Audio Recording Cables


What are the best audio cables to use to record your music.
What type do you need,
usb connector,midi cable,xlr cables?

There are basically two types of connectors:

  • Analog
  • Digital

The types of analog connectors are:

  • Mono/TS 1/4-inch plug
  • Stereo/TRS 1/4-inch plug
  • XLR
  • RCA (Phono plug)

The Types of digital connectors are:

  • Midi
  • s/pdif
  • USB
  • Firewire



  • TS is short for Tip/Sleeve
  • TRS is short for Tip/Ring/Sleeve

Mono/TS have one wire and a shield in them. The wire is connected to the tip and the shield is connected to the sleeve.

They can be used to connect the guitar to the amp, a keyboard synthesizer to the mixer or mixer to amp.

Stereo/TRS have two wires and a shield. They can be used for connecting a stereo left and right channel.

They can also be used as balanced cords. This is when the two wires have signals that are 180 degrees out of phase with each other. The signals are added to each other which cancels out noise when the connector is used in a device. These are used for long lengths of cables to reduce noise produced by cables.

They can be used as a Y-cord. These have a TRS plug on one end and two TS plugs on the other end. These are used to insert processors into the mixer.


These are mainly used for connecting microphones but you can connect other equipment with XLR connectors. They are wired like a TRS and is balanced to reduce noise.

RCA (Phono)

They are used to connect tape decks and other types of analog decks to the mixer. They are wired like a TS Plug.


A Midi cable allows digital information to pass from one instrument to another. They have five pins that connect into the instrument. You can connect many instruments using the midi in, out and thru.


S/PDIF (short for Sony/Phillips Digital Interface) are an unbalanced coaxial cable and RCA plug. The are made from fiber optic and Toslink connector. They can transmit the left and right channels at the same time. The length of the cable needs to be less than 3-4 feet due to the cable being unbalanced.


USB (short for Universal Serial Bus)

The usb connector is very common on computers. They come in two standards:

  • USB 1.1
  • USB 2.0

The difference is the data transfer rate:

  • USB 1.1- 12 Mbps
  • USB 2.0- 480 Mbps

USB 1.1 transfer rate is not fast enough so you will need to make sure the equipment has a USB 2.0 standard.


A Firewire cable also known as IEEE 1394 or iLink has a transfer rate of 400 Mbps.

Firewire 800 is the new standard. The firewire 800 cable has a transfer rate of 800 Mbps.


Optical cables have one or more optical fibers within them and can be used to transmit data and maintain the quality of the source.

The audio recording cables you use will depend on the connections on the equipment you have. Although most equipment will have several different types of connectors.

Using the information above you can choose the best audio recording cables for your Home Recording Studio.

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