Despite the introduction of newer connection cables such as HDMI, RCA cables (also called lotus or phono plugs) are still widely used in both home and commercial applications.
Properly-chosen RCA cables facilitate the delivery of dynamic, detailed audio and crystal clear video. They are great replacements for low-quality connection wires that more often hold back sound systems from delivering at their best potential.
You might be having loads of questions about these cables?
- How much does a good RCA cable cost?
- Are RCA cables worth the investment?
- What features should I look out for when selecting RCA cables?
You are going to get answers to these and other crucial questions in this detailed guide for buying the best RCA cables. In addition to presenting summarized reviews of features, pros and cons of 10 top-ranking RCA cable models on the market, we’ve provided links to pages where you can get more information about the products.
And now we review each of these competitors in deeper detail.
Here are the top 10 best RCA cables:
1. Mediabridge ULTRA Series 15 Feet
On top of our list of best RCA cables is this sturdy, heavily-shielded, and good looking subwoofer cable. A quick look at its design inspires confidence in its ability to maintain a solid connection and to cause magnificent improvement in the delivery of low frequencies.
Key features of Mediabridge ULTRA Series 15ft RCA cable
- A solid center conductor & improved shielding and insulation: This cable is well-built with a metallic conductor and dual shielding. Besides, it’s designed with cutting-edge signal loss protection to enable it can carry strong signals over long runs with minimal signal loss. A low-loss cable is usually more efficient in transmitting low-frequency signals.
- Snug fit: Mediabridge has designed the cable carefully for tight fitting into the respective ports. Its split-center pins ensure high contact pressure and seamless conductivity. Further, the subwoofer cable has turbine-style gold plating, which is a unique gripped molding that facilitates a consistently robust connection.
- Easy plug-n-play installation: A soft but highly durable PVC jacket on the cables exterior allows for easy handling of the wire. Thus, the cable can maneuver tight spaces so you won’t experience any trouble much installing it in space-limited locations. In a few seconds, you are done connecting each end to its port and the system is ready to give you better sound – deeper and more precise audio.
- Corrosion resistance: For efficient reception and delivery of signals, the gold connectors are 100% corrosion-resistant. This property is responsible for the cable’s ability to support the delivery of unbeatable audio quality. Also, the cables last longer because they can maintain their structural integrity even after many years of use.
- Copper conductors ensure that there is minimal sound gain.
- The cables can work with almost any device that has RCA ports.
- Safe for in-wall use.
- Robust, tight-fitting connection interface.
- Low-energy loss over long distances.
- Some users complain that the jack pin is too big for some newer smartphone models.
- The cable doesn’t curve or bend easily.
Great price aside, the stellar sound performance of this Mediabridge RCA cable is the major attraction factor. It connects subwoofers to audio components to offer excellent bass response.
2. iXCC 6ft
This 3.5mm male to male cable has some similar features with our top pick. It’s designed with a polished metal conductor, dual-shielding, and rust-resistant gold-plated ends. The RCA cable grips easily and can work with a wide variety of devices including smartphones, tablets, and even select sound systems such as karaoke machines.
Highlights of iXCC 6ft RCA cables
- Excellent sound transmission: In addition to the visible high-performance design aspects (corrosion-resistant gold plating and multi-layer shielding), the cable also features EMI protection which supports non-distorted audio transit. Rest assured of exceptional sound when you connect these cables to your system.
- Bidirectional conductivity: This RCA cable is widely appreciated for transmitting stereo audio in its purest form. Its bidirectional conductivity also enables it to be an almost universally compatible cable. It can work with any device that has a standard 3.5mm AUX port.
- Tangle-free design: iXCC has made sure that you don’t go through much trouble connecting and disconnecting this connector. It plugs in smoothly even when your tablet’s or smartphone’s protective cover is on. Similarly, it plugs off without any tangling, and storage is also easy.
- Length options: This model of iXCC RCA cables is available in different lengths ranging from 3 feet to 25 feet. You have the liberty of choosing the cable length that best fits your situation. iXCC claims that even the longest of their RCA cables maintains superior signal transmission.
- Top-grade shielding and seamless interference protection.
- Great value to price.
- Remains unaffected by surrounding audio and visual devices.
- Sound-efficient gold plated connectors.
- Easy storage.
- Plugs in too tightly in some devices.
- Only works perfectly with 3.5mm AUX enabled devices.
The astounding overall build of the iXCC 3.5mm male-to-male RCA cable speaks volumes about its reliability in stereo sound transmission. There is no reason not to consider the connector with its incredibly affordable price tag.
3. AmazonBasics 3.5mm
Here’s another RCA cable that can connect left and right audio inputs with devices that have a standard 3.5mm AUX jack. On one end of the cable you have two male RCA connectors and on the other end a 3.5mm auxiliary connector. What can this configuration do for you?
Features and capabilities of the AmazonBasics 3.5mm RCA cable
- Beveled step-down connector design: For all connecting cables, the quality of the connection depends on how well the connector grips onto its matching port. AmazonBasics has utilized a step-down design for the connecting end, which offers a secure, fully plugged in connection.
- PVC exterior for enhanced strength, flexibility, and durability: The soft plastic covering on the RCA cable makes the connector not only well insulated but also more flexible and easy to handle. It is also tough (despite being flexible) to enhance the durability of the cable.
- Dual shielding: Using multiple layers of shielding has become the industry standard in RCA cable manufacturing. AmazonBasics cannot and has not been left behind. The greatest benefit of dual shielding is minimized hum/static noise that may result from placing an RCA cable close to other sound devices. In effect, dual shielding minimizes signal interference, allowing for the delivery of clean and precise audio.
- Polished copper metal conductor and gold plating: Like many other high-performance RCA cables, this AmazonBasics stereo audio cable is built for the most efficient audio transmission. Its rust-resistant gold plates provide the ideal interface for signal reception while its copper metal conductor transmits the signals with minimal signal loss. The result is pure, crisp, and clear sound.
- User-friendly design.
- High versatility – works with left and right inputs.
- Long-lasting construction.
- Interference shielding.
- Perfect grip due to the beveled step-down connector design.
- The tapered design is not ideal for sockets that flush with the panel.
- If the cable is folded and unfolded frequently, static noise may be experienced.
If you are looking for solidly built RCA cables with awesome sound quality, don’t look further. This AmazonBasics adapter cable is a perfect choice as long as you don’t intend to use the cable for repeated “connect and disconnect” applications.
4. Fosmon A1602
Maximize connection options and enjoy the convenience of switching inputs with this unique 3-in-1 input/output adapter from Fosmon. It is designed for 3 female to 1 male connection, so you can use it to connect your TV to up to three peripheral devices. Explore its features and capabilities below:
Features of Fosmon A1602 input splitter
- Instant switch between three inputs: Once you connect the adapter to the inputs and output, you can switch between inputs using a toggle switch fitted on the adapter. No more plugging and unplugging wires when you want to change input. With this splitter, it’s possible to switch from input to input in less than a second.
- Smooth video transmission: Each of the three ports on the splitter has 3 female ports. The idea behind this composite variety is to keep signals differentiated, which results to accurate video transmission. As evidence, you’ll notice that this splitter and RCA cable system facilitates super-clean visual output across all inputs.
- Flawless compatibility: As long as the input takes these RCA cables, there are no compatibility issues with this splitter. Just plug in the wires according to their color coding and you are good to go. Compatible devices include VCR/DVD players, video games, HDTVs and set-top boxes.
- High-quality RCA cables: As an integral part of the package, the RCA cables are properly-built with competitive shielding and sufficient insulation. Thus, the cable maintains the best quality audio and video transmission between the selected input and the output.
- Efficient toggle switch.
- Easy to set up.
- No external power required to run the splitter.
- High-performance RCA cables.
- The splitter & RCA cable combination significantly enhances video input.
- Cheap plastic construction.
- The splitter is too light to withstand the weight of the cables. It gets pushed around.
Most users love the Fosmon A1602 for allowing them to keep their TV connected with different inputs simultaneously. The splitter offers great value for the money, and it’s a must-have for anyone who likes having a hassle-free entertainment experience.
5. Monoprice 1.5ft
Are you keen on getting the highest quality of music from your system?This 2-channel RCA cable uses a premium conductor and professional-grade shielding to support the transmission of smooth, uninterrupted sound. Its performance is evidence enough that RCA connections still rock and are reliable in the pursuit of excellent audio signal transmission.
Features of Monoprice 1.5ft M/M RCA Cable
- 22AWG conductor: transmits signals with minimal energy loss. The resultant output is highly faithful to the signal source, which means that your music is not distorted. Besides, the conductor is well shielded.
- EMI or RFI interference protection: this can mean many things, one being unparalleled clarity when playing your favorite albums or streaming videos and blockbusters. Unlike lower quality RCA cables that introduce noise into the output, these Monoprice cables have been tested and proven to prevent any noise-causing interferences from invading the output.
- Color-coded rubber rings embedded on each connector: these colored rings help with connecting the cables to the relevant ports, which makes the RCA cables very easy to use. Also, they help to achieve a firm grip for improved connections.
- Gold-plated connectors: Like with other top-performing RCA cables, Monoprice has used corrosion-resistant coating on the connectors. Expect smooth connections and consistently excellent performance for the long term. Oxidation and rust will not be an issue of concern with these RCA cables.
- Low capacitance; more efficient signal transmission.
- Great construction and finishing.
- Gold-plating for longer life.
- It’s the most inexpensive RCA cables compared with competitors.
- Smooth sound transmission.
- The cable is too stiff for some applications.
- Grip quality reduces as the jack is pulled on and off many times.
The most impressive thing about these RCA cables is how securely they connect to the output ports. As you plug the wires one after the other you’ll feel confident that the firm connections will give you flawless signal transmission.
6. iMBAPrice 25Ft RCA
Looking for a high performance audio/video male to male RCA cable that can be used in a wide variety of applications? This one is 25 feet long but there are other length options to suit different uses. Over and above the high-quality build typical of an award-winning composite RCA cable, this iMBAPrice masterpiece has set itself apart with its superb audio visual performance.
Key Highlights of iMBAPrice RCA Cable
- Durable and compatible with most home devices: This RCA cable works with different types of home theater audio and video devices including VCR, DVD, camcorders, HD-TV, etc. You are able to enjoy an improved electronics experience characterized by minimal or no loss of audio and video quality.
- Legitimate gold plating: many RCA cable companies claim to use gold plates but only a few of them actually use legitimate gold. iMBAPrice is among the few. Legitimate gold plating of this cable offers true long-term anti-rust protection. The ultimate benefit is that sound and video output with little distortion. Also, legitimate gold connectors last longer than those on cheaper cables that only coat other weaker material with gold paint.
- Flawless signal transfer mediums: As an effort toward making sure that the connector functions perfectly with all the compatible devices, iMBAPrice has invested heavily in signal loss protection. The core conductor rests inside a spiral-wound-shield, which supports low signal loss operation.
- Convenient color coding for easy installation: This cable is among the easiest to use thanks to the elaborate color coding of the gold contacts. Identifying the video channel as well as the right and left channels is straightforward. Thus, everyone can set the cables up in a few minutes.
- Wide compatibility.
- Legitimate gold plating for reliable rust protection.
- Very easy to install.
- Ideal for excellent video and stereo audio transmission.
- Exceptional protection against EMI/RFI interference and distortion.
- Not suitable for full HD applications.
- Connector tips may bend if the installer is not careful.
iMBAPrice is a seasoned RCA cable brand. If you want affordable RCA cables for moderate current audio and visual transmission, there cables are a highly recommended option.
7. BronaGrand 3 RCA
Whether you are a videographer who needs to record to multiple devices at a time, or a gaming fanatic in need of a reliable adapter, this BronaGrand male-to-female splitter has got you covered. It’s a perfect choice for splitting video/audio signal from any device standard yellow-red-white connectors. Notably, the connector does not produce any input lag.
Unique Features of BronaGrand 3 RCA Splitter
- Universal compatibility: There is a wide range of applications that this 3F-to-6M RCA splitter can fit. To mention a few, its perfect for dual streaming, extending the audio/video cable, for use with a composite capture card, connecting a VCR to a USB video digitizer, and sharing one DVD player with two TVs.
- 30cm long: This is the standard length of 3F-to-6M RCA connectors. They are suitable for short-range connections, and they deliver cutting-edge zero-lag transmissions. Thus, it’s important to note that this RCA splitter will work in set ups where devices to be connected are in close proximity.
- Easy operation: Compared to other types of splitters, this RCA cable splitter is relatively easy to install and use. You don’t need a switch to change inputs because the setup is a passive pass through variety. This adds on to the efficiency of the splitter as you will not deal with extra circuit board or input switches that keep breaking.
- High-quality build: Efficient video/audio signal splitting requires strong transmission architecture. BronaGrand knows this better than anyone else as evidenced by the use of high-quality material for this splitter cable. Silver connectors and a polished metal conductor ensure that the splitting and transmission is completed with no significant signal loss or deterioration of output quality.
- Transmits both video and audio simultaneously.
- Can connect to any device that takes red, white, and yellow wires.
- It is easier to use than boxed splitters with extra circuits.
- Minimal compatibility issues.
- Great option for streaming setups with older systems.
- Since the cable isn’t very long, one might have to get extension cables for transmission lengths over 30cm.
- Metal tip may become flimsy easily after repeated plugging in and out.
You cannot go wrong with this BronaGrand RCA cable splitter if you prefer clean, simplistic but well-founded multi-streaming setups. The splitter is a great bargain considering the value it offers at its current price.
8. Hosa CPR-202 Dual 1/4″
This 2m stereo interconnect cable is mostly used by sound experts who need to connect professional audio gear with consumer audio components. Specifically, it connects sound devices that use stereo unbalanced phone jacks with devices that have stereo phono jacks. Check out the features below to know whether this kind of RCA cable fits your desired application:
Features of Hosa CPR-202
- Nickel-plated plugs: The CPR-202 uses rugged and highly durable plugs that facilitate effective signal transmission. As a leading supplier of connectivity solutions, Hosa Technology does not hide behind advertising to make its products seem competitive. Notably, the company has used nickel plugs with truly efficient signal transmission capability.
- OFC (oxygen-free copper) conductors: Improved signal clarity is perhaps the most notable difference that these RCA cables cause to any setup. OFC copper facilitates the effective transit of audio/video across the entire length of the cable, resulting in output that exceeds the expectations of today’s most demanding sound professional.
- OFC spiral shields: All Hosa cables come with top-of-the-class shielding and strain relief. The CPR-202 is designed with spiral shields that have highly-effective EMI and RFI rejection. Besides, the spiral shield design is aimed at making the cable more flexible and hence easy to handle.
- Stunning sound quality: These cables do not introduce any noticeable noise into the setup. It doesn’t matter whether you are using an old cassette tape or an advanced audio source. This cable transmits the signal with absolute honesty and fidelity to the source. Consequently, you get nothing less of clean, distortion-free sound.
- Professional-grade design features.
- Hosa is a trustworthy digital sound equipment brand.
- Minimal noise in the output.
- Compatibility with most consumer audio components.
- 2 meters is long enough for most studio/domestic applications.
- Sound quality is not consistently great over long-term use of the cable.
- Metallic pin is prone to breaking if not carefully handled.
The Hosa brand resonates with high quality and affordability and the CPR-202 cable is no exception. It gets the job done right. Further, the cable is long lasting thanks to its premium build.
9. UGREEN 2RCA Male to 2RCA Male 6ft
For immersive TV/movie watching or audiophile-grade music listening, get this widely compatible UGREEN male to male stereo audio cable. It amplifies sound with little signal interference, making it a great addition to the modern home theater experience. What’s more? See the key highlights of the cable below.
Features of UGREEN male to male 6ft cable
- Compatibility: Do you have older gaming consoles, HDTV, CD players, turntables, amplifiers, speakers, or hi-fi system that uses RCA ports? You don’t want to miss out on the fun that these cables can add to your entertainment experience. This UGREEN RCA cable opens you up to this great experience.
- Pure copper conductor and double shielding: A tinned copper core preserves maximum signal quality while the metallic shield and PVC shell ensure that no signal interference is experienced. You can be sure of smooth, high-quality output with no breakages or signal loss.
- 24K gold-plated connectors: These connectors allow for seamless, rust-free connections. Also, they ensure that the structural integrity and durability of the entire sound setup is enhanced. Ultimately, you get to enjoy the best sound output for longer.
- Color-coded rubber rings on connectors: This design feature may not be that significant to sound quality but it does make the installation process easier. The color coding makes matching the pin and appropriate ports straightforward. Besides, the rubber rings grip firmly onto the port.
- Superb sound quality.
- Broad compatibility.
- Driver-free installation.
- High flexibility for maneuverability.
- Rust-free gold plating for flawless connection.
- Doesn’t hold up well to high temperature applications.
- Causes some noise when close to specific sound devices.
There’s a great chance that this RCA cable will work with most commonly used devices at home, including smartphones, iPads, tablets, laptops, etc. You can rely on the cable for all your audio connectivity situations.
10. KabelDirekt RCA Stereo Cable
KabelDirekt proudly closes this selection of best RCA cables with a two-channel audio cable that brings to life the desired world of crisp, clear audio. The cable fashions a dual male to male style that supports digital and analogue audio signal transfer from home stereo, audio receiver, DVD, or Blu-ray player.
Features of KabelDirekt RCA Stereo Cable
- Compatibility: The 2 male to 2 male audio cable works with any standard left/right output. It gives professional-grade stereo sound and hi-fi audio. Just about any audio device can work with these cables. Notably, most users use it to connect audio receivers with a home video system.
- Double shielded oxygen-free copper core: EMI and RFI interference is totally prevented, which enables this cable to maintain the highest sound signal transfer with no popping or static. Most double shielded RCA cables do not disappoint when it comes to stereo sound transfer.
- Premium-quality connectors: It’s almost a certainty that you’ll use this cable for many years without experiencing any deterioration in cable performance. The 24K gold-plated connectors are accountable for maintaining highly efficient connections at every port as well as keeping the cable corrosion-resistant.
- User-friendly design: The cables are fairly flexible despite feeling a little tough. Thus, you can move them around with ease and install in space-limited locations. Besides, you get 6 length options to choose from (ranging from 3 feet to 25 feet).
- Dual shielded core.
- 2-channel design with extensive application options.
- Many cable lengths to choose from.
- Premium-grade gold-plated connector.
- Excellent signal transfer with little to no interference.
- Text on the cables is difficult to read in poor lighting.
- Slight hum noticed.
These low-capacitance RCA cables have hit the price spot on. They look, feel, and fit like good cables. Their well-constructed ends assure you great-quality signal transfer. In addition, they don’t fit too tightly to make you plug them off with excessive force.
Factors to Consider When Buying the Best RCA Cables
Why is it important to add the highest quality, best fitting RCA cables to your system?
The reason is simple. Every component of an audio or video system has potential to affect the overall performance of the system.
You might have done everything right when choosing other components of your home theater system. However, choosing the wrong connecting cables can reduce your efforts to frustrations with your system when you don’t get satisfactory quality of sound and video. Your choice of RCA cables has immense consequences.
Here are the key factors to consider when making your selection:
- Center conductor/core: This is one of the two most important parts of an RCA cable. The core conductor carries the signal. Most top-ranking connecting cables use polished copper conductors while some higher-end cables use silver conductors. If you don’t need to go for the higher end options but want an excellent cable, oxygen-free copper (OFC) conductors are known to pass signals accurately with minimal signal loss. So, in terms of sound quality, silver is the best core conductor, followed by OFC, and then polished copper. These three make the top three most efficient center conductors.
- Shielding: The part of the cable that covers the center conductor is called shielding. Effective shielding guards the center conductor against (RFI) radio frequency interference and (EMI) electromagnetic interference. Both types of interference potentially affect the conductor’s signal transmission efficiency. Besides, shielding helps to minimize noise radiated from the RCA cable. Dual shielding is so far widely appreciated for its superior RFI and EMI prevention.
- Connector material and construction: The end that contacts your components is the connector. Perfect connectors have a tight-grip design for secure connections. Metal connectors are the most preferred, with gold-plating being the most popular among top-performing cables. Gold-plated connectors are highly rust-resistant. They ensure that an efficient connection is maintained. On the contrast, metal connectors that rust easily render the cable useless after a short while. They cannot last long and they aren’t capable of supporting good signal transfer.
- Length of cable: Some users ignorantly assume that a longer wire is better. Choosing an RCA cable that’s longer than needed only works against other efforts made towards the ultimate goal of efficient signal transmission. More length adds capacitance, which adversely affects signal relay. Conventional wisdom is to have a cable about as long as the distance between the devices you want to connect. Of course, you want to add a couple of inches to the exact distance between devices so that plugging in/out the cables is easy, and that the connection remains firm and secure all the time.
In conclusion, you want to have RCA cables with:
- The appropriate length.
- A core conductor that transmits signals with minimal loss.
- Excellent shielding to prevent possible interferences.
- Sturdily-built rust-free connectors for efficient signal transfer.
- An exterior cover that’s sufficiently flexible and durable.
Our pick for best RCA cables is Mediabridge ULTRA Series 15ft RCA cable
Mediabridge is the undisputed leader and widely used benchmark of the RCA cable industry. Numerous other companies have come to the industry in the recent past but few have managed to match the quality of products that define Mediabridge.
We liked this ULTRA Series cable because it has better sound quality despite being offered at a very cheap price compared to alternatives. There’s absolutely no hum or buzzing in the sound, thanks to the relatively bigger and more efficient copper conductor and dielectric shielding.
Secondly, the cable’s connector is incredibly strong and durable. It grips securely onto the port just as the company claims.
Thirdly, the overall build of the cable is robust. By just holding the cable in your hands, you know that you are dealing with a premium product that’s built to not only offer the best signal transmission but to also last for years.
These are just but a few of the great features and capabilities of this Mediabridge RCA cable. Thousands of positive user reviews of this RCA cable reveal that you can hardly go wrong with it.
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Michael Evanchuk is a San Francisco-based sound engineer with 20 years’ experience installing, troubleshooting, and repairing commercial, automotive, and household sound equipment. Evanchuk owns an auto stereo center, where he offers highly competitive car audio installation and repair services. He has written dozens of articles on different sound engineering topics, all of which have been published in leading journals, blogs, and websites.