Audio For Video, XLR Cable Adapters

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      As anyone who has served time doing field production knows there is the theoretical or kosher way to do something and then there is the real world.


      In the theoretical (book learnt) world, every output you wish to connect to would be a balanced XLR male connector waiting for your cable, but in the real world, that connection can be almost anything imaginable, though some of the most common outputs being via RCA and 1/8 aka 3.5 mm or 1/4 inch TRS connectors.


      As such, a wise audio guy always has a bag of adapters on hand, this however has a down side and that is the rule of missing devices, which states the more adapters one owns the greater the chance of the one adapter being needed and needed right now, will come up missing.


      The solution is to carefully balance the number of adapters in the bag against the possible combinations needing to be adapted and this is where a connector made by Neutrik reduces that part count by two, yes I know that is a small number, but it is a beginning.


      So with no further ado, I introduce the Neutrik NC3FM unisex XLR connector.



      With two of these connectors and a hank of Belden 8412 microphone cable I was able to build three heavy duty source to recorder cables into one cable.


      The standard male to female XLR pigtail.



      A male to male XLR pigtail.



      And a female to female pigtail.



      Another nice factor about this cable is it prevents stacking, that is to say going from a TRS jack on a mixer to female XLR and then gender bending the XLR to a male with a double stacked adapter and then to a pigtail.


      This is an example of such a stack which was used by Channel 4 UK to allow their cameraman to pull program audio from a distro amp, note the gaffers tape I applied to the microphone cord to eliminate the downward pull on the stack by gravity to prevent any damage to the distro amps jack.




      The reason to avoid stacking is, a double stacked adapter connected to a XLR cable is a sure way to damage a mixer, as it only takes a light tug on the cable to place a large force upon the 1/4 inch jack in the mixer and a good tug on the cable is a great way to insure you will be picking up a repair bill for replacing a jack on someone else’s mixer.



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