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trs or xlr for studio monitors and why? Studio Monitors
Old 24th March 2010
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
PyroDano's Avatar
 

trs or xlr for studio monitors and why?

Like the title says is there a reason to choose one over the other?

I was at guitarmart today and asked for some studio monitor cables for a friend.He said just use a guitar cable,I said i thought a guitar cable was unbalanced and the studio monitors my friend is using are balanced,I went with my gut and got trs instead.

I was wondering if i should have gotten mic/xlr's cables instead but didn't trust the dudes explanation as to why.

While i was there i realized I'm using unshielded 20' speaker cable for my studio monitors,Dude said you wont even get signal

Anyway i have been using them for over a year,and get what? I get signal
Am i causing harm to anything by using unshielded speaker cable?
should i be using a mic cable instead?Is there a way to tell if a mic xlr cable are shielded or unshielded/balanced or unbalanced?

Thanks people.
Old 24th March 2010
  #2
Gear Nut
 

What monitors are you using?

Tweakheadz everything you where afraid to ask about cables.
Old 24th March 2010
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
PyroDano's Avatar
 

my monitors are fostex pm 0.4 ( i just realized mine don't have xlr jacks)lol i guess this question will be for future reference.
my buddies are the mackie 5"
Old 24th March 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
 
KRStudio's Avatar
 

Gotta love idiots at GC. Speaker cable has no shielding so it lets noise through. It will work but not well. Guitar cable is shielded so it helps keep noise down. This ties the cold and ground together and has a lopsided impedance. Balanced is the best route. TRS and XLR are identical in electrical properties, just a different shape connector. Some peeps like XLR because they lock into place, others dislike for same reason. Most engineers I know don't care which. Hope this helps.
Jeff
Old 24th March 2010
  #5
Lives for gear
 

You did the right thing to get TRS, for active monitors it's the best thing (obv for passive you do need Speaker cable!) alongside XLR. The 2 really don't matter, it's generally based on what your unit has fitted to it.

In a live situation, I prefer XLR as any strain applied to the connector is on the housing, whereas with a jack cable, any strain applied to the connector is on the contact part of the connector, so more likely to damage the important bit. However, in the studio, I would rather not subject my kit to this strain anyway, and there is no reason why it ever would.

Guitar cable isn't as good as like you say, it's unbalanced.

Likewise, unshielded speaker cable is a) more likely to pickup noise, and b) higher impedance cabling. And higher impedence = lower conductance, which is not what you want!

So in summary:

Monitor Out - Active Monitor: Balanced Cable, either TRS or XLR end, doesn't really matter... only really matters based on what connectors your gear requires.
Monitor Out - Monitor Amplifier: As above.
Monitor Amplifier - Passive Monitors: Speaker cable. Connectors up to you, again depending what your gear has... often no connectors at all anyway.
Guitar - Guitar Amp: Unbalanced (Mono) Jack
Old 25th March 2010
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
PyroDano's Avatar
 

Thanks for shedding some light fellas.I did read this link as well. Everything you were Afraid to Ask about Cables
Thanks alex.

I went to buy some trs's for my headphone amp,to free up the trs's that are in it now for the v-verb,and picked up 3 trs's for my buddy 1 for his GAP full mod which will be here Monday(thanks Warren)and 2 for his studio monitors that he didn't need because i had allready hooked up xlr's for him weeks ago

In all fairness though i did tell my bud that if it was ok to use xlr's i would buy his trs's.He said it was ok and he could use it for something else,later on down the road.Should have done my homework first.Live n learn heh

At least guitarmart dude did ask if the studio monitors were passive or powered
Old 25th March 2010
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PyroDano View Post
At least guitarmart dude did ask if the studio monitors were passive or powered
what you need to remember about the people at places like GC is that most of the people they advice, don't know, and can't hear, the difference between a pair of top end studio monitors and iPod headphones.

and thus, whether its a balanced or unbalanced cable, to them, comes down to price.

Unfortunately, the people at places like GC just seem to forget that people who do know, do care, and can hear the difference, do still exist.
Old 25th March 2010
  #8
Gear Head
 

For powered monitors, like someone said above, you can get xlr or trs, whatever is easiest/best for you. It really makes no difference. I've used both and can't tell a difference. I've also used speaker cable, a long time ago, which works, but is definitely much noisier. Passive monitors, of course, need speaker cable to transfer the current that xlr/trs cables can't handle.
Old 2nd October 2015
  #9
Here for the gear
 

High horse

Quote:
Originally Posted by KRStudio View Post
Gotta love idiots at GC. Speaker cable has no shielding so it lets noise through. It will work but not well. Guitar cable is shielded so it helps keep noise down. This ties the cold and ground together and has a lopsided impedance. Balanced is the best route. TRS and XLR are identical in electrical properties, just a different shape connector. Some peeps like XLR because they lock into place, others dislike for same reason. Most engineers I know don't care which. Hope this helps.
Jeff
Now now, we all start somewhere haha
Thank you for the clear response though i'm purchasing some monitors which come with trs and was wondering whether i should bother purchasing xlr...clearly not.

Nice one !
Old 4th October 2015
  #10
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cavern's Avatar
 

Also TS(or guitar cables) work just as well as TRS and sometimes better(crisper sounding) for powered monitors with balanced connections as long as its less than 15/20 feet.I used both and neither one is noisier.
I prefer TS Mogami for my HS 80's...and yeah, they pass signal.
Old 4th October 2015
  #11
Gear Head
 
Stephen Moore's Avatar
 

Distance from signal source to speakers is a critical factor in this decision, but as others have said powered speakers should be fed by balanced cables at all times to reduce the chance of induced interference. That said, no one mentioned that if your console has xlr mains outs that you can wire xlr cable with trs on the other end. This works fine and opens up different options for routing your audio.
Old 4th October 2015
  #12
Here for the gear
 

In short: doesn't matter. Pick the least expensive. That'll probably be TRS. Here are my 2 cents.
(now for a bit of development: there are so many more significant stages in your chain that your money would be better placed in !)
Old 18th December 2015
  #13
Here for the gear
 

So my Audio interface has TRS out ports for monitors, but the monitors I own, (a couple of decent sounding Alesis Active monitors) , offer both TRS & XLR input.

Should I go with TRS - XLR cables? I do notice some fuzziness in the sound using the TRS-TRS cables when playing music with high dynamic range at high volumes.

Would the TRS -XLR cable ground the cabling completely or does the XLR jack simply act as an adapter to TRS thus nullifying any effect XLR's ground?
Old 18th December 2015
  #14
Here for the gear
 

I just did a quick Google search and to my stupidity it lead me directly to my answer to my answer via the tweakheadz article mentioned above.
So:
NO TRS - XLR cables are still unbalanced like normal TRS -TRS cables

XLR-XLR provides less distortion due to the third prong grounding the cable which can make for a much more professional sound when working or playing HQ material, especially over long distances.

Old 18th December 2015
  #15
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PyroDano View Post
Thanks for shedding some light fellas.I did read this link as well. Everything you were Afraid to Ask about Cables
Thanks alex.

I went to buy some trs's for my headphone amp,to free up the trs's that are in it now for the v-verb,and picked up 3 trs's for my buddy 1 for his GAP full mod which will be here Monday(thanks Warren)and 2 for his studio monitors that he didn't need because i had allready hooked up xlr's for him weeks ago

In all fairness though i did tell my bud that if it was ok to use xlr's i would buy his trs's.He said it was ok and he could use it for something else,later on down the road.Should have done my homework first.Live n learn heh

At least guitarmart dude did ask if the studio monitors were passive or powered
Thanks!
Old 18th December 2015
  #16
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koticinyourhead View Post
...via the tweakheadz article mentioned above.
So:
NO TRS - XLR cables are still unbalanced like normal TRS -TRS cables

XLR-XLR provides less distortion due to the third prong grounding the cable which can make for a much more professional sound ...
Did you misunderstand the tweakheadz article, or mis-type your understanding of the content?

As people earlier in this thread have correctly stated, both XLR and TRS are balanced cables; the difference in TRS and XLR is in the profile/configuration of the connector. They are electrically equivalent. There is no distortion difference or grounding difference.

I'm just trying to help make sure we don't create stumbling blocks for people perusing these posts.
Old 18th December 2015
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by MediaGary View Post
Did you misunderstand the tweakheadz article, or mis-type your understanding of the content?

As people earlier in this thread have correctly stated, both XLR and TRS are balanced cables; the difference in TRS and XLR is in the profile/configuration of the connector. They are electrically equivalent. There is no distortion difference or grounding difference.

I'm just trying to help make sure we don't create stumbling blocks for people perusing these posts.
TRS are only "unbalanced" when carrying a stereo signal, for example when making a headphones connector.

Otherwise, there's no difference between TLS and XLR when carrying a single balanced signal.

Now - be sure that the devices you are interconnecting with 1/4" TRS cables have balanced inputs and outputs.
Old 19th December 2015
  #18
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koticinyourhead View Post

Should I go with TRS - XLR cables? I do notice some fuzziness in the sound using the TRS-TRS cables when playing music with high dynamic range at high volumes.
Unless the cables themselves are bad, your problem lies elsewhere. TRS connectors wont cause fuzziness.
Old 31st December 2015
  #19
Here for the gear
As it has been said, TRS & XLR are both balanced connections and have the same ground properties. However, when speaking with a representative of Mogami Cable, I have been informed that they tend to recommend XLR when it is an option, as there is less metal in the connector which further reduces chances of interference. The difference here I'm sure is all but negligible, but if you're talking about an "ideal" patch, XLR would be recommended. I run TRS to XLR from my interface to powered monitors.
Old 31st December 2015
  #20
Deleted User
Guest
TRS to XLR for my monitors here. Interface only has TRS outs

TRS and XLR have same connections unless Im missing something when I solder them?

Last edited by Deleted User; 31st December 2015 at 06:07 AM..
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