XLR or 1/4" mono jack?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Jontom, May 24, 2005.

  1. Jontom


    Mar 11, 2002
    New York
    The last pedal on my floorboard is a Sansamp BDDI(with both outs), Which is a better quality connection? My preamp has both ins...
  2. The XLR will be a balanced output, which can be run back to the PA mixer without picking up hum, video buzz, etc. It may also be pre-eq. The mono jack is only OK for short (3-5 m?) connections to your local amp.
    Playing in a venue with a hearing aid loop, I would use the balanced connection, because if you don't, your amp can pick up the field from the loop. YMMV
  3. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    On the sansamp, the XLR output is post preamp so any EQ-ing and overdrive effect is carried through. It also has two 1/4", jack oututs, one of which is effected. Don't use the one marked "parallel output" for recording because this one isn't effected.

    For short runs, the 1/4" should be OK. But if you pick up any hum or buzzes, or if you're quite a distance away from the recorder, use the XLR.
  4. Jontom


    Mar 11, 2002
    New York
    O.K. Let me whittle it down a little. My floorboard is about ten feet to my amp. My preamp has its own XLR D.I.(which I send a fully effected signal to the house through). From my floor board(on the floor) to my preamp(in my rack), which is going to deliver the cleanest/best signal? If you're stranded on a deserted island(five feet off of the mainland) what cable do you choose to send your S.O.S. through?!
  5. IMO you will not hear any difference between the two for a short cable run. Jack leads are cheap, however, XLRs are stronger, and will lock in, which is one less connection to worry about when someone trips over your lead. Also, as I mentioned earlier, if you are anywhere near an induction loop, and you have kit on the floor (close to where they run the cables?) balanced is better.
  6. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    One thing you might want to look out for, is an XLR "ground lift" switch on one or both pieces or equipment. These can be really helpful, especially when the two pieces of equipment are plugged into different wall outlets (perhaps on different sides of the room, something like that).

    That being said, an XLR is "generally" considered to be a better connection than a single-ended 1/4" plug. With a 1/4"-er, you have no choice, in other words, you have to live with whatever hum is coming through your equipment.

    With an XLR, you have options. If there's no ground lift switch, you can easily cut pin 1 on one or the end of your cable (depending on which ground works better), and that'll usually take care of the hum problem.
  7. Jontom


    Mar 11, 2002
    New York
    Thats a good reason! Now if I only had an xlr from my bass to the front of my pedal board...
  8. DavC

    DavC Supporting Member

    May 17, 2005
    Trinity, FL
    i would use XLR whenever possible .... they help cancel out noise ... a cleaner signal is a better signal ...