RCA cables aren’t a thing of the past yet. They’re actually still quite useful, and especially when connecting car components. For example, recently, I bought a head unit for my car and found that I could use an RCA cable to connect it to my equalizer. Before long, I found myself pouring over a ton of websites, trying to track down the best RCA cables for car audio I could find.
I ended up getting my hands on and testing about fifteen different cables from which I chose my top five for this year. You can find my reviews for each below.
A handy guide to RCA cables
Before we get into the reviews, I want to explain a few things about RCA cables. First, what are they really? These cables can carry both audio and video transmission from a component device to a specific output, usually a TV or a pair of speakers. If you’ve ever connected a DVD player to your TV, you’ve seen RCA cables. They are the ones with color-coded plugs, which match the colored ports on the back of your television.
There are two types of RCA cables
Although there are actually several types of RCA cables, two are common, composite video and component, that you can use.
These cables are immediately recognizable. Typically, the right and left audio channel plugs are red and white / black and the composite video plug is always yellow. The composite video plug is analog and only transmits video in one signal. This is not ideal, considering that analog video actually consists of three separate signals. So, compressing all these signals into one can reduce the quality.
Component RCA cables are a bit more complicated and are sometimes used to connect things to high-definition TVs. Component cables have three video lines and two audio lines. The former are red, green and blue while the latter are red and white/black, which is what you find in composite video cables. To prevent any confusion between the video and audio red lines, cable manufacturers usually add an additional color.
Since there are three separate lines to carry the video signal, component RCA cables are able to output better resolution. This includes above 480p and even above 1080p.
What can we do with RCA cables?
Best RCA cables have actually been around since the 1940s, and while we now mainly use HDMI to connect things to our TVs and smart devices, we still occasionally use the former. A popular example is connecting a camcorder to a television. High-end camcorders have three RCA jacks: two for audio and one for video, while lower-end camcorders have only one jack. This means that both audio and video signals are compressed and sent over a single line.
Choose from 5 different lengths
When purchasing the KabelDirekt RCA cable, I had options to choose from: 3 feet, 6 feet, 15 feet, 20 feet, or 25 feet. For most car-related applications, I’d recommend a 3-foot or 6-foot cable.
Oxygen-free copper core shielding
Copper corrodes quickly because it reacts well with oxygen. Therefore, generally, copper would not be an ideal material for shielding, despite its excellent conductivity. However, KabelDirect’s copper shielding is actually oxygen-free, eliminating any possibility of corrosion. As a result, I never heard any static with this cable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do RCA cables make a difference?
Best RCA cables or any type of cable for that matter, cannot really improve audio or video quality. All they can do is try to transmit the audio signal as efficiently as possible while dealing with interference. An RCA cable with good shielding and the shortest possible length is your best bet for a high-quality audio or video output
How many RCA cable do I need for a 4 channel amp?
Generally, when you are connecting a 4 channel amp you will need 2 pairs of RCA cables (four connectors total). The recommended length is 18 inches, which is 1.5 feet. Generally, the minimum length of RCA cable you can purchase is three feet so you may need to cut it if you don’t want the extra length of cable hanging around.
1.5 feet is sufficient for most vehicles. This leaves you with enough length to hide the cable under your back seat or other suitable location.
What are the best quality RCA cables?Brands like iXCC, FosPower and AmazonBasics are pretty safe bets when it comes to the best subwoofer cable. Any of the five mentioned in this article should serve you well in a wide range of applications.