Paper and Project the Cables you will Need


Bronze Member
Username: Nency

Post Number: 95
Registered: May-09
It is always a good idea to draw out your entire system on paper and project the cables you will need. Then buy extra because you always need them. My bedroom system is a basic yet modern setup that includes a 34-inch Sony XBR TV, a Denon receiver, a Denon DVD-Audio/SACD player, a Sony HD TV receiver, a Sony TiVo, a Mitsubishi VCR and a 5.1 Gallo Acoustics speaker system. Here is the list of the cables I needed -- it may help you select the ones you might need:

• Three speaker cables (2 meters) for the front and center speakers. The length was more than sufficient, because the speakers were installed directly above the place where the receiver was to be installed

• Over 200 feet of in-wall speaker cable (Transparent's Music Link) was used during construction for the rear speakers. I had the speaker wires pulled to the location of the equipment.

• Three pairs of RCA interconnects for the 5.1 audio output of the DVD-Audio and SACD. You need these to be pretty good interconnects and will want them all the same length and variety. You don't want to get cheap on this connection. It is really important to the sound of your movies and music.

• Three two-meter component video cables were used to connect video from the HD Receiver to the TV (direct), the DVD player to the receiver and the receiver to the TV. If you are using a receiver, make sure that your cables have RCA connections on them or that you have enough BNC to RCA adaptors.

• DVI cables rock. If you have a set like mine and can connect a source via DVI, I highly recommend you do it. The cables are easy to use and easy to connect. Get a long one (or two). Ultra Link makes a nice DVI cable that is pretty affordable.

• S-Video cables are unfortunately a necessity for almost every system. The problem is that the cables inherently suck because the pins inside the connector need to be aligned perfectly when connecting the cable. If not, they bend or break off. If they do, consider yourself screwed. You might need S-Video cables for connecting a VCR, TiVo or a basic satellite receiver.

• Composite video cables look just like RCA audio cables but they are designed to pass video signal. They are useful for connecting VCRs, game machines and other components.

• TosLink digital cables are useful for connecting the audio out of an HDTV receiver and many receivers have inputs for them. You want a digital out of your satellite receiver so that you can listen to movies from the movie channels in surround (when available).

• COAX digital cables are also like RCA cables but they are formulated for passing digital information. You will likely want to connect one of these bad boys from your DVD-Audio player to your receiver, thus setting up movie input as an additional input for your system. Advantages to this include allowing you to be able to rip MP3s from CDs and playing DTS CDs in surround sound.

• Cable companies make specific subwoofer cables. I have never tried one, but they are an interesting option. If you opt for a traditional cable, make sure you leave yourself plenty of room for moving your subwoofer around the room. RCA to RCA connectors, needed to extend a subwoofer cable, work sometimes but not always. Sometimes they are the cause of hum and noise, which will drive you insane.

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 582
Registered: Oct-10
"S-video cables are necessity for almost every system."

Not really. Unless you have an S-VHS VCR, you shouldn't need S-video at all. Unlike S-VHS, VHS VCRs use use composite video only. For DVD players you should use component video and for blu-ray, you should either use HDMI or component, which ever you like better.

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 588
Registered: Oct-10
Digital cable should be handled by HDMI or Component as well.

While buying extra cables is not a bad idea, if you map out your system properly, you should not need extras. If you intend to record with your VCR, DVR or DVD recorder, plan on 2 sets of appropriate cables for each. Cassette and cd recorders, likewise.

It's also important to point out that while the chincy cables that come with things should be avoided, the most expensive cables on the market are not necessary. At $75 for 50 ft spool, Monster 12 awg speaker wire is sufficient. You don't need a pair of Audio Quest $220 spkr wires. Audio Quest G-Snake interconnect, $89 for a pair of 8 ft cables work just as well as their $130, 8 ft Sidewinders. Don't go crazy on digital either! When using digital coax, a $30 cable is MORE than sufficient as is a $50 optic cable. Remember, digital signals are not nearly as sensitive as analog signals are.

Another thing to keep in mind is that interconnect cables are not as "signal specific" as manufacturers would have you believe. In other words, an audio cable will work just fine for video and visa versa. I have used cables for other than their intended purpose without a problem. The color coding is just there for convenience. You connect the wire with the red plug to the red jack on the cd player and the red jack on the receiver and do likewise with the white plugs.

Good choice of receiver!

Gold Member
Username: Magfan


Post Number: 1910
Registered: Oct-07
I agree with pre-planning. Makes sense and saves time / money in the long run.
However, many alternatives exist to Monster::
Huge cable selection. I've never used 'em but some reports are good
Good, no nonsense cable at decent prices. AND, after their run-in with Monster, I'm an even bigger fan. 90% of my cabling comes from here.
Huge following. My balanced set is from the 'Gold' line. Reasonably priced and terrific.

I'd have to see the wiring setup to comment, but I do know that DVI and S-vidio are history and that I'd take extra trouble to send my audio around in digital format....and Video would go by HDMI whenever possible with as few loops thru other gear as switching and inputs allow.

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 633
Registered: Oct-10
Monster is not the most expensive brand. Audio Quest is more so for one and IMO, not any better. I'll look into blue jeans next time I need some cables. Rockfish is good and more reasonable than Monster. I usually get what's available in my area as opposed to waiting. I'm not real patient when it comes to buying stuff. I'm sure Monster and AQ count on people like me.
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