• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Battle of RCA Cables: Mogami, Amazon, Monoprice

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
35,737
Likes
140,559
Location
Seattle Area
This is a review, measurements and comparison of a number of RCA cables from Mogami, Monorpice and Amazon Basics. The first two were kindly provided by a member. This is a subset of the cables tested:

RCA Cable Review Mogami Amazon Basics Monoprice.jpg


And details of each:
  • Monoprice 1.5ft Premium 2 RCA Plug/2 RCA Plug M/M 22AWG Cable - Black
    • Purchased from: Amazon.com
    • $3.28
  • Monoprice 12 ft Premium 2 RCA Plug/2 RCA Plug M/M 22AWG Cable - Black
    • Purchased from: Amazon.com
    • $10.38
  • Monoprice 25 ft Premium 2 RCA Plug/2 RCA Plug M/M 22AWG Cable - Black
    • Purchased from: Amazon.com
    • $11.21
  • Mogami 12 ft Gold RCA to RCA Cable
    • Purchased from: B&H Photo
    • $105.90 for stereo pair (sold individually for 52.95)
  • Amazon Basics Male RCA Audio Stereo cable
    • 4 feet
    • $9.85
Ranking them in feel, the Mogami Gold easily takes the top spot with supple (but thinner) cable and nice metal connectors. Next is Amazon Basics which despite its thicker cable, is still pliable and has been so since I purchased it three years ago. Last and by far the least is the Monoprice. The cable is stiff as you can get it and connectors feel horrid in hand. So does the cable for that matter. It looks a ton better in picture than when you get it in person.

RCA Cable Measurements
I set up my Audio Precision APx555 analyzer to output 2 volts and analyze the same using its high-performance analyzer. I first ran it with its internal loopback (i.e. no cable) and then with each cable connected. Here are the measurements of all the cables. None showed any change in noise spectrum, distortion, etc. (some run to run variation is there with is immaterial):

Monoprice 2865:
Monoprice 2865 Measurements 12 foot RCA to RCA cable.png

Monoprice 2865 Measurements Frequency Response 12 foot RCA to RCA cable.png


Notice how despite is very long length, it is still transparent.

Monoprice 2866:
Monoprice 2866 Measurements RCA Cable.png


Monoprice 2866 Measurements Frequency Response RCA Cable.png


Monoprice 5346:
Monoprice 5346 Measurements RCA Cable.png


Monoprice 5346 Measurements Frequency Response RCA Cable.png


Mogami Gold:
Mogami Gold Measurements RCA to RCA 12 foot.png


Mogami Gold Measurements Frequency Response RCA to RCA 12 foot.png


I did not measure the Amazon basics for this phase but having done so before, it is the same as the above. That is, completely transparent in all respects.

"EMI" Interference Measurements
Owner wanted me to test for interference since he plans to use long cables. He pointed me to an online video test where the podcaster placed a number of XLR cables over a wireless charger and a couple of power supplies and recorded different levels of noise. He bundled all the noise sources together so not clear which was the one causing the noise. Owner was kind enough to send me a wireless charger to run the same test. I did but could not find any impact whatsoever on any of the cables. My own test of using an AC transformer though was quite effective in inducing mains noise.

Note that this is an ad-hoc test. Where you position the transformer on the cable may matter. As could the length of the cable, etc. But as a quick test, it does show us something. Here is the comparison of my Amazon Basics against Mogami Gold:

RCA Cable EMI Interference Amazon Basics Mogami Gold.png


Note that the vertical scale is massively enlarged. The peaks are down at -130 dB or so and would be harder to see if I kept the top at 0 dB as I normally do. Anyway, we see that the Amazon basics in blue actually outperformed the Mogami Gold! So I picked that for comparison against the Monoprice cables which turned in the worse performance:

RCA Cable EMI Interference Amazon Basics vs Monoprice.png


Conclusions
All of these cables are transparent for audio. While they did pick up some noise, that happened by completely touching a power transformer. And even then, the level did not rise to audible levels (although my AP analyzer may be more immune to this noise than your audio gear). So assuming you avoid touching a transformer to your cables, electrically all three cables have bandwidth that exceeds 200 kHz, and any noise or distortion is the result of the source, not the cable.

So it comes down to feel, pricing, etc. As I mentioned earlier, I absolutely hate the Monoprice RCA cables. I had bought some before and they were identical to ones tested here: just feel nasty and cheap although I am sure you could go a lot worse. The Amazon Basics remains my personal favorite in both feel and price. The Mogami has even better feel but you pay for that in much higher cost. Its thinner cable may have worse shielding than the Amazon Basics and hence the reason it picked up a bit more noise. I use Mogami Gold for XLR cables both in my main stereo system and for testing so it is hard to go wrong with it.

I know, not very exciting :). But it is good to get data behind what is a pedestrian part of our audio systems.

Overall, I am going to recommend the Amazon Basics and Mogami Gold. Stay away from Monoprice lest you demonstrate lower sensibility than I have in such matters! :)

----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

fordiebianco

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 11, 2020
Messages
149
Likes
226
Location
Essex, UK
Very reassuring. Will continue my morning listening session without cable-envy.

Thanks, @amirm
 

ernestcarl

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
1,705
Likes
1,193
Location
Canada
Overall, I am going to recommend the Amazon Basics and Mogami Gold. Stay away from Monoprice lest you demonstrate lower sensibility than I have in such matters!

Sadly, I have two or three boxes full of cables... I've got a lot of their RCA cables bought in bulk from years back. I don't want to use the word "hate" -- let's just say I dislike them thoroughly, and I'd rather use the freebie RCA cables one gets from random AV electronic purchases.
 

DSJR

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 27, 2020
Messages
1,068
Likes
1,269
Location
Suffolk Coastal, UK
I bought an Amazon Basics 1m cable (under eight quid here) 'for a giggle' and had to laugh the other side of my face pretty damned quick! Going back to my sighted subjectivist dealer days, this wire suitably dressed up could sell for a good few hundred quid as it 'sounded' so refined with less 'hash' than the dealer sold stuff used to back in my darker times.

Seriously folks, I was shocked and it's not as if the Amazon *looks* [email protected] either. I still have the remains of the 'subjective dealer' in me but as the head is taking over more now, I think I can deal with it.

Got to say for home made cables, I've tried some of the forum favourites of old, but do rather like the Mogami 2549 (incredible how our senses of touch and sight can dictate what and how we hear).
 

Kevbaz

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 22, 2021
Messages
105
Likes
173
This reassuring to read, I stopped buying expensive cables a while ago and moved to Amazon basic cables and couldn’t tell the difference. So overall I’m happy to stick with my cheap amazon basics cables :)
 

Kevbaz

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 22, 2021
Messages
105
Likes
173
I do wish amazon basics would make shorter cables for stacking amps/DACs as their smallest size is 1.2 meters which is just too big :(
 

Kevbaz

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 22, 2021
Messages
105
Likes
173
Does anyone know of a reliable source of Mogami Gold cables in the UK.
Cheers
Kev
 

killdozzer

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
642
Likes
589
Good thing about it, you can look for some that look nice to you and be sure they play just as well. These will be visible in my system so I wanted some dressing up (and they're cheap), Dynavox:
1636195328724.png
 

anphex

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
May 14, 2021
Messages
281
Likes
315
Location
Berlin, Germany
I know it's not really the test case here but I had a few 20-30 € gilded RCA cables that had trouble with ground loop hiss and the the 5 € tin (or aluminium) cable didn't have those. To this day I cound't figure out why.
 

filo97s

Active Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2019
Messages
110
Likes
205
Location
Sestri Levante
Mogami construction-wise is by far one of the best cable makers, for sure they don't sell snake oil, and one of the most professional (they even specify measurements of their cables such as high frequency characteristics diagrams of phase, attenuation and impedance). If you buy it by the meter you can save a lot of money: one of their most used cable like the W2534 ships for 3$/meter, pair it with a pair of Neutrik Profi RCA and you're good to go, you have the best cable money can buy.
 

nyxnyxnyx

Active Member
Joined
May 22, 2019
Messages
141
Likes
130
Awesome content! Now we have clearer reasons for people to consider whether they'd want to spend a lot on cables (especially when someone buys cables that cost way more than their sound system combined).

Is there any chance you would follow up with IEMs cables, and pair them with some established IEMs? As far as cables go, I believe the debate with IEMs cable is much more devoted than headphones and other accessory cables.
 

Count Arthur

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 10, 2020
Messages
1,144
Likes
2,260
Does anyone know of a reliable source of Mogami Gold cables in the UK.
Cheers
Kev
They don't sell the ready made Mogami cables, but they do sell Mogami cable, and you can pretty much have any length you like: https://www.designacable.com/audio-...coax-cable-angled-or-straight-connectors.html

I have some Mogami star-quad, balanced cables I bought there and haven't had any issues; although I'm just using them in a domestic set-up, so it's not like they have a hard life.
 

bloodshoteyed

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jul 31, 2020
Messages
664
Likes
2,299
Location
n/a
"EMI" Interference Measurements
Owner wanted me to test for interference since he plans to use long cables. He pointed me to an online video test where the podcaster placed a number of XLR cables over a wireless charger and a couple of power supplies and recorded different levels of noise. He bundled all the noise sources together so not clear which was the one causing the noise. Owner was kind enough to send me a wireless charger to run the same test. I did but could not find any impact whatsoever on any of the cables. My own test of using an AC transformer though was quite effective in inducing mains noise.

i think it might have been this video by Podcastage:

 
Top Bottom