Connecting my new HT

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by MiguelRH, May 12, 2003.

  1. MiguelRH

    MiguelRH Auditioning

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    Hey guys,

    I just bought a set of Axiom speakers (Epic Grand Master) and tomorrow I'll go audition some Rotel electronics. I'm thinking of getting the RSX-1055 until I can afford separates.

    And now... yes... I need to hook them up!

    Can you provide some recommendations on speaker wire and connectors good enough to make this setup justice, but not as expensive as if I had bought the Rotel separates? [​IMG]

    These are the lengths I need - hope you can understand the metric units!

    Subwoofer - 1.5 meters
    Mains - 5m x 2
    Center - 4m
    Surrounds - 7.5m x 2

    I also need 6 analog connectors since I'll be using my DVD-A/SACD player.

    Thanks for any tips!

    Miguel
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    My advice is to start with good grade 12 ga wire, get used to the sound for a few months, then audition more exotic wire after you become accustomed to the sound. This is the only way for you to judge if more expensive wires are worth the $$$.

    The Sound King brand of speaker wire from www.partsexpress.com is well respected. Get a spool and use it for all your speakers.

    The subwoofer: nearly any good audio interconnect will work. Subwoofer signals are very, very low frequency and only go from about 20-120 hz - a trivial challenge for any cable.

    But there are some things to watch for:
    • Subwoofers seem to be sensitive to having tight-fitting RCA plugs. This may be why Monster has those "Turbine Grip-of-Death" plugs. While I do push inexpensive cables, make sure the sub cable is not loose/easy.
    • Often a self-powered subwoofer causes a ground-loop hum. One solution is to buy a real "Subwoofer Cable" with little arrows on it to show the signal flow. The real trick is this: The destination plug is NOT connected to the shield. This breaks the ground loop. You might hedge your bets and start with one of these.


    Think of the cables/wires as the container you drink wine from. Stryofoam, plastic, glass mug and a wine glass all flavor the experience a bit, but the wine is still the same in all cases.

    PS: Dont let the salespeople 'shame' you into buying exotic wires with comments like: "That gear deserves good wires" or "dont cripple your system with cheap wires". These guys make a HUGE profit on wires. Start with the good quality 12 ga, then audition other wires a few months down the road.


    Good Luck.
     
  3. MiguelRH

    MiguelRH Auditioning

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    Bob, thanks a lot for your detailed reply. Your recommendations make a lot of sense.

    A couple of follow-up questions:

    1) What does "ga" stand for, and what do those units measure? I've noticed that the lower the "ga" value, the higher the "$" value [​IMG] So I guess in this case, lower is better.

    2) Following your recommendation and getting wire from The Sound King, also means that I need to assemble the cables myself. Is there any type of connector (maybe banana plugs?) that don't need to be soldered?

    3) And finally, any particular brand that you recommend for interconnects?

    Again, thanks a lot for taking the time to answer.

    Miguel
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    1) ga stands for GAUGE. It's a funny measure of thickness.

    Think of a thick copper rod.

    You run the rod through a press to squish it down thinner. If you run it through more times, the rod gets very thin.

    12 gauge wire was 'squished' 12 times.

    16 gauge wire was 'squished' 16 times so it's thinner than 12 gauge.

    2) I'm a big fan of the dual banana plugs from Radio Shack (2xx-308). They handle 12 ga just fine and work great for behind your speakers. If they stick out too far for the receiver end, go with the single bananas (2xx-306).

    All you need is an inexpensive wire stripper. Just take your time, practice on a spare foot of wire and make sure no strands of copper stick out to cause a short.

    Note: Not all binding posts have the same spacing. Buy 1 set of the dual-banana plugs to bring home and measure.

    3) I know more about video interconnects rather than audio interconnects. In the video world, the custom-cable sites are usually outstanding values. (We are talking 'custom' not 'botique' that charge you $800 for a 1 meter cable).

    This thread on HT Accessories has some links. Our very own sponsor www.bettercables.com has an outstanding reputation for video, so I can only assume their audio interconnects are as good.
     
  5. MiguelRH

    MiguelRH Auditioning

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    Hey Bob, thanks for your help. I followed your advice and ordered the "kit" from Parts Express. It's here already, that was fast.

    I'll spend most of the weekend preparing the cables and hooking everything up.

    Total price, including a S-VHS and a subwoofer cable, about $180 [​IMG]

    Take care and thanks again.

    Miguel
     

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