Balanced output on ZynADAC v1.0

My V4 has the ZynADAC v1.0. I’ve just re-read the spec and it says that the 1/4" outputs are balanced, so I assume they expect a TRS plug. Am I doing any damage by using a TS?


No, there shouldn’t be any issues. Using a TS cable in a balanced 1/4" jack gives you an unbalanced signal. The tip signal goes to the tip and the ring signal (opposite pole) goes to ground with the sleeve.

If you’re making longer cable runs or experiencing signal noise, it’s worth switching to TRS cables.

TRS only gives advantage if the send and receive ends are balanced. If either end is unbalanced then you are better using TS connectors. Many inputs, e.g. mixer channel inputs will detect a TS socket and configure the input stage appropriately.

Balanced (TRS) outputs connected to a TS plug will have their ring shorted to sleeve (ground) which is your concern about the audio signal being grounded. This shouldn’t be a major issue as the output stage should be designed to account for this.

The HifiBerry Stage and subsequently the ZynADAC have a software configuration that allows definition of the input configuration to use various combinations of tip and ring. Unfortunately there isn’t the same configuration for the output.

I would assume that most Zynthian users (and probably most users of other electronic musical instruments) use unbalanced cabling. It is by far the most common interconnect of electronic musical instruments. Balanced outputs are relatively rare. Don’t worry about it. TS plugs are inserted into many of our Zynthians without detriment. Many will never use the ring and hence even if there were damage (which there won’t be) they would never know!

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OK, thanks for those comments. So it doesn’t matter. However, I’ve got a balanced input on my amp, so I’ll get a cable with the appropriate connections.