How to Determine- RCA Cables Which is Left and Right

(Last Updated On: September 18, 2021)

If you have ever connected your DVD players, camcorders to your TV or stereos to any speaker outputs, you know the importance of RCA cables. RCA cables are color-coded plugs that interlink a device to the corresponding color scheme output of another device. 

It seems easy, but you need to be on point dealing with RCA connectors. They deal with left and right channels and you must abide by the pattern. This will ensure the sound that was assigned in terms of left and right reach the designated speakers. 

So, if you ask how to determine the left and right channels on RCA cables, we say you will need to follow a basic pattern that is fairly simple.

RCA Wire Color Code

Primary RCA cables come in three different colors. Red for the right audio channel, white/black for the left channel of the stereo audio. The yellow cable is designated for the composite video. More importantly, the colors are there to guide you, this is just a heads up to determine which cable goes where.

Connecting to the jack 

RCA jacks are there on almost all devices such as Playstations, Dvd players, VCRs, sound cards for computers, TVs, speakers and many more. They carry contents from one end to another. 

You will have to pinpoint the place the cable ends to the jacks. The jacks on the back of any particular device should also be marked with colors. It’s a straightforward task, just plug the cable and sockets according to matching colors and you are good to go.

For example, the red cable should be put in the red socket, the white one on the white and yellow on the corresponding end accordingly. 

Left and right channel

We have seen most panel boards with marked letters on the AV Out section determining the left and right channel. If you have more than one speaker, there should be assigned channels to split left and right. 

In general, even if there are no assigned letters. The white/black is for the left channel of the speaker and the red is for the right channel. The yellow one is solely for video signals.

What if the jack and cable color codes are mismatched?

This is a common question about RCA cables. If you mismatch the colors you will still get an output sound. Basically what it will do is it will reverse the apparent right and left positions of the sound sources. The left and right sound signals will be swapped and the sound fields will be reversed. 

You will get an output no matter what. There will be differences in the texture and the quality but most people will not even recognize it. We prefer you put it where it belongs. 

Keep in mind that if you put the red or white cable on the yellow socket, it won’t work because that’s the video signal you are hampering. You can only interchange the audio cables.

Final thoughts

Although there are newer alternatives like HDMI, coaxial digital and optical for AV in and out RCA cables have been in use for a long time and still running the game.

You are likely to end up with RCA connections if you are using multimedia devices. While dealing with audio and video outputs, you must know how to determine the left and right channels on RCA cables to attain perfect sound quality.

Whether you are listening or recording something, the correct left and right combination will ensure the sound fields are balanced and you receive the proper signals to your desired device. 

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