balanced v unbalanced cable

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Member Since: Feb 13, 2006

I've finally decided to get cost efficient & make my own cables but could use some advise on what cable /connectors -balanced/unbalanced are best?

need to know cables what kind of cable are best for:

connect XLR to XLR/jack for mics into preamps

connecting preamps to a mixer /tape machine (jack to jack)

sending channel signals from tape machine to digital desk or visa versa via motu 828. . . .

can you use balanced cable for simple a guitar lead?

can you use balanced coaxial mic cable with mono jack connectors to create balanced lead??


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Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Jun 22, 2006 08:19 pm

Well, Beldon makes some good high quality cable for a decent price. They have pretty much any type of cable you can think of.

I would not suggest using a balanced cable for guitar leads, it would be a waste.

I'm not sure what you mean by mono, but the connectors needed for balanced cables would be either and XLR jack or a TRS jack. The TS connector will only accomadate two wire connections.

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Jun 23, 2006 08:34 am

Balanced is a result of circuitry in the jacks, that split signal into two signals, one is 180 degrees out of phase.

The jack(s) must have 3 conductors, Hot, Cold, and ground.

On the other end, the out-of-phase signal is inverted again, and all newly added noise is cancelled out.

Therefore, a guitar is not able to utilize balanced cable, unless the jacks are built for this feature. I've not seen one yet, but it's possible.

You can still use a TRS jack (capable of being balanced) but it's only being used like a TS jack, i.e.: two conductors are used, hot signal, and ground.

Generally, balanced cables are used with low level signal (like microphone) so there's no added noise in the signal. Once the signal gets preamped up to line level, the signal is much higher than most possible noise, so balanced is not as much of a concern. Balanced cables are used also when long cable runs are needed. Balanced can go much longer without degradation than unbalanced. But the circuitry has to be there to utilize it.

In your case, you could create balanced cables for between components, but if they don't sport balanced jacks, then you're wasting your time. Microphones and preamps are almost always balanced, but the later stuff may not be, so do some research, and go from there.

Also, in short runs (under 10 feet) balanced won't make hardly any difference from unbalanced, unless there's a lot of RF or electrical interference. Then balanced can reject that type of noise.

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