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Reg. A/V cable vs. Monster Cable

Old 09-28-02, 11:52 AM
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Reg. A/V cable vs. Monster Cable

Ok.. I have a pretty lowend home theater system... Basic Sony reciever.. Pioneer DVD player.. Old-school center channel and reg pioneer speakers... everything sounds pretty good to me.. The one is that for A/V cables I'm using the generic red/white ones that would come with a new stereo or a VCR (with the exception of an optical cable going from the DVD player to the reciever).. Would monster cables or something similar really help? Also, I'm thinking of getting a new center channel speaker.. What would be good for a newbie?

thanks in advance
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Old 09-28-02, 03:06 PM
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Monster cables are notoriously overpriced. Really, any set of decently shielded cables (i.e. probably not the freebies that came in the box with something else you bought) will get the job done just as well. Don't let any so-called audiophiles sell you on the need for expensive cables. The quality of your speakers and receiver are a much bigger factor in determining sound quality.

Go to Best Buy and pick up a set of Acoustic Research cables. They'll do fine and are reasonably priced. You may or may not hear much of a difference, but even if you don't you'll have some peace of mind that it isn't the cable quality that is affecting your audio.
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Old 09-28-02, 03:12 PM
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Thanks for the advice... Also, what can you recommend for a good center channel in the $150ish range... or is that too cheap?
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Old 09-28-02, 06:59 PM
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Monster makes cables in the same price range as Acoustic Research (>19.99), so I'd be wary of anyone who broadbrushes them as 'overpriced' without even having a clue what model is used as a basis for price comparison.
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Old 09-29-02, 11:01 AM
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My thoughts, YMMV.

There's a good reason why the cables you get with equipment are free. They're junk. I'm a firm believer that a good quality shielded cable is absolutely necessary for a home theater, whether it's Monster, Acoustic Research, or another brand of your choosing doesn't matter to me.

The thing is, the skinny freebies aren't shielded, and if you're like me, you've got a TV, receiver, VCR, DVD,TiVo, PS2 and a center speaker all with numerous wires all in close proximity to one another. That area is going to be a big electromagnetic storm of interference. Shielded cables are going to get rid of a lot of the electromagnetic pollution, and insure that the signal carried on them is going to remain intact.

I consider my equipment middle of the road at best. Nothing particularly special, and people who've sunk $20,000 into their HT would probably smirk at it and tell me it's cute. However, I did notice better audio and video with the shielded cables then I did without them. Not night and day differences, but I did get a slightly better picture on the TV for all around viewing, and I could hear a difference in the sound when I first hooked it up.

My other opinion is to buy the cheapest optical cable around. It's optical, not RF, so it's not going to catch interference and the biggest difference between an expensive and an el-cheapo is the expensive one won't break as easily. If you're going to set it up and leave it in place, it won't really matter, and 10 $9 ones will probably have a longer combined life span than a single $90 one.

The opposite is true for digital coax, those need to be shielded. People who say digital is digital don't understand that 1's and 0's carried on the coax can also be disturbed by electromagnetic interference. Receivers have correction built in for this, just like computers and every other device that uses digital over wire. Some receivers have better correction than others, but my view is if you use a better digital coax, the more 1's and 0's make it across, the less the receiver has to correct; which means a more pristine sound through the speaks.

I do run Monster cables, the middle end variety, about $40 per set. Not overly pricey, and for my system I believe they provide adequate shielding. Check the specs of the different cables at the store and you'll probably notice that all quality cables in the same price range are pretty much the same, with a little variance per brand. They'll all use a thicker gauge wire (more path for the signals to travel on) and decent shielding (so as not to cause or be interfered with by RF pollution.) My only warning is that a lot of lower end generic type cables will be thick and claim to be shielded, but in reality they will be a thin wire with a lot of rubber and very little shielding at all. If you go with any of the brand named cables (like AR or Monster) this shouldn't be a problem.

Again, YMMV

*edited to add: This thread reminded me that I needed to get a new Sub woofer cable, which I"ve now done. This was an AR 6' wire for around $20. It seems to get along fine with the Monster cables surrounding it

Last edited by renaldow; 09-30-02 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 09-30-02, 04:54 AM
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Originally posted by Josh Z
Don't let any so-called audiophiles sell you on the need for expensive cables.
Another good piece of advice would be, Don't let anybody tell you that quality cables DON'T make a difference either. Only your ears, listening to your equipment set up in your home, can tell you whether cables make a difference or not.

That said, I certainly agree that the quality of your components, especially your speakers, will make a much larger difference than the cables and interconnects that run between them. Decent, well-shielded and well-constructed cables are important. Bad soldering, loose-fitting plugs and poor insulation can all contribute to signal degradation.

That doesn't necessarily mean the cables have to be expensive (and "expensive" means different things to different people). Monster Cable and Acoustic Research each have several different lines, ranging from less than $10 to well over $100 for a one-meter interconnect. Both brands are decent, as is www.bettercables.com and others.
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Old 10-22-02, 03:24 AM
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It seems so reasonable, test the cables with your system, your music, and your own two ears, and then decide if you hear a difference worth the cost.

The catch is most people will hear differences, often huge differences. Born again, need to play every bit of source material they own just to enjoy the amazing new and wonderfull sound. The catch being when you conduct the test blind, ie somebody else swaps the cables so you don't know if the free junk cable sony put in the box is used or the fancy new $100 cable, the wonderfull new sound is just as often "heard" with the old junk cable as the new expensive one. Placebo, pyschoacoustics, marketing, one born ever minute.

Tread with care.
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Old 10-23-02, 04:12 PM
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When I entered the HT realm 5 years ago I never got to used
those standard red & white cables supplied with them components.

I kicked off with Monster cables right from the start and perhaps
never have or bothered to compare differences with other types
of cables in the market.

The dealer advertised in the local newspaper. Requested for
brochures from them,got it,read it and was immediately sold.

Till this day the Monster cables are serving me well. Being a neat
person I bundle all the cables together and never once had
experienced interference whatsoever.

I believe that good sheilded cables will certainly compliment
the HT system it is connected to.
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Old 10-23-02, 04:56 PM
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Go to Target, Walmart, or RadioShack and get their gold series cables. They are more than reasonably priced and got the quality to boot. Unless you got a 10,000 system, you don't have to spend $200 on cables. These above retailers will more than serve your purpose.

Before you make a purchase on your center channel, decide what speaker manufacturer you will upgrade to in the future. Then go with that brand because you want to have a timbre match.

BTW, there's an awesome center channel called the Paradigm CC-170 for $199 . They will make a major difference in imporving your HT.
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