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Tehzim

XLR vs 1/4 for small monitors

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Finally dipped my toe in the monitor water (goodbye headphones) and got a JBL LS305.  I have the option of using either an XLR or 1/4 for it.  I don't have an XLR cable though.  Should I spend the extra money and get one or is a standard 1/4 guitar cable (which I have plenty of) okay?  Is there an appreciable difference in quality at house volume levels with cord shorter than 10 ft?

I tried searching but I couldn't figure out how to phrase it correctly.  Thanks much.  If this works well I'll save up a few bucks and get the second monitor.

 

Also, would it be okay to sit it on a bureau or does it need an actual stand?

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The difference is probably negligible but if it were me I would go XLR in your situation

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As far as placement, it doesn't really matter whether it's on a stand or a desk as long as you follow the placement guidelines that typically are documented in the speaker guide.

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The 1/4 outs on the Helix are unbalanced.  The 1/4 ins on the JBL's are likely balanced.  That will work, but you'd be better off spending a few bucks for a XLR cable(s) and keeping the signal balanced all the way through the chain.

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Finally dipped my toe in the monitor water (goodbye headphones) and got a JBL LS305. I have the option of using either an XLR or 1/4 for it. I don't have an XLR cable though. Should I spend the extra money and get one or is a standard 1/4 guitar cable (which I have plenty of) okay? Is there an appreciable difference in quality at house volume levels with cord shorter than 10 ft?

I tried searching but I couldn't figure out how to phrase it correctly. Thanks much. If this works well I'll save up a few bucks and get the second monitor.

 

Also, would it be okay to sit it on a bureau or does it need an actual stand?

Those speakers have balanced 1/4" inputs. You should really get a balanced TRS 1/4" cable if you don't want to use the XLR... A typical 1/4" guitar cable is unbalanced, and has a TS connector. Unbalanced cables, especial longer ones and those that end up dangling near any power cables, tend to pick up extra noise.

 

And definitely get a second JBL...they're very nice monitors (I have a pair myself), but your gonna need two of them if you plan on doing any recording. Even if you don't, stereo FX are fun...

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Get the balanced XLR cables.  This will allow you to use the TS outs for external amps, etc. while keeping your monitors connected at the same time.  This was suggested to me and I'm very happy that I can keep everything connected simultaneously.  Sometimes I use my two tube amps and sometimes I just use my studio monitors (or both).  It's nice not having to connected/reconnect cables in my scenario.

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The JBL LSR305 is a very nice choice for near field monitoring. So long as it will be positioned near field, and, the LSR's XLR and 1/4" inputs are each balanced inputs, you are free to use either TRS 1/4" cables or XLR cables. Although 1/4" TS Instrument cables will work, they lack the separate ground conducctor of a TRS 1/4" cable or an XLR cable. In a short run of less than about 20' and where there are no nearby EMF or RFI sources, a good quality 1/4" TS Instrument cable may also do a fine job without any noise. If you have a spare cable to try, and it works well, there is no necessity to use anything else.

 

As for another speaker, I do conur that another LSR305 would be a good step forward if you plan on doing any mixing or stereo playback monitoring, etc. As the new Series 2 version LSR305 speakers have just been released, the original LSR305 are available for as low as $99 from many resellers. 

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I did the XLR vs unbalanced 1/4†comparison on my JBL EON. Tone-wise, for a 12’ cable, I couldn’t tell any difference. However, the unbalanced cable had a barely noticeable background hum that the XLR did not. It wasn’t enough to hear when playing, but I could tell it was there when not playing. I think longer unbalanced cables would accentuate the hum even more.

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