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Using lamp wire to extend speaker wire?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Shadow, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. Shadow

    Shadow Active Member

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    Hello,

    This is my first post on this forum. I am a complete newbie in all aspects of Home Theater. In fact, I would have probably never even thought about the subject if it wasn't for the fact that my parents gave me their old Bose Acoustimass 15 Series II speakers. And, no, I am not going to sell them on ebay to get a better set. I am just going to plug them in and enjoy them as they are, for better or worst.

    Of course, the plugging in part is what brought me here. Being a complete newbie, I was about to post a question regarding splicing a few more feet of speaker wire, and the effect this may have on my system. But, I thought I would do a little Googleing first. To my delight I found this very interesting article that I thought I would share, for the benefit of other newbies like myself.

    (Oops, not allowed to post the link yet. Well, if you are interested, just do a Google search for "What's All This Splicing Stuff Anyhow". Click on the second hit so that you can see the comments about the article as well.)

    As to my HT setup, I don't have any big plans for it. I just ordered an Onkyo 605 receiver from J&R based on the good things I am reading about it. I have my parent's Bose speakers, and I have a tiny, but very clear Samsung LN-S2738D LCD TV. Yes, it is only 27", but I hope it is enough. I haven't received it yet. Oh, and I have a DVD player, but I can't remember what brand it is right now. I think it is not too bad. But really, considering that, before this, we used to watch our movies on a 20" Magnavox analog TV hoked up to our old Aiwa stereo, and we were happy!, I think we will be more than pleased with this setup.

    Any way, this is just my long winded way of saying hi. [​IMG]
     
  2. mikem91

    mikem91 Member

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    Well hello [​IMG]
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Well-Known Member

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    Hi Ruben. Welcome to HTF!

    Many of us started out hooking an odd-assortment of speakers, receivers together so dont let anybody tell you otherwise. [​IMG]

    Keep in mind that there are a lot of audio-myths that came out in the 60's and 70's about stereo. Some are based in fact, but have about a 5% impact on things, but are touted as rules.

    Welcome and enjoy your stay! [​IMG]
     
  4. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    And to reply to the question in your thread title: yes, you can do that without any problem.


    Cees
     
  5. Shadow

    Shadow Active Member

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    Thank you for the kind reception. I'll try not to be too annoying with my ignorant questions. I am trying to learn as much as I can on my own, but I am really surprised that there is so much to learn. [​IMG]

    I did finally checked the brand of my DVD player. It is an APEX AD-5131. It is almost new, since we have hardly used it. So far we have had it connected to our VCR through Analog Audio and Composite Video. I guess we were just happy to be able to see DVD's and never thought of the possibility that there may better ways to connect it. But, now, that I want to maximize the use of what we have, I am happy to see that I can output Component Video and Coaxial Sound, which I gather are my best options.

    Looking at the Onkyo 605 manual (downloaded), I see that the receiver doesn't come with any cables. So, it looks like, besides the lamp wire, I will be buying a Component Video cable and a Coaxial cable for the sound. Any advice on what to look for there?
     
  6. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Well-Known Member

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    What? No one's going to hawk Nordost Valhalla? For shame.

    I think Bose uses 18 gauge wire. You might be able to get some RCA plugs at your local radio shack or the like, and assemble some new speaker wire as well. Whatever's physically more reliable--just avoid shorting the cables.
     
  7. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Well-Known Member

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    There are a number of "rules" that people spout about.

    For the short term, however, my rule has always been, "make it work, then find out what you need to do."

    Thus, if you find you have a cheap set of cables: three RCAs bundled together, one yellow, one red, and one white, well, for most purposes, especially for a short run, that'll do for a component video run. If it doesn't work, it'll be pretty obvious. Now, can it be better? Yes, but in the short term, it'll tell you what does work and what doesn't work.

    Likewise, if your coax digital audio connection to the amplifier is just an RCA port at each end, well scrounge up an RCA cable somewhere and plug it in!

    For the vast majority of things, you can get away with murder on wiring, as long as you don't short things out that shouldn't be shorted.

    Now, before others yell at me for the above herasy, chances are good that Shadow is making this up on the fly. He may discover that his current state of the art is sufficient. And it may be true for ten years. Or by the end of this calendar year, he'll have replaced every component. But I think at this point, there are probably more important things for him to worry about than "are my video cables genuine Beldin 1695A with Tru-75ohm connectors?" (I'm making up the cable number; I can't remember off hand the catalog number for the RG-6 "Digital Brilliance" that we have rolls of lying around at work.)

    Leo
     
  8. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Well-Known Member

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    If your TV is a HighDef, you want to use component cables in case your DVD player can output progressive scan (480i)

    Otherwise - here is the improvement you can get with a DVD player using different types of video connections:

    Composite - baseline quality
    SVideo - 20% better than Composite
    Component - 25% better than Composite

    So you only get a 5% jump using Component over SVideo.

    Coaxial Cable - Go to Best Buy or Radio Shack and buy a Video cable for $10-$20. The Radio Shack MegaCable or the AR Pro/Pro2 brands are very good and inexpensive.

    The people that designed the Coaxial-Digital connection had a video cable in mind so you may have one lying around. BUT - with respect to Leo, use a cable with Yellow markings. These are always made with 75 ohm coax. People have used the Red or White cables - and they appear to work, but these are audio cables and are made with slightly different coax. Several times people have done this, but noticed that the sound would drop out every few minutes. Switching to a Video cable for the coaxial-digital connection solved the audio drop-out problem.

    CONNECTION:

    Run video cables straight to the TV. Run coaxial-digital connections to the receiver. This makes using the system a little complex, but it's the cheapest and sometimes the best way to hook things up.

    Later, when you add a Sat box, a Game system, a CATV box - you change the hookups to run everything through the receiver. But for just a DVD player and perhaps a CATV box: video straight to the TV, audio to the receiver is best.
     
  9. Shadow

    Shadow Active Member

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    Gentlemen,

    Thank you very much for your informative responses. I just have to give you an update of my progress because I think you are going to either laugh hysterically or cry your heart out for me. [​IMG]

    We received our new TV yesterday. A beautiful 27" Samsung LCD, HDTV ready, up to 1080i resolution. I had read that SDTV looks worst on LCD than in regular TVs, so I was prepared for that. Sure enough, when I took down our old TV and connected the new one in its place, the image was not great, to say the least. I figured, oh well, at least when my receiver arrives, I'll be able to get a good image from my DVD player.

    We get the TV signal through Direct TV. The way I had it connected was like this. From the Ant-Out of the direct TV box to the Ant-In of the VCR, and from the Ant-Out of the VCR to the TV. The DVD is connected from a Video-Out (yellow, composite?) to a Video-In on the VCR. So the only cable going to the TV was the one from the Ant-Out of the VCR to the Ant-In jack. That is the way I have always had it.

    But, now that I am turning into a Home Theater aficionado, I started looking at the back of my new TV to see what all the possible connections were, and well, it looks like it has them all. Then, I remembered that there had always been an "extra" cable dangling out of our DirectTV box. I turned the box around to see what the port said, and lo and behold it said SVideo. So, I turned the TV off and plugged the dangling cable into the SVideo-In of the TV. Turned the TV on, changed the source, and I couldn't believe my eyes. That was the best picture quality I had EVER seen on any of my TVs. [​IMG]

    For now, to get sound I have to have my VCR and my stereo turned on, which is not bad. But, I can't wait to get my new Onkyo receiver and properly hook it all up. Wow!

    Oh, and as far cables go, I have ordered the following from Monoprice.com:

    1) Digital Coaxial Audio RCA Cable M/M RG59U 75ohm S/PDIF Subwoofer - 6ft

    2) HDMI to HDMI CL2 Rated Cable (24AWG) w/ net jacket- 6ft (Gold Plated)

    3) 6FT 5-RCA Component Video/Audio Coaxial Cable (RG-59/U)

    I hope that is all I need. I still have to get the speaker cable. But, I'm planning on getting that from Home Depot (lamp wire). I tell you what, I'm excited now. I can see that from now on, every time I visit someone's home, I am going to be looking behind their TV to see how they have it hooked up. [​IMG]
     
  10. LilBro

    LilBro Member

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    Make sure the lamp wire you get is at least 18 gauge. That's fairly heavy for home use. Most extension cord use 24 gauge I believe.
    I used 16 gauge electric wire on my first stereo thirty years ago. My daughter is now the proud owner of the 90 watt beast and she's using the same wires. Just trim and tin the tips once every couple years.
    Someplace out there I saw an article or web site on the differences between Monster cable and electric wire. Bottom line - the price.
     
  11. Shadow

    Shadow Active Member

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    Will do. Your help is much appreciated. Thanks!
     
  12. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    If the length of the wires is > 15 feet, I would recommend 14 gauge or even 12. Speakers have impedances of 4-8 Ohms, and you want your wires to have totally negligible values compared to that.


    Cees
     
  13. Improvolone

    Improvolone Member

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    An HD ready TV still needs an HD-tuner to get HD channels.
    Also, 1080i is damn near impossible to see the difference of on such a small set when compared to a 720p.
     
  14. Shadow

    Shadow Active Member

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    Yes, maybe one day I'll worry about getting an HD-tuner. For now, I am plenty happy with the SVideo quality. Maybe it is because with a 27" it is enough? I wonder if the Onkyo processing will improve that image a bit? In any case, a 27" is all I need, and since having higher resolution won't make any difference, I guess I can rest in the knowledge that there will hardly ever be a better looking 27" TV than mine. [​IMG]
     
  15. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Well-Known Member

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    Contact DirectTV and ask about how much to upgrade with 2 ideas:

    - A DirectTivo system
    - A DirectTivo HD system

    You will never touch your VCR again once you have your hands on a Tivo/DVR/PVR system. Know how a recorded show looks a little worse on a VHS tape than it did watching it live? This will never happen with one of these box's. They store the digital bits from the sat so every viewing is bit-for-bit identical to the original broadcast. In my home, we almost never watch live TV anymore. Everything we watch is buffered/recorded because it is so much nicer to have control.

    If you like broadcast TV - one of these box's will change your life. I cannot emphasize this enough.

    AN INEXPENSIVE THING:

    You want to find on the internet or at your local Frys Electronics an indoor antenna called the "Silver Sensor". It costs about $29. Buy a $10-$15 hunk of CATV coax and hook it up to your new TV.

    Go to www.antennaweb.org and type in your address to see where you should point the antenna. Then let the TV scan for channels. If you even get 2 or 3 network stations in HD - it's well worth it.

    I bought one of these and loaned it to 3 people at work. Two of them went out and bought their own, then they bought me lunch. It's just a simple, inexpensive way to get a few HD stations.

    Hope this helps.
     
  16. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Well-Known Member

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    The Samsung uses a non standard, but extremely common resolution (1366*768p).

    I have a similar sized LCD, and HD and upscaled DVD from my Oppo 971 is still pretty impressive.
     
  17. Shadow

    Shadow Active Member

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    Bob,

    Thanks for your advice and for the antenna tip. It is much appreciated. I will definitely look into it.
     

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