How to Connect an Audio RCA Cable to a Line on a Computer

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RCA connectors are used to transmit composite audio and video signals. Composite signals are analog signals generated by adding together different sine waves of varying frequencies, amplitudes and phases. If a computer has a built-in video capture card it might be equipped with RCA audio jacks. If so, connecting RCA audio cable to the computer simply involves plugging the RCA cables into the RCA jacks. If the computer does not have a built-in video capture card with RCA audio jacks, a stereo adapter must be used to connect RCA audio cables to the computer's line jacks.

Things You'll Need

  • Dual RCA female to 3.5 mm stereo male adapter

Connect to Computer's Line Input

  • Plug the stereo plug end of the RCA-to-stereo adapter into the computer's Line In jack. If you are using a desktop PC, the Line In jack is the small, round, blue jack located on the computer hard drive's rear panel.

  • Insert one end of the red RCA audio cable into the adapter's red RCA jack.

  • Plug one end of the white RCA audio cable into the adapter's white RCA jack.

  • Connect the other end of each RCA audio cable into the matching colored RCA output jacks on the sound source device, such as an audio tape player or DVD player.

Connect to Computer's Line Output

  • Plug the stereo plug end of the RCA-to-stereo adapter into the computer's Line Out jack. If you are using a desktop PC, the Line In jack is the small round green colored jack located on the computer hard drive's rear panel.

  • Insert one end of the red RCA audio cable into the adapter's red RCA jack.

  • Plug one end of the white RCA audio cable into the adapter's white RCA jack.

  • Connect the other end of each RCA audio cable into the matching colored RCA input jacks on the external sound recording device, such as an audio tape recorder or CD recorder.

Tips & Warnings

  • To make sure the line input level on a Windows 7 computer is sufficiently high, right-click the speaker icon on the right side of the taskbar. Select "Recording devices." Right-click "Line In." Go to the "Levels" tab. Adjust the slider as needed.

References

  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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