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.

Get the Broadcast Technology Newsletter

Sign up for the email newsletter about media and technology. Sent irregularly. No spam.

I'm Anthony Eden, and I'm a broadcast technician / software developer / technology solutions engineer. I've been working in broadcast media since 2008 (getting my start in Community Radio while still at school), and developing software and websites for just as long. Right now, I work in the broadcast industry and provide some freelance services through Media Realm.

Follow Anthony on Twitter: @anthony_eden