What is the best practice for connecting a balanced, line level signal to a balanced, microphone input?

I have a source with balanced, line level, +4dBu outputs (XLR) which I want to connect to the balanced microphone inputs (XLR) on a mixer.

My concern is that the line level would be too high for the microphone input and could lead to distortion/clipping. If I was using a source with an unbalanced line level output, I'd use a DI to convert the signal to a balanaced, mic level signal - dropping the level and matching the impedance - no problems with this.

My initial thought was to use a DI or a pad - both of these should reduce the level to something more appropriate for the microphone input? Would there be any issues with impedance?

  • "My initial thought was to use a DI or a pad" Well did you try it? What where the results? You can't break anything so just test it :) Apr 27, 2014 at 9:21
  • I don't have my hands on the equipment yet (I will soon, at an upcoming event). I'll be sure to try it out then though!
    – jleft
    Apr 29, 2014 at 18:04

1 Answer 1


If you want to keep things technically 'correct' you'd need a dedicated DI box for exactly this, such as the Art's Dual RDB or the Avedis line PAD-Z.

A pad will work (although you will be looking at a healthy attention - possibly more than what some pad switches offer). But the impedance matching won't be technically ideal. However, this may actually colour the sound in a pleasing way - so it really depends on the equipment and whether you're after purity or experimenting with sound.

I have in the past connected a line output (from API pres) straight into mic input (of an SSL desk). Although nearly all gain stages were nearly as low as possible (which is generally not a good practice), the sound was much more exciting than a technically correct signal chain (we were recording drum overhead).

  • Thanks for the info. I actually have a Dual RDB, but thought it was suited to lower level inputs (consumer (−10 dBV) line level/instrument level), I'll definitely give it a try though!
    – jleft
    Apr 29, 2014 at 18:11

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