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View Full Version : Balanced & Unbalanced Signal Cables



kipperj
04-22-2012, 05:48 PM
Hey DJF, just looking for some advice concerning signal cables. From what I understand, using 1/4" cables lead to more noise than balanced XLR cables. I would like to use all balanced cables, but most of my signal processors and even my crossover don't take XLR. I see that they make balances 1/4" cables, but will they work with my equipment? Will they work as well as XLR? Also, does anyone use a noise gate to eliminate buzz? Thanks.

STLRiverCity
04-22-2012, 06:16 PM
Balanced 1/4" carry the same signal as XLR, just make sure you use the correct cables. Not all equipment has balanced XLR. You will need to read the manual for your equipment to make sure the connections are balanced. They do make 1/4" to XLR balanced cables to connect equipment together.

You could use a gate to limit noise when there is no other signal, but as soon as a signal goes over the threshold you will hear the noise along with the signal. If everything is connected properly you won't get my noise to worry about.

kipperj
04-22-2012, 06:22 PM
That's exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!

jayhwk
04-22-2012, 06:23 PM
What equipment are you using?

Properly addressing the sources noise rather than using a gate will sound much better and probably be cheaper.

kipperj
04-22-2012, 06:34 PM
I went like this: Macbook Pro --> Peavey PV14 Mixer --> BBE Maximizer --> Behringer Ultragraph EQ -- >> 2 Peavey PV900 Amplifiers (one for 2 PV118 subs, one for 2 PV115 tops). I took out the EQ and replaced it with a DOD Crossover. I had XLRs running from the EQ to the amps, but the DOD only had 1/4" outs. I'm also going to be adding a Peavey IPR 3000 to power my tops and using my two old Peaveys to power my subs. I haven't heard the system with the crossover in place since I was running low on 1/4" cables. I looked at some and saw that there are balanced and unbalanced 1/4" cables, which is the whole reason I asked. I remember a bit of buzzing coming from my tops. I figured if I could run balanced cables throughout I could eliminate some noise.

BillESC
04-22-2012, 07:06 PM
Lose the BBE and the Behringer and see what it sounds like.

kipperj
04-24-2012, 05:50 PM
Okay. I'm going to run all balanced cables. Are there any brands I should stay away from? I also don't want to spend $50 each for patch cables.

jayhwk
04-24-2012, 07:11 PM
audiopile.net makes very nice cables.

There are many snake oil salesmen that will try to tell you one brand of cable sounds better than another brand and that you need to spend a hundred dollars on a 25' cable. That's a load of crap - the margins on cable are a lot higher than on other products. When comparing two microphone cables, the main issue for a DJ is build construction and connectors. Make sure that whatever you buy has genuine Neutrik connectors (made in Lichtenstein, not Chineese knock-offs) and by doing so you should almost always weed out the badly built cables.

STLRiverCity
04-24-2012, 10:08 PM
I buy most of my cables from Guitar Center and haven't had any issues with them. They aren't the cheapest, but they aren't the most expensive either. I have also bought Hosa cables from B&H Photo Video with good luck. Otherwise I make my own.

jayhwk
04-24-2012, 10:23 PM
I buy most of my cables from Guitar Center and haven't had any issues with them. They aren't the cheapest, but they aren't the most expensive either. I have also bought Hosa cables from B&H Photo Video with good luck. Otherwise I make my own.

Making your own with Belden 8412 and Neutrik XX connectors is an excellent option if you can solder.

I have yet to have a cable from Hosa work more than a year. You can find cables at Guitar Center with Neutrik connectors, but they tend to be overpriced (Mogami, for example, is far more that I would ever pay for a cable). Some from GC do have a lifetime warranty, so even the cheap ones will work (as long as you have a back up in case one fails at a gig and you can't get the cable replaced that day).

kipperj
04-24-2012, 10:32 PM
All of the cables are going to be in my rack. They probably won't do much moving.... Do I really need anything high end?

Bill Fitzmaurice
04-25-2012, 08:20 AM
All of the cables are going to be in my rack. They probably won't do much moving.... Do I really need anything high end?There's no such thing as 'high end', only high priced. So long as the connectors are good quality, Neutrik or Switchcraft, the cables are good quality. So-called 'high end' cables are over-priced hogwash.

Gjhowe1
04-28-2012, 11:20 AM
I use the monoprice.com cables for short runs, they have there own in house connectors (unfortunately not neutrick) but I have found them to be durable and they seams to make a good connection with very little play in both XLR and TRS. There cheep, use nice thick guage (mainly to reduce kinks) and from what i can tell sound no different then my digiflex cables. For the cables I plug in and out a lot, or the long runs (>10') I use the neutrick connectors and digiflex cables (just the basic ones).