Does a subwoofer cable offer any advantages over standard cables? Many people ask this question when looking for the best cable for a sub. It’s important to realize that subwoofer cables are designed exclusively for connecting subwoofers to other components. Designers test these cables with amplified subs aiming to ensure flawless transmission of audio signal between the source and the sub.
Standard multipurpose cables may not aptly handle the nuances of amplified subs. A subwoofer cable is more likely to be optimized for higher subwoofer performance demands. For instance, they tend to have better shielding, which is crucial for seamless low-frequency signal transmission.
If you want to enjoy sound output that has minimal interference despite the presence of other sound accessories near your sub, using a subwoofer cable is the right way to go.
Being knowledgeable on the aspects to evaluate when selecting a subwoofer cable is useful in avoiding fuzzy sound output characteristic of poorly made audio cables. This comprehensive guide for choosing the best subwoofer cable explores 8 options from leading manufacturers. Careful testing and analysis of each cable has aided the creation of this well-curated review. You’ll get useful insights for picking the right subwoofer cable for your audio setup.
1. Mediabridge ULTRA Series Subwoofer Cable with Gold Plated RCA to RCA Connectors
Let this low-loss, wide spectrum coaxial cable establish a pliable connection between your sub and audio components such as stereo receivers and sound systems. It boasts of exceptional capabilities like high-efficiency connectors and incredible hum/static rejection over long runs. Through this cable, Mediabridge has delivered its unbreakable promise of deep and precise audio quality.
Features and benefits
- Dual shielding: Heavy braided copper provides one layer of shielding while the other layer is made of 100% aluminum foil. These layers offer the ultimate protection against electromagnetic interference (EMI), which comes in the form of hum/static. This ensures that the cable’s performance is not affected easily by electromagnetic fields coming from nearby devices.
- Strong, clear signals over long runs: Thanks to improved shielding, these cables carry signals over long distances. Mediabridge reports that there is no signal loss up to 300 inches. This is exemplary performance compared generic cables that cannot protect against signal loss beyond 25 inches.
- High contact pressure and conductivity: Turbine-style grips and a split-tip center pin help the plug to fit tightly to support a flawless connection. In addition, this type of grips doesn’t stretch or loosen with time. Once you unplug it, it returns to its original shape. Thus, the plug offers you long-term service.
- Compatibility: This Mediabridge subwoofer cable works with any device equipped with RCA ports. Besides, it’s compatible with S/PDIF as well as composite and digital video interfaces.
- Safe for DIY and in-wall installations: Mediabridge has designed these subwoofer cables with strict adherence to high standards for in-wall use and safe DIY installations.
- Durable PVC jacket.
- Cables is thick and feels solid but remains fairly flexible.
- Eliminates hum completely.
- Fairly priced for such a high-quality cable.
- Easy but secure plug-&-play installation.
- Some users complain that the cable connects too tightly.
- Cable is not self-coiling.
This Mediabridge cable brings an immediate difference in audio quality. Noteworthy, its extensive compatibility has made it the most popular subwoofer cable on the market. In addition, it is built to last long.
Try Mediabridge ULTRA series RCA to RCA cable for a consistently clean low-frequency output.
2. AmazonBasics Subwoofer cable
AmazonBasics is our runner-up competitor for the enviable top position. This cable has subtle differences with the Mediabridge cable above and its performance is just as impressive. We tested it with different audio sources, and it amazed us with excellent bass response. See its features below:
- Efficient connection interface: AmazonBasics has fitted the cable with long-lasting RCA connectors. Each connector is gold-plated and resistant to corrosion and stretching. Additionally, the subwoofer cable features a split-tip center pin designed for high-contact pressure for strong signal transmission. A tough PVC exterior sums up the design of this seamless connection interface.
- High-quality conductor: At the core of this cable is a composite conductor made from Copper Clad Steel (CCS). The copper material offers phenomenal electrical conductivity while steel adds strength to the conductor. You can trust this conductor to transmit frequency signals effectively for an improved output.
- Insulation and shielding: To complement the premium-quality conductor, AmazonBasics used dielectric insulation and aluminum foil shielding. These coverings on the conductor help to reduce hum/static. Consequently, you can rest assured of interference-free natural sound regardless of the presence of electronic devices near your subwoofer or the cable.
- Versatility: You can use this cable to connect your sub with a wide variety of audio sources, stereo receivers and sound systems as long as they have RCA compatibility. Besides, the cable can work with S/Pdif, digital & composite video interfaces. It comes ready to use – no setup requirements; just plug it in the appropriate port on both devices.
- Firm connection with RCA socket.
- Very well shielded.
- Perfectly suits low frequency applications.
- Low energy loss signal transmission from receiver to subwoofer.
- Flexible but tangle-free.
- Slight hum is noticeable.
- There are complains about the softness of the cable.
This subwoofer cable from AmazonBasics is a great bargain. It’s designed with very competitive materials. Further, its ability to enhance sound output beats what many cables can achieve.
Upgrade your sound system with this affordable but highly efficient and durable AmazonBasics subwoofer cable.
3. BlueRigger Subwoofer RCA to RCA Audio Cable
If you are after a “wow” effect in your subwoofer output, consider this BlueRigger RCA to RCA audio cable. The key selling point of this cable is a thicker than average conductor. Besides, it boasts in-wall use approval and certification for meeting relevant quality and application standards in the U.S.
Features of BlueRigger Subwoofer cable
- 0.64mm thick copper conductor: Few manufacturers exhibit BlueRigger’s dedication to producing cables with great sound quality. The use of a significantly thicker conductor is testament to this dedication, and it sets BlueRigger apart from producers of generic RCA cables.
- Outstanding double-layer shielding and insulation: BlueRigger’s efforts to provide satisfactory results extend to the design of cable shielding. The company has used 100% aluminum mylar and 95% braided copper material to make a two-layer shielding. The dual-shielding is partly accountable for the cable’s low signal loss. Further, the cable features dielectric insulation that contributes to the cable’s high signal transmission efficiency.
- Connector design: A turbine-style metal connector works well with a 24K gold-plated split-tip center pin to establish a secure connection with the RCA socket. The center pin is optimized for conductivity while the metal connector ensures a tight and secure connection.
- Flexible PVC jacket: Installing the cable into matching ports is made easy by this soft yet long-lasting PVC jacket. With a 5000+ bend lifespan, the jacket makes the cable ultra-flexible for easy handling. Besides, it prevents undesired movements at the connection point which would otherwise deteriorate the quality of the connection.
- Perfect for in-wall use: If you are keen to find a subwoofer cable that can suit in-wall applications, you’ll be happy to know that this BlueRigger cable is CL3-rated, and UL-certified. Noteworthy, its PVC jacket is fire-resistant. Therefore, you can use the wire for long run connections, for example, between an audio source in one room to a subwoofer in another room.
- Flexible, unobtrusive, and easy to manage cable.
- Ends fit snugly such that they cannot be pulled out easily by accident.
- Premium-quality conductor and shielding material.
- Carries signal over long distances with no loss.
- Certified for in-wall use
- Slight humming problems.
- Doesn’t work properly with some subwoofer brands.
Superior construction, easy cable management, and in-wall use certification rank as the most attractive features of this BlueRigger cable. It is available in varying lengths – 8”, 15” and 35” – to suit your application needs.
This thick subwoofer cable could be the missing link to better sound from your system.
4. FosPower (3 Feet) Digital Audio Coaxial Cable
Versatility and longevity…
Are these among your top selection indicators when looking for the best subwoofer cable? If so, this FosPower digital coaxial cable deserves a place in your selection basket. It’s a male-to-male RCA connector for subwoofer, Hi-Fi systems, home theater and HDTV.
- Connectivity: This audio cable fits its use as a subwoofer cable but its applications extend farther. It enables connections between audio devices fashioned with a coaxial audio port. Subs, speakers, audio mixers, samplers, synthesizers and amps are among the devices you can connect using it. This is a great deal of versatility for such an inexpensive cable.
- Stable connection even when working with recessed ports: The cable uses 24K tarnish- & corrosion-resistant gold-plated connectors. Furthermore, the connectors are color-coded to make installing the cable easier. FosPower has made keen effort to ensure that the cable is recessed port-friendly. Thus, you don’t struggle fixing it into hard-to-access ports that prove difficult for other cables.
- Exceptionally effective insulation and shielding: Unwanted EMI/RFI interference can damage your listening experience badly. FosPower knows this better and is a step ahead in preventing these sound quality damagers. It has included dual-layer braided copper + aluminum mylar shielding. Besides, a Polyethylene Foam (PF) dielectric takes care of insulation to ensure minimized signal loss.
- Build for flexibility: Rigidity and easy cracking are among the most annoying aspects of low-quality audio cables. This FosPower subwoofer cable is the direct opposite of such type of cables. Its PVC jacket provides sufficient flexibility at the connection point, and the exterior material along the cable length bends and unbends easily.
- Dual-shielding facilitates minimal signal loss.
- Durable connector and PVC jacket.
- Easy to connect to recessed ports.
- Color-coded for straightforward and secure connection.
- Incredible price tag.
- Too soft for tough applications.
- Cable tip feels loose.
Despite being thinner than most audio cables, this FosPower digital coaxial cable has proven reliable in a wide variety of applications. It is probably the easiest to handle, and it comes at a great price.
Let this subwoofer cable take charge of digital audio signal transmission in your sound system and you’ll not be disappointed.
5. KabelDirekt 1 RCA Male to 2 RCA Male Audio Cable
Not many audio cables come with the capability to carry both digital and analog signals. KabelDirect has provided a male to male cable is designed for people looking for this capability. It is a double-shielded RCA Y-cable that supports subwoofer, home theater and Hi-Fi systems.
- Top-of-the-line signal transfer for pristine audio output: The core of this cable features an OFC (Oxygen Free Copper) conductor. OFC is known for unmatched signal power and transmission efficiency. High conductivity effectiveness facilitates crystal clear sound production and extends the life of the cable as it reduces electrical strain on the conductor.
- Interference-blocking double shielding: Dual-shielding is a resolve of many cable manufacturers when the aim is maximum protection against interference and signal loss. It’s not surprising, therefore, that this KabelDirect RCA Y-cable remains audibly superior to many cables that lack dual-shielding.
- Versatile application: This KabelDirect stereo cable is available with different lengths from 3 to 25 feet. Its premium 2-channel design makes it suitable for use by anyone desiring for crisp and clear audio. The cable works with many audio receivers and home video systems.
- Sturdy, secure connection: Like other top-ranking subwoofer cable alternatives, this KabelDirect cable features 24K gold-plated connectors. Corrosion and rust resistance helps the cable to remain strong and functionally effective. It also implies longer life for the entire cable.
- Plugs attach to their respective ports without struggle.
- Can transmit both digital and analog signals.
- Audio is consistently clear.
- Durable, high-quality construction.
- Reasonable price.
- Cable is a bit heavy.
- The “Y” side snags other wires making the cable difficult to move through tight and overcrowded spaces.
This analog/digital RCA connector does its job well. The cable itself is flexible and durable. Despite its one shortcoming related to maneuverability, it’s fairly user friendly.
Get this well-constructed cable to complete your quest for flawless bass response.
6. Blue Jeans Cable LC-1
Managing to keep induced noise out of your subwoofer’s output is not an easy challenge. Belden, the manufacturer of this Blue Jeans analog audio cable, has stood up to the challenge and succeeded. The company has used advanced communication cable technology to make sure that the low-end frequencies get out of the sub unburdened by noise and other interferences.
Features of Blue Jeans Cable LC-1
- Optimum capacitance and shielding: Achieving minimal capacitance and the highest shielding effectiveness is the holy grail of optimal analog audio quality. The LC-1’s capacitance is about 12pF/ft., which is an excellently low level for preventing high-frequency rolloff. Meanwhile, heavy double-braid bare copper takes care of shielding. It’s among the best shielding materials for the rejection of induced low-frequency noise and hum.
- Taversoe RCA plugs for tight grip: Belden designed the LC-1’s contact interface intelligently to ensure high contact integrity and enhance the durability of the entire cable. A 3-piece crimp plug works through spring contact tension mechanism to give a tight grip. Noteworthy, it has long-term endurance to flexing so it doesn’t come apart.
- Versatility: First, this analog audio cable is available in 10ft, 20ft, and 35ft lengths. These varying length offers fit most applications and users’ needs. Secondly, Blue Jeans LC-1 works perfectly with the Denon’s Audyssey calibration system. And lastly, it can handle multi-channel duties. This means you can use the cable with 2 or more sources.
- CM-rated for in-wall installation: CM rating is superior to CL2 and CL3. Belden reports that the cable has gone through proficient testing to make sure it meets the highest industry standards. You can rely on it when setting up your multi-room entertainment system.
- It’s an ultra-high quality, US-made analog audio cable.
- Fairly flexible for easy installation.
- Excellent RCA plug design.
- High rating for in-wall installation suitability.
- Improves bass response significantly.
- It’s thick and durable.
- Lacks grounding wire.
- Higher price compared to most competitors.
This subwoofer cable may seem pricey but it delivers great value for the price. Its construction is top-notch, and the improvement it brings proves worthwhile. Besides, the cable can fit in-wall installations. What more could one want?
Blue Jeans LC-1 subwoofer cable is a knockout choice for analog audio transmission.
7. EMK Subwoofer Cable
If you are after squeaky-clean sound quality from your sub, EMK has made a digital coaxial/subwoofer cable that can make it happen. This RCA to RCA cable boasts premium quality materials and EMK’s outstanding workmanship. Distinctively, it is designed with HiFi-Super sound quality transmission. Let’s see how competitive its features are:
Features of EMK premium subwoofer cable
- Copper clad center conductor + dielectric insulation: To make the signal relay process as efficient as possible, EMK has constructed this cable’s core with a premium conductor. Further, the cable features aluminum braiding and two layers of foil shielding. These materials offer maximum protection against hum/static possible when electrical devices are in close proximity with the cable.
- Connectors: Minimal signal loss is critical to the production of consistently impressive sound quality. EMK’s choice of materials for the connector, and the center pin design, are clear evidence of the company’s knowledge and expertise in this regard. 24K gold-plated RCA connectors ensure reliable signal transmission while a split-tip center facilitates high contact pressure.
- Universal compatibility: The list of devices that can work with this subwoofer cable is long. The cable can connect a sub to a stereo receiver, TV, CD/DVD player, and other RCA-enabled audio devices. Most modern sound components have RCA compatibility. Therefore, you can acquire this subwoofer cable with absolute certainty that it will work with your sound system.
- 15000+ bend lifespan: It’s such a joy to find an audio cable that’s both flexible and long-lasting. EMK’s digital subwoofer cable has struck a great balance between the two aspects. This tangle-free cable has passed the 15000 bend test. The double-braided nylon exterior is majorly accountable for this exceptional durability.
- Superior-quality conductor.
- Sufficient shielding for interference-free response.
- Tough yet flexible nylon exterior.
- Tangle-free operation.
- Favorable price.
- It’s thinner than most regular subwoofer cables.
- Bass response could be improved.
EMK is a reputable audio cable company that rarely disappoints. The company has made a sleek, plug-&-play, digital coaxial/subwoofer cable that can work with almost any RCA-enabled sound device.
Don’t hesitate to complement your great system with this high-performance subwoofer cable.
8. AudioQuest Black Lab
At #8, AudioQuest Black Lab male to male RCA audio cable makes a well-founded attempt to rival the best subwoofer cables on the market. This one comes with unique noise protection features. AudioQuest seems to have focused on ensuring a completely interference-free response. Did it succeed? Find out below.
Top highlights of this AudioQuest Black Lab sub cable
- AudioQuest’s Exclusive Noise-Dissipation System (NDS): AudioQuest has set the bar high with 100% shield coverage using its signature metal-layer NDS. This system prevents RFI from reaching the ground plane of your sound equipment. Consequently, you receive all the good bass your sub can deliver without induced noise.
- Robust Long-Grain Copper (LGC) conductor: This solid conductor eliminates strand interaction distortion, thus enabling the transmission of smoother and clearer audio output compared to regular copper conductors. Why does LGC copper perform better? Apparently, there are fewer oxides, lesser impurities, and lesser grain boundaries within an LGC conductor.
- Foamed-polyethylene insulation: To avoid the effect of imperfect circuits due from nearby devices, AudioQuest has included a super-efficient air-filled Foamed-Polyethylene material in the insulation. This layer of insulation absorbs any energy from these imperfect circuits and dissipates it without causing much distortion.
- Cold-welded gold-plated plugs: Unlike in soldered plugs, this plug design allows for clean transmission of signals. Cold-welded plugs are better able to avoid sound distortion. The plug design is one of the secrets that have helped many big cable manufacturers like AudioQuest to manage the hum problem, which has for long been a serious challenge.
- Higher efficiency copper conductor.
- Thick, heavy-duty construction.
- Superior plug design.
- The cable makes bass fuller, tighter, and punchier.
- Superb EMI and RFI noise and interference elimination.
- 6-65 feet lengths available
- Many customers consider the cable expensive.
- Slight hum is still experienced especially when the system is not well grounded.
AudioQuest’s Black Lab cable is perfect for connecting subwoofers to receivers and amplifiers. Although relatively more expensive than most subwoofer cables, it brings out the best in your sub, which is all that matters.
AudioQuest Black Lab RCA male to RCA male cable offers a connection you can trust for the best performance of your subwoofer.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Subwoofer Cable
The wide variety of subwoofer cables offered by different brands can make the selection process a bit confusing, especially for people with little experience with this type of cables. Veteran audio cable users may also come across newer cables that have different design and performance capabilities compared to the cables they’re used to.
All in all, the important thing is to know what really matters to the performance of a subwoofer cable. This knowledge gives you a clear understanding of which criteria to assess in each alternative under consideration. You get a means of eliminating the offers that don’t meet your expectations as you move closer to your ultimate pick.
Here are the considerations to make when choosing a subwoofer cable:
As you might already know, every cable has an electrical conductor running all along the length of the cable. For subwoofer cables, the conductor lies at the center. It’s the reason for some people referring to the conductor as the ‘core’. This conductor enables the relay of audio signals from the source to the speaker.
Two key factors affect how well the conductor transports signals – material and length. Copper is the most common material for subwoofer cable conductors. It’s a lightweight electrical conductor that does its job excellently while keeping the cable sufficiently light for easy management.
Capacitance is the electrical resistance inside the conductor. Higher resistance means lower electrical conductivity, thus lower quality sound output.
The fact that most manufacturers use copper as the core conductor doesn’t mean that all cables have the same conductivity. Some manufacturers employ technologies that enhance the effectiveness of the copper they use to design their cables. For example, KabelDirect used OFC (Oxygen-Free Copper), which has higher conductivity effectiveness compared to normal copper. Therefore, it’s important to investigate keenly the kind of copper a particular manufacturer has used.
The type and size of material making up cable shielding determine how well the output is protected from interference. Most top performing subwoofer cables have aluminum foil, braided copper, or both. Cables that have two layers of shielding (dual shielding) perform better generally.
On the other hand, a subwoofer cable with too thin a shielding may not give you the best output. External interference from electromagnetic fields near the wire gets into the cable easily and cause noise that can cripple the speaker’s sound response.
iii. Connector design
The two ends of the cable that plug into ports on respective sound components are the connectors. How the connector is designed determines its fit and signal transmission efficiency. Top brands are careful to include a connector that fits securely into the jack. Such a connector doesn’t come out easily. Most importantly, a secure connection reduces the chance of noise pickup where the connector meets the port’s core.
In an effort to ensure that the connector remains in top shape, manufacturers coat it with gold to avoid rusting and corrosion. This is in realization that rust can reduce the connector’s structural integrity, which could result into less efficient signal transmission and a lower quality sound output.
iv. Flexibility and durability
Several things influence the durability of an audio cable. First, the material and design of the connector affect how well it holds up to repetitive plugging and unplugging. Cables with 24K gold-plated connectors and those with a turbine-style grip tend to last longer.
Secondly, the material used to make the exterior of the whole cable length must be tough and durable. It should not be too soft to give in to simple cuts and scratches. Plastic and heavy-duty rubber make the best materials for durability.
Besides, the exterior material should be flexible enough for easy cable management. Too stiff a cable cannot bend when you need it to bend.
The four factors above sum up the most crucial considerations for choosing a superb subwoofer cable.
Why Mediabridge Ultra Series cable is our pick for best subwoofer cable
Hum is the most concerning issue users have with subwoofer cables. For this audio cable, most people cite the complete absence of hum as the best advantage of using it. This cable does not pick up any noise when running past other cables and hovering above electrical components with strong potential to cause interference.
It is much thicker than factory subwoofer cables. Its solid feel doesn’t prevent it from being flexible enough to allow for bending and looping. Besides, its connectors are well-built with gold plating, and they fit snugly in the socket. For ease of installation and uninstallation, Mediabridge has included plastic thumb grips just behind the connectors.
This cable is an absolute delight as an upgrade of any sound system. It comes in differing lengths to fit all applications. Despite having all these exceptional characteristics, the cable comes at a surprisingly affordable price.
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.