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Audio Cables and Connectors. Common Audio Cables. Balanced: Have two conductors and a shield or ground. Used for low impedance - balanced circuits (+4 dBu) Unbalanced: Have one conductor and a shield. Used for high impedance unbalanced, or -10 dBV signals

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common audio cables
Common Audio Cables
  • Balanced: Have two conductors and a shield or ground. Used for low impedance - balanced circuits (+4 dBu)
  • Unbalanced: Have one conductor and a shield. Used for high impedance unbalanced, or -10 dBV signals
  • Speaker wire: 2 conductors and no shield
3 electrical characteristics of wire
3 Electrical Characteristics of Wire
  • Resistance/ Impedance: Will decrease the audio signal level
  • Capacitance: Will roll off high frequencies
  • Inductance: Will alter the frequencies of the signal in various ways
specs for quality wire
Specs for quality wire
  • Resistance/ Impedance: Less than 100 ohms per 1000 feet
  • Capacitance: Under 100 Pico farads per foot
  • Inductance: Depends on how the wire lays - coiled wire has more inductance than uncoiled wire
wire gauge
Wire Gauge
  • The diameter of wire is measured in gauges
  • The smaller the gauge - the bigger the diameter
  • Audio cables are typically 20 - 22 gauge
  • Speaker cables can be from 18 and down depending on the system
guidelines for speaker cable
Guidelines for Speaker Cable
  • If you are driving an audio system outputting under 500 watts RMS, and your speaker wire runs are under 100 feet, use 18 gauge speaker cable・
  • If you are under 500 watts RMS and greater than 100 feet, but under 250 feet of wire, use 16 gauge speaker cable・
  • If you are between 500 and 2000 watts RMS and under 100 feet of speaker wire runs, use 16 gauge speaker cable・
  • If you are between 500 and 2000 watts RMS and and greater than 100 feet, but under 250 feet of speaker wire runs, use 14 gauge speaker cable・
  • If in excess of 2000 watts, you should refer to the documentation associated with your PA system power amplifiers and use what they recommend.
balanced trs 1 4 connectors
Balanced (TRS) 1/4” Connectors

T = Tip R = Ring S = Sleeve

unbalanced ts 1 4 connectors
Unbalanced (TS)1/4” Connectors

Sometimes called an instrument or guitar cable

balanced multi pin cable
Balanced Multi-pin Cable
  • Used to connect 2 or more channels of audio on a single connector.
  • Commonly found on recording console I/O,DAW interface I/O, audio patchbays, as well as multi track tape machines.
  • Used in conjunction with multi channel audio connectors.
audio patchbays
Audio Patchbays

Most pro audio studios use TT (tiny telephone) patchbays.

Each patch point is electrically balanced. Front panel switches make it easy to change between full, half and non-normalled connections.