Facebook social media iconTwitter social media iconInstagram social media iconSubmit to Reddit

An Introduction to Equalization - A free download from Audio Masterclass

An Introduction to Compression: Basic Compression - A free download from Audio Masterclass

Equipping Your Home Recording Studio - A free download from Audio Masterclass

Clipping and compressing a drum recording to achieve an exciting sound texture

As classic an example of compression pumping as you will ever hear...

A brief introduction to mastering in the home recording studio

A-Designs Audio Inc. Introduces EM-EQ2 Stereo Equalizer at NAMM 2011

The famous $5 preamp - everything you need to know

Q: How can I edit a song so that it is shorter?

Do you fade out at the end of your songs? Why?

When working in a new theatre, always find out where the tielines go

What are your 'pain points' in audio? How would you like them to be healed?

Clip-based gain versus fader automation, which is best?

Q: "Can you snip the 1/4" jack off a cheap mic and replace it with an XLR?"

So you have a cheap mic with a jack connector. If you replace the jack with an XLR, do you have an expensive mic?

Question from a Audio Masterclass visitor...

"There are lots of cheap microphones with 1/4" plugs. Is it possible to replace the plug with an XLR and connect it to a snake cable? Or can I just connect these cheap microphones to a direct box and so convert the output to XLR?"

The (imaginary) scenario is this... a band is building up their own PA system from scratch and there's not a lot of money to go around. They have an XLR stage box and multicore cable that takes the signals from the stage to the mixing console, but they have spent most of their money and need to economize on microphones.

I would like to respond to this by saying that you can buy pro mics at amazingly cheap prices, so why bother with microphones that are obviously not professional?

But everyone has to start somewhere and sometimes the budget is severely limited. So let's have a look at this problem.

The microphone may have a fixed cable terminating in a quarter inch jack. If this is the case, then the microphone is almost certainly unbalanced, meaning that it only has one signal-carrying conductor in the cable, plus earth.

In this case, the jack can be replaced with an XLR by connecting the inner conductor to Pin 2 and the earth to both Pin 1 and Pin 3.

That will work, although the mic will be more susceptible to interference than a balanced mic.

If the microphone has a detachable cable, then the mic itself almost certainly has an XLR output. In this case, the jack on the detachable cable can be replaced with an XLR, or you can buy an XLR to XLR cable.

If you replace the jack, then take a look inside the female XLR at the other end to see where the wires go. Wire the male XLR to the other end keeping the pin numbers the same, with respect to the colors of the inner conductors. The earth always goes to Pin 1.

Of course, changing the connector will not improve the sound of the microphone in any way.

Connecting the mic to a DI box probably won't work too well. If it is a transformer DI box, then it might work. But replacing the connector is the better option.

Once you have got your mics working with their new XLR connectors, it's time to start saving for better mics!

By David Mellor Thursday November 30, 2006