Cable confusion

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John-Miles, Jul 30, 2002.

  1. John-Miles

    John-Miles Screenwriter

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    I was hoping I could get the experienced opinion of anyone who cares to respond here, I am totally and utterly confused as to how the different brands of cables will make a difference. currently i am using a PS2 for my DVD player but when i upgrade i will need to buy come component cables (the PS2 component cables will only work on a PS2) so basically my question is shoul;d i go out and just pick up 6 dollar RCA cables and plug them ito the component ports, or is it really worth it to go out and buy 150 dollar monster cables. or should i just go for some of those cheaper AR Cables at 70 dollars to so. Please help me here and if you have any links that would explain why more expensive cables are actually better then please point them out to me.
     
  2. Peter.LeBlond

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    I am also in a similar condition. I have to get a 4m component cable to run up to my new projector any day now. Monster Video2 4m are $100 but I can score a 4m AR cable for only $40. Can you REALLY see the difference. Like, with your eyes. I realize that theoretically, the better the cables, the better the signal you get at the other end will be. But are we talking about something that you can actually see?

    People with $50,000 HT's need not reply.
     
  3. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    I got a set at Fry's for about $25 (12 foot length) and they work fine. I believe they were by Recoton. They're thick, have gold ends.
    I'm not a "cable person." I don't think most people can tell the difference. On the other hand, there are those who claim to see/hear differences between economy cable and expensive cable, between different brands of expensive cable, between new expensive cable and new expensive cable that has been "broken in" by a few hours' use....
    There's about a hundred things that'll influence your picture for better or worse before you get down to the cables (unless they're defective). I'd say, once everything is up and working perfectly, the set is calibrated and you've used it for 100 hours or more, the room light is perfect, you've found your reference DVD, your line power conditioner is working, etc., then go buy an expensive cable and see it if makes any visible difference.
    Jan
     
  4. John-Miles

    John-Miles Screenwriter

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    Good point Jan, so you think i should try the RCA cables? you knwo i think i might try a comparison to see if there really is a difference that I can see. What a rip off if 6 dollar cables form wal-mart can produce a picture as good as 100$ monster ones
     
  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I tend to recommend the AR Brand or Radio Shack cables for "modest" systems.
    But a "sensitive" system can show defects and the cables can have a visible effect.
    A system starts to become "sensitive" when it has any of the following:
    - Display size > about 40"
    - Long run of coax > about 10 feet
    - Pushing Progressive/HD signals instead of ordinary component video
    - The display is a HD/HD Ready that does internal line-doubling/scaleing.
    While Monster is decent stuff, there is a lot of over-head to package, sell, ship those cables to your stores.
    Ask yourself: what do the video production studios use?
    They often buy Belden or Canare coax by the spool and custom-wire all their cables. The "good" High Def rated coax runs about $1.50 / ft this way.
    Yes, there are people who have a small side business making custom cables. While a set of cables WILL NOT be as cheap as the AR or Radio Shack cables, they are a lot less than Monster, and you are getting high-bandwidth, production studio stuff.
    Some places to price shop are:
    www.bluejeanscables.com
    www.wickedcables.com
    eBay (search for "Canare" and you will find Cable Solutions and BlueJeans cables for sale)
    If you have a high-end system and want silver-coated coax, they are available from:
    www.BetterCables.com
    www.catcables.com
    While not cheap at $120-$180, they are still cheaper/better than the high end Monster cables for $230.
    Dont forget the "10% rule": Budget about 10% of the price of your electronics for cables. So while you can spend $28 at Radio Shack for component cables, did you really spend only $280 for your TV and DVD player?
    Hope this helps.
     
  6. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Fyi:
    Here is a link about Acoustic Research Cables that I tossed in a quick cable price comparison. The important thing to look for with the custom sites is to make sure they use Canare RCA plugs and either Canare or Belden coax.
     
  7. Jim FC

    Jim FC Stunt Coordinator

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    The longest distance, by far, that an electronic signal will travel within a home theater setup is the distance between components, along the cables. At the same time, more interference is likely to enter the system through the interconnecting cables than at any other point. A cable that can carry the signal with minimal loss, while rejecting most outside interference, is a requirement for getting the most out of your home electronics... and the cheapy cables you get in the box or buy for less than $10 don't fit the bill. If you're using $5 cables to connect a $300 DVD player to a $2500 TV, you've wasted your money on the equipment, not saved it on the cable!

    There is a point of diminishing returns, however, and some of the high-end cables out there are way more than an average system requires. An average person with a decent TV can easily tell the difference between a $5 cable and a $50 cable, but not the difference between a $50 and a $300 one. Bob's 10% rule is a good way to guage what cables are right for the gear you have.
     
  8. David-T

    David-T Extra

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    Yes cables do make a different. I purchased a cheap S-Video cable from Radio Shack for my VCR and I got video drop out and the whites would bloom on my screen. I ended up going back to Composite Cable because of this, thinking it was my VCR. When I purchase my new Mitsubishi television I decided to upgrade my cable and went for Monster Cable and Straight Wire. My picture from my VCR using the Monster S-Video is better than the Composite Cable I was using and no video drop out. I also was temporally using the cheap Component Cable spliced into a RS-232 that came with my Line Doubler until I received the cable from Straight Wire and was the picture ever lousy. I thought the Line Doubler I purchased was a piece of crap, but it was the cable. If you ever need any special cable you can have Strait Wire custom build one for you. I now there's different levels on Monster Cables and what you want to do is to see if they are ISF certified, as far as video cables go(see website below). Don’t spend hundreds of dollars though, because at a certain point you do not see a difference in my opinion.
    http://www.imagingscience.com/manufact.htm
     

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