Help converting an XLR input to RCA connectors - diyAudio
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Old 26th July 2005, 07:38 PM   #1
chuck22 is offline chuck22  United States
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Question Help converting an XLR input to RCA connectors

I just bought an old 10 channel line mixer that has XLR inputs. I want to add RCA connectors to every channel (input). I also want to keep the original XLR's. Is this possible? How should I wire it up? Resistors needed? I would appreciate any help. Thanks everyone.

-Chuck
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Old 26th July 2005, 08:05 PM   #2
usekgb is offline usekgb  United States
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Connect the center of the RCA to pin 2 of the XLR, and connect the shield to pin 1. One problem you may have with this set up is the floating pin 3. This could induce noise in to your mixer. You would be better off making adaptors that plug in to the XLR jacks. This will allow you to ground pin 3, and should lower the potential for picking up noise from pin 3. What you need to do is, use a short length (3-4") of good coax, (Canare GS-6 for example) and get cable mount XLR's (Neutrik NC3MX-B) and cable mount RCA's (Canare F-09). In the XLR jack, solder a jumber wire from pin 1 to pin 3. Then solder the center conductor to pin 3 and the shield to pin 1. The RCA side is pretty self explanitory. Now, wwhen you need to use RCA, just use on of your adaptor cables. This will maintain the integrity of the XLR jacks while still allowing you to use RCA.

One issue that you may run in to with this set up is level matching. Typically, XLR connection run at a "Pro" level of +4 dB. Most consumer equipment runs at -10 dB. If you trry to mix and match them, you can lose a significant amout of headroom and gain, and you can also run in to clipping problems. If you need to level match, you may need to look at getting transformers that will level convert and balance any signal that you send it. A good example is the Ebtech LLS-2 line level converter. I run one of these in between the output of my Mackie 1402 VLZ-Pro and the input of a Pioneer receiver that I have in my recording room. This keeps the signal good and hot, and prevents the Mackie from overloading the inputs of the receiver. If you feel like using better quality transformers, Jensen makes a variety of matching transformers that you may want to look at. They'ree not cheap, but they sure sound good. I can't remember model numbers off the top of my head, so check out http://www.jensentransformers.com/. I hope this helps.

Cheers,
Zach
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Old 27th July 2005, 04:43 AM   #3
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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Is it really a line mixer, or is it a mic mixer?
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Old 27th July 2005, 05:11 AM   #4
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Also just to state the obvious, XLR's carry a balanced mono signal. By converting to RCA you will still only have 1 RCA per XLR.
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Old 27th July 2005, 07:41 AM   #5
chuck22 is offline chuck22  United States
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Thanks a lot (usekgb), very helpfull, you answered a lot of my questions. (enzo) It's a line mixer, no mic connections. (Audiofreak)Im confused about something. Each channel has a L-R balance control and 2 VU meters one for the left side and another for the right but only features a single XLR input for each channel. It has 2 (left and right) XLR outputs though. THis might sound dumb but why mono input and stereo output?
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Old 28th July 2005, 01:36 AM   #6
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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It is a stereo mixer - stereo output. The line sources are inherently mono. You pan them left or right or center or whatever to suit your needs. In a recording studio, the mics are not stereo, if you want singers on the left or right, you use the pan control to put them there.

Making adaptors is really the best idea. Trying to connect the unbalanced RCA inputs and the balanced XLR inputs together will cause issues.

If the XLR input is a balanced input to the circuit, you can get away with using one side referenced to ground. But if there is a transformer input, connecting to one side leaves the other end of the transformer winding floating, and it won't work. With an adaptor, you can ground off one side of hte balanced input and it will work regardless of the inout circuit type.

If there are input transformers, there is another way though, potentially. Typically, the transformer is the only balanced part of the circuit. SO it may be possible to leave the XLR inputs intact, and at the secondary of the transformer, where it goes on into the active electronics, run a wire out to the RCA jacks.
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Old 28th July 2005, 06:23 AM   #7
chuck22 is offline chuck22  United States
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Thanks (Enzo) great thinking, looks like I'll be able to add RCA jacks by doing what you suggested last. Looks like I can run some wires from where the transformer connects to the pcb board. I'll trying it out and see if it works. Thanks again.
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