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balanced and unbalanced cables ?

Discussion in 'Accessories & Connections' started by Klusenwiig, Dec 12, 2004.

  1. Klusenwiig

    Klusenwiig Guest

    According to Sound on Sound magazine, it's quite customary for "high end" gear to have UNbalanced outputs. ???

    I don't know if that is true, but I recently got a nice Millennia NSEQ-2 and it has balanced inputs and unbalanced outputs.

    So, should I use balanced cables in, and unbalanced cables out ?

    What happens if I use balanced cabels in and out ? that's what i have been doing, and it seems peachy creamy to me...

    The Eq is in a signal chain where the out signal from the eq goes into a compressor with balanced inputs....

  2. Groff

    Groff Active Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    Generally RCA phono jacks are unbalanced (-10 dBv = 0 VU = 1.23 volts = hifi reference) levels and XLRs are balanced (+4). But not always & all unbalanced lines are (-10) or all XLRs are (+4) or should be balanced. Depend of manufacturers. :?

    Unbalanced means there is 2 wires (signal and ground) and balanced is 3 wires (signal+, signal-, ground) :cool:

    If there is no overs (means +4 out feeds -10 in), or no signal loses (thin soun, differences in volumen per side = wrong wiring, opposite phase) and no ground noise it seems to be OK. :D

    Check manuals & tech specs (all your gear) for the proper wiring and connections. :roll:
  3. johnwy

    johnwy Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    Smithtown, NY
    Home Page:

    'nuff saif

    I wouldn't change a thing

    Also, from what I have read (in the product manual) is that the NSEQ-2 inputs are unbalanced and having balanced inputs are an option.
  4. Klusenwiig

    Klusenwiig Guest

    Thanx for the input !

    I run a balanced signal on balanced XLR cables into the Millennia eq and balanced xlr cables from the outputs of the eq and into an Apogee Mini ME converter.

    While it sounds fine, I am a little bit sceptical.

    Firstly, I am not too familiar with balanced \ unbalanced...
    Are all balanced cabels +4 and all unbalanced cables -10 ??

    Wouldn't it then be a problem to run a +4 signal into a -10 unit ?

    And the Apogee is expecting a balanced signal from a balanced cable , but gets an unbalabced signal ?

    I read somwhere on this forum that someone had a problem running a Millennia eq into an Apogee unit...but solved the problem...(he didn't say how he solved it...and what the problem was....)

    Or do the cables balance the signal along the way ??? :? :?

    Basically, can I break anything with my current signal flow ?? :wink:
    damage the gear, sort of ??

    Shoule I theoretically loose something along the way ? or introduce noise ?

    :? :?

    cheers !
  5. johnwy

    johnwy Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    Smithtown, NY
    Home Page:

    No. Cable is just, well, a wire medium for your electrical audio signal to get from one piece of gear to the other. As Groff said unbalanced cable (ie your guitar cable) is usually a single conductor or 2 wire cable (signal and ground) and balanced cable (ie. your mic cable) usually are dual conductor or 3 wire cable (signal +, signal -, and ground). +4 and -10 denote the voltage reference level in terms of Vrms. +4 dBv (or dBu) is the standard pro audio voltage level equal to 1.23 Vrms. -10 dBV is standard for consumer (and some pro gear) use equal to .316 Vrms. Its almost a given that a piece of gear with just rca connectors on the back may be considered consumer gear or a -10 device. There are some instances where you may use balanced cable to go between a balanced unit to an unbalanced unit, and unbalanced cable to go from a balanced (to ground) output to an unbalanced input.

    Sure can, and I bet it will not sound to good. However it can be done, if done correctly.

    In a word, yes.

    For instance some high-end consoles inserts send and return unbalanced signals, but we use many combinations of balanced/unbalanced gear all the time.

    Didn't see it, but then again I didn't look very hard. Maybe someone else has seen it.

    Absolutely not. Balancing is achieved by either transformers or differentially balanced amplifiers.

    I would say that you should not have any problems with your current signal flow. :cool:

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