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Author Topic: Balanced XLR out to Unbalanced in  (Read 3145 times)

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Offline beenjammin

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Balanced XLR out to Unbalanced in
« on: February 21, 2019, 06:33:01 PM »
The manual of my DAC warns against running the unit's balanced XLR outs into unbalanced targets with cables whose pin 3 ground is connected. I have such cables and would like to run the XLR outs into my unbalanced speakers. Should I simple clip the pin 3 ground, or might that cause problems?


Offline Sebastian

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Re: Balanced XLR out to Unbalanced in
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2019, 05:05:20 AM »
The manual of my DAC warns against running the unit's balanced XLR outs into unbalanced targets with cables whose pin 3 ground is connected. I have such cables and would like to run the XLR outs into my unbalanced speakers. Should I simple clip the pin 3 ground, or might that cause problems?

That depends. If you are running phantom power (or any other kind of power supply) over this line, do NOT connect it to ground directly. Connecting it to ground will effectively connect the power supply to ground, resulting in a lot of power being drawn (7mA in the case of a standards-compliant P48 phantom power supply, 18mA for P12). Therefore it's usually better to connect pin 3 to ground via a DC-blocking capacitor (22µF or lower should do).

However, it's probably safe to just leave pin 3 unconnected. I have it like this on most of my cables and I've never had a problem.
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Offline Ronmac

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Re: Balanced XLR out to Unbalanced in
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2019, 05:33:37 AM »
Range published a note on interconnects that should help: https://www.rane.com/note110.html

Offline beenjammin

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Re: Balanced XLR out to Unbalanced in
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2019, 03:15:13 PM »
Thanks for the help! The XLR outs on the DAC are line level, so no phantom power. I'll be running them in to the unbalanced 3.5" inputs of some portable speakers. I figured all would be well but then I read the following warning in the DAC's manual:

Quote
The short circuit protected, low impedance XLR line outputs do not operate servo balanced! When connecting unbalanced equipment via XLR, make sure pin 3 of the XLR output is not connected. A connection to ground might cause a decreased THD (higher distortion) and increased power consumption!

This made me second guess using my XLR cables.

 

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