Cable Types

PA equipment connects together via a variety of cable types.

When you buy a PA System Package from What PA? we will always make sure we include all the cables you need, and explain on our free Connection Diagram which cable goes where!

But to give you a quick guide to cables, here are some examples and what they're often used for.


XLR cables are used to connect mixers to amplifiers, microphones to mixers, mixers to active speakers, and active speakers to other active speakers.

A standard XLR cable will have a male end (prongs) and a female end (holes) as shown, left. Male to male and female to female are also available.


6.3mm jack cables are used to connect instruments such as guitars to the LINE IN of a mixer or amplifier, and to connect mixers to speakers.

They're available in Jack to Jack (shown left) and also as Jack to XLR. A Jack-XLRM could be used to connect a microphone to a mixing desk or active speaker.

The two black rings at the tip of the Jack indicates a stereo cable, a single ring indicates mono.


3.5mm mini jack cables are used to connect a music source to a mixer. They fit in the headphone out socket of phones, tablets and laptops.

You'll also find AUDIO inputs on wallplates enabling users to connect their own music source into a venue's PA system.


Sometimes known by the brand name "Neutric", speakon cables are primarily used to connect power amplifiers to passive speakers.



Also known as phono or audio cables, you'll often find that RCA cables have a red and a white end, and go into red and white holes on your equipment.

These can be RCA at both ends, or as in the photo left, mini-jack to RCA. These would be used to send an audio signal from one piece of equipment to another, for example a CD player to a mixing desk or a laptop to an active speaker.


Ideal for use on stage or in theatres, the multicore is mounted on a handy drum to help reduce rigging and de-rig times. Various sizes and lengths are available - the one shown has 8 x XLR sockets on the re-windable drum and 8 x XLR plugs on trailing tails, Each are numbered to make it quick and easy for you to set up.

See the Balanced or Unbalanced cables page for an explanation about this very important difference.