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Author Topic: Microphone 1/4" output to line input?  (Read 3746 times)

Ian Batchelder

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Microphone 1/4" output to line input?
« on: March 20, 2013, 11:22:18 am »

Hi!  This looks like THE place to go for expert answers, so here goes, my first post.  I did try to search for this and couldn't find the right terms to get to answer my question.  If I've missed the answer, my apologies.

I'm purchasing two Sure PG88 dual receivers, on different bands for a total of three lavalieres, and one handheld.  My audio mixer isn't able to support that many XLR inputs, but I do have available line inputs.

The Sure system has XLR & 1/4 outputs.  Will I be able to get reasonable sound quality using the 1/4" out into the Line inputs on my mixer?  If that's not a problem, is there any reason I should instead go with XLR to Line cables?

The cable length will be under three feet, more likely one foot.

This audio is routing into a webcast appliance which itself is a considerable audio quality bottleneck, so I'm not in need of phenomenal sound quality - good is fine.

Go easy on me - thanks  ;)

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Lee Douglas

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Re: Microphone 1/4" output to line input?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2013, 11:48:14 am »

Short and general answer, yes.  For a more comprehensive and complete answer, what mixer are you using?
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Corey Scogin

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Re: Microphone 1/4" output to line input?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2013, 11:49:32 am »

The Sure system has XLR & 1/4 outputs.  Will I be able to get reasonable sound quality using the 1/4" out into the Line inputs on my mixer?  If that's not a problem, is there any reason I should instead go with XLR to Line cables?

It should make no difference whether you are using XLR or 1/4" cables.

I couldn't find whether or not the 1/4" output on that unit is balanced but make sure you get balanced 1/4" cables anyway (TRS type - Tip Ring Sleeve) not unbalanced (TS).  Even if that output is unbalanced, it shouldn't matter running that short of a length.


***EDIT***
On closer examination, the 1/4" outputs on that unit are unbalanced.  Use the XLR if possible but if not, the 1/4" should work fine but it will just be more susceptible to noise.

« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 11:53:12 am by Corey Scogin »
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Ian Batchelder

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Re: Microphone 1/4" output to line input?
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2013, 12:15:27 pm »

I seem to be struggling to reply to these posts, so I'll just cut all the long-winded ness and simply say thank you :)

Now, If I can get the verification right this time (I think I'll copy the text for good measure too ;) )
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Christopher Young

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Re: Microphone 1/4" output to line input?
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2013, 01:26:41 pm »

With all due respect Corey, I have to disagree.  He's running line in to his mixer (unbal) so the best output from the receiver would be the 1/4" (unbal) and not the XLR.  But, probably either will do fine.

It should make no difference whether you are using XLR or 1/4" cables.

I couldn't find whether or not the 1/4" output on that unit is balanced but make sure you get balanced 1/4" cables anyway (TRS type - Tip Ring Sleeve) not unbalanced (TS).  Even if that output is unbalanced, it shouldn't matter running that short of a length.


***EDIT***
On closer examination, the 1/4" outputs on that unit are unbalanced.  Use the XLR if possible but if not, the 1/4" should work fine but it will just be more susceptible to noise.
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Rob Spence

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Microphone 1/4" output to line input?
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2013, 02:04:01 pm »

With all due respect Corey, I have to disagree.  He's running line in to his mixer (unbal) so the best output from the receiver would be the 1/4" (unbal) and not the XLR.  But, probably either will do fine.

Most mixers I have used have balanced inputs even on the 1/4" line in.
Other 1/4" inputs like inserts or perhaps aux returns might not be.

I would use a XLR to TRS cable though for 3' even a TS cable should do it.


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Corey Scogin

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Re: Microphone 1/4" output to line input?
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2013, 02:38:40 pm »

Most mixers I have used have balanced inputs even on the 1/4" line in.
Other 1/4" inputs like inserts or perhaps aux returns might not be.

I would use a XLR to TRS cable though for 3' even a TS cable should do it.

Rob, thanks for clearing that up.

I was going to suggest the XLR to TRS also except the signal levels are different for the XLR output vs the 1/4" output of the PG88.  The XLR out is at -19 dBV (-17 dBu) and the 1/4" is at -5 dBV (-3 dBu).  The 1/4" would give a hotter signal for the line input on the mixer.

Simple questions / complex answers.  I guess that's the nature of tech.

Sometimes I wish there was a system for marking the best answer to a question post.
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Christopher Young

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Re: Microphone 1/4" output to line input?
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2013, 08:55:30 am »

Right you are, my apologies. :P  I had it in my head he was running into unbalanced inputs on the mixer, not sure where I got that reading back through the posts.  For sure balanced all the way is the way to go!


Rob, thanks for clearing that up.

I was going to suggest the XLR to TRS also except the signal levels are different for the XLR output vs the 1/4" output of the PG88.  The XLR out is at -19 dBV (-17 dBu) and the 1/4" is at -5 dBV (-3 dBu).  The 1/4" would give a hotter signal for the line input on the mixer.

Simple questions / complex answers.  I guess that's the nature of tech.

Sometimes I wish there was a system for marking the best answer to a question post.
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Brad Weber

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Re: Microphone 1/4" output to line input?
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2013, 01:01:35 pm »

Right you are, my apologies. :P  I had it in my head he was running into unbalanced inputs on the mixer, not sure where I got that reading back through the posts.  For sure balanced all the way is the way to go!
Back to Lee's original response, since we don't seem to yet know the mixer involved or what 'line inputs' are being referenced I don't think we know if the inputs are balanced or unbalanced or even if they are 1/4". 
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Tim Padrick

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Re: Microphone 1/4" output to line input?
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2013, 08:19:41 pm »

Bloody hell - all this back and forth for nothing.  Given the short cable lengths involved, it does not matter whether the 1/4" input is balanced or not.  The inserts on most consoles are unbalanced, and they work just fine don't they?
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