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I guess I need a cable/wire primer (1 Viewer)

mgh

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mike
Sorry All, but I'm kind of lost here.

First problem is I do not have all my components yet, so do not know exactly what I'll have for outputs. Also, I don't know what type of connections are prefered for best quality.

Are all the "normal" plugs, for component video, SACD, subwoofer all the same size? If so, does it matter what kind of cable I'm using? In other words, anything like an RC cable will work? Should I buy new cables? Will these cables affect the quality of the signal?

I found monoPrice.com but I don't know what to search for, 'cause I don't know what the cables are called. When I searched for "optical audio" I got a page showing all kinds of cables, and since I don't kow what they are all called or used for, I was still lost.

How important is the quality of speaker wire? Can someone give me a recommendation for speaker wire?

Thanks for the patience with me.
 

C&K

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Subwoofers, component, and composite audio/video all use RCA connections. Whether the wires themselves are different I don't know. I'd wait until you get your equipment before buying them. They usually come with little cards that tell you which connection is best, or it's in the user manual.
 

Ed Moxley

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You can get a 100 ft. roll of 14awg speaker wire, at Lowe's, for about $25.
They have some at Home Depot too. Get at least a 14awg wire. 12awg would be even better.
 

Bob McElfresh

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RCA plugs tend to be universal. But the coax - different story.

Look: your equipment will dictate the kind of cables you need. I will go through the basics, but dont buy anything until you see what your options are.

HDMI & DVI This carries a digital signal so it tends to not care about the 'quality' of the cable. This is the prefered way to send HD video & audio from a source to your TV.

Component Cables 'Component' cables have been around since 1940 and carry an analog signal. HD video has 4 times the max frequency of the old standard def video - but the cables look the same. Dont buy just 'component' cables. Make sure the package says "HD Video" or "90 Mhz bandwidth". Good, HD-rated cables can be bought for about $60 from places like www.bluejeanscables.com and Monoprice. I tend to prefer BlueJeans.

Note: All video cables (composite, SVideo, Component) must be made with something called "75 ohm coax". This is so the video signals see the cable as an extension of the input jacks on your television.

Audio & subwoofer cables Audio cables are a lot lower frequency so there is no rule about "75 ohm" coax. Audio cables are made with 50, 75, 110 and 300 ohm coax. If you dont include the subwoofer, you should just try to get the L/R or the 5 SACD analog cables to all be the same make & model to avoid having some channels slightly different than the others.

Subwoofer - these frequencies are very low and swing between 10-120 hz - a trival challenge for any RCA cable. I'm using a video cable right now. Once when I had to put the sub at the back end of the room I made a long cable with CATV coax and 2 "F-to-RCA-Male" adaptors from Radio Shack. I spent a total of $15 for a 20-ft cable. This is acceptable for subwoofer signals. Some people will tell you you can do this for video cables - but I disagree. Well-built video cables are NOT expensive and are designed for the frequencies involved.

Hope this helps.
 

hlain

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Thanks for posting this. Been pondering how to move my sub a ways away from my receiver. Have a box of RG6 in my garage. Just need some adapters now.

Hans
 

Bob McElfresh

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DIY subwoofer cable: Using outdoor-rated CATV coax works. But the coax is ugly, stiff and hard to work with to lay out around furniture. (it does not hide well). I mainly use this trick when playing with sub-positions around a room and not for a perminent install. A 20 ft cable is about $34 at Bluejeans and looks nicer and lays behind furniture better.

Mike: I missed something you said:
Ok - there are 3 types of cable you can use to send digital audio to your receiver:

HDMI - This cable carries both video and audio. You run a HDMI cable from your source to your receiver, then another from your receiver to your TV. You fire up your receiver for serious movie watching, or leave it off and it 'passes-through' the audio to your TV speakers.

Optical/Toslink - This is a fiber optic cable that you run from your source to your receiver. It is a very thin-looking cable made of glass so you want to treat it somewhat carefully. There IS a difference in quality - but even the cheap cables do perfect transmission. It's just they may only last 5-10 years and a higher-quality cable could last 20-50.

I tend to not like optical cables because of the expense and thin nature of the cables. It's a total perception, but I cannot help think the other, thicker cables will bully it when I'm not watching. :)

Coaxial Digital - This is simply a video RCA cable. (Yes - a VIDEO cable to carry the digital 5.1 sound). The designers of this connection wanted you to be able to run out and buy a comman-as-dirt cable for this connection.
 

mgh

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Bob

My mistake for not using "email notification", so I missed your last post. So I bought a "special" digital coax for no reason? I've got several RCA cables laying around. I do so love wasting my money.

I am impressed with all the A/V connections my inexpensive Onkyo has, but it does not have HDMI. I was told I would have to use HDMI to connect to display to get any benefit from an upconverting DVD player. Is this so, or will component video get the quality from the upconverting DVD player.

Thanks for all your help.

Mike
 

Ed Moxley

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all but one, dvd players upconverts over HDMI. The one that does it over component, only does it for non copy protected dvds. About all dvds (store bought) are copy protected.

Since your receiver doesn't have HDMI, you can run the HDMI straight to the tv, for the video, and use that special digital coax cable, to the receiver, for audio. Unless it doesn't have a digital coax output. Then you'll have to probably use an optical cable.
 

Bob McElfresh

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Ed got it correct.

HDMI has a lot of copy-protection built into the spec and this was the only way Hollywood would support HD-DVD, BluRay and up-converting DVD players. They are afraid people would use the higher-def sources to master VHS/VideoCD/DVD copies and and flood Europe and Asia.

Good component cables can handle the most demanding 1080p signals, but your machine wont output the up-converted signals on component because of the piracy concerns.

And you have to be careful about "rca cables lying around". You need a video cable for coaxial-digital connection. Audio RCA cables can be made with any of the popular coax types: 50 ohm, 75, 110, 300. But video and coaxial-digital cables must be made with 75 ohm coax.

(Actually - audio RCA cables will appear to work. But people who used the wrong RCA cable by mistake then complain about audio drop-outs every few seconds to every few minutes. Using a video or 'coaxial-digital' cable solved the problem.).
 

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