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XLR Connectors

From Left: Line Socket, Line Plug, Panel Socket, Panel Plug

Description

Robust connector available in 3 to 5 pole versions. 3 pole version normally used on professional audio equipment for balanced connections both at microphone and line level. Provides a mono connection, for stereo signals a pair of connections will be needed (as for phono). Sometimes used for speaker connections on professional high-powered rigs, however for safety Speakon connectors should be used since this wiring carries high voltages and currents. 3 and 5 pole versions are used in lighting control systems.


Typical Applications

Audio - Microphones, Mixers, Amplifiers, Effect units etc.

Loudspeakers, however Speakon connectors should be used instead for safety

Lighting - DMX512 lighting control protocol

Wheelchairs / Scooters - Charging connection


Pin Assignments

3-pole & 5-pole XLR Pin Arrangements3-pole & 5-pole XLR Pin Arrangements

Balanced Audio (3 pole XLR):

Pin 1: Ground / Screen
Pin 2: In phase / +ve / Hot
Pin 3: Out of phase / -ve / Cold

Unbalanced Audio (3 pole XLR):

Pin 1: Ground / Screen
Pin 2: Signal
Pin 3: Ground / Screen (connect to pin 1)

DMX512 (5 pole XLR):

Pin 1: Ground
Pin 2: Data -ve
Pin 3: Data +ve

Pins 4 & 5 are normally unused, but this can vary. They can be used to carry a second DMX universe, or power. In particular, some Pulsar & Clay Paky equipment carries 25V on pin 5, with respect to ground on pin 1. This is against the DMX specification, and care should be taken when interconnecting equipment using fully-wired 5-pole connectors and 5-core cables.

Originally the extra pair of pins were intended for return data, but the RDM protocol used on some modern equipment sends data on the same pins as the DMX data, and does not require connection of pins 4 & 5 to function correctly.

The body of the XLR connector should not be connected to the screen / ground.

DMX512 (3 pole XLR):

Pin 1: Ground
Pin 2: Data -ve
Pin 3: Data +ve

The body of the XLR connector should not be connected to the screen / ground

Equipment manufactured by Martin may have the -ve and +ve swapped. 3 pole XLR connectors are not part of the USITT DMX specification, but are often used instead of 5 pole versions, particularly on cheaper fixtures & devices to save costs. Some devices may have both 3 and 5 pole connectors for flexibility, alternatively adaptors can be made to convert between the two connector types.


Connector Assembly Instructions

Normally solder terminals. Remember to thread the cover onto the cable before soldering. Some connectors (Neutrik or similar) have a chuck-type strain relief, others have a metal cable clamp. Squeeze this shut with pliers AFTER soldering, or the heat may melt the cable sheath.

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