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audio cables - need recommendation

Old 12-22-05, 01:53 PM
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audio cables - need recommendation

Hi, I just joined the board and saw the Monster video cable thread, unfortunately too late as I just bought a set for $80...ouch. I don't want to make same mistake on audio cables. Are there any brands that give you a better sound than the cheapo cables (red and white jacks) that normally come with any dvd player or vcr that one might buy. I see that Monster has very expensive audio cables and noted other brands such as Python. I could use some advice. I have a flat screen I'm trying to hook up to a dvd player and I'm trying to get above average sound, if that's possible. Thanks!
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Old 12-22-05, 02:03 PM
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If you're just trying to connect the DVD player to the TV for stereo sound the cables that came with the player will suffice since you won't be getting great sound from TV speakers anyway. If you're sending the stereo audio signal to a receiver then you might want to upgrade the cable a bit but looking at Acoustic Research or Radio Shack brands. For you to get digital sound to your receiver you need to use a single digital connection for audio to your receiver. This means either a TosLink/optical cable or a coax cable for audio.
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Old 12-22-05, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by chipmac
This means either a TosLink/optical cable or a coax cable for audio.
Even then, there has been numerous tests showing that you can transmit the same 'digital' signal with a coat hanger, and without any bit loss or degredation in sound. The expensive cables don't transmit sound any better than el-cheapo rca cables, at least from a statistical standpoint. The expensive cables start to be important when it comes to long runs of wire, due to resistance, and shielding, to help stop unwanted noise.
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Old 12-22-05, 06:00 PM
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There are basically two camps: Those that think cables make a difference and those that don't. Each camp throws out stat's, double blind tests, etc to prove their point. IMHO, buy something, try it, if you like it, keep it. If you don't like the sound try something else and see if you hear a difference.

Personally I would stay away from Monster, but again if it means you enjoy the system, that is ok to. Just think there are other brands out there at better pricing.
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Old 12-22-05, 06:34 PM
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Check out www.monoprice.com. I've read lots of good things, and they are VERY inexpensive.

I don't have any myself YET, but actually have a couple optical cables on their way at this very moment.
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Old 12-22-05, 11:57 PM
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www.partsexpress.com

They have their own brand - Dayton Audio - thick, well sheilded cables, with heavy connectors - much nicer than monster and much cheaper. I'm quite happy with mine.
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Old 12-26-05, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by shelland
Check out www.monoprice.com. I've read lots of good things, and they are VERY inexpensive.

I don't have any myself YET, but actually have a couple optical cables on their way at this very moment.
Good tip. I ordered 4 cables for less (including S&H) than ANY of the four cost at RatShack.
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Old 12-28-05, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
Good tip. I ordered 4 cables for less (including S&H) than ANY of the four cost at RatShack.
I've never used them myself, but we ordered 2 to give for Christmas (we're giving the in-laws a gift card to buy a HTIB, so figured I'd save them the hassle of buying the cables). We got them, but I haven't looked overly close at them - they're still in the package since we're giving them as a gift.

They definitely look better than some of the cheap cables you'll find at Walmart, Target, etc. I'll probably be hooking it up this coming weekend when we travel to their house for that side of the family's "Christmas", so will be able to get a better opinion of them then.

The price is definitely right! I have no problems with any of my cables I have right now, but I have a lot of extra length looking like crap behind my equipment - I might just buy a bunch of monoprice replacements to clean things up...
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Old 12-28-05, 11:56 AM
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Just double check which ones you are getting. For some of their cables, at least digital video, Monoprice has 2 levels. The better level (24AWG) is an excellent buy, the lower level...not so much.
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Old 12-28-05, 05:34 PM
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there is also the 'make-your-own' method. Partsexpress sells all the parts you'd need
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Old 12-30-05, 04:17 PM
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So, my monoprice cables came today, two Toslink, 2 RCA-component video. They seem well built and the equipment is hooked up and working fine. As I mentioned above, the total with S&H ($19) was less than RatShack wanted for any of the four ($30 a pop). Guess I know where I will buy all future cables.
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Old 01-01-06, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by its_hey_ma
The expensive cables start to be important when it comes to long runs of wire.
What is generally considered a "long run?" I need an optical between 12 and 25 feet, is there a danger of audio not matching up with screen at this length? Cable will also be going thru a crawlspace which will be cold. Does it matter>? thanks
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Old 01-01-06, 01:13 PM
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I'd say anything over 12' would be considered a long run. The main thing you'll need is some good shielding if its gonna run near any other type of audio/power/phone/antenna lines. The problem with optical in long runs is, the good stuff is generally made with a glass shielding making it very hard to bend around corners and such. The cold shouldn't matter too much, given that its not below freezing. The audio shouldn't have a problem syncing up with the video using optical cable as the data transfer rate with optical cable is really quick. Depending on which brand/model reciever you have, you may also have an audio delay for just this purpose. Hope some of that helped
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Old 01-01-06, 01:21 PM
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It did, thanks. I was going to go with a 25' from the monoprice site listed above. What does the "Toslink" mean? I just want optical audio from dvd to recvr. I'll be connecting an Oppo 971 to a Pioneer 811s recvr.
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Old 01-01-06, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by heavywear
It did, thanks. I was going to go with a 25' from the monoprice site listed above. What does the "Toslink" mean? I just want optical audio from dvd to recvr. I'll be connecting an Oppo 971 to a Pioneer 811s recvr.
There is 2 types of 'digital' cables. One is the toslink, which has a sort of square plug on the ends. This is often the one refered to as the optical audio cable. The other one is S/PDIF, which has the rca type ends. Both transmit a digital audio signal, and it really only matters what one you get based upon which type of connector your source/reciever has. There is also something called a mini-plug for the toslink, which connects to the end of the toslink cable and reduces it in size to a mini-plug incase your equipment has that type. Most likely it will be either the toslink or the S/PDIF.
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Old 01-01-06, 06:23 PM
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Thanks, just picked one up at monoprice, was going to pay double on ebay...
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Old 01-01-06, 07:10 PM
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No problem. I just checked out that site also. It's kinda scary. A good deal is one thing, but those prices seem lower than cost prices. Anyone have experience with these that can verify the quality?
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Old 01-01-06, 08:35 PM
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Monoprice isn't bad. I think you are seeing the facts about how much cables really cost when you compare their prices. I'm not sure about their A/V cables, but the computer stuff, or HDMI, is good.

Your comment on 12' feet being long is almost certainly way too low, also. RG-6 coax (18AWG conductor) is rated to 100' or more for video or higher frequency signals like satellite. Audio is easier to send and can go farther in a similar cable. Amplified audio in speaker wire can easily go dozens of feet in a decent sized wire (say 16AWG) with no perceptible difference in timing.

All the cable issues are really blown out of the water by audiophiles who simply don't understand, and refuse to accept, the science behind electricity. It truly is bizarre.

Generally speaking, use RG-6 coax for any cable TV, satellite TV, analog video and digital coaxial audio. Use the same or a decent twisted pair design of the same AWG for line level audio. Use 16AWG or larger (smaller number) speaker wire. Use 24AWG for digital video like HDMI.

And some of them do have limits, but usually because of the system, not the cabling itself. Like Toslink for example...the specs of the light really isn't designed to go farther than 35', larger cables (meaning more fiber strands) or glass cables will barely improve this without an amplifier. HDMI/DVI or VGA video signals is another one where the system just doesn't put out enough signal to go all that far.

Sorry for the ramble....
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Old 01-01-06, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Spiky
Your comment on 12' feet being long is almost certainly way too low, also.
Its just been my experience that running longer than 12' audio cable through walls near other electrical wires and suck, the audio cable started to pick up some interference. I have no doubt that even a 1000 foot cable could send through it from point a to point b. But what I look at is stuff such as the quality of the sound coming out of the end, which has a lot to do with the lenght of the wire it has to run and what kind of interference it picks up along the way. A well shielded, high quality cable should be able to deliver the digital signal quite a ways. Without the shielding, and too small of a wire, it will degrade the signal and pick up the interference.
Anyways, its late and I forgot where I was going with this. If you're running the cable through a wall I would suggest something with good shielding, whether its 10 feet or 100 feet.
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Old 01-05-06, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by shelland
Check out www.monoprice.com. I've read lots of good things, and they are VERY inexpensive.

Two thumbs WAY UP for monoprice.com

Purchased for $36.07 (shipping included) and received in three days:
  1. four Optical Toslink Audio Cables 6ft
  2. one 5-RCA Component cable 3ft
  3. one HDMI DVI cable 24AWG w/ net jacket 3t
  4. two Colored Network Cables 1ft

Heck, right now they have their daily special as a single 12ft Optical Toslink Audio cable (5.0mm) selling for $2.74. That's what I call a good deal.
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