Digital DJ Tips reader Maurice writes: “Recently did a gig where my RCA cable gave me trouble. Fortunately for me the sound guy at the venue was kind enough to help out with one of his own. I had to then go and buy some new ones of my own but was bombarded with choices of different brands and prices. My question is: What is the real difference, if any, in relation to sound quality, and are the vast price variations really justified? What would you recommend I buy? I will need a cable that is strong and won’t easily get damaged but that will also deliver in terms of sound quality.”
Digital DJ Tips says:
While most manufacturers will hit you with all kinds of claims as to why their cables are the best, truth is you get what you pay for – better quality cable always sounds (a bit) better than “bell wire” cheap cable. The wire in them is better at carrying a pure signal. You’re looking for physically well made cables, with gold-plated RCA connectors. They should be the right length for what you need them for (you don’t want to be stretching them, conversely you don’t want them ridiculously long when plugged in as they’re more likely to pick up interference). Apart from that it’s down to what’s available and what you can afford. Most cables at any given price point will sound about the same.
It’s when you get to “balanced” cables that are used to carry signals over long distances (20ft or more) where you may start to hear a bigger sound quality change, but that’s due more to the way the cables work electrically, rather than the quality of their construction. As all RCA-to-RCA cables are “unbalanced” by nature (don’t worry if none of this makes any sense), as long as they’ve been carefully made with good quality materials you won’t go far wrong whichever you choose.
(By the way, while we’re talking cables: While there are premium brands of USB cable out there, as USB is digital, of all the cables in the system these are the ones least likely to cause you worries, they’re these. In this instance, just make sure they fit snugly and you’ll be fine.)
Over to you: Can you advise? What brand of RCA cables do you use? Do you think it makes a difference? Please share your thoughts in the comments.