5

Can a XLR female to 1/4 inch adapter give power like a XLR input.

I want to record dynamic mics into an line input. Will a TRS 1/4 inch cable give same level signal as xlr audio input.

3
  • When you say, "give power", what do you mean? Do you mean 48V phantom power for condensor microphones? Or do you mean audio level or the volume of the audio signal? Jan 19 '18 at 16:40
  • Yup audio level Jan 19 '18 at 16:54
  • Also normally we talk about cables in the direction of signal flow, so a cable that has XLR female on one side and TRS male on the other side would be called an "XLR female to TRS male (or TRS plug)" cable, because the signal comes out of the microphone and goes through the cable in that direction. Jan 19 '18 at 17:07
2

Sorry, No

You won't be able to get a good recording of a microphone in a line level input. That's because microphones put out a very low level mic level signal that has to be amplified up to line level using a mic preamp. Without a mic preamp, it doesn't matter what cables you use, the signal level will be too low.

What you can do is use a transformer like the image below and plug the mic into an XLR cable, then plug the other end of the cable into the transformer, and plug the transformer into any instrument input. Instrument inputs are what guitar amps have and are often found on audio interfaces and on some mixers.

Mic to instrument impedance transformer


The type of cable used to carry an audio signal has no effect on the level of that signal.

You can apply mic/instrument level signals to 1/4" TS, 1/4" TRS, or XLR cables and connectors.

You can also apply line level signals to 1/4" TS, 1/4" TRS, or XLR cables and connectors.

You can but shouldn't apply speaker level signals to 1/4" TRS or XLR cables and connectors. You should only use speaker cable (which has to large gauge stranded wires in it, and no shield) terminated with 1/4" TS connectors or Neutrik Speakon connectors or spade lugs or banana lugs or in the worst case scenario bare wires (don't use bare wires with high powered PA amplifiers).

16
  • SM58, for example, already has an inbuilt potted transformer (I've just changed one!), so what's different or extra with this transformer? And would it be possible or feasible to put an uprated one into such as an SM58?
    – Tim
    Jan 19 '18 at 20:27
  • The transformer is changing the impedance to match the expected impedance of the input. It does not help with the signal level (voltage). Upping the impedance to connect to a different input isn't the best solution, but often the cheapest one. Since the signal is still low you loose some fidelity. Instrument output has a wider and higher voltage range than a microphone so the instrument input is designed to use that higher signal. Jan 19 '18 at 20:46
  • @Tim The transformer inside the mic is there to lower the impedance. See: audio-technica.com/cms/site/214c5c52432bc79b "by using low-impedance microphones and cable, microphone cables can be almost any practical length, with no serious losses of any kind". Instrument inputs are generally high impedance, so the transformer pictured in my answer is kind of the opposite of the transformer in the mike. It raises the impedance back up again to suit an instrument input. It still doesn't suit a line level input because the level is too low. Jan 19 '18 at 20:50
  • @Tim See also: whirlwindusa.com/support/tech-articles/… This is why guitar cables can't be more than 10 - 20 feet long before you can start to hear a difference, but mic cables can be 200+ feet long without much trouble. Jan 19 '18 at 20:53
  • @ToddWilcox - yes, it's quite well known that low impedance mics can use long, long leads with no loss, and having twin plus screen makes it possible.
    – Tim
    Jan 19 '18 at 20:58
2

If your recording device only has 1/4" inputs, then your best option would be to purchase an inexpensive mic preamp. The output of the preamp will be at line level which you can record via 1/4".

The Art Tube MP preamp is going for $40 at Musicians Friend and it includes a 1/4" output.

ART Tube MP Studio Mic Preamp

You could probably find one even cheaper if you are willing to buy used.

1

At one venue I use, I normally have an SM58 going straight into an XLR on the p.a. Recently, there's been a different head with only jacks. I made up a lead between XLR and jack (male) which goes straight into the new head - it sounds better in the 'low' impedance socket - but it would, being a low impedance mic. Don't know about TRS jack plugs, though - they usually get used with stereo.

Just thought - a different venue with a Bose p.a. has XLR, and for this I made up a TRS to canon (XLR) lead, to plug in a (stereo) keyboard. This has all 3 pins on XLR connected to all 3 contacts on the TRS - all separate of course! That works fine too. Perhaps you can say what the application is to be used for. Several different come to mind, and will require different wiring.

2
  • I want to record dynamic mics into an line input will a TRS 1/4 inch cable give same level signal as xlr audio input Jan 19 '18 at 16:58
  • I don't think a line input is the same impedance as a mic input, so it's not going to be great. However, nothing untoward will happen if you try. There may be enough adjustment for it to work, albeit not perfectly.
    – Tim
    Jan 19 '18 at 17:04
1

For one thing, everything between the source of the sound and the device recording it adds interference/lowers the quality of the signal. This includes an adaptor. If you want a good quality signal, get or make the right cable and also add a pre-amp because phantom power on a DI box or mixer will probably not cut the mustard. For mics I would never suggest any connection type other than XLR to XLR. A good quality recording device will have XLR in and so will the pre-amp.

2
  • XLR to jack has never been a problem, although for low impedance mics XLR is well preferable. Cable quality is maybe a more important factor.
    – Tim
    Jan 19 '18 at 20:30
  • Many of us are old enough to remember equipment where EVERYTHING was a 1/4" jack socket. Like the ubiquitous HH MA 100 gig amps. On the front were balanced TRS jacks for microphones.On the back, the speaker outputs - and these were power outputs delivering 100W to passive speakers - were also jacks. You'd think no-one would be silly enough to plug a mic into a speaker output, wouldn't you? You'd think wrong... Jun 11 '19 at 14:11
1

You'll either need a preamp or you could consider a USB mic which is the easiest way, though divides opinion when it comes to sound quality.

1

First off, I know this is a year and a half late.

Second, the microphone is what determines the signal strength, not the cable. All microphones I've seen have a mic level output. Also, XLR can carry a line-level signal, and TS/TRS/TRRS/TRRRS can carry a mic-level signal.

Next, I'm assuming you wanted an XLR to TS (Tip-Sleeve) cable, even though you said "TRS." (Tip-Ring-Sleeve). I'm assuming this because most people, when they use a balanced signal, will use XLR. An XLR to TS cable will actually convert it into a half mic-level signal. That's because XLR is balanced (one of the audio signals (the one on your right when looking at the socket, your left when looking at the plug) is initially inverted, and is reinverted (so now no longer inverted), and any noise picked up is cancelled out thanks to interference), and TS is not. You'd lose one of the signals, since it goes to the ground, instead.

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.