I would like to connected my bass guitar, which has an unbalanced tele output, to a preamp/mixer with balanced XLR inputs. Currently, I simply have an unbalanced cable with a tele male connector on one side and a XLR male connector on the other side. This works but seems to produce a lot of noise, noise not present if I connected the bass to a guitar amplifier (which has an unbalanced input). My guess is therefore that the noise is because I'm connecting my unbalanced output to a balanced input in the "wrong way" (I have tested all inputs on the mixer and is always the same noise).

What is the best way to make this connection? Should I use some sort of special cable? Use an intermediate preamp of some sort?

1 Answer 1


You can use a direct box to change the unbalanced signal to a balanced signal. You would plug your bass into the box and then plug the output of the box into a mixer.

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There are two types; active and passive. The passive box simply translates the signal and may have a switch to eliminate ground loops (thus removing the buzzing sound ). The active box contains a preamp and will require some power source such as a battery or AC adapter. I have an active direct box which is stereo and can also use phantom power.

As @leftaroundabout pointed out in his comment, you will probably need an active direct box for your bass.

  • This is the usual solution. Note that a passive DI has a too-low impedance to be used properly with passive bass/guitar pickups, so unless the bass itself is active the DI needs to be.
    – leftaroundabout
    Aug 30, 2011 at 20:00
  • Good point. I'll add that to the answer. Aug 30, 2011 at 20:09

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