Help me decide on length of cables

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JohnMW, Nov 11, 2001.

  1. JohnMW

    JohnMW Second Unit

    Dec 1, 2000
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    Unfortunately my new Hitachi 53uwx10B TV and Salamander rack detail.asp?sku=SALA5BS&product_name=Archetype%205%2E0%20Standard%20Five-Shelf%20Audio%20Rack
    will not arrive till next week. If I am going to be putting the Denon 3802 on the bottom, 5 disc Sony DVD on the rack above the Denon, then my Sony VCR, Cox digital cable converter, and the JVC SA70BK on the top.
    ...Will 3ft cables be long enuff to hook everything up properly? I ask because I am ordering the AR cables online since I cannot get them locally.
    The only ones I am really concerned about is the component cable from the JVC to the TV.....any ideas?
    In addition, do I need to get a digital coax cable to run from the dvd to the receiver? What exactly is it for? Do I still need to run a pair of stereo rca's from the DVD to the receiver?
    I apologize for my my lack of knowledge.
    [Edited last by John M Welch on November 11, 2001 at 10:10 PM]
  2. Matt Everett

    Matt Everett Stunt Coordinator

    Sep 4, 1999
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    If you put the receiver near the middle of the rack, 3 ft. *should* be enough for CD, cassette connections, etc. It may not be enough to get from your receiver to your TV, depending on how far away the TV is from the other components. (The connections on a TV that size may be further than 3ft from the receiver simply because the TV itself is about 3 ft. wide.)
    The most reliable method is to make a diagram with measurements of your furniture and the components on it and figure out what cables go where and how many you need! Admittedly this is almost impossible to do without knowledge you will probably receive after the fact, while thumbing through manuals. But if you can't get all the connections figured out beforehand, at least it's a good start. In my experience, 3 ft. cables work for about %70 of the connections I make. 6 ft. cables work for all my connections except speaker wire and subwoofer cable.
    I don't think there's a big sound quality issue at 3' vs. 6'. Price is the biggest issue. The best compromise will leave you saving some money buy not buying so many cables too long, without the agony of running too short.
    The digital audio out from your DVD player can be a single RCA cable (or a single optical cable) running into the digital DVD input on your receiver. All 5.1 channels of sound leave the DVD player through this one cable, then enter the receiver and are decoded into 5 channels of full-range sound and one channel of low-bass sound. Then they are amplified and sent to the individual speakers. If you have made this connection, you won't need to run the left and right stereo RCA line from the DVD player to the receiver. If your movie only has two audio channels, the decoder inside the receiver will give you plain old stereo (or Pro-Logic if you choose).
    At the beginning of the last paragraph, I stated you could use a single RCA cable, or (if your DVD player and receiver have them) an optical digital cable to send audio to the receiver. Which is better? Welcome to one of the biggest debates in home theater! I use a RCA cable because it's cheaper, and my old Toshiba DVD player doesn't have an optical output. Whichever you use, get a decent quality cable, as this is one of the most crucial pieces of cable you will run.
    I just posted a thread about the 6' Acoustic Research RCA Video cable versus the 6' Acoustic Research RCA digital audio cable. The video cable was $7 cheaper than the audio cable, but functions just fine as an audio cable. That's according to the blurb on the back of the video cable's box: "This cable is ideal as a digital audio coaxial cable connection"
  3. Jeffrey_Jones

    Jeffrey_Jones Second Unit

    Nov 6, 2001
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    While you could probably get away with 3 foot connections for most of your components I would recomend the six footers. It make it much easier to move components around once they are hooked up without having to unplug anything. It's worth it to me to pay for the flexibility.
  4. Mark Rich

    Mark Rich Second Unit

    Oct 24, 2001
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    I would second the recommendation of going with 6 foot cables. Rather too long than too short!
    A good component cable can be run up to 100 ft or more so don't worry about getting longer than you think you need. Stick with a broadcast quality cable such as Belden 1694a or a similar Canare product and you will be fine.
  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    May 22, 1999
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    I'm more of the "function-over-form" crowd. My rack has:
    Receiver/Amp on the bottom. (Dont want heavy box's high up in earthquake prone California).
    (Basically, everything I DONT ever touch on the bottom)
    Cable/Dss unit next.
    The units I interact with: DVD/VCR are on the top because it's a pain to stoop down all the time to insert media.
    This also allows my cables to:
    - flow the speaker wires onto the floor so I dont have a "waterfall" of speaker wires to fight through.
    - Route power cords to one side of the rack.
    - Route interconnects down the middle.
    This keeps powered wires away from non-powered wires.
    Hope this helps.

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