This isn’t as easy as it seems.
Nearly every audio problem can be traced back to bad practice. Whether that’s a musician not being prepared or an engineer not using gear correctly, almost every problem encountered in the making of music can be attributed to one of these two camps. For the musician, the answer is simply more (and better) practice. For the engineer, it’s more (and better) knowledge.
A pair open letters:
Practice, so that we might enjoy your performance.
Everyone in the Entire World
Know thy shtuff. Don’t assume that you do.
Everyone Who Has Had to Endure a Show
With that in mind, musicians, please excuse yourselves to go practice. Engineers, let’s talk.
Cables are crucial to everything you do. They connect every piece of equipment you use. But do you know—and I mean really know—how to hook all of them up correctly? Even if you think you do, chances are that you could be reminded of a few things. I could.
An audio engineer is a technical professional that manipulates electrical signals under the pretense that we are ultimately providing auditory pleasure (or at bare minimum, tolerability) for an audience, whomever they shall be.
Good sound doesn’t happen by accident. It is the engineer’s duty to use audio equipment properly. Connecting the many pieces of gear together to make a show happen arguably is the engineer’s most basic of tasks and yet the most often screwed up.
I’ve found no better resource for how cables should be wired for the various scenarios than this article from the folks at Rane called Sound System Interconnection. Bookmark it, study it, refer to it every time you think you know the answer. They provide a way to connect anything to anything else an engineer might need to connect.