S4 MK1 & MK3 Mic Inputs - Balanced or Unbalanced?

djcoryminto Member Posts: 8 Member
edited September 2022 in Traktor Software & Hardware

The manuals for the S4 MK1 and S4 MK3 (i own both) make no mention as to whether the mic inputs are balanced or unbalanced. I use Shure receiver that has both XLR balanced and 1/4" unbalaced outputs available...

The MK1 has a single 1/4" mic input

The MK3 has two mic inputs: one is XLR, and one is 1/4".

Which are balanced and which are unbalanced? The manual makes no mention and it's frustrating.



  • PK The DJ
    PK The DJ Member Posts: 476 Guru

    It's more likely that the XLR is balanced. In your particular scenario though (assuming you're DJing and using the mic yourself) there's really no need to use a balanced connection as the distance between the receiver and S4 is probably minimal.

  • lord-carlos
    lord-carlos Member Posts: 1,256 Expert

    Someone in another thread said that a balanced mic cable might give 6dB gain over unbalanced. Do you know anything about that?

  • djcoryminto
    djcoryminto Member Posts: 8 Member

    Carlos - that is exactly what i was thinking - however, in running an experiment on the S4 MK3, using a Shure PGX4 receiver, i got the exact same volume when using the SAME output to EACH of the inputs, XLR in front and 1/4" in back. However, the two outputs resulted in different volume, perhaps as expected. The XLR output was quieter than the 1/4" output ... thus the 1/4" output resulted in more volume/amplitude overall.

    What was interesting was that i then tried using the XLR output out of the Shure, but physically adapting it to 1/4" TS (tying pin 3 of the XLR, aka the "ring," to the ground), IOW forcing the balanced XLR output to unbalanced, and this resulted in NO change in amplitude in either MK3 mic input. So this should answer that statement about giving a 6dB gain over unbalanced.

    It's worth noting that you can physically see 3 pins in the 1/4" mic input on the back of both the MK1 and MK3.

    I was under the assumption in my non-expertise that, like Carlos suggested, there would be a better amplitude gain using balanced, but rather, it's two different set amplitudes coming from the Shure, one higher than the other, but the XLR out (MIC OUT) was cleaner for sure. It wasn't whether it was balanced or not that made the difference, as shown above, by force-unbalancing the XLR output resulted in the same exact amplitude. I could distort the INSTRUMENT OUT coming from the Shure more easily on the MK3; it's naturally louder (but not better).

    My conclusion is that all mic inputs on the MK1 and MK3 are balanced. Thus, i will use the balanced XLR out of the Shure into a TRS 1/4" into the backs of the S4... and leave the front one for a wired mic should i need one quickly.

    I kinda wish they were both XLR / 1/4" combo jacks. Minor complaint.

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