Week 1

 Most Common Cables Types

Hello, I am Ian Frederick, a Colombian-American composer. The lesson I will be teaching for week one is: Most Common Cables Types.

To work in a studio efficiently, it is very important to understand the basic usages of cables. High quality cables are a must for any serious music production enthusiast.

    • 1/4, instrument or TS cable: It has a quarter inch jack with two segments; tip & sleeve. It is a single-conductor cable because the signal is sent along a single conductor while the outer part avoids noise entry protection. However, this cable is vulnerable to noise and therefore a short cable length is preferable. An example usage for this cable would be from a guitar to an amplifier.

TS 0.25inch mono plug.jpg
TS 0.25inch mono plug” by MataresephotosOwn work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

    • TRS cable: Features a two-conductor cable with a shield. It has a tip, ring, & sleeve. It is used to connect headphones, acting as two TS cables in one by sending two different signals (stereo cable). However, noise can still penetrate. It can also be used in a balanced form by sending one signal by canceling noise that enters the cable.
Photo-audiojacks.jpg

TRS cable (far right)

Photo-audiojacks“. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

    • XLR cable: Standard Mic cable with three connectors and a locking device for providing stability. These cables are not used for stereo signals, but for more balanced settings. XLR cables are the preferred method for using long distance cables in studio or live settings since they are able to eliminate noise.

Xlr-connectors.jpg
Xlr-connectors“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

    • 1/8 stereo cable: used for headphones mostly. Basically it is a smaller scale TRS cable
Photo-audiojacks.jpg

1/8 cable (second to right)

Photo-audiojacks“. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

    • RCA cable: Functions the same as a TS cable and is mostly used for video; single conductor with a covering shield. RCA cables are mostly used for home-everyday appliances. While using pro gear, it is important to use +4 line level (since most home appliances use -10 line level). Adapters from RCA cables to TRS cables can also be obtained.

Composite-cables.jpg
Composite-cables” by Evan-AmosOwn work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Many times it is necessary to convert unbalanced cables such as a TS or TRS cable to an XLR cable. For this, a Direct Box is used. A short TRS cable can connect one way, and a long XLR cable can go on the other side. This inexpensive and small device is a must item for any studio or live stage!


Creating this lesson was very helpful. I already knew the subject a bit from the first time I saw the Video Lecture at Coursera.Org, but the subject material stuck to me even more once I saw the lesson again in slow motion and organized my thoughts on a text editor.

Thank you for reading my lesson. How do you think I could improve my communication to make the learning process easier? Thank you for your time & feedback.