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Topic: Audio cables - does price matter

  1. #1

    Audio cables - does price matter

    I need to buy some audio cables for my home studio and wonder if you \"get what you pay for\" or if the 3x premium for brands like Monster is wasted. Mechanical strength is not a particular issue but signal quality and low noise is. Advice?
    thanks - jim

  2. #2

    Re: Audio cables - does price matter

    Hi Jim,

    For me the determining factor is will it end up in the finished product. Thus microphone cables and cables that connect to the analog to digital converters should be high quality. The thing to remember is noise is cumulative. As for cables to connect to power amps, speakers, anything on the output side is much less critical.

    Having said that the greatest improvement in sound that I noticed was when I eliminated the analog connection between my Gigastudio system and my Logic system. Once that connection was made via SP/DIF or optical I eliminated the following, D/A output from Giga box, audio cable to mixer input, mixer, audio cable mixer to Logic and A/D at Logic system input. When you think about it it\'s no wonder it sounded better.

    Having worked for a speaker company in another life I laugh at what people pay for speaker wire. All you need is good 12 guage wire that\'s not solid (because it\'s more likely to break).

    Steve http://www.mp3.com/stevechandler
    aka Ettienne http://www.mp3.com/ettienne

  3. #3

    Re: Audio cables - does price matter

    I agree completely with that post. Your best bet is (if you can) to go all digital with SPDIF. You don\'t need any special cables for this--just standard RCA cables from Radio Shack. Don\'t fall for their special \"optimized for Digital Audio\" cables. With a digital signal, it is either there or it isn\'t. A \"better\" cable won\'t change the sound at all.

    Now, if you have to deal in the Analog world, you probably want at least decent SHIELDED cables, especially if you have to make any long runs or go near any power supplies/monitors/etc. I used to get a lot of noise going from my synths to my recorder until I bought some better shielded cables.

    Completely agree on speaker cable. I think Monster speaker cable is one of the biggest rip-offs on the planet.

    [This message has been edited by Jamieh (edited 03-14-2002).]

  4. #4

    Re: Audio cables - does price matter

    Thanks very much gentlemen. This kind of help is invaluable to a gullible novice!

    I\'m pretty firmly in the analog world right now. I have three sound sources - keyboard, module and Giga - going into a Spirit mixer (borrowed from a friend while I learn what I really need), The output of the mixer goes to the amplifier. So I\'m assuming I want plain ordinary shielded cable from the three sources into the mixer and out to the amplifier, right?

    Once I get my own mixer, should it be digital, and if so, do you have recommendations? I doubt that I\'ll have more than one or two more input sources in the foreseeable future, plus my physical space is limited.


  5. #5

    Re: Audio cables - does price matter

    You probably want to get other recommendation on the analog cables, since I don\'t do much with analog anymore. I went down to a local music shop and bought some decent quality shielded cables for around $20-30 if I recall. If you have shorter runs that aren\'t around any power sources, you can probably even get away with non-shielded cables, but you do risk getting background hum in your recordings.

    As for digital mixers, I\'m not sure what to recommend there. I run everything into my external Roland VS-880 Digital Workstation and record there, then I digitally send it back into my PC. I think most people now record directly on their PC and do all their effects processing and editing there. I don\'t know how much PC horsepower you need to run Giga and record to the hard disk at the same time.

    [This message has been edited by Jamieh (edited 03-14-2002).]

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