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unbalanced to balanced -10 to +4.... What to use?

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unbalanced to balanced -10 to +4.... What to use?

Postby Lizardpoint » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:29 am

Hi Team,

I have a very nice (But domestic CD Player with line outs on unbalanced Phono connectors, which I want to connect to the balanced line input of a mixer.
There are magical boxes that used to take care of this (Impedance,/level and unbal-bal conversion) but the only one I can find is the Sonifex Rb-BL4.
I'm sure this is a great unit but it would be cheaper to buy a new CD player with balnced outputs.

Can any of you good people recommend a similar unit for less pennies?

Cheers

Dave
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Re: unbalanced to balanced -10 to +4.... What to use?

Postby Kwackman » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:32 am

Why not just use convertor cables, either make your own or buy a couple?
Something like..
https://www.studiospares.com/Cables-Lea ... gLpevD_BwE

I'm sure there are cheaper ones out there too.
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Re: unbalanced to balanced -10 to +4.... What to use?

Postby Wonks » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:35 am

Why bother? Unless you are running many metres of cable between them, just use a an RCA to TS jack cable. The mixer will have enough gain, which is all any -10 to + 4 interface box will add.

You are no more likely to suffer from ground loop noise than if you were plugging in to a hi-fi amplifier. But do use the same plug strip to make sure.
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Re: unbalanced to balanced -10 to +4.... What to use?

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:36 am

Art Cleanbox Pro https://www.thomann.de/gb/art_cleanbox_pro.htm is designed exactly for this job.

But a typical line in should have enough gain to cope with -10dB outputs and if the CD player is close to the desk you may well be fine with an unbalanced connection (forgive me if you've already tried this unsuccessfully).

edit:- Wonky and Kwackman got there first :clap:
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Re: unbalanced to balanced -10 to +4.... What to use?

Postby Wonks » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:40 am

Even basic mixers on line-only inputs have a -10/+4 switch, and if the line-in has a gain knob, then it will certainly cover the necessary area to get a good signal level into the mixer.
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Re: unbalanced to balanced -10 to +4.... What to use?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:05 pm

Lizardpoint wrote:I have a very nice (but domestic) CD Player with line outs on unbalanced Phono connectors, which I want to connect to the balanced line input of a mixer.
There are magical boxes that used to take care of this (Impedance,/level and unbal-bal conversion) but the only one I can find is the Sonifex Rb-BL4. I'm sure this is a great unit but it would be cheaper to buy a new CD player with balanced outputs. Can any of you good people recommend a similar unit for less pennies?

The least expensive but decently-performing box of this type that I am aware of is the ART Cleanbox Pro which costs around £70... but it's really not necessary in your situation.

If I were you, I'd just use a pair of RCA (phono) to mono Jack-plug cables and just get on with it... :D

There are no impedance issues to worry about; the CD player will have a very low output impedance, and the mixer's line input will be a high impedance, so that will just work as intended.

There won't really be a significant level difference issue either, as CDs are generally mastered to within a gnat's of the peak level which will be around +8dBu from a typical domestic CD player -- so it's already a reasonably healthy line level anyway, and there's probably plenty of gain range available on the mixer to match other sources.

As for the balanced aspect... the benefit is an avoidance of ground lops and a rejection of interference... neither of which are likely to be issues in your situation!

Most domestic CD players are double-insulated (class-2) devices with no mains safety earth connection. That being the case, there's no risk whatsoever of a ground-loop, so running an unbalanced connection isn't going to cause a problem in that area.

And as already discussed, the signal is a pretty comfortable line level anyway, so interference isn't likely to be a problem either.

... So, yes, you could do the job 'properly' and invest some money in a proper unbalanced-to-balanced gain-boosting box -- and if you were going to put the CD player's output on a patch bay and plug it to feed who-knows-what-or-where? then I'd say that was a sensible approach...

But you appear to just want to connect it permanently to a mixer's inputs so there's really no need and no point in buying a converter box. A simple RCA (phono) to TS plug cable will get the job done just fine*.

*If the CD player is unusual in being a class-1 device with a mains safety earth connection -- very unlikely, but theoretically possible -- then you might need to use pseudo-balanced cables instead to avoid the risk of a ground loop, but that would be very easy to do if you can solder a TRS plug onto a standard unbalanced cable!

H
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Re: unbalanced to balanced -10 to +4.... What to use?

Postby Lizardpoint » Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:46 am

Hi Team,

Thanks for all the replies which are gratefully received.
I’m off to fire up the old soldering iron.
Cheers
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