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Dealing with Distance: Best Practices for Long Cable Runs

Hiya Emmett! I heard you’re the guy to talk to about this sort of stuff. I just got a StudioBricks booth and I’m trying to figure out the best way to set everything up. I want my Mac outside the booth, but I’m not sure about the best way to set that up. My interface needs to be in the booth so I can adjust the gain, right?
Sincerely, 
Kate

 

Hiya yourself, Kate!


Congrats on the new booth! It’s good you’re thinking through this. 


It’s best to keep the interface out of the booth, and close to the computer. USB degrades quickly. Five meters is the maximum length, but often, anything more than two meters becomes unstable. XLR, on the other hand, can run 100 meters with minimal loss. You won’t need to go anywhere near that, so there should be effectively no loss running XLR. 


HDMI for a separate display is about like USB, so if you need more distance on that end, there are Ethernet extenders to make it possible. A slight amount of loss with your display, is much less important than loss in your audio.


A wireless keyboard and mouse will round out the setup nicely.


As for the gain, for most types of work, gain control isn’t necessary. I haven’t touched my gain in the past year. Set it low enough you won’t clip, and leave it. You can always bring it up after recording. Keep your peaks around -12dB, and that leaves plenty of room to get loud. The one exception would be video games. Voicing a very dynamic video game character, you may need some control. In those cases, I would suggest an interface that allows software control of the gain, or a standalone preamp that can live in the booth. Either one will solve that specific issue. 


Keep as much gear as possible outside the booth. You’ll have a better experience while you’re in the booth working.


Emmett

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