Balanced/unbalanced and stereo- what does it all mean?

Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews Forums Technique Sound Balanced/unbalanced and stereo- what does it all mean?

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    • #41339
      Chris
      Participant

      Balanced basically means that there are three wires in the cable. One is a positive voltage, another is a negative voltage (the same voltage, but negative), and the third is a ground. Transformers on the ends of the cable convert this into the ‘normal’ signal. The design of this is to be able to make longer cable runs because it is less suseptable to noise and interferrence.

      Unbalanced is simply your audio signal and a ground, which is a lot easier to have noise introduced to the signal. If your cable run is less than 10 feet, an unbalanced cable should be fine.

    • #175608
      Chris
      Participant

      I’m confused by the term "balanced" in microphone terminology. At first I thought it meant a stereo microphone. Now it’s obvious from reading that it is not.

      I use an AT 822 mic (stereo) with an XLR-to-1/8" adapter. When I record to MiniDV, I get a stereo track. I also get this using the same setup into my Mac soundcard. I thought it was the XLR that was stereo- but it’s the adapter.

      So, can anyone out there explain what exactly "balanced" means, and why it’s a big deal?

      Also, if I want to record to a cam like the Canon XL2, do I need a Y adapter to two XLRs to get my stereo?

      Thanks in advance.

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