Professional Audio Cables and Adapters
Your pro audio gear is great! It's all necessary and it's all quality equipment, and it all needs to work together. This is where cables and adapters come in. All that gear is configured and equipped in different ways and your unique setup will require anything from simple to complex cabling setups to route all your audio signals.
There are many different types of pro audio cables and adapters, including analog and digital connections. Getting connected is one of the most important pieces of your studio or live setup and choosing the right cabling can make all the difference in the quality of your sound.
There are numerous analog pro audio connections, some of the most popular are XLR, Phone or TRS (1/4" or 1/8") stereo or mono, RCA, and the many types of speaker connections such as speakON and Banana connectors.
Microphones and preamps typically utilize XLR to XLR cables. This 3-pin connector is balanced and offers quality audio signals even at great lengths. Phone or TRS cables are most recognizable by their long shafts. The shaft will typically have either 1 or 2 black rings, 2 rings for balanced or stereo signals and 1 ring for unbalanced or mono signals. Some equipment even has combo jacks which accept either XLR or 1/4" TRS connections in the same jack. RCA cables are typically split at either end with a separate cord for right and left audio signals. RCA is an unbalanced connection.
Like analog, digital connectors are numerous and can include connections like S/PDIF, Optical TOSLINK, AES/EBU, MIDI, Word Clock, and FireWire/USB/Thunderbolt. Digital connections usually allow different digital pieces of gear to communicate. To connect your analog gear with a digital signal you will need an audio interface or other form of AD/DA converter. Digital connections can be somewhat confusing because many will look similar to some of the analog connections you may have seen. But fear not, Performance Audio has the expertise to help you find the right cable, just contact us for help anytime!
S/PDIF is a coaxial type of digital audio cable that mimics the RCA analog style connection, but for digital audio signals. Optical or TOSLINK refers to a cable originally developed as ADAT for Alesis Digital Audio Tape use. It uses an optical red beam of light as the signal connection through a wire and plug. AES and EBU cables can look like XLR cables, or something with multiple pins within. MIDI is Musical Instrument Digital Interface, and it doesn't produce audio, but rather musical data such as volume, pan, velocity, note, and pitch, for use with MIDI cable devices and instruments. Word clock is a connection used to sync timing devices. FireWire and USB are common peripheral digital connections for use with PCs and Macs, audio recording devices, DAWs/workstations, digital instruments, and microphones.
Pro Audio cables are not necessarily expensive, and many can be custom made just the way you want with color and labeling options to help your studio represent your style. Browse our large selection online or call/chat/email with us and get tips and pointers to help guide your way!