Can I Use TRS Cable for Guitar? (2-minute Read)

So, you’re a guitar player and are looking for the perfect cable to use with your instrument? If so, this blog post is just for you! 

I will be answering the question “Can I use TRS cable for my guitar?” in detail.

First off, what is TRS cable? Well, it stands for Tip Ring Sleeve. TRS is a balanced cable with two conductors: one conductor goes from tip to sleeve, while another runs from ring to sleeve.

This allows both sides of the signal to travel through the same wire without any interference.

You can find these connectors on many audio devices such as microphones and headphones. Now back to our original question – Can I use TRS cables with my guitar?

The answer is yes! There are plenty of options out there, but if you have an electric guitar, we recommend using TS cable, which is the standard guitar cable.

Can I Use TRS Cable for Guitar

What is TRS Cable

TRS (Tip Ring Sleeve) cable is typically a 1/4-inch (6.5mm) stereo connector with three contact points: tip, ring, sleeve, separated by two plastic dividers. These wires connect from the input jack at the end of the cable to the output jack at the other end. This allows you to send multiple signals through one wire which makes them ideal for connecting instruments together.

Can I Use TRS Cable for My Guitar?

This can be a tricky question, but the short answer is that yes, you can! But since guitar usually gives unbalanced mono output, using a TRS cable, which is a stereo balanced cable, is unnecessary and may even cause problems.

For the best output for your guitar, you should instead use an unbalanced cable like a TS cable. TS (Tip & Sleeve) cable is the most common and the recommend cable as it carries the mono and unbalanced signal, which a guitar needs.

Since most TRS cables are usually more expensive than TS cable, you would also be wasting money if you just want a cable for your guitar.

What is the difference between a TRS and TS Cable?

A TRS cable is a balanced stereo audio cable, and TS is a mono audio cable.

The difference between the two cables is that TRS cables are balanced, which means that the wire carries a signal in both directions giving a balanced input, meaning they take a stereo signal.

This prevents interference from the wiring and guarantees a better sound quality. In contrast, TS cables are single-direction cables that only carry a signal in one direction – from the sender to the receiver. So, this means that TS cable can have only mono signals.

What is the Balanced and Unbalanced Audio Cable?

Unbalanced Cable

Inside the plastic cover of the cables are two wires: a signal wire and a ground wire. 

The signal wire carries the audio signal in the cable’s center. In contrast, the surrounding ground wire protects it from external electronic interference from equipment such as lights, televisions, radios, and transformers.

When a cable takes the audio signal from a piece of equipment you’re using (such as an instrument or stereo system) and sends it straight to a mixer or other capture/receiver device, it’s dubbed “unbalanced.” 

Leaving the audio alone simplifies things, but it also means that the audio can become distorted at times.

Connectors for unbalanced cables are typically one of two types:

1) Standard 14″ TS (tip-sleeve) cable connectors, similar to those used to connect a guitar to an amplifier.

2) The red and black RCA cable connections are commonly used in stereo installations such as surround sound systems, turntables, and older audio systems.

Balanced Cable

Inside the plastic shell of balanced cables are three wires: two signal wires and a ground wire. The signal wires each carry an identical audio signal, but the surrounding ground wire shields the signal wires from extraneous electrical interference, just like with unbalanced connections.

The difference with balanced cables is that both the sending and receiving equipment have a converter that allows them to utilize both signal wires.

When a piece of equipment sends two signals, they become “out of phase.” Although the signals are similar, one of them is the inverted mirror image of the other.

When the signals reach the receiving equipment, it reverts the mirrored signal to its original form, putting the two signals back in phase. The signal that is transmitted to the mixer is the one that matches the two signals.

On the other hand, any distortion will influence both signals, so when they’re switched at the end, the distortion will be out of phase and cancel out. It’s helpful to have a graphic representation of how this works, but if that’s too much for you, just know that balanced cables prevent audio distortion at the cost of tremendous complexity in the method and equipment.

There are two common connector tips for balanced cables:

1) TRS (tip-ring-sleeve) cable connectors, such as those found on Stereo headsets jacks, TRS cables, and

2) TRS cables XLR cables, which are connectors commonly found on microphones.

What can I use TRS cable for?

TRS cable, or Tip Ring Sleeve wire, can be used for balanced audio equipment. It is typically used for connecting stereo audio devices such as headphones or speakers, which need balanced outputs.

It is also used on mixers, audio interfaces, or recording consoles where each channel uses its own pair of RCA connectors.

Conclusion – Can I Use TRS Cable For Guitar

As you can see, the TRS cable is a balanced stereo cable that would be great for other applications. But it’s not right for your guitar because guitars give out mono outputs.

So if you want to get the best sound quality on your guitar and save some money in the process, we recommend using an unbalanced mono TS cable instead of the more expensive TRS cables for your guitar cable. 

If you don’t have a TS cable, I recommend you go and buy one right now if you want to have the best-sounding guitar ever.

Jacob Miller

Hi, I'm Jacob Miller, and welcome to AudioOver, a platform designed to help aspiring music producers create music from home. With a musical background inspired by my award-winning father, I've been passionate about music since I was young.

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