RCA cables

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by Tommy_P, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. Tommy_P

    Tommy_P Auditioning

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    Does anyone think getting better quality than stock RCA cables will make a noticable difference in sound quality when connecting a digital cable box to receiver?
     
  2. AndrewLevine

    AndrewLevine Stunt Coordinator

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    The short answer is no. However, it really depends how you are connecting everything. Using a digital connection between the two (either digi-coax, or optical) will allow cleaner sound in addition to the ability to decode surround sound signals (this is assuming you have a surround sound receiver). But if the question is between just the cable that comes with your set up and purchasing a more expensive version of the SAME cable, you most likely won't notice a difference in sound quality. The biggest difference will be in how long the cable lasts you. (the ones out of the box a lot of times get loose) Consider looking into companies such as bluejeanscable.com for very good quality cables or acoustic research for something that will last you a while and not break your budget.


    Hope it helps,
    AL
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I agree with Andrew.

    Digital signals are fairly in-sensitive to the price/quality of the cable. I like the Radio Shack or AR brands if you must go store-bought.

    Even for analog - the audio of most broadcast television channels is pretty poor compared to a basic CD player, let alone a SACD or higher-resolution source.

    You mention "Stock" cables - Are these cables like "walkman" headphone wires or is each wire as thick as the CATV coax? The first type are simply 2 un-shielded wires and should NOT be used in the noisy environment behind your rack. You want good, basic RCA cables made with coax to protect the line-level signals.
     
  4. Tommy_P

    Tommy_P Auditioning

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    I'm referring to just the regular RCA cables that came with the surround sound receiver. I'm using a Kenwood Dolby Digital receiver. There is a coaxial digital output on the cable box, but I can't control the volume of the cable using the cable remote if it is plugged in there. However, I can control the volume with the remote if I use the RCA cable. The digital coaxial can only be plugged into the Video 2 input on the receiver. Any suggestions on the best way to hook this up?
     
  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    This makes total sense. The coaxial output means your Receiver is in charge of the volume, not the CATV box. Using the L/R output of the CATV box means the CATV remote is in charge.

    Does your TV have L/R inputs and a SVideo connection? I suggest L/R/SVideo straight to the TV for casual watching. Also run coaxial-digital to your receiver to get louder sound for more serious movie watching. (just turn down the CATV volume and use the receiver remote for this).
     
  6. Tommy_P

    Tommy_P Auditioning

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    Yes, I do have S-Video inputs on the TV. Do you mean S-Video from the receiver to the TV? What is the purpose of connecting S-Video if I get the picture already from cable? I guess I'm wondering why this is necessary.
     
  7. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    Just connect the S-Video directly to your television from the cable box, along with a set of RCA stereo cables directly from the cable box to the television. Then connect the Digital Coax from the cable box to the coax input of the Kenwood. When watching a movie or show encoded with a Dolby track 4.0 or 5.1 use the Kenwood and for casual or late-night viewing use the tv sound. Be sure to turn the volume on the tv down when using the surround sound, because there may be a delay in the sound causing a reverb type sound.

    The reason to use S-Video versus a Coaxial Screw on cable or RF connector, is video seperation. RF mixes video and mono sound depending on it's connection. In your case the RF cable coming from the cable box does exactly that. The cable box interprets the incoming signal and sends it through the RF as a mixed video and mono (single channel audio) in one cable. Note: If the television decodes the signal of the your cable instead of using the box, you may have stereo sound and video depending on the program that you are watching. The S-video cable does video exclusively. It seperates luminescence and colour into 2 seperate synchronized pairs of grounded connection. S-video should eluminate dot crawl, a problem with RF cable and composite video (the yellow).

    The type of cable you would be best off using for coax digital would be a 75 ohm cable i.e. digital coax, composite video, or sub cables. The cheapest would be composite and subwoofer cables are long and expensive(not the best choice) and digital coax is well marketed, but I am not sure it holds a significant advantage over the composite video cables.

    Seth=L
     
  8. Tommy_P

    Tommy_P Auditioning

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    Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, my digital cable box does not have an S-Video ouput, which is stupid (thanks Comcast). I knew that S-Video does video exclusively, but unfortunately it's not a choice with this cable box. I still might toy around with hooking up the digital coax to the receiver and see how I like it.
     
  9. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    Many times more than not, most can't tell any difference between S-Video and Composite.
     
  10. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I used to keep both Composite and SVideo hooked up in parallel from my DVD player and show people the reduction in dot-crawl and more solid colors you get from SVideo. But I could hardly tell the difference with a CATV box.

    Home Theater Magazine did a test with a reference 50" TV and a DVD player and came up with these numbers:

    Composit: base quality
    SVideo: 20% better than Composite
    Component: 25% better than Composite

    For Standard Video - the difference between SVideo and Component was small, but it was a large, and visible difference between SVideo and Composite.

    The trick: SVideo by-passes your televisions Comb Filter.
     

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