Audio signals are extremely sensitive to disturbances due to their – most commonly – low levels and range of frequencies limited to several dozen kilohertz. What’s more, connection cables in this segment are usually long and exposed to mechanical damages, which makes it harder to select a cable that will provide high signal quality.
Audio cables are used for transmitting signals between components of a sound system, e.g.:
These cables are used for connecting speakers to an AV receiver.
Speaker cables are usually flat, two-wire cables with large cross-section, made of high-quality oxygen-free copper. The cables have to have durable insulation and supply sufficient power to a speaker set, with no significant power loss. Therefore, PCV is the most common material of choice.
Microphone cables are used for connecting very weak, low voltage signal sources with electroacoustic devices.
They have one or two wires, shielded together or separately. The wires are made of multiwire strands, whereas the shield is in the form of a metal grid braiding the inside. Microphone cables of the highest quality are double-shielded, e.g. with a tinned copper braid and aluminium foil.
Musical instrument cables are a subtype of microphone cables, designed for connecting musical instruments with amplifiers.
These cables are exposed to stretching and stomping on, that’s why they have thicker sheath, usually made of elastomeric materials or PCV. Some versions also feature additional cotton braid. Inside, there are glass fibre strands that strengthen them and prevent any tears.
The cables include a single signal core (multiwire strand) surrounded by a thick, close-woven shield made of copper grid. Such structure guarantees efficient protection against interferences.
There are also readymade cables on the market, based on the aforementioned types of audio cables. Usually, they come in the length of 1 to 5m, and they are ended with a cinch or a jack.
When selecting an audio cable, apart from audio parameters, you should also consider mechanical resistance and other factors, such as flexibility. With long connections, pay attention to shielding quality, i.e.
the higher the number of wires in the strand and the shield, the higher the cable resistance to disturbances from the outside.