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Audio cables - bunch of newbie questions for you!

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by Grand Dizzy, May 9, 2005.

  1. Grand Dizzy

    Grand Dizzy
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    Hi, I'm just about to get my first home cinema sound system, as follows:

    Amp: Yamaha DSPAX750SE
    Speakers: Canton speakers powerbuy offer (getting a 7.1 system with an active sub).
    Sources: DVD player, Sky digital box

    Here are my questions... (replies to any would be greatly appreciated!)

    1. What goes where?
    I have no idea how many cables I'll need or which cables go from where to where! No matter how many posts I read, I just can't visualise it in my head! Could anyone explain, or is there a useful diagram anywhere?

    Are the leads to each speaker completely separate, or is there some kind of circuit that goes round the room from speaker to speaker? And how does the sub fit into the equation?

    2. Video leads
    My Sky Digital box is connected to the TV via the bog-standard SCART lead that came with it. I'm happy with this, as the picture quality of Sky is rubbish anyway. Can I keep using this SCART lead and still hook the sound up through my amp somehow?

    As for the DVD player: picture quality is a lot more important to me, so I am buying a new video cable to hook up to it. I haven't decided whether to go for component or DVI cables yet. Will this choice have any impact on which audio cables I should buy?

    3. Putting my TV speakers to use?
    My amp has Yamaha's 'front effects' output, which, apparently, gives me another 2 speakers dedicated to DSP effects (presumably just for reverb, echoes, etc.). Does anyone know if it would it be possible to use my plasma's speakers for this? My screen is the Hitachi 42PD5200 — the speakers are pretty decent and they look nice attached to the screen, so I'm looking for any excuse to keep them there (and this could be it!).

    4. Budget?
    Roughly how much do I need to spend per metre on cables to get the most out of this amp/speaker combination? The last thing I want is to not be hearing my new system to its full potential because I got cheapo leads!

    5. The really dumb question...
    Here's the really dumb question: could someone just tell me exactly which cables to buy, and possibly recommend a few online stores to get them from (it has to be online as I live in the middle of nowhere and I don't drive). It has to be ready-made cables since I have no electrical ability, or tools.

    Yes, you could educate me, outlining all the pros and cons of certain cables and let me decide what I want, but I think I'd rather let someone vastly more experienced tell me what they think is the best choice!

    Bear in mind...
    Please bear in mind that I know nothing about audio cables, so please don't answer with techy jargon on the assumption that I know what you're talking about. Also, I've read a lot here about people wanting to avoid having to use multiple remote controls, this is no problem for me at all — I like having a lot of remotes on my chair. All I want is my sound wired up properly and sounding good.

    Any advice at all would be appreciated. As you can probably tell, I need it! :)
     
  2. stu mcc

    stu mcc
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    whew,
    here goes!
    you've got the makings of a really nice system and I'm sure you'll be chuffed when it's connected up.
    1. yes the speakers all have a separate cable from the amplifier so you'll need 7 lengths of cable and a subwoofer cable which is a single phono-phono lead.
    2.i've got no experience as far as sky connections go, what dvd player have you got? component is one of the best ways to connect this.
    3. if you use the front effect speakers they should be above and behind the main fronts rather than in the same plane, that said on Yamaha amps you can't use front effects as well as rears in a 7.1 setup.
    4. imho you don't need to spend any more than £2 per metre on speaker cable, lots of forum members use CAT5 and swear by it but it involves a bit of DIY, QED Gale Audioquest among many others do suitable cable.
    5. try the advertisers index at the top of the forums for suppliers, there's loads of 'em!

    good luck and let us know how you get on,

    cheers stu
     
  3. Ian J

    Ian J
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    2 Video Leads

    You will find a pair of phono sockets on the Sky box which should be connected to the amp so that Sky sound will go through your system with the video being carried by the scart lead as before.

    The optimum type of connection from the DVD player depends very much on what connections are available on both the player and on the screen as not every comination of video connection is carried by all types of player & screen.

    As for using your plasma speakers for the front effects whilst still attached to the screen, the answer is "no" as they would be in the wrong position.
     
  4. Reiner

    Reiner
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    The choice of video cables will have no impact on the audio cables. Typically one optical or one coaxial lead (see also below, 4.) between DVD player and AV amplifier is sufficient for audio. One optical or one coax can transfer stereo (PCM) and bitstream (DD/DTS).
    If you purchase a coaxial cable (audio from DVD to AV amplifier) get a so-called "digital cable", i.e. one with 75 Ohm impedance.

    Weather to use component or DVI depends on the connectivity of player and display.

    The speakers could be used but the placement is not where Yamaha intended it to be - the effect speakers go above and to the outside of the main/front speakers, not between the main/front speakers.

    Get some decent leads, nothing too cheap but nothing too expensive either.
    For speaker cable I would use 2.5mm2 or 4mm2 - nothing fancy/branded will IMHO do just fine.
    As a rule of thumb spend 10-15% of the electronic cost on cables.
     

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