XLR/TRS to RCA? Adapters or cables?

Hi there,

I'm performing some live guitar and vocals at a upcoming wedding, and I'm going to be running them through my laptop and audio interface.

I'll be plugging into the DJ's little mixer (he told me he has a couple of RCA inputs spare).

My audio interface outputs are 1/4" TRS (balanced) and I have two TRS to XLR cables (which I use to connect my interface to my studio monitors at home).

So in order to connect my interface to his desk, should I just get a couple of XLR to RCA adapters to put on the XLR ends of my cables? Or is it best to get a couple of new cables (1/4" TRS to RCA)?

Or is there a better way to do this?

Many thanks in advance!

In the situation you are describing the one concern I would have with respect to the use of an adapter is that most (but not all) XLR to RCA adapters short one of the two signals in the balanced signal pair (usually the signal on XLR pin 3) to ground (XLR pin 1).

That is fine for adapting unbalanced outputs to balanced inputs, but when adapting balanced outputs to unbalanced inputs SOME equipment will not react well to having one of its output signals shorted to ground. See this thread for example.

My understanding is that Cardas adapters having an XLR-female connector (that would be used to adapt XLR outputs to RCA inputs) leave pin 3 unconnected, so they should work ok. But most other adapters short pin 3 to pin 1. That may still work ok, depending on the design of your audio interface, but you would be taking a chance.

Similarly, if you choose to obtain TRS to RCA adapter cables instead, make sure that one of the two signals in the balanced signal pair is left unconnected within the cable, rather than being shorted to ground.

I'm assuming, btw, that the length of your cables (or the length of the TRS to RCA cables, if you choose to use that approach) is not especially long, meaning that it is not significantly greater than perhaps 10 or 12 feet or so. If the length is considerably longer than that I would recommend that instead of using adapters or adapter cables you use a Jensen transformer, probably model PI-2XR (which is the same as model PI-2XX described in this datasheet except that it has RCA output connectors). It costs about $210 in the USA. The concern with using adapters or adapter cables if cable length is long being an increased likelihood of noise and/or ground loop issues.

Good luck in your performance! Regards,

-- Al
I go with Al on this. If you have a chance to test the TRS to RCA cables then this is your best choice but you never know what kind of ground noise you're dealing with until you're there. The Jensen transformers are great and will deal with any kind of ground noise thrown at them but the transformers do have a sound of their own.
Thanks so much for the replies, very helpful! Maybe I should just tell her to hire a mixer we can both plug into.....?
That's the most sensible thing to do for you!
I have a Linn Kinos processor which just has rca outs
I wanted to have balanced into my amps, so bought a box to convert rca to balanced (not a cheap rubbish box mind you) and I was wondering if there is any degradation in the process