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RCA cable specifications

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I built my first Hi-Fi. Sweet rig. Now i need to design some RCA cables, or maybe not, depends...


Like thousands of others who post on "audiophile" boards, I'm trying to demystify the engineering and marketing claims in order to come to reasonable conclusions. I'm not going to worry about the RCA connectors, I know what I'm going to use. I'm trying to decide on the cable and it's associated characteristics. I'd prefer some flex in the cable, so solid core is probably out. I know the output voltage of one of the pieces of hardware I'm going to use, its 2.2 volts. I don't know what the receiver's resistance is at the RCA inputs.


What specs should I look for on the cable? What specs should I observe on the receiver to match the cable characteristics?


I hope that makes sense. I'm not an engineer. I don't want to talk about marketing or what the "best" is. That defeats the point of this sub-forum. I'd like to keep this electronics specific, as much as possible anyway. Thanks in advance.

Edited by kurt bermuda - 3/3/14 at 11:02am
post #2 of 9

If running in an area with significant EMI, you need better shielding and preferably something twisted / braided together. If you're connecting to a source with a high output impedance, make sure the capacitance of the cable isn't very high or you can get marginal high-frequency attenuation that's probably still not audible. (for highish 1 nF capacitance and generally highish 1 kohm source output impedance, you get -3 dB point at 160 kHz, which is fine) I guess if you want to do things properly, you should figure out the properties of the source and amp input impedance, etc. Also, how long would the interconnect cable runs be?


That's mostly it.


Usually you shouldn't be finding audible differences, so it doesn't really matter. It's going to be more important to find something easy to handle and that is relatively inexpensive than something theoretically marginally better in ways that don't really matter much. But if you really want, you may as well get something that can cover the corner cases a little better.


I'm guessing the motivation is to do it yourself just as a project to do? You can check the DIY subforum too. If you just want something that works, you can buy that relatively cheap. Still affordable if you want slightly better properties to have them. (check Blue Jeans Cable, for example)

post #3 of 9

Just buy a cheap cable from Monoprice and replace it if it shorts out. Unless you're running cables down the block, they're all the same. Don't fall for the hype.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
post #5 of 9

Okay so buy some Belden cable and put your ends on it.  Or get Blue Jeans cable.  Pretty nice workmanship, they use Belden cables and the price isn't ridiculous. But Bigshot has already given you the advice.  For audio frequency use, order some from Monoprice and don't worry about it.  Despite claims otherwise, unless you have some strange impedance involved it all works the same.  There isn't a 'better' sounding cable.  It all transmits the signal transparently without limiting sound quality whatsoever.

post #6 of 9

I'd say go Monoprice also.  

post #7 of 9

I wouldn't recommend monoprice my monoprice xlr to trs cables fell apart and stopped working there badly made.

post #8 of 9
Originally Posted by JRG1990 View Post

I wouldn't recommend monoprice my monoprice xlr to trs cables fell apart and stopped working there badly made.

I have some monoprice XLR to XLR cables.  No problems.  Though use is a domestic stereo mostly.  If you use it for gigs where they get lots of movement they might not hold up as well.  A good Belden with Neutriks will do the trick though. 


Whatever you do, don't get such from Guitar Center.  Some friends have gotten those for karaoke use on mikes.  Usually within 3 weeks (which means use about 3 or 4 times) the connectors get spotty and unreliable.  After a handful of other uses they quit working altogether. 

post #9 of 9

There were only used for my speaker set up in my room from the sub to amp there were out the way behind my desk aswell, I only disturbed them a couple of times to clean, I got some custom made 1's now there vann damme cable with neutrik connectors they seem well made and havn't fallen apart yet I also got a choice of colours so would recommend them www.designacable.com

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