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Mixing Unbalanced Gear w/ Balanced Cabling???

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by jokerjkny, Nov 15, 2005.

  1. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    hey all,

    i have a pretty good understanding of "un" and balanced cabling.

    BUT, i was wondering, is it ok to use a balanced 1/4" cable connecting two unbalanced pieces of gear?

    i.e. can i connect the output of a "tape send" output from a mixer to my digital audio interface's unbalanced input?
  2. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    Shouldn't be a problem. The R of a TRS connector just shorts to ground, or hangs in the air doing nothing. The unbalanced device doesn't notice that it's missing anything, and the balanced device doesn't care.
  3. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Over a short run it shouldn't be a problem. My only problem with it is that unbalanced cables can sound thin in high impedance circuits. That is an observation that I have made when experimenting with quad conductor mic cable as high-Z interconnect cable. It didn't hold up against a cable like Canare GS-6 that is designed for high-Z work.

    I gotta ask this, but which digital audio interface has an unbalanced input? Most/all that I have used have balanced inputs that are compatible with unbal 1/4" TS plugs.

    Also, outside of shorting out your phantom power supply if it were to be powered up, there isn't anything to lose by trying it and listening to the results.