A Short Guide to Audio Cables – S/PDIF, USB, AUX, HDMI, RCA

A Short Guide to Audio Cables - S/PDIF, USB, AUX, HDMI, RCA | Integraudio.com

Many of us forget about the less-exciting elements of the studio, such as the cables, because when it comes to the world of professional audio, it is very easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest gear, including studio monitors, condenser microphones, or plugins.

Getting to the point of having a well-connected studio takes a bit of work. It is also essential that all of us studio guys and girls have knowledge regarding the different types of cables available on the modern market and how we can use them.

Today, we’ll be digging into the various types of digital and analog cables used in the audio world to help you understand the similarities and differences.

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Is S/PDIF better than USB?

With S/PDIF, you get an utterly noiseless application compared to potentially noisy USB. With that said, you must deal with sync when using S/PDIF, so there is a trade-off using one over the other.
When it comes to modern audio, we recommend using USB cables instead.

Is Aux better than USB?

USB connections typically provide superior sound quality compared to aux inputs. However, aux inputs are a universal cable compared to USB cables. You can use auxiliary inputs with just about any portable device out there, while USB has a few limitations.

For pure sound quality, USB is a much better and safe choice.

What is better, AUX or Optical?

When it comes to sound quality, aux is open to quality loss and interference, unlike optical. Electrical sources, such as your power, may end up distorting your signal. However, when it comes to long cable runs, high-quality shielded aux cables win, as they don’t lose data like optical cables.

Is S/PDIF cable the same as optical?

Both S/PDIF and optical are digital connections, though they are different. Optical typically refers to ADAT protocol over a fiberoptic cable or TOSLINK. S/PDIF, on the other hand, typically transmits over an RCA or coaxial cable.

Does S/PDIF require a special cable?

S/PDIF requires a specific S/PDIF digital cable. People often get confused, as S/PDIF cables look similar to analog-style RCA connections, though they are not the same by any means. S/PDIF is a digital stereo connection, while RCA is an analog mono connection.

Can I connect S/PDIF to optical?

If you have an S/PDIF connection, you can use optical and coaxial cables. However, if you have an optical port, you cannot connect S/PDIF to that optical port, as it can only take optical cables alone. If you have an optical cable, you can use the optical output or S/PDIF.

Is S/PDIF analog or digital?

S/PDIF is a digital connection that, similar to optical. It stands for Sony/Philips Digital Interconnect Format. People often get confused between S/PDIF and RCA connectors found in coaxial cables, as RCA connectors are in analog format.

Is S/PDIF better than HDMI?

HDMI is superior to S/PDIF in many ways, as S/PDIF is a limited format due to its bandwidth. HDMI supports the latest lossless Dolby sound formats, such as DTS HD Master Audio and TrueHD. It can also support audio transfers without compression up to 192kHz at its best.

How do I connect S/PDIF?

To connect S/PDIF to an audio device, you must connect the cables, synchronize both of your audio devices, and set up the routing. To synchronize the devices, you must set all of your system devices to the same sample rate (44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, etc.). Next, set the clock on your master device so that every device is receiving a clock signal from your master device.

What does S/PDIF stand for?

S/PDIF stands for Sony/Philips Digital Interface. S/PDIF originally came into production as a digital audio connection used to connect consumer equipment and output audio over shorter distances. We often find S/PDIF in high-fidelity systems or home theaters.

How do I use S/PDIF on my PC?

Once you have made sure that both your PC and speakers have the correct optical S/PDIF port, all you have to do is plug your PC into your speakers using an optical cable.

Once you have plugged your cable in, go to the bottom-right corner of your Windows taskbar and click the speaker icon to make sure you “Digital” or “Optical” icon shows.

How to use S/PDIF to connect your computer to a Home Theater System.

Can you use RCA for S/PDIF?

You cannot use an RCA cable for an S/PDIF connection. They look very similar, though they are not the same by any means. S/PDIF uses a stereo digital connection while RCA uses an analog mono connection.

What Type of output does an S/PDIF port provide?

An S/SPDIF port provides a digital optical output. As we said before, S/PDIF uses a stereo digital connection.

Is RCA The Same as Coaxial?

RCA is a plug/terminator/cable end found on the end of a cable while coaxial is a cable type. RCA uses coaxial cables in the cable designs. Coaxial cables are thicker than regular audio cables, and they transmit data instead of analog signals.

What is S/PDIF used for In The World Of Recording?

S/PDIF is used to carry compressed digital audio in surround sound applications. The use was defined under the IEC 61937 standard. S/PDIF is also used to move uncompressed digital audio from a CD player to an amplifier or receiver.

What is the difference between S/PDIF and coaxial?

Coaxial cables, unlike S/PDIF, which was initially made to work with a variety of cables, as there isn’t a cable that is S/PDIF-specific, the coaxial format only works with RG6 to RG11 coaxial cables. Coaxial is one of the most common transfer cables for digital audio.

Can I use Coaxial cable instead of RCA?

You need multiple coaxial cables to carry the signal from an RCA input. Coaxial cables have better shielding, and they often have thicker solid-core conductors. This means that they will take signals further without electromagnetic interference or attenuation.

How do I get my Aux to Work?

To get your Aux cable to work, simply plug one end of your aux cable into the headphone jack of your device (phone, laptop, etc.) and the other end of the aux cable into the stereo auxiliary input of your speaker device (car stereo, audio interface, etc.)

Can you Convert Aux to USB?

While there are plenty of options for Aux to USB cables available, not all of them will work for every application. Most people tend to want to use these cables to play music in the car, though many car stereo systems will not accept the transfer.

What is AUX Input on Speakers?

An auxiliary input is a standard communication port that is found on a variety of devices, including MP3 players, microphones, speakers, and headphones, to transfer audio signals, etc. Aux inputs are used in the world of audio equipment to receive peripheral sound.

Why does my aux not work?

If your Aux cable is not working, start by making sure that it is firmly connected to both of your devices. If it still doesn’t work, check the number of rings. If there are only two rings, the cord might not be compatible.

If there are three rings, this might mean that the cable is broken and should be replaced.

A Short Guide to Audio Cables - S/PDIF, USB, AUX, HDMI, RCA | Integraudio.com

Can Aux in be used as Aux OUT?

Aux in is for input signals from devices that provide high-level output while aux out is used to provide a feed from an amplifier. You use aux in to connect a source to an amplifier and aux out to send a source to record or playback.

What is the AUX mode?

The term “Aux mode” is typically found on Bluetooth speakers and is there to allow consumers to connect to older devices, which may not have Bluetooth capabilities. Older devices include MP3 players, older phone models, older laptops, etc.

Get Your Cables Untangled

When you are knowledgeable about cables, it makes the world of recording and playing live so much simpler. You’ll always know the best kind of connection you need to set up your rig and get the best sound possible.

Plus, there is something quite nice about being able to talk to the sound person at the venue you are playing at or the music store you are shopping at and knowing what you are talking about.

Make sure to refer back to this little audio guide if you have any questions about cables or run into any problems along the way.

Even th0ugh we have tons of beautiful music gear out there in the world, it doesn’t matter if we can’t connect it all together.

We hope that you have found our round-up of audio cables information useful. One of the next things that you will want to consider after getting your equipment connected is getting acoustic treatment in your home studio to procure a more professional studio sound.

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