balanced adapters

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by nihility0000, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. nihility0000

    nihility0000 Guest

    ok i am tracking some acoustic drums and have all of my pre's taken by the overheads, kick and top and bottom snare. i run with a motu 2408 mkIII and it has a built in mixer (great feature) and i decided to use it. i am using the sennheiser e604's for my toms. i dont have alot of money to spend on new cables so i bought some adapters to convert my xlr to a unbalanced 1/4 to fit my motu. i have heard alot of talk from others that balanced cables on mics reduce noise, but i could not find any xlr to trs connectors. does this really make that much of a difference?
  2. HansAm

    HansAm Active Member

    Jun 4, 2005
    HM... The MOTU does'nt have MIC pres.. now does it?
  3. Spy

    Spy Guest

    Correct, the original poster will need to invest in some extra mic pres or become more inventive with the gear he already has.
  4. nihility0000

    nihility0000 Guest

    ok, i understand that my method for tracking these drums was not completely correct, but all recording atrocities aside.
    do balanced cables make that much difference?

    (by the way the toms actually sounded pretty good)
  5. HansAm

    HansAm Active Member

    Jun 4, 2005
    Balanced cables are the correct method...
    But if your way sounds cool, then thats the right way to.
    The goal is to get it to sound good, cool, wicked! :D
  6. nihility0000

    nihility0000 Guest

    the all knowing salesman at my local radioshack stated that xlr to trs do not in fact exsist.
  7. HansAm

    HansAm Active Member

    Jun 4, 2005
    Funny.. Cause thats not a problem at all. Making a XLR plug 3 pin go into a TRS, stereo jack plug. can actually be quite common...

  8. First Point
    Never trust what anybody at Radio Shack says. Buy stuff there, especially small, cheap electronic components (but never PA or recording equipment), but never trust what the waterhead behind the counter says. XLR-to-TRS cables are common and often used. But not in your case.

    Second Point
    If everybody in the world doesn't just STOP asking if balanced cables really make a difference I'm going to climb a tower with a sniper rifle and just start taking people out randomly. Yes it makes a ^#$%ing difference. If it didn't, companies wouldn't spend the extra time and money to build $*^t that way. Do a Google search and learn what "balanced" means for crying out loud. Still haven't solved your problem though.

    Third Point
    Had you read Shotgun's Truisms vol. III (even the paperback version) you would have read this: Don't pay attention to what the hole looks like, pay attention to what comes out of it. That probably fits here. You have no idea about signal level do you? Honestly, how do people ever push the red button the first time without knowing some of this stuff? You're trying to plug a dynamic mic into a line level input. That you got any signal out of it at all owes a lot to the fact that it's a dynamic mic (rather than a condensor) and the fact that it's in front of a high-SPL source. The fact that you think it sounds "pretty good" probably indicates that your gain structure is for $*^t with your other mics and the reduction in level the line input affected let you hear the difference.

    Buy a fuckin preamp or two, seriously. Even if you buy a cheap little Behringer mixer you can get 4 in and 4 out for about the price you'd pay making 4 XLR-to-TRS cables.

    Love Always,
  9. nihility0000

    nihility0000 Guest

    ok in response to point one..... it was a joke. i dont trust anyone at radio shack. i only went to radio shack because it was closer than the nearest music store.
    second point...... i am sorry that you are tired of everyone asking the pro and cons of balanced cables. if it makes you so upset then dont reply.
    i am rather new to recording so give me a break. everybody has to start somewhere. at least i am trying to learn.

    third point...... i do have extra pres laying around. the drums were just me playing around, not serious tracking. i loaned out my onyx board to someone and had to use what i had available to me. let me reiterate, this was not serious tracking, just me haveing some fun experimenting.

    it sounds like you know what you are talking about and that you are more experienced than i am. i accept this fact, but that does not give you the right to down talk me. once again i am learning. so give me a break.
  10. The painfulness of that process relates directly to how successful it is. You're welcome.

  11. covenant66

    covenant66 Guest

    Someone needs to shoot the shotgun (and definately any book that contains incomplete statements such as the above stated).

    Balanced cables matter SOMETIMES, but not always, and not really at all if you're running cable under 20 feet, or if the sources aren't balanced.

    I guess if he had've followed his own advice and googled the subject instead of falling prey to the marketing hype he would have found the following articles, all from reputable, professional sources:


    With balanced cables, you can travel longer distances without picking up hum or noise...

    Note: It is the signal that is unbalanced or not. Using a balanced cable does not make an unbalanced signal balanced. However, if you use an unbalanced cable on balanced signal, the signal will become unbalanced. Keep in mind that both the source and destination gear must both be balanced and you must use balanced cables to maintain the balanced connection.

    There is another concurrance at: ""
  12. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    Dear Inability: Shotgun can sure be cruel, eh? He's also CORRECT in that the inputs (balanced, unbalanced, or panned hard to the right) on the MOTU are friggin' line level, not mic level. And if you're "just playing around", do it someplace else and stop wasting our time.
    Those of you who can't see the forest for the trees and are debating the merits of balanced vs. unbalanced....first things first. How DID you get to hit the big red button?
  13. Not only did I already know that, but if you search this very forum long enough you can find several posts in the recent past where I'm espousing that very idea. Furthermore, I know, even without reading your little links, that a signal is gonna be UNBALANCED as soon as it gets past whatever input transformer (if any) a piece of gear has. However, I would consider being able to run cables without picking up noise important. If you don't, that's fine. I purposely glossed over the balanced/unbalanced BS because, as my good friend moonbaby correctly reiterates, the important concept here is SIGNAL LEVEL not BALANCED/UNBALANCED.

  14. nihility0000

    nihility0000 Guest

    i asked one simple question and yet some how i get slamed with a barrage of insults of what little knowledge i have. i do understand that the inputs to the motu are line level. i do understand how balanced cables work. i do understand that this one method of tracking the toms was completely wrong. all that i asked was a simple question, one of which the answer could be summerized into two words: yes or no. all i wanted to know is, can you actually hear the noise useing a xlr to ts adapter. because i could not.

    recording is an art and as an art it can be compared to painting. you can go to all of these great schools and read lots of books to teach you how to hold the brush, what the paints are made of, and color hues. knowing all of these things DOES NOT make you a good painter. how do you get to be a great painter? by experimenting. that is all i was doing. experimenting to futher increase my ability to record better. know i understand that you do have to have some sort of knowledge beforehand and that is why i joined this forum and up till this point it has been great. but getting slamed for experimenting (especialy when its not even a main part of the post) is rediculous. its like teaching your child to walk but everytime he falls you hit him in the gut. probably not the best way of teaching.
    please do not get me wrong, i thank all who gave advice but jesus christ do you have to deliver it so harshly?

  15. Listen you crybaby, you ain't SEEN harsh. And I didn't even get CLOSE to insulting you. All I said is that you don't understand signal level (which you don't) and that I was amazed that there are so many little whippersnappers in the world today buying all this expensive gear (e.g., Onyx mixers) who don't understand the very basics of signal flow and what the difference between what comes out of a mic is versus what comes out of a preamp.

    And frankly, my way of teaching ain't the best? Ya get what ya pay for pal. If you ain't diggin your education, switch schools.

    And I don't care if you call it "experimenting" or not, plugging a mic into a line input is daft. You can make up all the romantic stories about skilled, talented, "artistic" engineers tripping over the next great technique while being "wacky" with the gear you want, but buddy...that ain't what you're doin.

    I'll leave you with another of Shotgun's Truisms. From Vol. II p. 86:

    The truth only hurts if it's supposed to.

    Love ya,
  16. nihility0000

    nihility0000 Guest

    for the record, i am not a cry baby as you so delicately put it. i just felt as if i was being attacked and insulted. just trying to defend my meger knowledge. look you are right, i dont completely understand signal level although i know enough to get around..... true it was a pretty dumbass move on my part to plug a balanced mic into a line level input. i know at least that much. but i had never done so. what is the hurt in trying it out? experimentation. the sound i got was very subpar, i screwed up and learned from it. could you ask for anything more?
    just know that i am not completely with out a clue.
    as far as the art statement. i said this because it seems.... that is seems.... that alot of you just spit out alot of technical BS and dont really hang too heavily on the art side. i could be wrong.... god i hope im wrong.
    i didnt mean to piss you off as it looks like i have done.
    and honestly i should have just stoped posting a long time ago, because fighting online is like participating in a special olympics event. even if you win youre still retarded.
    oh and by the way i bought the onyx board only after researching it fully. i bought it for the pres and the eq, not because i thought it looked cool.

    i have rather enjoyed this thread. quite amusing on both parts.
  17. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    nihility0000, believe me, you haven't really pissed shotgun off... You haven't ever heard of "The $*^t Brigade" have you?

    ShotGun and quite a few other very respected recordists, mixers and engineers, who have been doing this professionally for quite awhile, keep seeing people getting into this industry making sooooo many gafaw's because they don't RTFM or take an hour or two to do minmal research to learn the basics. After awhile, the whole whiney thing get's on your nerves... from the "Pro's" perspective, that you dish out a little reality.

    If you think that what a little bit of a slam was "harsh"... take a trip over to Marsh

  18. AltheGatman

    AltheGatman Active Member

    Jan 14, 2006
    nihility0000 - all I can say is that you didn't deserve the barrage you got,

    I'm with Hansam on the fact that it worked, so no worries.

    Admittedly, yes it is normally a no no putting a mic into a line level input. a Line level input is usually designed to take around a 75 ohm signal, rather than the 150-600 ohm mic impedance.The other big difference tends to be in signal level. (1v RMS or thereabouts for linelevel, in the millivolt range for a mic usually).

    BUT........The thing going for you though is that Toms tend to be a pretty hot signal, and in a normal situation, the mic pre would probably be padded, and the gain pretty low down, getting strangely close to a line level signal......... sure it will be a bit quiet, and you'll loose a bit of top end, but it will work.

    Yea, if you stick to the rules, don't do it. but I prefer to know the theory behind the rules, and use that knowledge to solve the problem in front of me.
    I often find myself in situations live where there is only 2 options, use a line in for a mic, or don't mic it. It's easier to plug it up, have it there if I need it, and can turn it off if it doesn't work, rather than to do the proper thing and not have tom's or whatever in the mix. yea, it's not ideal, but it at least works

    It's called ingenuity, working with what you have in front of you to get the job done.
    I admire you for doing that.

    (btw, not a major but by using balanced cables, you would have got 3dB more signal.)

    I am sure I'll get shot for this post.

    Al :cool:
  19. nihility0000

    nihility0000 Guest

    althegatman, thankyou for being open to my screw ups. i have learned alot from this whole thing. it forced me to do some research and get deeper into what i didnt know.
    maybe next time i will be smart and not post lots of details on my post, especially if it does not directly relate to the topic at hand.
  20. stickers

    stickers Active Member

    Jan 31, 2005
    Lowell MA
    Home Page:
    TheRealShotGun has always had a problem with being over critical and insensitive when giving advice.

    I hope he works alone.

    Your friend always and forever,


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