1/4" TRS Stereo vs. 1/4" TRS Balanced

Date Updated: October 23, 2008 FAQ #2722
Question:
I read an answer about wiring XLR to 1/4" and it got me thinking.1.If you have a stereo TRS 1/4" cable.. is that the same as the balanced TRS 1/4" cable, but left is on one and right is on another?2. I know there are mixers with stereo 1/4" inputs.. if you took a balanced TRS and plugged it in, would the mixer take both and pan the positive as one side and the negative as another? Thus defeating the point of balancing?3. Also, are there mixers with balanced 1/4" inputs? If so, and you plugged a stereo TRS into it.. would it just act as a balanced TRS and thus the stereo would turn to mono in the board?
Answer:


1.If you have a stereo TRS 1/4" cable.. is that the same as the balanced TRS 1/4" cable
* Yes.
but left is on one and right is on another?
* Typically tip is left and ring is right, HOWEVER, this is an unbalanced stereo connection.
2. I know there are mixers with stereo 1/4" inputs.. if you took a balanced TRS and plugged it in, would the mixer take both and pan the positive as one side and the negative as another? Thus defeating the point of balancing?
* The answer depends upon the input circuit of the mixer. But a single 1/4" jack that handles a stereo signal is an UNBALANCED input.
3. Also, are there mixers with balanced 1/4" inputs? If so, and you plugged a stereo TRS into it.. would it just act as a balanced TRS and thus the stereo would turn to mono in the board?
* The answer depends upon the input circuit of the mixer. We suggest you ask the mixer manufacturers.
A final note: a monaural, balanced signal requires a TRS plug - tip is audio plus, ring is audio minus, sleeve is shield ground and carries no audio!
A stereo, unbalanced signal requires a TRS plug - tip is left, ring is right, sleeve is audio ground for the left and the right signals.
A stereo, balanced signal requires a plug with FIVE connection points, not three like a TRS plug. A five pin XLR plug can handle a stereo, balanced signal.