Can you use balanced cables for unbalanced inputs?

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Joefro
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Can you use balanced cables for unbalanced inputs?

Post by Joefro » Tue May 31, 2011 10:51 pm

I have some balanced 1/4 cables, can I use them with something like an Apogee Duet that has unbalanced inputs? Is there popping/cracking, or no issues at all? Can't seem to find an answer and the guy at Guitar Center seemed very, very confused. Thanks.

H20nly
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Re: Can you use balanced cables for unbalanced inputs?

Post by H20nly » Tue May 31, 2011 10:55 pm

the guy at Guitar Center often is. i once asked if they happen to sell a list of keyboard shortcuts for Cubase. after attempting to explain (to 2 of them) that i was not looking for a short cut to learning the software, but for a list of keyboard shortcuts/commands several times... they were convinced i wanted a cheat sheet that would explain "how Cubase works" and insisted on telling me how involved and complex it is. i finally walked away.

if you plug it in and there is line noise, unplug it. if not, you're good to go.

it depends on the Apogee's inputs as well, so its hard to say, but you won't hurt anything. just to be safe though, turn all your volume/gain knobs/faders down first. then slowly raise the main and/or the gain for the input you've plugged into.
Last edited by H20nly on Tue May 31, 2011 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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memes_33
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Re: Can you use balanced cables for unbalanced inputs?

Post by memes_33 » Tue May 31, 2011 11:01 pm

it should work fine. basically, you are just using the ground and the positive in the cable and ditching the inverted signal.
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ark
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Re: Can you use balanced cables for unbalanced inputs?

Post by ark » Tue May 31, 2011 11:03 pm

This article will answer your question--probably in much more detail than you ever wanted to know.

Piplodocus
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Re: Can you use balanced cables for unbalanced inputs?

Post by Piplodocus » Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:45 pm

If it's 1/4" jacks and its outputs are unbalanced you can use "stereo" cables fine in unbalanced jacks but you won't really gain anything as scutheotaku said. What are you connecting it to on the other end?

Some audio interfaces (such as my motu) have balanced jacks. If you plug a "stereo"/balanced lead in then you get balanced operation, if you plug "mono" in instead the sleeve and ring are shorted together so it works perfectly happily, but unbalanced.

If you're connecting balanced equipment to unbalanced stuff then you have a few options. Either connect it unbalanced, or you can make up leads that have balanced at one end, then an unbalanced jack at the other with tip and sleeve connected to tip and ring of the other end. The shield remains floating at the unbalanced end and is just connected at the balanced end. That way you can get balanced-ish operation (no ground loops) with shielding, albeit only connected at one end. Half my guitar rig is wired like this and I don't get any hum and can use my phone right next to it with no TDMA bleeps!

Else if you're running long cables possibly a DI to convert it to balanced first?
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dancerchris
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Re: Can you use balanced cables for unbalanced inputs?

Post by dancerchris » Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:55 pm

It may work and it may not. If it is unbalanced at both ends and the ring and sleeve get bridged you may create ground loop noise (because you created a loop). Also jacking from balanced to unbalanced can cause noise (di boxes can sometimes help here).
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Re: Can you use balanced cables for unbalanced inputs?

Post by pepezabala » Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:52 pm

H20nly wrote:the guy at Guitar Center often is. i once asked if they happen to sell a list of keyboard shortcuts for Cubase. after attempting to explain (to 2 of them) that i was not looking for a short cut to learning the software, but for a list of keyboard shortcuts/commands several times... they were convinced i wanted a cheat sheet that would explain "how Cubase works" and insisted on telling me how involved and complex it is. i finally walked away.

if you plug it in and there is line noise, unplug it. if not, you're good to go.

it depends on the Apogee's inputs as well, so its hard to say, but you won't hurt anything. just to be safe though, turn all your volume/gain knobs/faders down first. then slowly raise the main and/or the gain for the input you've plugged into.

sorry for offtopic, but why in hell would you want to BUY a list of keyboard-shortcusts at guitar center?

And yes, you can use balanced cables for unbalanced input.

H20nly
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Re: Can you use balanced cables for unbalanced inputs?

Post by H20nly » Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:12 pm

^ it was a while back, i might have had something more specific in mind, but Cubase was my first DAW and I wanted to use keyboard shortcuts instead of a mouse for every gesture... :idea:

its hard to guess what CTRL + SHIFT + L is going to do (for example)... and you can't always see what that just did... you also can't always "just undo it" with CTRL + Z (for example). they're in the menus but that's a tedious way to find them all and randomly trying things doesn't mean i'd remember them without writing them down. why do that when you can get a laminated prefabbed list? they make them for everything from Word to Photoshop to Unix, so it didn't seem too far fetched that someone might make one for an 800 dollar DAW. FWIW i didn't go there for that... it was an after thought that crossed my mind at the register.

there's a list of the ones used for Live in the back of Ableton's manual... so such things do exist in the DAW world.

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