The three pin and five pin XLR pinout is a very standard connection used for audio (mic level & line level) and lighting control (DMX) applications. This article shows the XLR Pinout diagrams for both 3-pin and 5-pin connectors. You’ll also discover each XLR pin’s polarity.

3 Pin XLR Pinout

XLR Pinout: 3 pin

The XLR Pinout for 3 Pin XLR connectors is very standard. This diagram shows you the different pin numbering used on Male and Female XLR connectors.

These are what connect to each pin on a standard XLR connector:

  • Pin 1: Shield / Ground
  • Pin 2: Positive
  • Pin 3: Negative

XLR Colour Codes

There is no standard colour code for XLR connectors. As a broad rule, you can use the following colours:

  • Pin 2 (Positive): Red
  • Pin 3 (Negative): White or Black

This colouring scheme is consistent with the Australian colour coding for 240V wiring. Some professional XLR cable will provide you with a data sheet, which specifies the XLR colour codes it prefers – especially on multi-pair cable.

5 Pin XLR Pinout

XLR Pinout: 5 Pin

This diagram shows the common XLR Pinout for 5-pin XLR connectors. This connector is commonly used for lighting control via DMX, although I’ve also seen it used for some power supplies and party-line comms systems. Here is the DMX 5-pin XLR pin out:

  • Pin 1: Shield (Common)
  • Pin 2: DMX 1 Negative
  • Pin 3: DMX 1 Positive
  • Pin 4: DMX 2 Negative
  • Pin 5: DMX 2 Positive

Not all connectors will connect the second pair to pins 4 and 5. It is often left empty, as most lights do not require it.

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I'm Anthony Eden, and I'm a IT Professional, Broadcast Technician, Software Developer, and Solutions Engineer. I've been working in broadcast media since 2008, and developing software and websites for just as long. Right now, I provide freelance services through Media Realm - in particular, to the media and not-for-profit industries.

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