– Difference Between Subwoofer & RCA Cable –
Rapid technology advances in the home entertainment industry bring new terminology that may be confusing.
To simplify the terms used for the many cables that connect audio and video components together, manufacturers, marketers, and users tend to name them by their uses or the types of connectors on the ends.
But neither method specifically identifies either an RCA cable or a subwoofer cable.
Technology is developing at an accelerated pace. New entertaining equipment is being constantly released.
Those people who are not tech-savvy and have no time to track the latest innovations find it challenging to choose the most suitable cables to connect their audio and video devices.
It is necessary to know the cable classification based on application and the connector type, know the structure and peculiarities of each model.
The difference between subwoofer cable and RCA cable is a particularly confusing topic. This article provides a detailed description of both wires and should help you make a well-informed choice.
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Defining RCA Cables
RCA is an acronym for Radio Corporation of America – the name of a company that has invented this cable type. It is used to designate all coaxial cables having RCA push-in connectors.
They have been initially used for syncing amplifiers and phonographs, but new applications were emerging along with new equipment. Now, it is possible to connect almost any audio and video device using RCA cables.
Coaxial wires have the following structure: the main connector with grounding contacts surrounding and protecting it. This structure is suitable for both composite and component connections.
In the first case, the brightness and colors are blended while transmitting images. Two additional wires process the stereo signal for the right and left channels.
In the second case, three connectors are used to transmit brightness and colors divided into two streams. This option provides a better quality of the image. At the same time, it is less convenient since three wires should be used.
Exploring Subwoofer Cables
A subwoofer cable connects an audio amplifier to a speaker designed to reproduce low-frequency sound signals up to 100 Hz.
Whether the connection requires a pair of wires or an RCA cable depends on the design features of the particular system.
The subwoofer may be passive (without any internal amplification), or active (with an internal amplifier included to increase the volume).
For a subwoofer with an RCA connector, any RCA cable will carry the signal. But some manufacturers add special features to an RCA cable and label it “subwoofer.”
With recent innovations in audio technology, you will likely be able to find affordable, powerful subwoofers that do not rely on RCA cables.
1/4″ jacks are becoming a ubiquitous element of “consumer-grade” audio hardware, meaning that a large number of consumers today may never actually need to work with RCA cables at all. That being said, this will depend entirely on the subwoofer cable and system being used.
RCA Subwoofer Cables
The electrical characteristics of a coaxial cable depend on the diameter of the center conductor, the type and thickness of the insulating material and the type of shield used. A more elaborate shield reduces unwanted signals induced in the cable.
RCA connectors can be used on a wide variety of coaxial cables with various quality specifications.
RCA cables labeled “subwoofer” may have tighter woven fibers in the mesh of the shield or a second or third shield made of mesh or foil. Gold plating the connectors on a subwoofer cable improves conductivity and prevents corrosion, but it doesn’t reduce AC hum.
Difference between a Subwoofer Cable and a Regular Audio Cable
The difference between a subwoofer cable and a regular audio cable, such as an RCA cable, is very subtle.
When talking about an RCA subwoofer cable, this really just is a basic RCA cable that manufacturers rename when adding certain special features to the cable.
Usually, subwoofer RCA cables will contain tighter woven fibers in the mesh of the shielding on the cable, or can even contain a second or third layer of mesh.
A subwoofer cable is basically a higher-quality, better-shielded version of an RCA cable. Also, the subwoofer cable has the ability to transmit bass, an added plus when talking about sound quality.
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Assessing the Causes of AC Hum
Household electricity operates at 60 Hz and can produce an unwanted hum in speaker systems in two ways: induction into the speaker cable from other equipment or wiring, or from a ground loop where the 60 Hz hum travels on the shield of a coaxial cable.
Since hum falls within the frequency range of a subwoofer, the problem is more prevalent there.
Extra shielding in an RCA cable to a subwoofer may reduce hum caused by induction, but not by a ground loop. An isolation transformer for the AC input to the entire sound system may break a ground loop.
How do you connect a Subwoofer and a Speaker?
Using an RCA cable for a subwoofer is quite easy. Our tips should simplify this process even more:
- Find a subwoofer output (labeled SUB OUT or something like that) on a receiver.
- Connect either end of the “1RCA – 1RCA” wire to it.
- The quality of the wire is crucial if it is rather long (≤5 meters). It is worth buying the best subwoofer cable with reliable shielding so that your device does not emit background hum.
- Sound engineers often assemble subwoofer wires on their own since the distance between a receiver and a subwoofer is different in each individual case, while sagging or tension is harmful to audio equipment.
- The wire subjected to constant tension gradually fails. Contacts are being torn in weak points, and the sound disappears quite quickly, while the outer braid can remain intact, which makes it difficult to find the problem.
- The sagging wire catches extraneous noise. If coiled up, it acts as a source of eddy currents and interference. The purest physics (namely, the properties of a coiled conductor) applies here.
- You can purchase a high-quality instrumental or microphone cable (not necessarily expensive) and two RCA connectors with a metal case and gold-plated contacts.
- Please note that lead solder cannot be used to connect them. Lead reduces the quality of an audio signal.
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We hope that this guide has proven useful, and now you know how to choose a cable for a subwoofer.
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