In wall speaker jack only has 1 RCA per speaker


Mar 3, 2011

We just purchased a home with 4 built-in speakers (front right & left, back right and left). I'm going to be purchasing a center channel and have a sub as well.

I've wired speakers before but I'm stumped with how the current setup is working. Rather than your typical Red and Black cable outputs per speaker for the built in's, there is only a single RCA jack per speaker (4 total jacks in the wall plate - 2 red 2 black).

I'm struggling with two things...first off is the system going to sound terrible without having the dual wires? Second, if this is an acceptable way to setup the system, how do I need to connect them to my Pioneer receiver? Use all the black connections, use the red, use the corresponding color from the wall?
Each RCA jack has two connections; the center pin and the outer shield. Shield is traditionally ground with the centre signal.

However, RCAs and the wires they're used with can't carry the kinds of current typical speakers use. Usually, it'd be for speakers with a built-in amplifier. Do you know if yours are like this?

If so, see if your receiver has pre-out connections (like you'd often use for a sub).
I would remove the panel that the RCA jack is mounted on and check that the wire used is regular 2 conductor speaker wire. RCA connections are used for speakers in cheaper equipment but if you want to change the connector to 5 way binding posts or push terminals it's not hard. The positive wire (red terminal) should be the one going to the center pin.
If you choose to use the RCA jack you will need speaker wire with an RCA at one end and bare wire at the other for your receiver. Always red and black for each speaker (unless your receiver has the new surround sound color coded speaker connections). Black is always minus in any case.
If you are not sure which pair goes to which speaker you can connect and disconnect a AA battery across two paired speaker wires. When you connect the 2nd wire the woofer will move out and make a noise that will allow you to determine which speaker goes to which terminal. When the woofer moves outward the wire going tot he plus of the battery is the plus or red connection for the speaker. Mark them and connect the receiver for your room arrangement.