View Full Version : Price points for wire
12-09-2002, 02:31 PM
Although I question the utility of very expensive wire/cables, I do not question that there is poor wire that needs improvement. When I read the thread about the radio station coming through the sub, I wondered:
Where do you think price points for wire/cables occur? Example, if a guy is using the RCA patch cords that came with a component, will an $8 shielded cable make a difference? A $20 cable? Is there improvement from "stock" to cables under $20 or do you think you have to spend a lot more? I know, I know, some of you think there is practically no limit on improvements from wire/cable. But as with most things, you usually get MOST of the improvement in the first few upgrades, so I'm looking for a little more of a practical on-a-budget-but-still-likes-improvement perspective.
I'm curious because I do want to upgrade some of my interconnects - some I know are old and simply not good enough quality even for me. I scrambled to get things hooked up when I got a DD receiver and was suddenly faced with more signal paths. Now I've had a chance to take a breath.
Audio horror story: we were downtown last weekend for a special Christmas evening, and my 5 year old daughter was dancing with her little dance group. The dance school had a JVC compact stereo.. probably 40-60 dirty watts, driving a pair of Peavy sound reinforcement speakers... and the connection was with an RCA cable that hummed terribly unless someone held it. So, the entire evening, someone had to hold that connection. The sound was awful, regardless. It literally sounded like a vacuum cleaner was the primary musical instrument.
12-09-2002, 09:14 PM
i think there are good off brand name cables and wires out there.
i kind of look at it this way.. if you're driving your car from point A to point B.. one car is a Honda, and the other car is a Lexus. both cars will get you to the same location. is the Lexus then a better car then the Honda? No, both do the same thing.. one just costs twice as much as the other.
12-09-2002, 10:19 PM
I believe a system run down of what you own would be a better way for Me to give you some wire tips for your system.
Most wire companies have LEVELS of performance.
List your gear and I can help you get started.
Just about everyones standard level wire is better then the patch cords in gear boxes.
12-09-2002, 10:34 PM
Im spending 110 dollars or so on wire this christmas -
Here is my 'HIGH END' upgrade in wire...LOL!
2 - 18 dollar gold plated AV cords
2 - 11 dollar stereo patch gold plated cords
7 packs - 3 dollars, 4 flat gold interconnects per pack
and 150 feet of 12 guage HD wire! cost: 30-40 dollars
yeah and i might get some optical cables if someone can tell me WTF they do...LOL!
12-10-2002, 10:43 AM
>yeah and i might get some optical cables if someone can tell me WTF they do...LOL!
They're for transfering digital audio between components... i.e. transfering dolby digital or dts from a DVD player to a reciever. You can also use coaxial digital cables or 5.1 interconnects.
12-10-2002, 12:52 PM
Home theater rundown....
All components except the VCR are in a built-in-the-wall rack, approximately an 8-10 foot run to the TV/VCR. All speaker wires and any cables from the TV/VCR to components run through a 3" hole in the wall out to the listening room. ALL component cabling is in a different room, completely hidden from view.
Sherwood 7103 DD receiver driving a pair of Monitor 7Cs (main), an Advent center, pair of Monitor 5jrs for surrounds. All speaker wire is 16 gauge. Main runs are about 12'; longest run is one surround speaker.. about 30'.
Apex AD800 DVD player, connected via digital input to the receiver, and of course the video feed runs to the receiver.
Aiwa 3-head tape deck, connected with standard patch cords. This connection isn't a priority; we don't listen to tapes that much.
Sony 2nd generation CD changer, new in 1989. Connected with better-than-average patch cord, but nothing special.
Philips turntable (circa 1970s) with Grado cartridge. Not even hooked up right now given the receiver has no phono input.
Toshiba Hi-Fi VCR, connected via RCAs to the receiver, and via standard 75ohm cable directly to the TV.
TV signal is off-the-air via amplified set-top antenna (we get the 4 basic networks plus PBS sometimes plus a local independent channel).
I have a 'monitor' cable running from the receiver to the TV that handles the DVD video signal and the VCR signal when the TV is on "monitor."
So.. the connections I think I'm most interested in are:
DVD digital link to the receiver. I have a better-than-crap cable I had to buy when I got the receiver (I think it was about $15). This run is about 18".
Video feed from DVD to receiver (18") AND from VCR to receiver (8 feet or so).
Video feed from receiver back to TV, carrying either DVD or VCR video (about 8').
I don't have any problems with hum or buzzing that I am aware of. I don't have *any* signal problems, in fact, that are evident just by sitting down and watching a movie or listening to music. Receiver does not have any signal problems such as source bleed-through, does not have noisy surround channels when no surround signal is present, etc.
This has to be a pay-as-I-go project.. can't go out and drop even a mild amount of money on a bunch of cables right now. But I could see working on upgrades over the next few months. And please, if you have advice, it needs to be practical. Simply no way about it that I'm going to drop $50 on a cable, even if I wanted to. That is the reason I started this thread by wondering if maybe I don't even need to bother if I can't reach that first price point to really make a difference.
12-10-2002, 01:26 PM
Originally posted by johnnyamerika
>yeah and i might get some optical cables if someone can tell me WTF they do...LOL!
You are FUNNY!
The Optical connect is digital PCM but upbanded to light ~ 630nm. The optical connect is the most resistant to rf interference and has really become a standard without "standards". I think anyway...... :rolleyes:
I have tried to find the Toshiba standards but FAILED. If any1 knows where to find this standard I would appreciate it.
12-10-2002, 03:24 PM
Mx, how do you have your dvd player hooked up to your recevier if you don't have an optical digital cable? do you use a left and right RCA cable? add an optical cable.. and you'll be very happy for Christmas optical cables i think run about $30 on up
12-10-2002, 03:59 PM
You can find very inexpensive optical cables for the digital interconnect. I would not spend more that 20 bucks for a piece of plastic. ;) but thats just me and my 2c. I bought my RCA TOSLink from CC for 20 bucks.
To check if the optical cable is good disconnect it from the receiver and if you see a red light it is good. Period. On higher end equipment the AT&T connections are used which are glass. Easier to break but less loss on longer runs for the perfectionists.
12-10-2002, 04:04 PM
Originally posted by danger boy
Mx, how do you have your dvd player hooked up to your recevier if you don't have an optical digital cable?
He could be using a digital coax cable.
12-10-2002, 05:48 PM
Im using a power cord, and av cords. LOL! Here is my idea - My dad is building my house for me when I move out and everything - and here is my Home theatre plan...yeah i will probally get an optical cable too - radioshack will be happy when i walk in the door....LOL!
12-10-2002, 05:50 PM
Originally posted by HBombToo
You are FUNNY!
I no, its..umm a trait?
12-10-2002, 05:52 PM
My system is pretty disorganized. When I get all my new wires and cables I will duck tape or some how stick the wires to the cabnet to seperate them, and I will have stickers on each end of the wires, and i will have stickers on the powers cords - im tired of guess and test, and hunt and find!
12-10-2002, 10:21 PM
If I were you and I didn't have a lot of money for wire upgrades right now I would seriously consider upgrading the DVD as that will give you the most noticeable improvment in YOUR system.
Since money is always a concern I would recommend that you go check out an AR digital cable (optical or coax) and an AR composite cable for video. Since your gear is in a custom cabnet you should be able to get away with .5 meter cables which are cheaper in price.
My personal experience is that I AR is not a GREAT cable but I will say that is sounds a lot better than patch cables so you should notice a big difference in your sound for around 30 dollars give or take.
Also you could look at Monster Standard video and audio interconnects for around 10 or 15 dollars but honestly they do not sound much better than patch cords.
Lastly look on the internet at places like Audiogon.com or EBAY.com sometimes you can find really awesome wire for cheap like Monster,Straight,Tributaries,Ixos, etc etc..
I love your plans for the Theater it looks like it's going to be awesome. Duct Tape wires to the cabinet?:lol:
They make wire rings you know........................Built in cabinets are the way to go............You lucky bastard.:cool:
12-10-2002, 11:15 PM
lol. thank ya! Im a cheapo - and down here in the south: Duct Tape, Fixes EVERYTHING! :lol:! :lol:
12-11-2002, 04:28 PM
MX.. your proposed set up is pretty much what I have now. The home theater is in one room, and the equipment is built into a side wall. The back of the equipment is in a storage room that is off the home theater room. I can access all my wires and cables very easily, yet they aren't visible from the listening room. Very nice arrangement... I've always hated trying to pull some stand out to work on wiring.
Liv4.. thanks. I'll look around a little and see what I can find out. I'm good at educating myself.. so I guess cables are my next topic.
12-11-2002, 05:08 PM
I have sourced some mid to lower priced cabling from www.123av.com and www.123av2.com They carry 12 gauge phoenix gold speaker cabling and it seems to work ok -the price is great. I am also using some rca interconnects from RCA brand I think about $7 and they look pretty cool http://www.123av2.com/Store/RCA_RCA_Audio_Cables.asp .
I can't bring myself to spend much more than that on cabling.
12-11-2002, 09:39 PM
i would recomend the ar cabbles they are as good as monster cabble mid line but cost way less i have their good stuff and it works great just like speakers there is a dimishing return on wire
12-12-2002, 01:28 AM
If your TV can take S-video, I'd invest in one from the DVD to TV (skip the receiver). I still remember when I hooked mine up that I got for $1.99 at a Blockbuster clearance bin. The wife said "Wow! What'd you do?" I've moved on since, but the improvement wasn't as dramatic.
For VCR, I'd again got direct if possible via video cable. Coax might be better for longer runs, but if it's close RCA it.
I noticed the biggest improvements in my ICs within the first step. $8-15 range. RadioShack shielded isn't all that bad to be honest.
The RCA company has been around a long time. They created the style of plug and cable. Don't underestimate them. There's a reason some of their vintage stuff goes for mega dollars to audiophiles. Good call Casey.
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