Money to be spend on cables and interconnects

Wharfedale EVO 4.2 Speakers

bobby0909

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Hello everyone

I wanted to know few things :

1) What percentage of the total budget for a new Home Theatre setup should be alloted for cables and interconnects?

2) Are local brands like DAC as good as the foreign brands like QED, CHORD, MONSTER ,etc ?

3) Can cabling be done as DIY or experts are needed?And what are the tools for in wall cabling for a general 7.1 home theatre set-up using LCD display, AVR, 7.1 Speakers, DVD player, Set-Top Box?

4) What and How cabling should be followed for streaming media from PC to the Home Theatre set-up?

5)What are the limitations and cut-off rules to be followed during cabling?

Waiting eagerly for a detailed discussion to get enlightened.

Thanks in advance.:)
 

ranojoy

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Internet research seems to indicate ballpark figures of 30% of the total budget each for the source, amplification and speakers with the balance 10% for cables.
Have been using DAC cables for quite a few years myself (digital coaxial, 2x2 RCA analogue for the CD player, 1x1 RCA for sub, speaker cables with banana, component video, etc). In each case, there was a substantial visible/audible improvement as compared to the free bundled cables, but that is to be expected. Their prices are reasonable (they will send the pricelist by mail if you ask for it), service is very prompt and they can send the stuff by courier. They are also very friendly with advice. I am a happy customer:).
Cant comment on comparative issues regarding DAC quality vis-a-vis QED, Monster, etc. since I havent really done any A-B matching.
Bottomline is that for a reasonable cost, you can enjoy substantially improved performance.
 

moserw

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Depends...
Have found Profigold/Bandridge to be good especially Bandridge in the VFM segment. Monster is quite expensive and does not justify its hefty price tag in performance levels to me at least.
 

venkatcr

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1) What percentage of the total budget for a new Home Theatre setup should be alloted for cables and interconnects?

I have been able to set up two HT systems with cables totalling roughly 12 to 15,000

2) Are local brands like DAC as good as the foreign brands like QED, CHORD, MONSTER ,etc ?

For everything other than high end audio connection, and possibly speaker cables for the Front L&R, brands such as Eagle, DAC, Bandridge are all good. For connecting the audio part of the DVD Player, or a CDP to the amplifier, I would prefer to use a high end interconnect. Similarly for the Front L&R, Again, I would prefer a high end speaker cable.

3) Can cabling be done as DIY or experts are needed? And what are the tools for in wall cabling for a general 7.1 home theatre set-up using LCD display, AVR, 7.1 Speakers, DVD player, Set-Top Box?

The only issue will be speaker cables.

If you using hidden conduits, first finalise the position of the speakers, and the systems. Draw the cable layout, and get the electrician to draw the speaker cables. On both ends of the wall, leave a length of about 4 to 5 feet of cable for emergency etc. Actually in the system end, do leave a substantial length (Minimum 5 feet)

The actual connection can be done by you later. Tools needed?

1. Wire Stripper.
3. A sharp knife.
4. A screwdriver set.
5. A cutting plier.
6. Spades (4 into number of speaker cables)
7. SPL Meter (Optional)
8. Lots of patience

4) What and How cabling should be followed for streaming media from PC to the Home Theatre set-up?

This depends on what connectivity is provided by your PC. In any case, such cabling will be external and cannot be hidden inside the wall. All interconnections other that speakers cables will be outside.

5)What are the limitations and cut-off rules to be followed during cabling?

The only issue will be HDMI. This should be roughly 10 feet. If you are going for longer cables, check with the supplier for special cables available with him. Else you may need to go for a switch/amplifier in between. I remember one of our members had drawn a 25 or 30 feet HDMI cable.

Interconnects will be somewhere around 1 to 2 meters. You will not need longer cables as you will be placing the system on a rack or near each other.

Speakers cables 14 or 16 AWG will be enough. If your distance between the systems and speakers are going to be huge then you have to choose your AWG carefully. Use the following rule:

Less than 80 feet - 16 AWG
80 to 200 feet - 14 AWG
More than 200 feet - 12 AWG

Cheers
 

marsilians

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Hello everyone

I wanted to know few things :

1) What percentage of the total budget for a new Home Theatre setup should be alloted for cables and interconnects?

You dont wantto spend more than 5 - 10% for all cables. Otherwise you are point of diminishing returns.

2) Are local brands like DAC as good as the foreign brands like QED, CHORD, MONSTER ,etc ?

For the most part yes, the only time when any brand does not come out fine is at the terminations and when sleeve is applied. You could get some oxidation if they are not well manufactured.


3) Can cabling be done as DIY or experts are needed?And what are the tools for in wall cabling for a general 7.1 home theatre set-up using LCD display, AVR, 7.1 Speakers, DVD player, Set-Top Box?

I think you are asking if you can make your own cables vs. just attaching plugs/spades at the end?

If so, do a cost/benefit. Usually it works out but the initial cost is a bit high as you need solder gun, jackets. Once you decide on this I can give you the toolset reqts.

It can be done and you could save money. Also you could get the same wire as the "high end" brands. Belden wire is one of the decent buys for this. HOWEVER you need to be handy and know sufficiently well as to when to apply soldering etc. Thats the tricky part but definitely doable.

Also don't get into fancy stuff like double braiding etc.


5)What are the limitations and cut-off rules to be followed during cabling?

Run them away from heat and high electrical fields. Distance matter but not such a big deal as Venkat has pointed out. Try to get cables that are flexible. HDMI is notoriously bad for not have tight connectors. So the components (DVD TV etc) has to be setting on a good sized shelf or hung on wall so it can be connected well.

Keep them away from being exposed to lots of moisture as well.

I have run long cables a fair bit.

Another trick of trade if you want to hook up analogue audio, then a coax cable is one of the best bets like the Belden 89259 (this is a video cable by defn) but is one of the best for audio
 

marsilians

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Where can i get the Belden 89259 in bangalore? Also how much it costs?

I brought back some bare wire from US couple years ago. Due to excellent customer service experience, I usually buy cables from Blue Jeans or make them myself. They also sell bulk cable under a different business called Raw Cable (Raw Cable -- Cable, Connectors, and Tools)
 

realactivex

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I purchased a 25 feet HDMI from belden UK. They ship to india by fedex express from the US (yes, US) and i received my cable within a week of ordering.
The cable looks pretty good and strong... I am still to route it through the ceiling..

search bluejeanscables.co.uk.
Regards
Murali
 

krauss

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regarding cables, i also think similarly as venkat does. interconnects and main speaker cables should be of good quality. change in sound with cable quality becomes quite audible. even the difference in hdmi cable quality is very revealing. the hdmi cables which come free with the basic dvd players are awful and so are the sp road type hdmi cables. sometimes even good components perform better than these hdmi cables when compared using supported video resolutions.
 

alladinkachirag

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I purchased a 25 feet HDMI from belden UK. They ship to india by fedex express from the US (yes, US) and i received my cable within a week of ordering.
The cable looks pretty good and strong... I am still to route it through the ceiling..

search bluejeanscables.co.uk.
Regards
Murali


I hope it does not attract customs at indian port of receiving...is it?

Cheers,
Ashish
 

alladinkachirag

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If you can afford an HT, I am sure you should be OK to pay a little in customs. Its legit on top of it.

Hehehe...quite right!!!

Currently I am using DAC Coaxial, Component, AV connector (Tata Sky to TV). Seems to perform better than what was included in the Tata Sky box. DAC Coaxial looks quite sturdy in build...
Cheers,
Ashish
 

gobble

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I use Profigold 4201 it improved transperancy noticably over the stock Maratnz supplied rca cable. Only Rs. 999/-.

However I am curious about how much cables really make a difference.

If anyone in bangalore volunteers, we can met up on consequtive Sundays at each others place - bringing our cables, so we can do a comparison swapping cables and judge for real without spending big bucks.

Cheers
 

venkatcr

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If anyone in bangalore volunteers, we can met up on consequtive Sundays at each others place - bringing our cables, so we can do a comparison swapping cables and judge for real without spending big bucks.

Superb idea. And if some members who are also into retail agree, maybe you can also try some exotic cables to see if they do make a practical difference.

Here in Chennai, as part of buying equipment for a friend of mine, I compared DAC cables with cables from MX, and a German company called Eagle. The DAC and Eagle were on par, but they both beat MX. Raghu of Decibel where I did this comparison was pulling my leg saying I was brand conscious vis-a-vis Mx. But he also felt that DAC and Eagle were on par with each other. Just for a lark, we also compared DAC speaker cables with a cable that was worth 1 lakh a pair. There was a difference, but was the difference worth the price was highly questionable. I somehow felt unless you were looking for it sonically and with a critical ear, the difference was certainly not worth 98,000 more. But that is my personal opinion.

In addition, I feel there must be a relation between the class of the equipment you are using and the cables/interconnects you are using. You use an amp that is worth 20,000 and spend 10,000 on an interconnect for that amp? That does not make any sense to me. Neither does that fact that some of the HDMI cables are so heavy they can actually tilt the DVD Player.

As I had mentioned somewhere else, I was unhappy with the composite cable that came with my set top box. I replaced that with a Bandridge component cable that I am using as a composite cable. The difference is light and day. All the interference and disturbances disappeared and the blacks became extraordinary.

I use Tara Labs audio cables, VDH optical, and AR component. The HDMI is either DAC or the ones that came with Oppo. The only cable I need to experiment with are the speaker cables for the Front L&R. If that is done,. I strongly feel the system will be optimal in every way in terms of connections.

Gobble, at the end of your experiment, if you can list a set of brands and models are good for interconnects and for speakers cables, it will be of immense help to all members.

Cheers
 
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