Coaxial speaker cables are one of the most popular types of speaker cables available on the market today. These cables are designed to provide an optimized audio experience by delivering a clear and accurate sound.
Coaxial cables have gained much popularity due to their low cost, durability, and easy setup, among many other reasons.
This article explores everything you need to know about Coaxial Speaker Cables: their construction, types, use cases, advantages, and disadvantages, and most importantly if Coaxial Speaker Cables are worth it.
What is a Coaxial Speaker Cable?
A coaxial cable, commonly known as coax, is a kind of electrical cable that consists of an inner conductor surrounded by a concentric conducting shield, with the two being separated by a dielectric (insulating substance).
Many coaxial cables also include a protective outer sheath or jacket. The outer shield and inner conductor share a geometric axis when they are said to be coaxial.
These cables can be used as speaker cables, TV antennae, modems, cable boxes, and for audio and video information transmission.
The physical size, frequency performance, attenuation, power handling capacity, flexibility, strength, and cost of coaxial cables are all impacted by design decisions. Electrical conductors and insulating material are arranged in concentric layers in coaxial cables.
With this design, signals are expected to be contained within the cable and are shielded from electrical noise.
Every coaxial cable contains 4 essential components, regardless of its thickness, color, or complexity of structure.
- Core conductor
- Dielectric insulator
- Metallic shield
- Plastic jacket
A thin copper braided or solid conducting wire makes up the core conductor layer. The wire is encased in a dielectric layer composed of an insulating substance with defined electrical properties.
The dielectric layer is then covered in a shield layer made of metal foil or braided copper mesh. An insulating jacket is placed around the entire unit.
The coaxial cable’s outer metal shield layer is normally grounded in the connectors at both ends to protect the signals and provide a location for stray interference signals to dissipate.
Coaxial cables mostly have connections at their ends. These connectors have the same impedance as the attached cable and are intended to retain a coaxial arrangement across the connection.
High-conductivity metals like silver or gold that resist tarnishing are typically used to coat connectors. The RF signal is only transmitted at higher frequencies by the plating because of the skin effect, and it does not reach the connection body.
Types Of Coax Cables
Coaxial cables can have various types depending on their impedance, thickness and construction, purpose, type of dielectric, kind of connectors they finish with, and other factors.
The typical impedance of coaxial cables is either 50Ω, 52Ω, 75Ω, or 93Ω. These cables have standardized type identifiers in the RF (Radio Frequency) sector.
The most popular coaxial cable for household usage is RG-6, thanks to television. Most connections outside of Europe utilize F connectors. Radio Guide is denoted by the letter RG.
Depending on the application, various cables call for different types of connectors.
Coax connections come in a wide variety. However, the following are the most often used types:
It is developed for usage up to 18 GHz at lower microwave frequencies. It is employed in several RF applications.
They are used for RF and video applications. It is designed for frequencies up to 10 GHz.
They are widely utilized in RF applications. SMA connections available today can handle frequencies up to 24 GHz.
Due to their use in TV cables and antenna cables, F-type connectors are by far the most frequent connection type for coaxial cables. Frequencies up to 1 GHz may be handled using F-type connections.
Coaxial cables are frequently used with RCA connections as well, typically for the transmission of audio and video. They are capable of operating at up to 10 MHz.
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Advantages of Coaxial Cable
If you’re thinking about why Coaxial Cables are so widespread today, it’s because of their advantages. Let’s look at some of the benefits:
- The unique design and building of a coaxial cable are what provide the most benefit.
- Coaxial cables are less prone to electromagnetic and radio-frequency interference because of their excellent shielding and outer jacket.
- Coax cable’s ability to support high-frequency applications is another advantage (50 MHz and higher)
- Coax cable provides larger bandwidth transmission and faster transfer speeds when compared to twisted pair lines.
- Coaxial cables are also reasonably priced.
- They are simple to install and expand and highly sturdy.
Where are Coaxial Cables Used?
Wi-Fi, telecommunications, and radio communication systems all employ coaxial cables. They are used for various purposes, including audio and video transmission, HD TV, cable TV, and the internet.
Short coaxial cables are frequently used in NIM (Nuclear Instrumentation Module), ham radio systems, and to link home video devices. It was formerly typical to establish computer networks.
Although newer techniques have overtaken it, long-distance coaxial cable was once used to connect radio, television, and long-distance telephone networks.
Numerous consumer electronics, as well as military and ultrasonic scanning equipment, employ micro coaxial cables.
Even though additional impedances are available for certain purposes, 50 or 52 ohms and 75 ohms are the most often utilized.
75 ohms is frequently used for broadcast television and radio, while 50/52 ohm cables are used for industrial and commercial two-way radio frequency applications (including radio and telecommunications).
Coax Cable As Audio and Speaker Cable
Transmission of audio signals is one of the common uses for coax cables. We employ the so-called coaxial digital audio wire for audio transmission. It has RCA connections and is the same standard 75-ohm coax cable we previously discussed (it might also be AWG 18 like RG-6).
When it comes to connecting external powered subwoofers, RCA coaxial cables are rather typical. RG-6 coax wire is used in the majority of modern RCA subwoofer cables. Therefore, there won’t be any problems whatsoever while transmitting line-level audio signals to the subwoofer through a digital coax cable.
A coaxial cable can be used as a speaker wire as well. Even coaxial speaker cables are produced and sold by some manufacturers. For instance, they are offered by the company WBC (World’s Best Cables) on Amazon.
Now you may ask, “Why would you use a coax speaker cable instead of a regular speaker wire?”
The only benefit we could come up with has to do with the shielding and interference resistance of the coax cable. The benefits of Mogami’s coax speaker cable are listed on their official website as follows:
- Robust conductor (almost 14 AWG that is American Wire Gauge)
- Minimal induction
- The ideal speaker wire impedance
- Superior to standard parallel speaker wire setup in terms of sound quality
On the other side, some obvious disadvantages are:
- They cost more than standard speaker cables.
- Compared to standard speaker wires, they are heavier and less flexible.
- Running and concealing the speaker cord takes more time.
- Higher cable capacitance might cause certain instability problems, especially when utilizing lengthy connections.
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Can You Use Coaxial Cables With Computers?
You can certainly use coaxial cables with computers and speakers. However, it may not be a viable option.
For small computer networks, a 10 Base 2 networking setup works well. So, coaxial cables can be used in such cases. However, for large networks such as an office, the cost of coaxial cables is not justifiable.
Moreover, the bigger the length of the cables, the poorer the quality you’ll get from them. And if a single cable fails, the whole network goes down.
Lastly, you will need your computer to have a way to take coaxial input. That will increase the upfront costs.
Is Coaxial Speaker Cables Worth It?
Due to its durability and precision, coax is now the industry standard for data transmission. Its popularity is a result of its distinctive shielded construction.
Coaxial speaker cables and RCA audio cables vary primarily because the former carries analog signals while the latter does not. So, they offer more bandwidth to guarantee a more reliable connection. Despite its lack of flexibility and overall thickness, you can use it as your speaker wire if you take the necessary steps.
The differences between the regular speaker wire and coax speaker cable don’t really make the cost and effort difference worthwhile. Thus, some people don’t believe it is much beneficial.
But not everyone concurs with this assertion. Some said that switching from standard 14-gauge speaker wires to Mogami coax cables improved their sound systems noticeably. Try them out and see whether they work for you; that’s the most incredible tip we can give you.
This article explains everything you need to know about Coaxial Cables, especially Coaxial Speaker Cables. This article should get you started with the basics if you are searching for information about coaxial cables.
You also covered using Coaxial Cables for computers and speakers in case you wanted to use them. After comparing the pros and cons, you decide whether to get them or the alternatives.