RCA cable: how it works

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RCA cable: how it works

Before explaining how to use RCA cables with your devices, let me tell you in detail how the RCA cable works and briefly talk about it in relation to the other types of connections available.

You should know, in fact, that the RCA cable was one of the first cables to be used for the transport of audio and video streams and, as you will see in the next chapters, it allows the transport of type signals. analog, as opposed to most of today's cables which instead carry the signal in form digital.



If you've been using technology tools for a long time, chances are you've already had experience with this type of cable. Older CRT televisions, for example, accepted an audio or video signal from instruments such as tape recorders or cassette players through this technology.

Over time, this cable has lost more and more popularity in favor of more modern technologies suitable for current devices and resolutions, primarily HDMI cables (which, in fact, carry the signal in digital format).

Despite everything, the RCA cable is still widely used. Due to its ability to transmit an analog signal in a very simple way and without the need for special technological implementations, you may also find RCA connectors on modern televisions, or for connecting speakers and amplifiers.

You can recognize these connectors by their typical shape: a small circle with a hole in the middle for the female connector and a circle with a small horizontal plug for the male connector.

RCA technology is very simple, which is why it is widely supported: each RCA cable can typically carry a single signal. To convey a stereo audiofor example, there are always two RCA cables corresponding to the right channel and the left channel. In addition, a video signal.



You can recognize the type of RCA cable you have available by the color. By convention, in fact, the color of the cable and the RCA connector dedicated to the video is generally yellow; the red instead it identifies the audio signal of the right channel; the left channel is in turn recognizable by its color White or, more rarely, black. A classic example is given by the cables that often connect speakers and amplifiers: for each speaker, an RCA cable of the color corresponding to the channel is connected to the RCA input of the amplifier.

If you want more details on the technical side of the matter, I leave you to Wikipedia and its further links.

RCA cable: how to use it

Now that you have a little more understanding of the characteristics of the RCA cable, I would say that it is time to find out how to use it with your devices.

How to connect an RCA cable to the microphone input

Thanks to its very common use since the dawn of technology, the type of signal that the RCA cable transmits is easily usable in various areas.

If you are wondering how to connect your device with RCA output to the microphone input of the PC or any other recording tool, so know that it is very simple to achieve this and convert the signal of the RCA cable.

All you need to do is get yourself a cable that acts as a adapter between the entrance Jack 3.5mm typical of microphones (the classic small round input, often pink in color, found on the back of PCs), and the RCA cable.


There are a lot of adapters of this type and it will be very easy for you to find one, for example on Amazon. Before buying it, however, remember to check your RCA cable to choose the correct adapter, with the right kind of connectors.


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Once you have this adapter, all you have to do is connect your RCA device to the inputs of the adapter and connect the output of the same to the microphone input.

The signal transmitted by these cables, in fact, is perfectly compatible and does not require any type of conversion or configuration: it is therefore a passive adaptation.

How to connect audio output with RCA cable

If your goal is to connect the audio output, such as the output of the headphones present on the smartphone, to an RCA device such as a amplifier or bluetooth transmitter, know that the operation is just as simple and does not present any kind of problem or complication compared to the previous one.

Again, you can purchase an adapter that carries the signal from the output Jack 3.5mm headphones or your device to the RCA input of the device you want to connect.

If you already have an adapter like the ones proposed in the previous chapter, you can also simply buy one RCA cable and connect it to the connectors on the adapter in question. Always remember to check carefully if you need to purchase a cable with male or female connectors.


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As I explained earlier, the RCA signal does not need any conversions or additional work to be transmitted through these adapters.

All you have to do is connect the adapters taking into account the colors present on them and that's it: the signal is transmitted directly, without even needing an external power supply.

How to connect HDMI and RCA

Regarding the conversion of video and audio signal from HDMI to RCA or vice versa, however, the operations to be done remain simple but the type of conversion changes considerably.


You must know, in fact, that the HDMI signal is a type signal digital which is very precisely defined by the HDMI standard. On the other hand, being the RCA type signal analog you need a device capable of processing the two signals and transforming them into each other effectively.

Unlike the adapters I described to you in the previous chapters, when choosing an adapter for communication between HDMI and RCA, you have to pay attention to the direction of the signal: If you want to connect an RCA output device to an HDMI input, you need to get a RCA to HDMI adapter; if your intention, on the other hand, is to connect an HDMI output to an RCA input, you must get an adapter HDMI a RCA. Fortunately, there are many types at moderate prices.

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Although the models are different from each other, their functioning is almost identical. Once you have your adapter, in fact, you simply need to connect the power socket to the device and turn it on following the manufacturer's instructions.

Once this is done, connect the RCA cable and the HDMI cable to the connectors on the device: the conversion will start automatically and the signal will be transmitted correctly. In any case, you can refer to the manufacturer's website or contacts for further clarification. Simple, isn't it?

RCA cable: how it works


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