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balanced vs. un 4 short distances?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jondog, Aug 13, 2003.

  1. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    OK I know that balanced cables are better for long runs.

    Can anyone tell me exactly what I'm losing when I plug an unbalanced cable into a balanced jack? For short runs (like in a rack, or from the pedalboard to the rack), does it really matter, or should my rule of thumb be to go balanced whenever possible? Thanks!
  2. For short runs, unbalanced isn't a problem. But to put an unbalanced into a balanced XLR, be sure to use an impedance matching transformer. The tone is affected if the impedance isn't balanced.
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  4. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Thanks. I guess my question is about impedance matching. If I have gear w/ 1/4" balanced outs (my preamp, my xover) and I use a regular cable to connect to gear w/ unbalanced ins (like a pedal), is the impedance ok or do I need an adapter?
  5. 1/4 inch isn't balanced, it's a two-conductor plug, except for TRS plugs. 1/4 is always high-Z to the best of my knowledge.
  6. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Yes, I am talking about TRS balanced outputs.
  7. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    If you keep everything inside your rack chain unbalanced (1/4"), you shouldn't have a problem, although I THINK you get a little better "noise insurance" if you keep it all balanced. You will only have impedance mismatching problems if you use a 1/4" on one end plugging into a balanced XLR input on the other side, without using a matching transformer.

    Personally, I used balanced XLR's inside my rack going from the pre to the power amp (less than a 4" run), even if I don't notice a difference in sound, its nice insurance to have a clicking, locking connection.
  8. TRS isn't necesarily balanced. The tip can be a send and the ring a return in an effects patch configuration, or other possibilities exist.