Phew! Another long tradeshow season is behind us! Reflecting on this I remember how in the old days I would often stop at the booths of manufacturers of consoles and mixers with a simple question, “What is the CMRR in your inputs and outputs?” I would get one of three responses. Those truly world-class manufacturers would tell me, “I know what that is…,” and look it up in the Owner’s Manual or Installation Manual for that console. The second response would be, “We’ll get back to you…,” and then they would go off and figure out what CMRR is. The third response, from those inexpensive mixer manufacturers, was, “Huh???” Read more
We’ve been talking in the last few blogs about balanced lines. These are cables or circuits where the signals travel on pairs of wires, or pairs of traces on a circuit board. With cables, the pairs are usually twisted together. On a perfect balanced line, the audio signal is equal intensity but opposite polarity on the two wires. Just think of it like cars on the racetrack. If you’re zooming down the track, and you look across to the other side, those cars are going in the opposite direction.
Just like a racetrack, the signal is a circle, we call it a circuit, and we call these signals differential signals because they are moving in different directions. The fact that we twist the wires together makes it difficult to recognize it as a circle, but it still is. Read more
Do you know the difference between a balanced line and an unbalanced line? If we’re talking about analog audio, this difference between balanced and unbalanced is also the difference between consumer products, which are almost always unbalanced, and professional, which is almost always balanced. To go into the details of these differences would take a number of blogs, so I’m going to try and condense it here.
If you want to know more details, just invite me out to speak at your local group. Are you a member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers? Perhaps you joined the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers or the Audio Engineering Society. All three of these, and many other similar organizations, have local groups and often have lunch or dinner speakers. I would be delighted to fit you in my schedule and come give a presentation on balanced lines or many other subjects. Read more
Professional video connectors are crimped. But there’s one professional connector that is still soldered, the venerable XLR. It has become the universal standard for audio wiring. It is made by many manufacturers including Neutrik, Switchcraft, Amphenol and many others. You can even find some made by ITT Canon, who invented the connector in the early 1950s. And now Belden is working on a video to show you how to solder a mic cable (or a line-level cable) into this connector and will post it as soon as it’s available.
However, I wanted to add some comments which are not addressed in the video. Foremost is the tendency of some plastics to melt when heat is applied. And the problem is, the higher the performance of the cable, the more likely that plastic is to melt. The converse is equally true. The lower the quality (not the price, mind you, but the performance of the cable), the less likely it is to melt. If you have rubber insulated singles, such as Belden 8412 or our new super-strong 1776, you could hold a soldering iron on these wires for a long time. You might eventually burn through them, but it would take a while. Rubber, after all, is not a thermoplastic, it is a “thermoset” material. Read more