#1
So I'm planning to pick up a used DBX 1074 Quad Gate on ebay, so I can have a noise gate in before the preamp and in the effects loop of my guitar and bass rigs (instead of having my current thing, which is a Boss NS-2 in front of my guitar amp, and one channel from my DBX 266xs in the loop of my bass and guitar amps; I just want one unit and don't particularly need a compressor, ya know?).



Now my big confusion with this is the fact that I'd need to buy XLR cables for the 1074. All the connectors on my gear are 1/4" TRS cables, so I need XLR-to-TRS cables, which is no big deal, I can get those easily.



My real dilemma is unbalanced vs. balanced. I've run into this before when buying cables, but never had to delve too far, since everything's needed unbalanced cables when I've been looking at patch/instrument cables. I read the 1074 manual, which mentions balanced connections provided by the inputs and outputs, but that's all I know.



My planned signal path is:



Instrument-->Wireless-->3 pedals-->IN(Gate Ch.1)OUT-->preamp-->FXSend(Gate Ch.2)FXReturn-->Power amp-->Speaker cab

So I guess my question is, balanced or unbalanced cables to and from the gate channels? Unbalanced to the gate and balanced from it? What would be the best course of action, and what would happen if I used the wrong cables?

Thanks!
#2
Quote by staceap
So I guess my question is, balanced or unbalanced cables to and from the gate channels?
A cable isn't balanced or unbalanced, a signal is, and to carry a mono bal signal you need at least a two cores + shielding cable, so here either a TRS jack or an XLR connector.

If you run an unbalanced signal into an input designed to receive balanced signals you'll simply not benefit from the balancing.

If you run a balanced signal into an unbalanced mono input you simply not benefit from the balancing.

The problems start when patching mono bal outs to stereo unbal ins and vice versa, but you don't seem like you'll be needing that so just use whatever cable you have.
Quote by staceap
Unbalanced to the gate and balanced from it?
Since I'm guessing your pedals only output mono unbal signals, your amp's front end isn't designed to take bal signals, and your amp's fx loop is mono unbal, you won't benefit from any balancing.

For the thing to work, you gotta patch balanced outs to balanced ins.
If you don't have a bal out AND a bal in to connect the bal out to, then you won't have any benefit from balancing signals.

You can't avoid balancing signals 'cause of bal outs, though simply don't worry about that.
Quote by staceap
What would be the best course of action, and what would happen if I used the wrong cables?
The only wrong cable you could use would be a female XLR to TS jack where the 2nd and 3rd pin of the XLR are both connected to the jack's sleeve.

That is a cable you don't want around for anything, but luckily it's pretty uncommon.

If you used that, the output from the compressor patched through whatever input would result in silence.
Name's Luca.

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Last edited by Spambot_2 at Oct 24, 2014,
#3
Quote by Spambot_2
A cable isn't balanced or unbalanced, a signal is, and to carry a mono bal signal you need at least a two cores + shielding cable, so here either a TRS jack or an XLR connector.

If you run an unbalanced signal into an input designed to receive balanced signals you'll simply not benefit from the balancing.

If you run a balanced signal into an unbalanced mono input you simply not benefit from the balancing.

The problems start when patching mono bal outs to stereo unbal ins and vice versa, but you don't seem like you'll be needing that so just use whatever cable you have.
Since I'm guessing your pedals only output mono unbal signals, your amp's front end isn't designed to take bal signals, and your amp's fx loop is mono unbal, you won't benefit from any balancing.

For the thing to work, you gotta patch balanced outs to balanced ins.
If you don't have a bal out AND a bal in to connect the bal out to, then you won't have any benefit from balancing signals.

You can't avoid balancing signals 'cause of bal outs, though simply don't worry about that.
The only wrong cable you could use would be a female XLR to TS jack where the 2nd and 3rd pin of the XLR are both connected to the jack's sleeve.

That is a cable you don't want around for anything, but luckily it's pretty uncommon.

If you used that, the output from the compressor patched through whatever input would result in silence.


Awesome, that's pretty much the answer I was looking for!

So I might as well get unbalanced cables and be done with it?
#4
Quote by staceap
Awesome, that's pretty much the answer I was looking for!

So I might as well get unbalanced cables and be done with it?
So how can you tell if that's the answer you were looking for if you didn't read it?
Quote by Spambot_2
A cable isn't balanced or unbalanced, a signal is
Come on!

If you gotta get or make new cables, get XLR's to TRS's 'cause they give you more options.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
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Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
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#5
So how can you tell if that's the answer you were looking for if you didn't read it?

I was just trying to confirm what I'd surmised from your response which, reading between the lines, told me that it didn't really matter if I was to use cables for "unbalanced" connections. The website I was looking at cables on had "mono" and "balanced line level" cables, so I was trying to weed out the difference while learning something from someone with better knowledge.

Sorry, for someone with a strong vocab, I'm terrible at asking questions in the right way, or even knowing what I'm talking about sometimes! Your help is much appreciated though, methinks I learned something today.
#6

^1/4 inch TRS/Balanced/Stereo


^1/4 inch mono/unbalanced.

Notice the number of black bands on the connector. That's the difference. Most guitars use mono. My taylor's ES system needs a TRS cable. It depends on your gear.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Oct 24, 2014,
#7
^ that's the kinda generalization I wanted to avoid.
They are both 1/4" jack's, the first one is a TRS (tip ring sleeve), the second one is a TS (tip sleeve).
The first one has one conductor more and it's used with two core cables.
That though doesn't imply the first one will be carrying a bal signal or a stereo signal.

Then, a balanced line is a transmission line consisting of two conductors of the same type, each of which have equal impedances along their lengths and equal impedances to ground and to other circuits.
If you wanna know more about that and what you can or can't do refer to the wikipedia article about balanced lines.

In simpler words, a bal line needs two conductors to carry the signal + ground, hence you won't be able to transmit a bal line over a cable with TS jack ends, 'cause it'll only have one core + ground.

To transmit a bal line you would use a cable with TRS jack ends, 'cause there you have two cores + ground, though you might as well transmit a stereo signal, one per core + ground.

So just because you're using a cable with TRS jack ends it doesn't mean it's being used to carry a bal line.
It might as well be carrying a mono unbal signal.

As for the cables, as I wrote before, if you gotta get new stuff get XLR to TRS cables and you'll be fine.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
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Last edited by Spambot_2 at Oct 24, 2014,
#8
Quote by Spambot_2
The only wrong cable you could use would be a female XLR to TS jack where the 2nd and 3rd pin of the XLR are both connected to the jack's sleeve.

That is a cable you don't want around for anything, but luckily it's pretty uncommon.
Do they even exist? Can't imagine why someone would make a cable that shorts the signal wires.
#9
Checked the pinout, and I was thinking about pin 1 and 3, sorry about that
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
#10
Quote by Spambot_2
^ that's the kinda generalization I wanted to avoid.
They are both 1/4" jack's, the first one is a TRS (tip ring sleeve), the second one is a TS (tip sleeve).
The first one has one conductor more and it's used with two core cables.
That though doesn't imply the first one will be carrying a bal signal or a stereo signal.
Obviously. But the cables are referred to that way. A stereo cable, is only stereo if it carries a stereo signal, but you still call it a stereo connector.

They are both 1/4 inch, I for some reason didn't write 1/4 inch on the first one, idk why. I'll change it. The difference is the rings/connections. It's just the cable.

You need the right cable to carry the right signal. That's basic. Cables don't magically change what you're trying to send through it.

So you need the right cable, depending on what your gear wants to use. Which is why the generalization was fine, because if it depends on the gear, then obviously the cable isn't magically changing anything. Otherwise I would have written something like. "TRS is better, so just get TRS, then everything will balanced, which is what you want."
#11
Quote by fingrpikingood
Obviously. But the cables are referred to that way. A stereo cable, is only stereo if it carries a stereo signal, but you still call it a stereo connector.

They are both 1/4 inch, I for some reason didn't write 1/4 inch on the first one, idk why. I'll change it. The difference is the rings/connections. It's just the cable.

You need the right cable to carry the right signal. That's basic. Cables don't magically change what you're trying to send through it.

So you need the right cable, depending on what your gear wants to use. Which is why the generalization was fine, because if it depends on the gear, then obviously the cable isn't magically changing anything. Otherwise I would have written something like. "TRS is better, so just get TRS, then everything will balanced, which is what you want."


Agreed, it's a semantic issue and I think Spambot is missing it. Cables designed to carry balanced signals are generally referred to as balanced cables.

http://www.sweetwater.com/c806--Balanced_Cables

http://www.parts-express.com/cat/1-4-(trs)-balanced-cables/2132

Dozens more available if necessary.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
Last edited by Arby911 at Oct 24, 2014,
#12
Quote by Arby911
Agreed, it's a semantic issue and I think Spambot is missing it. Cables designed to carry balanced signals are generally referred to as balanced cables.

http://www.sweetwater.com/c806--Balanced_Cables

http://www.parts-express.com/cat/1-4-(trs)-balanced-cables/2132

Dozens more available if necessary.


No disrespect to the guy, but I wasn't sure myself for a second if I was missing the point. I appreciate the insight from you guys, always handy to get a couple of different points of view. I'm getting the feeling mono unbalanced cables are all I need going to and from the gate, am I sort of close to correct? Perhaps an mono unbalanced cable going to the gate and a balanced TRS cable from it? I dunno, physics passed me by at school!
#13
The cables I was looking at were;

http://www.swamp.net.au/premium-unbalanced-mic-cable-5m.html
http://www.swamp.net.au/premium-mono-xlr-male-mic-cable-5m.html

and

http://www.swamp.net.au/mic-cable-XLR-female-to-1/4-1m.html
http://www.swamp.net.au/mic-cable-XLR-male-to-1-4-1m.html

I know they're categorised as microphone cables on the site, but an XLR-to-1/4" cable is an XLR-to-1/4" cable, right?

I won't be using a mixer or anything like that, just rack amps and pedals, so no need for line level signal capability, right?
#14
Quote by staceap
I'm getting the feeling mono unbalanced cables are all I need going to and from the gate, am I sort of close to correct? Perhaps an mono unbalanced cable going to the gate and a balanced TRS cable from it
You don't need any "balanced cable" there, 'cause the only stuff that works with bal signals is your compressor, and to benefit from balancing signals you gotta have at least two devices that can work with them.

Then, maybe someday you'll get something else that works with bal audio, and in that case you'll want cables that can carry bal lines, so you may wanna get "balanced cables" right away.
Quote by staceap
The cables I was looking at were;

[links]
Yes them cables would work.
I'd get the latters but you may wanna save up and get the formers if you feel like you'll never add any other piece of equipment that works with bal audio.
Quote by staceap
I know they're categorised as microphone cables on the site, but an XLR-to-1/4" cable is an XLR-to-1/4" cable, right?
In this case yes.
Quote by staceap
I won't be using a mixer or anything like that, just rack amps and pedals, so no need for line level signal capability, right?
The signal coming out of that gate will be line level y' know.
A mono balanced line level.

Them cables are fine though, yeah.
Name's Luca.

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Last edited by Spambot_2 at Oct 26, 2014,
#16
Quote by Spambot_2

Yes them cables would work.
I'd get the latters but you may wanna save up and get the formers if you feel like you'll never add any other piece of equipment that works with bal audio.
Why would he get the latters? If I am reading this right the "latters" have TRS connectors. Despite his original post claiming his equipment has TRS connectors, I'm thinking his equipment has TS connectors and that he should get the "formers", which are XLR to TS.
#17
Quote by fly135
Why would he get the latters? If I am reading this right the "latters" have TRS connectors. Despite his original post claiming his equipment has TRS connectors, I'm thinking his equipment has TS connectors and that he should get the "formers", which are XLR to TS.


I didn't really understand the difference between TRS and TS cables until a few posts ago, so I've sort of come to the understanding I don't actually need TRS.
#18
^ TS and TRS are the connectors, not the cables.
Quote by fly135
Why would he get the latters?
Again, 'cause maybe in the future he may decide to add another piece of equipment that works with bal audio, and if he got the latters he wouldn't have to buy new cables.

Also, in my experience, more options are good.

Though, again, he might as well get the formers if he feels he'll not add anything else working with bal audio to his setup.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
#19
Quote by staceap
I didn't really understand the difference between TRS and TS cables until a few posts ago, so I've sort of come to the understanding I don't actually need TRS.


It's not bad to have one though. That way if somebody shows up with gear that needs it, you're good to go.