Monster RCA cables really better?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Walter_M, Aug 23, 2001.

  1. Walter_M

    Walter_M Extra

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    I'm a home theater newbie and I am wondering if Monster RCA cables really make a difference compared to no-name RCA cables?
    I'm especially concerned about a 30 foot RCA cable run I have to a subwoofer. For that I'm using a relatively inexpensive RCA cable that must be about 10 years old. Seems to work fine (but what do I know--I'm new at this), however would it be worth $50 to replace it with a 30 Monster RCA cable?
    I have the same question for RCA runs between DVD player and monitor, runs between components, etc.
    Thanks.
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    --Walter_M
     
  2. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    I think it's mostly personal preference. I don't buy into the hype that Monster builds. Sure, they make good quality cables, but I feel like you can get other brands that are just as well made and perform the same for at least half of what you'd pay for Monster.
    Acoustic Research (AR) is one example. I'd put their cables up agains Monster any day and I think they'd perform exactly the same. The difference? $$$$$
    I guess the thing that has turned me off to Monster is pushy salespeople. I try to stay away from buying components at BB or CC, but from time to time they just have the best price on what I want.
    Their sales folks push Monster cables so hard it makes me not even want to buy anything from them. Since that's the only brand of cable they carry.....it almost seems like they get a higher cut of cable sales than other product.
    Anyhow, I'd do a side by side sometime and see what you think for yourself. You really can't go wrong with Monster product, but I feel like you can get a much better value without sacrificing quality.
     
  3. Walter_M

    Walter_M Extra

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    Thanks for the tip, Mike. I bought my speakers at BB and the only thing they pushed harder than Monster cables are the extended service plans.
    I'll check out Accoustic Research.
    --Walt
     
  4. Jeff Blair

    Jeff Blair Second Unit

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    I would have to suggest this. Go down to Radio Shack, and get there Gold series of cables. From what I have heard from people on here, they are just as good as Monsters. And, you will save money.
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    Jeff Blair
    Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
    - Abraham Lincoln
    My DVD's
     
  5. Alan Curry

    Alan Curry Agent

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    I use both Radio Shack Golds and Acoustic Research Pros. I prefer the AR's because the RS's tend to be a little too tight when connecting/disconnecting. BB sells the AR Performance series and Lowes sells the AR Pros. The Lowes AR Pros sells for about the same price as BB AR Performance series and RS Golds.
     
  6. John Coleman

    John Coleman Guest

    Walter,
    Let me add one more thing to this discussion. I firmly believe that there are several situations where quality cables make a difference. However, with subwoofer cables, since it is typically only a partial channel environment, my performance premium is pretty low. The powered subwoofer connection is not very demanding on cables, so it does not really give quality cables a chance to shine (it also doesn't really give bad cables an opportunity to show their limitations). I know people that have had really good luck using RG-6 coax for their subwoofer cables.
    I usually put my $$$ towards cables where I know I will see or hear a difference. For example, I will put a big performance premium on my component video cables, whereas performance is not such an issue with the composite cables coming from my VCR.
    I hope this helped. Please feel free to e-mail me privately with any additional questions regarding cables or connections.
    ------------------
    John Coleman
    Cobalt Cable
    [email protected]
     
  7. Gerard Martin

    Gerard Martin Second Unit

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    Has anyone had an opportunity to
    compare a Monster s-video 3 cable
    against an equivalent AR cable. If
    so which did you prefer. Thanks
    ------------------
    Jerry
     
  8. JaleelK

    JaleelK Second Unit

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    I'm a home theater newbie and I am wondering if Monster RCA cables really make a difference compared to no-name RCA cables?
    -----------
    Cables are cables, no one can really tell the difference between cable in a double blind listening test.
     
  9. James Nguyen

    James Nguyen Second Unit

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    If you're interested in IXOS or Acoustic Research cables (both are high quality alternatives to Monster at a fraction of the cost), you may want to check out http://www.accessories4less.com
    Many of us on HTF buy our stuff from them.
    I hate to admit that I've a few monster cables here and there in my system but sometimes when ya need a cable, ya need a cable. And unfortunately, my local BB and Tweeter both only carry Monster...and at a pretty penny too. grr.
     
  10. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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  11. Alex F.

    Alex F. Second Unit

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    While I have found that Monster offers very fine video cables, I do not like their low-priced interconnect cables. Tested in three different systems, Monster's Interlink 100 and 200 series sounded too bright and edgy.
    For more serious mid-fi and lower high-end systems, I usually prefer Straightwire's Chorus cables, which have always sounded exceptionally smooth, detailed, and neutral, minus any fatiguing characteristics. They're available from the Cable Company (fatwyre.com).
    For entry-level or noncritical use, Esoteric Audio's low-priced cables are very good as well, both in sound quality and shielding. Available from Crutchfield.com's car-stereo accessories department, under the name of Streetwire Musica 200 interconnect cable--it's the exact same cable as for home use, just different packaging. A 6' stereo cable is $12.95.
    Happy listening!
     
  12. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    I think it is important to make sure we are comparing apples to apples. Monster offers usually 6 to 8 different lines within each cable category.
    For instance, if we are comparing Silver Cats or Better Cables to Monster, and stating that Monster is overpriced, are we comparing them to Monster Video 3 or Z-series? There is a big price difference between the two Monster series'.
    2M Component Cables:
    Tigress Component--$135
    BetterCables --$120
    Monster Video 3 --$90
    Monster Z-series --$210
    As mentioned earlier there are different levels of cables and when making comparisons or trying to help a member(like Walter in this thread)we should make sure we are comparing similiar levels(of course I understand we might have different interpretations of what those levels are).
    My opinion of ones that have been mentioned:
    Level 1: free connectors that come with components
    Level 2: AR & Radio Shack Golds(I might throw Monster 300 for audio interconnects & Video 2 for video in here as well although I would consider them at the top of level 2)
    Level 3: Silver Cats, Better Cables, Monster Video 3(video), Monster 400 or Reference series(audio)
    Level 4:More exotic cables like Z-series and other boutique cables that Mike Knapp knows about [​IMG]
    Most of us probably fall into Level 2 or 3 and there are many good brands both mentioned and unmentioned in this thread, but to automatically assume that Monsters would be much more expensive is not entirely accurate, IMO.
    All that said, Monster is not the only game in town but they should not automatically be discounted either.
    DJ
     
  13. Elbert Lee

    Elbert Lee Supporting Actor

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    Don't forget that Monster's flagship series are their "M" series, which go from the M500, M800, M900/950, and M1000. They come in composites, S video, component, audio interconnects, and coaxial digital. Their price range is around the same as their "Z" series but marginally more expensive.
    In addition, MONSTER MAKES the cables for AR and RCA! (RCA recently terminated their contract with Monster and may no longer be making cables). Both of these brands are of a slightly cheaper build, but equal in performance compared to the lower Monster Lines.
    I find it kind of funny that people criticize MONSTER in general when they haven't tried all of their cables. I agree that in price comparisons, some of the lower line products do not offer much better sound for the $$$ and that it would be prudent to consider other cables.
    Monster cables pretty much established the high end cable market and have established a "standard" for this industry. As the "standard", there are always going to other designs that will compete favorably against the Monsters.
    chances are is that purchasing/borowing various cables is probably to cumbersome for most and I'm sure that most people probably haven't done controlled comparisons. I myself have done some, but it's hard to say which cables will make the most difference because of variances in everyone's equipment (yes AC power may be a factor too). Unless you do a comparison on your own, you'll have to take everyone's opinion with a grain of salt. We're always going to defend what we buy!
    I have mostly monsters in my system, but I have to admit that I obtained them cheaply. If I had a budget for mid-level cables, I would probably consider Better Cables and other brands as well. I use a different coax cable because I prefer its 2 channel audio quality over Monster, but, frankly, I feel comfortable using "the STANDARD".
    Cables are an ongoing HT project,and I'm sure the average HT enthusiasts will go through several differnt levels and brands of cable as their equipment changes. FOR me, I just invested in the BEST possible that I will ever buy, knowing that I probably won't ever have to change them when I upgrade my equipment.
    Elbert
     
  14. Eugene Hsieh

    Eugene Hsieh Supporting Actor

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    I don't think ultra-expensive cables are worth it, but getting reasonably good quality shielded cables is still important.
    What this means is that you shouldn't go to your dept. store and get $1 A/V cables, but you shouldn't spend $200 on an interconnect either.
    ------------------
    Eugene Hsieh, VisorCentral FAQ Editor
    1000 km on a tank of gas??? Check out the Prius and drive the future now!
    Check out my switched Dual Boot DVD Player Hack.
     
  15. Westly T

    Westly T Second Unit

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    The AR cables Best Buy sells aren't the good ones, I recommend the AR PRO cables. There available from many sources including Sears and http://www.accessories4less.com .
    ------------------
    - Wes
    My Home Theater
    The MMG were replaced with 1.6QR's and added Marantz MA-700's. SVS is here. Ok, allot more then that has changed, I'll update my page some day...
     
  16. dougW

    dougW Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually David, according to CAT's site, the Tigress is 124.98 after the standard 20.00 discount given. Use a coupon that is readily available, and it's 10 off of that. So, unless you were including shipping, which I don't think is standard practice, your 135 figure was off.
    Also, comparing Silver Cat at Level 3 is an incorrect comparison. Silvercats, is a specific model of CATCables, and is Solid Silver Analog Audio, not Video. For Video, the Tigress or Quadcat s-video are the correct trade names. Also, what your classification does not take into consideration, is the Tigress uses dual runs of coax for each branch of a component cable. To my knowledge, that's not standard practice by any of the other maufacturers listed. That's right, 6 coax runs for 1 component cable. In other words, the ground has it's own silver etched shielded coax. I personally believe this maximizes noise suppression, and in that regard, perhaps puts the Tigress in it's own class, not considering the high quality locking barrel connectors it uses relative to other industry components available.
    Regards,
    Lex
    ------------------
    Lexman's Theater
    [Edited last by dougW on August 23, 2001 at 01:45 PM]
     
  17. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    Your points are well taken, Lex(all prices quoted were full retail), and I don't want to give the impression that I'm knocking any of the online vendors mentioned. Many members, who's opinions I trust, have given them good reviews and, of course, everyone will have their favorites based on their experiences.
    Comparisons are inevitable and each vendor will have its "claim to fame." My cable philosophy is get the best you can afford. For some who want well constructed cables, Monster is a good choice, imo, despite the Monster bashing that is all too common, but there are certainly other good choices, as well.
    DJ
     
  18. JaleelK

    JaleelK Second Unit

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    Well I'd argue that that statement is false. There are very obvious differences in cables both in audio and on video. The difference in video are very easy to see even on smaller sets, if you don't believe me you haven't tried it. For audio its more subjective but i've done some blind testing and the three people involved could pick out one cable from the other every single time.
    ----------
    I agree about video cables because I prefer MIT over Monster, but audio cables are what I'm saying really doesn't make a difference. Just like most amps sound the
    same, the same is true about audio cables and if anyone tells you different their selling you "snake oil".
     
  19. dougW

    dougW Stunt Coordinator

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    David, thanks for being polite to me, and showing that you do allow for differences. But really on our first price given, no one pays that price, so it's really more a "compare at" price. Then we show what our low overhead allows us to sell for everyday. So really, the 124.99 is our actual retail price. [​IMG] But it's still not about price competition for CAT, it's about quality. It just happens we are able to maintain fairly good competitive prices, and sell a product that may give you an edge. Note, I say may. [​IMG]
    I think we know what my opinion would be on cables making a difference, both audio and video. So, I will just leave it at that. [​IMG]
    Lex
    ------------------
    Lexman's Theater
     
  20. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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