Independent Music Stores Since 1927

Audio connectors analog and digital | Learning Center

What are you recording?

There are basically two main audio signal types: Line level and Mic level. Without getting into complicated boring details, Line Level is a stronger signal than mic level and in most cases, does not need to be preamplified.

Example of line levels:

Output of keyboards, drum machines, tape recorders, mixers, guitar FX processor, etc...

Connectors for analog line signals:

1/4 Inch Jack


1/8 Inch Jack

RCA Jack



Microphone Level signal:

You will find to types of microphone connectors depending on what kind of mic you have. If you have a cheap consumer level microphone, chances are, it will have a connector like this:

Consumer Unbalanced


We recommend a Low-impedance signal microphones that uses a connector like this:

Standard Balanced



Digital signal
When it comes to digital recording, audio gets converted into digital binary code by an A/D converter (analog to digital) and then decoded back by a D/A converter (digital to analog). Audio
can also travel under digital form thru digital cables. Some devices offers digitals outputs which allow you to pass digital audio from a device to another with no additional conversions.
The two most common type of digital connectors:



SPDIF coaxial
(a single cable always contains both left and right channel)


SPDIF optical
(a single cable always contains both left and right channel) or ADAT litepipe
(Passes up to eight discrete channels at once

Going from one to another

You still can convert a Low-Z (600ohms) microphone cable to a Hi-Z (10Kohms) 1/4 inch input with a special adaptor.A passive XLR to 1/4 inch will not do the trick.
Note: By all means, the use of a mic preamp is much better for recording purposes






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