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Old March 8th, 2007, 05:44 PM   #1
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XLR Cable wiring question

Hey everyone, I have a quick question regarding some XLR cables I purchased.

I have several Male to Female 8" right angle XLR cables and I can't get any of them to work with my RODE NTG-2 mic using phantom power. However, if I throw a battery in the RODE and turn off phantom power, the cables work fine.

I noticed that the cable on these said "professional low-noise speaker cable" so I opened up the connector on one end to see if it was shielded at all. There are only two wires in the cable with the red connected to pin 2 and the black connected to pin 3. Pin 1 is jumpered to pin 3 (the black wire).

Now, I am by no means a pro when it comes to audio but should pin 3 and 1 be jumpered like they are? I thought each pin would have it's own dedicated wire. Is this why phantom power is not working? Are these wires pure crap or am I missing something? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Old March 8th, 2007, 05:54 PM   #2
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Yes, the cable is mis-wired. If you cut the cable and peel back the layers you should have two cables (some brands have four) in rubber and one cable that's not covered at all, it's just twisted wire. The two cables in rubber go to pins 2 and 3. The single cable that's not shielded is the ground cable and it connects to pin 1. Pin 1 should be jumpered to the connector ground, not pin 3. Try that and it should get you going.

Ben
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Old March 8th, 2007, 05:58 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply Ben. I peeled the wire back a little but there are only two insulated wires. I'm assuming that since they used a speaker wire for this, that's all I'm going to find. There is no third wire for ground. You get what you pay for I guess. I may just go grab some wire at Radio Shmack and put the proper stuff in.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 07:08 PM   #4
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Streo wires for xlr cable? That's a good one. Yes, radio shack would be a good option. Maybe even just buy a 15ft xlr from them and cut it down to the length you need replacing the radio shack end with the 90 degree end.

Good luck!

Ben
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Old March 9th, 2007, 04:53 AM   #5
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Doesn't sound like you have shielded cable there are all. Order some of the good stuff from Full Compass, Markertek, et all. Look for shielded mic cable from brands such as Canare or Mogami. Quad cable is the best stuff but for short runs conventional cable is just fine.
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Old March 9th, 2007, 11:08 AM   #6
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Yeah, I'm just going to grab some mic cable at Radio Shack locally. These things are so short that I don't need anything high-end. The seller refunded my money for selling me speaker cable with XLR ends so I'll go get some mic cable later today and switch them out... mmmm I love the smell of solder :)

Thanks for all of the info. It's nice to confirm that I'm not entirely crazy.
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Old March 9th, 2007, 01:44 PM   #7
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Hopefully whatever was supplying your phantom power isn't already toast - connecting pin one to pin three of an XLR would short the phantom power to ground. Depending on how well-designed your phantom power circuit is, it may have decided to "let the smoke out" during this experiment - I hope I'm wrong, but be aware that if your device doesn't work with phantom any more this may be why... Steve
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Old March 9th, 2007, 01:52 PM   #8
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I was afraid of that myself when I opened up the connection and saw how it was wired. Thankfully my phantom power still works.
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Old March 9th, 2007, 02:44 PM   #9
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Really glad to hear that - hope you've scratched that place off your "go to" list... Steve
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Old March 9th, 2007, 02:56 PM   #10
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Yup. And I recommended they pull those cables from sale before they have a customer who ends up trashing expensive equipment. I should have just bought the connectors and cable myself in the first place and built my own... it's more fun anyway :)
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Old March 10th, 2007, 11:25 AM   #11
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Noticed on one of the web pages that there's no particular consensus when using XLR as "speaker" connections. I guess I'd better check for a "mic cable" rather than "speaker cable" label next time I buy. Thanks for the tip.
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Old March 11th, 2007, 12:45 PM   #12
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Depends a lot on whether the speakers are powered or not.

If they are NOT powered, you're actually feeding electricity from a power amp to a speaker, like an old, traditional stereo system with a power amp and speakers. That's usually 2 conductor, no shield.

There are a lot of powered monitors on the market. They usually take a balanced XLR line level or mic level input. In that scenario, you want to use a standard two conductor with shield cable with XLRs (sometimes a TRS) on each end.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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