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Author Topic: Balanced vs. Unbalanced XLR cables???  (Read 4665 times)

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Offline Cheesecadet

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Balanced vs. Unbalanced XLR cables???
« on: March 07, 2013, 09:47:57 PM »
How can you tell what you have?  Is there a reason to have one or the other...is one better or worse?  I think I read balanced cables have less noise, but if that is the case why would one want unbalanced cables?
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Offline anr

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Re: Balanced vs. Unbalanced XLR cables???
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2013, 08:25:26 AM »
A properly manufactured XLR > XLR (or TRS > TRS, they are electrically the same) cable is "balanced" in that it will be fully compatible with the balanced equipment it is connected to at either end.

If you connect two balanced equipments with an "unbalanced" cable (e.g. consumer grade phono) the whole becomes unbalanced. 

Similarly, if you connect one balanced and one unbalanced equipment with an XLR > XLR (or, more likely, a TRS > TRS), the whole is unbalanced. 


For practical purposes, the issue is that long runs of XLR cables will withstand noise, but with unbalanced connections you should keep the cable runs as short as possible.

Best of luck!  Worthwhile getting your head round this, because understanding the principles helps diagnose many problems.   



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Re: Balanced vs. Unbalanced XLR cables???
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2013, 11:37:25 AM »
For practical purposes, the issue is that long runs of XLR cables will withstand noise, but with unbalanced connections you should keep the cable runs as short as possible.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balanced_audio has more info on why that is (related to CMRR). Also note, the 6db signal difference.
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Re: Balanced vs. Unbalanced XLR cables???
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2013, 06:46:07 PM »
yeah, it's only noteworthy in that I can think of a couple of preamps that have balanced and unbalanced outs and you get different levels out of them as a result of the balancing. (the old sonosax sx-m2 being a chief example).
"This is a common practice we have on the bus; debating facts that we could easily find through printed material. It's like, how far is it today? I think it's four hours, and someone else comes in at 11 hours, and well, then we'll... just... talk about it..." - Jeb Puryear

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