Our #1 Rated
Amazon’s own basic RCA cable is one of the most popular buys when it comes to audio cables.
The signal is crystal clear and experiences minimal loss thanks to the metal double-shielded connectors.
UGreen’s 3.5mm Aux to Male RCA is one of the best when it comes to shielding thanks to its aluminum shell and PVC jacket.
The A1602 transmits a beautiful sound regardless of whether you’ve got your TV, Xbox, Playstation, or audio system hooked up.
This cable is one of the best when it comes to the excellent insulation and overall quality.
Powering your audio devices and HiFi system with top-quality RCA cables is essential if you want to have a good and solid connection. RCA cables have been around for over 80 years, and everyone from musicians to technicians relies on them to ensure their setups and devices produce a brilliant sound.
These cables come in all shapes and sizes and have a few different names – think lotus plug, phono cable, etc, but they all near enough serve the same purpose: to transmit a sound signal. That doesn’t mean that each one is built the same, though, and some RCA cables are certainly better than others. That’s why we’ve listed our top 5 favorites here to cut out some of the long and boring work of searching for cables, helping you to confidently decide which one is ideal for you and your audio needs.
What is an RCA Cable?
An RCA cable acts as the middleman for transmitting a sound signal between stereo or audio devices. The cable can be combined with other cables such as a video RCA component to achieve high definition sound and graphics at the same time.
There are many other types of audio cables that have similar uses, but RCA are undoubtedly the most common cables used in things like DJ setups, home cinema systems and projectors, and live music production. HDMI cables are just as popular as RCA cables these days, but there are still many older models of televisions, stereos, and other devices that still only have RCA outputs.
Types of RCA Cables
RCA cables come in two different types: composite and component. Composite RCA cables only have three lines (one for video and the other two for audio), which are primarily used to transmit signals between stereo devices. On the other hand, the component cable is usually used with HD TVs, and tailored to improve the video signals more than the audio. While they look and seem the same in terms of quality, the only major difference is the dominant signal each one carries.
In this article, we’re going to review the following RCA Audio Cables:
- Amazon Basics 2-Male to 2-Male RCA Audio Cable
- Amazon Basics Adapter Audio Stereo Cable
- UGREEN 3.5mm Aux to 2RCA
- Fosmon A1602 3-Way Audio RCA Switcher
- KabelDirekt (3 feet) 2 x RCA Male
Important Features to Consider
When you’re looking to purchase your own set of RCA cables for your setup or audio devices, there are a few things to take into account before you buy. We’ve detailed the key factors to keep in mind when it comes to deciding which is the right cable for you.
Audio or Audio/Video – Before you purchase an RCA cable, you need to determine which one is the best for the job. Are you going to need it to send a signal to an old TV or is it going to be specifically used for an audio setup? One used for the purposes of TV should allow for both video and audio signals. If it’s the latter, the cable should feature two connectors for the stereo output: one for the left and one for the right.
Durability – These days, RCA cables are built to be long-lasting and durable. Most have a shielded exterior made from copper, aluminum, or other gold-plated connectors. These metals are the most resistant to wear and tear and are less likely to rust over time. They also stabilize the signal while reducing oxidation. RCA cables with gold shields are considered the best if you are going to be plugging and unplugging your cables frequently.
Unwanted Noise and Interference – Selecting cables that do a good job of preventing unwanted noise and interference is going to be the best for your signal and saves you from having to buy additional gear. Opt for RCA cables that are designed to get rid of EMI and RFI-prone interference for the best sound. You can also look at cables with double shielding, copper conductors, and ones that are compatible with a splitter cable so they can be used as a HDMI as well.
Connectors – Another important thing to consider when you’re purchasing RCA cables is the end connectors. Again, these look the same on pretty much all RCA cables, but the material makes a big difference in how well they conduct and produce a signal. Gold does a much better job at preventing rust and oxidation compared to nickel. So if you want to achieve the best sound and connection to your devices, don’t be afraid to splash out a bit more for high-quality connectors.
Lengths – RCA cables come in all sorts of sizes ranging from 2 feet to 15 feet in length, giving you plenty of options to suit your needs. 15 feet should be more than enough for most uses, but do note that the longer the cable is, the more the quality of the signal will suffer. We recommend opting for short wires if you don’t need a lot of distance between your speakers or devices.
Shielding – While most RCA cables should have enough shielding layers to prevent interference, the higher quality the wire is, the stronger the insulation will be. Most of the high-end cables are great for eliminating all sorts of unwanted noise and interference, particularly if they are short cables because the signal doesn’t need to travel very far.
Brands and Pricing – Many top branded RCA cables are extremely affordable and don’t compromise on quality. You can typically find a strong and sturdy RCA cable for as little as $10, with the real classy brands pricing their cables at $100+. Admittedly, the more you are willing to spend on a good quality cable, the longer use and lifespan it will have, but ultimately this is your choice and it entirely depends on you and how much you are looking to spend.
The Best RCA Cables of 2023
So, there you have it! 5 top picks for RCA cables that work like a dream when it comes to providing crystal-clear, noise-free signals to and from your audio and video devices. If you do decide to opt for something a little more upmarket than what we’ve recommended here, take a look at our honorable mention: the AudioQuest Red River RCA.
While the price tag may seem hefty, the conductors in this bad boy are made up of polyethylene foam to ensure sound is retained and interference is completely eliminated. In addition, the Red River RCA has a triple layered noise dissipation system that puts practically all other RCA cables to shame. It truly is a fantastic and worthy investment if you can afford it.
What is the best audio cable?
There are many types of audio cables on the market, but determining which one is best for the job really comes down to your device, budget, and what you need to use it for.
What are the different types of audio connectors?
There are a few different types of audio connectors, but the main ones used these days are RCA, 4-pin XLR, and TRS Plugs, aka mini jacks.
How do I get rid of the noise in an unbalanced wire without noise cancellation?
If you have a longer cable and find that noise is a problem, you can invest in a DI box (also known as a direct box or direct injection box) which will convert an unbalanced signal into a balanced signal, and thus, reduce distortion and noise. These are also used to reduce the noise in microphones when recording vocals.
Will the shielding do a good enough job at canceling out noise?
If your cable is shielded with layers of copper, this will prevent noise from interfering with the signal. Good shielding is really important in any type of audio cable you buy, because without it there won’t be any clarity in the connection and EMI and RFI will easily get in the way of the signal.