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Balanced TRS to XLR audio interface question
Old 25th January 2020
Gear Maniac
SawneyBean's Avatar
Balanced TRS to XLR audio interface question


I recently purchased a Tascam US-16x08, this audio interface has 16 inputs, of which 8 are balanced XLR(XLR-3-31 (1: GND, 2: HOT, 3: COLD), BALANCED) inputs. I want to use these inputs with synths that have balanced TRS inputs.

Would this be OK if I buy some XLR male to TRS male balanced cables to use with my synths output?

The full XLR socket specs can be seen here

Although I’ve been mixing with an old analog mixer for a couple of years, I’ve only used synths with TRS outputs. I’ve simply never used XLR cables before.

One thing, would flipping the Phantom power accidentally do any damage with the above configuration?
Old 25th January 2020
Lives for gear

In this case, it looks like the inputs are only mic-level, not line-level, and even at the minimum input gain they'd be rather prone to overloading from a line-level input. Phantom power could cause problems for the synth, possibly actual damage though I would judge that to be not particularly likely. I wouldn't care to experiment on my own keyboards, though.

More generally, an XLR line-level balanced input could indeed be used with a TRS output with an appropriate (standard) cable. The only difference between the two is the type of connector; electrically they're the same. Line level inputs and outputs with XLR connectors do exist, though they aren't the most common these days. XLR connectors themselves are great to work with.
Old 1 week ago
Lives for gear
DistortingJack's Avatar

Everything with power should use SpeakON. Nothing better I've seen. Water-resistant, safe, locking, and durable.

Everything without power should ideally be balanced and use XLRs, uncluding 5-pin XLRs for stereo. Well-made XLRs are amazing connectors, and can be daisy-chained quite safely.

If you need to make it smaller, then you can use TRS jacks or Bantam but only if there's no phantom power running. TRS shorts the signal when plugged in. TRS and XLR connectors are electrically equivalent besides the shorting issue.

Short distances for line-level and headphones (both low impedance signals) can be unbalanced and therefore use unbalanced jacks.

Don't use barrel adapters for XLR connectors – they stress out the connectors. Use cables from XLR to whatever connection. Small adapter cables are fine; XLR to TRS is ideal. No need to overthink it.
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