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How to connect RCA Audio Plug to speaker wires?

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Anonymous
April 13, 2004 1:24:11 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

This is a very simple electrical question, but the answer for which I
cannot locate because I know nothing about such matters.

I'd like to attach a speaker wire to a rca plug, but I am unsure
what's hot/positve and what's ground/negative.

1) The stereo wire I bought (at Lowe's) is a pair of wires attached to
each other: one wire postive, the other negative. Which is which? One
wire has writing on it which I've been told distingues one wire from
the other. Is that wire positive?

2) The rca plug has two places for the negative and postive wires to
be attached. One is in the center of the plug where it can be pinched
and soldered to the plug. And the other is a hole where the wire can
be threaded thru. Which is positive and which is negative: the center
pinch or the hole?

Much thanks!

John
Anonymous
April 13, 2004 1:30:04 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"Jack3000" <mr_nice_1973@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:cb57701f.0404122024.682e7c1@posting.google.com...
> This is a very simple electrical question, but the answer for which I
> cannot locate because I know nothing about such matters.
>
> I'd like to attach a speaker wire to a rca plug, but I am unsure
> what's hot/positve and what's ground/negative.
>
> 1) The stereo wire I bought (at Lowe's) is a pair of wires attached to
> each other: one wire postive, the other negative. Which is which? One
> wire has writing on it which I've been told distingues one wire from
> the other. Is that wire positive?
>
> 2) The rca plug has two places for the negative and postive wires to
> be attached. One is in the center of the plug where it can be pinched
> and soldered to the plug. And the other is a hole where the wire can
> be threaded thru. Which is positive and which is negative: the center
> pinch or the hole?

Generally, the center pin is positive, and the outer shell
of an RCA connector is negative.

HOWEVER! You have not provided enough information
to make any reliable suggestions regarding your question.

What equipment are you connecting to that uses an RCA
jack for speaker connections? Are you SURE that it is
a speaker-level output and not line-level?

You can use a 1.5v battery on the speaker wires to
establish which is positive and negative. OTOH, if
both sides are wired the same, it is unlikely to make
any discernable difference is the absolute polarity is
wrong.
Anonymous
April 13, 2004 10:36:02 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

> What equipment are you connecting to that uses an RCA
> jack for speaker connections? Are you SURE that it is
> a speaker-level output and not line-level?

I know nothing about audio equipment so excuse my ignorance. I am
connecting the RCA plug into a subwoofer. The other end of the wire
connects to a wall speaker (part of the surround sound system). On the
speaker there are 2 connection levers for the wire: black and red. I
assume black is negative and red is postive/hot.

In general which wire is usually positive? The wire that has the
writing on it? Honestly, the 1.5V battery idea to check for which one
is postive goes over my head. I wouldn't know what to do with the
battery to check for the polarity.


Much thanks for the help!
Related resources
Anonymous
April 13, 2004 11:11:47 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

> > What equipment are you connecting to that uses an RCA
> > jack for speaker connections? Are you SURE that it is
> > a speaker-level output and not line-level?

"Jack3000" wrote ...
> I know nothing about audio equipment so excuse my
> ignorance. I am connecting the RCA plug into a
> subwoofer.

If this subwoofer has an integrated amplifier then it is
most likely a LINE-level input. Does the subwoofer
have a power/mains cord? If so, it has its own amp
internally and the RCA connector should be assumed
to be LINE-level (and *NOT* SPEAKER-level)
input. DO NOT CONNECT SPEAKER WIRES TO
ANY LINE-LEVEL INPUT. There are ways of doing
this, but direct connection carries a very high risk of
damaging your equipment.

> The other end of the wire connects to a wall speaker
> (part of the surround sound system).

You have completely lost me at this point. How are
you attaching a subwoofer to an existing speaker?
Is this speaker also a subwoofer? If it is not, then
it likely does NOT have the proper signal for the
subwoofer. How did you come to the conclusion
that you could connect your system like this?

> On the speaker there are 2 connection levers for the
> wire: black and red. I assume black is negative and
> red is postive/hot.
>
> In general which wire is usually positive? The wire
> that has the writing on it?

Yes, generally, red indicates "positive" and black
indicates "negative". (Note that electricians who wire
buildings have a different concept, so beware!)

However, it would appear that polarity is the least
of your problems at this point. Here are my concerns:

1) I question how you have arrived at your plan of
how you are connecting your system. Are you trying
to mix-n-match various pieces? Did someone who
knows your equipment recommend this setup?

2) Your proposed source (tapping off the input of
another speaker) seems questionable on two counts:

a) It seems doubtful that it is the *correct* signal. It
sounds like it is a surround speaker and likely has
been stripped of any subwoofer low frequencies
in the amplifier.

b) It is not conventional to connect a speaker to the
input of another speaker (called "daisy-chaining")
for several reasons which I won't expand on here.
You almost certainly need a direct connection between
the source/amplifier and your subwoofer. Does the
source have an output identified as dedicated to the
subwoofer?

3) You don't know whether the input of your subwoofer
is a line-level or a speaker-level input. If you feed
speaker level into a line-level input, there is a very
significant possibility of damaging the subwoofer.

Please identify specifically what the source is
(receiver, etc.) and describe all the outputs.

Also identify what the subwoofer is, whether it has
an integrated amplifer, and describe ALL the inputs.
There is almost certainly a correct match between
your source and your subwoofer, but I think you
haven't found the right combination yet.

> Honestly, the 1.5V battery idea to check for which
> one is postive goes over my head. I wouldn't know
> what to do with the battery to check for the polarity.

You didnt mention before (and I incorrectly assumed)
that the RCA connector was on the *source*. But if it
is on the *speaker* that would imply that it is a line-
level input and you SHOULD NOT perform this
experiment on it!
Anonymous
April 13, 2004 1:53:32 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

Jack3000 wrote:

> In general which wire is usually positive? The wire that has the
> writing on it?

A dirty little secret about wire is the fact that it is rarely if ever
marked with pluses and minuses.

Some cables are even composed of two absolutely identical wires. Nasty, eh?

Most wire has some distinguishing marks, such as the writing that you've
noticed. Or, there is a color difference. Or ,there is some texture or
ribbing molded into the insulation. Or, one conductor is plated and looks
silvery, while the other is unplated and is copper-colored.

In some cases the difference between the wires in a cable is gross, such as
shielded cable where one "wire" is the stranded shielding braided over the
other wire, which is more conventional.

The second dirty little secret is that in most cases it doesn't matter which
wire you consider to be plus and which wire you consider to be minus, as
long as you are consistent with your choices at both ends of the same piece
of wire.

Often with wire, nobody cares about your choices but you, but you should
care very much about your choices.

If your memory tends to fail you, cut up some pieces of say masking tape or
bandage tape, use an indelible pent to write positive and negative on them,
and apply them to both ends of the wire when you can easily see both ends
of the wire at the same time. Again, be consistent!

If you do this often, you can even get little books of adhesive markers at a
home improvement or electrical supply store. They tend to fall off as they
age, so real neatnicks hold them in place with clear shrinkable plastic
tubing.

One common exception to the "don't care" rule is the black, green, and
white wiring that the AC wiring in your house is probably made up with, if
you live in the US. Black is "hot" (call it plus), white is "cold" (call it
minus), and green is safety ground. For reasons of safety, everybody who
wires houses follows this standard for assigning function to the various
colors of AC wiring.

So, if one wire in a cable has printing on it, and the other doesn't have
printing on it, then make up your own mind about which is positive and which
is negative, but be consistent.

If you need more help, I say (flipping coin) make the wire with writing on
it be unhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh "positive".
Anonymous
April 13, 2004 1:53:33 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"Arny Krueger" <arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote in message
news:QNOdnXFLzY5LbebdRVn-jw@comcast.com...
> Jack3000 wrote:
>
> > In general which wire is usually positive? The wire that has the
> > writing on it?
>
> A dirty little secret about wire is the fact that it is rarely if ever
> marked with pluses and minuses.

Everything that Mr. Krueger wrote is correct. However
until "Jack3000" determines the nature of his input, and
source, he should NOT attempt to make this connection
in either polarity.
Anonymous
April 13, 2004 2:23:10 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

Richard Crowley wrote:

> "Arny Krueger" <arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote in message
> news:QNOdnXFLzY5LbebdRVn-jw@comcast.com...

>> Jack3000 wrote:

>>> In general which wire is usually positive? The wire that has the
>>> writing on it?

>> A dirty little secret about wire is the fact that it is rarely if
>> ever marked with pluses and minuses.

> Everything that Mr. Krueger wrote is correct. However
> until "Jack3000" determines the nature of his input, and
> source, he should NOT attempt to make this connection
> in either polarity.

I agree. Totally.
Anonymous
April 13, 2004 10:06:20 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

The 6.1 surround sound system I have is one from Creative Labs that
connects to the computer. The subwoofer for this system has jacks in
the back of it where all the the speakers connect from. There's no
mismatch of equipment here, I simply followed the directions that came
with the speakers. I only came across a problem when I needed to use
different wire because the wire that came with the system wasn't long
enough. Hopefully, with the advice that you all provided, I can
successfully complete the installation of my rear speakers.

thanks!
Anonymous
April 13, 2004 11:14:49 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"Jack3000" wrote in message ...
> The 6.1 surround sound system I have is one from Creative Labs that
> connects to the computer. The subwoofer for this system has jacks in
> the back of it where all the the speakers connect from. There's no
> mismatch of equipment here, I simply followed the directions that came
> with the speakers. I only came across a problem when I needed to use
> different wire because the wire that came with the system wasn't long
> enough. Hopefully, with the advice that you all provided, I can
> successfully complete the installation of my rear speakers.

Are you CERTAIN that the RCA jack input on your subwoofer
is SPEAKER level and not LINE level? It is highly unusual
for a subwoofer to have an RCA jack for speaker level input
(unless is it is a little plastic "toy" computer speaker or something)
Anonymous
April 14, 2004 12:33:50 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

Richard Crowley wrote:
> "Jack3000" wrote in message ...
>> The 6.1 surround sound system I have is one from Creative Labs that
>> connects to the computer. The subwoofer for this system has jacks in
>> the back of it where all the the speakers connect from. There's no
>> mismatch of equipment here, I simply followed the directions that
>> came with the speakers. I only came across a problem when I needed
>> to use different wire because the wire that came with the system
>> wasn't long enough. Hopefully, with the advice that you all
>> provided, I can successfully complete the installation of my rear
>> speakers.
>
> Are you CERTAIN that the RCA jack input on your subwoofer
> is SPEAKER level and not LINE level? It is highly unusual
> for a subwoofer to have an RCA jack for speaker level input
> (unless is it is a little plastic "toy" computer speaker or something)

Actually, RCA speaker jacks are not unusual with low-cost systems. My church
has a low-powered integrated amp from Radio Shack that is built this way.
Anonymous
April 14, 2004 12:39:01 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"Arny Krueger" <arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote in message
news:54adnS6uwKg_suDd4p2dnA@comcast.com...
> Richard Crowley wrote:
> > "Jack3000" wrote in message ...
> >> The 6.1 surround sound system I have is one from Creative Labs that
> >> connects to the computer. The subwoofer for this system has jacks in
> >> the back of it where all the the speakers connect from. There's no
> >> mismatch of equipment here, I simply followed the directions that
> >> came with the speakers. I only came across a problem when I needed
> >> to use different wire because the wire that came with the system
> >> wasn't long enough. Hopefully, with the advice that you all
> >> provided, I can successfully complete the installation of my rear
> >> speakers.
> >
> > Are you CERTAIN that the RCA jack input on your subwoofer
> > is SPEAKER level and not LINE level? It is highly unusual
> > for a subwoofer to have an RCA jack for speaker level input
> > (unless is it is a little plastic "toy" computer speaker or something)
>
> Actually, RCA speaker jacks are not unusual with low-cost systems. My
church
> has a low-powered integrated amp from Radio Shack that is built this way.

It looks like "Jack3000" is indeed talking about a plastic
"computer speaker" surround kit. I made the mistake of
assuming he was talking about a "real" (12" or larger)
home theatre type subwoofer.
Anonymous
April 14, 2004 4:30:15 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

The speaker system I have is the Creative Labs MegaWorks THX 6.1, and
from what I've read it's far from a "toy".
http://us.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=4&...

Maybe I'm using the wrong terminology. Perhaps the subwoofer is also
something else too. I don't know the specifics. All I know is that I
just needed to extend the wires that came with the system.
Anonymous
April 15, 2004 6:26:22 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

>
>The speaker system I have is the Creative Labs MegaWorks THX 6.1, and
>from what I've read it's far from a "toy".
>
>http://us.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=4&...
duct=152
>
>Maybe I'm using the wrong terminology. Perhaps the subwoofer is also
>something else too. I don't know the specifics. All I know is that I
>just needed to extend the wires that came with the system.
>
>

In my business, that is indeed a "toy".

Now to solve your problem.

Really easy--go to Radio Shack with one of the speakers and ask for an
extension cable of the correct type.

The cable will have a Male connection on one end and a female on the other with
a piece of wire between them.

No soldering and no need to worry about polarity changes.

If you are looking for a heavier gauge wire, buy the ends and hook up whatever
wire will lfit into them.

Wire does not worry about polarity so just make sure that you solder the same
at each end. I generally use "zip " cable for speakers and use the side with
the rib on it for the + terminal , which in the case of RCAconnection is the
center pin.
Richard H. Kuschel
"I canna change the law of physics."-----Scotty
April 16, 2004 9:30:46 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

In article <107p7krfjgr3a85@corp.supernews.com>, "Richard Crowley" <rcrowley7@xprt.net> wrote:
>"Jack3000" wrote in message ...
>> The 6.1 surround sound system I have is one from Creative Labs that
>> connects to the computer. The subwoofer for this system has jacks in
>> the back of it where all the the speakers connect from. There's no
>> mismatch of equipment here, I simply followed the directions that came
>> with the speakers. I only came across a problem when I needed to use
>> different wire because the wire that came with the system wasn't long
>> enough. Hopefully, with the advice that you all provided, I can
>> successfully complete the installation of my rear speakers.
>
>Are you CERTAIN that the RCA jack input on your subwoofer
>is SPEAKER level and not LINE level? It is highly unusual
>for a subwoofer to have an RCA jack for speaker level input
>(unless is it is a little plastic "toy" computer speaker or something)
>
>
I understand what Jack3000 means now. His speakers are computer speakers. The
RCA jack he is trying to connect to on the Subwoofer unit is an OUTPUT to the
rear surround speakers. The amp in the Subwoofer is for the whole system. He
is just trying to make a longer pair of wires to run his rear surround
speakers farther away and to the back of the room.
December 4, 2009 6:29:36 AM

A simple answer is a diagram showing the + and - of the male jack, and saying what the standard RCA socket on a receiver!
Anonymous
February 1, 2010 2:12:27 AM

A wire is a wire. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A POSITIVE AND A NEGATIVE WIRE UNTIL YOU ASSIGN POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE TO THE WIRE YOU'RE USING BY PUTTING IT IN A CIRCUIT OR AS IN YOUR CASE, PUTTING CONNECTORS ON IT'S ENDS. The reason the speaker wire you bought has writing on one side is so you can identify at the other end of the wire which side is which. All you have to do is decide which side (the "writing" side or "non-writing" side) YOU want to be positive and which side YOU want to be negative. Then make sure you DO NOT GET THEM MIXED UP. This is very simple as the writing (or red line or rib or difference in color on the wire) runs the entire length of the wire. So if you make the writing side the "hot" or "TIP" on one RCA connector, YOU MUST ALSO MAKE THE WRITING SIDE AT THE OTHER END OF THE WIRE THE "HOT" OR "TIP" IN THE OTHER RCA CONNECTOR. Remember a wire is only a conductor wrapped in a insulator and in your case connected to another wire, side by side. This is basic electronics.
Now all of that being said, you're most likely going to need two of these wires to connect your right and left speakers. It is "good practice" to use the same designations (making the writing side of ALL the wires you create the "HOT or "TIP" in ALL the connectors and the non writing side the "GROUND" in the connectors. In fact it is also good practice to decide right now which side of ALL your wires that you ever create in your life are going to be "HOT" and which is going to always be "GROUND". That way you'll always know and never forget which is which weather it is a wire you made 20 years ago or today. Good luck and I'm here to help. Robt.
Anonymous
March 22, 2010 7:52:21 AM

Quote:
Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

> What equipment are you connecting to that uses an RCA
> jack for speaker connections? Are you SURE that it is
> a speaker-level output and not line-level?

I know nothing about audio equipment so excuse my ignorance. I am
connecting the RCA plug into a subwoofer. The other end of the wire
connects to a wall speaker (part of the surround sound system). On the
speaker there are 2 connection levers for the wire: black and red. I
assume black is negative and red is postive/hot.

In general which wire is usually positive? The wire that has the
writing on it? Honestly, the 1.5V battery idea to check for which one
is postive goes over my head. I wouldn't know what to do with the
battery to check for the polarity.


Much thanks for the help!

ser how do i connect an computer spaeker to ampliefir
Anonymous
March 22, 2010 8:19:53 AM

Better to open your own thread than hang this on the end of an old one.

As it is your question doesn't make a lot of sense.

What amplifier are you trying to connect to ?

Most computer speakers are amplified already. Clarify.
!