Type and usage of important audio Cable
My name is Sebastian La Rocca, I`m from Buenos Aires
Argentina. I`m a musician composer and I`m going to talk about
the most important type of cables and connectors that we can
use in a standard studio or home studio. This lesson is for week 1
of Introduction To Music Production at Coursera.org
The most commons cables that we going to use in studio are.
-TS cable-connector ¼ inches
-TSR cable connector ¼ inch and 1/8 inches
-XLR cable conector
-RCA cable conector
First I present the material talking about the configuration or
system that they have. Then I will describe each one of these
These 4 cables connectors are divided in 2 categories
– Balanced connection
– Unbalanced connection
The TS cable and RCA cable are unbalanced connection, that is a
system or configuration that uses two wires. One wire carries the
audio signal (single conductor) and the other connects to the
ground, or shield.
Because of this configuration or system, this cables are
susceptible to noise, so we have to use short cable, if we have a
long unbalance cable like a 20 foot long cable, it`s going to be
like an antenna. So we use short unbalance cables on studio or
on stage. These cables are Mono (single conductor), so if we
need a stereo signal we need two cables or two connectors. Like
the photo, two mono unbalance in one side, one balance stereo
in other side.
The unbalanced connection is used for high impedance
microphones and pickups, like guitar or bass pickups,
piezoelectric contact pickups or cheaper microphones.
The TSR cable and XLR cable are balance connection. That is a
three wire system, two carries the signal, and the third is the
ground or shield. The balance connectors are more immune to
noise than unbalance. The more popular of this two is the XLR,
because it has 3 conductors, it’s shielded, it´s lock in place and
don’t move, and the ground pin contact first than the other two
pins to avoid pops.
Balance connections are use for low impedance microphones.
This is the right type of connection on studio and on stage for
microphones. Most professional Microphones are low
There is a useful device in studio and on stage, called direct box,
where an unbalance signal that we plug in the Input side, came
out balance from the Output side. In the Input side we have two
TS connectors in parallel, one for plug an instrument and other
to connect an amp. On the output side there is a XLR connector,
as we see in this picture.
Now I will describe every type of cable:
– The most popular is the TS cable or Instrument cable, it’s
an unbalance connector. TS means: T for TIP, where it goes
the only one signal (single conductor), and S for Sleeve,
where is the ground or shield. The connector has these 2
parts. It is use to connect guitars, basses, mics preamps and
pieces of studio gear. See picture below.
– A variation of TS is the TSR cable connector. It is a balanced
connector with 3 parts: 2 conductors and the shield. TSR
means TIP SLEEVE and RING. Its is an Stereo connector that
transmit two separated signals. . The TIP is the left, the Ring
is the Right, Sleeve is the shield. It is common to use these
connectors in headphones. It is less susceptible to noise
than TS cable.
– The XLR cable connector is the most stable connector on
studio we can have, and we use it for microphones and for
connect Direct box. It is a balanced connector that has 3
pins, two for signal and one for shield. It is very useful for
long ride cables, because it has build to avoid the noise.
– The RCA cable connector is like a TS, It is mono signal, have
two parts, conductor and shield and it is used for home
video devices. In Studio I used with an adaptor to plug in a
console. Two cables to recreate the stereo signal.
– The variation of TSR ¼ is the 1/8 inch stereo cable. It is used
for headphones as well as the TSR, same configuration but
– The last cable that I want to introduce you is a Midi cable.
One in particular that I have is Midi in one side and USB in
other side. It’s very useful in home studio like mine. The
type of signal that transports is one and zeros, just
Finally I would like to say a few tips to recommend for those who
have a home studio or standard studio, a kind of conclusion of
– Get good quality of cables and connectors.
– Get a variety of adaptors; they are always useful to have it
– Get more than one of each cable, although we think that
– Get variety of combination of connectors, like we saw in
Thanks for read my work and I hope it has been helpful for you
to understand this area. And I appreciate your critics and