We source the majority of our high performance audio leads from StageCore. We have used them in our own installations and found them to be reliable and of great quality.
After the category listings there is a section with information related to audio cables.
Please browse the audio cables and audio connectors shown below. Click on the view button for more information.
Questions and Answers on Audio LeadsWe are often asked questions about audio cables.
Listed below are some of the common questions we are asked, and their answers:
What are Balanced Cables?Balanced audio cables have two wires to carry the audio signal and an earth. The earth forms an outer shield. The shield protects the signal from stray electrical noise. The signal is carried in both positive and negative so that in the audio equipment any electrical noise is cancelled out.
A major benefit of balanced audio cables is that they can be much longer than standard audio cables.
Stereo connectors can be used for balanced cables because they have 3 electrical contacts.
Connectors used for balanced cables include:
- Female 3 Pin XLR connectors
- Male 3 Pin XLR connectors
- 6.35mm 1/4 inch Stereo Jack connectors using Tip, Ring, Sleeve
Note: You could use a 3.5mm stereo jack but we have never seen this done.
The pins on xlr connectors are numbered. The connections for audio XLR 's are:
1 = Earth or Shield
2 = Positive audio signal
3 = Negative audio signal.
For a Stereo jack connector positive is the tip, ring is the negative, and the shank is the earth.
What are Stereo Cables?
Stereo audio has a left hand part and a right hand part. When both left and right are the same your brain hears the sound as if it were in the middle. Stereo cables carry both the left hand and right hand sound in one cable.
When you listen on headphones you are listening in Stereo. Your headphones may have a 3.5mm stereo jack with a 6.35mm 1/4 inch adapter, or a 1/4 stereo jack plug.
A stereo jack connector has 3 contacts, positive is the tip ring is the negative and the shank is earth.
Possible connectors on stereo cables include:
- 6.35 mm (1/4") Stereo Jack
- 3.5 mm Stereo Jack
Stereo splitter cables allow you to play a stereo track into two mixer channels or an amplifier. These cables will have one stereo connector and either:
- Multiple 6.35 mm (1/4") Mono Jacks
- Multiple 3.5 mm (1/4") Mono Jacks
- Multiple RCA plugs
What are Mono Cables?A mono cable is designed to carry a single audio signal. Some mono cables can have more than two connectors if they are designed to split a signal into identical copies.
A mono jack only has two contacts, the tip (positive) and the shaft (earth). An RCA plug has a centre pin (positive) and an outer ring (earth).
Do gold plated jacks really make a difference?Gold plated connectors offer an advantage where equipment is going to be left in damp conditions for long periods of time. This is because Gold will not tarnish or corrode, however, it adds nothing to the actual audio quality.
What cable has better audio quality, RCA or 3.5 mm?
RCA connectors used to be called "phono's" in the UK and have much better electrical contacts than the 3.5mm jacks. Because of this the audio quality will be better.
3.5mm jacks are common because they are compact and cheap, over time they will wear out. If you can use RCA cables not 3.5mm jacks then we recommend you do.
Are audio cables directional?That depends on your equipment. If the connectors are the same at both ends then you can use analogue audio cables either way round. This is because it makes no difference to the signal.
If your cable has different plugs at each end then you can only connect it to equipment with the right socket.
Please note: Active HDMI cables that carry video and audio can only be used one way round.
What do the different colours on AV cables mean?
- The white colour indicates the left hand audio signal.
- The Red colour indicates the right hand signal.
- The Yellow colour indicates a video connection.
What is an auxiliary audio input jack and what does it do?This is provided so that you can connect an extra input to your device.
A car CD player might have an auxiliary input so that you can connect an iPod or other music player.
How do composite and RCA cables differ?
The RCA plugs are the same but the cable is not.
Composite cables are designed for Video, the signals need different cable to work effectively.
Over short distances of 1m they could work for either. Longer than that and the video will be poor.
Do 3 ring, 1/4 inch audio adaptors exist?Yes they do, some good quality headphones come with adaptors. These adaptors normally plug into a 1/4" jack and the 3.5 mm headphone jack plugs into the adaptor.
We can also make you a custom adaptor if needed.
Do expensive, "premium" speaker cables make a difference?Oxygen free cables are better than standard cable on paper. It is unlikely that you could hear the difference.
Premium speaker cables do have these benefits:
- They are made from Stronger and more flexible cable.
- They have better connectors.
- They use a larger inner core to carry a better signal.