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  • Audio cables

    I need to purchase two 1/4" to 1/4" cables to connect from my new Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 to two monitor speakers, a few questions:

    1. Do I need stereo or mono cables?
    2. Do they need to be balanced or unbalanced?
    3. Are they called patch cables or audio cables?
    4. Any particular brand or suggestions on cables?

    Thank you!

  • #2
    Originally posted by tomyco View Post
    I need to purchase two 1/4" to 1/4" cables to connect from my new Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 to two monitor speakers, a few questions:

    1. Do I need stereo or mono cables?
    Mono will work, but...

    2. Do they need to be balanced or unbalanced?
    If the monitors have balanced inputs, then you can use "stereo" 1/4" cables to create a balanced connection between the Scarlett and the speakers. In this case it's not really about stereo per se, but having two conductors for the balanced line. However mono will work fine if the cable run is reasonable (e.g., under 15 feet or so).

    3. Are they called patch cables or audio cables?
    Probably "instrument cables" or "guitar cables."

    4. Any particular brand or suggestions on cables?
    The quality and cable construction can make a major difference with guitars and devices that have high-impedance outputs (I use Gibson Pure cables because they have extremely low handling noise), but for a short run of line-level signals, pretty much anything will work...you don't need to spend a lot of bucks. Planet Waves, Mogami, whatever.

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    • #3
      I'd like to add that if you keep the cable run short, like your interface is on the desk right next to the monitors or even in between them, then you can run mono and unbalanced without any negative effect. But I'd still go stereo and balanced, regardless.

      I also have a vote for Mogami cables. They are one of the few that you'll pay a higher price for that are worth it, unlike some others that'll go unnamed. The thing with them is you get a lifetime warranty. I've never had to use it in my 15 years of doing this with the same cables.

      Regarding "patch" versus "audio" cables, patch cables are typically really short and get the name from being used in patch bays. They'll likely be too short for you. Instrument cables are the same thing, just longer. And yeah, you might find them labeled as just "audio cables".

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