Good Cheap (or reasonable) RCA Connectors

Discussion in 'Equipment Reviews & Opinions' started by Rob-F, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. Rob-F

    Rob-F Likes Vintage Gear and DIY

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    OK here goes a new thread to go along with the "Good cheap interconnects" thread. This is for those who like to make their own, and for those who want to replace or upgrade existing connectors. Let's set the absolute highest price to the cost of the Neutrik connectors, about $16.00 or so a pair. But with that said, let's give most of our attention to plugs at $6 and under. And if you have a favorite $2.50 plug, let's hear about that, too.

    Feel free to name any that you are partial to, and say why. The made-in-China ebay specials are fair game, if you have a favorite; as are the better-known brand name ones.
     

     

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  2. vinyldavid

    vinyldavid Proud Jaguar Owner! Subscriber

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    One word: Switchcraft. Easy to solder, small, make excellent connections, have a good feel, and are relatively inexpensive.
     
  3. Rob-F

    Rob-F Likes Vintage Gear and DIY

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    I took a look at the switchcraft plug on Markertek. Seems I've used a number of these, never knew they were from Switchcraft. Markertek has a long version and a short version. I didn't know they came in different lengths, either. Funny thing, the pictures of the long and short ones look the same; and they don't state any dimensions. I wonder how much difference there is?

    Edit: I found them on the Newark site. There, it shows the long version is obviously (unnecessarily?) longer. Mine are the shorter version. I tend to favor short vs. long to minimize the risk of damage in case of an accidental sideways pull. I also checked with a magnet and found they are non-magnetic, which has been mentioned lately as a good thing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011
  4. Rob-F

    Rob-F Likes Vintage Gear and DIY

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    OK let's try this: Has anyone tried the Neutrik plugs? I'm taking about the expensive ones that have the retractible outer conductor. The theory is that the outer shell will contact the jack first, thus eliminating the possibility of causing a loud hum in the speakers.

    Two things about this give me pause: one is that the sliding action would have to introduce an extra contact surface, so it could degrade the sound. The other is that the connector is rather longish, which means more leverage if the cable gets pulled sideways, possibly damaging the jack or the plug.

    So: who has tried this expensive ($16.00 or so plus shipping) Neutrik connector? Any conclusions? Would you use them again?
     
  5. vinyldavid

    vinyldavid Proud Jaguar Owner! Subscriber

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    I've used the cheaper ones that look somewhat like switchcrafts and really liked them....and every Neutrik XLR I've used has been quite excellent.
     
  6. Rob-F

    Rob-F Likes Vintage Gear and DIY

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    I decided there's one way to find out. I just pulled the trigger on a set of four that I got for what I think was a good price: about $36 for the set. So we will see.
     

     

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  7. Bstable

    Bstable Super Member

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    I made 20 sets of interconnects about a month ago. There's a thread (with pics)on my step by step process. After much researching here on AK, I came up with the following:

    Canare L-4E6S cable .55ft
    Flexo Pet braid .37 ft
    Rane RCA plugs 1.50 each

    Shipping ($20) solder, and a few tools added to the cost, but overall a stereo pair costs: $6 for the plugs and then about $1 per foot for the length desired. (yes, there is a little waste too)

    As for the RCA connectors....this was my first extensive soldering project. Without an improvised magnifier, I could have never made the proper solder connections to these Rane RCAs. There is not a lot of room to work with, and I wonder why they designed them that way. Something to consider when you have to solder 2 wires on each plug.
     

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    Last edited: Jan 28, 2011
  8. Rob-F

    Rob-F Likes Vintage Gear and DIY

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    I can see what you mean. It looks like the shield crimp terminal and the center terminal are too close together, with a good chance of shorting out. I think I will not try this brand! I have ordered a variety of RCA plugs, including several from China that claim gold or silver plate over copper. I expect to be reporting on them after I receive them, get them installed, and listen to them for a bit.

    I am not really expecting any great discoveries during the listening test! :)
     
  9. Bstable

    Bstable Super Member

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    I made 20 pairs. My brother got half, and said he noticed a big improvement in his system. I have not even hooked a single set of mine up.... yet. I'm crossing my fingers on hearing an improvement with my system.

    I was looking to upgrade my various red and white cheapo interconnects that come with gear. Figured with good parts, and my own quality control, this was the way to go. A 3ft pair runs about $10 and a little labor. DIY cables (IMHO) are beefier, and unlike the plastic molded kind, are repairable.

    Good luck on your project.
     
  10. darth

    darth Well-Known Member

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    Another fan of homemade cables. Anyone tried silver wire IC's ?? I made a pair for use on my Rega Jupiter 2000 and am quite happy with them.
     
  11. Rob-F

    Rob-F Likes Vintage Gear and DIY

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    Here's one I don't like

    Here's one plug that won't be getting a good review from me. It's a knockoff of the WBT connector. I'm sure it's Asian, though I bought it from a USA ebay seller. The problem is in the adequacy of its grip to the jack. With some RCA jacks, the grip is within a normal range. But some jacks are just a wee bit undersized, even though it may be mounted on the very same chassis as one that affords a good grip with said connector. The plug just slips right off. Too bad--they are silver plated and very pretty.
     

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  12. Mr. Lin

    Mr. Lin Lunatic Member

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    Yes, many many times, and that's pretty much all I use now. I've tried lots of very expensive RCA connectors and feel most are worth the money: copper and silver Eichmann Bullet Plugs (silver version way over-priced IMO, good as it is), WBT, LOK, Furutech, and a lot more.

    But for the cheap option I second the Switchcraft recommendation.

    That's not a knockoff of a WBT connector, it's a knockoff of a Cardas connector, and not a very good one if it doesn't fit onto RCA sockets tightly - the real Cardas connectors do.
     
  13. Rob-F

    Rob-F Likes Vintage Gear and DIY

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    Thanks for that clarification, Mr. Lin. I described it as WBT only because that's how the seller described it. Never having used any WBT, I didn't know any better.

    I like the method attaching the shield. I don't like the large diameter of the connector. On some equipment, they are close enough to touch. I'd like one that is smaller, fits the jacks better, and able to grip cables around 6mm or 1/4 inch. These things have openings closer to 1/2 inch.

    Thanks again!

    Rob
     
  14. lastninnja

    lastninnja New Member

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    This is a million years late but I like Amphenol for cheapies. I got some Neutrik ProFi the other day so going to try them out. At around $12 USD each (more than the Neutrik...) if you can still find at $60 USD for a 4 pack, the KLEI copper harmony are wonderful. Neutrik have two or three cheap divisions, which are all basically the same - Rean, Yongshen and Ningbo Neutrik. Not sure if Ningbo and Yongshen are the same. But those are ok, but not rated as highly as Neutrik for amount of reconnects etc.

    I hear good things about: Vampire, DH Labs, Canare.. there are just way too many options. I think Neutrik, Yongshen, KLEI and Amphenol are pretty good options. Swamp.net.au make a lot of cables with the Yongshen if want to check those out. Amphenol are Australian so I can get super cheap prices from Radio Parts.

    On a different note, does anyone have any idea what the 'best' RCA possible is currently? Regardless of price?

    I think the Neutrik ProFi are probably really good and worthwhile, but they aren't as attractive as some other connectors.
     
  15. bimasta

    bimasta Super Member

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    They're great. I used them on my phono output cables, as it's the heart of my system and the most temperamental signal. The slide-on ground works flawlessly with a nice solid feel, and creates none of the problems you hypothesize. I tried WBT first (real ones) and heard no difference, so I changed to the Neutriks because I have more WBTs and can make better use of them elsewhere.

    You've probably used your Neutriks by now and have your own views. Please share.
     

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