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Balanced TRS == Stereo cable?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by millard, Dec 20, 2004.


  1. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    From what I've read, trying to find "balanced" cables, all you really need to do is buy "stereo" cables, right? It looks like the wiring is compatible and I've seen several references that said something like 'balanced TRS (stereo)' cabling.

    Here's a link with some decent diagrams: http://www.urbancom.us/connectordiagrams.htm

    Millard
     
  2. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    Yup.
     
  3. Droog

    Droog

    Aug 14, 2003
    PDX
    Thats the ticket.

    Tip=hot/positve
    Ring=cold/negatve
    Sleeve=ground (aka earth)

    Thats how balanced works.

    Stereo is wired the same but its unbalanced as left goes to tip and right goes to ring and they both share the ground (don't we all?).

    If you are solder savy you find that making your own interconnects might be cheaper. My advise if you are going to purchace, make sure you dont get the ones with molded ends, i.e.; Hosa and like. Get something that you can actually open the jack up.
     
  4. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    Ouch! Sounds like purchasing stereo cables wouldn't really work then (it isn't balanced which is the whole point). I do solder reasonably well, so perhaps it is time to just give in an head to Radio Shack for some parts.

    Thanks for your continued advice and support.

    Millard
     
  5. Droog

    Droog

    Aug 14, 2003
    PDX

    Whoa I did not mean to confuse you. Stereo cables are the same as balanced cable, it just matters what kind of signal you sending down them. Headphone or stereo signals are inherently unbalanced, but they use the same wiring configuration as a balanced TRS 1/4" cable. Your rack gear will have balanced jacks sending (and recieving) balanced line level signal. You dig? Its that gear that dictates if it unbalanced or not, not the cable, (as long are we are still talking TRS.)

    I use Canare TRS connectors, Neutrik is nice too but fatter in size. And almost always I will use Canare LE46S "Star-Quad" cable for balanced/mic cables. The GS-6 is great for unbalanced/instrument cables.

    I love talking about this kind of stuff, no prob :)
     
  6. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    I did get confused. Not sure if you are familiar with computer serial communication cables, but they come in two basic varieties which are completely incompatible. In one, PIN 2 is wire to PIN 2 and PIN 3 is wired to PIN 3. It is basically just an extension. Works exactly right when connecting the right sort of gear (computer to modem). In the other version, PIN 2 is wired to PIN 3 and vice versa. (PIN 2=transmit data, PIN 3=receive data, thi is the "null modem" cable used when connecting computer to computer.) This version of the cable also works perfectly well in the right situations. Years ago when computer networks were uncommon and modems ruled the world of "networking", I spent way too many hours debugging these sorts of problems.

    What I feared from you explanation was that the standard stereo cable is "cross wired", hot to cold, cold to hot rather than cold to cold, hot to hot. Of course, since I'm still trying to grok this, perhaps I shouldn't fear that? Though nearly every diagram I've seen only shows one end of the cable so I assume that both ends are wired identically.

    I assume, still, that what is desired if I were to solder my own is to connect hot to tip on both ends of the cable and cold to ring on both ends of the cable. I assume, still, that the equipment assumes this is what the cable will look like and will be sending/receiving appropriately.

    Bring me to my senses, please.

    Thanks (again and again)...Millard
     
  7. Droog

    Droog

    Aug 14, 2003
    PDX
    Rest assured no cross-wiring is needed. Nothing that I know of in the audio world uses any screwy wiring. Though like you, I have had to fix mis-wired cables and trouble shoot systems with bad cables. Tip to tip, ring to ring and sleeve to sleeve.

    Also you may run into gear with balanced outs on XLR. If you need to interface balanced XLR and balanced 1/4" its easy. Same signal and wiring just different connector.

    You grok correctly, waiting is full.
     
  8. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    Droog is correct. The only "gotcha" you'll run into with balanced connections is with XLR plugs, because not every manufacturer agrees which pin should be hot. But that's not an issue with TRS 1/4" cables.
     
  9. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    Oh, duh, I get it now. With two devices trading a stereo signal, it can't be balanced since two of the three wires are busy carrying data (left channel and right channel with one wire left for ground). Balanced involves balancing "fields" on two of the wires with data on only one of them. So a "stereo" patch cable used for a balanced mono connection would work just fine.

    So, any TRS wired cable is, by default, "balanced mono" or "unbalanced stereo". Would it work for someone to wire a TRS with two conductor wire so that it just acted like TS? Which means you almost have to open up the thing to see if it is wired correctly...

    You may have given me grokking credit a bit early. I love learning new stuff, thanks again, Droog.

    Millard
     
  10. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
  11. Droog

    Droog

    Aug 14, 2003
    PDX
    Sounds like you got the idea down. Yes, a balanced 1/4" jack/signal is by nature mono. It certainly shows that you do computer work. Its kind of misleading to think of it as "data" :), but for all intensive purposes you grok.

    The problem with your first example is that it is not sheilded. Yes it has three conductors(leads) but they are all individual lines. What you want is two conductors and one sheild. So yes a braided shield is the way to go. Braided is definately prefered over "banded" or whatever, where the sheild is basically just wrapped over the two lines. The canare is a great example, infact they are known for how strong and durable there shield is. Infact its kind of a bitch to cut back for soldering, but its worth it.

    I was wondering if I was going to throw you off with the quad configuration. Not that tuff at all, maybe a little more tedious at solder time though. If the picture was color you would see that 2 of the conductors are white and 2 are blue. Simply treat the dual wires as if they were one. I usually strip them back a bit, twist them together and drop some solder on them so they stay, then I start to solder to the jack. It is very important to keep white with white and blue with blue. Generally white is used as negative and blue as positive. LE-46S is great cable, you should be able to get it locally, try at a pro sound shop (not banjo center) they should have spools. Kinda hard to get cut lengths on the net, though some places sell pre made cables with canare cable and ends.
     
  12. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    I was guessing that was the answer with the quad cable.

    I did a bit of a hunt last night, going to GC, Fry's and a couple of RadioShacks. Found exactly one TRS-TRS cable that was way too long and only one TRS jack. There's a MARVAC down the road apiece that I'll try later today, and a couple of good pro audio shops in the area after that. Now that I think of it, I bet I could get the Humfrees at a pro audio shop -- hadn't thought of that.

    Though time I spend making cables is time I don't get to spend playing bass, so there's a little part of me that keeps saying "buy the 10-pack of TRS patch cables at MF and practice more". :)

    Thanks...Millard
     
  13. Droog

    Droog

    Aug 14, 2003
    PDX
    If you don't want to make them, and i can't blame you, check out your pro audio shops first. They should have plenty of TRS cables for you. Just stay away from that molded end crap and get a braided shield if you can. If they look at you funny (cuz they don't understand) when you mention braided shield, go somewhere else. Good luck. See you around the forums.