3.5mm to balanced/unbalanced XLR or TRS ?

Regev

Regev

Enthusiast
Hi,

I'm connecting between a Google Pixel 4a (with Tidal HiFi Plus music app) and a single RCF Evox 8 active column. Would it be best to connect them with a 3.5 to XLR cable, or 3.5 to TRS? And Balanced or Unbalanced?
 
Last edited:
KenM10759

KenM10759

Audioholic Samurai
What is an RCF Evox 8 active column? I have never encountered the term before.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
Hi,

I'm connecting between a Google Pixel 4a (with Tidal HiFi Plus music app) and a single RCF Evox 8 active column. Would it be best to connect them with a 3.5 to XLR cable, or 3.5 to TRS? And Balanced or Unbalanced?
Don't overthink it. It won't sound better just because an XLR might be used, so pick one that fits without stacking adapters.

I think this is designed to be fed by a mixer of some kind and if you don't plan to use a mixer, you'll also need to sum the right and left channels from the output of the phone and no, you don't want to just use a Y cord.
 
jinjuku

jinjuku

Moderator
Hi,

I'm connecting between a Google Pixel 4a (with Tidal HiFi Plus music app) and a single RCF Evox 8 active column. Would it be best to connect them with a 3.5 to XLR cable, or 3.5 to TRS? And Balanced or Unbalanced?
The phone most likely doesn't have balance out. So you will never get a balanced connection.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
The phone most likely doesn't have balance out. So you will never get a balanced connection.
agreed. the phone doesn't have balanced out. getting a balanced cable would be pointless even if you could find such a beast. 3.5mm to stereo TSR should be fairly easy to find, I recommend making sure it's shielded cable.
If you still having issues with lots of hiss/noise - get one of these:
 
Regev

Regev

Enthusiast
Thanks guys!

I did find a 3.5mm to XLR (both balanced or unbalanced) and a balanced 3.5mm to TSR.

Let me understand it correctly please:

1) "I think this is designed to be fed by a mixer of some kind and if you don't plan to use a mixer, you'll also need to sum the right and left channels from the output of the phone and no, you don't want to just use a Y cord."

- Doesn't an unbalanced cable naturally Mono, ie combining L and R into one ?

2) Don't I *want* a Mono output rather than Stereo, since I only have one single unit of Evox ?

3) If I'm stuck with unbalanced, will it still sound better than streaming through a Logitech Bluetooth receiver?

4) Does TLS risk the Evox in any way (compared to XLR) due to grounding, etc issues ?
 
Regev

Regev

Enthusiast
What do you mean sum to Mono? Doesn't an Unbalanced cable natively output Mono?

And the phone has just one socket (3.5mm), doesnt it output to Mono if connected to a single XLR or TSL ?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
What do you mean sum to Mono? Doesn't an Unbalanced cable natively output Mono?

And the phone has just one socket (3.5mm), doesnt it output to Mono if connected to a single XLR or TSL ?
If you have a stereo signal and want mono, you'll need to sum the stereo to mono.....read the article about how a splitter used in reverse isn't the right tool. Some pre-amps/receivers can sum a signal to mono, doubt a phone would have that option, but possible.
 
Regev

Regev

Enthusiast
Wait a second - currently I'm streaming music with a gigantic unbalanced 25ft cable with 3.5mm on one end (Phone) and XLR Male on the other end (the Evox). I never knew I had to sum the signals. Am I missing out on anything with this setup? Only reason I'm looking for a new cable is because I feel it is way too long for that 5ft distance from the phone to the Evox. I bought the cable to connect the Evox to the projector when I move everything out to the balcony. It's this cable:


It says:

Unbalanced 3.5mm Mini Jack to XLR Cable
Ideal cable for interconnecting most devices with 3.5mm mini jack to a mixing console or powered speakers with XLR input.
  • Combine the 2 stereo channels from a phone, voice recorder or other device into a mono signal.
  • The step-down design of the 3.5mm connector provides connection to recessed ports.
 
Regev

Regev

Enthusiast
I also found this unbalanced 1.5m XLR to 3.5mm cable for a decent price:


Look what it says:

"This is the Unbalanced cable, which combines the left and right stereo to the mono input, the L/R channels that soldered together, making the mono signal to XLR Pin 2, the XLR Pin 1 and Pin 3 which shorted to ground, not the balanced cable"

and for the same price and length theres this 3.5 to TSL cable:

 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Not familiar with those, thought you were using a more traditional y/splitter in reverse as many do....seems to me there are still potential issues above my paygrade with the cable setup like that, seems you need resistors as well....
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
Let me understand it correctly please:

1) "I think this is designed to be fed by a mixer of some kind and if you don't plan to use a mixer, you'll also need to sum the right and left channels from the output of the phone and no, you don't want to just use a Y cord."

- Doesn't an unbalanced cable naturally Mono, ie combining L and R into one ?

2) Don't I *want* a Mono output rather than Stereo, since I only have one single unit of Evox ?

3) If I'm stuck with unbalanced, will it still sound better than streaming through a Logitech Bluetooth receiver?

4) Does TLS risk the Evox in any way (compared to XLR) due to grounding, etc issues ?
1) No, a Y cord connects the left and right positive signals and in some cases, that can damage the source device- it's not made to connect the channels without some kind of added resistance.

This link has everything you could possibly need to know about this- look for an article titled 'Why Not Wye?', specifically.

2) You don't have a choice if you only have one speaker- they're not stereo.

3) Unbalanced sounds fine- literally no different from balanced. Balanced is used for long cable runs that would cause voltage drop and introduce noise, not because it has any inherent benefit over unbalanced WRT frequency response although the noise level can be a bit lower with balanced. Unless you operate this speaker at very high SPL, you shouldn't hear a lot of noise but in reality, a better source would help.

4) You mean TRS, right? No, there's no risk to the speaker unless you connect something with higher voltage on the signal and by higher voltage, I mean phantom power for a mic, not just higher signal level. There is no problem with grounding or anything else.

WRT the Logitech BT receiver- better ones are out there. I have one of those and it's OK, but it's only being used because I replaced it with a Miccus BT receiver and that's definitely a step up. The range is also far better and it sells on Amazon for $50.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
1) No, a Y cord connects the left and right positive signals and in some cases, that can damage the source device- it's not made to connect the channels without some kind of added resistance.

This link has everything you could possibly need to know about this- look for an article titled 'Why Not Wye?', specifically.

2) You don't have a choice if you only have one speaker- they're not stereo.

3) Unbalanced sounds fine- literally no different from balanced. Balanced is used for long cable runs that would cause voltage drop and introduce noise, not because it has any inherent benefit over unbalanced WRT frequency response although the noise level can be a bit lower with balanced. Unless you operate this speaker at very high SPL, you shouldn't hear a lot of noise but in reality, a better source would help.

4) You mean TRS, right? No, there's no risk to the speaker unless you connect something with higher voltage on the signal and by higher voltage, I mean phantom power for a mic, not just higher signal level. There is no problem with grounding or anything else.

WRT the Logitech BT receiver- better ones are out there. I have one of those and it's OK, but it's only being used because I replaced it with a Miccus BT receiver and that's definitely a step up. The range is also far better and it sells on Amazon for $50.
I linked the Rane Why not Wye article in post 9.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
I linked the Rane Why not Wye article in post 9.
I couldn't find it before- usually, I just type 'Why Not Wye?" in the search bar and it shows up but not today. I didn't see your post with it but it should be made easier to find on AH.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
I couldn't find it before- usually, I just type 'Why Not Wye?" in the search bar and it shows up but not today. I didn't see your post with it but it should be made easier to find on AH.
That's how I always search for it, don't have it bookmarked....but the search bar in AH sucks.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
What do you mean sum to Mono? Doesn't an Unbalanced cable natively output Mono?

And the phone has just one socket (3.5mm), doesnt it output to Mono if connected to a single XLR or TSL ?
A TRS cable can send/receive a stereo signal- the Tip=Left +, Ring=Right + and Sleeve= Common -. RCA and two conductor plugs can't conduct stereo, only mono.

Look at the pin configuration on the back of your speaker- Pin 1=ground, Pin 2= Hot, Pin 3=Cold/inverted audio signal. True balanced provides higher output because the voltage from Pin 2 and Pin 3 are opposite polarity/phase and it's the difference in voltage that causes this. Also, balanced cables have a pair of conductors that are twisted around each other, which provides Common Mode Noise Reduction. These two wires usually have foil wrapped around them which provides more shielding and the loose wire(s) that are included acts as the ground/bond between the equipment at each end. In some cases, you might hear hum and that's the reason you'll see a 'Lift' switch on some equipment (you shouldn't hear it with the phone as the source).
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
That's how I always search for it, don't have it bookmarked....but the search bar in AH sucks.
Also, I was replying to the OP's post, so I wasn't reading all of the other responses.

I just entered 'Rane Why Not Wye?' in the AH search bar and it showed up at the bottom.
 
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