Bigger difference with: new cables or line conditioner?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by tom_furman, Aug 6, 2001.

  1. tom_furman

    tom_furman Stunt Coordinator

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    i am currently using rat shack gold, and a plain 'ol surge protector w/ no line conditioner.
    will i notice a bigger difference in quality if i buy some canare cables to replace my existing cables, or a monster line conditioner for my 10yr old house?
     
  2. James Q Jenkins

    James Q Jenkins Stunt Coordinator

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    Whether or not a power conditioner will help has nothing to do with your house and everything to do with the electrical situation outside your house. In general there's no way to know whether one will make a difference without buying one. However, power conditioners in general offer far superior surge protection than cheap "surge protectors" so I'd say that's the way to go.
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    -JQJ
     
  3. Greg Cellini

    Greg Cellini Agent

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    Hi Tom,
    James isn't far off the mark. However your post seemed to indicate a question as to what component, Cables or Line Conditioner, would produce the most noticable (audible?) difference in your system. Replacing your cables may or may not produce an audible difference. As you are starting with Radio Shack cables, I'd hazzard a guess that you will notice a significant difference-Canare is an excellent quality cable. Per James recommendation, a line conditioner is always a welcome "preventative maintanence" addition to any electronic application. However, your house is not that old. If your power has always been reliable and clean, a line conditioner is certainly not a necessity and will NOT affect the sound quality of your system.
    Best wishes,
    Greg
     
  4. Lee Bailey

    Lee Bailey Second Unit

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  5. tom_furman

    tom_furman Stunt Coordinator

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    when you say replacing your outlet you mean literally replacing the outlet inside the wall? hum...
    http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDUS...g_zip_code.jsp
    so something like that? i'd buy the best one they carry but thats the first picture i found
    [Edited last by tom_furman on August 06, 2001 at 01:18 PM]
     
  6. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Tom: The Sensible Sound magazine took a $800 line conditioner and passed it around for review. The same unit produced little difference for one reviewer, but made a big difference in another system.
    One reviewer lived out in the country, the other in a city apartment. Very different power situations.
    If you can find a local dealer with the Monster 3500 unit, buy it for a home-trial just to see if it makes a difference. But my advice would be to do a VIDEO test, not audio as your eyes are much more sensitive than your ears. (And remember, the Monster unit for $200-300 is somewhat low-end. Most of the other conditioners are $500+).
    Please remember that with a power-conditioner, you are looking for a lack-of-defects.
    For cables, are you talking Audio or Video?
    For audio, you should already be using a digital connection between your transport and receiver, so Radio Shack/AR/Canare will not make a difference.
    But for Video, this is where the Canare cables, with those true 75 ohm connectors really shine.
    If you have a long run (> 6 feet), or have a display bigger than 45", or are shoving progressive/HD signals down the wires, then the choice is obvious: buy some nicer video cables. Much better "bang-for-the-buck".
    Please let us know what you decide to do, and what improvement you find.
     
  8. Graeme Shiomi

    Graeme Shiomi Stunt Coordinator

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    Tom,
    It's been my experience that dealers are usually pretty good with letting people audition power-conditioners and cables at home before buying. Usually because they know that these items are VERY system dependant, and that many people are skeptical when it comes to these items. It doesn't hurt that they are usually fairly portable and robust.
    I'd definitely head to some of your local dealers and ask if they will let you borrow some cables or conditioners (a lot of dealers have some of these sitting around) for a week.
    Graeme
     
  9. Bob Marker

    Bob Marker Stunt Coordinator

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    Based on my experience, I'd be cautious about spending money on more expensive cables. Call me a "tin ear", but I have never been able to detect sonic differences between inexpensive cable such as that sold by Radio Shack vs the far more expensive cables I have purchased for my system over the years in what turned to be an ultimately fruitless attempt to improve sound quality.
    Saurva mentioned cable tests conducted by John Dunlavy. Here is a excerpt from a 1996 paper written by Mr. Dunlavey that is especially interesting:
    "Oh yes, we have heard of golden-eared audiophiles who claim to be able to consistently identify huge audible differences between cables. But when these experts have visited our facility and were put to the test under carefully-controlled conditions, they invariably failed to yield a score any better than chance. For example, when led to believe that three popular cables were being compared, varying in size from a high-quality 12AWG ZIP-CORD to a high-tech looking cable with a diameter exceeding an inch, the largest and sexiest looking cable always scored best - even though the CABLES WERE NEVER CHANGED and they listened to the ZIP cord the entire time."
     
  10. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    While I haven't done much testing with speaker cables I have easily heard differences in interconnects. This was a blind test with two other people listening and we both picked the two cables apart. Anyway I think a lot will depend on the system you're using and the type of power yo're getting. It might do you good just to add a dedicated power outlet so the gear isn't shareing power with something else. You might also check out http://www.catcables.com
     
  11. Westly T

    Westly T Second Unit

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    As many have just said, whether a power conditioner will help or possibly hinder good sound will depend on your location and the power that is supplied. If there are no power problems, the power conditioner will likely do little more then to help assure protection for your equipment. I'd vote for the cables, and perhaps borrow a conditioner to see if it'll help in your situation before making the decision.
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    - Wes
    My Home Theater
    The MMG were replaced with 1.6QR's and added Marantz MA-700's. SVS is here. Ok, allot more then that has changed, I'll update my page some day...
     

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