[chuck-users] performing with laptops

Kassen signal.automatique at gmail.com
Tue Apr 14 23:59:59 EDT 2009

Dear Jay,

To add to Andrew's points (that I agree with); you won't need a DI if you
would get a soundcard that supports balanced output. The main task of a DI
box is to convert a unbalanced signal to a balanced on. Another factor is
that laptop build in soundcards are made to be cheap and small. They do a
decent job with system beeps and playing mp3's on the build in speakers but
they aren't meant for presenting your detailed, lovingly crafted sounds and
music over a multi Kilowatt PA system toa  attentive audience, and how could

If you have a budget I'd go with a soundcard from a reputable brand
featuring balanced outputs, preferably one that can use it's own power
suply. If you do that humm will be a thing of the past (unless something,
somewhere goes very wrong). In that case you'll likely have multiple outputs
that you could mix on a hardware mixer; some people find that more direct
and convenient and it will give you a chance to cut the sound in the envent
of a system crash.

If there is no budget use a pair of DI boxes over a "Y" cable to the build
in card and lift the ground of your laptop adapter (if it has one, some
brands like Apple don't). Ground-lifting plugs cost less than a burger and
more profesional clubs should have DI boxes. It won't sound as good but at
least that strategy should make sure there is no humm either.

Hope that helps,

2009/4/14 Andrew C. Smith <acsmith at willamette.edu>

> I just did a couple of laptop performances, and having two DI boxes on
> hand is extremely helpful.  You can either use a Firewire interface or
> a Y-plug from your headphone jack, but the DI box is important because
> the snake that runs to the front of the stage is usually balanced XLR
> only.  I carry my own two DI boxes, because I want them to be
> identical and sometimes the venue only has one box.
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