23. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Products

For budding sound engineers, it may be prudent to learn more about XLR cables. These are used in many audio and lighting applications. They have the ability to deliver balanced microphone and line-level signals over long distances. Unwanted noise can be eliminated, and the original audio signal is preserved. Learning about these cables can be made simpler with XLR cable diagrams.

There are many configurations of an XLR cable, mainly differing in the number of pins their connectors use. Having a hand XLR cable diagram can help technicians differentiate among their various uses and applications.

wiring diagram - wikipedia.org

Three pin
The most common type of XLR cable exhibits the three pin connector. These are the industry standard for balanced audio signals. For the vast majority of professional microphones, the XLR connector is their connector of choice.

Three-pin connectors are also utilized to interconnect powered speakers with line-level signals. Usually seen in PA systems, this application is gaining popularity as of late. Some rechargeable gadgets, like electric wheelchairs and scooters, use a three-pin XLR connector.

Four pin
In contrast, a four-pin XLR connector can be seen as the standard connector for headsets. Two of the pins are utilized for mono headphone signals, and the other two are for the unbalanced microphone signal.

It’s also used for DC power connections. Professional film and video cameras, as well as other related equipment, make use of the four-pin XLR.

They can also be used for microphones that utilized LEDs. The fourth pin is reserved to power the LED.

Five pin
A five-pin connector is the standard for digital lighting control. They are also used for dual-element microphones and stereo intercom headsets.

Most XLR cable diagrams are used to differentiate the uses of each pin.

Six pin
For a six-pin XLR cable, its main use is for dual channel intercoms and lighting control applications.

Seven pin
Once used for analogue lighting control signals, the seven-pin XLR cable is now more commonly used for connecting tube condenser microphone to their power supply. They are also utilized in fog machines for remote control.

There used to be a two-pin XLR connector, but these are presently obsolete. The ability of these cables to preserve line-level signals and balanced microphones make them ideal for live shows or professional recording sessions. Wiring a connector can be done with some clamps, a soldering iron and a cable stripper. They are not difficult to master and are great for audio and lighting applications. With the myriad of kinds of XLR cables and connectors, they are a must have for any sound engineer. Mastering their uses and applications can give you the edge over other technicians as more and more equipment are relying on XLR cables to function. Remember, though, that a balanced signal can only be delivered if both devices are balanced as well. Also, make sure to check whether equipment are really using XLR connectors. Some manufacturers may claim to utilize them but are actually only using connectors that have a resemblance to XLR cables.

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