Types and Usage of Important Studio Cables; or What Does This Cable Go To?

I will be talking about the different kinds of studio cables and what they do.

There are two main types of cables, balanced and unbalanced. When combining multiple cables it is best to use shorter unbalanced cables and longer balanced cables as balanced cables won’t pick up as much noise along the way as an unbalanced cable will.

TS Cables

An instrument (or TS) cable is exactly that, a cable that connects your instrument to its amp. They are typically used for unbalanced mono signals. The end of a TS cable consist of a tip, a sleeve, and a single ring.

TRS Cables

A TRS cable is typically used as the output line in an audio interface. They can be used for both balanced mono signals and stereo signals. The TRS cable looks almost exactly like the TS cable, the main difference being the end. The end of a TRS cable consists of a tip, a sleeve, and two rings.

XLR Cables

XLR cables are balanced and are mainly used for microphones. The output (or male) end consists of a shield and three holes. The input (or female) end consists of a shield and three pins.

RCA Cables

We all know RCA cables, they’re the cables that run from the DVD player to the TV or from the stereo to the speakers. In recording studios, however, they are used to connect the recording interface to the studio monitor. On one end there is a single black connector, this end is plugged into the line out of the recording interface. On the other end there is a yellow video connector, a white left audio connector, and a red right audio connector.

To summarize: A TS cable is used to connect an instrument to an amp. A TRS cable is used as an output line in an audio interface. An XLR cable is used to connect microphones and RCA cables are used to connect the recording interface to the studio monitors.

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