XLR Connector: Everything You Should Know

XLR Connector

An XLR connector is a type of connector mainly found in professional audio although it is also used for stage lighting applications. The 3-pin XLR connector is by far the most popular style.

RCA plugs and sockets commonly found on consumer electronics are half the size of XLR connectors, which also come in a wide range of quality.

Find out more about the XLR connector by continuing to read.

What Does XLR Connector Mean?

In contrast to home audio/video equipment, which uses RCA connectors, professional audio and video electronics cabling applications, such as those for stage microphones and other analog sound equipment, use XLR connectors.

Large cylindrical connector bodies with three prongs or pins, which are the most common configuration, though other variations can have up to six pins, are its defining feature.

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Techopedia Explains XLR Connector

The Type O connector, which had an oval-shaped body and receptacle with three prongs and a latch locking mechanism, was the predecessor to the XLR connector. It was developed incrementally from that connector. The X series, which served as its actual predecessor but lacked a locking mechanism, was replaced with the XL series in 1950 when a locking mechanism was added. The female connector was changed to become the XLR connector in 1955 when synthetic rubber insulation was added to the area around the female contacts.

XLR Connector

There are male and female versions, as there are for every kind of connector. In the latter, the ground pin (or pin 1) is intended to make contact first during insertion and last during removal. By ensuring that only a small amount of noise is picked up during connector mating, live hot plugging and swapping are made possible without loud noises being transmitted to the speakers, as is the case with RCA connectors.

Typical applications include:

  • Microphones
  • Active loud speakers
  • Audio/video mixers
  • Studio equipment such as amplifiers, turntables, mastering deck and similar devices
  • Lighting
  • Industrial applications such as for control circuits

Final Words on XLR Connector

An object that is sending a signal typically has a Male XLR connector attached to it. A microphone would be an illustration of this.

A Female XLR is typically used where a signal is being received, for example, the inputs on a mixing desk.

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Is XLR Analog Or Digital?

XLR cabling is Shielded Analog Audio cabling.

Why Use XLR?

These cables are designed to carry high output signals and electrical signals over long distances while not allowing any single interference at all.

Why XLR is Better Than USB?

The audio quality from an XLR Microphone is clear, crisp, and noise free. For this reason, XLR Mics are preferred by all professional studios, podcasters, and content producers.