by Eddie Ciletti
Started January 2003 
(more to come)

Mixing balanced and unbalanced equipment should not result in a compromise, specifically this concerns gear with transformer-less, (that's electronically-balanced) outputs.

First off, the patch bay should be wired as if everything were balanced, red (hot) wire to TIP, black (LO) to ring and SHIELD to SLEEVE.  Assuming your insert -- send and return -- are on separate 1/4-inch mono-style TRS jacks, that's RED to TIP, BLACK and SHIELD to SLEEVE.  Most gear with Transformer-less, (that's electronically-balanced) outputs will not be happy feeding an unbalanced input.  It seems a shame to compromise the natural noise cancelling abilities of "balanced circuitry and wiring," so...

Since certain pieces of balanced gear will be unhappily unbalanced, the FIRST solution is to balance all of the inputs.  Many off the shelf products exist for this purpose and, in terms of time, they are cost effective.  SECOND If you are handy with a soldering iron, another option would be to build a bunch of balanced input circuits or THIRD, modify the mixer in question to have balanced inputs.