Interconnect cables

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Don K, Jan 1, 2002.

  1. Don K

    Don K Agent

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    I just started looking at interconnect cables and was surprised at the cost. I know the ones that come with components should be replaced. I plan to buy a Denon 3802 and wanted suggestion as to an affordable interconnect cable that doesn't end up costing more than my receiver? Or is it even worth spending the extra money?
     
  2. Marc Rochkind

    Marc Rochkind Second Unit

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    I think the way to save money is by prioritizing where you really need the quality. On my system, I have probably 20 interconnects, but exactly two of them really matter:

    1. Digital coax from DVD to receiver.

    2. Component video from DVD to TV.

    There are lots of S-video and analog audio cables, and even some antenna coax and composite video, but all of that is for casual purposes. So kids can play tapes, to watch commercial TV, to see the receiver's menus, etc. None of that matters much to me. I bought some of the cables at Target, and some just came with the equipment.

    Your own priority list is different, but I think having one allows you to save money.

    There are lots of makers of cables, and lots of places to buy them. At retail, you can't go wrong with AR or Monster, although the latter are expensive. But, for only 2 cables, that didn't much matter to me.
     
  3. Don K

    Don K Agent

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    Thanks Mark that does make sense.
     
  4. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    You can also go to places like www.milestek.com. They custom make decent quality cables for the money. A 6 ft. component cable is $29.95. If you budget is higher, places like www.haveinc.com can make up Canare component cables.
     
  5. Vince Chan

    Vince Chan Stunt Coordinator

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    On the topic of interconnects, has anyone tried Acoustic Research Master Series line of cables? (These are the ones that come in the flashy oval plastic cases). They're way more expensive than their Pro line but I've not heard much about them here. Any opinions?
     
  6. Howard_S

    Howard_S Supporting Actor

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    I was wondering the same thing a while back. From what I've heard they are better than their Pro Series line. But I can't help but they that they are not as good of a value. The more I look at them, the more I think that part of my money goes to the box and looks of the cable. I think that at that price there are better choices out there.
     
  7. Norm Strong

    Norm Strong Stunt Coordinator

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    Ask yourself this question:

    If you were the manufacturer of a high quality CD or DVD player, would you throw interconnects into the box that flat out preclude your customers from ever realizing the quality built into your product?
     
  8. Howard_S

    Howard_S Supporting Actor

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    Norm. That's why they never do. [​IMG]
     
  9. Nick G

    Nick G Stunt Coordinator

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    Don, I recommend going with Radio Shack Gold series cables. They are almost as pretty as the expensive stuff and sonically their equal. Acoustic Research also has good stuff at reasonable prices. Their is no audible benefit to spending more. Room acoustics, speakers, and speaker placement are the important factors in the quality of your sound, not interconnects. Enjoy.

    Nick
     
  10. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    Don,

    There are several brands that offer very good value in their interconnect lines. Audioquest and Nordost just to name a couple, and there are many others that you can find quality interconnects for under $80.

    Nick,

     
  11. Nick G

    Nick G Stunt Coordinator

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  12. Jody C Robins

    Jody C Robins Stunt Coordinator

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    Please note that the above link sends you to a site that discusses speaker wire, not interconnects.

    Don,

    I am in the middle of the same process, as I got a new CD player for Christmas and need to upgrade my interconnects (currently cheap ones that came with player). I think the most important thing is to listen for yourself. If you can hear a difference between two cables and prefer one over the other, then buy the one you prefer. If you can't hear a difference then buy the cheaper of the two. Just don't discount a cable because someone told you it wasn't worth the money. I have heard reviews from too many people that I trust that prefer one wire over another to believe that "wire is wire". I am planning on auditioning some BetterCables silver serpent interconnects, Radio Shack gold series, and possibly one other brand. Most online cable manufacturers allow returns, with you only paying the return shipping. Just check their policy before ordering. Good luck.
     
  13. Brian_C

    Brian_C Stunt Coordinator

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    If you decide to test the cables, it must be performed through a blind test repeated multiple times, or else you've proved nothing.

    Textbook psychology is what marketing departments prey on. When you already know which cable costs more and which cable should sound better, most of the time you've already made your choice before you've even heard them.
     
  14. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Howard, what are you talking about? I recently purchased a Sony SCD-555ES, which originally retailed for $1700 and was recently reduced to $1200. I'd say $1200 is far from an entry level CD player and yes, Sony does include interconnects with the player that are probably worth less than $1 total. So even very high end players come with interconnects standard, even if they are the crappiest things you have ever seen.
     
  15. Sonnie Parker

    Sonnie Parker Second Unit

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    I believe another thing to consider is the quality build of the cable. If you get a quality built cable, chances are you will have a good cable. A few years ago I had a small system (not in my HT room) and count 'em, two, yes two, of the rinky dink cables that came with a tuner and cd player went out. I thought there was something wrong with my equipment but after replacing the cables (with more rinky dink ones) everything was fine. I wasn't going to spend any money on cables for the small system because it wasn't that important. I would have just kept replacing the cables if they went out. I don't have that system anymore. I don't believe a good heavy duty quality built cable would have give me the problems. Of course there were some other rinky dinks on that same system that never gave me any problems.
    I just recently ordered several cables to replace the cables in my HT system. Some of my cables are very old and some newer, but I have cut some short and re-soldered them and I'm sure I probably degraded the cables to an extent. There are some that are way too long. Plus some are not shielded and due to the vast number of cables and power cords behind my system, I decided it would be a good time to go ahead and replace most of them with some good quality built shielded cables. Some that would probably last me a long long time.
    So, how did I decide what to purchase? I did some research. I was not that concerned with claims of better sound of the several hundred dollar cables but as stated above, quality build. I checked out several cables including rhinocables, catcables, haveinc, diycable, avcables, bettercables, boldercables, and there were more (a search for "cables" or "interconnects" will find several to check out - I checked out a slew of them). Of all the ones I looked at they all seemed to be good quality. Of course a few you would have to buy the parts and build. I wasn't in to this, I wanted them built for me. I finally landed at catcables.com. They had the least expensive for what I wanted. Their build quality is very good. They use respectable heavy duty materials. A search on this forum for "catcables" turned up all good compliments for owners of their cables. They fit my solution and satisfied my search. And because I ordered several cables I got a really good bargain (IMO).
    If you just need a set, you might give catcables a try, go to htguide and the banner at the top will give you a coupon code for $10 off (wait for it to load and rotate to the coupon #). Then the banner link will lead you to their site. If you need several sets I would suggest e-mailing them. You will probably save a little off the prices on their site.
    Bottom line is do your research and be satisfied with what you purchase.
    My 2 cents worth.
    SP
     
  16. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Don: a good rule to follow is to budget roughly 10% of your equipment cost for cables.
    If you want to know where to save/where to spend, read on.
    Budget Cables
    Digital Coax - Go to radio Shack and buy an ordinary video cable (Gold Series) or AR series from Best Buy/Home Depot. This is a digital cable and fairly insensitive to the brand/quality as long as it is 75 ohm coax (which all video cables are.)
    Subwoofer Cable - Any good long interconnect will do. You can even build your own from RG6 CATV coax and some RCA plugs. But make sure the RCA plugs fit tightly, subwoofers dont seem to care about the wire, but loose/tight plugs seem to make a difference.
    Modest Cables
    L/R audio - You really want to use a digital connection rather than analog cables. It wipes out the cable issues if you go digital. But if you must/want analog interconnects, and music is important to you, buy some modest cables to start.
    Audio/Video bundles - To avoid cable clutter, I really like the bundles of L/R/Video in a single bundle you can get from Radio Shack or the Monster series. I tend to run modest-quality versions of these for the VCR/CATV/DSS connections through the receiver.
    High End Cables
    Video - I like to run a good-quality video cable straight from the DVD player to the TV. I let the receiver handle all the audio/video switching for everything with the inexpensive cables to make the system easy to use for the family. But for DVD movies from a "high quality" source, I take the extra step to flip to the direct feed with the high-quality cable.
    Video cables
    From a survey from Home Theater magazine on the 3 different types of video connections:
    Composite - Baseline
    SVideo - 20% better picture than Composite
    Component - 25% better picture than Composite
    These numbers were for a reference 50" RPTV. They also said that larger displays produce MORE improvement, smaller tubes show LESS improvement. (Remember the 10% rule?)
    Hope this helps.
     
  17. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    Nick G,

    But he doesn't address those issues. Notice he doesn't address interconnects. As much as I like Roger, he is only giving his opinion there, norhing more, nothing less. Notice he didn't provide any scientific data. If I had a dime for everytime somebody tried to pull that site out as a reference I would be righer than Gates.

    You speak it like it some proven fact. It isn't.
     
  18. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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  19. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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  20. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    My opinion of higher quality interconnects have amazingly changed during the last few months or so. Before, I believed that if you already were using copper cables like the RS or AP Pro cables, like I used previously, then you could hear no better without moving to very expensive solid silver(not silver coated) cables. Then I some Outlaw PCA cables with my Outlaw ICBM unit. Wow... what a difference. Soon, I bought a bunch more and am selling my other cables. These cables will be outlined more on my upcoming site but for now, all I can say is they are the best sounding and best value copper cable interconnects that I have ever tried. I like them so much that if you would like to try them, I have a pair that I could ship to you to try if you want... All you need to pay is shipping and if you want them the originall cost....? LMK!
     

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