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In this section, we are going to talk about Cables & Connectors, which it's not exactly rocket science, but there's a lot to know about. There are a lot of different ones that you'll come across when you would set up a DAW and work with digital audio and microphones and things like that. And while it's not that hard to figure out, okay, this one goes in there in that stuff. It's good to know about them and have a kind of a sense of what cables are out there. What cable you might need for a certain device, you know, if you are reading specs, and you see that it needs light pipe, you want to know what that is. So, that's kind of the objective of this section. So, you can think of cables as kind of the veins of your audio system or of your DAW, in that, all of your information be it analog sound or digital, at some point moves through these cables.
So the integrity of this system can really be dependent upon the integrity of the cables. They say, you know, there's always kind of the only strong as the weakest link. It's not uncommon for cables to kind of become a weakest link in a system. One, because they seem like they are really overpriced, and two, because sometimes they are just not hooked up right or you use the wrong cable for the wrong application. There are lots to know about, and it's good to know when you see different words on different specifications for products or things like that. What it actually is you know, what am I getting into? Does this device require the $200 cable or not? So, it's good to have an understanding of those things.
There are a couple of things I want to talk about, there are kind of two main categories. If you think of cables in terms of what they actually carry, there are really two main categories. There's Analog and Digital. Analog is going to be moving your electrical voltages and Digital is going to be moving little packets of information. These are more or less in-com computer cables, FireWire is a digital audio cable, USB is a digital audio cable, it's moving your digital information. So, it's good to keep those two things in mind.
Sometimes, the adapters' look-alike, in certain devices it will function as a digital cable and in other devices it will function as an analog cable. A good example is the RCA cable, which also is the S/PDIF cable. You can use it on your home stereo to hookup a VCR or you can use it to transfer two tracks of stereo digital quality through one connector. The other thing to think about with cables, or just kind of be aware of, is that they have the plug into something, there has to be kind of be an A and a B plug and a receptacle.
So, in the audio world we refer to these cables as male and female, and if you understand biology it's pretty easy to discern which one is the male and which one is the female. But if I say, oh, here's the male into this or the female into that. Now, you have an idea of what I'm talking about, and it's common to hear that kind of language thrown around. Another thing to keep in mind is to whether a cable is balanced or unbalanced, and that's what we'll talk about in the next movie.
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