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Thread: XLR Question

  1. #1

    XLR Question

    I have a mixing board with 16 channels that accept XLR inputs, and 16 that only accept 1/4". For my current project I've used all 16 of the XLR input channels. Now, I have a mic with an XLR jack.... I also have an XLR cable. I then have an item made by Shure which is about 3" long.... it accepts the XLR cable on one end and has a 1/4" plug on the other end.

    My question is, in using this system, is my cable run balanced because it is an XLR cable, or unbalanced because it terminates in a 1/4" plug?


  2. #2
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    San Francisco, CA

    depends on the adapter

    If the 1/4-inch plug has 2 rings (like a stereo-earphone plug) then the signal is balanced, if it has one ring (like a guitar cable) then it's unbalanced. The manual for your board most likely says if the input jack itself is balanced; if the 1/4-in-only inputs are "stereo channels", the input jacks themselves most likely are not balanced. If your manual doesn't tell, you can figure out if the input 1/4 jack itself is balanced by slowly pushing a one-ring guitar-type cable in. If you feel one "slight click, keep pushing, and then feel the "lock-in" click further down, it's balanced; if you hear only one click at the bottom, it's unbalanced, in which case it doesn't matter if you give it a balanced signal or not; if the input jack isn't balanced, it basically throws the "third wire" away.
    In any case, if your board has "phantom power," it most likely is for the XLR inputs only, so you may need to crank up the input gain on that channel or use a stand-alone pre-amp.

  3. #3
    what make and model is your board?
    'I think my intimate relationship with electronics started as a child when I was playing with a screwdriver and a wall plug, Doc, and...'

  4. #4
    If the 'adapter' you use is a matching balun (balanced/unbalanced transformer), then the run of your cable is balanced, but the signal becomes unbalanced at the adapter and when you connect it, it operates as unbalanced.
    Eric Adler (tonsofpcs) Chat at:
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  5. #5
    your mixer should have 'line level' inputs on those last channels, so it will just be a matter of adjusting the input level to a correct level. whenever possible it is recommended that you plug mics into a balanced input, but try it out, if it works, go for it!


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