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I want to plug two phone-to-RCA adapter into the stereo output of a mixing console.

The output I'm going to use is a stereo out with a balanced TRS phone socket for each channel. I want to plug in the aforementioned adapter because I want to connect a power amp which is a consumer grade (it doesn't support balanced input, only unbalanced RCAs).

As we know, plugging a TS jack into a balanced TRS socket shorts the cold/negative signal to the sleeve/ground.

My question is, does it have any effect on the resulting sound?

(Forget about the noise issue with long unbalanced wires, I will only run a short RCA cables).

Another important question is, does the "short" between the cold signal to the ground will damage the mixer circuit in the long run?

  • Does the mixer have a tape output or headphone output? – Timinycricket Feb 15 at 4:26
  • I'm dealing with a Yamaha MG12XU. It has a main out which consists of an XLR and a TRS 1/4 inch phone connector for each channel, which are balanced. Other outputs includes monitor out, aux send, and group out which are all balanced signal on TRS 1/4 inch phone connectors. There's also a headphone output which is a stereo signal on similar TRS phone connector. – Yudhi G. Feb 15 at 4:51
  • I’m pretty sure this question has been here before but the effect will be noisier and half the volume compared to balanced. – Timinycricket Feb 15 at 10:16
  • I know that those are the short term effect on the resulting sound but I still have a question regarding the long term effects and how it will affect the longevity of the equipment. – Yudhi G. Feb 16 at 0:23
  • that should probably be asked on electronics.stackexchange.com rather than here – Timinycricket Feb 16 at 3:53
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These sockets and plugs are designed to work in exactly this way. When you plug a 'TS' plug into a TRS balanced jack socket, the "ring and sleeve" are bridged. This is exactly the correct way to unbalance a balanced connection. It works in the way it was designed to.

Additionally, by unbalancing that output connection, you reduce the level of the output by 6dB.

"My question is, does it have any effect on the resulting sound? (Forget about the noise issue with long unbalanced wires, I will only run a short RCA cables)"

The signal level will be 6dB lower (due to the unbalancing effect) and any additional noise will be induced into the cable directly as a result of running an unbalanced connection (not becuase of any additional amplifier noise over and above the 6dB already mentioned).

"Another important question is, does the "short" between the cold signal to the ground will damage the mixer circuit in the long run?"

This will not damage the mixer circuit. This is how balanced circuits are designed to operate.

Yes there are level differences between the mixer output and amplifier input, but these are mitigated through the 6dB level reduction and the care you are going to take not to overdrive the input of the amp.

You are perfectly fine to proceed along these lines and provided you take care not to overdrive the amp input you should not experience any issues.

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  • Thanks for the answer. I was kind of unsure about the jacks and the manual says nothing whether I can plug anything else other than the recommended TRS. – Yudhi G. Feb 20 at 2:57
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    By design, those sockets will take TRS and TS plugs - the result will be as per the connections. Balanced or unbalanced. – Mark Feb 20 at 4:09

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