Downhomedigital Blog Understanding The Intricacies And Nuances Of Audio Cables

What is the audio interconnect?

Interconnect audio cables are designed to carry audio signals between various components in a stereo or multichannel audio system.

The overall sound quality depends on the quality of the audio interconnect cables.

The question of choosing to interconnect audio cables

Choosing a cable is the last step in building your audio system. It is best to do this when all the system components have already been purchased and installed in their places.

There are two types of cables

Digital cables

Digital cables

Digital cables are used to carry digital audio signals. They are divided into coaxial and optical.

Analog cables

Analog cables

Analog cables transmit a low-current analog audio signal and are able to give the sound one or another specificity. When choosing an analog cable, it is important to consider its length – the shorter the cable, the less distortion.

Signal transmission types

Unbalanced cable

An unbalanced cable has two wires, a signal, and “ground”, and only pass one copy of the signal. Due to the fact that there is only one copy of the signal, this cable is easily prone to sound distortion.

Balanced cable

There are three wires inside such a cable, one of which is the “ground”. The other two wires (“positive” and “negative”) are copies of the same signal.

Connector types

Connector types
XLR connectors for balanced connection.

RCA is the most common unbalanced audio connectors used in consumer audio, Hi-Fi, and Hi-End.

TRS – This jack is often used in professional audio, both balanced and unbalanced.

Mono or stereo

Often, analog audio cables are two audio cables to carry both the “right” and “left” channels. But there are also separate “mono” cable options – they are more convenient when, for example, you need to connect two separate monoblock power amplifiers to the pre-amplifier.

Cable selection rules

The best material choice for an audio cable is pure copper wire. Copper can be monocrystalline or high purity oxygen-free. The second variety is the best because it contains no impurities that would increase the resistance.

It is also important to consider the cable cross-section. The loss of transmitted energy depends on the cross-section of the conductor. To find out what is the cross-section of the wire, you need to cut it exactly across and calculate the area of the end. Accordingly, the thicker the wire, the larger the cross-section

These were the main points in choosing a cable. And the rest is learned empirically.

AWG value Diameter, mm Cross-section, mm2
27 0.361 0.1023
25 0.405 0.128
26 0.455 0.162
24 0.511 0.205
22 0.644 0.325
20 0.812 0.517
19 0.912 0.652
18 1.024 0.8235
17 1.15 1.038
16 1.29 1.307
15 1.45 1.65
14 1.628 2.081
13 1.828 2.624
11 2.308 4.17
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