How to Wire an XLR Plug

Written by robert ceville
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How to Wire an XLR Plug
You can turn ordinary instrument cables into XLRs without any audio engineering experience. (câble xlr image by Sébastien Maurer from Fotolia.com)

You can wire an XLR cable by yourself without having to buy pre-wired cables at your local music store. By connecting the positive, negative and ground cables to the appropriate terminals on the XLR connector, you can make either balanced or unbalanced XLR cables with instrument cables that you have lying around the house. With the right instruction and a soldering iron, you can wire the connections for either balanced or unbalanced XLRs in less than 10 minutes.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Wire strippers/cutters
  • XLR connector
  • Instrument cable
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder wire
  • Spare wire

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Strip the rubber wire shielding from all of the wires on the instrument cable about an inch using the wire cutters. You will have three wires: ground, negative and positive.

  2. 2

    Connect the black (ground) wire to the "1" pin on the XLR using the soldering iron. Put the wire to the terminal, apply the soldering wire to the connection, then apply the soldering iron to melt the solder.

  3. 3

    Connect the red (positive) wire to the XLR's "2" pin by also applying heat from the soldering iron to the solder wire and positive cable, once it has been set into place.

  4. 4

    Connect the blue (negative) wire as well, but to the XLR's "3" pin instead. After the solder completely dries, your unbalanced XLR cable will be ready to use.

  1. 1

    Connect the black (ground) wire to the "1" pin on the XLR. Set the wire onto the terminal, apply the soldering wire to the connection, then touch the soldering iron to the solder to melt it into place.

  2. 2

    Connect the red (positive) wire to the XLR's "2" pin. Apply heat from the soldering iron to the solder wire and positive cable, then quickly remove the soldering iron and solder wire out of place.

  3. 3

    Connect the blue (negative) wire to the XLR's "3" pin.

  4. 4

    Cut a small piece of wire (1/2 inch or so) using the wire cutter, and connect the "1" and "3" pins. Apply solder to the connection on both pins to jump the terminals once the wire is cut and in place. Your balanced XLR cable is now ready to be used.

Tips and warnings

  • Use caution when working with soldering irons, for they can burn you severely if accidentally touched. Keep them away from flammable items, and remove their power once you have finished using them to avoid risk of fire.

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