Cable/Interconnect Questions


New member
Username: Latebreak

Cleveland, Ohio

Post Number: 1
Registered: Oct-04
I'm in the process of building my first home theater system and have come to the point where I need to select speaker wire, and optical cables.

I have a Sony ES STR-DA2000ES A/V reciever, with Athena AS-F2's, a AS-C1, and AS-B2's. (60% Video/40% Music)

Is 14 awg speaker wire enough, or should I step up to 12 awg?

Is there really a difference in an optical cable? I've seen sets on eBay for about $5, and I've seen sets go for as much as $50 bucks. I need at least three cables (HD Cable, DVD, Xbox) so I really need to justify spending $150 on top end cables.

Finally, would using there be any benefit to using a digital coax cable from my DVD player (Sony DVP-NS725P) versus the optical cable?


Bronze Member
Username: Mitchbd

Post Number: 38
Registered: Feb-04
The gauge of cable to use depends a little bit on the length of the run. If they are longer runs, use the 12 gauge... but for realatively short ones (5-10 feet), the 14 will be fine.

There are differences in cables for sure - it's a good start to use a cable that is in the "lower range of the high end". By this I mean that you will se better results by spending about 30 - 50 dollars on a cable, than you will by using the cheaply made, thin cables that are included with most devices.

For digital connectivity - there are some people that feel coax is the better choice. There are less 'jitter' errors, among other things. Coax is better for short runs... optical is better for long runs.

Hope that helps a bit.

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 117
Registered: Sep-04
Also, different opticals have a different signature. I don't know why this is since all optical should be exactly the same. The only differences I can point a finger at are the end connectors which differ significantly. I know of one cable used by two different manufacturers which sounds different so it has to be because the two manufacturers use different termination.

Coax usually sounds better in my view, though you get greater variation due to the different wire formulations and termination practices. Some of the best results I've had have been with Chord Co Prodac Silver Plus - excellent cable. But if you want long runs you're probably better off with optical.


Silver Member
Username: Petergalbraith

Rimouski, Quebec Canada

Post Number: 144
Registered: Feb-04
As far as speaker wire, it's possible to get cheap 12 AWG (oxygen free and all that jazz) if you have an electronics discount store. I buy 100' rolls for C$25. But 14 AWG should be okay for short runs.

As far as digital connections, it seems to me that it should be almost trivial to test the error rate from one cable to the next (trivial for an electronics company anyway). It's a bit stream.
Do you think you get better Internet downloads by upgrading your computer cables? If not, why is the audio any different?

I think if there were measureable differences, they would be published by now.


New member
Username: Latebreak

Cleveland, Ohio

Post Number: 2
Registered: Oct-04
Thanks for the input so far guys.

I've ordered some 12 AWG oxygen free high strand twisted pair. I have probably 30 feet or to my rears, so the lower gauge is probably a must.

Peter -
My thoughts exactly. I don't see how one optical cable can send a bit pattern any differently than another optical cable. I could see a difference that may be caused by the quality of the termination however.

Since my DVD player is within a meter of my Reviever, I will run Coax for that. The Xbox and HD cable box will go optical.

I went with a Monster Cable IDL100-1M for my DVD, and Monster Cable's ILS100-1M for my Cable Box and Xbox.

Thanks guys,

I'm getting excited, pretty soon it will all be completed!
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