How to connect a speaker wire to a jack

Written by jesse futch
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How to connect a speaker wire to a jack
Speaker wire can be adapted to connect to an audio jack. (fotonehru/iStock/Getty Images)

Home audio systems can bring entertainment such as television and music to life. Wiring a home audio system is not difficult, although placement can require expert advice to optimise sound quality. Many systems are mix-and-match with components sourced from different manufacturers. This can make setting up a system difficult, as some systems use different types of connectors. Wiring speakers using standard speaker wire to a jack, however, is straightforward. This task can be completed with a few simple tools and inexpensive adaptors.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Wire strippers
  • Wire cutters
  • RCA audio cable
  • RCA to 3.5 mm plug adaptor
  • Electrical tape
  • Speaker wire

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    RCA connection

  1. 1

    Strip about 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) of wire from each speaker wire on both sides. To do this, place the end of each wire into the wire strippers, squeeze the stripper's handles together, then pull the stripper away from the wire to remove the wire insulation.

  2. 2

    Cut the red and white connectors from one end of the RCA cable using the wire cutters.

  3. 3

    Strip about 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) of insulation from the cut end of the RCA cables using the wire strippers.

  4. 4

    Twist the red (positive) speaker wire tightly onto the RCA cable that was the red connector end. To verify former connector colour, follow the wire down to the uncut RCA connectors. The wire with the red connector on the uncut end is the correct wire to connect the red speaker wire to on the cut and stripped end.

  5. 5

    Twist the black or silver (negative) speaker wire tightly on to the RCA cable that was the white connector end. Again, verify colour by following the wires down to the uncut RCA connector ends.

  6. 6

    Cover the newly spliced connection with electrical tape. Cut a 15 cm (6 inch) piece of electrical tape and, starting on either side of the splice, attach the tape to the wire insulation. Cover the splice by wrapping the tape tightly over the wire, working down the wire until the splice is covered, continuing to wrap with the tape until the opposite side of the splice is covered and the tape ends on the opposite side's wire insulation. The speaker wire can now be connected to a speaker and is ready to use with an RCA-compatible connection.

    Jack connection

  1. 1

    Follow the steps above to attach the speaker wire to an RCA cable.

  2. 2

    Plug the RCA cables into the RCA to 3.5 mm plug adaptor. Male and female RCA connectors are colour coded. Simply connect the red plug to the red receptacle, then connect the white plug to the white receptacle.

  3. 3

    Plug the 3.5 mm jack to any compatible plug. The speaker wire ends can now be connected to a speaker and the wires will be capable of receiving signals from the jack.

Tips and warnings

  • Some speaker and audio systems' connectors are proprietary and require special adaptors to use with different manufacturer's equipment. Check your system for compatibility before following the above steps or cutting any wires.
  • Some suppliers stock adaptors with speaker wire on one end and an RCA connector on the other. This type of adaptor may be best for your needs. Follow your manufacturer's specifications to decide which method is best for you.
  • Never cut or work with wires while they are powered. Disconnect the speaker wires from any speakers and remove the RCA cables and jacks from their sockets before following the above steps.

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