Is it worth upgrading to monster cable?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by NathanP, Aug 27, 2001.

  1. NathanP

    NathanP Supporting Actor

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    Hi,
    I'm using simple Radio Shack brand 18 gauge speaker wire on my home theater..
    Is it worth upgrading to something bigger and better, say Monster Cable?
    What gauge do you guys suggest?
    I'm currently running a pro-logic setup with 2 subwoofers if that info would help...
    Maybe a better "bassey" sound would be good, but I just want to make sure all the distortion and "ach" in the sound are cleared up...
    Any other brands suggested?
    I can probably get em' really cheap on Ebay..
    Nathan
    [Edited last by NathanP on August 27, 2001 at 10:35 PM]
     
  2. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Hmmm... 12 gauge, oxygen free copper speaker wire sounds about right.
    Get yourself a good quality DTS/DD or DTS-ES/DD EX receiver or separates to go along with that new wire and you'll really get the "ach" cleared up. [​IMG]
    Dan
    ------------------
    Stop HDCP and 5C-- Your rights are at risk!
     
  3. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    A lot of people here have been recommending Accoustic Research Pro-series cables available at Lowes Hardware and http://www.accessories4less.com/
    I've bought a few of these and they seem real nice. Their optical cable was a lot cheaper than the Monster I have, and it seems more durable. You might want to give these a look. I haven't done comparisons so I can't say if they're better than Monster or not.
     
  4. NathanP

    NathanP Supporting Actor

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    Thanks!
    Any other suggestions?
    I want a Dolby Digital EX system!
     
  5. Avi

    Avi Auditioning

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    From 18 guage to Monster cable? Yes.
    My opinion on cables is to be practical. It's pretty clear that poor cables mask some detail in the music - I've heard it, and the difference can be dramatic. This applies mostly to speaker cables and analog coax interconnects, and to a much lesser extent to digital coax interconnects. Therefore, I always use upgraded speaker cable (Monster OMC for main speakers,* Monster XP for surrounds) and upgraded coax interconnects (either mid grade Monster or low grade XTC - $30~40 per pair). Spending more for exotic cables may make subtle differences in your sound, but in most cases doesn't justify the expense.
    Please note - this does NOT apply to optical interconnects. Either the fiber transmits the light, or it doesn't. A side benefit of optical cables is that it eliminates the possibility of transmitting electrical ground loop hum from one component to the other. Therefore, I use optical connections whenever I have the chance.
    *I also use gold-plated Acoustic Research compression banana connectors, because it makes hookup and moving things around easier. They are absolutely unnecessary from a sonic perspective.
     
  6. Elbert Lee

    Elbert Lee Supporting Actor

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    If you are a growing HT enthusiast who may be upgrading to better equipment sometime in the future, I say, go for it. Get the best Monsters you can (one at a time). While equipment comes and goes, well constructed cable can be a long term investment. Arguably, the speaker cables are the ones that make the most difference. Video cables tend to be the first cables that most people on this forum like to upgrade firt, though. I have found that interconnects are probably not going to make as much an impact, especially for HT use (you'll probably be using a digital coax or optical for that).
    The most debatable cable is the digital cable. I agree that you'll be hard pressed to hear any differences between optical cables. I'd say the same for a decently construced 75ohm digital coax for movies, but I have heard some differences digital coax on 2 channel music. I haven't heard much, if any differences on coax for movies at all.
    Elbert
     
  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Hi Nathan.
    Several speaker sites recommend the following gauge of wire be used based on the length of the runs:
    < 10 feet : 16 ga
    10-20 feet : 14 ga
    > 20 feet : 12 ga
    So the rule is: The longer the run, the thicker the wire you should use.
    (But most of us just buy a spool of 12 ga wire and use it everywhere.)
    Now Monster is good quality stuff. But for about $0.50/ft, you can get some very good 12 ga wire from Home Depot, or the Sound King brand from www.partsexpress.com
    And if you want to upgrade to EX, I would suggest you run 4 runs of 12 ga wire to the rears. (Some EX receivers have dual jacks for the rear-center speaker.) Sure, it's a few bucks more, but the wire is dirt-cheap compared to your time installing it.
     
  8. DaleB

    DaleB Stunt Coordinator

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    Interesting in that all this talk about getting larger gauge wire, one could simply go back to RS and get 14 ga. It sounds like he wants to make a smarter but still economical decision here. Although, the HomeDepot option might prove even cheaper.
    I thought the 14 ga. flat RS wire was only $20 for a 50' roll.
    Maybe it's $30.
     
  9. John Morton

    John Morton Stunt Coordinator

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    I can say that when I started a couple of years ago, I assumed an optical cable was an optical cable and started with one that cost $8 (I now know why it cost so little). Actually, my system sounded great, but not even in the parking lot compared to when I invested in a Monster (price especially) optical cable. The clarity difference blew me away. I could even SEE a difference in output when I left the receiver end open and shining on a white piece of paper. The old one was like looking at the light from a dirty lensed flash light with weak batteries. The Monster was like looking at light shinning from a spot light concentrated and focused down in size.
    I am now waiting for a digital coax cable to see if there is an upgrade difference there, so I can't comment on that yet.
    4 runs of 12 guage wire?? I assume you mean the same as 2 runs of dual connection 12 guage (or bi-wiring the speakers). I haven't tried this yet. Much difference? Back to the ATM?
    ------------------
     
  10. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Two things. One, my system couldn't handle the 12ga. The 'snap' sockets are too small.
    The other thing to remember is to get it color-coded. Make sure that one side is marked, or you have to use a marker pen and run it from one end to the other!
    Glenn
     
  11. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    So you saw that much difference John? I may have to try that. I am of the "its all light, either it gets there or it don't" camp. But recently I found Accoustic Research optical cables at Lowe's for around $15. That was close to the price of the cheap ones at Best Buy. I have an older Monster that cost $40 or $50, I'll have to compare the light output and see if there's a difference. I never even thought of that before, but it makes sense. If I see a difference, I'll definitely upgrade those.
     
  12. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  13. NathanP

    NathanP Supporting Actor

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    Hey, Hey,
    Thanks for the help..
    I think I'm gonna go for 12 gauge monster cable..
    I'm might go and spend a bit more as the local Ciruit City has like "31 different flavors" of it. Meaning that there are special ones just for bass, treble, etc.
    Any other Suggestions?
    I'm willing to look up the pirce and if reasonable, I'll buy.
    Monstercable is only $0.40 a foot on ebay, so I'll probably do that.
    Is there anything I can get that's better then Monster Cable??
    Nathan
     
  14. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    Saurav, wouldn't it make sense for the specification to specify using the same amount of light on both ends? Do you think it would actually specify that the cable should weaken the signal? This seems like a bad idea to me. And if receiver manufactures decided that most likely cables were weakening the signal, and made there's such that they would end up being overloaded by a strong signal from a good cable, they'd be doing a lot of people wrong.
     
  15. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    Oh, absolutely. I was just being anal [​IMG]
     
  16. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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  17. Marty M

    Marty M Cinematographer

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    I suggest you avoid Radio Shack for speaker wire. I was quoted $1 per foot for 12 gauge wire. I got it for $.31 a foot at Lowe's, a store simalar to Home Depot. That is an incredible difference for the same product.
     
  18. DaleB

    DaleB Stunt Coordinator

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    I thought he can't use 12 ga and the RS 14 ga in 50' rolls is about 50 cents or less a foot.
     
  19. DaleB

    DaleB Stunt Coordinator

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    I thought he could not use 12 ga... 14ga at RS in 50' rolls, is less than 50 cents/foot.
     
  20. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    John Morton: Sorry, I should have explained better.
    You need 2 runs of 12 ga wire for the left/right rears.
    You need 1 more run for the rear-center speaker.
    Some DP2 receivers give you dual outputs for dual-rear center speakers, so you may as well add an extra run of 12 ga wire.
    This totals 4 runs.
    (Heck, I usually recommend running some CATV coax as well so you can put a sub in the back corner, or drive bass-shakers under your couch.)
     

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