Do you want to understand what the host of different audio cables are and what they do? At Studiospares, we understand that the world of cables can be very daunting and often hard to comprehend, with complex words that have even more complex meanings, leading to complex headaches… But don’t worry we’re here to help you shed some light on cables!

Our goal is to break down the barrier to entry on cables so that anyone can understand these concepts. When you come to use cables in the studio or on stage, you’ll understand what everything is and exactly what it’s doing!


A device used to convert between different types of audio connectors or adapt connections to suit specific needs or equipment compatibility. Audio adapters, such as 1/4-inch to 3.5mm and XLR to TRS, convert between different connector types, providing flexibility in connecting audio devices. 

ADAT Cable  

An optical fiber cable used to transfer multichannel audio between digital audio equipment such as audio interfaces, digital mixers, and digital audio workstations (DAWs). It utilises a standardised protocol called Lightpipe and TOSLINK connectors to transfer multiple channels of audio simultaneously. ADAT cables are commonly used in recording studios and live sound setups for high-quality digital audio transmission. 

Angled Cable  

An audio cable with connectors that bend at an angle instead of being straight. They’re handy when you need to fit cables in tight spaces or want to avoid bending and damaging them. Commonly used for guitar pedals and compact studio setups. 

Bantam Connector 

Bantam connectors are smaller versions of the more common 1/4-inch (6.35mm) TRS (Tip-Ring-Sleeve) connectors used in audio equipment. They are primarily used in professional audio applications, particularly in patchbays and patch panels for routing audio signals between different pieces of equipment in recording studios, broadcast facilities, and live sound setups. 

Balanced Cable  

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

Cable Drum  

A cylindrical object used to store and transport cables. It features a central spindle and handles for easy carrying. They provide a convenient way to handle long or large cables efficiently. 


A cable used to transmit audio signals between audio devices such as speakers, headphones, microphones, amplifiers, and more. 


The plug or jack at the end of the cable that connects to the audio device. Common connectors include RCA, XLR, TRS, and TS. 

DB25 Cable 

A type of cable that uses a D-subminiature (D-sub) connector with 25 pins arranged in two rows of 13 and 12 pins. In audio, DB-25 cables are used to transmit multiple channels simultaneously between devices such audio interfaces, mixing consoles, patchbays, and multi-channel recording equipment. They can carry balanced analog audio signals, digital audio signals (such as AES/EBU or SPDIF), or a combination of both. 

Digital Audio Cable  

A cable designed to transmit digital audio signals between devices, such as audio interfaces, CD players, or soundbars. Common types of digital audio cables include S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface) coaxial cables and TOSLINK optical cables. 

Ground Loop  

A phenomenon that occurs when there is an unintended electrical connection between the grounds of two or more audio devices, resulting in unwanted noise or hum in the audio signal. Ground loops can often be resolved by using balanced cables, isolating equipment, or using ground loop isolators. 

Headphone Cable  

These cables are used to connect your headphone to a listening device such as an audio interface or headphone amp. They typically use connectors such as 3.5mm TRS (Tip-Ring-Sleeve) or 2.5mm TRRS (Tip-Ring-Ring-Sleeve) connectors. 


The opposition to the flow of alternating current in a circuit, measured in ohms. Matching the impedance of audio cables and devices helps optimise signal transfer and prevent signal degradation. 

Instrument Cable  

Like a TS cable, an instrument cable is used to connect musical instruments, such as electric guitars, basses, and keyboards, to amplifiers or other audio equipment. 

Insert Cable  

A cable used to connect external signal processing equipment, such as compressors or equalizers, to a mixer or audio interface. Insert cables usually have TRS connectors and allow for sending and receiving signals simultaneously through a single cable. 


A cable assembly that consists of multiple individual cables or wires bundled together within a single outer jacket. Looms are commonly used in audio production to simplify cable management and streamline signal routing, especially in setups requiring numerous audio connections. 

Microphone Cable  

A cable designed specifically for connecting microphones to audio mixers, amplifiers, or recording devices. Microphone cables are often shielded to minimize interference and typically use XLR connectors. 

MIDI Cable  

A type of cable used to transmit Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) data between electronic musical instruments, computers, and other MIDI-compatible devices. Unlike audio cables, which transmit analog audio signals, MIDI cables transmit digital data, allowing for communication between different MIDI-enabled devices. 

Multi-core Cable  

A specialised cable with multiple individual audio channels bundled together within a single jacket. Multi-core cables are commonly used in professional audio applications where many audio signals need to be transmitted over long distances. 

Mono Jack 

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. 


A device used in recording studios or live sound setups to route audio signals between various pieces of equipment. Patchbays typically feature rows of input and output jacks that can be connected using patch cables, allowing for flexible signal routing and easy reconfiguration. 

Patch Cable  

A short audio cable used to connect audio equipment in a studio or live sound setup. Patch cables are typically used for temporary connections between devices on a mixing console, audio interface, or patchbay. 


In audio, phase refers to the timing relationship between two or more audio signals. Phase issues can occur when signals are out of alignment, resulting in comb filtering or a thinning of the sound. Balanced cables and proper equipment placement can help mitigate phase problems. 

Phono Cable  

A type of audio cable designed for use in professional studio environments. It is like a standard phono cable, featuring RCA connectors. They are commonly used to connect studio equipment such as turntables, CD players, audio interfaces, and studio monitors. 


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. 


A layer of conductive material (usually metal) around the inner conductors of the cable to protect the audio signal from electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio-frequency interference (RFI). 

Silent Guitar Lead 

A silent guitar lead, also known as a silent instrument cable or silent guitar cable, is primarily used for practicing electric guitar or bass without generating sound through an amplifier. It allows musicians to connect their instrument to an audio interface, headphone amplifier, or digital effects processor to monitor their playing silently through headphones. 


A multi-channel audio cable assembly designed to simplify cable management and streamline signal routing in audio production and live settings. Snakes typically consist of multiple individual audio cables bundled together within a single outer jacket, often with many channels ranging from 4 to 48 or more. They also include a fan-out or breakout box at one end, which allows for easy connection to individual audio devices. 

Snagless Cable  

A type of audio cable with a protective boot or cover around the connector, designed to prevent the cable from getting caught or snagged on other equipment or surfaces. Snagless cables are particularly useful in live sound environments or where cables are frequently moved or repositioned. 

Speaker Cable  

A specialised cable designed to carry audio signals from an amplifier to loudspeakers. Speaker cables are usually thicker and have lower impedance compared to other audio cables to handle high-power signals without significant loss. 

Speaker Wire  

Not technically a cable in the traditional sense, speaker wire refers to the wires used to connect speakers to amplifiers or receivers. Speaker wires typically consists of two conductors (positive and negative) and is often sold in spools. 

Stereo Jack 

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. 

Stereo to Mono Adapter  

Combines stereo signals into a single mono signal or splits a mono signal into stereo, depending on the need. 

Phono Cable  

A type of audio cable designed for use in professional studio environments. It is like a standard phono cable, featuring RCA connectors. They are commonly used to connect studio equipment such as turntables, CD players, audio interfaces, and studio monitors. 

TS Cable  

Short for Tip-Sleeve, TS connectors have two conductors – tip and sleeve – and are commonly used for unbalanced mono audio connections, such as electric guitars plugged into amplifiers. 

TRS Cable  

Short for Tip-Ring-Sleeve, TRS connectors have three conductors – tip, ring, and sleeve – and are commonly used for stereo headphones, balanced audio connections, and some types of microphones. 

Unbalanced Cable  

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. 

Word Clock Cable  

A specialised cable used in digital audio setups to synchronise the timing of multiple audio devices, such as digital audio workstations, converters, and digital mixers. Word clock cables transmit timing signals to ensure precise alignment of digital audio streams. 


A three-pin connector commonly used in professional audio equipment such as microphones, mixers, and speakers. XLR cables are known for their balanced audio transmission, which helps reduce interference and noise. They  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.