Coaxial Cables: Opening up a can of...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Howard_S, Dec 13, 2001.

  1. Howard_S

    Howard_S Supporting Actor

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    Okay. I'm pretty to having decided what I want so I'm onto cables now. Since all the sound comes from the Coaxial cable should I spend the money on something really good? I use AR pro series coaxial cable right now and I was thinking of getting something from brands like MIT. What do you think guys? I am a firm believer that cables make a difference so I am not out to discuss whether really cheaply shielded cables will be as good as decent ones from AR for example. My question is whether the high end coaxial cables are worth getting as opposed to Ultralinks or AR cables that are reasonably priced and of reasonable quality.
     
  2. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    Simply put- NO, I do not think the high priced cables are worth the money.
    You can get equally high-quality, well-made, well-shielded cables, using raw cable from Canare(e.g. L-5CFB or LV-77S) or Belden (e.g. 1694A or 8281), for a fraction of the cost. DIY from Markertek. I don't know who's doing ready made these days, as Better Cables has moved on to Silver.
    Remember, you need a clean, solid, impedance-matched connection for best signal transfer. You do not need an expensive one.[​IMG]
    Todd
     
  3. Howard_S

    Howard_S Supporting Actor

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    Do I need silver ones or is copper just as good?
     
  4. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    Check out the prices on the Silver Serpents. A full complement for all sources in a HT rack would probably run close to $1000. If you NEED that, then, hey, it's your money.[​IMG]
    Silver is the best conductor. Copper is second. I went the DIY route with Canare cable and their true 75ohm connectors, and I probably have about $8-9 (average) in each cable, total. Good thing, because with DD/dts, DVD, Replay, SVHS, HDTV, and the ability to playback and record from all sources, as well as multi-room capability, there is a LOT of wire behind my rack.
    You know, to be frank, since you currently use the AR cables, I'd stick with those. They're not bad.
    Todd
     
  5. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    Sorry, but....

    If it helps your decision then please be aware that coxial cable by its very design can carry bitrates of over 45 megabits/sec with ZERO framing errors for hundreds of meters. Yes, that is ZERO loss, zero interference, zero anything.
     
  6. Howard_S

    Howard_S Supporting Actor

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    It's not like I'll go all out on cables.

    I'm willing to spend the money for an S-Video to connect DVD to TV if it makes a difference and I'm willing to spend the money on a coaxial cable to connect from DVD to receiver if it makes a difference.

    I have digital cable so of course I won't spend mega bucks on S-Video there.

    If I'm going to pay the money for the 49tx I think it's only right that I explore the possibilities for better cables. Besides I'm not upgrading my cables but buying new cables so either I buy the same Ultralinks or AR that I have or I buy something better. Any suggestions?

    Silver are better conductors yes but in it generally perceived as being something to get in the HT world?
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    The conductivity of silver is approx 6% greater than that of copper so a slightly amount (call it thicker...greater cross-sectional area) would negate the lower resistance of silver. Have you considered posing your question to whatever cable supplier you're considering? Perhaps they have some data to substantiate why their product is better than what you're currently using.
     
  8. Kevin_W

    Kevin_W Second Unit

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    Howard,
    I went from using the AR coaxial cable to using the canare DIY cables Todd mentioned. Did I hear a difference? No, not that I can tell. Do I feel a build quality difference? Yes, for sure. My HT system is very mainstream mid-fi stuff (denon, toshiba, def tech etc), and I don't think I'll ever hear the cable differences in this setup, but build quality is something I can surely identify and that was equally as important to me. I don't know what type of system you have, but I think you might get the same audible results.
    Kevin
    ...just to thwart any onslaughts - this is all IMO... [​IMG]
     
  9. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    Howard, Goosey, Goose-Akuma,
    I went from using a Monster 100 series coax to a CatCables "BlackCat" digital coax (silver plated) and i'm not sure if i really hear a difference but, the cable sure is pretty (terminated with "WBT TopLine" locking RCA's [​IMG] ) If you want to spend the jing, go for it.
     
  10. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Coaxial cable quality don't mean squat if you ask me. I'm using $7.00 coaxial cables I got at a freaking hardware store and they're perfect.

    Just my opinion. I'm a believer in decent quality analog audio cables, but for digital, just use something cheap.
     
  11. Howard_S

    Howard_S Supporting Actor

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    Thanks guys. I guess I'll just stick with decent cables such as AR or Ultralinks then. At the very least they feel substantial enough.
     
  12. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    Howard,

    If you are going to be listening to PCM material, then IMO it is worth it system dependent. For DD/DTS listening, probably not.
     
  13. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Howard: I agree with what Mark said. If you are using an outboard DAC(your pre/pro or receiver) to decode a PCM signal from your CD player or transport, then a better coaxial cable might be in order to try to prevent timing errors. However, if you are only using your outboard DACs to digitally process DD and DTS signals for movie playback, then any decent Coax cable with sturdy connectors should suffice. I am using a 40' run of plain old RG-6QS cable with soldered RCA connectors to connect my DVD player to my preamp/processor. Since I only use my DVD player for movie playback, this inexpensive cable does the trick perfectly.
     
  14. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Howard:

    You are sitting in Canada and you type a DIGITALLY ENCODED message onto your computer.

    It travels through IE/Netscape, through your Operating system (Mac/Win95/98/me/Unix) to your hardware (Mac/Compaq/Gateway/Clone) to some internet connection (Analog Modem/Cable Modem/DSL) to hundreds/thousands of feet of wire to reach your Internet Service Provider.

    Here your message is broken up into a packet/packets and makes jump after jump after jump across the country & the world until it reaches the Unix system that runs the HTF fourm web site.

    Here it is formatted into a web page and starts the return trip over different wires, through different computers, through different operating systems, it goes up to a satelite system (with no wires) and down to a small dish on my house.

    I read your message, a bit-for-bit PERFECT copy of what you typed in Canada, after it has gone through litterally THOUSANDS of miles over hundreds of different wires and a satelite link.

    All to ask: "Will buying a more expensive coax cable to transmit digital signals 4 feet make a difference?"

    Short Answer: "No".
     
  15. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    Short question: "Does the signal chain from a CD player to a receiver use most of the error correction and recovery techniques used in internet data transmissions?"

    Short answer: "No."
     
  16. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Bob,

    Incredibly flawed point.

    The digital message he sent is about 1/8 of a K. A CD or a digital audio bitstream contains about hundreds of MEGABYTES of digital data, extremely time sensitive.

    Transferring 1/8 of a K of ditial data which has no time sensitivity and sending hundreds of megabytes of time sensitive data are two very very different things.

    Have you ever had a multi megabyte download crap out on you? I know I have, particularly using modems. Then you can see why this cable can make a difference. At least theoretically.
     
  17. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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  18. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  19. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Philip: perhaps I missed emphasizing the point.
    People throw the word DIGITAL around like a over-used marketing term. There is a LOT of power in DIGITAL ENCODING of data vs Analog.
    Think of a K-band sat dish. It takes a 9 foot dish to receive video/audio one way, time sensitive ANALOG signal.
    Look at a DSS dish. It takes a 18-21" mini-dish to receive video/audio one way, time sensitive DIGITAL signal.
    It's a DRAMATIC reduction in the size of the antenna to transmit the same information digitally.
    Thats because Digitally Encoded data is much less sensitive to the transmission medium.
    Now look at a analog video cable and a coaxial digital cable. Do you see the same reduction in the cable? No.
    The inexpensive coaxial cable is actually over-kill for the digital data. But it's cheap so we use it.
    I do apologize for venting my frustration on Howard. (I'm having a bit of a bad day.) I'm just amazed at how people sit in front of/use major technology and be clueless as to what is involved in it's workings.
    I blame the high-end cable companies. They use "junk science" or "techno-babble" to make people feel like having digital devices means digital signals are somehow "special" and need extra care/expensive wires. When in truth, digital does away with a lot of issues that plague analog signals.
    But the cable companies bet that you dont know science, that you dont look at numbers, and that you dont ever think about the higher-technology tools you use casually each day. They profit from this ignorance/lack of thought.
    Yes, I am over-emotional about the "assume the consumer is stupid so we can sell them crap" issue. I apologize again for the rant.[​IMG]
     
  20. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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