An RCA connector can be defined as a type of electrical connector that specializes in the transfer of audio and video signals. Some more common terms by which it is known are phono connector and cinch connector. The term RCA connector first came into usage because it was introduced by the Radio Corporation of America as an innovative measure of connecting monophonograph players to amplifiers.
Most sound cards do not come equipped with sound inputs for RCA connectors. Yet many still have stereos and turntables at home which have stood witness to great times in the past, and now do not deserve to be discarded as a useless gadget. The simple solution is installing RCA inputs in the existing sound card for added versatility. Thus, many external audio sources can be connected to the PC. For those who are doing the installation at home, the first thing to notice is the base. Some sound cards are equipped with an extra slot and slot cover, and the user can purchase the jacks only and pierce holes in the extra slot cover for the sockets. The jacks are installed the same way as any other expansion. For those who do not have an extra slot cover, premade boards must be purchased and attached to the back of the case. The case too may have to be drilled into, to allow the wires to go through. The audio jacks are of size 4+.
The process of installation also varies with whether the inputs on the sound cards are analog or digital. For analog sound cards, the inputs mostly have a left and right channel with a ground dedicated to each. Often, a standard CD ROM cable will do. The four wires that need to be bought are red for the right channel, black for the ground channel and white for the left channel. Two ground channels are needed. A phono jack board is the last thing required, along with a CD-ROM cable. The CD-ROM cable is halved and stripped just a bit, exposing the wire. The red wire is inserted as a loop through the centre pole of a jack while the ground wire is placed on the outside pole. Soldering seals the process. The process is repeated for the other wires as well.
For cards with digital inputs, an SPDIF cable can be used as well, in place of a CD-ROM cable. This will require two wires, one red for the data and one black for grounding. Therefore only one RCA jack is needed since all the channels are transmitted via one red wire. Three shielded phono jacks and 2 wire connectors are utilized using a 4 wire CD-ROM audio cable. Three holes are pierced for the digital and analog inputs upon which the RCA jacks are attached. Soldering the 2 pin cable to ground pole, and soldering the other color to the center pole seals the technique.
Connections are made to the sound card by insertion of the plug of the cable into the female jack. Signals being transmitted will be verified by a resultant buzzing sound which occurs even before the grounded rings meet. These RCA inputs can be connected to CDIN, AUX, MIC and TAD.
Although you can easily install an RCA input into your existing sound card, for a wee bit of extra money, you can also get one of those high priced creative sound cards. They have a built-in auxiliary 5.25” (five and a quarter inch) “LiveDrive” that accommodates full-fledged RCA inputs. The Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Platinum sound card is one of them. Though some people may agree that you would be better off with the less expensive SoundBlaster Audigy or Audigy 2 series, “LiveDrive” would promise a better performance so it is better to look for the “Platinum” series SoundBlasters as they come with “LiveDrive”.