How do I wire an XLR to 1/4" adapter cable?

FAQ #633 Updated September 14, 2017


I need to make a cable that goes from XLR to 1/4". How should I wire it?


There are many different configurations that can be made between an XLR to 1/4" adapter. The XLR connector is pretty straight forward. It has 3 wire terminals and is standard. The 1/4" connector, on the other hand, can have 2 or 3 wire terminals and is not standard.

Quarter-Inch Connector

The two terminal 1/4" connector is commonly referred to as the TS, or Tip-Sleeve, version. The three terminal 1/4" connector is commonly referred to as the TRS, or Tip-Ring-Sleeve, version. The TS connector is an unbalanced connector. The TRS connector can be used for many things, including balanced audio, send/return for insert points, and left/right stereo, just to name a few.

XLR to TS 1/4"

Connecting a balanced XLR connector to an unbalanced 1/4" connector. Note that this will unbalance the connection between the two pieces of equipment.

XLR TS 1/4"
Pin 1 Sleeve
Pin 2 Tip
Pin 3 Sleeve

XLR to Balanced TRS 1/4"

Keeping a balanced connection between devices is always recommended. Note that an adapter designed for XLR to TRS 1/4" will work in both a TRS 1/4" jack and TS 1/4" jack.

XLR TRS 1/4"
Pin 1 Sleeve
Pin 2 Tip
Pin 3 Ring

Left/Right Stereo TRS 1/4"

Stereo 1/4" connectors are typically only used for headphone outputs. Thus, there is almost never a use for an XLR to Stereo 1/4" adapter.

1/4" Insert Jacks

The 1/4" insert jacks on mixers are wired differently depending on the manufacturer. Contact the manufacturer of the mixer to determine how your mixer is wired.

Adapter cables can be purchase from Markertek at 800-522-2025 or

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