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Orion32 DB25 to Unbalanced Wiring Digital Converters
Old 2nd January 2018
  #1
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supercuts's Avatar
Orion32 DB25 to Unbalanced Wiring

Dear Internet,

My mix rig includes a number of unbalanced, line level effects boxes such as the Deltalabs Effectron and Roland SDE-1000. I am currently rewiring the system around an Antelope Orion32, which I understand has impedance balanced outputs.

Here is my question for the hive mind, and especially those with experience with studio grounding schemes - when soldering my DB25 - TS cables, will it be wiser to tie my cold conductors to ground (at the receiving end) or leave them floating? I have found several documents stating that either is fine, but I would love to know what your experience has been in the real world. I cannot ground cold pins at the output (transmitting end) because my DB25 cables have molded connectors (Planet Waves).

Many thanks!
Old 29th March 2018
  #2
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Hi supercuts, wondering if you proceeded with this and how it worked out for you? How long were your unbalanced runs? Thanks!
Old 29th March 2018
  #3
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BillSimpkins's Avatar
No changes on the DB25 or patchbay end, but make new TS ends for your unbalanced gear with pins 1 and 3 going to the shield on the TS jack, or use TRS to TS adapters, which do that same thing.
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Orion32 DB25 to Unbalanced Wiring-balanced-unbalanced-gear.jpg  
Old 31st March 2018
  #4
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supercuts's Avatar
I spoke with Antelope and their reply with regards to pin 3 was:

"You can leave them floating and you shouldn't experience any issues whatsoever!"

Cable length has never (for me) significantly affected noise levels with unbalanced cables, but I have generally used foil shielded cables and have never needed anything longer than about 20 feet. In my experience, the self noise of boxes like the SDE-1000 or spring reverbs are higher than anything introduced by the cable (with the exception of ground hum) - hence this thread.

As above, it has also been suggested to me many times that grounding pin 3 is the correct method - but I think the takeaway is that it really depends on how the boxes you are driving are grounded.

I am just finishing up the project now and will report back with what worked best in this case.
Old 31st March 2018
  #5
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supercuts's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSimpkins View Post
No changes on the DB25 or patchbay end, but make new TS ends for your unbalanced gear with pins 1 and 3 going to the shield on the TS jack, or use TRS to TS adapters, which do that same thing.
For anyone else looking for the answer to this question, it is worth noting that the kind fellow Mr. Bill Simpkins, above, appears to own and use an Orion32 and is not referring to impedance balanced outputs in the generic sense.

Thanks Bill, for sharing what worked for you, in real life!
Old 31st March 2018
  #6
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BillSimpkins's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by supercuts View Post
For anyone else looking for the answer to this question, it is worth noting that the kind fellow Mr. Bill Simpkins, above, appears to own and use an Orion32 and is not referring to impedance balanced outputs in the generic sense.

Thanks Bill, for sharing what worked for you, in real life!
Thank you. I would do the same for any balanced patchbay connected to any balanced interface and any unbalanced gear.
Old 31st March 2018
  #7
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Lady Gaia's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSimpkins View Post
Thank you. I would do the same for any balanced patchbay connected to any balanced interface and any unbalanced gear.
For balanced outputs to unbalanced inputs? Absolutely. Floating the ring on the balanced end is essentially a universal recommendation for good sound electrical reasons, which makes it somewhat baffling why those cables are hard to find (I would up ordering them custom.)

For unbalanced outputs to balanced inputs it's not necessary. A simple TS/TS unbalanced cable should be fine.
Old 31st March 2018
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supercuts's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Gaia View Post
For balanced outputs to unbalanced inputs? Absolutely. Floating the ring on the balanced end is essentially a universal recommendation for good sound electrical reasons, which makes it somewhat baffling why those cables are hard to find (I would up ordering them custom.)

For unbalanced outputs to balanced inputs it's not necessary. A simple TS/TS unbalanced cable should be fine.
Sorry just wanted to clarify - Bill was advocating for grounding the ring, not floating it. I am unable to float on the balanced end because I am modifying some Planet Waves DB25s, which have molded connectors. So the specific question in this case is whether to ground or float the ring at the input of the receiving, unbalanced end of the run.
Old 31st March 2018
  #9
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Lady Gaia's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by supercuts View Post
Sorry just wanted to clarify - Bill was advocating for grounding the ring, not floating it. I am unable to float on the balanced end because I am modifying some Planet Waves DB25s, which have molded connectors. So the specific question in this case is whether to ground or float the ring at the input of the receiving, unbalanced end of the run.
In practice, the issue is any connection that grounds the cold on the balanced end. Shorting the output's cold line to ground will lead to distortion at best, or heat and permanent damage if you're not so lucky. So if you're using an existing three-conductor cable then floating the ring on either end will make sure you don't have a problem.

I steer away from molded connections whenever possible, but I completely understand the desire to make do with what you have.
Old 1st April 2018
  #10
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Interesting info here. So I have an Orion 32+, going to a balanced patchbay, and I’m using TS cables to go to unbalanced inputs like in my S900 sampler. Do I need to make a modification? I don’t hear any issues, what kind of issues will I run into? For the record, I had the same setup with a Focusrite Scarlett interface and didn’t have any issues there either.
Old 1st April 2018
  #11
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Lady Gaia's Avatar
Outputs that are impedance balanced (sometimes referred to as cross-coupled) with only a single output amplifier driving them are much more forgiving when driving loads that short cold to ground. It's possible that the Orion and Scarlett use this kind of configuration rather than a true pair of opposing output signals. As sketchy as documentation can be for equipment, I try to avoid assumptions and use cabling that is appropriate regardless of the source.

If your output isn't cross-coupled and you run either a TRS/TRS or TS/TS cable to an unbalanced input you're shorting the cold signal to ground. The exact effects depend on the design of the output circuit, but it's generally not a good thing. Drawing excessive current, thereby producing excess heat and putting a strain on components is worth avoiding. Analog circuit design is not really my area, so I'm not sure what safeguards are typically built into outputs like this.
Old 3rd April 2018
  #12
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So what's the worst that can happen? I fry the Orion?
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