Unbalanced XLR to RCA wiring question

Blue Jinn

Rider of the ARPocalypse
So I'm trying to wrap my head around the diagram in the owners manual. My Otari has XLR inputs, but is unbalanced (no transformer option installed.) The Otari is pin 3 hot, AFAIK. The XLR cable I have already has XLRs on one end, with wires on pin 2 and 3 and the shield to pin 1. (Interestingly enough the XLR is pin 3 hot based on the color coding...)

So, do I

A. wire pin 3 to the RCA positive, and tie the shield and pin 2 at the RCA cable, or do I

B. solder a bridge between 1 and 2 at the XLR, and ignore the pin 2 cable at the RCA plug and just solder the shield to the RCA ground.

The Otari manual seems to suggest option B. Or?

rob aylestone

Well-known member
This has been happening since the 70s when Shure went on their unbalancing scheme one way and others did the opposite. In my tool box I always had a couple of XLR barrel type male/female adaptors with pins 2 and 3 swapped inside. A polarity reverser and on mixers that did not have the button to reverse polarity (phase, back then), you could use these. Handy when having to cope with snares miked top and bottom. Using a 4 channel Shure mixer with other brands where you had unbalanced kit would often leave you with no sound, so these were the first fix it tool.much better than having a label on an XLR cable saying ‘reversed’. Or worse, modifying a classic bit of gear or making up a specific use pair if cables.