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What to Consider When Choosing the Right RCA 1/4-inch Cable

RCA cables carry audio and video signals from a source, such as a DVD player or camera, to a destination, such as a television. You may want to use a new or used 1/4-inch RCA cable to improve your entertainment experience, such as enhancing the audio of a recording by connecting it to an external speaker. Finding the right RCA cable is easy on eBay, and here are some tips to help you along the way.

What types of RCA cables are there?

RCA cables are available in two groups, which are categorized according to the type of signal they carry. The two types are:

  • Composite cables: These cables have three lines, one for video and two, one left-sided and one right-sided, for audio.
  • Component video cables: These cables carry three video lines and two audio lines. The sophisticated setup allows for improved audio and video quality, such as when using HDTV signals.
What does the color coding on RCA cables mean?

Color coding is used to clear up any confusion and makes it easier to match input signals with output signals. The colors you are likely to encounter are:

  • Yellow: In a composite cable, yellow denotes a video signal.
  • White or black: In both composite and component video cables, white or black colors identify the left-sided audio signal.
  • Red: In a composite cable, red represents the right-sided audio signal. In component video cables, it represents both the right-sided audio and the red video signal. The video cable is thicker than the audio cable.
  • Blue: In a component video cable, blue denotes a line carrying a blue video signal.
  • Green: In a component video cable, green denotes a line carrying a green video signal.
How do you choose the right RCA cable?

There are several guiding factors that can help you choose the right RCA cable. These are:

  • Type of device: If you are connecting a VCR, it is possible to opt for a composite cable. However, a sophisticated device, such as an HDTV, will need a component video cable.
  • Cable length: If your devices are far apart, you may opt for longer cable lengths that can connect all your appliances seamlessly.
  • Stereo or mono signal: If you need to connect a guitar amplifier or a mixer, a 6.35-millimeter or 1/4-inch mono plug will suffice. You may opt for a 6.35-millimeter stereo plug in order to connect stereo speakers, headphones, and microphones. Moreover, with stereo signals, ensure that it is a TRS (tip-ring-sleeve) cable since TS (tip-sleeve) cables can only carry mono signals.