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Audio cables

Here you will find our audio cable categories. Select the type of audio cables you are looking for below.


Here you will find our wide range of audio cables. If you want to know more about audio cables, read on below.

What are balanced audio cables / audio connectors?

Balanced audio cables use an extra connection, compared to unbalanced, and consist of a hot (positive), cold (negative) and ground connection. The audio signal is sent on both the hot and cold connection, but the voltage in the cold connection is inverted (i.e. the polarity is changed) so that it is negative when the hot signal is positive.

These two signals are often referred to as being 180 degrees out of phase with each other, but this is technically incorrect - the signals are not actually out of phase, they are simply opposite polarities. That is, one of the signals is inverted (let's say the cold one) not delayed 180 degrees.

When the cable is connected to an input (on a mixer or other equipment), the hot and cold connection is combined. Normally, you would expect the two signals to cancel each other out. Instead, the cold connection is reversed at the input stage, which actually results in an even stronger signal.

XLR connectors and º" TRS (tip/ring/sleeve) connectors are considered balanced connectors. XLR connectors and xlr cables are available in female and male formats, and with 3, 4 or 5 pins, with 3 pins (3-pin) being the most common.

º" TRS connectors are better known as stereo jack connectors. However, a stereo jack plug is only a stereo plug when it carries 2 channels of unbalanced audio. In a balanced system, however, it is used as a balanced mono jack plug and is called a balanced TRS plug. A stereo jack plug is therefore a mono plug when used in a balanced system.

Balanced cables help remove unwanted noise

Along the length of the cable, noise can be introduced from other external sources, such as power cables. This noise will be identical on the hot and cold connection. So, in effect, both the hot and the cold connection carry 2 signals: The desired audio signal (the cold one with reversed voltage, compared to the hot one), and an unwanted noise, which is the same on both connections.

This is where the magic of balanced audio connectors lies. At the input stage, where the cold signal is inverted and the two connections are combined into a stronger signal, the unwanted noise is also inverted. This means that the noise from the cold connection offsets the noise from the hot connection. This creates the magic and the unwanted noise is gone, leaving only the desired audio signal.


Balanced and unbalanced cable

Unbalanced audio cables

Traditional unbalanced cables use only two connections to transmit the audio signal - a hot connection that carries the signal and a ground connection. This is most common in short cables where noise is not a major concern.

Unbalanced audio cables are usually connected with º" TS connectors and RCA connectors. However, any single-pin connector used for audio is unbalanced. 3-pin XLR connectors can also be used for unbalanced cables. º" TS (tip/sleeve) connectors are also known as mono jack connectors, while RCA connectors are better known as phono connectors.

The balanced system

The key difference between a balanced system and an unbalanced system is that the balanced system is noise-free. Both systems pick up unwanted noise, but the balanced system has the advantage that it equalizes the noise as it travels through the system and therefore the noise is eliminated by the time it reaches the speakers. This was described earlier in the article.

However, to have a fully balanced system, it requires that the devices included in the system have balanced inputs and outputs. If even one device in your system is not equipped with balanced inputs and outputs and you have to use unbalanced cables, you risk your entire system becoming unbalanced and making a lot of unwanted noise.

The electronics in your audio devices are not actually balanced - they are simply isolated from the chassis of the device. It is when the audio signal goes from the balanced output, through the balanced audio cable, and into the balanced input of the connected device that the magic happens and the noise is eliminated.

Using balanced xlr cables or equipment with different couplings in the same system is in most cases doomed to fail. You may even find that the audio signals start to cancel each other out, ultimately leaving you with no sound at all. However, many audio mixers have a phase inversion function on each channel, so you can change the polarity and solve most mismatch issues. But of course, the best solution is always to be consistent with your choice of cables. Therefore, if you want a noise-free soundscape, make sure you only buy devices that have balanced inputs and outputs, as well as balanced cables that match your devices.

And remember the rule of thumb for all audio systems: Connect all cables, make sure to ground the entire system and balance the system wherever possible.