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Video: Wiring RCA cables to Phoenix-style connectors in a commercial system

Learn how to sum stereo signals to mono for your commercial amp

Commercial audio amps work a little differently than those we are used to at home, and you may have to modify a stereo connection to make a mono connection at the back of the commercial amplifier. Our expert shows you how in this video.

Read video transcript

Hello I'm Rob with Crutchfield's pro and commercial audio team, and today we're gonna be taking a look at wiring in RCA cables into the back of your commercial audio equipment that has a phoenix connector block. For today's demonstration we're gonna be using the Atlas AA50 commercial mixer amplifier, a tiny flat-head screwdriver, a pair of wire strippers, a set of stereo RCA cables, and i'll be introducing you to the Atlas YSUM cable for summing stereo RCA source devices into a mono phoenix block.

So to start what we'll need to do is take a look at the back of our amplifier mixer. And the back of this thing, you'll notice that there's a whole bunch of connections, some of which you'll recognize like the RCA connections in the center, and then a bunch of phoenix blocks that you may or may not have dealt with before, but that's what we're talking about today.

So the first thing we can do is if you've got a stereo RCA source going into your commercial audio stuff, I would say start with using your RCA connections first, even if that means not starting with input 1 but starting with input 2 or 3, and then just making note on the front of the amplifier what import source or what input channel you're using for your source. If all of those are filled up and you still have to get stuff in and all you have left is your Phoenix connected blocks, which is what these guys are, then we're going to need to know is how to adapt these cables to this. So what we're going to do first is double check our pin out on the back of our amplifier. Left to right is ground, and then minus, and then plus, and that fits with this connector this direction.

So we're going to match that pin out with our cabling on your RCA cables. What we're going to be talking about first is wiring in a mono, as in one RCA line, into that Phoenix connector first. So what we're going to do is actually pull this back so we can we don't get confused. We're just using one cable and what we need to do is get to the actual bare wire inside here, and how we're going to do that is just clip the termination right off the end. Put that aside, and then because we're going to end up making a jumper.because there's only two elements in here and you'll see that in just a second. What I need you to do is go back like two or three inches to grab this shielding off here so that we've got way more than we're going to need, so that we have extra cable to work with.

So in this case, there we go, put that aside. We're going to use all this time. You notice immediately that you've got two elements in here. I've got a shielded element and a braided unshielded element, and that braided element is our ground wire. We're gonna pull all that stuff aside, and the shielded element is our positive line, so right there we got two connections, but we've got three connections on the back of our equipment, ground, positive and negative. And what we're gonna need to do is create a jumper wire from our ground to our negative, so we got positive ground, and then we're gonna create a jumper to go from ground to that third connection, and we're going to do is create a jumper using thiss shielded cable from the inside of the cable.

So what we're gonna do is take this, chop it back about two inches or so, and we're going to turn this into a jumper here in just a second. So I'm going to put that aside with the rest of our stuff. We're gonna strip back some more shielding on this positive line. I'll kind of bind that up so that it's easy to work with, and then I'm going to cut our ground to match so that it's all sort of the same length when we go into our connection. And then I'm gonna bind that ground up so that that's a little bit easier to work with as well. There we go, so now we've got our positive and our ground connections that are going to go into our three pin connector, but we're going to create a jumper to go from our ground to our negative line. We're going to use that little chunk of shielded wire that we pulled out of the center of that cable. We're going to take another little bit here, we're going to strip a little bit off of each end or wherever that won't bind that up so it's easy to work with and then the same thing on the opposite end. There we go, the same thing right. So now we've got a cable that is nice and easy to bend, and that'll be our jumper wire.

So once again we're gonna review our pin out on the back of our amp before we actually wire this bad boy in here. We're gonna look at it like this to make sure that we got the right pins, ground, minus, plus, which means on here it's going to be ground minus and plus ground. And you're gonna get the jumper, so now we just fire it up. I'm gonna start out in here, plus wire up our jumper from bring our ground line in and our jumper from to ground, like so. So now we've got our connection here, ground, and our jumper from ground and then our plus at the other end which matches our pin out over here.

Once we plug that back in, you're all set for your mono input. Now which of those cables we used in this case we've got a color code, and we know that this is our black end and that's our red end so on the other end we'll know that black is currently connected. However, if you've chopped both ends off and you've forgotten which end you can always check your cable. One of these guys will have printing on it the actual run of the cable itself will have printing on only one of the two wires leading in, so if you follow that printing you'll be able to follow which connection you just made at the other end. A little tip for keeping yourself straight.

How in the event that you need to wire in a stereo source into your Phoenix connector, we can't just wire it directly in, at least not for high fidelity audio. What we're gonna need to do is get you a YSUM cable that is designed for stereo RCA and summing it down to a mono block. This probably looks pretty familiar now that we've taken a look at this little Phoenix connector block. You'll recognize the pins and the outs and the whole thing. Well this block is not the same size, and what we're going to need to do is adapt this into this by removing this end and wiring it properly into the other Phoenix block in order to do that. We need to know what these connections are our YSUM cables the Atlas YSUM cables that we use have the pinout listed on a little sticky thing that comes along with the cable, but the most important thing is to actually look at the cables themselves. You'll recognize now that we've built a jumper on this mono cable where the jumper is on this cable there's going to be one cable that you can see in the shrink-wrap.

Here it's this green line, you know, get you close on that insert so you can see it this Green Line is our jumper, so that has to be going between ground and minus. Because those two are jumpered it doesn't matter which one is ground and which one is minus, they're basically the same line but that means that the one that isn't jumpered is our positive line and that's really the most important of the connections to make sure that we get it right in order to make that connection solid. So what we're going to do is match up our pin out here to the pin out, again, ground negative positive. In this case we've got ground negative and positive positive is on this side with the non jumper and then we're going to take this cable apart, or take this cable apart keeping this green line as our jumper and we're just going to match that up to the pin out that's going to be on the back of our commercial equipment.

To make sure that we've got that connection nice and solid, so once again the jumper is our ground going to our negative positive is the one without the jumper we're gonna wire this guy up this direction adapted for our smaller Phoenix connector so that now we have once again a positive matching our pin out and our jumper. I can't stress that enough. Make sure you've got the right pin out, and then now we've got a stereo RCA source plugged appropriately summed to mono into our input channel on our commercial audio amp.

And of course if you have any questions about any of this you can always give us a call at the commercial audio department here at Crutchfield. Thanks for watching.

  • Kimberly Burkel from Cedar Hill

    Posted on 8/17/2022

    Hi, how do I connect it if my Phoenix cable only has two spaces not three? Thank you, Kimberly

  • Andrew Wood from Cincinnati

    Posted on 8/29/2020

    Would you use the same process connecting speaker wire? Would you use the negative wire for the ground?

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