Guitar cables are unbalanced. That’s because they’re designed to carry electric guitar signals, which are relatively weak and noisy compared to other types of audio signals.
Balanced cables have a two-wire configuration with an extra conductor that runs alongside the signal-carrying pair. This third wire acts as a shield against electrical interference, reducing noise and increasing the cable’s cable length beyond what is possible with unbalanced cables.
The main reason why you don’t see balanced cables in guitars is that they’re not needed for electric guitar signals. Electric guitars are generally weaker than other instruments such as keyboards and drum kits, so they don’t need the extra protection that balanced cables provide.
In fact, when it comes to guitars, unbalanced cables have some advantages over balanced ones: They’re easier to make and less expensive, which means that more people can afford them. And their simpler design makes them more reliable — you don’t have to worry about things like “ground loops” or impedance mismatches between pieces of gear that use different connectors.
Last modified: September 21, 2022