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Red, White and You: RCA cables for the DJ

People venture into the world of being a DJ and don't ask questions because somewhere along the way someone made them feel as though they asked a stupid question.  There are no stupid questions.  Either you know or you don't know.

Today, uncle Leon is going to write about the veins of the modern DJ system…the RCA cables.  What does "RCA" mean?  RCA is named after the company who invented them,The Radio Corporation of America.  RCA cables are the cables you would normally use to hook up turntables or CD players to a DJ mixer.  There are two lines: left and right.  Red equals "right" and white equals "left".  Red equals "positive"  and white equals "negative".  If you find yourself buying the orange and grey cables then it's orange equals "positive" and grey equals "negative".  An easy thing to remember is that red equals "right".  The hot color or bright color is always the right side or hot/positive line.

Is it my right or the audience's right? 
It's your right.  Red is your right and white is your left.  You're facing the audience and the white RCA cable goes to your left.  If you are just hooking up RCA cables from turntable to mixer then it is clearly marked on the gear R and L or + and -.  In some rare occasions you might find yourself using an old piece of gear that has the writing rubbed off.  It should clearly have the coloration of white or red inside the inputs.  If you put red in white and mix up the wiring you will get crappy sound. 

Should you buy gold plated RCA cables?
Yes.  They sound better.  Is anyone really going to know the difference if you don't?  Not really. 

Most people are afraid to ask about RCA cables because most DJs act as if everyone should magically know about RCA cables.  The subject isn't very complicated.  Red/White, Right/Left, Positive/Negative. 

Common DJ variations of the RCA cable.

RCA to RCA.  This is what you would normally use to connect turntables to a mixer.
RCA to 1/4 inch.  This is what you would normally use to connect your mixer to powered speakers.

Y-cable which is sometimes mini-jack to RCA..this is commonly used by people coming straight from a laptop into a mixer or system.

If you ask a DJ about basic equipment stuff and they treat you like you're stupid don't's not's them.  They probably had a bad childhood or something and they are just taking it out on you.  Later and don't be a hater.


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