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Question on cables


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19 replies to this topic

#1 of 20 Jeff_A_G

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Posted August 26 2005 - 10:54 AM

I'm in the middle of upgrading my home theater for the first time in almost 6 years and had a few questions on cables to use. For the sound, am I going to notice any difference over the generic dig. coax as compared to an expensive name brand one? And for component cables, is there any standards to look for when purchasing these?

#2 of 20 chuckg

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Posted August 26 2005 - 01:21 PM

Some people claim to hear a difference in cables, I am not one of them. With digital cables, how much difference can it really make? I read somewhere about a guy who used coathangers to make a digital connection, and had ZERO bit errors in the data.

Expensive ones look really cool, though. Posted Image
--ignore the man behind the curtain

#3 of 20 Bob McElfresh

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Posted August 27 2005 - 08:27 AM

Hi Jeff.

You can use any generic video cable for the coaxial-digital connection and it will either sound perfect, or you will get no sound at all. The cable will either pass the characters or not. (Digital is very insensitive to the cable). I am using a $12 video cable in my system.

Component Cables:

Are you feeding Progressive Scan or HD video through them? How big is your display?

Short answer: for a under 40" display pushing standard component video - Inexpensive brands like the AR Pro2 cables from Sears/BestBuy are great ($29). If your display is larger than this, or you are pushing Progressive or HD video - order a custom cable from places like BlueJeansCables.com. ($48)

Longer Answer: Component video is a 1940's standard. It was designed to carry a black-and-white image to a 9" tube. When you buy a "component" cable - it only has to be compatible with this old standard.

Dispite this - ordinary component cables do a decent job as long as you are not magnifying the display too much.

Quote:
is there any standards to look for when purchasing these?

Yes. Everything you put in the video path (cables /switches/ etc.) should have a Bandwidth that is 3X or 4X higher than the signal you are pushing.

Here are the numbers:

Component video: 4 Mhz max
Progressive Video: 13 Mhz max
HD Video: 35 Mhg max

So you want a cable that has around 100 Mhz of bandwidth or more to handle all these different signals.

Most retail cables dont list bandwidth. This is why I like the stuff from BlueJeansCables. They use coax normally only sold to brodcast stations and production houses. It has the technical performance that engineers look for, and the dirt-cheap price.

Some other advice:

Re-arrange your rack. Put your reciever on the BOTTOM shelf. Leave room for venting. On the next shelf, start installing box's that you DONT touch to use (CATV, SAT). On the top shelves, put the DVD player, VCR, Game systems.

This will allow your speaker wires to flow out with minimal strain and keep them away from the interconnects.

Pull the AC power cords to one side and route the power cords to this side.

Let the interconnects dangle down the middle. As long as they are away from wires that carry power - they are fine. Or you can buy some velcro loops or "wire loom" from

Cable Organizer .com

SPEAKER WIRES:

(You did not ask, but I suspect this might be your next question. Posted Image

Buy a spool of good 12 ga wire and use it everywhere. No, you dont have to make all the wires the same length (this is a common myth pushed by salesmen).

Leave a foot or two of slack with each run of speaker wire so you can move speakers around a bit. You should also plan to trim the ends off, and un-cover fresh copper every 12-18 months.

BANANA PLUGS:

Yes, these make things easy and no, they dont interfear with the sound. I like the dual-bananas from Radio Shack (279-308) for behind my speakers. But these stick out a bit too much for behind the reciever, so I use the single bananas (279-306). Note: plug-spacing is NOT standardized. Buy 1 set of the dual-bananas to bring home to make sure it fits your equipment.

Hope this helps.

#4 of 20 Jeff_A_G

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Posted August 28 2005 - 05:23 AM

I already have 12 gauge running all my speakers and all the wires arranged as best as I can to not get interference. The receiver I bought (JVC's new digital one) came with a digital coax cable, and I am going to be using it to run my dvd player. I didn't know if it was any good as it looks like a standard rca cable and came with the receiver so I know its not of highest quality. If its not going to make any noticeable difference when upgrading to anything less than like $100 cord than I will just continue to use it. I'm also in the process of upgrading everything to progressive scan so I wanted to know what kind of cords would be best. The display is from a projector with the screen being 76" wide x 58" tall (I think, I have the measurements written somewhere that I cant find and thats what I thought they where). I'll definatly check out bluejeancables, but what things should I look for in the cords? Just the 100mhz?

#5 of 20 Jeff_A_G

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Posted August 28 2005 - 09:43 AM

also, I'm starting to think my projector doesn't support the component video (its SVGA, I don't have the manual right now to double check). On some of the cable websites, it says a component video adapter or transcoder is needed. Now if it is needed, how is that going to affect the quality? Is it going to be worth upgrading from s-video to the component if that box is needed?

#6 of 20 Bob McElfresh

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Posted August 28 2005 - 10:14 AM

The included coaxial-digital cable (as long as it looks like a coax cable) will work. Even el-cheepo cables work fine for digital as long as it is not falling apart.

Quote:
If its not going to make any noticeable difference when upgrading to anything less than like $100 cord than I will just continue to use it.

I actually saw an ad in a high-end stereo magazine trying to get people to spend $800 for a 1 Meter coaxial-digital cable. The people that wrote the SPDIF spec had a generic video cable in mind: 75 ohm coaxial. The expensive cable wont do a single thing for the digital signal that a $19 video cable wont do as well.

What to look for in cords:

Well, there are really about 8-10 different electrical properties involved and ... it will be really hard to look at a retail cable and tell how they perform.

Some generic things to look at:

- Never buy a glove-soft cable. Coax is a center wire inside a "pipe" of another wire called the 'shield'. Better cables are somewhat stiff and fight bending to maintain the center wire in the middle of the shield. Better cables are also packaged with the cables in a circle, not a tight back-and-forth blister pack. (You should also avoid tight bends in your cable for this same reason. Let the curve.)

- Look for snug fitting RCA plugs. This will have to wait until you get the cable home, but if a plug fits on your connectors loose - take the cable back. (This is one thing you do get with Monster cables. They have a reputation for the 'turbine-grip-o-death' plugs.)

Quote:
I'm also in the process of upgrading everything to progressive scan so I wanted to know what kind of cords would be best.

Make sure the cable says it was designed for HD frequencies. If it simply says 'Component video' - it is not.

#7 of 20 Jeff_A_G

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Posted August 29 2005 - 07:58 AM

After doing some researching/reading, I found this in the owners manual for my projector:

"Inputs are provided for composite video, S-video and (Y/R-Y/B-Y)/RGB component signals. It has a built-in scan converter that allows it to accept composite video, component video or RGB video input signal."

Does this mean I can send the signal from my progressive dvd player through a cable that has component cables on one end and the rgb connector on the other?

And as far as the digital coax question, should I keep the one I got with the reciever or upgrade? It looks like a regular component cable, but it says in the reciever manual that its a digital coax cable.

#8 of 20 Jeff_A_G

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Posted August 30 2005 - 10:43 AM

anyone? I'm looking to start this in about a week and I want to get these cords ordered asap so I can get them by next week. Thanks for the help

#9 of 20 Gabriel.H

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Posted August 30 2005 - 12:35 PM

Keep the coax digital cable that you now have, as for the RGB/component cable, I have seen some sites that sell custom made cables that have a component video connection on one end and a VGA (RGB) on the other end. From my experience the expensive cables have not much advantage over the cheaper ones other than the fact that they look much much nicer. One thing that you should look for (all of which were mentioned here earlier), is a tight fit, for coax digital cable a 75 ohm impedance (wether it is called a digital coax cable or a video cable if it is 75 ohm is what matters).

#10 of 20 Jeff_A_G

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Posted August 30 2005 - 01:52 PM

Ok, thanks alot. As of now, I'm just gonna keep the coax that came with the reciever and maybe get a nicer one later on if needed. For the component cables though, I definatly need ones that say HD correct? Or just something that has a bandwidth of 100hz or higher? Also, could someone explain what was meant by glove-soft cable?

#11 of 20 Bob McElfresh

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Posted August 30 2005 - 03:14 PM

Quote:
glove-soft cable

Some botique/expensive cables feel like soft rubber and will bend over your hand if you pick up the cable in the middle. While it feels expensive, this type of cable is not the best performing.

The professional stuff has a stiff outer sheath that fights bending. While this is more difficult to work with, a cable that fights tight bends is better for the signal transfer. This outer sheath also gives is 300 lb pull strength when you try to run it between production studios.

The custom places will tell you how flexable the cable is. If you need a 4 ft cable for just behind your rack, buying the more flexable cables are a good idea (Something made with Belden coax for example). When you go 6/8/10 ft from your source to your display/projector (or in-wall), go for the less-bendable cable (Like the Canare stuff).

(Sorry for the confusion).

#12 of 20 Jeff_A_G

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Posted August 30 2005 - 03:33 PM

thanks for the clarification on the cable. The one I have is just as flexible as a standard rca cord. Is this not a good thing? Either way I think I'll keep it for now as its doing its job, but keep it in mind as something to upgrade later.

#13 of 20 Tony Loewen

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Posted August 31 2005 - 09:29 AM

what type of projector do you have? It sounds like it has component inputs, no transcoder required [(Y/R-Y/B-Y)/RGB component] If you have a longer run to make, you can make your own cables with some rg6 and some connectors from radio shack. I have a 30 ft set of DIY cables, f-type connectors with f-type to rca adapters on each end. Like $20, max. I have expressvu HD satellite running through these at 720p to my sanyo z2 and they work perfect. You don't have to break the bank.

#14 of 20 John S

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Posted August 31 2005 - 09:34 AM

I would rank most of the DYI cables using RG6 as best period myself. RG6 is pretty amazing spec wise and probably bests Monster on spec alone.

#15 of 20 Oachalon

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Posted September 01 2005 - 07:40 AM

It seems like your projector is just like mine where it has hd15 inputs(vga) but it will accept component video through that input. What you need is a hd15 to bnc cable. It converts the hd15 to 5 wires. Red, Blue, Green, Horizontal, Vertical. The dvd player or high defenition box then connects up to the Red Blue Green wires and you dont use the horizontal and vertical.

http://www.national-.../10h1-17201.htm

Thats basically what you need. Not the one i use but i just googled hd15 to bnc 5 and you get a ton of links where you can buy one. After that cable you just get a bnc to rca adaptor and then you can plug your dvd player or whatever you want to in. Also when you use this cable your projector will either automatically detect it or in the menu somewhere there will be a choice to tell your projector that the plug is rgb and not vga.

#16 of 20 Jeff_A_G

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Posted September 06 2005 - 07:12 AM

ok, after some searching I found some affordable cables that look pretty decent. This is the 'specs' they list, do they sound good?:

Triple heavy-duty super shielded RG-59/U, 75 ohm coaxial cables to maximum signal transfer and minimize interference.

Gold plated RCA plugs to improve conductivity.

Color coded and labelled for the luminance (Y) and chrominance (Pr, Pb) Signals.

Stranded center conductor: 22 AWG (17/0.16) Super shielding: 120 % aluminum foil + 96/0.12 braid.


I will be ordering them at the end of today if they look good spec wise. Thanks for all the help

#17 of 20 John S

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Posted September 06 2005 - 07:21 AM

Sounds good to me. Local? Internet?

#18 of 20 Jeff_A_G

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Posted September 06 2005 - 01:10 PM

its a small local company that does alot of home theater/broadcast cabline, so I figured I'd check them out. They actually have decient prices too

#19 of 20 Bob McElfresh

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Posted September 06 2005 - 05:00 PM

Quote:
its a small local company that does alot of home theater/broadcast cable

Thats the best way to go. Cable components are NOT expensive - even the "good" stuff is less than $2/ft for the coax. But the expense is all in the labor. By finding a local company - you by-pass the shipping and save a few bucks.

#20 of 20 Jeff_A_G

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Posted September 07 2005 - 05:29 AM

yeah, I just got my order placed through them last nite. Under $60 for all the component cable I needed. And they will have it for me in 2 days. Quick and inexpensive.


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