RCA Splitter

Splitters have been around for as long as there were electronic connectors. Be it used for the transfer of sound, video or just plain electricity. Electronic connectors had shown up as a miracle to the electric current (sound, video, data etc.) industry. It was not long after that these electric currents (signals) needed to be transferred to several components simultaneously from a single source. That is when splitters came in. Splitters are electronic components that consist of a very simply structured wired electronic circuit usually designed to divide a single source input to multiple “parallel” outputs, intending to keep all the transmitted output to be the same as the input source.

What is an RCA splitter?

RCA splitters, like any other splitters, are designed to divide (split) a single RCA source to multiple parallel outputs while keeping the intended outputs to be the same as the mother source.

Let us familiarize with RCA before we move in further with the RCA splitters, shall we?

RCA is an acronym for Radio Corporation of America who had introduced the connector design as early as the 1940s, the design incidentally gained the name RCA derived from its founders. They were designed to allow amplifier connection of Phonograph players, but not limited to them. Soon after, around the 1950s, Hi-Fi or the High Fidelity systems became very popular and promised high quality video and sound reproduction by minimizing distortion and noise simultaneously delivering precise frequency responses. RCA connectors, also known as phono plugs, were soon replacing the older TRS connectors (commonly known as phone plugs or headphone jacks). RCA connectors basically have a male core (live) and a surrounding ring (ground or negative) usually designed for mono signal transfer. They have diverse usage ranging from component video and audio, RF signals as well as analogue audio and video.

Going back to RCA splitter:-

In addition to the design of the RCA splitter discussed above they are the components that have the female RCA connectors in order to allow the male connection from the source to the destined output. There are many different types of RCA splitters to choose from what best suit your needs:-

  • The traditional Y splitters – They are simple and less expensive, comes in two forms either as cable or solid connectors that serve the same criteria but used in different situations. The cable splitters offer more flexibility while the solid splitters offer a more permanent connection.
  • Splitter box – Splitter boxes server the same purpose but offer more diversity relative to simultaneous connections. Some offer more than two or three outputs from one source, while others support multiple throughput via separate sections allowing more than one independent input, simultaneously providing respective multiple outputs for each input. Among these many offer the option of user configured cross connections, which means that the user can select the outputs for selective inputs.
  • Amplified splitter box – While splitters do the wonder of providing multiple outputs it should also be kept in mind that the output power from the mother source (input for the splitters) is also being divided among the splitter outputs. This affects the final output quality by a great deal. Hence the small built in signal amplifier in certain splitter boxes come in handy. They help to step up the received signal to make up for the lost power and improve output quality.

Speaking of lost or weak signal, cable grade and the connector conductivity matter quite a bit when obsessing over better throughput. Copper, brass, gold and aluminum are commonly used in connectors and cables.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of different materials:

  • Gold: – Most expensive of all. Offers maximum conductivity but can be easily damaged as it is quite brittle repairs and replacements can but just as expensive. High maintenance.
  • Copper: – Though cheaper than Gold it offers a lot more flexibility while maintaining very high conductivity. Repairing and replacements are quite cheap as it is most available and very easy to do. Low maintenance.
  • Aluminum: – Cheaper and much more flexible than copper. Maintains good conductivity but can be easily damaged due to its light structural built. Often mixed with other materials, like zinc, in order to minimize corrosion; doing such might make it a bit more costly on installation but will reduce maintenance cost. Replacements can be just as expensive as installation.
  • Bronze or brass: – Both are alloys of copper but relatively cheaper, stronger than all others discussed while maintaining moderate to good conductivity. Lack of flexibility can reduce connection stability, can be very cumbersome and heavy. Maintenance may be cheap but quality will pay the price. May also suffer from seasonal cracking.

RCA splitters can often be confused with convertors. Although some splitters reserve the ability to convert and split into different types of audio and video, convertors may not have the splitting capability. Taking everything into account, it is very necessary to decide your requirements before purchasing an RCA splitter in order to avoid ending up with an expensive product which might be completely useless to you.

This RCA Splitter Review is Written/Updated on Sep 7th, 2010 and filed under Consumer Electronics. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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