Originally Posted by crackyflipside
Any suggestions for a quick and easy RCA -> XLR box? I know the Art Cleanbox works and Chasw98 is coming out with a mysterious black box to solve all the world's problems; so is there anything else out there besides these two that convert RCA to XLR and maybe even boost the signal a bit?
There are 3 ways to do this. One is to just wire a cable properly and make an adapter. You get no signal boost but it is inexpensive and does not affect the fidelity. Second, a transformer can be used (as in the Rane BB22 mentioned) and that will passively boost the signal from -10 to +4. Costs more, no power needed, but depends upon the quality of the transformer. A good Jensen transformer can cost $500.00!
The third way is with an active circuit that needs power like the Art Cleanbox. These can range from very inexpensive (like the Art) to costing well over $1,00.00 used in a studio environment. Usually you get what you pay for in terms of performance here. A combination of transformer and active are also used. It is very easy to build your own converter with very, very good specifications using an IC and some capacitors, but, you will need to solder and provide a bipolar 15 volt supply.
The bottom line is that if you go looking for the price of the Art Cleanbox, you will probably get Art specifications in any device at that price point. One idea would be to look on eBay in the pro gear area and see if there is a used piece of gear that has unbalanced inputs and balanced outputs. As long as you put the unit in bypass, you should still get the desired boost from -10 to +4 but with good fidelity. An older pro equalizer is a good example of something that might come with balanced and unbalanced ins and outs that might serve your purpose.
Or you could come over to my house one weekend and we will put one together for ya' in a couple of hours.