Cables and plugs - how to connect guitars, microphones, speakers, CD players, keyboards

Cables are essentially just pieces of wire and come in various configurations e.g. shielded, 2 core, 3 core etc.. The type of cable and the type of plug/connector on the end defines how they should be used.

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Line Level cables & Jack plugs

These are generally shielded single/double core cables terminated in mono/stereo jack plugs. Typically used for guitars, effect units etc.

Proel CHL250LU6 Challenge Series Microphone Cable 6m

Balanced Cables & XLRs

Balanced cables are shielded 3 core cables terminated in XLR plugs/sockets. They are wired in a special way so that you can use long cable lengths without signal loss. They are suitable for low impedance equipment such as microphones or DI boxes. You can however use balance cables for stereo line signals.
 


Spk plug to Spk plug cable 12 metres

Speaker cables & Speaker Mount plugs

Speaker cables are heavier gauge 2 core cables suitable for carrying the output of amplifiers. Traditionally they were terminated with standard jack plugs but now Speak mount connectors are typically used. The benefit of Speaker Mounts is that they cannot be accidentally pulled out as they come with a locking mechanism.
 


104.813 iPod and MP3 Player Connecting Cable 3m Mini-jack to RCA

Connecting Cables

Other types of cables are suitable for connecting your CD Player/Mini Disc/Mp3 player/computer/laptop to your PA or hi-fi system. They have a mini jack plug at one end and a regular jack plug at the other, or a mini jack plug at one end and an RCA phono plug at the othe

 

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