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Cables / Connectors

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    Q. Should mixer insert connections be balanced or unbalanced?

    I’ve read that pro gear should use balanced connections, but I’ve been looking for a mixer recently and find that most have unbalanced insert points. My interface uses balanced I/O, as does most of my outboard gear. What gives?

    Sound Advice Dec 2015
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    Q. Why do my power supplies spark when first plugged in?

    I have three laptops in the house, all of which produce various sparks and flashes at the mains end when plugged into the wall. Can this be ‘right’ ?

    Sound Advice Sep 2015
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    USB, Firewire & Thunderbolt: Which Is Best For Audio?

    Making A Connection

    If you’re choosing a new audio interface or a new computer, what are the pros and cons of the many different connection protocols that are on offer?

    Techniques Aug 2015
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    Q. Are high-end cables worth the money?

    In a shop recently, I was almost persuaded to buy some Mogami XLR cables.

    Sound Advice Jun 2014
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    Unless you're handy with a soldering iron — and have a lot of patience! — SOS's custom-made pseudo-balanced cables could be the best solution for connecting unbalanced equipment to balanced inputs.

    Q. Is there a better balanced-to-unbalanced cabling solution?

    The line inputs on my computer interface are all balanced on TRS sockets, but the outputs of my hardware synths are all unbalanced on mono TS sockets...

    Sound Advice May 2013
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    Choosing Guitar Cables

    The Cable Conundrum

    At one time, you'd buy a guitar cable and if the plugs didn't fall off or short out, it was a good cable, right? Now we have...

    Sound Advice Nov 2009
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    The Low-down On Analogue Interfacing

    Cabling, Connectors, Patchbays & Levels

    With so much focus on computer workstations these days, wiring up analogue gear is becoming a bit of a lost art, but don't fear: all you need to know is here.

    Sound Advice May 2007
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    Phil Jones Bass Buddy & Little Labs STD

    Bass Guitar Recording DI Box & Instrument Cable Extender

    Two very handy 'accessories' come under scrutiny: PJB's Bass Buddy, a Bass Guitar Recording DI Box, and from Little Labs their STD Instrument Cable Extender.

    Reviews Apr 2007
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    Q. Are balanced connections essential?

    I recently bought an old Trident VFM mixing desk, but I was disappointed to discover that it only offers unbalanced line...

    Sound Advice Mar 2007
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    Q. What's the best way to manage long digital cable runs?

    I'm putting together a list of equipment for a venue. We already have a PA (the amps are behind the stage), and the mixing...

    Sound Advice Jan 2007
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    Q. What is a Ground (Earth) Loop?

    Years ago I touched a guitar that was plugged into an amp against a radiator, and it blew the amp and melted the guitar string. Afterwards someone told me that this was caused by a ground loop. Can you explain?

    Sound Advice Aug 2006
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    Pedalsnake G2

    Configurable Guitar Rig Multicore

    Where do you turn when you need a multicore that will handle two MIDI lines, a 9V DC power line and a voltage control line?

    Reviews Jan 2006
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    Q. Is it safe to run everything off one power outlet?

    I'm about to move house and set up a studio in the spare bedroom with all my stuff, and I'm just interested in what the best use of power points is.

    Sound Advice Oct 2005
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    Q. How can I permanently stop mains noise in my studio?

    Can you recommend products suitable for the European power grid that can be used to clean up the power signal and ground loops?

    Sound Advice Jul 2005
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    Mosses & Mitchell Musa

    Q. Can I use a video patchbay for S/PDIF signals?

    Is it possible to use a video patchbay, such as the one Studiospares sell, as an S/PDIF patchbay?

    Sound Advice Mar 2005
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    Planning Your Studio Wiring

    Studio Installation Workshop

    Suffering from signal degradation or mains hum on your audio lines? The chances are that you're having problems with impedance matching or earth loops. However, with a little understanding and some careful planning, these gremlins can be successfully eliminated.

    Techniques Nov 2002
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    Studio Installation Workshop

    Basic Tools & Techniques

    Most SOS readers seem either to be setting up a studio or refining their existing setup, and could save money and hassle by doing much of the wiring and installation themselves. We explain how.

    Techniques Sep 2002
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    Audio Cables & Wiring

    Frequently Asked Questions

    All tangled up when it comes to audio leads? Here are the answers to the most common queries on the subject from SOS readers.

    Sound Advice Jan 2002
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    All About Studio Power & Wiring

    Tips & Tricks

    Poor studio wiring can lead to hums and buzzes, but you can avoid the worst of these problems by following a few simple rules.

    Sound Advice Aug 1999
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    Signex Isopatch CPJ48

    48-way Patchbay

    Paul White gives a new patchbay a shameless (jack) plug...

    Reviews Jul 1998
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    Using An Optically Connected Multi-channel Digital Setup

    Wix Wicken: Songs And Visions

    The spread of the ADAT 8-channel optical digital interface to studio equipment of all kinds has raised the prospect of a revolution in multitrack digital recording. Self-confessed digital evangelist (amd Korg UK product specialist) Paul Wiffen explains how the optical digital interface and several fibreglass cables made keyboard session player Wix Wickens' life easier at last year's prestigious Songs and Visions concert at Wembley.

    Techniques Feb 1998

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