Audio cable - coax or twisted pair?

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by JonahWicky, Jan 4, 2004.

  1. JonahWicky

    JonahWicky Stunt Coordinator

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    I need to make an audio cable about 35 ft. long to connect my computer sound card to my receiver. It will have a 3.5mm stereo jack on 1 end and dual RCA jacks on the other end.
    My question concerns what type of cable to use. Does it make any difference whether I use coax or twisted pair? Are there any other options such as Cat 5 or just plain old speaker wire?
     
  2. JonahWicky

    JonahWicky Stunt Coordinator

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    DOH! Having read a little further into this forum, I see that coax is the preferred way to go. I also see that, while it's possible to make my own cable, I don't have the tools I would need and for just a single cable it's not very cost effective.
    So my new question is...where can I find a long enough cable to meet my needs? Anyone know of online sources for either long stock interconnects or custom length cables?
    Thanks.
     
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    There are some custom cable makers, but the cheapest way is to make your own. I have a link for a site that shows how to make high-quality cables with no soldering or special tools required. When I get my computer back from the shop tomorrow I’ll post it – unless the info has been lost.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Go buy 70 feet of ordinary CATV coax. (I think you can get 50 ft runs that are pre-terminated). Cut the 70 ft into 2 35 ft runs.

    (Note: Some electronic stores sell dual-coax. Get 35 feet of this if you can.)

    Invest the $15 for the crimper and $12 for the coax stripper (but you can do the stripping with a sharp hobby knife).

    Then install "F" connectors on each end. While at Radio Shack buy 4 of the "F-to-RCA-Male" adaptors.

    Radio Shack also sells a small adaptor to convert the 3.5 MM plug into 2 RCA-Female jacks.

    Put it together and you are good to go.
     
  5. JonahWicky

    JonahWicky Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the info. I am a little concerned that using a bunch if connectors and adapters will degrade the signal, which is why I was considering a single cable. Maybe that shouldn't be an issue if I'm just playing MP3s, since the quality isn't that great to begin with?
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Were your distance short, you could probably get away with inexpensive patch cables. Shielded, as has been mentioned, is the way to go which should make noise pickup a moot point.
    If you make sloppy connections then you get problems so don't agonize too much over this. Heck, they've got umpteen connections in the US rover that's down on Mars right now.
    FWIW, I'd pay more attention to how I'm ripping the CD's and choosing the best approach depending upon the resolution you're aiming for.
     
  7. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Radio Shack also used to sell a 1/8 jack to L/R stereo cable that was 20-25 feet long. I'm using one right now to go from my computer to an old stereo receiver I have in my office so I can listen to MP3s. It works fine. You can always extend the length by buying a 10-15 foot length of L/R stereo cable and 2 male to male RCA connectors to connect the two cables. I've also done this in the past and it works fine.

    cheers,


    --tom
     
  8. NickNJN

    NickNJN Auditioning

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    Try the RadioShack patch cables (50': 42-2480; 24': 42-2478; standard brown). I split the signal and ran two 50' patch cables between by computer and receiver. Signal loss shouldn't be much of an issue. But if it is, return the cables (less than $10 a cable).

    Going a little off topic, does your soundcard have an analog/optical output? Some cards that ship with computer packages (i.e. Gateway) actually output a digital signal. If this is the case, be sure to change the output to analog.
     
  9. JonahWicky

    JonahWicky Stunt Coordinator

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    That Radio Shack cable looks like exactly what I need. Thanks. My sound card has 5.1 analog output, but I just want to connect the front pair to my receiver.
     
  10. Jason_A

    Jason_A Stunt Coordinator

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    One 35ft coax cable with Rca plug connectors
    3.5mm stereo jack to RCA female adapter
    RCA female Y cable to 2 male rca connectors.

    3.5mm jack to sound card connect the rca coax to the female end of the adapter. Then on the other side connect the rca plug to the rca female y adapter. Then the two rca plugs to the receiver input.

    Bingo. Maybe some 60hz noise will be in the audio at the receivers end. You might not like that.

    [​IMG]
     

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