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Bass XLR jack?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by fastplant, Mar 17, 2003.

  1. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
    This may be a dumb question (as I'm a dumb guy), but has anyone ever tried to replace their 1/4" jack with an XLR or anything like that? I've always thought that a bass would sound way better if it were going through something better than a 1/4" jack.
  2. I've never replaced a 1/4" jack with an XLR but my Wal has both as standard equipment. I think that you can get Alembics with an XLR out as well. I only use the XLR for recording and it works well. In order for it to get a signal I need to be using the 1/4" plug at the same time though.
  3. fclefgeoff

    fclefgeoff Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    I have seen basses with an XLR jack on them (I can't think of any specifically, though) and I just assumed having that balanced signal meant you didn't need a DI when going into a board. I can't say I have ever seen a bass amp with an XLR input though.
  4. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Well, you can't just replace your 1/4" jack with an XLR and expect it to provide a low impedance balanced output.

    You would need to find an onboard preamp that would provide this type of output that would be compatible with an XLR type of connector.

    Not sure off the top of my head of any companies that sell such a preamp. Would have to check around.

    And yes, the other problem you would then find would be finding a bass amp or pre-amp that has an XLR low impedance balanced input.


  5. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    You could but it would still only have 2 wires and therefore an unbalanced signal - same as it did with the 1/4" jack. So there's no benefit.

    Besides, balanced VS unbalanced only becomes an issue if you're using a really, really long lead. In which case you'de be standing too far away from your amp to hear the difference anyway.
  6. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    You could coil the cord.

  7. Sselkcid


    Nov 23, 2004
    Coil the cord!!

    BWAD, you are a dickless wonder!
    Thank you for all that you do!
  8. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
    Alembic Series basses have a 5 pin cannon jack...it routes two signals (neck pup and bridge pup) as well as providing the 18 volts necessary to power the bass when using the Alembic power supply/routing box.


  9. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    You could also just string it around the room from the lighting fixtures and hang christmas lights from it... :D

    A little background on XLR signals is that they take the signal and split to 2 feeds. One of the feeds is inverted and both the inverted feed and the normal ones are sent through the cable on different wires (hence the 3 connectors instead of the 1/4's 2, which is the only difference in the cables whatsoever, 3 conductors instead of 2, cable quality being considered equal). Now at the other end, the next piece of equipment (say the mixer or a preamp with XLR inputs) takes the 2 separate signals and inverts the one that was already inverted, which puts it back the way it was in the first place, and then puts the 2 signals back together. Now the basic theory is that if you take a signal and invert it (once) and add it back to itself you will cancel it out (no sound). Since one of the signals was already inverted before being sent through the cable, the signal that gets to the other side is already reversed, except for any interference or noise picked up on the way. And since it was picked up in the cable run it is not inverted, so when the signal is inverted and fed back into into itself the noise or interference which happened in the cable run is eliminated. So there is nothing magical about the XLR cable, the magic happens on either side of the cable. The exact same process could be done by using a stereo 1/4 cable, but why re-invent the wheel when XLR already exists.