XLR cable or regular?

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I have an MXL V63M microphone connected to a preamp.  To go from the
preamp into the sound card, I do this:

Preamp XLR output - > XLR convertor to 1/4" cable -> 1/8" jack
convertor -> sound card mini mic input

I thought it would save money to do this:

Preamp 1/4" output -> 1/4" cable -> 1/8" jack convertor -> sound card

But there seems to be a decrease in sound quality.  I thought maybe it
was my distance from the mic.  I've tried several samples and I
believe it is the XLR quality making the difference.  Using the first
setup, the sound is stronger, warmer, and more distinct.  It's subtle
but I can tell a difference.  Is it just me or does the first setup
produce more quality over the second?

Re: XLR cable or regular?

brett wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

The first setup works because the XLR convertor re-balances the sound
for use with the 1/4-inch cable. The XLR wiring is "balanced" whereas
the 1/4-inch is "unbalanced", or 3-wire vs. 2-wire, respectively. And
anybody with a good sound system can tell the difference. If you want
to save money, learn to make your own convertors for 1/8-inch and skip
the 1/4-inch to 1/8-inch stage.

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