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Conversion between RCA and XLR connections

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I get asked about this topic a lot so I thought I would post some suggestions. Obviously there are variations to this based on the circuit topology of your gear but hopefully this will help. We sell Cardas RCA/XLR adapters and can also custom reterminate your cables if this is to be a more permanent chain

If going from an RCA output to XLR input:
RCA hot/center to pin 2, RCA ground to pin 3, and two options (try both): shield to pin 1 at XLR only
shield to RCA ground only

If going from an XLR output to an RCA input:
If the output is electronic circuitry, then pin 2 to RCA hot/center, and pin 1 to RCA ground. Shield to pin 1 of XLR only.

If the output is transformer based, then pin 2 to RCA hot/center, and pin 3 to RCA ground. Shield to pin 1 of XLR only.

For XLR to XLR, twisted pairs should be constructed like this:

pin 2 to pin 2, pin 3 to pin 3 for the twisted pair wires, THEN, the shield to pin 1 of the source component. This SHOULD work for true balanced gear, but some is not true balanced, and a ground reference connection must be made, in this case, wrap a 16 gauge tinned stranded hookup wire around the OUTSIDE of the shield braid, and connect to pin 1 at both ends. This will help keep any ground currents from interfering with the two differential pairs, and minimize cable capacitance.

BTW, as for all DIY twisted pairs, I recommend spacing the shield braid AWAY from the twisted pairs using a high quality insulation like , and then oversized braid for a 100% shield covering.

Hope this helps

Thank You. Drew Baird, P.E. Moon Audio 308 Chrismill Lane Holly Springs, NC 27540 919-649-5018 drew@moon-audio.com http://www.moon-audio.com Moon...

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post #2 of 5

i was wondering if a transformer like the jensen PC-2XR would work without any noticeable audio loss ? i have a receiver and headphone amp with rca inputs. my dac has an rca output and xlr output. the dac is the teac ud-501 which has the ability to switch the hot pin from 2 to 3 if i wanted to. i have been researching this for weeks and just can not come up with a good solution. im not really good with soldering so i would have to either buy one factory made as long as its high quality or go with the transformer. i tried some cheap xlr to rca cable from a local store and it worked fine.

post #3 of 5

lol just noticed this was posted 6 years ago. 

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Yes Transformers are the cleanest way to do a balanced to single ended conversion. By all means use the Jensen.

Thank You. Drew Baird, P.E. Moon Audio 308 Chrismill Lane Holly Springs, NC 27540 919-649-5018 drew@moon-audio.com http://www.moon-audio.com Moon...

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post #5 of 5
Thanks I might go that way. I was also looking for a high end receiver with xlr inputs. This way it's a direct connection. Thought maybe that might be a better way. This way I'll sell my yamaha 5890 and recoup some of the money. It's hard to find a really decent receiver with xlr inputs. Denon makes one but it doesn't have the 7.1 connections for my speakers that I connect with banana clips. But if I go the transformer way it would be quick and easy. Ah choices lol
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