Are Monster cables overrated ?

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by Oxycontin, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. Oxycontin

    Oxycontin Auditioning

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    I'm about to purchase a new receiver and new speakers for my home theater system. I will be spending about $2k and I want to make sure I get some decent cables. I have purcahsed a few Monster cables in the past, primarily because I like their thicker build quality than the cheap crap cables you typically find at Best Buy etc.

    Before I spend the roughly $200 to cable the new system, should I look out for other brands than Monster? I will most likely be purchasing from Crutchfield and was just thinking about getting everything from there (they sell Monster only).

    I have a feeling Monster may be like Bose (all brand name and no actual quality).
     
  2. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
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    Well, the easy answer is yes they are overrated.

    I think the better answer is that they are over priced for what you get though they are probably better than a lot of cables out there as opposed to Bose which I think are just poor speakers regardless of price. Those Monster 'Turbines' are the stuff of legend -- python grip, but many people find them too difficult to attach or remove and many RCA connectors have been broken because they are too tight.

    Blue Jean Cables makes better quality cables and are cheaper too unless you are getting Monsters for 1/3 price.

    I actually like much of the AR mid line cables you can get at Best Buy though I think the AR higher line cable are starting to push the Monster Hype envelope.
     
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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  4. homthtr

    homthtr Supporting Actor

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    Yes the Monster Cable company are/is a marketing genius company. It's my understanding that monster doesn't even manufacture any cables,(don't mark my words on that, but I think that's how they do it) the put their name on it and market, advertise, market, advertise, hipe it up a little more and then advertise more!! Someone correct me if I'm wrong on the manufacturing end of it. Granted they are great cables, just overpriced in my opinion.
     
  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    We all have some Monster cables in our systems because they are so common. But for my HD cables I tend to buy custom cables like those from Blue Jeans.

    For Standard Def cables, I like the AR Pro or even the Radio Shack MegaCable line. (My coaxial-digital cables are Radio Shack video cables).

    For speaker wires: good oxygen-free 12 ga from PartsExpress is what I use everywhere. While speaker wires DO have a small influence on a music system, it takes some fairly accurate (or $,$$$) speakers and the nuance does not apply to a HT system in my opinion.
     
  6. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Short answer: Yes. I recommend basic cables from a place such as www.cablesforless.com, www.trianglecables.com, or a host of other low price cable providers - do a search here.

    It only takes very basic cabling to get the work done.

    If you want higher end cables for aesthetic reasons or have specific interference problems which require cables above the basic spec, check out forum sponsor www.bluejeanscables.com.

    And if you're concerned about spending money unnecessarily, before you buy your home theater gear at Crutchfield I'd recommend looking around for better prices elsewhere. (* Crutchfield has outstanding service and I've used them in the past, but their prices range from ok to list)
     
  7. BrianTwig

    BrianTwig Second Unit

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    monoprice.com is another excellent supplier of cables for all that I have read about them. I ordered from them and my shipment is arriving today according to tracking.

    If I am able to rewire and hook everything up tonight I will try to remember to come back to this thread and let ya know my impression of the cables.

    Of course my experience with cables is zero, so my review will be "hooked up easy, everything works, and audio and video is good" or it will be the opposite.
     
  8. andrew markworthy

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    'Is cable/interconnect X worth the money?' is a perennial topic! I think there are several answers:

    (1) the one that most people agree with - almost any specialist cable is an improvement on very thin wire with zilch insulation

    (2) the one that one minority agrees with - specialist cables do show an improvement and the more you spend the better the quality (though most of this minority would agree that there are diminishing returns)

    (3) the one that another minority agrees with - specialist cables are all the same; you may as well get the cheapest possible

    (4) another minority view is that there is no difference between the cheapest nastiest bell wire and ultra-expensive $100000000000000 a metre cable

    I confess that many years ago I used to be in group (4), but I then shifted to group (3) - I had to admit that where you have a plethora of interconnects and speaker wires jumbled together, decent insulation cut down on cross-talk. I think I'm still largely in group (3) but I've got to admit that in some quirky systems, some manufacturer's wires tend to sound and/or look better than others.

    Which is a long way of saying that in most systems, I personally think that any specialist brand is likely to be okay, so you may as well choose by budget, or if the wires are on display, aesthetics. However, in some circumstances a specific wire may indeed be better than others. But my bet is that in a blind test, you won't be able to tell the difference between manufacturer's products.
     
  9. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    To expand on Wayne's recommendation of Dayton cables, I purchased a Monster digital coax cable before I found this site and learned the truth. I have also purchased the same length Dayton digital coax cable for 1/4 the price. I compared them closely. Both had very good construction, quality wire, perfect soldering inside the RCA connection, etc. Both carried the 1's and 0's from the DVD player to the receiver with no difference in sound that I could detect.

    -Robert
     
  10. johnADA

    johnADA Stunt Coordinator

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    Oh, just dont stop with Monster with this ideal!!!!

    There is only a handful of wire manufacturers in the world.
    So you got a few that make copper stranding all the same way, with copper from the same mines and sell it to finish wire manufacturers.
    Wire manufacturers then add the shielding, insulation, NAMES etc according to ASTM/ANSI/UL specifications, which means each exact type is exact to each other, then pass them off to finish goods makers who apply the ends, package it etc. Oh you can ask and pay for extra things that make the wires look different, but there still the same.
    So what you got is a 26 AWG center core with quad shielding is a 26 AWG center core with quad shielding with maybe different ends and colors. But we are lead to believe they are in fact different in their abilities to transmit signals.

    This applies not only to copper cored wires, but as well to optical and any other type signal sending wire type.

    Monster is the largest known rip off, but I've seen cables that far exceed Monster's in ripping people off.

    I work in the metal trades industry and deal with the mills direct, so I know this to be true. We manufacture products for up to 1000 different companies, using the same techniques, same raw stock etc to make these parts and people swear by one manufacturer over the other, but we make both parts EXACTLY the same per each.
     
  11. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Wow. Stunning info there, John. [​IMG]

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  12. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    One time I went into a Super store, Meijer, and saw a bin full of audio video cables. They were selling each able or adapter for the same price, no matter the length or purpose, just $1! They looked like mid-line AR and I believe the package did say Recoton on the back. They were Labtech or something like that. Meijer was no longer going to carry the cables so I bought all that I could. They were some nice heavy cables, with forged gold coated ends and nice shielding. I just thought that it was cool.

    Now I have a question, has anyone heard of Straight Wire? How good are they in comparison to Monster, Audioquest, AR or any other brands?
     
  13. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    repost.
     
  14. RomanSohor

    RomanSohor Second Unit

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    you should definately by the Audioquest Speaker Wire that requires a battery :)

    I've had people tell me that they actually heard an improvement from it... so I guess it really is in the eye or ear of the beholder. That being said I can by Monster with my BestBuy employee discount, but my whole system is set up with AR cables.
     
  15. johnADA

    johnADA Stunt Coordinator

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    People that say they "HEAR" and improvement are actually looking for one to be made, within their mind, to justify the purchase, nothing more, nothing less. People are just gullible across the board to and old saying, that does at times, carry alot of merit, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR! But in this case its not true by any form since it cannot be measured.

    Anybody that pays more than a $1 per foot, then up to $5 per pair of terminus ends, just got ripped off.
    I guess your just gonna miss the point I made to justify costs and think things are really different than they are.
    All the base wire is created equal, within world wide standard specs. No wire can be made 100% shielded, which is the major contributor to its ability to carry a medium without loss/interference. Insulation is not shielding and can be from a few mils thick, to inches thick and it does not make a difference in its ability to carry the medium. Shielding is set by the standards commissions, which has found out you can shield to your hearts delight and not get 100%, nor improve with extra layers over what quad shielding does.
    And you gotta love the terminus ends ordeal, we must have gold ends. Well gold doesnt conduct as well as other forms of plating for one, but we wont go there. But any plating added to the ends carries the same properties, no plating sticks directly to copper other than solder. Each is plated with nickels and or other alloys, which then gold, brass etc is attached to. So under than precious player of whatever is the same thing.
    Then on top of all that, we have a small example of truth left.
    You have 2 pieces of equipment, audio or video.
    Within the cases is whatever connections your playing with.
    Those connections to the boards are what?? Shielded and insulated how???There bare!!! You believe that a heavy duty whatever cable added between 2 outputs is gonna make that better in its ability to make the medium become sound, video, guess again!!!!
     
  16. RomanSohor

    RomanSohor Second Unit

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    Sorry dude. I am on your side on this one. I thought the smiley face indicated that I was kidding around. (Well I actually did have someone tell me they heard an improvement, but thats another story)

    I have had many conversations about how the stores sell Monster M series as the be all, end all, only cables you should ever use with your TV, but then sends their installers out to run in-wall video cables with Liberty 5 conductor cable that they krimp RCA connectors onto the ends of.
     
  17. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    That's better.[​IMG]
     

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