Need advice on cabling

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JohnnyM, Oct 10, 2001.

  1. JohnnyM

    JohnnyM Auditioning

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    What I've read is there is no difference in speaker cables. Lamp chord is as good as audiophile cables. Please don't advise me on that, my mind can't be changed :)
    What I would like to know if cables make a difference? The RCA-plugged cables that come with various equipment are plentiful around my house. I'm getting a new Sony with composite video inputs. The shop sold me $60 Monster Cables for that part of the connection from the DVD player. I was told the RCA plugged jack for the single "video" connection was inferior. I've got an optical cable for the audio.
    My real question is whether to upgrade my cables between the various components. I have a VCR without S-video. Would better cables from the VCR to the TV make a difference?
    And lastly, for those that feel as I do that speaker wires make no difference, do you feel that cables make a difference in general?
    Please don't advise me that since I've spent all this money on a HT that I should spend 5% or 10% on cables and wires. I want to know what you all think on whether the cables (not speaker wires)have a sonic or visual effect.
     
  2. Alex F.

    Alex F. Second Unit

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    This subject has been beaten to death here. I suggest you do a search and pull up hundreds of previous posts.
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I also dont believe in expensive/exotic cables. So you can get away with generic Radio Shack or AR (Acoustic Research) interconnects for a modest system.
    A modest system is: Composite/Component video from a DVD player to a 35" TV running ordinary/interlace video about 6 feet.
    But have you ever taken a magnifying glass and looked at something and found pits/cracks/imperfections that were not previously visible?
    This same thing happens when you use the same cable from the modest system and use it with:
    - A large-screen (50-100 inch) display
    - A long run (12-30 feet)
    - HD/Progressive Video signals (much more information at a faster rate)
    When you have a system with one or more of these "magnified" issues, you should consider using cable similar to the ones they use inside the production studios. This means something like Canare or Belden coax with good, 75 ohm (Canare) connectors.
    People with long-runs to a projector have switched from Radio Shack cables to a set made with Canare coax and saw an immediate improvement. People with a modest system have switched and found little to no improvement.
    Johnny: I'm afraid I must respectfully disagree with you. Using a 10% budget for cables is not a bad rule. It's like car tires. A Yugo will not really take advantage of the speed-rated 230 MPH tires. But putting cheap tires on a high-performance sports car or highway patrol car is asking for trouble.
    But you should note that good 3-conductor video cable suitable for HD/Progressive video for runs of 100 feet is about $1.80/foot. So we are not talking about huge amounts of money here.
     
  4. Chris White

    Chris White Second Unit

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    Do cables (not speaker wires)have a sonic or visual effect?
    It depends. [​IMG]
    [*]Improvements based on a change in interconnects or speaker wire are almost always very subtle. For example, moving your speaker 6 inches will often make a bigger change than any change in speaker wire or interconnects.[*]Whether a change in interconnects or speaker wire will be noticeable depends in part on your ability to hear the difference. Just because there is a measureable change doesn't mean you'll be able to see or hear it. I've changed interconnects and heard absolutely no change and I've changed interconnects and heard a definite change. [*]Whether a change in interconnects or speaker wire will be noticeable always depends on the equipment. For example, if you are connecting a $100 dvd player to a 25" tv, it probably won't make any difference what kind of cable you use. On the other hand, the more refined and "high end" your gear, the more likely you will be able to detect an improvement.
    ------------------
    http://www.bus.ucf.edu/cwhite/theater/theater.htm
     
  5. Jon_R

    Jon_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Cables make a difference in my experience. I had rca cables that you get free with components throughout my setup. Then a buddy of mine upgraded his cables and speaker wire, so I got all his monster interconnects and 12 ga wire free!
    I hooked it all up, not really expecting much, and I was pleasantly surprised. The colors on my television were much darker, in a fuller richer way. I a/b to make sure. I can't afford exotic stuff like some people can, but a little on wires can really help out.
    I listened to my system all the time. And when I put that 12 ga monster instead of the 18 gauge yarn I was using, I really noticed a difference. I experienced imaging! It was really amazing. I a/b on that too just to make sure.
    YMMV of course, but IMO don't skimp on cabling, or the center channel for that matter.
    Good luck,
    Jon
     
  6. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    I personaly feel that cable is cable.. Yes there are good
    cables and then there are bad cables. Any cable set that
    uses a high quality wire and connection will be the same as
    any other cable of the same quality. I see so many exotic
    cables for example Nordst Red Dawn's that are nothing more
    than silver tinned EIDE Cable sell for 2K... Where is the
    2 thousand dollars in this cable??? Is it in the silver the
    wires are coated with? No you pay $100.00 for the physical
    materials and the other $1900.00 is to pay for Nordst's name
    !
    Name means squat, quality of the physical wire and the
    connection and termination is all that matters. I am making
    my own high end "Botique" Bi-Wire sets for my mains and they
    will look every bit as good as any botique cable and they
    will run dual pairs of 300+ wire count rope brain 99.999%
    OFC Coppper terminated in 24K bananas at both ends and put
    inside Nylon Alpha Expanding Braided Sleeve just like the
    Botique cables and I don't think that anything else will
    sound any better.. And the total cost to make them will be
    under $50.00
    ------------------
     
  7. Scott Bourden

    Scott Bourden Second Unit

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    So many people say that cabling makes no difference, but on so many sub reviews I see people raving how a better cable gives them "tighter and cleaner bass", even with "average" ($600-$800 American range) subwoofers. Is this just in their mind, or is there a real difference between a cheap discount brand sub cable (radio shack for example) and a higher end one? (Monster perhaps?)
    [Edited last by Scott Bourden on October 10, 2001 at 10:49 PM]
     
  8. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    Personal experience: I heard a marked improvement when I replaced the free cables that came with my CD player with $10 Radio Shack cables. I haven't tried anything 'fancier' than that, and I don't plan to in the near future. So, can cables make a difference? IMO, yes. Will they make a difference in your case? No one knows, only you can find that out for yourself.
    BTW, just curious, if you've made up your mind that speaker cable can't make a difference, why do you ask about interconnects? Shouldn't the same logic apply in both cases?
     
  9. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Scott: People like Tom V (of SVS subwoofers) do a lot of work building/tweaking their subs. Even they recommend fairly inexpensive cables or CATV coax for long cable runs. And these are guys who play around with their subs a lot, and use measuring equipment to back-up their perceptions.
    The human ear is most sensitive to the upper-mid range of sound, around 10 Khz. We are very in-sensitive to the lower frequencies that a sub produces. Unless someone takes the steps to disconnect all other speakers except the sub, switch the cables without moving the sub, etc., I'm a little suspicious about their claims.
    In truth, I believe cables do make a difference, but not because of the $$$.
    Sometimes, its a simple matter of one cable having a tighter RCA plug. A fellow HTF member bought a SVS sub and was un-impressed. After a few days of messing around, another generic cable was used with tighter plugs and it made a big difference.
    Monster cable has been critizied for having "turbine grip-of-death" RCA plugs. But I think with higher-end cables, the connectors have been selected/made to solve this problem.
    Also, the ammount of surface-area contact between the plug and connector can be an issue.
    We have also seen much evidence that the RCA connector on a Video cable can have a dramatic effect. When "Secrets of Home Theater" brought in a bunch of video-analysis equipment to test Progressive Scan DVD players, they noticed that touching the connector would make the readings jump with some cables. They finally made some of their own cables using expensive Canare RCA plugs which seemed to remove the cable as a variable. Then they used that one cable for all their tests.
    So the connector could be the reason some higher-priced cables perform better.
    Hope this helps.
     

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