Since recorded sound was invented, there has been a quest for better and better quality. The stages of time in sound recordings have proven to be quenchless and the object of much audio woo. Audio woo is unsupportable claims of better sound quality from manufacturers, hobbyist and writers in the field of audio production. From audiophiles to present-day geeks, quality sound has been approached from endless standpoints. However, guarding against signal loss, interference and corruption continues to be a problem.
There have been great strides in equipment and cables that have paid off in many situations. The choices are the subject of many conversations about the best cables. Cables are an important part of quality systems that reproduce recorded sound.
Audio cables and digital cables are the most likely choices in sound cables. All three are capable of reproducing stereo sound. Cables are wired or optical lines. They carry electronic audio or digital signals from projecting equipment to receiving sonic equipment such as speakers or processors.
Standard audio cables are used to carry continuous audio signals within their frequency range from production equipment to sonic receivers. The difference between analog and digital signal cables is in the design and materials used. Standard audio cables can be used for home stereo systems, home theater systems and listening to CDs, etc. They can also be used to carry a digital signal, although not as efficiently as digital cables.
Digital audio cables carry a digital signal from the production source to the receiving apparatus. Rather than the analog wave, the digital signal is noted by the frequency range of sound being carried by a bit. Digital audio cables are usually coaxial. These coax cables have more shielding to prevent the signal from interference existing outside the cable. Coaxial cable wires are surrounded by thicker insulating material. They allow a higher bandwidth. Another digital cable is called an optical or the Sony Philips Digital Interconnect Format (S/PDIF) cable.
Banana plug connectors are usually used to connect digital signals to their start or end points. Connectors have undergone several changes that have become available, improving upon the reception of the digital signal that is passed or received depending on the initiating source.
Banana plug connectors are usually used on larger wires such as digital cables. The Banana jack consists of a male and female connection on the same end. Therefore, they are best suited for stereo wires. However, they can be used on single wires as well. The Banana jack is not the same as the widely used Recording Corporation of America (RCA) plugs. Banana jacks are not only single jacks but also come in stackable versions.
Often it is necessary to cut and fit new connectors onto audio wires. Wire strippers are the best tool for stripping insulation and shielding from audio wires. Also, wire strippers are often made to cut wires. Usually, they can strip a number of gauges as an added convenience.
The world of audio cables is often a matter of preference when it comes to sound. However, there are differences that are clearly heard in the quality of audio from one cable to another. Coaxial and optical audio cables give the ultimate in sound quality and options. Using audio cables can mean they must be cut to fit the distance that they will serve. However tempting it is to use a pair of scissors instead, don’t. Using wire strippers is the best way to cut and strip standard audio and coaxial cables.
Music was the inspiration behind Calvin Selby’s love of electronics. His first project was fixing an old electric keyboard and he progressed to building an electric guitar and an amp from scratch. Once his kids became teenagers though, his skills were put to use by soundproofing the garage and turning it into somewhere their bands could practice. They’re grateful though, they bought him 250ft of coaxial cable for a father’s day gift.