Best bang for buck component cables?

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by Brook K, Jun 25, 2004.

  1. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    Just bought my first HDTV and am completely confused with the choices on component cables. I have a Belden component cable that I accidentally bought and didn't use but I'm sure there are better choices available.

    I know Acoustic Research tends to be well thought of, but it's difficult figuring out the price vs. performance aspects.

    And what about some of the suppliers that advertise on the Forum?
     
  2. jeff peterson

    jeff peterson Supporting Actor

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    Check with Vince Maskeeper, an admin here. I just picked up a set of his hand made component cables to replace my AR set. A marked improvement in color saturation and clarity. Plus, I thought the price was right.
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Here is something you need to keep in mind: Component Video cables were designed for the 1940's component video standard: 480 lines of interlaced video. (4 Mhz max)

    Progressive and HD video have much higher bandwidth, 13 and 35 Mhz.

    While $39 AR or Radio Shack cables will appear to work, they are likely rolling off the higher frequency signals resulting in a loss of focus and color saturation.

    The custom cable sites dont do anything magic. They just do what the production studios & broadcast industry does: use HD rated coax and connectors. These cables start at about $50 per set - not a huge price jump over store bought cables.

    Component video cables made with either Canare or Belden coax and Canare RCA plugs have had great success here. People with some fairly high-end front projectors and 80-100" screens have replaced more expensive 'botique' cables with these custom cables and been very pleased.

    The custom sites treat our members very well because they know we discuss issues and word-of-mouth is their main source of new customers.

    Example: One customer bought a custom cable, but thought it was defective because the colors were off on his new Plasma TV. He posted a question here one night asking how often these cables failed. The next day he got a phone call from the president of the company who talked him through things to try. Turns out - the customer plugged one of the cables into the wrong RCA jack.

    But this is the kind of service you get with our advertisers. These are NOT 'botique' $$$ cables, just very good, professional grade cables by people who stand by their products.

    In about four years of doing this fourm, I have read posts from perhaps 3 people who did not see a improvement with a custom cable. The sites refunded their money without question. So it is fairly safe to try.
     
  4. Robert Garrison

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    Maybe can give you tip also. When you are shopping for cable for this application. Such as HD, if Bob's numbers are correct on the frequencies. The high capacitance of the cable will not make a difference. Since the higher the capacitance or frequency, in this situation, the lower the opposition to the signal. So a cable with high capacitance for high frequency use is good.

    If I am wrong someone please tell me.
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    You are wrong.
     
  6. Robert Garrison

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    Could explain to me how I am wrong?

    I was under the assumption that this simple equation solved for an impedence given known frequency let's say 34 Mhz and a known capacitance. R=1/(2*pi*F*C)

    F=frequency
    C=capacitance

    F=34 Mhz
    C=16 picoFarads

    R=1/(2*3.14*34000000*.000000000016)
    R=292.56 ohm

    Where as if the frequency increased to 100 Mhz

    R=1/(2*3.14*100000000*.000000000016)
    R=99.47 ohm

    Or if the capitican increased to 100 picoFarads and 34 Mhz

    R=1/(2*3.14*34000000*.000000000100)
    R=46.81 ohm


    I guess I must be missing something. Which makes me think about all those cable secs I've seen where the signal drops over a distance. Keeping in mind that as distance increases inductance and resistance also increase along with capacitance.
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    It appears that you're using the wrong equation in this context and this is leading to your statement that, So a cable with high capacitance for high frequency use is good.

    The equation you gave is often used in RC filter analysis and could be used, in the form that it's in, to determine the magnitude of a capacitor's impedance. Maybe it's more precise to say the capacitive reactance. Do some google searching on low-pass filters.

    Consider the implications if what you stated was correct. We could simply use a longer cable with higher overall capacitance (pF/distance * distance) and expect that the cable would perform better. Such is not the case.

    Now often, coax cable is used for audio interconnects or as 'digital cables'. Here again, lower overall capacitance may be desireable. If, in the case of an audio interconnect, the capacitance is too high, one can get HF rolloff or if using a passive preamp, simply be limited as to how long one an interconnect one can have. Further, some sources have problems driving high capacitance cables in digital applications because of poor current capability which leads to poor and imprecise transitions. Much of this is a moot point since most of our connections are but a few meters if that. It is precisely because of this that while RG6 or RG11 for that matter, is a technically superior cable with respect to signal loss and overall bandwidth, when the distances are small, this superiority is so small compared to a smaller gauge coax that it would tax the abilities of measurement equipment to differentiate let alone your TV.

    In the end use what you want. I happen to favor smaller cables for several reasons. They're lighter and hence place less strain on connections and they're more flexible.

    There are many reasons for losses in coax cables. Among those are the gauge of the wire, what the wire is constructed of, the nature of the dielectric (polyethylene, foamed polyethylene, teflon, etc.), length and so forth.

    As an aside, here are two links, among the hundreds that are available on the web, that deal with characteristic impedance and what it means in the context of say video cables. Perhaps they'll be of interest.

    http://www.canare.com.hk/Tech%20Note...and%20VSWR.htm

    http://home.mira.net/~marcop/ciocahalf.htm
     
  8. Robert Garrison

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    It just seemed to be mathematically that it would be a higher capacitance that faired better for less attentuation at higher frequencies. Since you mentioned it I hadn't taken into account that equipment might not like the cable. Of course an overly long cable wasn't what I was saying to use, at the time I was saying that a higher pF/foot wasn't to be concerned about. Of course a 100 foot cable for a three foot job is just silly. As you mentioned that capacitance isn't the only factor. Resistance of center conductor and shielding are a factor as such as inductance inherent in the cable. After I made my previous post I read up some more on the equation I used and came across an interesting concept. What if you were to have a cable manufactured or somehow manufacture a cable that was tuned to the frequency of the work at hand. Through a combination of inductance and capacitance inherent in the cable. Could you shed some light on how a cable with a higher capacitance shift the signal. I'm speaking phase-wise with relation to it's voltage and current.
     
  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I'm not sure what you mean by this nor for that matter the rest of your statement. In what context...audio, video, speaker crossovers, etc.? Maybe this should be a separate thread as it's likely not germaine to the poster's original question, which hopefully has been answered to some degree of satisfaction. What say you Brook?
     
  10. Robert Garrison

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    Your right about being off topic, sorry Brook. Hope you got the answer you wanted.

    I'll start a new thread in the Tweaking and Connection forum.
     
  11. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    Yes I did. I sent a message to Vince Maskeeper but didn't get a response. I'll try some of the forum sponsors.

    thanks for your help.
     
  12. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Brook,

    I sent you a reply that same day. I will resend.

    -Vince
     
  13. RobertC

    RobertC Agent

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    Vince
    Can you please sent me a e-mail on a price
    of home make component cables i did a 10 foot
    cable.And how long would it get to make.

    Regards
    robertC
     
  14. Cornelius

    Cornelius Stunt Coordinator

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    Belden is one of the makers of cable that most people here swear by. What kind of ends are on the cable? If they are Canare, you probably (as long as the cables weren't assembled incorrectly) have a much better cable than you will purchase from AR, Monster, or any other mass-produced cable.

    CJ
     
  15. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Good point CJ.

    Brook, is your existing cable using "Belden" coax, or is it a Belkin component video cable?
     

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