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Quality cabling question. (1 Viewer)

Daniel Mc

May 5, 2002
I've read so many conflicting views on cabling and so I need some advice.

1. Speaker Wire. Some have stated that you need to buy Monster speaker wire. Others have said to simply buy 12 guage wire from Home Depot. Which is the better choice (or are there other alternatives to consider)?

2. Component and Digital cables. Again, some people swear by Monster (or some other big name) while others say just buy Radio Shack's highest quality cables. Which?

3. Coax vs Optical. I know this is kind of a moot point, but just to be sure... The guy at Radio Shack told me that you should go with optical and others have mentioned the risk for interference with Coax. How great is that risk and is it something to worry about (I'd actually prefer the coax because it seems more solid)?

I'm not going to have a high-end surround sound system-- probably something like the Kenwood HTB-504--and my room isn't great acoustically (tile floor, big window and doorway), so that may be a consideration. My TV however, will be HD and the DVD player a progressive scan.


Bob McElfresh

Senior HTF Member
May 22, 1999
Hi Daniel. I'll take a crack at some of these.
1. Speaker Wire For a "sensitive" system, speaker wire can change the tone/flavor of the sound. But this comes after good electronics, good speakers and good speaker placement. These 3 things are more important.
A lot of people like the "Sound King" 12 ga speaker wire from www.partsexpress.com. While I have recommended the Home Depot stuff, some of it is having a corosion problem.
Digital Cables - The coaxial digital signals are a LOT less sensitive than analog. The designers had a Video cable in mind. The Radio Shack MegaCable or AR brand video cables will work great for about $15.
Component Video - This is where you should NOT scrimp. And since you are running Progressive signals - you want HD-compatible cables, not ordinary Component video cables.
You can buy custom cables like they use in the production studios from these various web sites. They will all cost you less than Monster. Do a price comparison and go with the cheaper cables. Just make sure the RCA plugs are Canare and the Coax is Belden.
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3. Coax vs Optical - All your interconnects are already coaxial. They carry analog signals which are much more sensitive to interference than digital. While Optical is a nice idea, a Video cable tends to be cheaper, stronger, more reliable and sounds identical in most systems.
Hope this helps.

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