Coaxial Speaker Cable: Types, Components & How To Use [Beginner’s Guide]

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Coaxial speaker cable is popular these days. It can transmit video and audio signals and TV antennae, cable boxes, modems, and speaker cables.

A male RCA port is generally available on both ends of a coaxial speaker wire. It is famous for transmitting lossless sound signals and is robust to interference.

If you want to learn more about this tool, you’ve accessed the right page. This article will look at the cable in great detail, including its components, materials, types, and usage. Let’s read on to discover!

What Is Coaxial Speaker Cable?

What is the cable, and how does it work

What is the cable, and how does it work?

A coaxial speaker cable (also known as a coax cable) is an electrical cable capable of transmitting RF (Radio Frequency) data from a supply to an input device with its coaxial connector.

The RF signal’s frequency will include the top reaches of the audio spectrum as well as the lower rates of the infrared range. It translates to a frequency range of 20kHz to 300GHz.

The cable first appeared in 1858, but it was only 22 years later, in 1880, that it became patent. 

This tool has been one of the most popular wires in every residence since the turn of the twentieth century, especially with the development of televisions. 

Overall structure

The phrase “coaxial” refers to the cable’s entire construction regarding technical terms. It has a woven copper protective layer that wraps around the inner cable core (copper cable) and a dielectric insulator (foam-like substance).

A plastic jacket covers the interior of the wire to protect humans from being shocked by it.

Coaxial vs. RCA cables

The main distinction between these cables is that coaxial speaker cables can send digital signals. As a result, they provide greater bandwidth to offer a more stable connection. 

Compared to standard audio cables, the external cable has a higher level of strength and power.

The RCA line cannot transfer digital signals

The RCA line cannot transfer digital signals 

Digital coax cable

The digital wire can transfer any digital or electrical signal. It often works for transmitting audio and video signals. 

This wire efficiently sends a digital signal through electrical pulses, although they are not really digital inside.

Digital coax cables have the same construction as the standard ones. Each depicts a wire in the middle surrounded by insulation, plastic wrapping, and a metal cover.

These cables stay shielded from interference and have a high impedance to power. They can also accommodate a broad spectrum of electrical frequencies.

Components Of A Coaxial Cable 

The form of coaxial wires is plain and cylindrical. They come in a variety of colors and thicknesses. Also, their structures might be simple or sophisticated, but they all include four primary components, including: 

Core conductor

Copper is the main material for making the core. You can also come across the center made of stranded copper or copper-plated steel. 

Dielectric insulator

The dielectric insulator surrounds the core conductor. The materials for this part are diverse, such as foam plastic and solid plastic. Sometimes manufacturers leave the gap between the core and insulator blank.   

Metallic shield 

Twisted copper wire forms this shield. It’s a silver-plated strand in certain circumstances. Cables of better rating may come with two shields: aluminum foil and twisted copper wire.

Shielding can be as thick as four layers, with two aluminum foil and two twisted copper wires.

Shielding helps improve productivity and avoids losses. It also makes the wire thicker and less elastic, which isn’t always ideal.

Plastic jacket

The final layer of the cable is the jacket, which is mostly PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). 

The jacket comes from fire-resistant, oxidation, and UV-resistant material. Sometimes it’s even water-resistant, depending on the application.

There are multiple layers within the wire

There are multiple layers within the wire

The coax cable works by sending data in the core. The shielding sections around it minimize signal loss (known as attenuation loss) and assist in decreasing EMI.

The first layer, which is the dielectric, is in charge of separating the two layers.

The outer layers are responsible for keeping radio transmissions and electrical impulses out. 

Different Types Of Coaxial Cable 

There are two ways to classify the coaxial cables: based on construction and impedance.

Based on construction

According to their construction, there are five primary varieties of coaxial cables on the market. 

Flexible coax

The flexible coax cable has a braided outer conductor formed by fine wires, the most prevalent coaxial cable form. The braid gives the cable enough elasticity. 

However, it does not provide sufficient protection. As a result of the microscopic gaps inside the braid, RF waves may seep through the shielding.

Semirigid coax

The semirigid cable has a strong, cylindrical metallic external conductor that resembles a pipe in shape. These cables have a consistent characteristic impedance as a result of their construction. 

They also have fantastic shielding. However, this feature comes with a compromise on elasticity. 

Triaxial coax

These wires, sometimes known as Triax, feature two outer conductors. A dielectric sheet separates these two conductors. 

One conductor acts as a signal foundation, while the other serves as the earth ground. As a result, there is increased insulation and noise resistance.

Dual coax

This type of wire has simple construction: one exterior jacket covers two separate cables.

Twinaxial cable

A set of insulators shares an external conductor in every Twinax wire. The conductors inside may get twisted or parallel to one another. 

Twinaxial connections are popular in large computer systems for high-speed multiplexed delivery.

Based on impedance

There are two types of coaxial cables based on impedance: 50-Ohm and 70-Ohm. 

50 Ohms 

50 Ohm is a perfect match for numerous transmitter antennas as well as radio transmitters. Hence, people use them mostly for radio transmission systems.

High-frequency digital broadcasts and Ethernet networks both utilize these connections.

75 Ohms 

Cables with an impedance of 75 ohms are common for household uses.

Audio/video broadcasting and telecommunications are popular applications. You can also find them in RF video signals and television systems.

Apart from these two types, there are others, such as 52 and 93, which aren’t often popular in public.

There are different kinds of cables depending on how you classify them

There are different kinds of cables depending on how you classify them 

Types Of Connectors Used For Coaxial Cables

Coaxial cable connections make linking the cable to other gadgets easier. These connections can specifically keep the speaker cord shielded. 

Furthermore, you will notice that excellent connectors produce reliable, long-lasting connections.

The following are some examples of coaxial speaker cable connectors:

SMA

SMA (SubMiniature version A) is the most popular connector for RF uses. The SMA connection can deal with a wide range of frequencies, from 0Hz to 12GHz. 

These connections nowadays can sustain frequencies up to 24 GHz. Hand-held broadcast antennas, cell phone antennas, microwave devices, and Wi-Fi antenna systems all utilize SMA connections.

SMA is the most popular model

SMA is the most popular model 

BNC

Bayonet Neil-Concelman connectors are tiny to medium-sized RF connections. They can easily help connect and unplug TVs, radios, RF devices, test instruments, and other items.

TNC

Threaded Neil-Concelman is the threaded variant of BNC connectors. When contrasted to BNC connections, they typically work at higher microwave frequencies.

TNC can handle higher frequencies

TNC can handle higher frequencies 

SMB

Subminiature version B are smaller variants of SMA connectors. They’re popular since they provide exceptional electronic properties from DC up to 4 GHz.

QMA

QMA connections have the same internal construction as SMB. These connections, on the other hand, allow faster locking and detachment.

7/16 DIN

Deutsches Institut für Normung connections are threaded RF links that are useful for high-wattage data transmission. 

They are most popular in military applications, mobile networks, and antenna networks with several transmitters.

RCA

Cinch connections are another name of the RCA (Radio Corporation of America). They employ cables with yellow, red, and white wires that attach to the back of televisions.

MCX

Micro coaxial connectors are tiny connections. They’re ideal for applications with limited dimensions, weight, or space.

MCX works between 6GHz and DC in GPS, TV tuner, RF hardware, and some mobile phone applications. 

These cords also feature a snap-on pairing for simple installation.

How To Use Coaxial Cable As A Speaker Wire? 

A coax cable can work a speaker wire. Some manufacturers even provide coaxial speaker cables. 

On Amazon, for example, a company named WBC offers these products. Mogami W3082 wire and Eminence gold-plated plugs can work in their cables.

Jon Risch’s coax speaker wire is another famous speaker wire built on Belden 89259 coax wire.

The company utilized two cords for each loudspeaker. It crossed-connected one wire’s shielding to the other wire’s central conductor and conversely.

You can utilize the coax wire as a speaker wire

You can utilize the coax wire as a speaker wire

You may take easy steps to turn your present coaxial cable into a usable speaker cable.

Remove any existing connectors.

Most coaxial cables used in most homes have two connections on each end for joining the output and source devices. In this case, you need to remove both.

Calculate the length

The average length of these cables available on the market nowadays is roughly six feet. It would help if you first determined the size of the wire for your speaker arrangement.

Take the jacket out.

Remove the coaxial cable’s shielding before it can work as a speaker connection. You may accomplish this task with a ringing tool or a regular kitchen knife.

Unbraid the shield

After removing the jacket, you’ll need to undo the shielding lightly. Then, it can serve as the wire for the speakers.

Remove the insulator

You’ll need a wire stripping tool to perform this step since you have to get the core cable within the insulator.

The stripping tool is necessary for the project

The stripping tool is necessary for the project 

See more:

Pros And Cons Of Using A Coaxial Speaker Cable

Coaxial cables are popular nowadays for radio broadcasts, Wi-Fi networks, telecommunications, cable modems, and cable TV, among other things.

Even though it is an old piece of tech, it is still common in many sectors throughout the world for daily tasks and procedures. 

The primary reason for this popularity is because using a coaxial speaker cable has a lot of advantages that outweigh the disadvantages.

Pros

There are many benefits to expect if you invest in this tool, including:

  • Stable: A coaxial speaker cable’s first key advantage is that it is less vulnerable to radio-frequency and electromagnetic interference.
  • Wider frequencies: The cable supports applications with frequencies up to 50 MHz and even higher.
  • Effective: Compared to other connections such as twisted cables, this cable has excellent bandwidth transmission and transfer rates. 
  • Inexpensive: In today’s market, coaxial cables are reasonably priced.
  • Easy to set up: Their simple design makes installation a breeze.

Cons

Since everything has two faces, you should also prepare for the drawbacks when buying these cables. 

  • Signal loss: Signal loss is a problem when using coaxial cables across long distances.
  • Signal leakage: Signal leakage is easily possible at the point where the female and male connectors interact directly, often known as the entrance or escape site.
  • Signal distortion: Leakage can induce signal distortion. During signal transmission at high utilization rates, broadband connections experience speed changes.
  • Thickness: It might be thick and rigid, making installation more challenging.
  • Electric currents: To operate, you have to ground the cable, which means that an electric current must pass through it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Users have shown their concerns about the coaxial speaker cable. Here are some of their frequently asked questions.

1. Is coaxial the same as RCA?

Coaxial and RCA cables are similar in shape and size of connections. Both have a 75-ohm impedance; therefore, you can use them interchangeably. They also have the same bandwidth.

However, RCA wires are thinner than coaxial cables. To prevent interference, they contain the same insulation as coaxial wires.

Because coaxial cables can transfer digital data, they can convey 5.1 channel audio via one single line. In RCA cables, this operation is not possible.

2. Which one is the best – coaxial vs. optical vs. HDMI?

You have known basic information about the coax. So, let’s talk about optical and HDMI for this question. 

Optical

An optical digital interface uses light as a channel for data transfer. The transmission takes place through optical fibers inside the speaker wire.

Unlike coaxial connections, optical versions prevent noise from getting to the DAC circuitry.

The bandwidth of this connector is limited. As a result, it is incompatible with lossless sound formats.

An optical connector can accommodate up to two raw PCM sound channels.

HDMI

HDMI has a considerably larger bandwidth than coaxial and optical connectors. 

HDMI inputs and outputs are typically fixed fixtures on AV receivers, Blu-ray players, soundbars, and televisions.

Another advantage of having an HDMI connection is handling both new and old video formats.

Which is the best?

A coaxial connection has more superb sound quality than an optical connection. As a result, the output might be more precise.

However, in today’s world, convenience is essential. Thus, HDMI is the best of the three options. It is suitable with any modern audio-visual device.

The HDMI connection can also minimize speaker wire clutter due to its upgradeability and ability to handle audio-visual.

You can learn more about the differences between these wires from this video. 

3. Is the coaxial speaker cable worth it?

Some people hesitate to choose between the coaxial speaker cable and the regular speaker wire. 

In most cases, the price difference and the inconvenience are insufficient to justify the difference in the price of these tools. 

However, several users said that switching from a standard 14-gauge speaker wire to a coaxial one improved their stereo systems considerably.

The most excellent advice is to give them a shot and see how they perform. Then, you can determine if your choice is worth it. 

Final Words 

Coaxial speaker cables allow for the flawless transmission of audio signals. They also deliver exceptional audio that can run even the most advanced audio and video systems.

Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. If you need any further information, please feel free to ask. Thank you for being interested in the post! 

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