Connectors used on the deck

Connectors used on the deck

See Connectors in the store

When connecting our system, we have contact with many different cables and sockets. Looking at the back of our mixer, we ask ourselves why there are so many different sockets and what are they used for? Sometimes we see a given connector for the first time in our life, so in the above article I will describe the most popular ones that we use in stage equipment, thanks to which we will know what connector or cable we need.

Chinch connector Or actually RCA connector, colloquially referred to as above. One of the most popular connectors used in audio equipment. The connector has a signal pin in the center and a ground outside. Most often used to connect a CD player or other signal source to our mixer. Sometimes such a cable is used to connect the mixer to the power amplifier.

RCA connectors by Accu Cable, source:

Jack connector Another very popular connector. There are two types of jack connectors, commonly known as small and large. The big jack has a diameter of 6,3mm, the small Jack (also called a minijack) has a diameter of 3,5mm. There is also a third type, the so-called a microjack with a diameter of 2,5 mm, usually used as a connector in telephones. Depending on the number of rings, they can be mono (one ring), stereo (2 rings) or more, depending on the application.

The 6,3mm jack is used primarily in studio equipment and musical instruments (e.g. connecting a guitar with an amplifier or connecting headphones). Due to its size, it is the most resistant to damage. The 3,5mm jack is most often found in portable devices and sound cards. (e.g. in a computer sound card, mp3 player).

The advantage of such a plug is its fast connection and the lack of “reverse” connection. The disadvantages include poor mechanical strength and during the manipulation of the plug, numerous overvoltages and short circuits may occur, which causes disturbances in the signal circuit.

Below in ascending order, microjack, mono minijack, stereo mininack and large stereo jack.

microjack, mono minijack, stereo mininack, large stereo jack, source: Wikipedia

XLR connector The most massive and damage-resistant signal connector currently produced. Also popularly known as “Canon”. The use of this plug on stage is very wide, from connecting the power amplifiers (together) to microphone connections, as well as on the inputs / outputs of most professional equipment. It is also used to transmit the signal in the DMX standard.

The basic connector consists of three pins (male-pins, female-holes) Pin 1- ground Pin 2- plus- signal Pin 3- minus, inverted in phase.

There are many varieties of XLR connectors with a different number of pins. Sometimes you can find four, five or even seven-pin connectors.

Neutrik NC3MXX 3-pin connector, source:

Speakon The connector is mainly used in professional equipment. It is now standard in public address systems. It is used to connect the power amplifiers to the loudspeakers or to connect the loudspeaker directly to the column. High resistance to damage, designed with a locking system, so that no one will tear the cable out of the device.

This plug has four pins, most often we use the first two (1+ and 1-).

Neutrik NL4MMX Speakon connector, source:

IEC Colloquial name for a popular network connector. There are thirteen types of female and male connectors. We are particularly interested in C7, C8, C13 and C14 type connectors. The first two are popularly called the “eight” because of their appearance, the terminal resembles the number 8. These connectors do not have a PE protective conductor and are usually used in low-power devices as power cables in mixers and CD players. However, the name IEC mainly refers to the C13 and C14 type connectors, without using any qualifiers. It is a very popular and widespread type widely used in various types of electronic equipment, in our case usually for power amplifiers, power supply of the console case (if it has such an output) and lighting. The popularity of this type of connector was significantly influenced by its speed and simplicity of assembly. It has a protective conductor.

Connectors used on the deck
Monacor AAC-170J, source:

Summation When buying a specific model, it is worth paying attention to the mechanical strength of a given connector, because it is one of the most frequently used elements in our set. Due to this, it is not worth looking for savings and choosing cheaper counterparts. The leading manufacturers of connectors commonly used on stage are: Accu Cable, Klotz, Neutrik, 4Audio, Monacor. I recommend choosing the components we need from the above-mentioned companies if we want to enjoy a long, trouble-free operation.

Leave a Reply