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RCA vs. XLR

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January 19, 2005 7:22:53 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Hi there. I was just wondering what made XLR terminated cables cost so much
more than RCA terminated ones. Is there a difference in terms of connection
or sound quality?

Thanks

Jade (Newbie)

More about : rca xlr

January 20, 2005 3:46:56 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Jade wrote:
> Hi there. I was just wondering what made XLR terminated cables cost
> so much more than RCA terminated ones. Is there a difference in terms
> of connection or sound quality?

Just have a look at the plugs, so much more weight and material, a cheap RCA
connector costs under a buck, whereas XLRs are 4-6$. And the cable is
balanced with two independent lines in it and much more solid, you can even
step on it. So I would say the manufacturing costs of a 6' cable are around
6-10 times higher.
The connection is much more reliable, the connector is locking and can be
unswitched thousands of times unlike a RCA plug. You also have male and
female connectors depending on out/in.
Sound quality is the same, but you need professional gear which is equipped
with the appropriate receptacles.

--
ciao Ban
Bordighera, Italy
Anonymous
January 20, 2005 3:48:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Jade wrote:
> Hi there. I was just wondering what made XLR terminated cables cost so much
> more than RCA terminated ones. Is there a difference in terms of connection
> or sound quality?

XLR cables are most often used in balanced systems, using three
conductors as opposed to two in an unbalanced RCA cable. Two of these
carry the signal in differential form (one line is a mirror image of the
other): the shield is just for shielding and does not carry any signal.

XLR connectors will cost more than RCA connectors for the same
materials: the construction is more complex and there's more material in
the connectors. The cable will also cost more due to the extra connector.

However, you're probably looking at "audiophile" cables. Only top-end
domestic hi-fis use balanced lines, and owners of such systems often
have more money than sense when it comes to buying cables.

Most pro audio installations (PA etc) use balanced lines to guard
against the hostile environment (high levels of EMI from lighting
dimmers etc) and to cut out ground loops (the mixing console may be on a
different circuit to the source electronics).

If you need an XLR cable, I'd go with a standard microphone cable or PA
patch cable. Most of the music on your CD started its journey from the
singer to you down one of those, so it may as well finish the same way! :-)

--
Mark.
http://tranchant.plus.com/
Related resources
Anonymous
January 20, 2005 3:50:14 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"Jade" <jadefro@shaw.ca> wrote in message
news:csknat0h6u@news3.newsguy.com...
> Hi there. I was just wondering what made XLR terminated cables cost so
> much
> more than RCA terminated ones. Is there a difference in terms of
> connection
> or sound quality?

Have you ever looked at an XLR terminated cable? That should answer your
question.

Norm
Anonymous
January 21, 2005 10:16:41 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Just checked the Musicians Friend catalog -- a single 20-foot XLR cable
for $2.99, though you would have to buy two for stereo. Given the
rigors of home use, this cable would probably last forever.
Nonetheless, an RCA cable is still cheaper.

The other difference in cost may be the cable itself -- while most
musicians don't buy into the cable mystique, ruggedness and flexibility
are important. Also, a cable used for live performance has to be free
of microphonics when you step on it.

Happy to report that Monster Cable sells two different cables for
electric bass, depending on whether you play rock or jazz. Since I play
in a "variety" band, does it mean I should change cables in between
songs? ;-)

Jade wrote:
> Hi there. I was just wondering what made XLR terminated cables cost
so much
> more than RCA terminated ones. Is there a difference in terms of
connection
> or sound quality?
>
> Thanks
>
> Jade (Newbie)
!