Ext cab, XLR or speaker cable

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by GManfromOz, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. GManfromOz


    Jul 27, 2016
    Rumble 500 combo, getting an external cab. Should I use the XLR or a speaker cable? What's the difference?
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    Speaker cable. XLR cables are for microphones and other non-amplified signals.
    Rip Van Dan likes this.
  3. GManfromOz


    Jul 27, 2016
    Aha! The line out XLR is an unamplified signal I guess. I'm just on the way to the shop to get a speaker cable and I don't want to end up with yet another piece of kit that I didn't really need.
  4. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    Yep, hopefully your amp has Speakons which is the best way to go. If not, you'll have to use a 1/4" speaker cable, and make sure you get a SPEAKER cable and not an instrument cable (or with Speakons there's no way to get them confused.)

    The XLR out is for connecting a preamp signal to a mixer or front of house or something like that (also called DI).
    GManfromOz likes this.
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Make sure you get a 1/4" (or however many mm) SPEAKER cable and not a SIGNAL cable. Be specific when you ask. They are two completely different cables although they look very similar. You can possibly damage the amp if you try to run a speaker with a signal cable. At the very least you will work the amp harder than need be.
    dheafey and Old Garage-Bander like this.
  6. ALWAYS make sure that any extension cab you hook up to this amp is 8 Ohms. If you add a 4 Ohm cab you will let out the amp's magic smoke. :dead:
    Roxbororob and Old Garage-Bander like this.
  7. GManfromOz


    Jul 27, 2016
    Mmmmmmm, magic.
  8. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  9. Actually XLR has been used for speaker connections by some manufacturers. I had a Trace Elliot amp that has it..
    But I don't think so in this case.
  10. When all else fails, read the manual.
  11. The differences are quite large.

    Speaker cable is a pair of heavy conducting wires. XLR signal cable is a shield with a pair of little wires inside.

    Then there is 1/4 signal cable and guitar cable that varies but never makes a good speaker cable.
    GManfromOz likes this.
  12. Vox used XLR for speakers back in the sixties, maybe seventies.
    But they weren't pushing but 100 watts at the most.
    The connector was not wired as a standard XLR is today, so a normal mic cable would not have worked.
    Plus they had to use larger conductors than normally found in a common XLR mic cable.

    Fast forward a few decades and now we are trying to cram half a kilowatt into a cigar box.
    Panel real estate and cost become factors for manufacturers.
    That's why we see some of these amps still using 1/4" jacks.
    Even the good 1/4 inch jacks are a lot cheaper than XLR, and they take up less real estate.
    Roxbororob and Lvjoebass like this.
  13. edencab


    Aug 14, 2013
    Toronto, On
    and make sure you read the package and don't just take what some (questionable) employee hands you and says..." here, you're good to go"

    hopefully and generally in decent music stores the 2 types of cable are located in fairly separate areas/departments, so that helps
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
    GManfromOz and Old Garage-Bander like this.
  14. The failure mode would be due to heating of the small conductors in an instrument cable when trying to pump the amount of current through them associated with high powered amps. The insulation could melt, shorting the cable. That puts a dead short right across you speaker output. Hopefully a proper amp will shut down to protect itself, but you wouldn't want to risk it.

    If you are not sure which type of cable you have, don't use it for speaker hookups.
  15. Aloe


    Apr 10, 2016
    XLR is still used as speaker cables with active speakers. Look at A&H, Presonus, Yamaha, whatever, you will find that mixer boards likely will have XLR outputs for speakers and studio monitors also happen to have a XLR input as well. But a powered mixer will have TRS or speakon outs, not the XLRs. GK powered cabs also have XLR input.

    As for Rumble – I believe it's extension cab jack is speaker 1/4" jack. It has the XLR for DI out as well, I don't know if it can be used with an active cab with a XLR input.
  16. Rune Bivrin

    Rune Bivrin Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    Huddinge, Sweden
    In which case it is not a speaker cable, but rather a signal cable.
  17. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    Back in the dark ages maybe! :D
    smogg likes this.
  18. Aloe


    Apr 10, 2016
    I just googled and found out that powered XLR speaker cables for passive speakers also exist. :)

    I agree that with active speakers either XLR or TRS are in fact signal cables (i.e. are transmitting low power) though.
  19. J-Bassomatic


    Mar 30, 2017
    Canton OH
    This is correct, the 500c has a 1/4 line out. If the cabinet has the same you are good to go. When I purchased the cable for my 2nd 210 the music store I noticed they had 1/4 to Speakon if necessary.
  20. As is the case for any audio interface, the output levels from the amp on the XLR would have to be compatible with the input levels of the powered speaker.