This week we are excited to take a look into the second part of our cable series!
Now like XLR mic cables, instrument cables also have a doppelganger. That is, the speaker cable. These two look the same, but are used for different purposes. An instrument cable is low power and high impedance. On the other hand, a speaker cable is the opposite, high power and low impedance. Speaker cable is built to carry a strong signal from your amp to your speakers, a signal with a relatively high AC current and voltage. Because of this difference, speaker cables require a higher gauge wire.
So, always make sure you’re using the correct cable for its intended purpose. Good news is it's an easy fix if you know what to look for!
It's time to check out a few different cables and exactly how they can effect your AV systems performance. There are so many different cables and making sure you know the difference and know which fiber to use could make the change you've been looking for.
Let's start with Mic cables! These are one of the two cables that you will come across on a regular basis if you work with audio. Now, mic lines actually consist of two components. The mic cable and the connector. The connector is an XLR connector. The reason this is an important distinction to note is because the XLR connector can be used for different connections, specifically 3-pin DMX. This can become confusing as on many stages you will see both mic lines and DMX cable. Now while these two cables look the same they are doing two completely different jobs. While mic line passes audio signal, DMX passes data and requires a much higher specification cable to perform that task. Because of that you can use a DMX as a mic line, but you should not use an mic cable as a DMX line. If you are in a situation where both mic and DMX 3pin cables are being used close to each other, it’s a good idea to mark or label each cable to ensure you or your volunteers don’t mix them up!
The reason XLR connectors are used on the end of mic lines to pass audio signal is that they allow you to pass shielded, balanced audio. I’m sure if you’ve spent any time in the audio world you hear the terms balanced and unbalanced audio. So, what is balanced audio? Mic line consists of a positive, negative and ground cables. The ground pin allows the signal to be shielded, cutting down on the amount of noise that can be introduced. The positive pin carries the signal and the negative pin carries the same signal with the polarity inversed. When the signal is combined at the other end of the cable anything that is not native to the audio signal will get canceled out. Because of this the final audio signal will have almost no unwanted noise from outside electrical interference. This preserves the original audio signal and gives you the ability to pass audio signal over very long distances.
Pretty neat, right? Cabling may seem insignificant, but it can really effect the quality of your production in the end. Make sure you have the right cables for your equipment and the right connections to create a flawless performance! Stay tuned for more info on other cabling coming up!
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