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Difference between XLR interconnect and AES EBU

Discussion in 'Accessories / Connections' started by ptfigg, Oct 11, 2005.

  1. ptfigg

    ptfigg Active Member

    What is the difference between these 2 cables, and can I use a standard XLR interconnect -- out from an inrerface AES/BU -- to digital [AES/BU] in on a DAT recorder?


  2. tnjazz

    tnjazz Active Member

    AES/EBU is digital
    XLR is analog
    Although the interconnect is the same.

    AES/EBU cable is 110 ohm balanced.
    XLR is typically 66-75ohm cable (isn't it?)

    BUT you could use a regular XLR as an AES/EBU cable (just like you could use a regular old RCA cable as a coax S/PDIF cable), just know it would be more susceptible to noise and interference.

    audiokid likes this.
  3. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    A lot of audiophile engineers will use digital cable instead of standard mic cable as they prefer the sound.... I've always taken an approach that cables really don't have a sound, however.

    AES on an XLR connector actually had 110 ohms chosen as the impedance because that is pretty close to the standard impedance of a standard mic cable. The "digital" cables perhaps have a touch higher quality control when it comes to that because of the fact that digital audio is a bit more "finicky" than analog audio for transmission- rather there is more that can mess up a digital signal in transmission than an analog signal.

    As far as the construction of an AES cable versus a microphone cable goes, they are basically identical.

    To connect to your DAT machine, I'd just make sure that the cable is under about 15 feet long or so if it is a microphone cable. I've sent further distances, but at longer distances, you'll run a higher chance of having problems.

    audiokid likes this.
  4. ptfigg

    ptfigg Active Member

    Thanks Guy's.

  5. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Cables don't have their own sound!?!?! That is heresy! Possibly even himesy!! You mean a 500 dollar 3 foot audio cable is no better than a 19 dollar audio cable??? I can see snake-oil sales pe---- I mean, fancy cable makers all over the world holding "going out of business" sales soon, just as a result of your ill-considered email!!!

    For shame! You cad! How dare you! Etc., etc., etc.

    Never fails to amaze me what people swallow whole,

    Teddy G.
  6. tedcrop

    tedcrop Guest

    Screw Monster CAble
  7. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    cummon folks... If you can't say something constructive, don't say it at all...

    My point in my first post was not so much about sound, but yes Digital cables will work for mics and in some cases, there are a lot of engineers that prefer to use them.

  8. ptfigg

    ptfigg Active Member

    Just a quick update:

    I used a 5 ft. Monster Studio-link 400 xlr cable to send the AES/BU output from my interface [Motu 896HD] to a Panasonic SV 3800 DAT recorder.

    The recordings are pristine. I can't imagine them sounding any better [if an AES/BU cable was used].

  9. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    Hmm. To put it very simple.

    Digital information on a cable either comes around unchanged or changed. That is sort of the digital part of things. A 0 either becomes a 0 or a 1. There are sort of nothing else to choose from (I am simplifying a bit here, there is also timing).

    An analog signal on a cable is always changed some. It never comes out exactly the same on the other end.

    Now if you send digital information over a cable it is actually analog there. There are no digital cables as such, they are all analog. So what you are doing is introducing a bit of analog change to the signal. This change can be described as an error probability. You might say that if I send one million bits over a cable, about 5 of them will be changed. All digital systems has some kind of "tolerance" to this kind of errors. It might be just chugging along happily, detecting the error or actually correcting the error.

    If you use the "wrong" cable for transmitting digital information, the probability of error might increase. How much depends on a lot of factors. The AES/EBU cable system is carefully designed to allow you to run very long cable runs without getting very much errors, 100m (300 feet) or more. If you use the "right" cable it will still have very low error probability. Use a long cable of the "wrong" type and the error probability will be very high.

    Now, if you use a very short cable, say a few meters, you will probably get away with just about any cable. The problem is that your system probably has no way for you to check. There probably is no "error meter" in the system, only thing left for you is to listen. So if it sounds good, it is good, but it might still have quite a few errors.

    My suggestion is to spend the extra few bucks on getting the "right" kind of cable. Some day it might make a difference.

    Interesting web page

  10. hociman

    hociman Active Member


    Cables that are marketed as AES/EBU cables often have two (2) characteristics that cables marketed as microphone cables do not.

    1. Lower capacitance.
    2. Gold plated XLR connectors.

    Personally, I buy Canare AES/EBU cable when I need to, but I have not used Monster, so I cannot comment on its worthiness (or lack thereof).

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