10 Things You Need to Know About Cabling


Cables are the glue that binds a system together. There’s no need to spend a fortune, but it’s a good idea to plan out your installation.

1. Make sure you know exactly how long each cable needs to be. That goes for speaker cables, interconnects, and power cables. Measure twice, cut once.

2. Use cable designed for the task at hand. Speaker cable should be of sufficient gauge for its length and power handling. Analog interconnects should be well shielded.

3. Double-check all your connections, including the polarity of your speaker cables.

4. Practice good cable management; avoid creating a tangled mess of technospaghetti.

5. Avoid running AC power cables alongside analog audio cables; this can cause interference in the audio signal. If they must be in the same vicinity, try to arrange them so they cross at right angles.

6. If your equipment offers both balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA connections, use balanced XLR for better rejection of induced noise.

7. Avoid excessively long HDMI cable runs. Keep an eye out for signs of signal degradation such as sparkles in the picture.

8. Use a wireless HDMI transmitter/receiver or a powered/active HDMI cable, such as those that use RedMere technology, if you need to cover a distance greater than 20 feet or so.

9. Don’t bother with “audiophile” cables that often cost more than the actual gear. Save your money and use basic cabling from companies like Monoprice and Blue Jeans Cable. Amazon is a good source of economical cables.

10. Are you building your room from scratch? Consider running all the cables you need in the walls or soffits.