Sometimes a customer ends up with a cable shorter than they expected, so we have put this page together to help clarify how we measure our cables. This applies to all cables but only really matters on short ones or where you want a very exact fit.
There is more than one way to measure a cable's length. Here are three:
Tip-to-tip = Total length of cable
Boot-to-boot = Wire length between connectors
Actual wire length = Mid connector to mid connector
As you might have caught on by now, we are a custom cable shop, which means we build a lot of odd cables. That also means two of those ways to measure are complicated for building and wire inventory.
Almost every connector type has a different length, and the tip-to-tip and the boot-to-boot method gets complicated. Let's look at a simple XLR cable. If you wanted a 12" tip-to-tip cable, then you would need 10.5" of wire, and it would leave 6.5" boot-to-boot. If you wanted 12" boot-to-boot, then you would need 16" of wire, and it would be 17.5" tip-to-tip. That's all good but what if you want XLR to 1/4"? Then all the numbers change.
Also when you build a cable, there is often a slight loss as the wires split out to the contacts, and that varies by connector also. A pair of XLRs loses about 3/16", while a pair of 1/4" TRS loses about 1/8", and RCA loses none.
As a result, we build by actual wire length, which is the middle ground between the two. It makes the build and the inventory simple because the wire is cut to the foot. There are no calculations to worry about.
As always we are happy to build your cable to any other standard, all you need to do is ask.
We have put together this graphic for a visual on what we are talking about here. It has 1" lines and a few cable samples. (The lines are approximate because the camera perspective throws things off a little). The measurements are actual measurements from the cables. The two big red lines mark the 12" wire, and the short red lines on the right mark the actual wire end, with build loss.