Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

Treacherous Human Underdogs LIVE @ Shlafly Tap Room

DJ Leon Lamon't s Crate Confessions #6

Dear followers,
It’s literally been a month since my last Crate Confession.  I make no apologies because life happens and MFs get busy.  I’m not hating or being salty, I’m just saying.  Anyway, children, uncle Leo is going to take you way back and, since it’s been a minute, do more than one track for this confession session.
1. Reflections - Diana Ross & The Supremes

I grew up on Motown music because my parents are huge fans and my dad is straight up borderline fanatical when it comes to Motown music.  My dad has the popular Motown stuff and the obscure Motown stuff.  Example: If it weren’t for my dad, I wouldn’t have known that Tommy Chong of the famous Cheech & Chong was a musician that put out a record on Motown before becoming a famous comedian.  That being said, I’ve yet to hear a Motown track that I didn’t like.  Reflections, like so many other Motown songs, has amazing song structure and chord choices (things I knew nothing about when I first heard the song as a kid). …

Beginner DJs and Buying Gear

A question I am asked often by beginner DJs is, “What gear should I start off with?”  This is a tough question because the answer depends on what type of DJ-ing you are doing and where you have visually projected yourself in the future.  The first question I have is, “Are you DJ-ing for fun or for money?”

If you are DJ-ing just for fun, then your choice of gear is irrelevant.If fun truly is the name of your game the options are many.There exists facial recognition software that enables you to use your face as a MIDI controller, there are ways to hack into your Xbox Kinect so that your whole body can be used as a MIDI controller, and there are countless new desktop controllers coming out everyday for computer DJ software.Then there are the practically outmoded CD players.Of course there is also the wagon wheel of DJ technology…the turntable.It’s really just a matter of preference and what level of frustration you want to experience while learning to DJ.The quick of it is: Software = fas…