Pricewise cables?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jedd, May 1, 2002.

  1. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

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    When it comes down to connecting Midiman Delta 410 soundcard to H/K 520 receiver, what cables you would reccommend?
    I need one digital coaxial and 7+1 RCA's, 6-12ft long.
    A/R seems to be quite respected and reasonably priced, but what kind of cables do I need to justify my current equipment.
    Pro series: A/R HT171 ($20)
    or Performance: A/R AP071 ($15)
    Any other good cables/prices around?
    P.S. what cable do I run from the receiver to the sub (with integrated amplifier)?
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    The AR brand is well respected under the heading of "bang-for-the-buck". Sounds like either the Pro/Performance series would work well.

    For the sub, you just need a long coax cable with RCA plugs on both ends. Another AR cable would be fine.

    Good Luck.
     
  3. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

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  4. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

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  5. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    I find the AR "Pro" cables a bit better built (better connectors) than the "Performance" series. Look closely at the RCA ends in photos of the wires and you'll see what I mean.

    I've not compared them sound-wise (don't think there'd be much if any difference, though perhaps the shielding could be different).
     
  6. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Only your digital coax connection needs to be 75ohm. Get the cheaper cable (it's still 75ohm). If you're buying a bunch of cable, consider building your own...
     
  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Ok, without getting into some of the more esoteric cable issues, here are the general "rules":
    - Coax cable can come in 50/75/110/300 ohms impedence
    - All video cables should be made with 75 ohm coax
    - The coaxial-digital cables should be made with 75 ohm coax.
    - Audio cables can be made with any "flavor" coax.
    - As the frequency increases, the signals become more sensitive to the cable
    So you see, audio is much less sensitive to the cable than say video or DSS signals. (Audio is 20-20,000 hz, component video goes to 4 Million hz, and DSS is 1-2 GigaHz).
    So my GUESS is that you would not experience much difference between the Pro vs Performance series.
    So how do you decide?
    A good rule of thumb is to budget 10% of your electronics budget for cables. Since you spend $2,000, an investment of $200 is not out of line.
    So 8 of those $20 AR cables would be about $180 - so get the Pro series.
    Hope this helps.
     
  8. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

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    Thanks a lot! [​IMG]
     
  9. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    I firmly believe that the 10% budget "rule" for cables is a stroke of marketing genius (along the lines of diamonds on wedding rings). IMO, once you have a decently shielded appropriately terminated cable that can handle the bandwidth you need (more for video, less for audio) you are at the point of diminishing returns. Spend all that remaining $$$ on software or a meaningful hardware upgrade (speakers, room treatments, etc.).
     
  10. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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  11. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

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  12. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Bob,
    I don't know of any website that has exact numbers... perhaps a pro video/audio site would have some (well tested) rules of thumb? I feel that any expenditure over $200-300 on cable is excessive (regardless of your system). My personal experience has been the following:
    audio (analog) interconnect:
    - single shield (foil or braid). Runs over 15ft can benefit from multiple shielding.
    - wire gauge not an issue (stranded or solid OK)
    - A more solid RCA connector (vs. included cable plugs) will be beneficial if you move the cable frequently.
    video:
    - Depends on the quality of your display (how much bandwidth it can resolve) and the length of your run. Canare's website has some graphs showing these tradeoffs (i.e. longer runs or higher bandwidth will require a thicker (lower gauge) wire). Digital video signals (DSS, etc.) use a much larger bandwidth vs. RGB (as you stated above). High end front projectors can handle ~150Mhz bandwidth RGB signals. As you can see from the (referenced) charts, most attenuation occurs well above this frequency.
    - For runs over a couple of feet multiple shielding (vs. single shield) is perceptible (foil+braid, etc.)
    - Cable should have a 75ohm impedance. Surprisingly, I've seen that poor shielding has more of an effect vs. having the wrong interconnect impedance.
    Speaker cable:
    - lamp cord
    - 16 gauge for short runs (
     
  13. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Jedd,
    DSS = Digital Satellite System (DirecTV, Dish, etc.)
    Since your sub cable is (probably) long, you want something with mutiple shields. I'd go to Home Depot and get some quad-shield RG6. Buy some F connectors (screw on type like your cable connection). Make a cable & attach some F->RCA converters (can be found at Radio Shack). A more expensive (but cleaner) solution would be to get some RCA connectors and the associated crimp die. The RG6 is overkill in terms of bandwidth (for your sub) but it has great shielding. Build a RG6 cable for your cable or DSS while you're at it...
    If you need a lot of cables, you may want to price out building all of them yourself. Here is a site with the details. Hint: you can get everything except the crimp die at Radio Shack for a lot less $$$.
     
  14. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

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    Well, right now all I need is one digital cable from the soundcard to the receiver and one from the receiver to the sub.
    The soundcard has 8 analog outs, but I hope to not use them in the nearest future. (why did I bought them, huh? [​IMG] )
    So it's not a big money anyway. I just don't like to rush and like to know every detail before I do a next step.
    Why do I need a shielded wire for the sub and non-shielded for the speakers? Low freqs are more affected by surrounding electrics?
    From what I've read I leraned that connection between cable and terminal is very important. Is RG6->F->RCA connection gonna work just fine?
    Digital connections. Are they sensitive to something? Or zeros and ones are invulnerable?
     
  15. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Jedd,
     
  16. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    The longer the wire, the more interference it can pick up. Shielding helps attenuate this. You are correct that both speaker and interconnect will pick up interference. However, the speaker connections are operating at power levels way above the noise margin. Interconnects (which use much lower levels) are more susceptible to noise.

    I have been assuming that your sub was internally powered but I may be wrong (see you have a DIY design). Where is your sub amp (built in or in your audio rack)? Run 12 gauge wire if it's a speaker level connection (amp in your rack), shielded interconnect if it's a line-level signal (amp in/at the sub). 75ohm video cable = digital interconnect cable. I have not noticed any difference when using ultra-cheap audio interconnect for my digital connection during my double-blind tests (YMMV).
     
  17. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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  18. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

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    I know, I know. [​IMG]
    I bought this card because of the flexibility it gives (and because I found it for $166 [​IMG] )
    So, back to digital cable, what frequencies it works with and how sensitive is it, compare to audio and video cables?
     
  19. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Jedd,
    Somewhere there is a link about a guy who tested various interconnects for his digital connection. He had everything from a coat hangar (seriously) to $1000+ interconnects. During a blind A/B session, no one on his panel could hear any differences.
    After a bit of digging, I found the spec for AC97. This has information about S/PDIF (Sony / Phillips Digital Interface). I found a "typical bit clock frequency" of 12.288Mhz with a maximum tolerable jitter of 750ps. This (clock frequency) seems to be capable of supporting 12 20-bit streams (p.27 of the doc) so we could consider it a worst case scenario.
    So it looks like the digital interface will need to handle higher frequencies vs. analog interconnect. Do all these numbers really matter? IMO, not really. I couldn't hear any difference between cables (for digital signals)... YMMV.
     
  20. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

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    Ok, time to visit Home Depot and get some wires and soldering tools. [​IMG]
     

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