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DIY RCA's: What did you use?

4124 Views 23 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  ErinH
Just curious about the folks who have made their own high quality RCA's....

What cable did you use? If installed, how did it perform?

What ends did you use? Once received, how was the fit? Too big, small, ect? Would you use them again?

Feel free to offer any other advice or details :)
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I buy all-metal ends that look good to me. I then use 18 or 20 ga. alarm wire in colors that complement my system, twist them up with a drill (other end in a vice) until a fairy tight twist is achieved (I like a 90 degree angle between the wires once twisted) and then solder them onto the ends. I have had 0 noise doing it this way. For a finishing touch, I've slid clear tubing over them too. Soldering 20 ga wire has been a little easier than 18 ga.

A not-so-great pic of a system I did a few years ago. I used Soundquest metal ends. This was actually the 2nd system for those ends. I unsoldered them from black and yellow wire in an install that used that color scheme.

I wouldn't recommend using too-hot of a soldering gun or iron. If you hold the heat too long on the center pin of the RCA end, it can melt the plastic insulator, deforming it. I wrecked a couple that way.
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I used KNUkoncepts Krystal RCAs for everything. After having them for about a year and a half and eventually going with an active crossover, I summoned the courage to cut them down to a reasonable length.
I just ordered some Canare LV-77S cable (inexpensive, got great reviews here, and comes in multiple colors)

I'll be using the cable with these and these RCA connectors (they have several color options)

I haven't installed them yet so I cannot comment on performance. After much reading, I'm thinking this will be a good combination.
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Gepco 61801ez and neutrik connectors (rca/xlr/3.5/etc.).

I use Belden twisted shielded wire, and Neutrik ProFi ends. The ProFi connectors are expensive but they've never let me down and I've been able to desolder and resolder to them to change system configurations.
Cardas Crosslink cable and Eichmann Copper Bullet RCA's. Cardas solder.
canare star quad cable, with locking knukonceptz eks rca tips and silver solder.
Eichmann Bulletplug Copper is a great option for connectors.

As far as cable goes I would chose one of the following:

- Belden 1585A (very good for mids and highs.. works very well for subs also) - use 1 cable per channel for sub, and 2 cables per channel for the rest

- Cardas Crosslink (very well built.. top quality)

- Canare L-4E6S (step down from Cardas, but it is also very nice for the car environment)
my first time I used Belden 1505f and some cheap neutrik connectors that weren't good because they didn't lock well on the pre-outs. If I re-do them, I'll use the connectors Autofile mentioned.

This is the kind I used last time:

They worked very well with the coaxial rg59 cable I bought. You only had to solder the center pin, because the inner housing would actually clamp down the shield, and it worked VERY well. You could give that sucker some tugs and nothing would happen.
The problem was the clamping of the shield of the RCA itself to the preouts of the amp/processor/headunit/etc. The OD was simply too large and the rca wouldn’t make a tight grip on the preouts. It didn’t fall off per se, but it sure didn’t grab hold like most other RCA ends. Of course, I paid about $0.60/each for those, so I got what I paid for. In a home environment it would’ve been fine but I’m not sure I’d use them again for car audio unless I was certain they wouldn’t take a couple swipes of the hand, where they would then fall off undoubtedly.

If I make my own again, I’ll just use these:

Which a lot of folks here already use. Autiofile actually made me a set a few months back with these and they grab hold of preouts VERY well. I’d be worried about the solder connection breaking before you were able to get the RCA’s off, lol. :eek:

FWIW, the Belden 1505f cable I used was selected from about a day’s worth of research. I read up on blue jeans cable site about their head to head testing with various cables and this particular one came in 2nd place behind (iirc) canare cable that was about 3x the cost (again, iirc). The study is here:

Tech data (hard to find anywhere else) is here:

I bought the cable from here:

Cable is very flexible and comes in many colors. I believe the total cost shipped came to be around $0.33/ft. That’s not as cheap as some of the gepco cable, but it’s not too terribly bad. I felt a little more at ease with the features the belden possessed… I could’ve been a victim of marketing. Unfortunately, I never really got the chance to test head to head the differences in the gepco and the belden. So, take the above as my $.02.
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Gepco 61801EZ and The streetwires ends, I had neutrik chuck styles in there but they were too long.
Well, this thread has inspired me to build my own RCA's for the upcoming build. I'll be replacing knu knoceptz krystals. I'm going to use Neutrik NYS373. The pro fi's were a little bit out of my justifiable price range as most of the advantages were related to pro sound installations where the cable will be unplugged very often.
Good choice on the NYS373, for the price it's unbeatable.
You are new here aren't you?
quick question. On the neutrik's, is the end of the connector piece (where the cable sits) able to clamp?
I ask because on the other neutriks I used, I just clamped the piece to the shield of the cable and soldered the center pin and that was it.

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Gepco 61801ez and neutrik connectors (rca/xlr/3.5/etc.).

same here, works great.
quick question. On the neutrik's, is the end of the connector piece (where the cable sits) able to clamp?
I ask because on the other neutriks I used, I just clamped the piece to the shield of the cable and soldered the center pin and that was it.

No clamping. the plastic piece and the little metal piece at the base of the spring work to pinch the cable when you tighten down the cylinder.
I'm not entirely sure why you folks would spend what you do on pricey ends and cable but if that what makes you happy, than all the better. I'd spend money on nice ends that I like the look of but not a WHOLE lot of money. Wire though......twisted 20 ga. wire works great, it really does. If you have noise issues, IMO it isn't the wire causing it. But I'm not a subscriber to the school of "wire makes your system sound different".

I actually prefer an RCA connector to NOT be mega-tight fitting on the RCA jack. A snug fit is great but gorilla grip can, and will, damage the jack soldered to the board and that's no fun at all if you are putting it on and taking it off a few times. I have a perfectly good Alpine 3401 parametric EQ that I had to take out of the system because every RCA jack is a little weak and is causing itermittent sound. Drove me nuts :(
One reason for why I DIY cables: custom length.
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