Cables, wires, power conditioner

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff.bart, Sep 7, 2002.

  1. Jeff.bart

    Jeff.bart Stunt Coordinator

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    In putting together my new HT system, I want to replace all my cables, wires, etc. However, I don't want to spend an arm and leg and I doubt I will need or will notice much of a difference between good accessories and great accessories. I can always try the super expensive stuff later.

    Any suggestions for a good, solid and not super expensive brand? I've seen the Acoustic Research and Monster stuff in the stores, and have looked at Audio Quest, Bettercables, KnuKonceptz. I don't want to spend more than $100 for a power conditioner. Not sure how much I will need to spend on AV cables and speaker wire (preferably no more than $1.50 a foot).
     
  2. Phil A

    Phil A Producer
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  3. Phil A

    Phil A Producer
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    PS, Jeff, Welcome to the Forum.
     
  4. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    jeff,
    This is from the Beginners Primer and FAQ accessed in the Basics Forum:
    SURGE PROTECTORS. There's an Under-$100 link, too.
     
  5. Bill_D

    Bill_D Supporting Actor

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    We should either permanently archive or put Phil's answer in the FAQ.
     
  6. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    You can spend $800 on a single coaxial-digital cable.
    To try and keep things in perspective, follow the 10% rule: budget 10% of the electronics cost for cables.
    Of the various cables in your system, here is my list of what to spend money on, and what to save money on:
    VIDEO: This is THE most important cable in your HT system. Use the above links to get a good Component Video cable to go straight from the DVD player to the TV. Use SVideo for any other source that supports it.
    COAXIAL-DIGITAL: (this goes from the DVD player to the receiver). The designers of the DVD standard had a VIDEO cable in mind. Since the signal is digital, it is very insensitive to the cable. Buy a budget video cable ($25) for this.
    SUBWOOFER CABLE: (assuming you have a self-powered sub). The higher-frequency a signal is, the more sensitive it is to the cable. The lowest possible signal in your system is the subwoofer signals (10-120 hz). ANY good cable with snug fitting connectors will work. Buy a budget cable for this. (AR Brand, Radio Shack)
    SPEAKER WIRE: Compared to a music CD, A DVD soundtrack is very ... empty. And the data is highly-compressed. It just does not have the nuance/sensitivity of music. So for movies, you really dont get as much benifit from high-end speaker wires that you do for music. A lot of us buy a spool of 12 ga speaker wire from www.partsexpress.com and use it everywhere.
    So one high-end video cable, several budget interconnects and budget 12 ga speaker wire. What else do you need?
     
  7. Kevin T

    Kevin T Screenwriter

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  8. Mark Rich

    Mark Rich Second Unit

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    First you do not have to spend a lot of money on cables to get good perfromance.Yes, IMO cables can make a significant improvement on your systems perfromance.

    For surround speakers duty any decent 12awg cable will do.
    For the front (LCR) speakers use a better quality speaker cable because you will notice the difference here (yes,on movies too). This does not have to be expensive cable.

    For digital coax find a solid core coax design with good specs (low Cap,high propogration etc..)because here once again you will notice an improvement. Especially if you use your system for music as well as HT. One of the above online suppliers is a good place to start looking. The cost for a good cable is not that much and the improvement can be dramatic. If you are on a budget buy a good broadcast (Belden/Canare cable) video cable with Canare connectors and you will be off to a good start.

    For video cables I always suggest getting broadcast cables. Great performance for low prices.

    If you have a decent subwoofer and use your system for music as well as ht then buy a good sub cable. Besides decent connectors look for a teflon insulated cable. It can tighten up the bass notes dramatically (after proper set-up)

    Most importantly have fun with tweaking your system. Buy a cable and try it in your system. If you dont notice any improvement return it and try another. High cost is not an indication of performance/value when it comes to cables so experiment a little.
     
  9. Jeff.bart

    Jeff.bart Stunt Coordinator

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    Phil A, thanks for the tips and welcome. It was great to find this place.

    In a way, it's like I am Rip Van Winkle. After I built a decent HT system when I got out of college, I ignored the audiophile scene for more than a decade. The past three years I have been mastering computer and telecom technology (I write about telecom for a living). So here I am, ready to upgrade, and finding that the world of hifi has undergone a huge change. It's been fun but tiring to try to catch up. If I had found the basics section earlier, I would have looked this stuff up without troubling anyone.

    Bill, thanks for the direction to the basics page and to the conditioner info. Bob and Mark, your tips make eminent sense and will be duly followed. And Keith, I'll give accesories4less a look-see.
     
  10. Phil A

    Phil A Producer
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    Jeff, I spent a good part of my career in Telecom, not on the operational side though, at the financial end. Home Theater and audio is much more fun.
     
  11. Jeffrey Chin

    Jeffrey Chin Second Unit

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    I have 40k worth in HT equipment, but I spend only 5% on cables. Goertz + HT AC cords does the trick..even w/ my Krellys.
     

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