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Can Adding a Mixer solve my problem?

Connecting Hauptwerk to MIDI organs, sequencers, ...
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player10

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Can Adding a Mixer solve my problem?

PostFri Jun 18, 2021 6:31 pm

I have been working on getting my Johannus Rembrandt 3000 remote passive speakers working but they play only on a very low volume. I am running HW V on an IMac 32GB Ram into a PreSonus Studio 1810C with the Main Output to the internal J amp for the 15-inch subwoofer, then Output 3&4 to two intermediate 8-inch speaker internal J amps, then 5&6 to two smaller cabinets amps which have 5-inch + tweeters. I get no help from the local J dealer (have not tried the factory thinking the dealer would have better luck) as to how to add volume by using the internal volume control device in the organ so I am looking at three other options with a fourth cropping up today.

Option 1 - go around the J amps with a new multi-channel amp. (too much $ at this point so pretty well ruled out)
Option 2 - put a preamp between the Studio 1810C and the J amps (not very sure how this is done and also $$$? would I use a microphone preamp?)
Option 3 - eat the cost of the existing 10 speaker cabinets and add 4 Behringer B3021A active speakers then get a separate amp to power the Sub. (not cheap either for this option)
Option 4 - I went into Guitar Center with my problem (an organist in a Guitar Ctr you say? Desperate people do desperate things!) and the guy there thought a mixer with an internal preamp adding about 64dBLs(?) might do the trick.This seems to be the least costly of the options at this point if it will work. I have no idea what would constitute a mixer for this as I see "powered mixers', "Bluetooth" (don't need that) and other unknown specs for mixers so if commenting, keep in mind I know very little about audio gear.

Why I have the PreSonus 1810C with only 6 channels is a long story but I will have to settle on two sets of speakers with one sub in lieu of having more channels. $$$ are sparse when you are retired!

Obviously, I am interested in any ideas, comments and solutions. Thank you in advance!
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mnailor

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Re: Can Adding a Mixer solve my problem?

PostFri Jun 18, 2021 6:54 pm

I don't know anything about your audio interface or your internal organ amps, but have you tried increasing output levels on the HW 5 output channels for the speakers that are too quiet?

Also, can your audio interface toggle its analog outputs between pro and home stereo line levels?

Not sure how a mixer would help -- most only produce a stereo pair of outputs. from multiple inputs. Maybe line-level preamps, but I wouldn't buy more gear without a good idea where the problem is. Maybe one of the amps isn't working, or expects a different input type.
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larason2

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Re: Can Adding a Mixer solve my problem?

PostFri Jun 18, 2021 7:16 pm

Passive speakers need an amplifier between a line level output like the presonus and their inputs, otherwise they will have the problem you have encountered. A mixer could serve as an amplifier, but you’re better off getting a purpose built amplifier for this job, or amplifiers, depending on how many speakers you have. You could also use a mixer to feed the Hauptwerk signal into your Johannus organ’s amplifier, but I’m guessing it would only come out with two channels instead of six. There’s not really an inexpensive solution for this problem, I would say. Recommended amplifiers for this problem would be one of the crown amps. You would have to know the power rating of the speakers you are trying to power, however, as well as the ohm load. A pre-Amp is designed to bring a low level signal up to a level it can be used with a standard amplifier, it’s not intended to replace a power amplifier to drive a passive speaker. The same for a mixer. You will probably just burn them out in short order, or damage your speakers.
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mnailor

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Re: Can Adding a Mixer solve my problem?

PostFri Jun 18, 2021 7:24 pm

I think he said he's using Johannus amps. "J amps"?

Also, the audio interface should be putting out a proper line level, not normally needing a preamp.
Last edited by mnailor on Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can Adding a Mixer solve my problem?

PostFri Jun 18, 2021 7:36 pm

Ah yes, sorry I misread. I’m guessing the internal amps are probably part of a crossover system, or there is a mismatch between the outputs of the Presonus and the amplifiers. Some mixers have more than one output, you could put one or more of these between the presonus and the amplifiers in the Johannus. Mixers are pretty versatile, I wouldn’t be afraid to get one to see if they can improve the resulting sound levels. If you can adjust the volume on the Johannus amps, I would try that first though.
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Re: Can Adding a Mixer solve my problem?

PostSat Jun 19, 2021 3:14 am

Hello player10,

To add to mnailor's reply, you can adjust the output level of any bus using the 'Audio output (device) channels: Level adjust (dB)' setting on Hauptwerk's 'General settings | Audio mixer' screen. (Of course, one needs to be careful not to increase it to the extent that it causes digital clipping distortion in the audio interface/amps.)
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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player10

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Re: Can Adding a Mixer solve my problem?

PostMon Jun 21, 2021 4:02 pm

Gentlemen,

Thank you for all of your replies. I had Francois Ratte help me get my Presonus Interface set up and it was after he directed the various channels to my speakers that we hit the "too soft" problem. I did not follow what he did but I know he tried to make all of the adjustments possible to the HW audio without having any affect, so yes, that has already been tried. He thought I best contact the J dealer and see what could be done. I have tried that too without success.

My erstwhile J/Rodgers dealer (now retired and moved out of the area) thought, after describing my problem by email, that the J amps were already being driven full out. Each speaker has its own J amp. It was him that suggested I look into a preAmp. The organ is set up with volume settings (using piston setings as well as swell shades) so key here is to tap into that design some where where that design can work for the HW just as it does with the J.

Over the weekend, I was reacquainted with a gentleman who has done a lot of work for Disney doing audio consulting and he has agreed to come see what I have going on. I am hopful he can help me out. To close the loop, I will get back to you with the solution once it has been established.

Thanks again,
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Re: Can Adding a Mixer solve my problem?

PostThu Jun 24, 2021 9:48 pm

Using Martin's guidance, I was able to raise the decibels to 4 and now at least hear the sampled organ however, I now have sticky notes, poor key contact at times (you have to push the key harder) but most of all, in playing a piece, when you go to change the combination, it generally goes silent. If I hit "cancel" then pull a stop or change levels, it also goes silent. I can find no way to continue but to close HW then reopen it, load the organ again, hit the new combo then I can play. Same thing goes when you try to change the Audio Mixer settings, after hitting Done it will not play.

Now further to my problem, my friend who does sound systems including at Disney, came by today. He was not able to see how the volume control on the organ could be employed but he did check the organ output to the amps with his scope and found it to be unbalanced. He then checked the PreSonus and found it providing a balanced input to the amps. He is suggesting I add this converter (see the ebay Link) so the amp is seeing an unbalanced input just like it does when it sees input from the organ.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/TASCAM-LA-81Mk ... 890.l49286

Please comment on adding this device. Is it necessary? Has anyone else had to add one?

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mdyde

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Re: Can Adding a Mixer solve my problem?

PostFri Jun 25, 2021 3:44 am

Hello player10,

player10 wrote:in playing a piece, when you go to change the combination, it generally goes silent. If I hit "cancel" then pull a stop or change levels, it also goes silent. I can find no way to continue but to close HW then reopen it, load the organ again, hit the new combo then I can play. Same thing goes when you try to change the Audio Mixer settings, after hitting Done it will not play.


You mentioned originally that you're using a Mac. If one over-fills a Mac's memory with Hauptwerk (whose data is necessarily locked into physical RAM, so as to avoid paging) macOS may behave strangely and, in particular, give no audio output, requiring Hauptwerk and/or the Mac to be restarted before it will work properly again.

Please try:

- Reboot the Mac.

- Press the General Cancel piston on your Johannus (so as to make sure that all of its internal stops are off).

- Launch Hauptwerk.

- Load the St. Anne's organ (which is small, and definitely won't over-fill your iMac's 32 GB of RAM).

- (Without touching any combination pistons or stops on your Johannus) turn on a St. Anne's stop by clicking on it on the screen.

- (Still without touching any combination pistons or stops on your Johannus) play a few notes on the relevant one of the Johannus' keyboards. Assuming you can hear the notes (on the drawn St. Anne's stop):

- (Still without touching any combination pistons or stops on your Johannus) go to the Audio Mixer screen, then click the Done button.

- (Still without touching any combination pistons or stops on your Johannus) play a few notes on the relevant one of the Johannus' keyboards.

Do you then still hear the notes (on the drawn St. Anne's stop)?

If so, try exactly the same steps again, but this time with whichever sample set you were using when you had the problem. Do you then still hear the notes (on the drawn stop) after clicking the 'Done' button on the Audio Mixer screen? If not, how many GB does Hauptwerk report for its 'Free GB' estimate on the 'Audio, MIDI and Performance' large control panel ('View | Large floating control panels ...'), and which macOS version are you using? (Hauptwerk's 'Free GB' figure is only a very rough estimate -- it can't know for sure how much of the remaining RAM macOS and other processes may need -- and recent versions of macOS may need more RAM for themselves than earlier ones).

With regard to the Johannus' physical draw-knobs/tabs and pistons, if you're using (or at least trying to use!) the Johannus' built-in audio amplifiers then note that you would presumably need to avoid using (or auto-detecting) its draw-knobs/tabs, otherwise they would inevitably also turn on the Johannus' built-in stop voices. Likewise, if using its pistons, prior to launching Hauptwerk you would (once) need to store all-off registrations to each of the Johannus' pistons within your Johannus' combination system, so that when you subsequently pressed them they wouldn't turn on any of the Johannus' internal voices.

Also, in general, when using a digital organ to control Hauptwerk it's very important that you don't do *both* of the following anyway:

1. Auto-detect the digital organ's stops to Hauptwerk's virtual stops, and:

2. Auto-detect the digital organ's pistons to Hauptwerk's virtual pistons.

If you were to do both the digital organ's internal combination system would 'fight over' the states of the stops with Hauptwerk's combination system. That's covered in more detail in the 'Playing Hauptwerk live from a digital organ' section in the main Hauptwerk user guide (pages 216-217 in the v5.0.1 version, given that you mention you're using v5).

Hence for both reasons, you would need to avoid using the Johannus' draw-knobs/tabs, and also avoid auto-detecting them to Hauptwerk virtual stops/controls.

player10 wrote:Now further to my problem, my friend who does sound systems including at Disney, came by today. He was not able to see how the volume control on the organ could be employed but he did check the organ output to the amps with his scope and found it to be unbalanced. He then checked the PreSonus and found it providing a balanced input to the amps. He is suggesting I add this converter (see the ebay Link) so the amp is seeing an unbalanced input just like it does when it sees input from the organ.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/TASCAM-LA-81Mk ... 890.l49286

Please comment on adding this device. Is it necessary? Has anyone else had to add one?


Based on a brief look at PreSonus' website and the manual for your PreSonus Studio 1810c, it does appear that the eight line outputs are always balanced. Some audio interfaces, such as ones from MOTU and RME detect whether a balanced [TRS] or unbalanced [T-S] jack is plugged into each of the sockets and adjust their behaviour appropriately accordingly, but I didn't spot anything on PreSonus' website or in the manual saying the your PreSonus Studio 1810c has that ability.

Hence I suspect that you friend is correct, in that you would need some kind of dedicated balanced-to-unbalanced converter.

However, it might be worth contacting PreSonus to verify for certain whether its line outputs are in fact designed to detect and handle unbalanced cables automatically (or perhaps other PreSonus users on this forum have experience with that).
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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Re: Can Adding a Mixer solve my problem?

PostFri Jun 25, 2021 5:27 am

For balanced output to unbalanced input, I was able to wire the connections following advice from the manufacturer of the audio interface. I would expect that wiring the balanced channel output +ve, to the unbalanced +ve input and then either the balanced signal -ve or balanced signal ground to the unbalanced ground input would work. Presonus should be able to advise on which would work better.

It is possible that the problem you have is a mismatch between the input levels for the power amps and the output from the Presonus. If the original organ input still works you might get this measured to see what the organ is sending. This would give you a starting point for determining what to do.

The unit being suggested seems to support different levels of input via switches, this may help increase the level being fed to the amps but I’m not certain. Others may be able to comment.

Iain
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Re: Can Adding a Mixer solve my problem?

PostFri Jun 25, 2021 11:21 am

I'm with Iain on this. It's likely a cable problem. Bridge -ve, the ring signal (tip-ring-sleeve) to the ground or shield connection at the Presonus end of the cables.

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