If you’re looking to convert RCA signals to XLR signals, you’re in the right place. In this blog post, we’ll go over the basics of balanced and unbalanced cables, and provide three methods for converting RCA to XLR signals.
First, let’s cover some theory
Balanced vs. Unbalanced Cables
Before we dive into the methods for converting RCA to XLR signals, it’s important to understand the difference between balanced and unbalanced cables.
Simply put, balanced cables like XLR have three wires: a positive signal wire, a negative signal wire, and a ground wire. This allows for noise cancellation and a cleaner signal transmission over longer distances.
Balanced audio cables can run up to 1000ft (300m) with little change to the audio signal.
Unbalanced cables like RCA, on the other hand, only have two wires: a signal wire and a ground wire. While they’re cheaper and easier to use, unbalanced cables are more susceptible to interference and noise.
Unbalanced cables can run up to 10ft before attracting noise, hiss, static, and sometimes they will even pick up a radio station!
Method 1: RCA to XLR Cable
The first and easiest method for converting RCA to XLR signals is to use an RCA to XLR cable. These cables have an RCA plug on one end and an XLR connector on the other.
Simply plug the RCA end into your RCA output and the XLR end into your XLR input, and you’re good to go.
While this method is quick and easy, it’s important to note that this solution is unbalanced and should not be used with cables longer than 10ft (3m)
Method 2: Audio Mixer
The second method for converting RCA to XLR signals involves using an audio mixer. This method is more involved, but it allows for more control over the audio levels and can result in a cleaner sound.
To use an audio mixer, connect your RCA output to one of the mixer’s inputs using an RCA cable. Then, connect an XLR cable from one of the mixer’s outputs to your XLR input. Make sure to adjust the mixer’s levels and settings to get the best sound possible.
With this solution, you can run up to 1000ft (300m) with little audio degradation.
We recommend the following small audio mixers:
- Mackie ProFX6v3 – https://currentprice.io/profx6v3
- Mackie ProFX10v3 – https://currentprice.io/profx10v3
- Yamaha MG10XU – https://currentprice.io/mg10xu
Method 3: DI Box
The third and final method for converting RCA to XLR signals is to use a DI (direct injection) box. A DI box is typically used to connect instruments with unbalanced outputs to a mixer or PA system, but it can also be used to convert RCA signals to XLR signals.
To use a DI box, connect your RCA output to the DI box’s input using an RCA cable. Then, connect an XLR cable from the DI box’s output to your XLR input. Like with the audio mixer method, make sure to adjust the DI box’s levels and settings to get the best sound possible.
We recommend the Radial AV2: https://currentprice.io/pro_av2
Frequently Asked Questions
While it’s technically possible, we wouldn’t recommend it. Unbalanced cables are more susceptible to interference and noise, which can result in a lower quality audio signal.
We wouldn’t recommend it. Professional audio setups require high-quality cables that are specifically designed for the job. Using a cheap RCA to XLR cable can result in a lower quality audio signal and potential damage to your equipment.
For shorter distances, you can use an RCA to XLR cable. However, if you want more control over the audio levels or a cleaner sound, you may still want to use an audio mixer or DI box.