How Do XLR to USB Cables Work?

How Do XLR to USB Cables Work?

If you are in need of recording Audio at your home, you might want to connect your External Line Return Microphone to the PC directly. Fortunately, XLR to USB adapters are available in the market to accomplish the problem.

In recent times, multiple people have created audio materials from the comfort of their homes. The introduction of XLR to USB cables and other Universal Serial Bus audio devices and cables makes the job easier. These electrical cables allow you to plug an External Line Return device directly into the computer.

These wires are mainly manufactured and designed to let you connect any External Line Return microphone directly to your computer.

As soon as you connect, you can record on to the computer. You can use them also. But to use them efficiently, use dynamic microphones. Besides, these can offer the required amplification for dynamic microphones. Unfortunately, these don’t allow you to use condenser microphones. The reason for that is there are unable to supply the phantom power required by condenser microphones to work.

You should keep in mind one thing different mics have different needs. Therefore, if you are looking for a type of deal that can fit into any size, it is not your choice at all. Most condenser microphones need Phantom Power. Therefore, these won’t enable you to activate your mic. You may take the help of an audio XLR to USB interface like a Preamp, mixer, etc., rather than that. It can offer phantom power capabilities & the option for Universal Serial Bus output. Dynamic microphones generally do not need any extraordinary power to work. Just convert and start using it.

What is XLR?

The external line Return connector is an electrical connector available on professional audio, video, and stage lighting components. These come in circular design and contain three and seven pins.

What is a USB?

USB or Universal Serial Bus is an industry standard used to set up cables, connectors, and protocol specifications. These are mainly for interfacing or power supply, communication, and connection between PCs, peripherals, etc.

What is XLR to USB?

XLR-to-USB signal adapter helps you to connect any External Line Return microphone to a computer to record with headphone monitoring. It can offer Universal Serial Bus connectivity, an integrated Preamplifier with Microphone Gain Control, and Zero Latency Monitoring to offer playback in real-time.

How Do These XLR to USB Cables Work?

These are quite fascinating devices. But technology gets advanced, making it possible to connect a microphone to a computer directly. In addition, you can also connect a musical instrument directly to a computer through a single cable.

These come with a preloaded Preamp and an ADC ( analog to digital converter).

  • First, the Preamp helps to amplify the audio signal. Later it helps to pass through the signal before transmitting it to the analog to digital converter. After that, it transfers the signal into a digital format. Next, the digital format is passed on to the PC.
  • External Line Return and Universal Serial Bus connectors help to send signals in entirely different formats. Universal Serial Bus can send signals in digital format along a cable, whereas an External Line Return sends analog signals along a cable. As soon as you connect a microphone or instrument to these cables, the audio signal gets transmitted through the External Line Return. The signal remains in the form of an electric current.
  • When a Microphone picks up an audio signal, it becomes very low. It is why a Preamp passes through the signal. After that, it boosts the signal into a line-level signal for further processing.
  • Unlike traditional Preamps, these built-in Preamps have a fixed gain. It indicates that you may boost the gain if the signal is not loud enough. It is one of the drawbacks of using this cable.
  • After processing the audio signal, it passes on the signal to an analog to digital converter. First, it is preloaded into this cable. Next, ADC helps to convert the signal from an analog signal into a digital format. After that, the digital signal is passed on to the computer.

Does XLR to USB Decrease Audio Quality?

These help to decrease the quality of audio output. While transferring different audio signals through different formats may affect the final output quality. For example, these cables can transfer analog signals to digital format, helping to decrease the quality of the final audio output. However, you can not usually notice the reduction in audio quality.

These can work perfectly without causing any problems. Besides, these are pretty cheap also. Manufacturers have compromised a lot while making a quality product. They take the help of less quality electronic components to make the cables. As a result, it affects the audio quality.

The Universal Serial Bus is also responsible for the reduction in audio quality. Universal Serial Bus is famous for having unbalanced audio cables.

It indicates that these come with two wires which can serve as the main conductors with no earth portion. While a Universal Serial Bus wire gets unbalanced, it can pick up nearby frequencies and sounds.

On the flip side, these create more precise sounds. Besides, the cables help to remove background noise you are not willing to hear. Thus, you can get a much clearer sound. It is one of the reasons why most people prefer to use the wires for live shows, studio soundtracks, and home recordings. But unfortunately, it is the conversion of electrical signals and deficiency in Universal Serial Bus cables due to which the audio quality output is reduced.

Does These Provide Phantom Power?

A condenser mic will need phantom power to operate if you have a condenser mic. But the cables don’t offer or create phantom power. However, these can support the transmission of phantom power. It indicates that the cables carry a phantom power to a condenser while connected to a device offering this power.

Condenser mics, unlike dynamic mics, need 48V of phantom power for operation. But these don’t operate except for getting the phantom power to the condenser mic. It is why multiple audio interfaces and mixing consoles feature preloaded phantom power, which assists in powering condenser mics.

As these offer phantom power on their own, they can work with dynamic microphones. However, it indicates that you cannot use the cables independently to power External Line Return condenser microphones.

XLR to USB Adapter:

It can record onto the computer directly when you have a microphone needing phantom power. Besides, it helps to generate phantom power. In addition, it can connect a condenser microphone to a computer directly through a Universal Serial Bus port.

These can convert the analog signal into a digital one. You can use the devices with a condenser microphone. Connect it to an External Line Return condenser mic and Universal Serial Bus port to begin recording.


XLR to USB cables support dynamic microphones efficiently. It is a cheap alternative and lucrative for recording. Whether you are willing to record with a cable with minimal fuss and sound audio output, you can select a quality model.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Is These Cables Better Than Universal Serial Bus?

A Universal Serial Bus mic can directly attach to the Universal Serial Bus port on the PC. But an External Line Return mic needs an external recording interface or a digital I/O to do so. Multiple Universal Serial Bus mics use similar components as their External Line Return counterparts.

  • Is XLR Digital Or Analog?

When you use an analog audio cable with External Line Return connectors, it looks similar to a cable for digital use. However, an analog cable might kill a digital feed, and Audio has a relatively low frequency in its analog world.

  • Why are XLR Mics better?

These can provide more adaptability and customization as you need to route them through an interface. In addition, manufacturers make them keeping durability in mind. Therefore, these can withstand the tests of time easily.

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