Why do I need a good cable?
Cables are an essential part of any system and can affect the sound quality considerably. Cables should be considered as much part of the system as other components such as loudspeakers and electronics. If you are in any doubt as to their importance try your system without any cables plugged in and you will quickly see just how important they are!
Types of cables
Cables for HiFi and Home Cinema fall into four general types with each type being designed specifically for purpose:
- Analogue Audio interconnects – generally a pair of shielded cables
- Digital Audio interconnects – a single 75ohm coax or optical cable
- Video cables –either multiple (up to 5) 75ohm coax cables or a single HDMI cable
- Speaker cables – usually thick in construction and having two or four conductors per channel
You should take care not to use cables for any other purpose that the one it is designed for. Sound quality loss, unreliability or even equipment damage could result if cables are chosen incorrectly.
Choosing a cable
No matter which type of cable you are buying, seek your dealer's advice and listen to audio cables just as you would any other audio component. Cable length should be kept to a minimum where possible although ordering a cable slightly longer than the exact length covered will leave a little room for your system to change in the future.
Some cables, particularly more expensive types, are designed to use in a particular direction. In some cases this is dependant on how the conductors within the cable are made or alternatively because of the cables internal wiring scheme. In any case, if you should always use the cable in the direction intended if one is specified.