System Wires

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Junie, Jan 22, 2002.

  1. Junie

    Junie Agent

    Jan 17, 2002
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    I was wanting to know about the wires used to hook up HT. I am new to HT and used monster wire for all of the hookups. I found this to be pricie. As I add more to the system is there another manufacturer that is just as good or better at a lower price? If not I will just have to spend the money

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

    Feb 27, 2001
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    The Island, Canada
    Real Name:
    Rich Travale
    Howdy and welcome to the forum.

    Monster can be quite pricey. I would take a look at Acoustic Research if I were you. I like them a lot and they are quite a bit cheaper than Monster.
  3. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

    Nov 1, 1998
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    For speaker wire, anything of the desired thickness (of the copper, not of the overall cable) will do, Radio Shack and Home Depot wire is just as good as Monster Cable (tm). A 12 gauge stranded wire with more than 12 strands per conductor is suggested for not being too stiff. (14 gauge will do for less than 25 feet to the speaker, 16 gauge for less than about 12 feet but you might want 12 gauge for everything so you don't have too many spools of leftovers.) If you want speaker wires with the banana plugs already attached, you will have to pay more but you don't have to pay as much as Monster Cable costs.
    If you can fasten a string to the clips or terminals with good metal contact, and you don't need to keep disassembling and moving the equipment, then you don't need banana plugs on your wires. Just be careful that stray strands of wire don't touch nearby metal parts and cause a short circuit.
    Video hints:
  4. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

    May 8, 2001
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    hi junie!

    as others have said...

    monster is good stuff. no worries there.


    you can probably get just as good performance at about 1/3rd the cost. i use radio-shack and AR cables (available at best-buy) and am quite happy with the performance. i did some blind-testing between the rat-shack and monster and could not discern any difference.

    i recommend you do the same. if possible, can you return the monster? if you don't notice any difference you may save a nice chunk of change.

    the key is for you to test and see for yourself.
  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    May 22, 1999
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    Here is the quick-and-dirty so you dont over-buy:
    Speaker wire: Buy a spool of 12 ga from Home Depot or the Sound King brand from Use it everywhere.
    Coaxial Digital cable: Buy a AR or Radio Shack Video cable. Thats all you need. Digital is much less sensitive to the wire than analog signals.
    Video Cables:
    Home Theater magazine compared the 3 different types of video connections to a reference 50" TV and came up with these numbers:
    Composite (single RCA cable): baseline
    SVideo (Funny "keyboard" connector): 20% better than Composite
    Component (3 RCA video cables): 25% better than Composite
    So you should go with the best connection type your TV offers.
    If your display size is modest (40" or less) you can stick with the Radio Shack or AR brands. The better/more expensive cables wont give you much improvement.
    But if you have a "sensitive" system with one or more of:
    - Display larger than 50"
    - Video cable run more than 10/12 feet
    - Pushing HD/Progressive signals down the cable
    If you have one of these, you might consider buying from one of the internet sites that build cables using production-studio grade materials. People often see a difference with a better cable if you have a "sensitive" system.
    Subwoofer Cable: Start with ordinary CATV coax and put RCA plugs on the ends. Radio Shack sell all the parts you need. Later, when you nail down the exact placement for your sub, you can cut the cable to fit, or buy a Radio Shack/AR/Custom cable. The main thing is to have a tight-fitting RCA plug.
    VCR/CATV../etc/ For these low-grade sources, get the L/R/Video cable sets from Radio Shack. Very handy.

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