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Top Picks Coaxial Speaker Cable – A Detailed Guide

Coaxial Speaker Cable – A Detailed Guide

Coaxial Speaker Cable Guide

These days, coaxial speaker cables are highly prevalent due to the quality sound they deliver and the convenience they offer. These cables always provide accurate transfer of the audio signals in digital format. Usually, a coaxial speaker cable is equipped with a male RCA jack at both ends. They are resistant to interference and are known to convey lossless audio output. Moreover, they are useful for powering various appliances like cable/satellite boxes, DVRs, HDTVs, Blu-Ray/DVD players, subwoofer speakers, game consoles, and more.

In this detailed guide, we’ll discuss coaxial speaker cables in detail. We’ll talk about the pros and cons of coaxial cables, different types of coaxial cables on the market, the best coaxial speakers in 2021, and a lot more. Read further to know more.

What Are Coaxial Speaker Cables?

In simple terms, a coaxial speaker cable is a kind of electrical cable that transmits RF signals from devices at the source to those at destinations. These cables are gradually adopted in various professional home audio systems to deliver consistent sound quality. The range of radiofrequency varies from 20 kHz to 300 GHz.

Though being identical to RCA audio cables, the key difference between the two cables is that coaxial speaker cables transmit digital signals. As a result, they offer higher bandwidth to establish a more reliable connection. Looking at their structure, the exterior cable offers extra durability and robustness compared to standard audio cables.

You can use these cables with any type of subwoofers or speakers that are 75 cm to 6 meters in length. Some of the coaxial speaker cables are uniquely designed to use with subwoofers only. So, they offer a secure connection and quality audio. Most microphones, especially professional microphones, use microphone cables comprising 3-pin XLR connectors. XLR cables are preferred as microphone cables because they come with a very low signal to noise ratio.

What Is a Digital Coaxial Cable?

A digital coax cable is one cable that can transmit any electrical or digital signal. Typically, these cables are used for the transmission of video and audio signals. Though they are not digital internally, they are efficient at transmitting a digital signal via electricity pulses.

The construction of digital coaxial cables is identical to that of standard coaxial cables. It shows a wire at the center, which is enclosed by insulation-type material, a plastic sheath, and a metal shield.

Digital coaxial cables stay protected against interferences and boast high impedance against the current. Furthermore, they can handle a broad range of electrical frequencies.

What are the Components of Coaxial Cables?

Components of a Coaxial Cable
Components of a Coaxial Cable

Every coaxial cable consists of four components that you must know before you use coax cables:

  • Outer conductor (shield)
  • Inner conductor (center conductor)
  • Dielectric that separates the internal and external conductors
  • A jacket that works as the exterior polymer layer to protect the internal parts

What Are the Pros and Cons of Using a Coaxial Speaker Cable?

  • High durability
  • Reliable performance even in short distance transmission
  • Reduced signal loss
  • Less sensitive to interference or noise (RFI or EMI) compared to twisted pair cables
  • Support wide bandwidth signal transmission
  • Increased tensile strength to work well in various environments
  • Easy to install and expand because of flexibility
  • Outstanding and better sound quality that is suitable for professional usage
  • Affordable price without compromising on quality
  • Bulky construction
  • Some signal loss across long-distance transmission
  • Signal leakage occurs at the connection
  • Speed fluctuates during heavy use
  • Costly to install for longer distances due to stiffness and thickness
  • Takes time to run and conceal the speaker cable
  • Higher capacitance results in instability concerns, chiefly while using long cables

Can Coaxial Cable Be Used for Subwoofer?

When the need arises to connect a subwoofer to an audio receiver over long distances, then you can use a coaxial cable for a subwoofer.

Digital coaxial cables, as well as all video cables, come with a standard impedance of 75 ohms. So, they are fully interchangeable. Some other cables having RCA connectors designed for audio transmission, including the subwoofer cable, might not have an impedance of 75 ohms.

Can Coaxial Cable Be Used as Speaker Cable?

Yes, a coaxial cable can function as a speaker cable. But, using it in this way does not ensure efficient output. The reason is you have to substitute the standard F-connectors through an RCA end to let the setup function flawlessly. It is recommended to drive a powered subwoofer along with. You can use any speakers if you want.

One issue involved with using a coaxial cable as a speaker cable is it adds impedance load to the power amp. Since the entire setup would have more resistance, you cannot operate it at high power.

What Are the Different Types of Coaxial Cables on the Market?

Types of Coaxial Cables
Types of Coaxial Cables

Based on Construction

Based on construction, there are 5 main types of coaxial cables on market. These include:

Flexible Coax

Regarded as the common type of coaxial cable, every flexible coax cable contains a braided exterior conductor made up of fine wires. The braid offers adequate flexibility to the cable. However, it does not offer comprehensive shielding. Therefore, RF signals can leak through the shield from the tiny gaps within the braid.

Semirigid Coax

The structure of every semirigid coax cable shows a durable, tubular metallic exterior conductor that is identical to a pipe. Due to this kind of construction, these cables possess uniform characteristic impedance. Moreover, they have outstanding shielding. These benefits are conveyed with compromise on flexibility.

Triaxial Coax

Also known as Triax, these cables have two exterior conductors. A dielectric layer separates both the conductors.  An exterior conductor works as a signal ground whereas the other works as earth ground. As a result, better shielding and noise immunity is conveyed.

Dual Coax

In these cables, two separate coaxial cables are enclosed by a shared exterior jacket.

Twinaxial Cable

Every Twinax cable consists of a pair of insulated conductors covered in a common exterior conductor. Conductors at the center might be twisted or running parallel to each other. Generally, Twinaxial cables are used in high-speed multiplexed transmission in huge computer systems.

Based on Impedance

Based on impedance, there are 2 types of coaxial cables on market. These include:

50 Ohms Impedance

50-Ohm cables are typically used for radio transmission applications because 50 Ohm is a suitable match for different transmitter antennas and radio transmitters. These cables are also used for high-frequency digital transmissions and coaxial Ethernet networks.

75 Ohms Impedance

75-Ohm cables are commonly found in houses. They are commonly used for audio/video transmission and telecommunications. They are also used for RF video transmission and cable TV systems. 

Based on Radio Guide (RG) Standard

Radio Guide standard or RG standard is used for classifying coaxial cables. Cable types are marked by the letters R and G, followed by a number and another letter. The RG standard tells you the following about coaxial cables:

  • Outer diameter
  • Core wire diameter
  • Impedance
  • Shielding
  • Dielectric type and diameter
Type of CableCore DiameterOuter DiameterImpedance (in Ohms)Purpose
RG-6/U1.024mm6.86mm75Cable modems, cable TV, satellite TV
RG-6/UQ 1.024mm7.57mm75Cable models, cable TV, satellite TV; stronger shielding as compared to RG-6/U
RG-71.3mm8.13mm75Cable modems, cable TV, satellite TV
RG-8/X1.47mm6.1mm50Amateur radio
RG-8/U2.17mm10.3mm50Amateur radio
RG-11/U1.63mm10.5mm75Cable modems, cable TV, satellite TV; reduced losses
RG-58/U0.81mm5mm50Ethernet, Amateur radio, radio communications
RG-59/U0.64mm6.1mm75HD HQ video signal transmission over limited distances
RG-60/U1.024mm10.8mm50High-speed cable-based internet, cable TV

What Types of Connectors Are Used for Coaxial Cables?

Connecting the cable to other devices is simplified by coaxial cable connectors. These connectors are uniquely designed to maintain proper shielding on the speaker cable. Moreover, you will notice reliable, durable connections using superior connectors. The following are various types of connectors for coaxial cables:

BNC

A BNC Connector
A BNC Connector

BNC (Bayonet Neil-Concelman) coaxial connectors are RF connectors available in small to medium sizes. They are used for quickly connecting/disconnecting TVs, radios, RF equipment, test instruments, etc. 

TNC

A TNC Connector
A TNC Connector

TNC (Threaded Neil-Concelman) connectors represent threaded versions of a BNC connector. They usually work at better microwave frequencies compared to BNC connectors.

SMB

An SMB Connector
An SMB Connector

SMB (Subminiature version B) connectors are compact versions of SMA connectors. What makes them prevalent is they deliver superior electrical performance right from DC to 4 GHz.

QMA

A QMA Connector
QMA Connectors

The internal construction of QMA connectors is identical to SMB connectors. However, QMA connectors offer faster locking and disconnection convenience.

7/16 DIN

A 7/16 DIN Connector
A 7/16 DIN Connector

7/16 DIN (Deutsches Institut für Normung) connectors are threaded RF connectors widely used for signal transmission that demand high wattage. Generally, they are used in defense applications, cellular networks, and antenna systems equipped with multiple transmitters.

RCA

An RCA Connector
RCA Connectors

RCA (Radio Corporation of America) connectors are alternatively known as cinch connectors. They work with cables that have red, white, and yellow cords that plug in the rear of TVs.

MCX

MCX Connectors

MCX (Micro coaxial connectors) come in small form factors. They are perfect for applications that have limited size, space, or weight.

5 Best Coaxial Speaker Cables in 2021

Out of all the coaxial speaker cables we tested, we found these 5 coaxial speaker cables to be the best. Let’s look at their detailed review.

1. Amazon Basics Digital Audio RCA Compatible Coaxial Cable

Best Digital Coaxial Cable

  • Durable construction
  • Zero noise and signal loss
  • Great clarity audio output
  • No breakage in connections
  • Since the speaker cable is hand-soldered, operator error may occur before the over-molding process

Firstly, this digital audio RCA compatible coaxial cable is the best on this list owing to the outstanding audio quality it conveys. The cable comes with minimum energy loss and shielding against EM/RF interference. Due to this feature, the audio output from this cable feels lifelike and of high quality. The cable can be used with RCA-compatible digital audio components, S/Pdif, and composite video interfaces.

Secondly, its RCA connectors come with gold plating. This along with split-tip center pins offers improved contact pressure, as well as high conductivity.

Thirdly, it comes with a better grip for ease of handling and ease of installation. The PVC exterior is flexible yet durable. The length of the cable is four feet. Superior build quality promises snug fit and longevity. Color-coded molds are included.

In conclusion, Amazon Basics digital audio coaxial cable presents audio output with great clarity that is free from interference and signal loss. Its exceptional features make it perfect for compatible cable/satellite boxes, DVRs, HDTVs, Blu-Ray/DVD players, subwoofer speakers, game consoles, and more.

View on Amazon: Amazon Basics Digital Audio RCA Compatible Coaxial Cable

2. Mogami GOLD RCA-RCA-03 Mono Audio/Video Patch Cable

Best Coaxial Cable for Audio/Video Applications

  •  Affordable price
  • Outstanding audio quality
  • Excellent shielding against noise
  • Suitable for a wide range of audio equipment and visual equipment 
  • Delivers very heavy bass

For professional-grade home theater applications, these Mogami cables are one of the best ones available in the market. It can be used to connect an HD DVR or HD set-top box to your stereo system or HDTV. It works flawlessly for video signals, audio signals, and S/PDIF. Moreover, many people have already used it for DJs and many high-end consumer applications.

Firstly, the shielding against noise and interference leads to clear audio output. The connector types are compatible with coaxial and RCA.

Secondly, the number of cables to be used depends on your type of application. Use 3 cables for obtaining audio output in HD 1080i component visual output. You can use 2 cables for stereo composite audio (red/white or left/right). You can use 1 cable for S/PDIF, composite video (Y), or mono audio (L).

Thirdly, the length of the cable is 3 feet. For the same cable series, other available lengths are 6 feet, 12 feet, and 20 feet. The pack also includes straight connectors and gold contact RCA male plug connectors.

In conclusion, the Mogami GOLD RCA-RCA-03 Mono Audio/Video Patch Cable presents superior quality audio at a reasonable price. The cable provides a great shield against interference to present an awesome listening experience.

View on Amazon: Mogami GOLD RCA-RCA-03 Mono Audio/Video Patch Cable

3. KabelDirekt – Digital Coaxial Audio Video Cable

Best Coaxial Cable for Video Applications

  • End-to-end shielding conveys lossless signal transmission
  • The strong metal sleeve offers durability
  • Compatible with almost any TV
  • Improves TV antenna reception
  • Easy to install
  • Stiff construction makes it challenging to handle
  • Does not work on Comcast lines

This digital coaxial cable from KabelDirekt is one of the best ones on the list because it provides maximum signal power.

Firstly, due to the use of pure copper, it conveys maximum power efficiency. This along with a reduction in strain leads to a long lifespan of the cable. The compatible connector type is F Pin to F Pin. The list of compatible devices includes radios, satellite receivers, TV antennas, cable boxes, TV, cable modems, and DTT tuners. The length of the cable is 20 feet. 

Secondly, since the coaxial cable comes with double shielding, along with dense aluminum braided shield structure, it offers excellent insulation. Moreover, alu mylar foil offers a consistent AV connection. The F-type connectors are useful for connecting with male-to-male cable TVs (CATV), VCRs, satellite television receivers, digital routers, cable modems, cable boxes, and antenna connectors.

Thirdly, 24K gold plated connectors are corrosion-resistant and limit interference. The connectors made up of metal are completely shielded using a copper plate. Corrosion-resistant gold plating minimizes interference while the all-metal connectors are fully shielded with a copper plate.

In conclusion, the KabelDirekt – Digital Coaxial Audio Video Cable works as an excellent conductor of quality sound. It comes with durability and wide compatibility.

View on Amazon: KabelDirekt – Digital Coaxial Audio Video Cable

4. AudioQuest Carbon Digital Coax Cable

Best Quality Coaxial Cable

  • Excellent audio quality
  • Balanced sound with great clarity
  • Durable insulation resists damaging elements
  • Quickly transfers large files
  • Set up can take time

This digital standard coaxial cable from AudioQuest is specially designed to limit distortion over a wide bandwidth. It delivers a neutral, balanced, lasting sound output with great clarity.

Firstly, Hard-cell foam insulation resists the damaging elements. Moreover, the speaker cable is implemented with 5-layer Noise-Dissipation System (NDS). 

Secondly, the use of silver-plated braid and foil offers comprehensive shielding. For applications where fast speed is desirable for transferring huge files, this speaker cable is a perfect choice.

In conclusion, the AudioQuest Carbon Digital Coax Cable is perfect for exceptional sound clarity. Also, the build quality is great.

View on Amazon: AudioQuest Carbon Digital Coax Cable

5. Monoprice 102681 3-Feet RG6 RCA CL2 Rated Digital Coaxial Audio Cable Black

Best Coaxial Cable for Audio

  • Bass is more pronounced
  • Value for money
  • Length is perfect for a home theatre setup
  • More rigid construction
  • RCA connectors fit very tightly

In most cases, when it comes to long-distance cable connection and durability, this Monoprice digital coaxial audio cable is one of the best ones on this list. Due to low capacitance, it can allow you to make a connection for long runs.

Firstly, it is made up of quality RG-6/U. Double braided copper shielding avoids signal loss caused due to RFI and EMI interference.

Secondly, the cable comes with gold-plated RCA male connectors that can work in most environmental conditions.

Thirdly, the CL2 rating on the cable suggests that the jacket is already treated such that it conforms to the fire safety regulations. Therefore, it is safe to use through or in the walls of residential buildings.

In conclusion, the Monoprice 102681 3-Feet RG6 RCA CL2 Rated Digital Coaxial Audio Cable Black is perfect for transmitting S/PDIF digital audio signals, as well as other signals with high bandwidth. Also, it can be used for transmitting composite visual and RCA signals. No worries about signal loss.

View on Amazon: Monoprice 102681 3-Feet RG6 RCA CL2 Rated Digital Coaxial Audio Cable Black

Coaxial, Optical, or HDMI – Which is the Best for Audio?

Coaxial, Optical, or HDMI
Coaxial, Optical, and HDMI Cables (In the Same Order From Left to Right)

Let’s explore each of them to know the key differences:

Coaxial

A coaxial digital connection works on electricity for audio transmission. The corresponding connector is a standard, circular-shaped RCA connector. When compared to an optical connection, a coaxial connection sounds better, as it comes with wider bandwidth than optical connection. This means it can support superior audio of up to 192 kHz. On the other hand, the bandwidth of the optical connection is usually limited to 96 kHz.

Keep in mind that bandwidth supported by coaxial connection is not that high to support superior surround sound formats. Therefore, a coaxial connection cannot support Dolby Atmos, DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS:X. Therefore, in a contemporary cinema setting, they are not used frequently. One drawback of using a coaxial digital connection is the addition of electrical noise in your kit.

Optical

Light is used as a medium by an optical digital connection to transmit data. The transmission occurs via optical fibers in the speaker cable. These cables can be made of glass, silica, or plastic. Unlike coaxial digital connection, optical digital connection restricts noise to pass from a source to DAC circuitry. So, the optical digital connection can be used when directly connecting to the DAC of an AV receiver or soundbar.

The optical digital connection also has limited bandwidth. So, they cannot be used for lossless audio formats like DTS-HD Master Audio or Dolby TrueHD soundtracks observed on the majority of Blu-ray players. Moreover, an optical digital connection can support up to two channels of the uncompressed PCM audio.

HDMI

Compared to coaxial and optical digital connections, HDMI offers much higher bandwidth. The same facilitates smooth playback of lossless audio formats like DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD. Generally, you will see HDMI inputs/outputs in the form of firm fixtures on AV receivers, soundbars, Blu-ray players, and TVs.

Another benefit of using an HDMI connection is it supports the latest and existing video formats. So, it can support Ultra HD 4K resolution, as well as different HDR formats.  Those TVs and audio-visual products released in the past few years support HDMI 2.0.

Which one is the best –Coaxial or Optical or HDMI?

Compared to an optical connection, a coaxial connection offers better sound quality. This enables more detail in the output. However, the present age prioritizes convenience and therefore, HDMI is the best of three. It is widely useful for all the latest audio-visual equipment. The upgradability and capability to deal with audio-visual suggest that HDMI connection eliminates speaker wire clutter issues.

Digital Optical (TOSLINK) vs. Coaxial Digital Audio Cable – What’s the Difference?

Coaxial Digital Audio Cable vs. Digital Optical (TOSLINK)

Both digital optical and coaxial digital audio cables are identical in one aspect. They can communicate audio signals from a DVD player to an A/V receiver or any digital recording device.

A fiber optic cable is used by digital optical connection. On this cable, the digital audio bitstream is sent using pulses of light.

On the other hand, the RCA connector is used by a coaxial digital speaker cable in a coaxial digital connection. Compared to the standard RCA cable, a digital coaxial cable is quite different. It can support wider frequency bandwidth for the digital audio bitstream.

How Do I Connect Speaker Wire to Coaxial Cable?

Follow below steps to connect a speaker wire to a coaxial cable:

  • Take a sharp utility knife to cut any existing connectors.
  • Measure how much wire length you require and then cut the cable accordingly.
  • Cut off 1.5 inches of external insulation from both ends of the cable.
  • Unbraid the speaker wire shielding, which is present around the core wire on both ends.
  • Wind the braiding into a firm single thread of wire.
  • Take off the semi-transparent insulation around the core wire on either end using a wire stripper.
  • Finally, connect the uncovered core wire to the red connector over the speaker and rear of the audio receiver.  Now connect the braided strand to the rear of the receiver and black connector over the speaker.

Is Coaxial the Same as RCA?

In terms of size and shape of connectors, the coaxial audio cables and RCA cables look alike. They can be substituted, as both of them have an impedance of 75 ohms. Both of them have identical bandwidths. Coaxial cables are thicker than RCA cables. They have the same shielding as that of coaxial cables to reduce interference.

Coaxial cables can communicate digital signals and therefore, they can carry 5.1 channel audio into a single cable. This is not possible in RCA cables.

Final Words

In nutshell, coaxial speaker cables facilitate the smooth transmission of digital audio signals without any loss. This is not the only advantage, as they convey superior audio that can drive even the most cutting-edge audio and visual equipment.

From the coaxial speaker cables discussion above, we recommend Amazon Basics Digital Audio RCA Compatible Coaxial Cable as the best one due to the plethora of benefits it offers. It is perfect for a broad range of audio-visual equipment. With this speaker cable, you obtain superior audio quality without signal loss and interference.