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Audio interconnection 13
Audio connectors 

Level of challenge Easy


Welcome to this tutorial on connectors.


There are many types of connector, also known as plugs, each with their advantages and disadvantages.


Caption - Connector features

Connectors have the following features ..

Caption - Latching and locking mechanisims

Some connectors, including XLRs, BNC, D-sub and speakons, provide a latching system to lock them in place to ensure that in critical applications they do not become detached. This is particularly important when recording performances.


Caption - Did you know? (non-essential but interesting fact)

Because it does not tarnish, gold is widely believed to be one of the best materials to make connectors from. But did you know that if a connection is made between a gold and a non-gold connector the connection may be poorer than average due to the accelerated oxidizing that can occur when the 2 differing metals are in contact.


Caption - Contacts or 'poles'

All connectors have 2 or more contacts, or 'poles', to connect the cable cores to. Only fibre optic leads are different. Each pole will be isolated from the others with a plastic non-conducting barrier. Each contact carries one of three signal 'types' ..

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Multi-core, or multi-channel, connectors, will have multiple earth, live and return contacts.


Normally each core is soldered to their contact, but in some connectors some form of clamping may be used.


Caption - Primary connectors

Here is a run-down of the primary connector types ..

Connectors with 3 contacts can be wired for unbalanced operation. A 1/4" TRS jack with only its live and earth contacts connected will work fine.


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Caption - Connectors with multiple applications

Few connectors are limited to one type of signal. Often the same connector can be used for multiple applications.

Looking at the connector on a lead, doesn't necessarily tell you what the lead is for, and what format signal will travel down it, especially when you can't see what's inside the cable.


For example, the TRS stereo jack connector can be used for ..

.. and an XLR connector can be used for ..

.. and a phono connector can be used for ..

Caption - Did you know? (non-essential but interesting fact)

Only a few computer connectors having latching systems. Most such as USB, Thunderbolt and FireWire do not. To date, the professional audio world has only fully embraced those that do, such as ethernet and D-sub.


Caption - Stage boxes

Demonstration Stage box connections.


Caption - Adaptors

Demonstration Adaptors.


Caption - Don't forget to subscribe

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