What would you prefer, balanced mic or unbalanced line? at DVinfo.net

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Old December 28th, 2005, 11:56 AM   #1
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What would you prefer, balanced mic or unbalanced line?

I have a choice for a 20ft cable run

A Use balanced mic into XLR mic inputs

B Use unbalanced line into line inputs (from a premix)

is there any difference (noise wise/ transmission loss) and what would you choose and why?
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Old December 28th, 2005, 12:00 PM   #2
 
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Why not use a balanced line into XLR inputs from the pre-mix?

Same setup as your unbalanced run, but using lineout rather than the mic on the end.
And you'd have the best possible audio, assuming that the mics feeding the desk are properly placed and leveled.
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Old December 28th, 2005, 12:04 PM   #3
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Hi


Agreed; that would be best but its not my gig so I only have choice A or B assuming preamps at either end are similar?
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Old December 28th, 2005, 12:11 PM   #4
 
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Now I'm confused. No way will a camera pre be the same as a mix desk, and no way will line out be the same as the cam line in.

Since you only have a choice, assuming again that the mix and mic placement is proper, I'd likely risk the unbalanced lines coming from the desk.

Still yet, I'd find a way to make those lines balanced. Any director or sound guy that won't allow you to convert short unbalanced to balanced for a longer run isn't worth working for, IMO. That would suggest they're not interested in great audio, and will blame you for any problems that might arise due to their lack of willingness to give you what you need.

It's like demanding a mechanic tune your carb, but won't allow him to use a screwdriver.
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Old December 28th, 2005, 12:20 PM   #5
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yes yes and yes but its their audio and their gig


but I agree with the temptation to take the unbalanced line, so the confirmation is sort of comforting; thanks for speedy reply
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Old December 28th, 2005, 02:53 PM   #6
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I would make certain you have the equipment, adapters, and cables to run it several different ways. The choice you make during prep and theorizing can always turn out to have a problem once you get on-site and having an alternative with you can save the day.
You're more familiar with the exact components involved and their connectors, but some universal items that are inexpensive and will always be handy are a couple of passive direct boxes with switchable attenuation and ground lift, some RCA/TS Phone adapters in both genders, XLR/TRS cables in both genders of XLR, XLR to unbalanced adapters in both genders, Mini TRS to 2x RCA male cables (as well as the same in 2xTS Phone), high quality low-impedence TS to TS cables, high quality quad-wired XLR to XLR cables, video-grade RCA to RCA cables that can be used for either video or audio, RCA to BNC adapters in both genders, high-quality Mini TRS to Mini TRS cables, high quality TRS Phone to TRS Phone cables, and switchable XLR attenuators like those from AT or Shure.
Sensitive low-impedence sealed headphones, with both mini and 1/4-inch connectors are also important for helping you detect problems like hums, buzzes and low frequency rumbles.
A little more expensive but very handy is the two-channel Ebtech Hum Eliminator that can create a variety of connections both balanced or unbalanced in any combination as well as breaking ground loop hums.
It's also nice to have your own heavy-gauge grounded power cables for 25 to 50 foot runs.
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Old December 29th, 2005, 09:17 AM   #7
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Thanks Douglas & Jay

Footnote

Everything went well ; good job I had a 1/4" to 1/8" right angle stereo changer lead and plenty of gaffer tape to secure it to the cam
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