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Mic splitters 101: active vs transformer vs resistor
Wed, 06/14/2006 - 12:35
Here's a quick intro on microphone splitters and how to use them.
If you are a performer, engineer, concert producer or anyone involved with a PA system (including anyone doing a live audio recording), it's essential to know this cornerstone element of a live sound system. A mic splitter does as it's named: it splits the mic-level signal to two or more directions.
Much better than a simple y-cable, a splitter ensures that the same signal is received everywhere without compromising audio quality or electrical grounding (earth). It also avoids loading down the mic as a y-cable would.
There are four main categories of mic splitters: resistor-based, tranformer-isolated, active and digital. Note that some active splitters can have the outputs transformer-coupled. The following is a feature comparison (Digital splitters are pretty new and expensive, so are not covered here yet):
• ground isolation
• blocks phantom power on isolated feeds (but not on the direct feed)
• stops impedance loading
transformer: NO (**Note this, which was a surprise to me!)
• common mode rejection
More on microphone splitters: