Newbie: First home theater, need advice on cables

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by AlNorm, Mar 23, 2005.

  1. AlNorm

    AlNorm Auditioning

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    Just bought an Onkyo HT-770 home theater in box. The cables that came with it are pretty thin.

    Need advice on what gauge speaker wires should I upgrade to. Can I use different gauges for front and rear or use the same gauge for all? Would 12 gauge be too much for the 130w/channel. Should I just stick to 16-gauge.

    What cable should I use to connect the sub?
     
  2. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    A good RCA terminated audio cable will be fine. Price is up to you. You can get one at Radio Shack for $10-15 or spend a fortune is you want. Bass frequencies tend to be very forgiving of cable.

    Other opinions may differ, but I've never seen a double blind test prove that wires with the same electronic construction (i.e., no capacitors, resistors in the path) give a better sound for the enormous expense.
     
  3. AlNorm

    AlNorm Auditioning

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    The max. run length I have is 30 ft to the rear speakers.
     
  4. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I think you're fine with the speaker cable that came with the system (which looks really nice BTW!). As for the sub, any standard RCA cable will work fine, go to www.cablesforless.com, they've got a 25' cable for $10. They'll be fine.
     
  5. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    Jeff gives really good advice. I wouldn't touch the packins. They are garbage.

    If you want to buy online I'd consider AC4l.com or Blue Jeans(our sponsor) or both. If you are going to run in wall, then buy in wall rated cl3 wire.
     
  6. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    ditto that as well. for the sub cable, go to best buy, buy the acoustic research brand (don't need monster) - should cost you about 20 bucks.

    now you're cookin' with gas!
     
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    The FIRST thing you need to check before buying a spool of 12ga is if the wire will even fit. Do all the speakers have "clip" connections (common on HTiB speakers)? If so, 12 ga typically will not fit. If that's the case, try a spool of 14 ga., which will work fine for 30' runs.

    One minor note, this receiver is highly unlikely to deliver 130wpc, so don't be fooled by that rating. I believe it is the equivalent of a 502 or 602, and as such will put out between 75-85 actual watts (which is more than enough for those speakers). I've heard the 760 and it is a pretty nice setup.
     
  8. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    worst case scenario, you can always get the ones with the skinny ends.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Yeah, forgot to mention you could use some type of connector to help with that, but to be honest, 12ga really isn't necessary for the vast majority of situations. I've used short runs of 10ga. and 12ga. for my mains and there was no difference. I am currently using 14. ga and it sounds great. As long as the wire ga. is large enough to handle the distance and current you are managing, using a larger wire doesn't buy you anything.

    I got a couple of sets of those Monster connectors (with banana tips) free. Not bad actually, but a little expensive at $20/set. I found bananas that have basically the identical tip and work just as well, at www.partsexpress.com for less than half the price. They don't carry any that have the kind of "wire" tip you show there though, Ted.
     
  10. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    I wired up a friends HT-770 with a spool of Acoustic Research 16ga. and everything is tip-top. The longest run was about 30ft. to the sixth channel. The 16ga. was easy to conceal. I had him toss all the chicken wire that came with it.
     
  11. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    You can get good 2-piece "pin connectors" from Radio Shack. Get the "MegaCable" kind that un-screw into 2 parts.

    In truth - you wont notice the roll-off in the rear sounds by using 16 ga wire. The only person who ever claimed to be able to tell the difference was talking about a fairly high-end audio system with electrostatic speakers, 200+ wpc amp, and a high-end CD transport and a CD recording he was very familar with.

    The rear sounds on a movie is very different from 2-channel music.

    If you are just running around the room, 16 ga is fine. If you are running the wires in-wall - well, the wire is dirt cheap compared to your labor. For a in-wall install, I'd suggest a spool of 12 ga.

    Some suggestions on the wire:

    - Dont try to make all the speaker wires the same length. This is a myth.

    - Measure your wires, add 1-2 feet for adjustment and cut. Every 18-24 months you need to examine the wires and likely the copper that was exposed to the air will be dull-brown and oxidized. Cut the ends off, re-strip to expose bright copper and re-connect.

    - If you dont know your final speaker placement, add enough slack to let you move things around. Just dont coil the extra wire - let it flow in a "S" curve or some such.

    - With the ends of speaker wires: Neatness Counts! Do not let ANY strands of bare copper stick out. These will cause shorts months from now and can damage your equipment. The pin/banana connectors are highly recommended because they make it possible to do a neat wire job.


    I second...er..third this opinion. [​IMG]
     
  12. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    On a side note, that HT-770 is a pretty decent system. Although, not really a typical HTiB(nothing integrated), it surprised the shit out of me. The speakers that came with it weren't awful. I have a similar(a tinge better) Onkyo receiver pushing Energy/JBL's and his system was impressive on the DTS demos I ran for him and his family.

    You should've heard his kids ohhhs and awes when we finally fired up Monster's INC. From a 25" GE to a 42" Plasma and 6.1. They'll be just fine.

    To quote the Sprint guy, "My work is done here" [​IMG]
     

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