Subwoofer Audio Cables: What You Need to Know?

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

The design of most subwoofers allows them to deliver relatively low-frequency sounds. These include kick drums, bass guitars, and various movie sound effects like explosions. As a result, listeners can feel these vibrations coursing through their bodies with every beat of a bass drum or the grumbling sound of an earthquake. You can use RCA or subwoofer audio cables to connect your subwoofers to your sound system. 

Nonetheless, the rule of thumb is that the subwoofer audio cables/cords should be taken into account first. To understand why this is the case, let us delve further and look at some of the primary characteristics of these cables.

Table of Contents

What Are Subwoofer Cables?

Firstly, one of the great features of a subwoofer cable/cord is its ability to increase sound quality at a high level. Often, they’re used for linking media devices that have coaxial or S/PDIF capabilities with an auditory interface. The cable also contains RCA connectors at either end.

Subwoofer cables can produce an intense sound, producing far superior audio quality compared to your standard RCA sound. In addition, they also transmit bass to conventional sound signals meaning that whenever a user hears the subwoofer, it has a home theater effect, enabling movies and TV programs to come alive.

Another essential feature of these cables is their solid copper core bass conductors, which are wrapped in a second wire grid, allowing them to capitalize on low-frequency transmissions. Therefore, resulting in more precise sounds that are highly dramatic, depending on the situation. The basic idea is to make the sound feel or seem as authentic as possible.

How Do Subwoofer Cables Function?

Subwoofer cables come with two male RCA connectors on opposite ends of the cord. Therefore, you can link them at any point, allowing for a connection with a standard RCA cable. The setup makes it easier for users to find devices to apply the cable.

In more definitive terms, a subwoofer is a line-level analog auditory interconnector that can transmit significantly low-frequency analog sounds, facilitating an interconnection at the line level with your stereo.  

Types of Subwoofer Cables

The following are some of the different kinds of subwoofer cables available to users:

Split Cable

The split cable is designed for subwoofers that lack stereo input. It helps to increase the system’s volume by as much as 2Db by ensuring the subwoofer’s input receives the same signal being transmitted to the device.

Regular Mono subwoofer

This cable is used when dealing with a subwoofer whose input is marked as Low-Frequency Effects. Those looking to connect their subwoofer’s adapters to mono subwoofers often use an LFE connection despite the several other ways you can secure such a connection when dealing with different subwoofers.

Differences Between Subwoofer Cable vs. RCA Cable

To better understand subwoofer and RCA cables, it is also essential that we look at some of the distinctions between the two cords, like the advantages and disadvantages of each.

RCA cable

RCA cable

RCA Cable Advantages and Disadvantages

Below are the advantages and disadvantages of RCA cables.

Advantages

  • RCA cables are cheap
  • RCA cables are easily available  
  • Their unique design makes them the preferred tool for transmitting analog video and audio signals among users.

Disadvantages

  • Although an RCA cable can handle almost every audio signal, RCA cables often have trouble transmitting base audio because they don’t have any extra insulation or shielding.
  • Length is another problem often experienced by those using an RCA cable. In most cases, it can be smaller than its subwoofer counterpart.
  • Their slimmer gauge size tends to restrict their power capabilities.

Subwoofer Cable Advantages and Disadvantages

Below are the advantages and disadvantages of subwoofer cables.

Advantages

  • Designed to especially transmit low-frequency audio. However, you can still use RCA connectors.
  • Extra shielding and insulation to minimize noise and interference.
  • Subwoofer cables eliminate the AC hum for a better user experience. 
  • Thicker wire gauge, allowing them to transmit significantly high amounts of power to a subwoofer.

Disadvantages

  • They are more expensive than their RCA counterparts
  • They are not always cost-effective in the long run.

Subwoofer Or RCA: Which One Should You Pick?

Having discussed both cable types, you still have to pick which one to use, depending on your situation.

The link created between one’s AV receiver and subwoofer is done using RCA connectors. You can test audio quality using standard RCA cables. Upon absence of any hum, noise, or buzzing sound will most likely mean that you do not have to upgrade your cable.

However, if you hear any distorting hum sound, you must invest in another quality-grade subwoofer cable. Remember, additional shielding and insulation allow the transmission of excellent audio vibrations without noise or interference. It’s advisable to check the specifications of your audio devices, like the subwoofer, AV receiver, and even your subwoofer cable to ensure you get everything right.

Another critical factor is the impedance in the cables that enables clear transmissions. A standard RCA cable must often have the proper impedance values/figures to match up with your subwoofer. However, subwoofer cables are designed for this task, meaning the chance of impedance incompatibility is minimal.

What Sort of Devices/Machines Use Subwoofer Cables?

Several devices can only work with a subwoofer cable. Any device using a S/PDIF coaxial audio interface can use subwoofer cables. The cables are used in home theaters, DVD players, cable, and satellite boxes. Subwoofer cables can connect such devices to your standard audio or computer receiver or any other piece of equipment with the capability to support the interface. This equipment can be anything from an Xbox console to a digital video recorder.

How to Use Subwoofer Cables?

Some issues that can arise when using a subwoofer are similar to those when using standard RCA auditory cables. 

Although installation is a straightforward process, the primary task is determining the right position for the connection. To avoid issues, ensure you don’t ram the cable in too hard, as you risk damaging the cord or the device you want to insert the cable. Always remember that even with their gold-plated features designed for durability, RCA connectors tend to be very delicate. Therefore, you should always exercise caution when handling the cables avoiding jerking or tugging.

Another commonly encountered issue is the AC hum caused by appliances that operate at 60 Hz, leading to an unwanted hum in several ways. One of them is an induction that goes into the speaker’s cable culminating from other wiring and equipment. The other one can be from a ground loop whereby the 60 Hz hum travels via the shielding path of the coaxial cable. A good way of dealing with such problems is to purchase a high-quality cable with additional shielding.

Conclusion

RCA cables/cords are currently one of the most popular connecting cables for audio and video transmission. Equally, subwoofer cables are a kind of RCA cable with some essential upgrades and tweaks. Therefore, making them a preferred choice when linking an AV receiver and a subwoofer. For all your subwoofer audio cable queries, contact Cloom Tech for the best services.

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