Balanced vs. unbalanced?

Discussion in 'Accessories / Connections' started by Mr. Tangent, Dec 2, 2003.

  1. Mr. Tangent

    Mr. Tangent Guest

    My question(s):

    1) Should I opt to buy all balanced cables or just use balanced cables with gear that can make use of it?

    2) Using balanced cables with gear that doesn't use it necessarily... any potential problems? (i.e. using a TRS/balanced cable with a synthesizer and patchbay)

    3) Using fairly high quality (Pro Co Excalibur) cables with short cable runs (20' or so)... would the benefits of balanced cables be necessary?

    4) A good balanced cable recommendation?

    5) What type of gear uses balanced cables generally speaking?

    My set up:

    Yamaha VL1
    Korg Z1
    Kawai K5000S

    -Hybrid synth/soundcard-
    Korg Oasys

    -Soundcard/recording interface-
    Digidesign Digi 001 (w/Pro Tools)

    Midiman Midisport 8X8 USB midi interface
    Shure SM58 microphone

    I understand the benefits of TRS/balanced cables in that it helps keep out unwanted interference but I'm still somewhat new to this, thus my questions. This also applies to my question regarding patchbays, since I'm leaning toward buying a balanced patchbay.

    Thank you very much in advance.
  2. musicalhair

    musicalhair Guest

    This may seem obvious but it isn't the balanced cable that "helps keep out unwanted interference" but the balanced signal that is sent down the cable from the source.

    I'd think you should use the TRS cables where ever you have the need, which I don't think would be the synths, there I think you should use unbalanced Tip/Sleeve instrument cable. The SM58 will need xlr cable and you'll need to send that to a pre amp and that ought to accept xlr cables, and in your set up I guess would be the digi 001.

    I'm not familiar with any of your gear, (I'm barely aquainted with my own :confused: ) but maybe in your situation a line mixer would be more useful to you than a patchbay. I used an old roland 24 channel line mixer which all my synths were run into, and afew effects were set up to it. It made for a conveinient way to record my synths, it also was my conduit to my monitors, so my cassette deck, CD player, computer and VS-1680 all went through the mixer on their way to the monitors.

    The best thing I did was make a big list of my gear with sound sources in a column on the left and possible destinations off to the right-- how far right depended on how far down the chain they'd be and how much they watched FOX news. After afew revisions and planning it helped me lay out and connect my gear. I really need to do that again actually.
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