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Re: unbalanced lineout to balanced xlr speaker in?
varignet #2775182 10/24/18 10:33 AM
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Thanks. I was thinking of purchasing a multitrack recorder in the near future which has 1/4 balanced outputs.
Obviously it would make sense to use balanced 1/4 to XLR cables in such case. Out of curiosity what would happen if I was to use 1/4 to rca unbalanced cables from a balanced output to the unbalanced rca speakers IN?

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Re: unbalanced lineout to balanced xlr speaker in?
varignet #2775188 10/24/18 10:45 AM
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basically my options in my mind are:
-buy 2 set of cables (eheheh)
-buy 1/4 balanced to xlr cables and use them right now with the unbalanced kawai mp7se outputs and later on with the balanced multitracker outputs
-buy 1/4 unbalanced to rca cables and use them right now and perhaps use them with the balanced multitracker outputs too

I wouldn't want to spend additional money on bal/unbal converters, cables would be cheaper.

Re: unbalanced lineout to balanced xlr speaker in?
varignet #2775217 10/24/18 12:09 PM
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XLR_connector

This describes the XLR connector... note the graphic "three pin use in audio" issue with the pinout "hot" is described.

If you get the cable with the correct pinout, say RCA on one end, and XLR on the other and PIN 2 or 3 as hot sorted out, there should be no problem with equipment damage.... just try it. May be noise, may be volume loss, but no nuclear explosions.

Peace
Bruce in Philly


Peace
Bruce in Philly
Re: unbalanced lineout to balanced xlr speaker in?
varignet #2775240 10/24/18 02:18 PM
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Update:

I sent a support email to Roland on using XLR to RCA cables.... I am not using my XLR outs but would like to hook my headphone amp to them... the Grado headphone amp only takes RCA ins. Rolands tech support response to me today:
---------------
Roland Product Support (Roland Corporation)
Oct 24, 10:47 AM PDT
Hello Bruce,

We would normally recommend using the 1/4 inch outputs with an adapter if you want to connect to a RCA plug.

If you need to use the XLR output (which is a low impedance / balanced connection), you would need to first connect to direct boxes, which will convert the signal to a high impedance / unbalanced connection. These will normally have a 1/4 inch output, which you can then use with an adapter to connect to at RCA input (which is also normally high impedance / unbalanced).
------------

So I have $20 XLR female to RCA male cables on order..... I am going to give it a try. As noted above, there should be no explosions... if there is noise or any degradation in sound quality...... I won't use them.

Peace
Bruce in Philly


Peace
Bruce in Philly
Re: unbalanced lineout to balanced xlr speaker in?
Bruce In Philly #2775265 10/24/18 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Bruce In Philly
Update:

I sent a support email to Roland on using XLR to RCA cables.... I am not using my XLR outs but would like to hook my headphone amp to them... the Grado headphone amp only takes RCA ins. Rolands tech support response to me today:
---------------
Roland Product Support (Roland Corporation)
Oct 24, 10:47 AM PDT
Hello Bruce,

We would normally recommend using the 1/4 inch outputs with an adapter if you want to connect to a RCA plug.

If you need to use the XLR output (which is a low impedance / balanced connection), you would need to first connect to direct boxes, which will convert the signal to a high impedance / unbalanced connection. These will normally have a 1/4 inch output, which you can then use with an adapter to connect to at RCA input (which is also normally high impedance / unbalanced).
------------

So I have $20 XLR female to RCA male cables on order..... I am going to give it a try. As noted above, there should be no explosions... if there is noise or any degradation in sound quality...... I won't use them.

Peace
Bruce in Philly
Do you have a ‘direct box’ (balun), or do the cables have baluns built in?

Re: unbalanced lineout to balanced xlr speaker in?
varignet #2775281 10/24/18 06:09 PM
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Google is your friend:

Direct Box: https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/di-boxes/

Adapter cables: Amazon adapter cables XLR to RCA


A note from some someone who cares about audio quality: When you add a piece of electronics in the chain, you degrade the quality. That is why some of these devices are so darn expensive... they do less harm.

Peace
Bruce in Philly


Last edited by Bruce In Philly; 10/24/18 06:11 PM.

Peace
Bruce in Philly
Re: unbalanced lineout to balanced xlr speaker in?
varignet #2775384 10/25/18 09:04 AM
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Update:

http://whirlwindusa.com/support/tech-articles/high-and-low-impedance-signals/

Above piece describes the issues of high and low impedance equipment. Ignore the mat, just skip ahead to the meaty stuff. See my post two posts earlier for Roland's response to me wanting to connect my XLR outputs (which area low impedance / balanced connection) to my headphone amps RCA ins (which is high impedance / unbalanced)

From the piece above:
------
Low Feeds High
In order to preserve signal level and frequency response, it's important to drive equipment with a source signal that is lower in impedance than the destination equipment's input impedance. If the input impedance of a device is not significantly higher than the source impedance, the signal will be reduced or “loaded down” and its signal to noise ratio and frequency response will suffer.
------

So it would appear that you can go XLR to RCA but not RCA to XLR. As I noted above, nothing bad will happen if you do, but you may get noise and or signal loss (ie.. degradation in sound).

Another point..... when we are trying to intermix stage equipment (microphones, keyboards, guitars, etc) with what we call "regular" home audio equipment (RCA jacks), you should stick with the protocols of the various hookups. An easy way to determine is simple : unbalanced vs balanced. My RD 2000 keyboard gives both types of outs. You can mix and match using adapter cables that just "make it work" but you may get noise or degraded signal or you can buy a Direct Box.

To get an appreciation of complexity, look at a user manual to a mid-sized stage mixer..... these devices are Swiss Army knives and they take many types of inputs and converts to many types of outputs... they do this with electronics, not just wiring (they contain multiple Direct Boxes inside)

So..... as I noted above, I have an adapter cable on order and will give it a try.... I will post my results here. But....

Here is the real solution to all your problems: Buy a small, professional mixer for you home rig. Then you should be able to connect anything to anything... but remember, cheap products degrade sound more than expensive products. I am probably going to buy one of these units below..... I am back into recording, and playing along etc..... but at a minimum, check out the mixer's owner manual for an understanding of hooking anything up to anything... the manual has examples of various scenarios. I suspect I will buy their 802VLZ4 model.

https://mackie.com/products/vlz4-series
https://supportloudtech.netx.net/loud-public/#asset/9194/viewer/document


Peace
Bruce in Philly


Peace
Bruce in Philly
Re: unbalanced lineout to balanced xlr speaker in?
Bruce In Philly #2775417 10/25/18 11:26 AM
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This oversimplifies the situation. It ignores the complex impedance of the line and of the load.
Originally Posted by Bruce In Philly
From the piece above:
In order to preserve signal level and frequency response, it's important to drive equipment with a source signal that is lower in impedance than the destination equipment's input impedance. If the input impedance of a device is not significantly higher than the source impedance, the signal will be reduced or “loaded down” and its signal to noise ratio and frequency response will suffer.
With a low-reactance cable (low-C) and a purely resistive load, frequency response will not suffer.

Speakers are highly reactive, as are headphones. But amplifiers are not.

Re: unbalanced lineout to balanced xlr speaker in?
MacMacMac #2775458 10/25/18 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
This oversimplifies the situation. It ignores the complex impedance of the line and of the load.
Originally Posted by Bruce In Philly
From the piece above:
In order to preserve signal level and frequency response, it's important to drive equipment with a source signal that is lower in impedance than the destination equipment's input impedance. If the input impedance of a device is not significantly higher than the source impedance, the signal will be reduced or “loaded down” and its signal to noise ratio and frequency response will suffer.
With a low-reactance cable (low-C) and a purely resistive load, frequency response will not suffer.

Speakers are highly reactive, as are headphones. But amplifiers are not.
Yes, a wise statement. Using a phrase such as ‘XLR to RCA’ is OK, ignores the vast variety of RCA input types. They can be ‘antenna in’ or antenna out’, audio OR video line IN or OUT, or data lines or even just remote switches. The reality is that RCA is a HOT/GND device, the same as BNC, F, 1/8th inch and 1/4 inch mono jacks, and so on.

Each input has a unique impedance, which, in the case of transformers, is reflected back to the output. The primary impedance of any transformer is dependent on the impedance of the secondary load.

Re: unbalanced lineout to balanced xlr speaker in?
varignet #2775477 10/25/18 03:49 PM
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Hopefully, the author of the post can just stick a couple 1/4 inch cables in and and see how it sounds. Interesting discussion in the abstract, but easy to test his particular situation.


Yamaha CP4, Kawai CA93, Yamaha MODX8, EV ZXA1
Re: unbalanced lineout to balanced xlr speaker in?
varignet #2775494 10/25/18 05:15 PM
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Energy transfer is maximized when the source and load impedances are matched. It's sort of like using a golf club to hit a golf ball. If you were to substitute a much higher or lower impedance ball, say a ping pong ball or a bowling ball, it wouldn't go as far....


-- J.S.

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Re: unbalanced lineout to balanced xlr speaker in?
JohnSprung #2775498 10/25/18 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung

Energy transfer is maximized when the source and load impedances are matched. It's sort of like using a golf club to hit a golf ball. If you were to substitute a much higher or lower impedance ball, say a ping pong ball or a bowling ball, it wouldn't go as far....

Sorry to disappoint you, but this is not completely correct. Maximum power transfer occurs when the impedances are matched, which translates to 50% efiiciency - you produce a 100 watts - 50 goes to the load and 50 gets lost as heat. However, if you want to maximize efficiency, then it is best NOT to match the impedances.

Re: unbalanced lineout to balanced xlr speaker in?
varignet #2775500 10/25/18 05:28 PM
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A good example is a voltage amplifier, which means all pre-amps, ADCs, instrument amps. The best load impedance is infinity. Realistically, it varies from a few thousand megohms for an instrumentation amp down to 1500 ohms for an audio preamp.

My mics are about 100 ohms and I prefer 3000 ohms on my preamp. It gives a more airy sound. For a tight sound, I use 600 ohms on the preamp.

Power amplifiers can achieve very high effeciencies, but not maximum power transfer, by purposefully mismatching the impedances.

Last edited by prout; 10/25/18 05:31 PM.
Re: unbalanced lineout to balanced xlr speaker in?
varignet #2775516 10/25/18 06:35 PM
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Here is a graph of power transfer. The y axis shows the efficiency for a given Load/Source impedance ratio (the graph uses R, unfortunately, for impedance) and the x axis shows the load ratio. At a ratio of 1:1 (impedance matched) the efficiency is .5 of 50%. When the Load has 5 times the impedance of the Source, the power transfer is only about 56% of what it could have been at 1:1, but the efficiency is now over 80%.

[Linked Image]

Re: unbalanced lineout to balanced xlr speaker in?
varignet #2775758 10/26/18 07:41 PM
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Update: My cables came in and they work.... there is a slight tonal difference but I am being super critical. In short, they are staying in my system and are fine. No explosions.

So.... from my RD2000 keyboard

- Unbalanced out to my Adcom amp (RCA in) that powers my B&W speakers - the cable has a 1/4" male plug on the keyboard side, and RCA male on the amp side - Hosa HPR-005X2 5'
- Balanced XLR out to my Grado headphone amp (RCA in) - XLR Female to keyboard side, and RCA male on headphone amp side - JOLGOO Dual XLR Female to Dual RCA Male Cable

Both cables are short, 5' each. I hear no noise at all on any connection. I tested my connections using the same volume settings and there is no perceptible volume drop with either hookup. I suspect this all has to do with using such short cable lengths. Remember, when you buy an XLR on RCA cable, make sure your equipment uses PIN 2 as hot and the cable uses PIN2 as hot to the RCA center post or hole.

Now I don;t have to constantly switch cables between hookups and I don't need a mixer or direct box. Nice. (BTW, I suspect I will buy a mixer when I buy Pianoteq.... then I can do a more complex hookup and layer etc... but that is for another day).

Peace,
Bruce in Philly

Last edited by Bruce In Philly; 10/26/18 07:42 PM.

Peace
Bruce in Philly
Re: unbalanced lineout to balanced xlr speaker in?
varignet #2777465 11/02/18 10:36 AM
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Between balanced and unbalanced 1/4" jack to xlr cables, which would you recommend to connect 1/4" lineout unbalanced outputs to balanced xlr active studio monitors?

I was thinking of getting balanced cables with the intent in the future to purchase more equipment and slot in a mixer/multitracker with balanced output.
So for the time being I would be using balanced cables with unbalanced lineouts.

Anything I should be wary about? many thanks

Re: unbalanced lineout to balanced xlr speaker in?
varignet #2777492 11/02/18 12:46 PM
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In short, just buy the cables and try it. We can dump massive amounts of digital ink on the subject, but you should just buy the cables and try it. The voltages etc. are low, nothing should blow up. In my rig, going XLR out to unbalanced in, did not cause any shorts, noise, or incontinence.... they are always "live" and nothing bad happened. You noted you are going 9 feet or so. I know from experience, that unbalanced anything over more that 5 to 6 feet can be noisy. As a general rule, short cables are better than long ones. Butt.........

Just buy the cables, try it, and report back.

Peace
Bruce in Philly


Peace
Bruce in Philly
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