Balanced Audio Cables
Balanced audio circuits are used in most professional audio equipment and on some of the best consumer gear. Professionals prefer balanced to unbalanced connection, because balanced audio circuits benefit from a phenomenon known as "common mode noise rejection,", in which noise which is induced into interconnect cables tends to be cancelled out because the desired signal is running in differential mode, while the noise arrives in common mode.
In general, where there is a choice between connecting your equipment balanced or unbalanced, it's better to go with a balanced connection. This should be distinguished, however, from the situation where the device at one end of a connection supports either balanced or unbalanced connection, while the other device supports unbalanced (usually through "RCA" connectors) connection only. In such a case, it's almost always better to hook your equipment up unbalanced to unbalanced, rather than try to rig a balanced-to-unbalanced connection.
The Cable: Singles and Snakes
We offer a variety of individual cables and four and eight-channel snakes, as follows:
Single Channels:For individual, single-channel cables, our principal offerings are Belden 1800F, a highly flexible, low-capacitance AES/EBU cable suitable both for digital and analog use, and Canare L-4E6S, a "star quad" cable suitable for analog usage only, with higher capacitance but also higher common-mode noise rejection.
Snake Cables:We carry four and eight-channel snake cables in three different forms. First, there are Belden 1803F and 1805F, which are AES/EBU snakes composed of cables very like the 1800F individual cable but having foil shields instead of "french braid" shields. Second, there are Belden 1904A and 1908A; these are analog-only stage snakes, highly flexible, with individual french braid shields, which give them high durability for applications where the cable will be repeatedly handled. Third, we carry the more economical Gepco GA72404GFC and GA72408GFC analog-only snakes, which have foil shields instead of braid. The 1803F and 1805F have purple outer jackets, while the other snakes have black outer jackets.
The Connectors: Neutrik XLRs
Most balanced cables are terminated with XLR connectors; we use the Neutrik NC3-B series XLR connectors with gold-plated pins, which have a particularly effective strain relief system which tightens down on the cable jacket from three sides as the strain relief boot is applied to the connector body, directing as much pull-force as possible to the cable jacket rather than to the signal conductors. The Neutrik connector bodies are heavy and durable, and good for many, many of insertion/removal cycles.
As with all of our products, we offer a simple and easy return policy. If for any reason you're not completely satisfied, just return the cables, undamaged, within 30 days and we'll refund your purchase price in full.
In addition to the Neutrik XLR connectors, we also carry 1/4 inch TRS Phone Plugs from Canare; these are intended for use where balanced lines are run in a TRS configuration--not, of course, where the 1/4 inch TRS plug is being used for stereo unbalanced audio. Additionally, we do carry Canare solder-type RCA plugs which can be attached to these cables to make a balanced-to-unbalanced connection; however, since there's no single accepted standard for wiring an XLR-to-RCA cable, we ask that you write to us and let us know what pinout you need before ordering such a cable.
For those who need to split or combine balanced signals (e.g., for bi-amp systems), we offer Y-splitter cables made with Belden 1508A, a miniature balanced audio cable. These can either be used for a full-length run or can be made up as short adapters (one foot long) which can then be attached to longer full-size balanced runs.
Just fill in your cable length in feet in the appropriate form below, select your connector configuration, and click "Calculate" to display the price. To purchase, click "Add to Cart."