World of Cables

RCA Connector

What is RCA Connector

Also known as phono connector and A/V jack, RCA connector is an electrical connector that is used with coaxial cable to transmit audio and video signals. It was developed in the 1940s by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) which is why it is called RCA connector.


RCA connector was originally developed to connect a phonograph and an amplifier but it soon came to be used for other purposes. In the 1950s, RCA connectors became a standard in most hi-fi systems and remained in use for a wide range of audio and video devices even after the advent of the “digital era”.

Male/Female Jack

RCA connectors have a male and female jack, with the male jack (plug) being located at the end of a cable and female jack (socket) on a device. Since a single RCA cable can transmit only a single signal, multiple male and female jacks need to be connected which automatically translates into multiple cables. The jacks are typically multicoloured (usually red, white and yellow) in order to know which plug goes into which socket. Most modern audio and video devices require three RCA cables but some may require as many as five or more.


The main drawback of RCA connector is that it can transmit only a single audio/video signal. As mentioned earlier, every signal must have its own jack which means that every signal also must have its own cable. And since most devices require at least three RCA cables, this can lead to cable mess and confusion, especially if you want to connect multiple devices.

Quality-Price Ratio

RCA connectors come at very different prices. Obviously, a question occurs what is wrong with the inexpensive ones? After all, it is just a cable with a plug. In addition, all use 75 Ω cables. Believe it or not, but the cable has a major influence on signal transmission and as a result, poor quality RCA cable won’t provide high quality audio and video. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that all high-end cables deliver high quality but generally, you are much safer with those from upper price range than the cheap ones.