Low volume problem on the Creative Zen

Hi Kenny. I’ve recently switched to using a Creative ZEN mp3 player for live gigging. 3.5mm jack to twin 6.3mm jacks on a stereo channel. Works great, but I have to rack the input level right up and the channel volume, and it still doesn’t give me sufficient volume. I have to turn the main volume up, but then have to turn the mic channel way down to balance the vocals with the music. I bought a stereo preamp from maplins. It seems to boost the Input signal to line level, but is badly distorted. Any ideas? Thanks, 

Hi Tony

Without actually hearing and seeing your settings it’s a bit difficult to troubleshoot.

However, generally you would do the following steps:

1. Use the headphone output of the mp3 player with the players volume close to fully up (around 90 – 95%).

2. “Trim” the input signal at your mixing desk using the trim control. If your desk doesn’t have a trim control for each channel you should seriously consider getting another desk – even cheap mixing desks nowadays all have trims for each channel.

3. Finally, adjust the two L+R channel volumes.

The most important part of the above process is adjusting the trim as this is what determines the signal level that’s going in to the desk. If your trim is set too high you’ll get distortion. If your trim is set too low you’ll have to whack the volume of the channels up so high you’ll get hiss and noise.

Hope this helps….

Hi Kenny. Thanks very much for the quick response. I took the stereo preamp back to Maplins today, and they advised swapping it for a “headphone amplifier”, which about the size of an iPod shuffle and sits in-line between the mp3 player and the mixer (3.5mm in/out jacks). It just boosts the mp3 output, and works great. Very clear sound. Thanks again for your help.