XLR Pinout Drawing & Colours

5 pin & 3 pin XLR wiring pinout information

The three pin and five pin XLR pinout is a very standard connection used for audio (mic level & line level – 3 pin) and lighting control (DMX – 5-pin) 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.

DMX 5 Pin to 3 Pin Wiring

Many lighting fixtures have 3-pin connectors instead fo 5-pin connectors. This table shows you how to wire up a 3pin to 5pin XLR adaptor:

3 Pin5 PinSignal/Purpose
11Common
22Data –
33Data +

Wiring XLR to RJ45

You may be wondering if you can run Audio & DMX via RJ45 (Cat5 & Cat6) connectors. The answer is a resounding ‘yes’!

A common wiring scheme is StudioHub+, which allows two 3-pin XLR connectors per RJ45 connector. This scheme can be adapted for DMX too.

DMX to RJ45 Wiring

You can use the following table to connect 5 pin DMX connectors to Cat5 or Cat6 RJ45 connectors:

XLR PinRJ45 PinSignal/Purpose
17 & 8Common
22Data 1 –
31Data 1 +
46Data 2 –
53Data 2 +

XLR Pins 4 & 5 can often be left disconnected, as most lights do not use the 2nd data channel. However, since you have the pairs at your disposal on your Cat6 cable, you may as well connect them and future-proof yourself.

Audio XLR to RJ45 Wiring

Here is the wiring scheme to connect Rj45 connectors to XLR connectors for stereo audio, using the StudioHub+ standard.

PinTIA/EIA 568A ColourTIA/EIA 568B ColourFunctionXLR Pin
1Green / WhiteOrange / WhiteLeft +Left 2
2GreenOrangeLeft –Left 3
3Orange / WhiteGreen / WhiteRight +Left 2
4BlueBlue
5Blue / WhiteBlue / White
6OrangeGreenRight –Left 3
7Brown / WhiteBrown / White
8BrownBrown

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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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