Are you trying to work out can you use coax as speaker cable? Well, the simple answer is yes. ‘Coax’ is a shortened term to describe a coaxial cable. This is a multipurpose cable that can be used for numerous audio/visual connections.
There are so many cable and wire types in the world of audio and home theater that it can even confuse the experts. So, can a coax be used as a speaker cable connection? Yes, you can, but there are many things you need to take into consideration.
What is a Coaxial Cable?
A coaxial cable is an effective way to transfer audio and video data. This cable has an inner conductor that is covered by a conducting shield. These two conductors are separated by a dielectric material. The name ‘coaxial’ is an amalgamation of the inner conductor and the geometric axis. The ‘co’ and the ‘axis’ come together to make the name.
The coaxial cable is mainly used to transmit high-frequency electrical signals. This cable can be used to connect numerous communication devices. It’s commonly used for high-speed computer data buses, in telephone communications, for cable television connections, for internet networking cables, and receivers of all kinds.
Can I Use Coaxial for my Speakers?
You can use coax as a speaker cable, but the connectors will need replacing. The standard F-connectors need to be replaced with RCA connectors to make them work properly with your speakers. They could theoretically work with a subwoofer and most speaker types, but you will experience all manner of problems.
Using a coaxial cable for your speakers causes impedance issues for your amplifier. Because there will be so much resistance, you will find it difficult to drive the speakers effectively, and you could even blow up your system. If you are going to use coax, make sure you use a longer cable. If you use a shorter cable, the risk of blowing up your equipment increases.
Please note: If you keep the link within the kHz range, you should be okay to use your coaxial for your speakers. But only do this if you have no other options.
Let’s now take a look at some highly recommended coaxial cables…
This is one of the most affordable coaxial cables you can buy. This product is 25 feet long, making it a top pick if you need a medium-length cable.
If you need a lot of coaxial cable for your speakers, this product is 50 feet in length.
How to Turn Your Coaxial into Speaker Cable?
As we have already discovered, you can use your coaxial cable for your speakers. You can also use it to connect your cable TV or satellite box to your television. It’s quite a versatile and multipurpose cable and one that you should always have handy in case of emergencies.
You will notice that the majority of home theater systems also have coaxial outputs that allow setup with other audio/video devices. The versatility of a coaxial cable allows you to use it in this scenario, although you will have to make a few changes to your coax connectors. You can turn your coax into a speaker wire in this way, but you will need to do the following…
Step 1 – Removing the Coax Connectors
You will find that coaxial cable has dual connectors for transmitting video signals. To hook up your speakers with coaxial, the first thing we need to do is remove the coax connectors on each side of the cable. Use a sharp utility knife to cut off the connectors. If you do have a cable with an extra wire coating, you might need to remove this before cutting the ends.
Step 2 – Measuring the Length of Coaxial Cable
Coaxial cables come in a wide variety of lengths. You can buy cables with lengths of six feet up to over 50 feet and beyond. This will generally mean that you will need to do some measuring and cutting down to size. The length you need will depend on the system type and the home theater layout, which is obviously personal to each setup.
You will need to measure how much cable is needed to hook up your speakers with your home theater system. A great method to get this job done is by running a length of string from your speakers to your receiver or amp. Do this for each connection and then add up the total length.
Measure the length two or three times to eliminate any measuring errors. Add a couple of extra feet for good luck, and you are ready for the next step.
Step 3 – Stripping the Coax Insulation
Now you need to strip away the insulation coating from the coaxial cable. You have to be careful at this stage, so you do not ruin the cable.
I would recommend that you use a ring tool for this job, such as the FTTH fiber Cross Armored Coax stripper wire cutter 4-10MM coaxial cable Cutter. You will need to adjust the knife length, so it only protrudes into the insulation and not into the electric cable. You only need to go as deep as the coaxial jacket depth.
Open the jaws of the ring tool, then place the coaxial cable in the notch, release the jaws, and then rotate the tool a few times. This will pull off the jacket with a minimum amount of fuss. If you don’t have a ring tool, you can always use a sharp knife, but you will have to be extra careful.
Please note: Make sure the ring tool is made for a coaxial cable. Check the product beforehand to make sure it’s compatible. If the tool is not meant for coax, you might have problems removing the coating due to a lack of pulling power.
Step 4 – Unbraiding the Shielding
Now we have removed the insulation coating; we have to unbraid the shielding that protects the underneath wiring. Removing the copper wire without causing any damage is essential. It’s this copper wire that is used to connect with your speakers. Now you need to slowly but surely unwind the shielding, and you are left with a single copper wire that you can use.
It’s also important to remember that if you are using an RG6 coax, you will have to remove the metal shield. You could use this for your speaker wire, but the best method is to remove it, so you’re left with only the conductor wire.
Step 5 – Removing the Insulator
Now we have already removed the shielding; we are almost there. All we have to do now is remove the translucent insulation layer that is located on the outside of the conductor wire. This insulation layer protects the copper wire, but you will have to remove it.
To get the job done properly, you will need a quality pair of wire strippers, such as the…
- Amazon Basics Self-adjusting Wire Strippers
- MulWalk 8” Heavy Duty Wire Strippers
- IRWIN Vice-Grip Wire Stripping Tool
Once you have stripped away enough of the insulator from both ends, you are finished.
Can you Use Coax as Speaker Cable? – An Alternative Way for Connecting Coax to Speakers
There is another way to use coax for your speakers, but this method will greatly reduce the flexibility of the cable and could cause other positional issues later. This alternative process would need you to remove roughly 1.5 inches of the shielding and the jacket. You then need to remove some insulation at both ends of the cable.
The issue with this is the cable is then so rigid that it will be difficult to bend and place in the correct positions. But you will greatly reduce the work and time it takes with the five-step process.
Connecting your Speakers to Coax
Now you’ve completed all the hard work and deconstructed your coax; it’s time to finally connect the coaxial to your speakers. You need to take the core conductor wire and place it on the red (or positive) connector of your speaker. Take hold of the other end of the cable and place it on the same color port on your receiver or amp.
You will then be able to use the braided strand with the black (or negative) connector on your speaker while ensuring that the other end is also placed on the black connector on your receiver. Once you have made all these connections, you should now have the sound playing out of your speakers.
Looking for Some Great Speakers to wire up?
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Or, take a look at our comprehensive reviews of the Best Floor Standing Speakers, the Best Powered Speakers, the Best High End Home Theater Speakers, the Best In-Ceiling Speakers, the Best 7.1 Home Theater System, the Best In-Wall Speakers, as well as the Best PA Subwoofers you can buy.
Can you Use Coax as Speaker Cable? – Final Thoughts
As I mentioned at the start of this article, yes, you can use your coax cable for your speakers. However, you will have to do a few things first to get the job done. You will have to strip the wires down and remove all the protective casing, but it’s possible. They are not an exact fit, but they are good enough if you don’t have many options.
Just make sure you use a longer cable, as this will ensure that impedance isn’t so much of a factor. But if you do use short cables, beware because you could blow or overload your system.