Questions & Answers

Can I use a balanced cable to connect an unbalanced output to a balanced input?

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asked May 30, 2017 in PreAmps, Signal Processors and Monitoring Hardware by frank.crow (160 points)
I'm trying to connect a preamp to my interface but the preamp has an XLR balanced output as well as a 1/4in. unbalanced output. I have expensive balanced cables but I don't know if I should use the 1/4 to 1/4 cable or the XLR to 1/4 cable or if a balanced cable is altogether a mistake. I read the term active balanced in reference to the output but I have no idea what that means.

1 Answer

0 votes
answered Jun 1, 2017 by vasilykorytov (11,570 points)
selected Jun 6, 2017 by AlexTinsley
Best answer
you'd better use the XLR to XLR cable. unbalanced jacks are for instruments and using XLR to 1/4 will not improve quality, and even likely will decrease it (or at least I've been in situation when this happened to me).

if the only thing you've got is balanced 1/4 input, get XLR to balanced 1/4 dongle.

p.s. unbalanced jack has two contacts, balanced one uses three. google for "trs balanced unbalanced" for more details.