• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

How to convert a XLR - TRS cable to RCA - TRS cable?

PaperBoat

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2022
Messages
87
Likes
12
How can I convert this ↓
XLR to TRS.jpeg


TO THIS ↓
RCA to TRS.jpg



I have them ↓ and necessary soldering equipments...
RCA.jpeg
 

sergeauckland

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
2,985
Likes
7,631
Location
Suffolk UK
Just cut off the XLR and resolder the wires as follows:-

Tip of jack to inner of RCA
Ring of Jack left unconnected.
Sleeve of Jack to ground of RCA.

However, this will only work if the jack is an output, i.e. RCA is an input, based on the XLR being male.

It will also only work if the jack output is electronically (or transformer) balanced centre-tapped. If fully floating (either electronically or transformer) then connect the jack ring to RCA ground.

If the RCA is an output, then connect the ring of jack to ground.

S.
 
OP
PaperBoat

PaperBoat

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2022
Messages
87
Likes
12
Just cut off the XLR and resolder the wires as follows:-

Tip of jack to inner of RCA
Ring of Jack left unconnected.
Sleeve of Jack to ground of RCA.

However, this will only work if the jack is an output, i.e. RCA is an input, based on the XLR being male.

It will also only work if the jack output is electronically (or transformer) balanced centre-tapped. If fully floating (either electronically or transformer) then connect the jack ring to RCA ground.

If the RCA is an output, then connect the ring of jack to ground.

S.


I want to connect my iFi Zen Air ↓
images (1).jpeg


TO MY TWO JBL 305s... ↓
images (2).jpeg



But I have a pair of TRS TO XLR cables... ↓
61BFKd1YyOL.jpg



What should I do now?
 

sergeauckland

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
2,985
Likes
7,631
Location
Suffolk UK
So, you're going from the RCA outputs of your DAC to the XLR inputs of your 'speakers.

Therefore cut off the jack, and wire as per above, as follows:

XLR pin 1 to RCA ground
XLR pin 2 to RCA inner
XLR pin 3 to RCA ground.

That should work perfectly.

If you don't have a multimeter to check what terminal of the XLR goes to what colour wire, I suggest you open up the XLR (just unscrew the cable grip and slide the inner out), that will show you what the cable colours are, and which colour goes to what terminal.

S.
 
OP
PaperBoat

PaperBoat

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2022
Messages
87
Likes
12
So, you're going from the RCA outputs of your DAC to the XLR inputs of your 'speakers.

Therefore cut off the jack, and wire as per above, as follows:

XLR pin 1 to RCA ground
XLR pin 2 to RCA inner
XLR pin 3 to RCA ground.

That should work perfectly.

If you don't have a multimeter to check what terminal of the XLR goes to what colour wire, I suggest you open up the XLR (just unscrew the cable grip and slide the inner out), that will show you what the cable colours are, and which colour goes to what terminal.

S.
Nope... The JBL speakers can only accept unbalanced connection to their 6.35mm TRS Jack... So I'm trying to connect my dac's RCA to JBL's TRS...

Should I follow up this diagram? ↓
images.png

(TRS tip to RCA tip / TRS ring and sleeve to RCA sleeve?)
 
Last edited:

sergeauckland

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
2,985
Likes
7,631
Location
Suffolk UK
Nope... The JBL speakers can only accept unbalanced connection to their 6.35mm TRS Jack... So I'm trying to connect my dac's RCA to JBL's TRS...

Should I follow up this diagram? ↓
View attachment 217371
(TRS tip to RCA tip / TRS ring and sleeve to RCA sleeve?)
Those two drawings are exactly the same electrically. The first one assumes that the cable is balanced, as you have, and the second assumes the cable is unbalanced. Electrically, there's no difference.

As to the JBL 'speakers only accepting an unbalanced connection to the TRS jack, that's just wrong, as it has no way of knowing whether the XLR is being fed from a balanced or unbalanced source. However, if you want to use the TRS input, then connect as follows:-

Remove the XLR, and connect:-
TRS sleeve to RCA ground
TRS ring to RCA ground
TRS tip to RCA centre

S
 

AdamG247

Coadjutor Miscreant and general Scalawag
Moderator
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
2,996
Likes
7,885
OP
PaperBoat

PaperBoat

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2022
Messages
87
Likes
12
Those two drawings are exactly the same electrically. The first one assumes that the cable is balanced, as you have, and the second assumes the cable is unbalanced. Electrically, there's no difference.

As to the JBL 'speakers only accepting an unbalanced connection to the TRS jack, that's just wrong, as it has no way of knowing whether the XLR is being fed from a balanced or unbalanced source. However, if you want to use the TRS input, then connect as follows:-

Remove the XLR, and connect:-
TRS sleeve to RCA ground
TRS ring to RCA ground
TRS tip to RCA centre

S
Thanks for clarifying... I want to use the JBL's TRS input because JBL 305 manual telling this ↓
Screenshot_2022-07-09-22-53-00-47.png
 
Last edited:

AdamG247

Coadjutor Miscreant and general Scalawag
Moderator
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
2,996
Likes
7,885

sergeauckland

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
2,985
Likes
7,631
Location
Suffolk UK
Thanks for clarifying... I want to use the JBL's TRS input because JBL 305 manual telling this ↓
View attachment 217376
Exactly this. There's nothing that says that the XLR input can't support an unbalanced source. It's just that jacks are available as TRS (balanced mono or unbalanced stereo ) and TS (mono unbalanced) so whichever you plug into the TRS input will work. An XLR used unbalanced as you want to do has to be wired as I've specified above.

S
 
OP
PaperBoat

PaperBoat

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2022
Messages
87
Likes
12
Exactly this. There's nothing that says that the XLR input can't support an unbalanced source. It's just that jacks are available as TRS (balanced mono or unbalanced stereo ) and TS (mono unbalanced) so whichever you plug into the TRS input will work. An XLR used unbalanced as you want to do has to be wired as I've specified above.

S
So I can go with JBL's XLR regardless balanced/ unbalanced?
 

edechamps

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
Messages
856
Likes
3,259
Location
London, United Kingdom

This appears to be an XLR to 2xRCA Y splitter, the uses of it would be quite… niche. I'm surprised that kind of cable even exists. It is not applicable to OP's problem.

So I can go with JBL's XLR regardless balanced/ unbalanced?

Yes. The JBL 305P TRS and XLR inputs supports both unbalanced and balanced connections, as is typically the case.

That said…

connect:-
TRS sleeve to RCA ground
TRS ring to RCA ground
TRS tip to RCA centre

I would not do this. I would leave the TRS sleeve (or XLR pin 1), i.e. the shield, disconnected from the RCA ground (i.e. left floating). Otherwise you're very likely to get ground loop issues. See in particular the Rane interconnection note (probably the best reference on this topic), in particular solutions 17 and 18.
 
Last edited:

sergeauckland

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
2,985
Likes
7,631
Location
Suffolk UK
Yes. The JBL 305P TRS and XLR inputs supports both unbalanced and balanced connections, as is typically the case.

That said…



I would not do this. I would leave the TRS sleeve (or XLR pin 1), i.e. the shield, disconnected from the RCA ground (i.e. left floating). Otherwise you're very likely to get ground loop issues. See in particular the Rane interconnection note (probably the best reference on this topic), in particular solutions 17 and 18.
I do the opposite. I ground everything and only start disconnecting signal grounds if I get hum, which is rare. In fact, if I get hum then I use a transformer isolator to prove the point before starting to mess around with lifting screens.

S
 
OP
PaperBoat

PaperBoat

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2022
Messages
87
Likes
12
I would not do this. I would leave the TRS sleeve (or XLR pin 1), i.e. the shield, disconnected from the RCA ground (i.e. left floating). Otherwise you're very likely to get ground loop issues. See in particular the Rane interconnection note (probably the best reference on this topic), in particular solutions 17 and 18.

If TS shield connects to RCA shield (see RANE 19) then why not TRS shield connects to RCA shield (RANE 18)? ↓
Screenshot_2022-07-09-23-28-42-47.png
 

edechamps

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
Messages
856
Likes
3,259
Location
London, United Kingdom
If TS shield connects to RCA shield (see RANE 19) then why not TRS shield connects to RCA shield (RANE 18)?

A TS input is an unbalanced input. In unbalanced interconnection, the signal is defined by the voltage between the ground/shield and the other conductor.

A TRS input is a balanced input. In balanced interconnection, the signal is defined by the voltage between the "cold" and "hot" conductors. There is a third ground/shield conductor, but it is only used to protect the system against interference and is NOT used to carry the signal.

An RCA output is an unbalanced output, so it only has two conductors and the voltage between them defines the signal. Since a balanced input expects the signal between cold and hot, it makes sense to connect the two unbalanced output conductors to the cold and hot balanced input connectors - conventionally, RCA sleeve to cold and RCA tip to hot (though the opposite would likely also work).

So, now that we know what to do with the balanced cold and hot, what about the balanced ground/shield? Well you have two choices, which are both valid but have implications regarding noise performance. You can tie the ground and the cold together (preferably as close as possible to the unbalanced output), as @sergeauckland suggests. This grounds the shield end-to-end, improving resistance from outside interference. In particular it prevents the cable from acting like an antenna. But it also invites ground loops since the signal path is now tied to the balanced equipment chassis ground (and from there to the mains earth if the equipment is class I etc.). The alternative is to leave the shield connected only to the balanced input ground but leave it disconnected (floating) from the unbalanced output. Depending on which method you choose you will attract noise from different sources, so it really depends on your particular situation and there is no universal answer. In my experience I often get noisy ground loops if I connect the shield to the unbalanced output ground (especially if the source is a PC) so I tend to leave it disconnected, and @sergeauckland apparently has the opposite experience.
 
Last edited:

sergeauckland

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
2,985
Likes
7,631
Location
Suffolk UK
The reason for leaving the shield unconnected as in18 is to avoid the possibility of a hum loop between items. However, in my experience hum loops are rare, although certainly can happen. Best to connect the grounds and only start thinking about lifting shields if hum happens. As I said, not that common.

S
 
Top Bottom