How to Choose Quality Cables for Short Runs - dummies

How to Choose Quality Cables for Short Runs

By Danny Briere, Pat Hurley

When choosing cables to connect your home theater components over short runs, look for decent quality. Choosing quality cables ensures you get the right look and sound you want in a home theater. The cables you use for short runs are typically called interconnects.

Finding the right shape, quality, and length of cables can be puzzling, so here are some guidelines to keep in mind when looking for interconnects:

  • You can get audio cable (or most any kind of cable) for free in the box when you buy new equipment. Or you can pay literally $1,000 a foot for fancy, high-end cables.

    You may not want to use the free el cheapo cables that came in the box — because you do get what you pay for — but you don’t need to pay $1,000+ per cable either, unless you are both rich and absolutely convinced that you can hear an improvement in your sound or see an improvement in your video. There’s a happy medium. Bottom line: Yes, there is a difference in cables, but no, you don’t have to pay a ton for good cables.

  • Look for cables that use oxygen-free copper (OFC) conductors and have gold-plated surfaces on the jacks. Oxygen-free copper is a purer form of copper, and the gold-plated surfaces resist corrosion.

  • Use the shortest run of cable possible because the longer that audio signal travels over the cable, the more likely the signal will be audibly degraded by interference or attenuation.

Dozens of companies make high-quality cables at a wide range of prices. Here are just a few companies to explore: