4, 8 core TRS cables: Why?
Aug 24, 2019 at 6:31 PM Thread Starter

#### shkwocka

My understanding of cables with TRS plugs, such as a cable with standard 3.5mm stereo miniplugs, is that is has three wires: two for carrying signal, one for ground. Lately I've seen a lot of cables (mainly on Alibaba) that have 4 cores or 8 cores. How would you use 4 wires in a cable that requires 3?

I'm shopping for cables to connect my sound source to my headphone amp. Are these high-core-count cables superior to cables with just one wire for each signal?

Aug 24, 2019 at 9:40 PM
1 for left 1 for right 2 for ground for 4 wires, 2 for left 2 for right 4 for ground or 3 for left 3 for right 2 for ground

Aug 24, 2019 at 10:30 PM
1 for left 1 for right 2 for ground for 4 wires, 2 for left 2 for right 4 for ground or 3 for left 3 for right 2 for ground

What would be the advantage of having an extra ground wire?

Aug 29, 2019 at 10:56 AM
I would speculate its just simpler maths either way you look at it. I'm a little confused about you using TRS for source to amp, is this a portable set up?

You need two wires for each Speaker/Earbud or channel signal, One Positive (Signal/Hot) and one Negative (Ground/Cold (I'm aware Negative and Ground are different, but in this instance there the same)). Its just easier maths to run one cable for each of the wires/terminations needed and connect them at the plug instead of combining the Negative at the "Y" split or in the ear cup.

The other idea and possible reason is that from source to speaker you are keeping the same amount of metal material for each channel/side by combining the negative wires you reduce the amount of wire used and change the ohms just on that side. I haven't researched if this changes the sound signature at all but, personally, not having them matched does seem incorrect.

Aug 29, 2019 at 12:33 PM
Don't most people run a TRS from their sound source to their headphone amp? If not, what do they use? In my case, my sound source is a DJ mixer. I use my CIEMs for DJing. My setup is:

DJ mixer > 4 foot long 3.5mm TRS cable > Vorzuge Vorzamp Duo > then 3.5mm output to my CIEM (M-Fidelity SA-43). I'm shopping for the 4 foot TRS cable to go between the DJ mixer and my Vorzamp Duo, and I'm just trying to figure out how these multi-core cable are wired. Every diagram I can find for TRS cables has three channels (three wires): L, R, and ground. So, why wouldn't people use 3, 6, 9, 12 core cables for this? Using multiples of 4 seems odd...trying to wrap my head around it.

Aug 29, 2019 at 12:58 PM
I think its math only, which belongs to balanced cables and , maybe, simple thoughts. ^^
2 times positive (left and right) and therefore 2 times negative.

A funny analogy:
The drains in a house are also larger than the water pipes.

Aug 29, 2019 at 5:02 PM
Don't most people run a TRS from their sound source to their headphone amp? If not, what do they use? In my case, my sound source is a DJ mixer. I use my CIEMs for DJing. My setup is:

DJ mixer > 4 foot long 3.5mm TRS cable > Vorzuge Vorzamp Duo > then 3.5mm output to my CIEM (M-Fidelity SA-43). I'm shopping for the 4 foot TRS cable to go between the DJ mixer and my Vorzamp Duo, and I'm just trying to figure out how these multi-core cable are wired. Every diagram I can find for TRS cables has three channels (three wires): L, R, and ground. So, why wouldn't people use 3, 6, 9, 12 core cables for this? Using multiples of 4 seems odd...trying to wrap my head around it.

Sorry i maybe should have said that in an instance where its TRS to TRS connector then 3 wires is all you need. As i was trying to explain earlier, since headphones and speakers each require 2 connections each, 4 cables is most common as the total of used wires.

The DJ Desk i have has RCA outputs that go to the Speakers (these are the round connector with a large single pin in the middle) and a 3.5mm TRS connector for the headphones. Most DAC or Sound sources would use the RCA connector or XLR connector to go to the Amp.

The Vorzuge Vorzamp Duo you mention is closest in style to a Portable Headphone amp for use with a Digital Player or Mobile Phone. Most of the systems we speak of here are for use on our Desks thus use larger connectors into larger devices.

Aug 29, 2019 at 5:09 PM
TRS isn't it just left and right se out for se cables. Im staring at my GSX mk2 it has them, but i use 4 pin xlr for fully balanced, my guess its preference

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Sep 1, 2019 at 3:41 PM
My understanding of cables with TRS plugs, such as a cable with standard 3.5mm stereo miniplugs, is that is has three wires: two for carrying signal, one for ground. Lately I've seen a lot of cables (mainly on Alibaba) that have 4 cores or 8 cores. How would you use 4 wires in a cable that requires 3?

I'm shopping for cables to connect my sound source to my headphone amp. Are these high-core-count cables superior to cables with just one wire for each signal?

hi there, you group the cores together so effectively they become a single wire, so each channel has the same number of wires. For a TRS, as has already been mentioned an eight core would have 2 wires to signal and 2 to the return, with the other four earthed. At the headphone end you would have the wires grouped in pairs and attached to each polarity (left 2+2 and right 2.2. I have made cables with 12 cores into a TRS jack where you have the cables grouped in 3s. The sky's the limit in terms of cores but obvs ergonomics will be an issue.

As for the why, well the more metal in theory the lower the resistance. This doent always = better SQ, just different. Silver cables definitely perform at their best when they are heavier gauge 24awg plus, anything less and they can sound a bit thin at the bottom end and dry in mids (in my experience at least. I've just finished and 8 x 24awg UPOCC pure silver cable using a TRS jack to run between my stellias and Feliks audio amp, and the improvement of the 4-core is instantly noticeable, mainly in terms of depth, separation and layering, where has bought a 3d'ness to the presentation which wasn there with the 4-core version (which was no slouch either.

Sep 1, 2019 at 4:16 PM
hi there, you group the cores together so effectively they become a single wire, so each channel has the same number of wires. For a TRS, as has already been mentioned an eight core would have 2 wires to signal and 2 to the return, with the other four earthed. At the headphone end you would have the wires grouped in pairs and attached to each polarity (left 2+2 and right 2.2. I have made cables with 12 cores into a TRS jack where you have the cables grouped in 3s. The sky's the limit in terms of cores but obvs ergonomics will be an issue..

Thanks for your input. In this case there is no "headphone end", though - the cable we are discussing is TRS to TRS, for connecting a sound source to a portable headphone amp.

Sep 1, 2019 at 4:36 PM
Thanks for your input. In this case there is no "headphone end", though - the cable we are discussing is TRS to TRS, for connecting a sound source to a portable headphone amp.

Apologies i hadnt read your post properly. I've not run a DAC or source to Amp on single ended cable, using either twin RCA or XLR to twin RCA or XLR. Occasionally i've made TRS - twin RCAs, but the grouping multiple cores in single end to single end cable still makes sense. Anyway apologies again i'll read more carefully in future before sticking my oar in