so I want to connect the output from my mixer (balanced xlr) to the unbalanced input of my amp.

which cable should I get: XLR to TS or XLR to TRS?

I read somewhere that the cold pin should left floating when connecting balanced to unbalanced, so how would I know the configuration used in above mentioned cables? is it done in the right way such that I don't have to worry?


XLR to TS is the correct cable. This connects the XLR pin 3 to ground, thereby effectively transforming the console's XLR out to an unbalanced output. If you use a XLR to TRS cable, chances are the ring will just be left at floating level, which means the tip will have an extremely high impedance. You will probably still get some audible sound, but nothing actually usable.


On most ordinary amps, the inputs are simple 2 pole jack sockets, as in TS. If the socket is capable of connecting a stereo jack, it's usually marked as such. The sleeve is connected via the shielding wire around the outside of co-axial cable - like a guitar or mic. lead, to pin no.1 on the XLR/cannon. Worst case scenario is that you have a 50:50 chance that the inner wire, connected to the tip of the jack, goes to either pin 2 or pin 3 on the XLR.It can't be guaranteed, in my experience, that an off the shelf cable with plugs attached will be configured correct for any given situation.

A quick google - "connecting jack to xlr" - came up with helpful diagrams.


I've read online that the best way to convert balanced XLR to unbalanced 1/4" mono is to buy a cheap passive DI box and run it backwards (XLR as input, 1/4" TS as output). Apparently, this will convert whilst also maintaining the balancing of the XLR cable (which I don't believe the other answers would) and so help to reduce noise.

Is this correct? I'd like to try it, but would be interested to know if there are any caveats to watch out for.


An amp is a grounded device. Connecting to its unbalanced input is a recipe for ground loops/hum, so this is a good candidate for a DI box. Since the "good" side of the DI box is the balanced one (low impedance, balanced connection), you'd place the DI box with the amp and use a reasonably short TS connection there, and if there is a need for a longer connection, you make that the balanced cable to the mixer.

Note that active DI boxes tend to work from unbalanced input to balanced output (and consequently may be powered by phantom power which is only available on balanced connections). You might want a passive DI box here: an active one will always require a battery or power supply in this direction.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.