The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Electric Guitars

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 11-16-2015, 07:21 AM
Gutch's Avatar
Gutch Gutch is offline
Cocobologist
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Over by 'dere...
Posts: 4,466
Default Taylor T5: Impact of Unbalanced cable From Balanced Output

A recent thread from another forum questioned the output level of the T5 using a regular 1/4" TS (unbalanced) cable vs. using a TRS (balanced) cable and an impedance matching transformer (XLR/TS). Because the output of the T5 is balanced (like the ES v1), the statement was made that using an unbalanced cable would make the T5 unable to "sit in the mix" because of lower output.

Now, because I've owned and played a T5 for 10 years in a variety of live situations, I knew this statement to be inaccurate. However, it did raise an interesting question as to how different the T5 output level is when compared to your standard passive electric guitar pickups.

So, I decided to run a little experiment. Using a Radio Shack SPL (Sound Pressure Level) meter, I measured the output of three different guitars plugged directly into a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III amplifier. On the amp, I set the tone controls in the middle and the master volume at 2.5. This is plenty loud to hear the differences, but not so high as to push the amp into distortion, thereby compressing the signal and altering the results.

The SPL meter was set at 'C' weighting and response time to 'slow' in order to avoid any erroneous peaks from pick attack. The meter was placed 6 feet away from the amp in direct line with the speaker. I plugged the guitars direct into the amp without any additional effects in order to measure actual output.

The guitars used:
-- 2001 Fender American Standard Strat with SCN pickups -- Middle pickup used
-- 2006 Hamer Newport with Seymour Duncan Seth Lover Humbuckers -- Neck and Bridge measured separately
-- 2005 Taylor T5-S1 with stock pickups -- Neck and Bridge measured separately with unbalanced cable and balanced (TRS/XLR) cable using impedance transformer.

Volume on each guitar was set to max. Tone controls were set to center detent on the T5 and max (10) on the Fender and Hamer.

The test was simple -- I played an open 'E' chord several times on each guitar, trying to maintain the same attack on each strum, and took note of the measurement on the SPL meter.

Here are the results (in dB):

Fender Strat (Middle Pickup) -- 106
Hamer Newport (Neck P'up) -- 112
Hamer Newport (Bridge P'up) -- 110
T5 w/Unbal Cable (Neck P'up) -- 110
T5 w/Unbal Cable (Bridge P'up) -- 106
T5 w/Bal Cable + Trsfrmr (Neck P'up) -- 108
T5 w/Bal Cable + Trsfrmr (Bridge P'up) -- 106

Note: Obviously, these values would change as the volume on the amp was adjusted up or down. They are used here to show the output of each guitar in relation to each other.

Discussion -- Based upon the test above, there is no discernable difference between the output of the T5 using an unbalanced cable and other common passive electric guitar pickups. The Seth Lover Humbuckers in the Hamer are louder than the single coils, but that makes perfect sense as each pickup has two coils as compared to the Fender and Taylor which have only one coil for each pickup (EDIT - The Taylor pickups are described as "Stacked Humbuckers").

Using a balanced cable with the impedance transformer on the T5 gives you no output advantage, making it unnecessary. Using a balanced cable on the T5 into a balanced system does result in a significantly louder (hotter) signal. I know this from experience but did not measure the difference today.

Conclusion -- If you are using a T5 in an electric guitar rig (Including standard pedal board --> amplifier configuration), you should have no concern that the guitar output is any different from any other "Regular" electric guitar. Plug that bad boy in and play on!!!
__________________
‎"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything."
- Plato

| '02 814c Custom (Coco/Sitka) | '03 912ce Custom (Coco/Engelmann)| '06 K65ce | '11 916ce | '17 J45 Std. | '10 Breedlove Revival OM DLX (EIR/Adi) | Lots of electrics...

Last edited by Gutch; 11-16-2015 at 03:34 PM. Reason: Correction -- Taylor are "Stacked Humbucker" not single coil with dummy coil for noise cancellation as originally described.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 11-16-2015, 07:49 AM
CaffeinatedOne CaffeinatedOne is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Middlesex, Vermont
Posts: 224
Default

Agreed. The only difference in the signal will be that it is not balanced. It doesn't affect amplitude at all. Balancing a signal is a noise cancelling exercise.

The consequence of this, when there is any consequence at all, is that the "unbalanced" cable will act as an antenna and will pick up noise (and sometimes radio stations) from the passing electromagnetic field. It's called electromagnetic radiation - EMR for short. Mic cables are designed to carry balanced signals because those signals are low energy and therefore particularly sensitive to electronic noise; noise cancelling designs are really important in that circumstance. That's why mic cables are nearly always equipped with XLR connectors; it's a standard design that carries a balanced signal efficiently. Alternatively, TRS (tip, ring, sleeve) cables can be used to carry balanced signals as well as multiple, unbalanced signals.

"Balancing" refers to the signal, not the cable. We call three conductor cables "balanced" because they are designed to carry a balanced signal. Balancing a signal is a technique that takes advantage of the behavior of electromagnetic signals, in such a way as to limit or eliminate contaminating "cable noise." Short runs of shielded cable are not susceptible to picking up electronic noise, but as the length increases, so does the tendency for the signal to get contaminated. It can be a terrible problem if you have a bunch of 25' mic cables scrambled around like Medusa's hair on the stage, mixed with power lines and extension cords. Lots of EMR happening there and lots of opportunities for static and hums to show up in the sound.

Sound behaves exactly like other types of EMR; it just occupies its own frequency range. We've all seen sound waves on a chart or on a computer monitor. When the phase of a given wave is reversed, the wave appears as a mirror image of its former self. That is, whatever was positive is now negative, but in precisely the same manner as before.

When waves encounter each other, there will be points of the same phase where the two waves occupy the same frequency point. When this happens they reinforce each other and the combined sound is louder. And following this exact thinking, when a wave encounters its "polar opposite" - the same wave exactly out of phase - each frequency point on the wave cancels its corresponding point on the reverse phase wave form. The two waves when combined cancel each other out and the result is absolute silence.

What a balanced signal is all about is that on the guitar, a preamp splits the signal into two parts, one of which is inverted, or reversed in phase. The signal proceeds along the cable in two conductors (sharing a common ground, making three lines) to its destination. If this is a balanced jack, one lug is again reversed in phase and the two joined, or summed, into one signal.

Here's the magic. Each conductor picks up exactly the same noise, interference, radio signals and whatnot - cable crap - in exactly the same manner and in phase. But when one side of the signal is again reversed in phase at its destination, all that noise the cable has picked up is now joined with its "polar opposite" - its inverted waveform - with the result being the noise waveforms now cancel each other out. The guitar's signal is unaffected because it traveled along the cable out of phase and is now reassembled in phase at the destination. Poof. Clear signal, no noise.
__________________
Taylor 815C
'59 Gibson LG2
Washburn J4, ebony tailpiece
Cort ES 335 clone
Gold Tone open back banjo
A bunch of Mackie PA gear


Last edited by CaffeinatedOne; 11-16-2015 at 08:05 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11-16-2015, 08:34 AM
Gutch's Avatar
Gutch Gutch is offline
Cocobologist
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Over by 'dere...
Posts: 4,466
Default

Exactly. The only exception to your excellent discussion of signal summing and phase cancellation in balanced lines is that I would use the term 'EMI' (Electro-Magnetic Interference) to describe the noise received in an unbalanced line as compared to EMR, which describes the same noise as it's being transmitted by the source. Transmit v. Receive -- Splitting hairs, I know...

Your discussion of EMR/EMI can also bring up the topic of proper shielding on unbalanced cables which also helps to minimize the effects of EMI.

Thanks for the input, CaffeinatedOne!!!
__________________
‎"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything."
- Plato

| '02 814c Custom (Coco/Sitka) | '03 912ce Custom (Coco/Engelmann)| '06 K65ce | '11 916ce | '17 J45 Std. | '10 Breedlove Revival OM DLX (EIR/Adi) | Lots of electrics...
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-16-2015, 02:39 PM
jseth jseth is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Oregon... "Heart of the Valley"...
Posts: 8,506
Default

You might have checked with Taylor... if you had, you would have been told that the T5 does NOT want/need a TRS cable... the guitar isn't built that way...
__________________
"The ocean whispers through the cottonwood trees;
Autumn has come and rustled all of the leaves,
and some fly...,
some fall...
and some don't fall at all..."


(J.S.Sherman)
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-16-2015, 02:49 PM
Gutch's Avatar
Gutch Gutch is offline
Cocobologist
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Over by 'dere...
Posts: 4,466
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jseth View Post
You might have checked with Taylor... if you had, you would have been told that the T5 does NOT want/need a TRS cable... the guitar isn't built that way...
Sorry, but you are incorrect. The T5 does, in fact, have a balanced output. The T3, on the other hand, does not.

ETA: Here's a video from Rivera Amps with Brian Swerdfeger (fmr VP of Sales for Taylor) discussing the T5 balanced system:

https://youtu.be/vwq218VIqn0?t=3m40s
__________________
‎"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything."
- Plato

| '02 814c Custom (Coco/Sitka) | '03 912ce Custom (Coco/Engelmann)| '06 K65ce | '11 916ce | '17 J45 Std. | '10 Breedlove Revival OM DLX (EIR/Adi) | Lots of electrics...

Last edited by Gutch; 11-16-2015 at 03:28 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11-16-2015, 05:54 PM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Allentown, PA
Posts: 2,499
Default

All the signal connections in my T5z are three wire. I guess you could say balanced. BUT...there is no shielding and its output is quite hot and who runs 100 foot guitar cables anyway???
__________________
Jon Fields

RainSong CH-PA1100NS, Mi-Si Trio (Baggs Element), Elixir PB 10s, TKL 8975 Case & Access 3/4 Stage 1 gig bag, set up to cover electric guitar riffs
RainSong CO-PA1100NS, Schatten Passive HFN, Elixir 80/20 Polyweb 12s, TKL 8975 Case
Soundcraft Notepad-12FX into one QSC CP8 (21 lbs) high/behind
Martin LX1, Elixir PB 13s, Access 1/2 Stage 1 gig bag

www.justsoduo.com
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11-17-2015, 01:47 PM
jseth jseth is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Oregon... "Heart of the Valley"...
Posts: 8,506
Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gutch View Post
Sorry, but you are incorrect. The T5 does, in fact, have a balanced output. The T3, on the other hand, does not.

ETA: Here's a video from Rivera Amps with Brian Swerdfeger (fmr VP of Sales for Taylor) discussing the T5 balanced system:

https://youtu.be/vwq218VIqn0?t=3m40s
Gutch;

I spoke directly with one of the techs at Taylor about this... and his comment was that using a balanced cable with the T5 would not gain you anything, that the T5 was designed to be used with a standard 1/4" guitar cord...

If he was mistaken, I stand corrected... but the truth is, I don't even know of a guitar amp that has a balanced input anyway... and then you have to deal with any pedals in the signal chain... I suppose if one were using the T5 as an ACOUSTIC guitar, into a mixing board or acoustic amp, then there would be a bonus for the TRS cable... otherwise, not so much...
__________________
"The ocean whispers through the cottonwood trees;
Autumn has come and rustled all of the leaves,
and some fly...,
some fall...
and some don't fall at all..."


(J.S.Sherman)
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11-19-2015, 08:59 AM
Gutch's Avatar
Gutch Gutch is offline
Cocobologist
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Over by 'dere...
Posts: 4,466
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jseth View Post
Gutch;



<snip> but the truth is, I don't even know of a guitar amp that has a balanced input anyway... and then you have to deal with any pedals in the signal chain... I suppose if one were using the T5 as an ACOUSTIC guitar, into a mixing board or acoustic amp, then there would be a bonus for the TRS cable... otherwise, not so much...
The YouTube link above discusses the Rivera amp that has the balanced input. It is also useful in the recording studio and stage setups where rack-mounted effects are used.

Taylor wasn't the first to do the balanced output thing on a guitar. Les Paul wired his stage guitar for balanced output, and Gibson released three models in the late 60's early 70's that offered the same -- The Les Paul Personal, Les Paul Professional and Les Paul recording.
__________________
‎"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything."
- Plato

| '02 814c Custom (Coco/Sitka) | '03 912ce Custom (Coco/Engelmann)| '06 K65ce | '11 916ce | '17 J45 Std. | '10 Breedlove Revival OM DLX (EIR/Adi) | Lots of electrics...
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11-19-2015, 09:57 AM
fazool's Avatar
fazool fazool is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 14,318
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaffeinatedOne View Post
...
What a balanced signal is all about is that on the guitar, a preamp splits the signal into two parts, one of which is inverted, or reversed in phase. ...
Excellent write-up. Just one semantic tweak. The inverted signal is not technically changed in phase. Phase change would shift the waveform forward or back (measured in degrees).

An inverted sinusoid will look like a 180-degree phase shift but technically they are in-phase but inverted.
__________________
Fazool "The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter"
Taylor GC7 | Taylor GA3-12 | Taylor SB2-S | Ibanez AC240
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 02-01-2019, 10:33 AM
Charlie x Charlie x is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 3
Default Taylor T5 Balanced output to an 'amp'

I bought a Taylor T5. Here is what I found regarding its balanced output.

1. You can use a TRS out going to a PA or acoustic amp and take advantage of a great clean balanced signal.

2. The videos that show Wayne and others 'splitting' the signal do NOT and CANNOT use the balanced output. They must be using a standard cable to a splitter to accomplish splitting the acoustic sound to an acoustic amp and the electric sounds to a guitar pedalboard/amp.

This is because there is no product (that I can find anywhere on the net) that will allow you to keep the balanced acoustic signal by routing it to balanced input (BI) and that will also let you footswitch to an unbalanced chain. You can get a LR baggs type DI box/eq/preamp and blend the way u want, but none of these are footswitchable.

Details: You come out of the T5 balanced. Signal hits a splitter...all splitters have UNbalanced inputs...game over for your balanced signal.

There is a Lehele (sp) pedal that has 2 ch where one is a balanced output...but the inputs are UNbal. I contacted Radial and a few others...none make a unit that have 1 bal and 1 unbal output for this guitar therefore I was not sure what the purpose of a balanced output was for on the T5.

So...I called Taylor to ask them. Taylor said the only thing the bal output is useful for is to plug the acoustic setting into a PA or amp with BI. That's it...which would render the electric sounds pretty useless since they cannot be gained up in a PA. They also said emphatically that 99% of the time, you will use a standard cable into an amp or splitter ...just like on the videos.

I just wonder how much extra we are paying to have a balanced output on this guitar that is virtually unusable.
Did I miss a balanced in/out splitter that you know of??
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 02-01-2019, 03:23 PM
Gutch's Avatar
Gutch Gutch is offline
Cocobologist
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Over by 'dere...
Posts: 4,466
Default

The balanced output isn't "Unusable". It works perfectly fine.

Whether or not you choose to use it, well, that's up to you.

Many products are designed with a variety of features that some customers will use and others won't. Just because you've decided not to take advantage of a feature doesn't make it less important to the product -- Just less important to your use.
__________________
‎"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything."
- Plato

| '02 814c Custom (Coco/Sitka) | '03 912ce Custom (Coco/Engelmann)| '06 K65ce | '11 916ce | '17 J45 Std. | '10 Breedlove Revival OM DLX (EIR/Adi) | Lots of electrics...
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 02-05-2019, 08:41 PM
Charlie x Charlie x is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 3
Default T5

Only useable if going into a balanced input...if going to a splitter or amp without a balanced input, the output of the T5 is no longer balanced..so how is that useable when it hits the splitter?
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 02-06-2019, 03:57 PM
Charlie x Charlie x is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 3
Default T5 balanced output SOLVED

I tried using the balanced Out (BO) into a Bal Input amp that has an effects loop, thereby keeping the signal balance the whole time..it really does have more high end and chime with a BO. Using a Effects loop didn't work so great as the clean sound was still mixed in.... But I found a Zoom G3x that will accept an active IN and has a BO that can go to a PA and IT WORKS...I can use the clean great sounding acoustic T5 sound balanced and then use my electric effects without splitting or losing sound quality...anyway...for what its worth, I got it all to work...now I have to raise the action a bit so I can do some bending without the high E fretting out.
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Electric Guitars

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:22 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=