As musicians, audiophiles, and recording studio professionals alike we are always looking for ways to improve the sound we create, which is why the choosing the right cables is so important. However, the world of audio cables can be a confusing place, with a wealth of different types of cables, various connectors and a host of different applications.  

Cables aren’t just leads for connecting your equipment; they’re the lifeline of your studio, engineered with precision and care to eliminate noise and latency, ensuring your sound remains crystal clear. At Studiospares we take cable quality seriously and that is why we are to help you with everything you need to know before buying your first set of cables. 


What makes a good audio cable?

A good audio cable should consist of many characteristics including signal integrity, durability, shielding, connectors, materials, length, flexibility and value. 

Signal: Signal integrity refers to the cable’s ability to transmit your audio signal from the source to the destination without distortion, coloration, and loss of detail.  

Durability: The durability of both the cable and its connectors is essential to withstand the rigors of everyday use, especially in professional settings or live performances. Shielding, typically made of copper, wraps around the conductors inside the cable to minimise electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio-frequency interference (RFI) that can degrade the audio signal.  

Connectors: High quality connectors with secure fittings, proper contact points and gold-plated connectors help prevent corrosion and improve conductivity which contributes to better signal transfer.  

Length: Understanding the correct cable length for the application can help minimise signal loss and impedance especially at higher frequencies.  

Finally, a good audio cable should perform well and come at a reasonable price. 


Does cable construction affect the quality of the cable performance? 

Cable construction can influence how audio cables perform and how they fit into different setups. These are some of the most common types of cable construction: 
Braided Cables - Studiospares

Braided cables: Flexible and durable, making them great for environments where cables may be moved around a lot, like on stage or in a studio. They’re also good at reducing interference from other electronic devices, which can help keep your audio signal clean. However, they can be a bit bulky and less flexible in tight spaces. 


Coiled cable - Studiospares

Coiled cables: Convenient for setups where you need some flexibility without a lot of extra cable lying around. They’re often used with musical instruments or in professional audio racks. While they’re good at preventing tangles and keeping things organised, they may not be the best choice for long stretches or if you need the highest audio quality, as the coiling can introduce some signal loss. 

Flat cables: Space-efficient and great for installations where you want to keep things tidy, like running cables under carpets or along walls. They’re less likely to tangle or get in the way compared to round cables. However, they may not be as flexible or durable as other types, and the close arrangement of conductors could potentially cause interference issues if they’re not properly shielded. 

Ultimately, the best cable construction for you depends on your specific needs and preferences. Consider factors like how much movement your cables will see, the amount of space you have to work with, and any potential interference when choosing the right cable for your audio setup.


What is cable shielding and does it make a difference to the sound? 

Shielding in cables refers to adding materials to block outside interference, like electromagnetic or radio-frequency signals. This is usually done by wrapping the conductors with a layer of metal foil or weaving them with conductive strands like copper. It’s all about keeping the signal clean and free from disruptions. 

There are several types of shielding commonly used in cables, each type of shielding offers different benefits and is suitable for different applications. Here are some common types of shielding: 

Braided shielding - Studiospares

Braided Shielding: A mesh of metal strands woven around the inner conductors which provides flexibility and durability, offering effective protection against interference. Braided shielding is commonly used in audio cables and other flexible applications. 


Foil Shielding - Studiospares

Foil Shielding: A thin layer of metal foil wrapped around the inner conductors which offers high coverage and attenuation of interference, especially at higher frequencies. Foil shielding is commonly used in data cables and applications requiring high-frequency shielding.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Spiral shielding - Studiospares

Spiral Shielding: A continuous helical winding of metal tape or wire around the inner conductors. This provides good flexibility and coverage, suitable for moderate to high levels of shielding and is commonly used in audio, video, and data cables requiring flexibility without sacrificing shielding effectiveness.                                                                                                                             

Foil-Braid Shielding: Combines metal foil with braided shielding which provides comprehensive protection against low and high-frequency interference. This is commonly used in high-performance cables requiring enhanced shielding effectiveness. 


How do different cable materials affect audio quality? 

  • Copper: Good conductivity, balanced sound, and widely used for its reliability and affordability. 
  • Silver: Even better conductivity than copper, offers a brighter and more detailed sound, but can be pricier. 
  • Gold: Primarily used for plating connectors to prevent corrosion, ensuring long-term reliability without affecting sound quality directly. 
  • Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC): Refined copper with fewer impurities, slightly cleaner sound than standard copper cables. 
  • Silver-Plated Copper: Combines the warmth of copper with the clarity of silver, offering a detailed yet smooth sound. 
  • Materials for Insulation and Shielding: High-quality materials like polyethylene or Teflon for insulation and copper or aluminium foil for shielding help minimise signal loss and distortion, preserving audio quality. 


How long do cables last? 

Cables are not likely to show signs of wear and tear like other electrical components. Unless they get damaged by being stepped on, pulled twisted, bent, generally mishandled or stored in a damp place they will continue to perform in the same way they did when you bought them. The higher the quality, the better the lifespan. The only reason to upgrade a cable is if the cable that you purchased in the first place was poorly made. 


How can I protect my cables? 

One of the best courses of action to protect your cables is to store them safely when you are not using them. When cables are not stored correctly, they are prone to tangling, kinking and moisture damage. The Cable Gig Bag 40 by Trojan Pro helps to keep your cables organised and protected with dividers which protects your investment in high quality cables and ensures they last longer.  


What are the different types of connectors and what are they used for? 

Making sure you know what cable connects to where and what they can be used for is crucial for seamlessly connected studio gear and can ensure your gear works to the best of its ability. Here are some of the most common connectors and what they do: 

neutrik-xlr-cable - Studiospares


XLR – A three-pin connector commonly used in professional audio equipment such as microphones, mixers, and monitors. XLR cables are known for their balanced audio transmission, which helps reduce interference and noise. They commonly have two different connectors a female connector for a microphone or monitor and a male connector for the audio device you are plugging it into. 


RCA Cable - Studiospares

RCA – A type of connector consisting of a small, cylindrical plug with a center pin surrounded by a metal ring. RCA cables are commonly used for consumer audio applications such as connecting DVD players to TVs or audio sources to amplifiers.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Balanced cable - studiospares

Balanced Jack / Stereo Jack – A cable designed to carry audio signals while minimising interference and noise. Balanced cables typically use XLR or TRS connectors and have two signal-carrying conductors along with a ground conductor.

Stereo Jack - Studiospares

A stereo jack is a type of audio connector that allows you to plug in headphones, speakers, or audio cables to devices like smartphones or computers. It’s designed to deliver stereo sound, meaning you get separate audio channels for the left and right sides, giving you a more immersive listening experience.



Unbalanced Cable - Studiospares

Unbalanced Jack / Mono Jack  – A cable with only two conductors, usually a signal wire and a ground wire. Unbalanced cables are more susceptible to interference and noise compared to balanced cables.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Mono Jack - Studiospares

A mono jack is a simple audio connector that carries just one channel of sound. It’s often used for connecting single audio sources, like microphones or instruments, to audio equipment. Unlike stereo jacks, which have two or three bands, mono jacks have only one. 


Silent Guitar Lead - Studiospares

Silent Guitar Lead – A Silent Guitar Lead typically refers to a guitar cable that includes a built-in mute switch or silent plug. This feature allows the guitarist to disconnect the cable from the guitar’s output jack without causing the loud popping sound that is often heard when unplugging a regular guitar cable.


If you want to know more about connectors and the terms we are using throughout this article, check out our Cable Glossary or conatct our dedicated sales team at or call us on 020 8208 9930.