How to Buy Audio Speaker Cables on eBay

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How to Buy Audio Speaker Cables on eBay
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How to Buy Audio Speaker Cables on eBay

Audio speaker cables are responsible for transmitting sound from a home media player such as a TV or CD player to the speakers. Cables come in a variety of qualities and styles, and while many people purchase the cheapest audio cables they can find, others look for high quality cables that are able to losslessly transfer audio. In either case, eBay has a wide range of both cheap and high quality audio speaker cables, so most people can find the audio cables they are looking for.

eBay is generally very easy to shop on because buyers can simply look up what they are searching for and browse through results until they find the product that they want to buy. However, some people find the wide range of options, the different styles, and sometimes labelling and audio jargon to be confusing. Factors to take into consideration when purchasing audio speaker cables on eBay include the shipping, the price, the model, the features, the materials, and the impedance of the cables.

Choosing the Types of Audio Speaker Cables and Connectors

There are many types of audio speaker cables on eBay, and the decision-making process involves a great deal more than simply choosing between affordable or expensive cables. Different formats, types of audio speakers, and types of connectors can all make a difference to the audio system. In fact, some systems do not work with an incompatible connector or audio format. Buyers can also choose to purchase ‘bulk’ wire with separate connectors, or pre-cut lengths of cable with the connectors already attached. Most people prefer the latter, although the former option is generally more affordable, and more flexible, to the individual needs of the buyer. There are two main types of speaker wire, analogue and digital, and there are several things to consider when choosing either type.

Choosing Analogue Speaker Cables and Connectors

Analogue speaker cables are two-channel speaker cables that transmit radio frequency with a fluctuating electronic signal. These speaker cables are more likely to feature distortion at some point or another, and are not suitable for multi-channel surround sound setups, as analogue does not support more than two channels. Anyone purchasing analogue connectors on eBay can choose from four types of cables with a variety of materials and connectors. As a general rule, cheap quality analogue speaker cables provide poor quality audio. For good sound quality, buyers should look for oxygen-free copper cables, braided and foil shield, and gold plated conductors for minimal sound degradation.

Coaxial RF Cables

Coaxial RF cables can be purchased on eBay as coaxial RF or coax, or simply F-type cables. These cables are normally used in home theatre, as they support stereo or analogue sound with an analogue video signal. This means that the coaxial RF cable can be used to connect a DVD player to a TV with built-in speakers to transmit both sound and video between the two devices. Usually these cables are not used for purely audio devices such as a CD player.

Dual RCA Cables

Dual RCA cables are one of the most common types of analogue cables on eBay because they are generally standard in most audio equipment components. Usually dual RCA cables are marked with a white dot for the left audio and a red dot for the right audio, signalling where and how to plug in the cables. For home theatre systems, these cables usually come with a yellow plug for video, although this is not necessary the standard colour. RCA cables are used with home theatre, home audio, and even gaming systems.

Multi-Channel RCA Connections

Multi-channel RCA cables usually have a minimum of six cables for dual audio and video to allow an analogue system to support a type of surround sound. Frequently used with home theatre systems with CD player and DVD player connected to the same speakers, multi-RCAs are useful in homes, but now falling out of use as most people choose the more simplified digital cable instead.

XLR Cables

XLR cables are most commonly used by audio professionals because they are reliable and have a high quality. They are also sometimes seen in very high-end home audio equipment, especially for connecting amplifiers and preamplifiers in separate systems. These cables are one of the least common audio formats on eBay, so most buyers do not encounter them unless they are using an older analogue system.

Choosing Digital Speaker Cables

Digital speakers are a newer type of audio speaker cable, and generally considered to be higher quality than their analogue predecessors. Digital audio speakers are used with most standard surround sound systems, with most HiFi audio, and for HDMI. Digital audio is used with home cinema, surround sound, home audio for music, and for gaming.

Coaxial Digital Cables

Coaxial digital cables can support up to six audio channels, making them perfect for surround sound, which usually consists of 4-6 channels. Generally, coaxial digital cables look similar to RCA cables in size and shape, but cannot be plugged into the same jacks. Usually they are coloured orange or a similar distinguishing colour in order to differentiate them from the other cables.

Optical Cables

Optical cables are another form of digital cable, and while different from coaxial, generally deliver the same sound quality. These cables can be found on eBay as both optical and Toslink cables, and while similar to coaxial cables, use different connections and different audio transmission methods. Generally, an audio system that uses optical cables is labelled as such, so buyers can choose their digital cables based on their audio equipment specifications.

HDMI Cables

HDMI is often considered the highest quality audio cable available, but is not always ideal for connecting to speakers. Most home cinema setups use HDMI for audio transmission to a television, but a different cable for most speakers. HDMI can handle 6.1 and 7.1 surround sound or eight channels, and handles Blu-Ray and other digital formats as well as video. HDMI cables can be purchased on eBay in a variety of lengths, although long cables can be somewhat expensive.

Selecting the Cable Connection and Audio Types

Another consideration for buyers who are looking for audio speaker cables on eBay is to choose the gauge, connections, and audio format. Generally, the audio type is specific to the type of media being played, for example CD or Blu-Ray, while gauge and connection type is purely dependent upon how long the speaker cables have to be and the connections on the audio equipment. Once again, speaker cables and connections can be purchased separately by users looking for the most flexibility.

Audio Format

Channel

Cables

Dual Channel/Analogue

Stereo

RF Coaxial, Dual RCA, HDMI Cable, Optical Cable, Digital Coaxial Cable

Analogue Surround Sound

Dolby Pro Logic/DTS NEO: 6

RF Coaxial, Dual RCA, HDMI, Optical, Digital Coaxial

Digital 5.1 Surround Sound

Dolby Digital, DTS Digital Sound

Multi-Channel RCA, HDMI, Optical, Digital Coaxial

Digital 6.1 Surround Sound

Dolby Digital Surround Ex, DTS ES Discrete

Multi-Channel RCA, HDMI, Optical, Digital Coaxial

Digital 7.1 Surround Sound

Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD Master Audio, DTS HD

HDMI

Generally, connectors or cable terminations come in four distinct types including bare wire, pin connectors, spade lugs,, and banana plugs,, and sometimes standard audio jacks in 3.5 or 6.35 millimetres. Each type of connector is meant to connect to one of two speaker cable connectors on the back of a speaker. These include spring clips, which can be connected to bare wires and pin connectors, and 5-way binding posts, which use screws to firmly attach bare wire, pin connectors, spade lugs, or banana plugs to the back of the speaker.

Selecting the Correct Wire Gauge

The wire gauge depends on the distance the cable has to cover and where the wire is to be placed. For example, audio speaker cables intended to be run under walls or floors should be purchased with a rating for that purpose. A quick guide for choosing a correct gauge includes choosing a thicker audio cable for a longer distance. Most audio speaker cables on eBay are sized in millimetres, and smaller cables transmit better over short distances, while thicker cables are better over long distances.

Buying Audio Speaker Cables on eBay

Once you have decided which audio speaker cables you need, you can begin your search on eBay. Try searching for specific types of cables such as ‘HDMI cable’, or ‘Dual RCA 20m 3.5mm’, or whatever else you are looking for. Specifically, make sure you check your speaker connections, the distance between speaker and audio output, and the type of audio you are using. You can use the chart above to find a compatible speaker cable for your audio system before you go on eBay to look for it.

If you need cables quickly, consider purchasing from local eBay sellers who can ship more quickly, and always remember to ask sellers about anything you do not know about the cables. If you are purchasing wire and connectors separately, try to check the gauge rating on the connectors to make sure they are the right size, or the wires might not actually fit into the connectors. Other than that, simply check to make sure you are purchasing the right male or female connectors and that your wire gauge is correct.

Conclusion

Buying audio speaker cables on eBay involves carefully considering what type of audio system the cables will be used for, and which type of cables the audio format is compatible with. Options include both analogue and digital systems, and analogue is most often considered to be higher quality. In home cinema, HDMI is generally considered to be the highest quality cable type, while the most common for simple audio types such as CD player to speakers are dual RCA cables, which are cheap and readily available on eBay.

The benefits of making a purchase on eBay include that buyers have access to a wide range of cables and connections, can easily find exactly what they are looking for, and can search for specific connection or gauge rating depending on their needs. Buyers should consider their audio equipment, what type of sound system they have, their connections, and the distance between speakers and audio output before making a purchase on eBay..

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