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M-Audio 2496 Right Channel problems

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May 3, 2012 1:48:45 AM

I am a music producer, so I have a PCI audio card that I use for production. I have an audiophile 2496 with the RCA outs going into a 4 channel mixer with the main out on the mixer returning to my audiophile's RCA ins, and the headphone jack goes out to my speakers/headphones. I just recently noticed that the audio seems to be left-justified.

For instance, when I am playing a game like The Witcher 2, when things are to the right of my character, they sound as though they are behind me and when things are to the right of my character, they sound clear as day. I opened up my delta drivers and found that the audio seems to be in full stereo as far as the card can tell, but when I tested the card using Windows 7's audio test, only the left channel is putting out audio while I can make out the faintest whisper of the test on the right channel. I took a second look at all my gear, and all my cables are stereo cables. I suspect it may be a bad RCA cable, as unplugging the left RCA out cuts all the audio, but audio on the whole seems to be coming out of both speakers just fine, just not when the audio PANS or is supposed to be in only one speaker. In my audio software, panning from the left channel to the right channel is basically just a volume control, as the right channel is but the faintest of faint whispers coming from my system. Panning from the left channel to the right channel sounds like it's just lowering the volume.

The card has the most recent drivers and I have changed all the cables but the RCA-to-3.5mm stereo cable coming from my soundcard to the mixer. My money is on that cable being the issue, but if it's not, I would like to hear any other ideas. My full system specs are as follows


Gigabyte 880GA-UD3H mobo (on-board audio disabled in BIOS and realtek audio drivers have been uninstalled)
AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE processor
4gb corsair viper3 RAM
550 watt power supply
Radeon HD6790 GPU
M-Audio Audiophile 2496 audio card (the offending piece of hardware)
Mackie 4-channel mixer
May 3, 2012 3:41:28 AM

If it's feeding through the mixer first, the 402-VLZ does not have stereo separation per channel unless your using channels 1 and 2 (Tape and 3/4 are cross mixed). It's also possible that it's the one cable you haven't checked.
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May 3, 2012 3:47:00 AM

I am indeed using Channel 1 for my PC audio output and channel 2 for my SP404SX. The tape input is being used by my dual tape deck, and my turntable uses a USB interface. I know that both channels 3 and 4 are basically mono tracks, and so they are multi-purpose inputs for equipment I borrow from friends.

I agree that the dual RCA cable is probably the culprit. Since I have your attention, I'd like to ask a follow-up question. This soundcard is SPDIF-enabled. I have never used SPDIF technology before. Is it worth trying? And if it is worth trying, I am curious as to the advantages of using an SPDIF cable with a 1/4" adapter for use with my mixer. I'm sure the transition would be pretty painless. I am just curious as to whether or not it's worth exploring.

Thanks for the quick reply, friend.
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May 3, 2012 3:52:02 AM

If your using strictly channel one, therein lies your problem since it is monaural.

Well the issue with S/PDIF is that it is a digital interface, so you would need a DAC to convert the digital signal to analogue, like this http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-BEH-SRC2496-LIST... while that would work, the only issue is if the chip on the DAC is of higher quality than the chip on the soundcard.

No problem.
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May 3, 2012 3:57:12 AM

So the mixer is the issue. Thank god for this forum, then.

So by using channel 1 on my mixer, I am boxing myself into a corner? What if I have a dual RCA to dual 1/4" cable? If I use 3/4 for the PC audio out and either of the remaining channels for the SP404SX, would that solve my problem? Sorry for the frantic verbage here, I just want to figure out what the fix should be. Hopefully I can still utilize my mixer, as it's a simple volume control tool when I am using the computer. If I have to ditch it for another solution, I'm okay with that too.
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May 3, 2012 4:07:44 AM

Mr_Mc_IllnCutty said:
So the mixer is the issue. Thank god for this forum, then.

So by using channel 1 on my mixer, I am boxing myself into a corner? What if I have a dual RCA to dual 1/4" cable? If I use 3/4 for the PC audio out and either of the remaining channels for the SP404SX, would that solve my problem? Sorry for the frantic verbage here, I just want to figure out what the fix should be. Hopefully I can still utilize my mixer, as it's a simple volume control tool when I am using the computer. If I have to ditch it for another solution, I'm okay with that too.


It is from the sound of it (pun intended). It helps that I have the same mixer (also the 1604).

Pretty much. If you went dual RCA to dual 1/4" you would have to utilize both channel 1 and channel 2, and set the balance completely left or completely right depending on the channel. If you used 3/4 for the PC it would work, but you lose the EQ and ability to set the gain. Remember that all 1/4" and XLR inputs are monaural, the extra ring is for the shielding on the cables, rather than a 2nd channel.
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May 3, 2012 4:27:07 AM

Well I learn something new every day. Losing the EQ isn't a total loss, but the loss of gain control is a bit daunting. I suppose that, in the end, the real point is get audio panning actually working on the system. From what you're telling me, that seems to be possible with a dual 1/4" cable if I am willing to make a few control sacrifices. The only thing vexing me is that I always thought that mono=left channel. If all the mixer tracks are mono, then wouldn't they always be left-justified if the mixer is used?
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May 3, 2012 4:32:10 AM

Or would using XLR cables solve the problem?
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May 3, 2012 4:45:18 AM

Mr_Mc_IllnCutty said:
Well I learn something new every day. Losing the EQ isn't a total loss, but the loss of gain control is a bit daunting. I suppose that, in the end, the real point is get audio panning actually working on the system. From what you're telling me, that seems to be possible with a dual 1/4" cable if I am willing to make a few control sacrifices. The only thing vexing me is that I always thought that mono=left channel. If all the mixer tracks are mono, then wouldn't they always be left-justified if the mixer is used?


Mono only equals left in the consumer world. Most microphones you see are actually monoural, and it takes a special (and pricey) microphone to generate stereo. Most studios utilize two microphones, one biased to the left, one to the right, by setting panning on the board. Additionally, the way a mixer works (generally) is that they take the input from the (monaural mic) and assign it to both channels. Mind you it is not stereo at this point as there is no difference between left and right. Depending on the recording engineer, they may record in either dual mono (biased left on one track, biased right on another left over from the tape days), or true stereo where left and right are treated as a single entity and mixed together. I for one prefer dual mono when listening to music, but ymmv.

It is possible with RCA to 1/4" yes, although you may want to thing about getting a bigger board if you plan on any kind of expansion in the future. Remediable that XLR is still monaural.
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May 3, 2012 4:54:25 AM

Ah, that clears up a lot of confusion.

But to get back to my previous question- the meat of the issue here...

Is it possible to utilize this mixer setup and still achieve full stereo audio panning with the tools I have? If I need to grab a new mixer, I'll do that. If I need a different solution, I have a bit of cash to spend. I just want to have the best setup I can, and I have a combination of buyer's remorse and facepalm syndrome, seeing as how a lot of basic information escaped me.

I messed around with my system, and setting my drivers to disable the left channel and flipping the little "instrument" switch on my mixer track allowed me to gain the audio for the right channel. I suppose I need to get on both these channels and hope for the best.
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May 3, 2012 4:57:56 AM

BUUUUUUUUUT...........

How do I got about doing that in my drivers? It only works when I set the balance to right all the way or left all the way...
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May 3, 2012 5:22:06 AM

Mr_Mc_IllnCutty said:
Ah, that clears up a lot of confusion.

But to get back to my previous question- the meat of the issue here...

Is it possible to utilize this mixer setup and still achieve full stereo audio panning with the tools I have? If I need to grab a new mixer, I'll do that. If I need a different solution, I have a bit of cash to spend. I just want to have the best setup I can, and I have a combination of buyer's remorse and facepalm syndrome, seeing as how a lot of basic information escaped me.

I messed around with my system, and setting my drivers to disable the left channel and flipping the little "instrument" switch on my mixer track allowed me to gain the audio for the right channel. I suppose I need to get on both these channels and hope for the best.



It is possible, however you would need two 1/4" to RCA cables (assuming you do not have them already) and plug them into channel one and two, setting the PAN either completely to the left (gray) or completely to the right (red). Buyers remorse happens even when you buy the right equipment, the face palm syndrome...that I can't help with.

DON'T TOUCH THAT INSTRUMENT SWITCH (looks like a guitar), that changes the impedance for the input and allows the input to act as a direct box. Depending on the line level set, you have the potential to damage something.

You can't do what you want with your drivers. Your drivers on your PC you leave as equal line outputs with equal levels. All the panning should be done on the mixer.

Well there are a couple things you could do, try what I suggested first and see if that does what you want.

You could also get a larger mixer to free up some inputs:
http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-MAC-1202VLZIII-L...
Grab a completely digital mixer that connects via firewire and doubles as an audio interface (but makes your M-Audio redundant)
http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-MAC-ONYX1220I-LI...
Grab a DAC and connect via S/PDIF and XLR (doesn't really net you anything)
http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-BEH-SRC2496-LIST
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May 3, 2012 5:51:36 AM

Trust me, I already learned what the instrument switch does. It should have a picture of a subwoofer instead of a guitar, because I blew mine out trying to troubleshoot this mess.

Unfortunately, close inspection shows that this mixer is without panning controls. I'll be needing a new mixer, most likely the unit in your first link, which includes pan controls. Looks like I'll also need a new surround system, because this logitech 5.1 is blown the hell out due to my fiddling.

Oh well, live and learn, right?
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May 3, 2012 5:58:25 AM

Mr_Mc_IllnCutty said:
Trust me, I already learned what the instrument switch does. It should have a picture of a subwoofer instead of a guitar, because I blew mine out trying to troubleshoot this mess.

Unfortunately, close inspection shows that this mixer is without panning controls. I'll be needing a new mixer, most likely the unit in your first link, which includes pan controls. Looks like I'll also need a new surround system, because this logitech 5.1 is blown the hell out due to my fiddling.

Oh well, live and learn, right?


Indeed, I had forgotten about that (the reason I moved away from it). You could also look at the 802-VLZ3, which is a little cheaper:

http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-MAC-802VLZ3-LIST

Buy studio monitors instead, if you can afford them (I recommend these three, remember they are sold individually)

http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-JBL-LSR2328P-LIS...

http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-KRK-RP8G2-LIST

http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-TAN-REVEAL501A-L...

If you want to annoy your neighbors and hit THX level records, then you can add a sub for the first two:

http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-KRK-K10S-LIST

http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-JBL-LSR2310SP-LI...


Live and learn indeed, we all make mistakes.
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May 3, 2012 6:47:02 AM

Indeed. You have been unbelievably helpful. After some basic Googling, it seems that utilizing 2 channels on a mixer for PC audio out is quite common. After a bit of research, I decided to go with the Yamaha MG82CX. It has a good mix of features and has the panning controls I need. Plus, I found one for $100. Already ordered. As much as I love my Mackie, it just doesn't have the features I need. Great unit, to be sure. I have a buddy who is getting into music production who could use a good mixer, and I think he'd be overjoyed to have the unit. Now I'll sit and stare at the door while I wait for my new mixer.

Thanks a whole heap, man. You saved my life this day.
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May 3, 2012 2:57:22 PM

Mr_Mc_IllnCutty said:
Indeed. You have been unbelievably helpful. After some basic Googling, it seems that utilizing 2 channels on a mixer for PC audio out is quite common. After a bit of research, I decided to go with the Yamaha MG82CX. It has a good mix of features and has the panning controls I need. Plus, I found one for $100. Already ordered. As much as I love my Mackie, it just doesn't have the features I need. Great unit, to be sure. I have a buddy who is getting into music production who could use a good mixer, and I think he'd be overjoyed to have the unit. Now I'll sit and stare at the door while I wait for my new mixer.

Thanks a whole heap, man. You saved my life this day.


Glad to have been of service. Just as an FYI, the Yamaha has a considerable larger (3x as big) footprint than the Mackie. Hopefully it will all work out.
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