August 15, 2012

Help Desk: Audio Cables


Get the low down on your audio cable questions.

When you get into talking about cables with an audiophile you will quickly hear a lot of letters being thrown around like, XLR, RCA, TS, TRS, and don’t forget your speaker cables.  Audio cables don’t carry the same drool inducing response that a new analog synthesizer does but you have to know how to connect all your gear.  Whether you are getting ready to build up your home studio, play your first DJ set, or get a PA System for your garage band our Help Desk: Audio Cables video will set you straight.

Video Transcript:

Hello my name is Chris welcome to the UniqueSquared Help Desk.  Today we are going to be talking about some basic pro audio cables.  We’ll be covering XLR, RCA, TRS, TS, and also Speaker Cables, so let’s get started.

First off we have our XLR Cable, it’s a three pin connector often used with mixer boards to send a signal out also it’s used a lot of times to connect your microphone to your mixer board or whatever interface you are connecting to.

Moving right along this is a RCA Cable.  You probably have a couple of these plugged up to your TV at home, video game system, or whatever.   This provides a left and right channel providing you sound in stereo and this also is used to connect turntables to a mixer and to send an unbalanced signal from your mixer.

Moving on, here we have our TS cable.  Now this is a tip and this is a sleeve, so that’s how you get the TS, and their is a rubber bumper between to separate the two.  This is often used for a line level signal, which is basically a mono signal which gives you one channel of audio instead of two, which you had with the stereo.  You know stereo left and right. Line level one channel.  This is what you’ll use to connect your guitar to your amplifier, your keyboard to your amplifier.  A lot of mixers actually have outs coming through the TS cable as well.

Now compare that with the quarter inch TRS cable.  Now this is a little different they have added a little extra metal piece here.  There’s the Tip and then there’s the Ring, and a Sleeve, that’s TRS.  Basically what this does as oppossed to the other cable which looks very much like this is that this cable provides a stereo signal so that when I have my headphones on I can hear both my right and my left channels.  Now as you can see here I just had a converter on top of my 1/8 inch TRS connector this is exactly the same thing but a smaller size.

Alright next up we have our speaker cable.  Now on this one end you will notice that it looks a lot like our other 1/4 connectors.  It actually looks the most like a TS cable because you have the tip and the sleeve.   This cable will not carry a signal from your guitar to your amplifier.  It is meant to take a very strong electrical current from powered amplifiers to passive speakers.  On this end you will see that we have a speakon connector and basically what this thing does is it goes into your speaker or your amplifier and just locks into place and it won’t move.

That about does it.  That is the basic rundown of the pro audio cables you might come across.  For all the best prices on gear be sure to come over to where we have all the latest and greatest in pro audio.  My name is Chris and I’ll catch you guys next time.