Frequently asked questions

What do you mean, ‘continuous gain range’?

The input gain control goes from -60dB to +4db of gain with no pads or switching required. This means plug in, turn on and increase or decrease the gain to the point where the signal present and peak LEDs are where you want them then you are at the optimum signal to noise and headroom setting. In most mic pre-amps there’s a 20dB pad that is needed to protect the input from higher level signals clipping. This pushes you either in a padded/lower gain range requiring increased gain later in the circuit and thereby increasing the noise. Or, the signal is low in level and you need to crank the gain all the way moving the circuit closer and closer to clipping. It’s a dance between too little and too much. OK, the signal could fall right into the sweet spot of the pre-amp with the pad in, but chances are this won’t happen often. Why is this important and what does it do for me? As said, setting a preamp so it is ‘safe’ from overload means often you need to run it lower in the gain range, let’s say you need 10db of safety because your pre-amp clips nastily. Setting 10dB lower gain to avoid the risk of clip is smart, but you need to make that 10dB later in the ‘mixer’ gain structure, which directly translates to 10dB more noise. In this way nicely spec’d EIN numbers on an input that overloads less than gracefully, can mislead users by a large factor.

Can I drive my SONY V6 type headphones from the ‘phones’ monitor output?

Yes, absolutely. The headphones amp is designed to provide the levels needed to headphones from 4Ω to 160Ω and beyond. The lower the phones impedance, usually the harder it is for a phones amp to drive them, but MTS anticipating the use of a wide range of headphones and ear buds designed this amp for real-world use.

I don’t have a PoE switch, whatever that is, can I still use the Performer?

Yes, you can power your Performer via a P.o.E. injector. These are available at very reasonable cost on the MTS website or through Amazon etc. Look for an injector that meets these specs: 1000Base-T injector to IEEE802.3af. The Performer draws <7Watts.

I have a condenser microphone that says it needs 9-56V phantom supply, the Performer is 48V, is this enough?

Yes, the industry conventions on P48, +48V Phantom Power, cover that Voltage range with strict current limits on the Phantom supply. At 48V the Performer’s will provide enough voltage and current for your mic. Older mixers may have lower phantom supply Voltages as low as 9V. A mic may well operate on the lower Voltage but it’s performance, signal to noise, and headroom will be compromised, potentially severely. The Performer provides the Voltage and Current modern, and even classic mics require.

Will 48V phantom hurt my dynamic microphone?

No. Well at least on a decent mic such as a Shure SM58. However, it is always advisable to turn off the phantom when using dynamic or mics not requiring phantom. It is possible there will be pops and bangs when ‘hot-plugging’ a device when the phantom is active. Incidentally, the Performer’s +48V has a slow-up function to prevent turn on transients when a condenser mic is connected, the circuit is open/hot and the phantom is turned on.

Can Phantom power be used for anything else than microphones?

Yes, there are some DI-Boxes out there that use phantom.

Why does the Performer have a Mic AND Line input if it can go from -60 to +4dB? Isn’t that line level?

Yes, it certainly is. There are two reasons and some flexibility of use. 1, As typically low powered devices, microphones “like” to see a load impedance of around 2kΩ, so most mixers and mic inputs are designed to that spec. 2. Line Level outputs “like” to see an input impedance of between 10kΩ - 20kΩ. Line level outputs are typically low, 100-600Ω. So when the drive/see a load/input of 10-20kΩ what is known as a bridging connection is made. The lets the driver-source’s output voltage drop across the higher impedance of the input/load, reducing the current flow and easing the source’s work. The flexibility comes in where one can connect a line source to the Performer’s Mic input via the XL connector and it’ll probably work fine. The mic input’s 2kΩ input is going to typically be high enough that it won’t upset the source’s 100Ω or so. A very small amount more current will flow, but today’s devices are quite happy in this situation. Hey, try it and see! Make sure the 48V is off if you connect to a line level output to the mic input XL. Some outputs are not happy seeing 48V and can be damaged.

Can I connect headphone or in-ear monitors to the Network Return on the Performer?

Yes, and it will probably work fine. However, you will not have a level control locally on that output. The level would need to be controlled from the network mix, or by using an headphone amp for the monitor ‘cans’. Bottom line, the output can drive headphones or line sources.

I plugged my guitar into the jacks on the Performer and I get no signal.

You are probably connecting to the ‘through-out’ socket of the pair. Move your jack to the other ‘Input’ and see what you get. Although in principle these two sockets are in parallel, they are not connected, unless a jack is inserted in the “Input” socket. This is a “Switching Type Input Connection” that the tip of the jack plug operates when inserted. Move to the Input socket and you’ll turn on the input circuit. Why is it made this way? Simple. The input being ‘OFF’ mutes the circuit and any noise it might contribute or conduct to the Dante or Di-Out connections. If you aren’t connecting anything to that input, we figure you don’t want anything from it!

Why didn’t you make the Line Input an XL too? Surely this is a more common connector in Pro-Audio.

You are correct. However, the lack of “real-estate” in this design, forced some decisions to be made re connectors, switches, controls etc. Sure, we could do that either at the expense of something else on the product or at a higher cost and larger product. We’ll deal with this demand in additional devices. A smart girl once said, designing a product for the audio-biz, or for any application, is like going around a supermarket taking features and functions you like or might one day want/use, off the shelf and tossing them in your cart. You only had $200 in your pocket so when you get to the check-out you find you’ve got $1000 worth of stuff. What will you put back? What do you really need to do the job you started out doing? All those “nice to have” “I might need that one day” features have to go and you are left with the essentials. The Performer has as much as we can cram into the space, plus a few additional bits. Watch this site for future products that may answer “all your needs”…

I’d like to rack mount my Performer, what do I do?

We offer a rack mount kit that can mount either one or two Performers in a 1U rack-space. You’ll need to remove the rubber ‘bumpers’ and use the instructions, screws provided in the rack-kit.

I’m in love with the sound of the Performer’s mic preamps. And the Hi-Z input’s clean open sound. How do you do that?

Interesting question! Maybe one should ask the other manufacturers out there why their products don’t sound as good or are different to the Performer. Basically, we used every effort to design a neutral, open, wide bandwidth, high-headroom circuit that can work in the real world and not just a lab bench. Special care was taken to design the Performer to very, very gracefully and progressively overload when driven hard. This translates to significantly greater in-use headroom, lower noise and ‘forgiveness’ in a live studio or stage situation. Maybe what we hear on other devices is their edginess when driven and the higher noise one ends up with when running lower down the gain range for safety. We are happy the work that went into these designs is appreciated.

I am kinda annoyed that I cannot check my inputs during a gig, without switching the DI-OUT at the same time. Why can’t I monitor without messing up my DI out signal?

Sorry about that! It was a decision to make the best use of the panel space and operation of the device. We could have put an additional switch to select the Di-OUT separately. But as addressed in a question above, we have to make decisions to maintain a size, price and value point for a product. Your question and need are most reasonable, but…

What do you mean by “Detents” in the gain controls?

The controls are fitted with 41 little notches in their operation, which do not make them hard to use, or force them into ‘slots’. These are in there to allow you to log and reset at a later date should you want to. See the manual for logging settings.

Where is it best to connect my 40-year-old Fender Rhodes piano?

The Hi-Z input will probably be ideal. However, this will depend on the model of Rhodes you have. Some early ones were very low level, i.e. no internal pre-amp. If it is one of these, use the Hi-Z. If it is a later a/c powered model with higher output levels, use the Line In. Either way, your Performer has inputs that can be used to great effect. Sorry to not be more precise, but without knowing the model/type, we suggest you experiment and see what works best.

I’m setting up to use the Performer on-stage connected to a Dante Network. Is there anything I need to do specifically to set things up?

For the Dante side of things, there’s nothing that needs doing on the Performer. Dante controller and your system should “see” the Performer when connected and powered up. All the Dante and network settings should be automatically usable on the network. For the analog, input side, Mic/Line/Hi-Z, Di-Out and Network return see the manual for ideal setup and Quick-Start Guide. If you are using the Network Return there is a user changeable setting to go between ‘stereo’ or two channel Dante network feeds, OR mono Balanced Line output. See the manual for changing an internal jumper. The Performer is pre-set to Stereo/2 channel line level output from the TRS front panel connector.

I am interested in trying the feature on the Performer where it will accept the output from a guitar/instrument amplifier. However, I am a bit nervous having read the warnings in your manual re how much power there is at the ‘speaker’.

It’s good that you are concerned in that it will help you connect properly and get the best out of the system. Basically, when you are connecting we will assume there’s no signal running on the amp/speaker. Or that it is all turned off. Take your special connector that you have made already (you have that made up, right?) and clip it onto the speaker terminals. The ‘phase’ should be Positive terminal to your TRS tip, the negative to the sleeve. Connect both ends and fire up everything. Make sure you start with the Performer Mic/Line input control all the way counter-clockwise – minimum. Then with someone playing a guitar, in this example, through the amp, slowly bring up the level on the Performer whilst monitoring the input on phones or at a mixer/network system. Confirm you have signal and all as working as you require. Now, have the musician crank his/her rig up to performance levels and set your input gain as needed. If you are mixing a direct injection signal from the guitar with the amp-hook-up set the Hi-Z input as required and confirm signals are as you want them at the Di-Out, Phones, and/or network. This should give you a richly colored amp/plus speaker feed to mix with the clean guitar output, pre or post effects pedal, depending on where you connect. Of course you can connect the amp at its output. The only think you may lose is some of the Back EMF from the speaker which is damped out by the cable impedance, capacitance and inductance. Nothing dangerous or risky in these connections, but it’s advisable to make sure at high signal levels all is safely connected.

How do I get the cleanest and best signals into the Performer from my Telecaster or other guitars?

Use the shortest and best quality Hi-Z use cable you have from the instrument to the Hi-Z input. The relationship of your instrument’s output impedance and the 1 meg-Ω input impedance of the Hi-Z connection, will assure the best signal quality. It may surprise you how clean and ‘crisp’ the signal sounds on that input. This is due often to what we get used to in guitars and amps when connected with long, often longer, because they are curly cords. These have sufficient electrical characteristics that they roll off the highs on the signal. So when you hear it as close to how it is naturally, it can be quite different. We think that getting the best signal into the equipment is the priority, from there you can make creative and subjective decisions to EQ or change the signal as you want. If it isn’t there in the first place your choices are limited.

I need to output a single channel back from my Dante network. Can you supply instructions for doing this. Thanks IS, Leeds UK.

See Owner’s Manual. Remove the four screws locating the rubbers, and the four additional screws locating the PCB assembly and slide the assembly out in the front/connector panel direction. This may be a tight fit, so push firmly and evenly on both sides of the connector panel. Looking onto the component side of the board with the Network Return socket to your left, stop when you have clear access to the jumper and PCB graphics. The board will stick out two inches/ 50mm or so. Locate the black jumper, default installed to the left and center of three small vertical pins. Pull up and remove the jumper, then re-position it onto the center and right of the three pins. Push down to make sure it is seated. Return the PCB assembly into the case and replace the screws. Make sure to identify clearly on the case, that the mod has been performed and that the Performer is configured as single channel, balanced out from the network.

We are using Performers on Podiums/Lecterns, for mic input and Dante network return feeds from a Yamaha console for Q&A powered Monitors. Thanks for the 1/4-20 threaded mounting hole! In case it could help anyone else out there, I found some different camera clamp systems at my local photo store/online, that makes this an easy and convenient set up. 48mm O/D Truss Rod clamp, Mic Stand Clamp, and a Table Clamp.

Excellent, thank you for these examples and ideas. It will certainly help others in applying their Performers. Thanks again!

Should I input my guitar to the Hi-Z input, before or after my effects pedal/stomp boxes?

Totally depends on what you are using the output for and your requirements sound wise. For example, if you are using the Performer as a Di-Box to say a house mixer, and you are mic’ing the amp, the amp mic’ signal will give a good representation of the sound of your amp/rig. This, will of course, include any and all of your effects, and/or just the sound character of your amp and speakers. In whatever ratios your taste dictates, mixing in the direct signal from your guitar can give a boost to the sound in articulation, or presence. OR, if you are recording, you may with to add or vary any post feed effects you want to the clean signal. Why? If you only record the full signal with effects, you cannot really remove any thing later that you may decide you don’t want. You can always add and play with effects in the mix. Check out the Manual for examples of other ways to use your Performer. The main point here is to encourage experimentation and listening. If it sounds great, then there are no rights or wrongs!

You go on about how much level the Performer’s inputs can take. Why is this so important?

Today’s music has the potential for tremendous dynamic range, from close mic’d snare drum to a Marshall stack can challenge the input to any system, nearly all requiring a -20dB pad to survive. We measured a famous Rock ‘n Roll Star Vocalist’s mic output levels during a gig, and would you believe at peak he generated over 2 Volts of output directly from the mic! A freak situation, but real-world. A microphone’s normal output levels are in the -60 dBV (0.001 volt) to -40 dBV (0.010 volt) range.

Our designs take into account these dynamics at the high energy end of the equation as well as catering to the subtle needs when using high gain and recording voice, classical instruments etc., and their delicate harmonic content.

Add to this, the demands of a live performance when the audience is eager and the band kicks off 10dB hotter than at sound check, then headroom and eventually isolation from overload become super important. In set up for a recording or gig the input gain setting on a pre-amp set lower by 10dB to for fear of clipping translates immediately to 10dB more noise later in the mix when you add the gain back.