subwoofer cables vs. video cables

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KwongC, Sep 27, 2002.

  1. KwongC

    KwongC Agent

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    I would like to know if the monster subwoofer cables are the same as the monster video cables. Meaning, physically, are they the same thing? (obviously, one is packaged, labeled, and sold as video cable, and the other is packaged, labeled, and sold as sub cable). Afterall, they are both one single length of RCA type cable.


    second thing is, I was on the monster cable site and looking at all their different types of sub cables. I notice they don't tell you what the gauge of each of the cables are. Afterall, doesn't the thickness of the cable govern how much signal goes through and therefore govern how "good" your sub sounds? (especially for long cable runs).


    thanks.
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I've no idea whether Monster's sub cables are the same as their video cables. Likely there are indeed differences, but I personally haven't dissected them. There's not much that's asked from a sub cable other than it pass frequencies from say 120 Hz on down. You'll find a rather inexpensive solution for a long length of sub cable by going to say Home Depot and picking up some quad shielded RG6 cable and terminating them appropriately. Much less money than say Monster with excellent results.
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Well Video cable must be made with 75 ohm coax. Subwoofer & audio cables can be made with any of the popular coax styles: 50, 75, 110, 300 ohm coax.

    And the center conductor thickness is NOT that important for line-level signals.

    The RG6/RG59 coax has a 18 ga center conductor so this is typical for many audio cables.

    Now there IS one thing to be aware of with sub cables:

    Ordinary interconnects have the shield attached to the outer part of the RCA plug. This is the ground connection and the center wire carries the signal.

    But when you connect this to a self-powered sub, it can cause a ground-loop or a loud 60 hz humm.

    Some subwoofer cables have little arrows on them to indicate the signal flow AND the destination end is NOT connected to the shield. This breaks the ground-loop.

    So a dedicated "Subwoofer" cable CAN solve a problem.

    Short of this, my advice would be to go buy a long AR or Radio Shack cable and use it for your subwoofer.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. John F. Palacio

    John F. Palacio Supporting Actor

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    ?
     
  5. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I'm in agreement here with John, if the shield is not connected, you will get no sound. That doesn't mean there isn't something employed in the cable to reduce or remove ground loop, but it has to be connected.

    A sub cable is little more than a single analog audio cable.
     
  6. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    When the shield is not connected, the electrical power ground becomes the zero-volt reference.

    But there are now many yards of copper wire between the receiver electrical ground and the sub electrical ground. This bit of difference appears like a signal and you get the ground-loop hum in the sub.
     
  7. Adil M

    Adil M Supporting Actor

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    I believe the sub cable is solid and the video cable is stranded. They are basically the same and I have interchanged both to see no real difference. You can use a video cable for less money.
     
  8. Mark Rich

    Mark Rich Second Unit

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    The last series of Monster subwoofer interconnects were not a coax design. They used a twisted 2 cable configuration for signal and ground with shielding connected at the source end only.
    I do not believe they have switched to a coax design on their current sub cable offerings. So no, I'd say the cable used is not the same as their video cables which are a coax cable.

    Yes you could use a coax (Monster video)cable for subwoofer duty but I would not try it the other way around as the cable is not likely a 75 ohm design.
     
  9. Scott Tucker

    Scott Tucker Stunt Coordinator

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    Monster's sub cables are time alingned and the video cables are not. They do this because aparantly bass travels at a different speed than the higher frequencies.

    Scott
     
  10. Adil M

    Adil M Supporting Actor

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    I always thought time-alignment slowed the highs down to be in phase w/ the lows. Isn't it physically impossible to speed up the bass?
    Therefore, are you saying that there is a significant difference in the arrival of 120 hz vs. 20 hz? Just wondering how this time alignment is applying?
     
  11. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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  12. Clay Autery

    Clay Autery Stunt Coordinator

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    Short of adding circuitry to the cable, there is essentially NOTHING you can do to a piece of wire to change its "time alignment". [​IMG] Time alignment... you gotta love the folks that make up these terms.... [​IMG]
    I own a Monster Interlink 201 SW HT "THX Certified Precision Wound Balanced Subwoofer Interconnect" that has a "Signal Flow" indicator...
    First... "Precision Wound" indicates that the cable shield is spiral wound as a LOT of mic cables are to increase flexibility... While this method DOES increase flexibility, it ALSO drastically increases the likelihood that the shield will open up and cease to act as a proper shield... Spiral wound cable shields are NOT the optimum for sub (et al) use. You want BRAIDED... and the higher the percentage coverage, the better...
    Second... All that the "signal flow" indicator tells you is that the outer shield is ONLY connected at ONE end. Checking my remaining Monster Cables, it is apparent that Monster has chosen "source grounding" as their philosophical winner in the shielding debate... What this means is that the source end of the cable has one signal wire connected to the RCA center conductor and the other signal wire AND outer shield connected to the jacket... At the other end, the signal wires are connected, but the outer shield is floating... ostensibly to help prevent hum... This wiring scheme is actually just a bastardized form of balanced to unbalanced wiring using RCA connectors...
    Now, I object to the use of balanced in any way, shape, or form in connection with this cable and wiring scheme. This is most decdidedly NOT a balanced cable... It is an UNbalanced twin conductor audio cable with an outer shield source connected... By definition, you can not have a balanced cable using RCA connectors... Balanced wiring requires a Tip, Ring, AND Shield.... Positive/Signal/Hot plus Inverted Positive/Differential Signal/Cold, and Ground/Shield...
    While lifting the shield at one end or the other on a cable is one way to try and combat cable induced/transmitted hum, it can actually introduce another potentially WORSE problem...
    When the outer shield is connected at only ONE end, you essentially create an antenna tuned to whatever frequency the length of cable corresponds to... BTW, at somewhere in the 31-39" range, you end up with an excellent FM antenna... [​IMG]
    I no longer use the Monster cable for the pre-out to amp connection... Since it IS an umbalanced circuit anyway, I prefer to use the Canare L-5CFB 18 GA center conductor over the teeny-tiny conductors in the Monster cable...
    As soon as I can manage to get the Balanced module installed in my Adcom GFA-555, I'll be moving to a balanced interconnect with ALL THREE conductors connected properly... just to be safe. (No need to lift the shield UNLESS you have a hum for sure, and you can't eliminate it using other (more proper) methods.)
    Wow... the more I learn about cabling, the more it becomes evident that there is a LOT of misinformation, disinformation, and just downright WRONG cable stuff floating around out there... [​IMG]
     
  13. Scott Tucker

    Scott Tucker Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm sorry. I mispoke when referring to Monsters' time-aligned cables. Please forgive me.

    Scott
     
  14. Mark Rich

    Mark Rich Second Unit

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    Clay,
    Do you really believe when it comes to analog audio cables bigger/thicker is better? Maybe in pornography and ac power cords!
    Of course if you like bloated bass and thick mid range then enjoy your canare coax cable of choice [​IMG]
     
  15. Clay Autery

    Clay Autery Stunt Coordinator

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    Mark... Who knows... probably doesn't make a bit of difference... But given the choice between the two, I'd rather have my Canare cables...
    Larger center conductor has lower resistance than smaler conductor... yeah, this is likely of negligible impact in this instance... who knows...
    The shielding on the Canare cable is much better than the spiral wound Monster stuff... (more durable and greater coverage).
    I own a bunch of Canare L-5CFB and a complete set of the tools and dies...
    I have had EXCELLENT results with all of the Canare cables that I have made and used over the last 2.5 years in various audio and video applications...
    I can make each interconnect myself.... and of the precise length and routing that I choose....
    And I can make a sub pre to amp cable for about $5.00 tops...
    To me, there is simply no contest... [​IMG]
    Oh yeah... as far as the "bloated bass and thick mid range"....
    If the sound I'm getting has these characteristics, then I must not be experienced enough, smart enough, or have a good enough "audiophile's ear", because I certainly cannot hear anything negative added to the sound by my cables... In fact, the sound in my system continues to improve... not necessarily because of my cables, but due to component, room, and other improvements...
    I don't see a day in the near future when my system will be anywhere close to the level where a microvolt/amp or milliohm here or there is going to make a difference... if ever.
    So, I will continue to enjoy my "[C]anare coax cable of choice" until that time for the product quality, ease of construction, and ability to tailor to my specific needs, in addition to the more than adequate performance... (BTW, I use Canare's Star Quad mic and speaker cables in addition to several of their coax products)
    Oh... and I won't be paying $40.00 and up per meter for interconnects... [​IMG]
     

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