Getting everything straight
Ok, I couldn't resist the subject title. Sorry. And no, we never refer to single ended and balanced as such. I just couldn't resist. Here's a picture of a single ended RCA cable. And if you have anything that actually looks like these cheesy cables in your system I shall never speak to you again. Seriously, we all have these throwaway RCAs hanging around the house from the DVD player, the camera or whatever consumer product we may have purchased. They are everywhere because they are used for everything under the sun. They are the simplest cable made. They have two conductors, the minimum number needed to pass an electrical signal. Note there are really only two points of interest: the rather phallic looking Center Conductor and the Outer Conductor. And now let's look on the inside of this ubiquitous connector. You can see on this fancier "Audiophile" version of the RCA what's inside. There's a machined outer barrel that is there for looks and to provide a safe gripping surface to insert and remove the connector. The business end of things can be seen in the Open Connector. There you note a center pin with a hole in it, a set of bear trap jaws at the end. The center pin with the hole accepts the center conductor wire, the jaws clamp down on the shield to for the outer conductor. As high end people we understand RCA cables can range from the throwaway types I first displayed, to the many thousands of dollar styles adorned with 24 karat jewelry and everything inbetween. Tomorrow we'll do the same for the XLR balanced connectors.
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