Which interconnects to upgrade?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by JonahWicky, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. JonahWicky

    JonahWicky Stunt Coordinator

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    The more I read about interconnects, the more confused I get. I have most of my components connected with basic low end cables, like Dayton or Radio Shack Gold. I'm thinking about spending some money on cables, so I want to make a priority list of which ones are worth replacing and which are good enough.
    My system consists of a Denon AVR-3803, Denon 2910 DVD player, Scientific Atlanta 8300HD STB, Panasonic TY-50PHD8UK commercial plasma display and Axiom speakers. I only use the AVR for audio. All the video goes directly into the monitor (HDMI for DVD, component for STB).
    My priority is HDTV and DVD movies, with music secondary, although I've been buying DVD-As lately and really like the sound quality.
    Is it just upgrad-itis or will there be some benefit to better cables? How much is enough to spend? Will I notice a difference between a $20 vs. $75 vs. $250+? I need help!
     
  2. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    A properly constructed digital cable passing Dolby Digital signals is not worth going nuts over. Some of the Toslink or RCA digital cables have better connectors. For DVD-A, I'd get better analog cables. As with any upgrade, there are diminishing returns. Only you can decide what sounds best and what is worth it.
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    You might consider a upgrade component cable set for the STB. "Component Cables" are a 1940's standard and were never intended to handle progressive or HD video. If you bought generic component cables, likely they were designed for 4 mhz max.

    Get a professional cable made with Belden or Canare coax from places like BlueJeansCables. About $50 for a 6-ft cable (we are not talking exotic here, just cables designed for HD video).

    Will you see a difference - depending upon the size of your display - likely. If not, return the cables. (BlueJeans has a good return policy and the owner is a member here.)

    AUDIO:

    This is where things get a bit subjective. Speaker cables DO have an influence on the sound. It's not nearly as important for a HT system, but it has a influence on a music system.

    Before you go nuts with speaker wires, Make sure you have level adjusted all your speakers, played with the toe-in angles, disconnected/trim/re-connected all your speaker wires and then listened to things for at least a week. (I can ruin the effect of the best speaker wires by mis-aligning the speakers in any room).

    Then - find a store that has a good return policy and try auditioning some new speaker wires. It's like seasoning on food - you have to judge. The difference in the sound may or may not be worth the upgrade price.

    Yes - you have upgraditis. It's a common problem we all share. (Everyone - this is Jonah. Give him a big welcome [​IMG] )

    My one big advice: add up the price of the equipment you are hooking up and take 10% of that number. Spend no more than this on the wires.

    If speakers + reciever = $3,000, spend no more than $300 on the speaker wires. This will keep you from over-buying.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. JonahWicky

    JonahWicky Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the good info Bob. That will help me decide what to do. Both the STB and the DVD player have an HDMI output, but the monitor only has 1 HDMI input. Which do you think would be a better choice to hook up via HDMI? I'm guessing the STB delivers higher resolution than the DVD, so that seems to be the logical choice.
     
  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Exactly my thinking. The STB likely puts out 720p while the DVD player tops out at 480p.

    The frequencies involved are:

    480p - 13 Mhz max

    720p - 35 Mhz max

    So if it was me, I would use the digital HDMI cable for the STB and component analog for the DVD player because of the frequencies involved.
     

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