Do All Studio Monitors Come With Cables?

You probably know that you need cables to set up studio monitors. However, figuring out which of the cables you need are included in the packaging when you purchase a studio monitor can be tricky because every brand is different. So, do all studio monitors come with cables?

Not all studio monitors come with cables; most only come with power cables. In most cases, users have to separately purchase other necessary cables like the XLR, TRS, RCA, and digital optical cables. However, a few brands include the power cable plus other basic cables, especially the RCA types.

The rest of the article will explain the different types of cables you can use to connect your studio monitors and how many of these are included in the packaging. I’ll also cover a few other commonly asked questions about today’s discussion to help you understand everything you need to about studio monitors and how to hook them up.

Table of Contents

What Cables Do You Need To Hook Up Studio Monitors?

Before hooking them up to a device of your choice, you will need XLR, TRS, or RCA cables depending on your studio monitors and the sound you want to produce. Also, you will have to get power cables and digital optical cables.

To get a better understanding of these cables, let’s independently talk about each one of them.

XLR Cables

These are balanced cables with three pins that use analog connections to transmit an audio signal from a musical device to the monitors using an electric current.

Depending on the type of monitors you possess, you may have to use only one connector or multiple. The reason these cables are widely used is that they prevent interference from your surrounding.

TRS Cables

These are jack cables that also remove or minimize interference to the sound signal. You can use them to get a stereo output, which provides you with a natural sound. 

Keep in mind that these can only be used on studio monitors with TRS inputs or those that have both TRS and XLR connections.

RCA Cables

Although these cables are old-fashioned and not popularly used, some speakers still come with inputs that require their usage. They have white and red plugs, which you can use to connect CD players, smartphones, and record players to your studio monitors. 

Note that since RCAs are unbalanced cables, you run the risk of getting a distorted signal as they can easily pick up interference from your environment. 

Power Cables

You need power cables to plug into your devices before inserting them into a socket to operate your electronics. These cables may have three-pin cords or two, so you should buy the type that you prefer and can fit in your sockets.

Also, be sure to buy cables with the correct voltage to run your devices without short-circuiting.

Digital Optical Cables

These cables can only work on studio monitors with digital connections to send the stereo sound between devices. With these cords, you are assured of a cleaner sound because they transfer audio signals via a binary code that prevents any interference from other electrical devices.

When you use digital optical cables, you can transmit a maximum of 8 signals from your preamplifier to the audio interface, which then sends the sound to the monitors.

What Cables Do Studio Monitors Come With?

Having looked at the various types of cables you would need to hook up a studio monitor, let’s find out how many of those are included in the product packaging.

Unfortunately, most studio monitors only come with power cables. The other cables in the list above typically have to be purchased separately. 

But as with any rule, there are exceptions. Some sellers include a few basic cables in addition to the power cable.

For instance, this PreSonus Eris E3.5-3.5″ pair (available on comes with RCA cables. It also comes with a speaker cable for connecting the two speakers. Of course, the power cable is included.

Ultimately, it all comes down to who you buy from. So if you don’t want to purchase cables separately, you might want to do a bit of looking around to find a seller or brand that includes all or most of the cables you need to hook up your studio monitor.

Do Cables Types Matter for Studio Monitors? PAA

The type of cables you choose to hook up your studio monitors matters because some power cords, like the unbalanced ones, can allow noise and other interferences to distort your sound mix. This can make it difficult for you to analyze the music you produce for any mistakes so that you can fix them.

My advice would be to use balanced cables, such as TRS and XLR, or get digital optical cables that are insusceptible to noise interference.

How To Connect Your Studio Monitors

You will need an audio interface and computer that you can connect your microphone and other musical instruments on top of the XLR, TRS, or RCA cables to send music through to the monitors.

Once you have all the essentials, you can connect your studio monitors using the following steps:

  1. Turn down all the volume and EQ knobs before you connect your monitor speakers. If you turn on these devices when the volume is way up, you can damage the monitors as well as your hearing.
  2. Use a male-to-male USB cable of Type-A or B to connect your audio interface to the computer. When your computer recognizes the interface, the operating system will automatically install the correct drivers for it. If it doesn’t, visit your audio interface’s manufacturer support page online to find out how you can download and install these drivers.
  3. If you have passive monitor speakers, use a speaker wire or RCA cable to connect them to an amplifier. The reason for doing this is to enable it to effectively power the monitors since your interface cannot provide enough voltage to passive studio speakers. If you have active studio speakers with an in-built amplifier, you can skip this step.
  4. Connect your guitar or microphone to the audio interface if you want to start recording a mix before hooking the studio monitors to the interface. Use TRS, XLR, or RCA cables, depending on the output ports of your audio interface. After connecting both devices, correctly tune the volume on your speakers and the EQ for excellent sound mix quality.
  5. Play a song on your computer and adjust the volume on the audio interface until you get the right volume. If the monitors fail to release any music, check your connections to ensure that you fixed them properly.

Other than properly connecting your studio monitors, you should also learn how to properly turn them off. Read my article to discover the correct order of turning off your audio equipment. How To Properly Turn Off Your Studio Monitors


Although not all studio monitors come with cables because the manufacturing companies do not want to risk providing the wrong ones, you can buy these power cords for yourself. However, when purchasing them, ensure that you get the correct ones and that they are long enough to run between the devices.

Juan Louder

I started SoundStudioMagic to learn how to record my own audiobook at home, and now I'm addicted to all the latest techniques and gear.

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