Choosing the correct audio lead for your system can be a daunting prospect, Audio cables come in all shapes and sizes and we appreciate how difficult it can be to decide the route for your installation, We've provided a simple guide to help you identify your audio connections and enable you to make an informed choice.
Audio Cables - Analogue Audio
|RCA Phono - Carries L+R Audio and Can transfer Dolby Surround Sound Signal|
|RCA Connections are one of the Most Common types of Connections found on a wide range of Audio and Visual Equipment, The Colour Coding for these type of connections is Red and White or Grey and Black, Theres a very good chance that most of your Audio and Visual equipment will have RCA Audio jacks inputs and Outputs, Ideal for routing your Audio from a TV directly into your Stereo or Sound system.|
|3.5mm Jack - Carries L+R Audio|
|3.5mm Jack Connections are commonly used for Headphone connections on MP3, iPod's, Amplifiers, and a wide range of portable hand held devices including mobile phones, When using a 3.5mm Jack Cable plugged directly into the headphone Output socket of Mp3's etc the Audio can be transferred to a set of external speakers, Hi-Fi Systems or PC's, Also suitable for connecting to portable device to Car stereo systems AUX.|
|Audio Cables - Digital Audio|
|Digital Coaxial (SPDIF) - Carries PCM, Dolby Digital, DTS Sound|
|Digital Coaxial Connections are found on a large Percentage of Digital Audio equipment, The Digital Coaxial is essentially a Copper Conductor terminated with RCA Type Jacks and looks the same as a standard RCA Lead, however the Digital Coaxial Lead has Aluminium Foil wrap screening to prevent signal loss or interference and needs to have an impedance of 75ohms, A standard RCA cable will work when connecting to a digital Connection however stutter and signal loss will occur.|
|Digital Optical (SPDIF) - Carries PCM, Dolby Digital & DTS Sound|
Digital Optical Cables are Fibre Optic Cables that are terminated with Toslink connectors, the Cable transmits the Audio signal as Pulses of Light from a TV, DVD, Games Console, Blueray to Sound System, Most Audio Visual Equipment Manufactured today will be equipped with Toslink Ports. There are two types of toslink plugs, one is the standard size Toslink which is the most common version found on most things digital including gaming consoles, Amps, TV's etc. the other is the Mini Toslink (sometimes inaccurately referred to as the 3.5mm toslink) The mini toslink plug is the same shape and almost the same size (0.5mm longer) than the standard analogue 3.5mm plug however the extra length will not allow connection of the mini toslink into standard 3.5mm sockets. The mini toslink is sometimes used on Apple computers or mini disc players.
When choosing Digital Optical cables in our opinion you should be looking for cables that have a cable diameter of 5mm or more. Thin and poorly constructed optical cables offer little or no protection to the fibres breaking down within the lead, The result of this is a decrease in performance and possibly signal dropout, The fibres can breakdown in any optical cable but the thicker leads offer better resistance against this issue, The thicker the cable the better.
Another big factor in choosing a digital audio lead is which route should I go down? Optical or Coaxial? The real answer is that there is mimimal if any difference between the 2 types of technologies.
What happens if one of your devices has a Digital Coaxial (RCA) and the other has only a Fibre Optic Digital Toslink? are the two types of connections compatible? the simple answer to this is Yes they are compatible but only through the use of a converter, The converters can change the connection / signal from coaxial to toslink or from toslink to coaxial,
|Audio Cables - Speaker Connections|
|Analogue Audio - RCA Subwoofer Cable|
A Subwoofer Cable is a Copper Conductor Terminated with RCA Type Connectors. it's designed to transfer the Low level (Bass) from an Amplfier / Receiver or Sound System to Active Subwoofer, It's fairly straight forward process to connect but some Active Subs have 2 Low level Inputs Left and Right whereas the Amp / Receivers only have the one output, Ways around this would be to connect a single RCA Subwoofer Cable from the amp output into the left Low Level Input on sub, Alternately Sub RCA Y Splitters will resolve this problem by allowing the Connection of the 1 into 2.
Choosing the correct Speaker Wire for your system is an important part of Home Cinema Hi-Fi Installation, Occasionally when buying a new set of speakers Speaker wire is included in with your Purchase, but the type of cable supplied is not usually anything other than a means of connecting to get your system operational. Selecting a suitable Cable from the available options can sometimes be confusing. However the wire you use can have a noticeable impact on the sound quality of your system.
There are a number of important things to bear in mind when selecting speaker cable such as ensure you choose Pure OFC Cable, Look at the overall wire gauge of the cable the thicker the Speaker cable the lower the resistance, to much resistance will cause poor performance, The wire gauge of a cable can sometimes cause confusion because the thicker the wire the less the AWG will be, for example 12 AWG is a smaller and thinner wire than 10AWG, It's important to ensure that when running longer lengths A larger wire diameter with higher amount of strands is used.
When Selecting Speaker cable we suggest you look at a Multi Core cable with a reasonable amount of strands, we suggest staying above 42 strands, our more popular speaker cable is Multi Core OFC with 105 strands.
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Another big decision for Connecting Speaker cable is should I use Speaker Plugs? 2 of the most common types of Connectors used to connect speaker Wire to Amplifiers or Receivers are Banana Plugs or Terminal Spades, Banana Plugs fit directly into the Binding Posts found on Loudspeakers or Amps, Banana Plugs make good electrical contact at various points along the inside of the Binding post and are a far more conveniant method with simple plug and play once the Plug has been connected to the Ends of the Speaker Wire, Terminal Spades are attached to the Speaker wire and are connected between the Nut and the base of the binding post, Due to the flat surface of the Spade good contact is made between adjoining components. We recommend in the very least that gold Plated Speaker Plugs are used as gold is a Good Conductor of electricity and is Resistant to corrosion.
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