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Quality Cabling

Quality Cables and Wiring: Are They Worth It? 
The wire that makes the connection between components has a simple job— carry the electrical signal as faithfully as possible over the length of the wire. Sounds easy, but in practice it’s really difficult. Advanced science and technology is necessary to make a cable behave in this manner. That’s why we always recommend quality cables and wires if you plan on enjoying the best possible performance from your audio/video system.

The problems with cheap wire
Most components come with cables in the box. They are “free” and the first thing we recommend is throwing them in the trash. Why? Instead of carrying the signal as faithfully as possible, poor quality cables introduce all kinds of problems as the signal travels down its length. In audio, low quality cable can be why your music or movie soundtracks sound dull and flat. In video, it can be why the picture is fuzzy or “snowy.” You made a significant investment in your audio/video gear. Don’t compromise its performance by using cheap cables.

What to look for in a good cable
You can start with the most obvious part: the connector. If you’ve ever had to jiggle a wire to get it to work, a poor quality or broken connector was probably at fault. There are all types of different connectors used in a modern audio/video system, but identifying a quality connector is usually pretty obvious. Look for gold plating to ensure a secure, corrosion resistant electrical connection. Also, make sure all of the metal parts are heavy duty and sturdy. That way they’ll fit snugly and keep a solid and secure connection for years to come.

What’s inside the cable itself is a little less obvious, but equally important. It starts with the outer jacket of the cable. In a quality cable this will protect the internal parts of the cable from abrasion, impact, and contact with the elements such as humidity and temperature.

Any connected wire can act as an antenna, introducing unwanted interferences into your system. That’s why inside the outer jacket will be one or two layers of shielding. These play the important role of filtering out radio frequency interference (RFI) and electromagnetic interference (EMI). Quality, effective shielding gets rid of them so when the signal reaches the end of the cable it’s exactly the same as it started.

The next layer inside the shielding is the dielectric, an insulating material that protects the last and most important layer—the conductor. The conductor is the actual part of the cable that the electrical signal passes through. In cheap cable, you’ll find thin strands of poor quality copper or other conducting mediums. But a quality cable will feature much better conductor materials such as oxygen-free copper that are able to transfer the signal from one end of the wire to the other cleanly and without any loss. And that’s exactly what a cable should do.

Making sense of all of the different kinds
Your systems may well include:

HDMI cables,
Optical digital cables,
Coaxial digital cables,
Component video cables,
XLR audio cables,
RCA audio cable,
…and others.

And each and every one is important. So don’t mess around and leave the performance of your system to chance. Contact a Sound Advice expert today to find out exactly what you need to get the most out of your entertainment dollar. Call us or click help. We’ll be happy to discuss cabling, or anything else that comes to mind. Except maybe quilting.

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