" (TS) mono cable would! ... Do you know if this is the case?
In my experience, a low cost, own brand mic from the likes of Musicstore or Thomann (DE) (brand name Fame or T-bone), might come with a bundled XLR to TS cable (mine did) is sufficient to use for vocoder triggering.
I bought one for the mic input of an MU-128. Go for a cardioid or even super-cardioid pattern.

All should then work okay IMO.

JohnG.
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