External pre into channel 1 & 2 insert(s)?

Hi people,

so, I want to run a external preamp through my MR 816x for variety. I have a small home studio setting.

  1. Is it true in this case I can bypass the MR816 preamp by using either of the 1 & 2 channel inserts behind the unit? (External preamp → insert channel 1 (or 2) → external preamp’s own sound comes in to my DAW?)

  2. Since it is unbalanced will there be problems running a balanced preamp input into the unbalanced insert?

  3. What is this talk about only plugging the cable half way or so in to the insert?

  4. What kind of a cable - a short one I presume - I need to have between the external pre and the MR816 insert? The cable would need to be available in stores as I don’t have the means or interest to make a cable myself.

Thank you for your help.

  1. yes, if done right. But it would be easier to use the line in on the front panel, this will bypass the MicPre as well.
  2. could be
  3. forget it, if you use the right cables this is not necessary
  4. that depends on the preamp, at least a stereo jack on the MR816 side…

As already mentioned, it would be better to use the line in, this is balanced, and you can use standard cables, XLR female to stereo jack.

Thank you for your opinion. Unfortunately your replies are not very helpful. Also, the preamps cannot be bypassed that way.

Does anyone at the board have experience and conrete knowledge with what I asked about?

Oh, sorry, I had some experience with stuff like that… that’s why I suggested the above.
We did something similar back in the 90s with analogue mixers and ADAT recorders.
And it regularly produces problems.

But it’s not what you like to read, I guess.

It’s an easy question, and you got the proper answer.


since you are obviously my superior maybe you could explain it to me what these answers mean:

  1. “yes, if done right” How does this make clear what is the right way?
  2. “could be” How does this explain how it could be?
  3. “if you use the right cables” How does this tell me what are the right cables?
  4. “that depends” How does this say what the right kind of cable is?

Also, the preamps can’t be bypassed by using the line in in front of the panel

I am not your superior by any means, in fact I am the lowliest worm. Despicable, rotting and worthless. However.

  1. It does not make it clear that it’s the right way. It’s there to dissuade you from plugging the preamp to the insert, because there’s a less unorthodox way to do it. But this will work too, if done right.
  2. Could be, because the reader does not know whether in your environment the unbalanced cable will pick up interference that will result to noise or hum. That’s why it could be a problem, or it could not be a problem. Only by trying out would you know for sure.
  3. It doesn’t tell you, but it’s there to dissuade from the unorthodox practice of half-inserting a regular TS cable into a TRS socket. The right cables to use in inserts are TRS patching cables.
  4. It depends, because the reader has not seen your preamp, thus they cannot say what cable you need.


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The guys are right here. The INSERTS are UNBALANCED which is not good from a Pre amp IMO. Potential noise collector depending on the gain, noise on the unit, cable you use etc.

  1. Turn the PAD= ON on the input/inputs you are going to plug the pre amp into on the MR. Those are on the front panel of the unit.

**The PAD lowers the signal by 26dB so the Pre Amp on the MR wont have any real effect on the signal. YES it is still going through the circuit but it does NOT degrade the tone or change it in any way. Ive done this here both using the inserts and just plugging into the inputs on the MR. Its easier and a no brainer to just go External Pre out into the INPUTS on the MR.

  1. Plug your cable from the pre into that channel using a balanced cable. XLR or 1/4" TRS will work.

  2. Turn the GAIN on that MR input ALL THE WAY DOWN on the front of the MR.