HDMI RCA to RCA Cost Benefit Analysis - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 07-07-2014, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
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HDMI RCA to RCA Cost Benefit Analysis

I'm getting close to moving forward with my surround sound system. I have a few questions related to HDMI and RCA to RCA cables including the qualitative cost to benefit dilemma. I tried to search around the site a little but it wasn't helpful.


I will be getting the following components:

Aperion Versus Grand Tower Speakers
Aperion Versus Grand Center Channel Speaker
Bravus II 12D Subwoofer
Intimus L6-IC In-Ceiling Speaker Pair (5.1 back surrounds, in ceiling only practical option)
The back surround speaker wire, speaker and sub cables, and banana plugs per Aperion recomendations
Marantz SR6008
Emotiva xpa-3
Middle Atlantic Component Cooler, 8 CFM(BDI Corridor media cabinet which is fairly open but there is not much room on sides of Marantz 6008 for cooling, installer recommended)

Room Size is approximately 15' x 25' but there is only 20% of a back wall as it is open to the kitchen and entrance hallway.

I have recently been trying to nail down the HDMI and RCA to RCA cable selection. I assume I will need three HDMI cables (cable box to receiver, blue ray to receiver, receiver to Pioneer Elite Plasma TV) and three RCA to RCA cables(receiver left tower, right tower, center channel to amplifier).

I was surprised to learn that there was a wide variance in cable prices. They can be $1000 for one cable!! Given my expected system components I'm not sure what is an appropriate amount to spend on these cables to optimize the final result crossed with cost. I'm not sure how to match the HDMI and RCA to RCA quality|price so as to not create a weak link in the system.

I called around today. the first suggestion was to consider Audioquest. I called them. Regarding RCA to RCA cables they said the Golden Gate was probably the best bang for the buck because it is the first in the line with the PSC conductor material. Three of these cables would run about $240. The next RCA to RCA up is the Big Sir which would run about $420 for all three. I certainly wasn't expecting to pay these prices but if it makes a significant difference?

I then called a dealer mentioned by Audioquest where I could see all their products. The person I talked to said that Audioquest was a good choice for the RCA to RCA cables but he had a better suggestion for the HDMI cables. He said he had swapped out and compared various HDMI cables. He said he thought the Shunyata Venom HDMI cable was almost as good as the Audioquest Vodka HDMI cable which is 3x to 4x the cost. He said he doesn't work on commission or have any reason to steer me the wrong way. He said he was blown away by the improvement in the picture and sound with these HDMI cables especially for the money. If I went with these HDMI cables I would need two 1M HDMI cables at $100 each and one 2M cable at $150 for a total of $350. Again, much more than I expected to spend but if they result in a significant improvement than it might be a wise investment given the overall system cost.

I could buy three RCA to RCA cables and an HDMI cable for each candidate brand|model but this could get out of hand. I'm hoping some others that have crossed this bridge and reached some informative conclusions that might be helpful.

I just noticed Audioquest sells Subwoofer cables. I wonder how the Aperion "Straight Wire 14AWG Musicable Preterm Spkr Wire" for the tower and sub speakers compares to the Audioquest speaker cables(and other brands)? Maybe it would be better to spend more for these cables than the HDMI or RCA to RCA cables? I am certainly having fun now


Any Feedback Would Be Appreciated!!
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post #2 of 10 Old 07-07-2014, 06:55 PM
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Sorry your search wasn't fruitful. There are plenty of threads about overpriced cables. Here are my 2 opinions...

ONE: Buy your cables at sensible prices from a sensible site like Monoprice or Blue-Jeans cables.
TWO: Buy the $400 cables. Your e-Penis will swell beyond your wildest imagination, but the picture quality sadly will be the same.

The choice, obviously, is entirely yours.

I'd save the money to buy a few movies or some popcorn...
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post #3 of 10 Old 07-07-2014, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I did see plenty of posts regarding overpriced cables but no useful information or convincing proof supporting their opinions.

I've certainly heard the assertion that spending more on cables is a waste but I've also heard that they do make a difference. I don't think the truth is that shallow or black and white.

I'm looking for some reputable references that have conducted actual comparisons and can provide a marginally detailed explanation/analysis supporting their claims. Saying something is so is useless without supportive reasoning of some depth.
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post #4 of 10 Old 07-08-2014, 03:54 AM
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try this one on for size.....fairly straight forward presentation of what factors affect cable performance, good construction practices and materials to look for.
http://www.audioholics.com/gadget-re...-interconnects
Your cabling probably isn't going to be the weakest link in your system, your room will be. Invest the money saved by using economical cabling in some room treatments.

underachiever extraordinaire
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post #5 of 10 Old 07-08-2014, 07:32 AM
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You're already 60% of the way to convincing yourself that you need the expensive cables
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post #6 of 10 Old 07-08-2014, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NP-complete View Post
I did see plenty of posts regarding overpriced cables but no useful information or convincing proof supporting their opinions.
Copper is copper. Digital signals either arrive intact or they don't. Snake oil salesmen can't provide "proof", and basic physics supports the rest...

Quote:
Originally Posted by NP-complete View Post
I've certainly heard the assertion that spending more on cables is a waste but I've also heard that they do make a difference. I don't think the truth is that shallow or black and white.
No, it is quite that simple. We can argue about long, line-level analog audio cables and the possibility of interference or degradation, but for HDMI and any other digital signal, as long as the signal gets there, it will be no different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NP-complete View Post
I'm looking for some reputable references that have conducted actual comparisons and can provide a marginally detailed explanation/analysis supporting their claims. Saying something is so is useless without supportive reasoning of some depth.
The belief that the snake oil salesmen are telling the truth is called "faith". Evidence doesn't work against faith.

But as Weaselfest said, the cables are not the weakest link in your system, even if you've drunk the Kool-Aid. Buy $5 cables and spend those $100's instead on room treatments and speaker budget, and no one can argue that it's not a better use of the money.

Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
Theater build photos: http://photobucket.com/autor-ht

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post #7 of 10 Old 07-08-2014, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
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weaselfest Excellent article reference. This was the type of reference I was looking for. Good note regarding money being better spent on room treatments and speakers(as the article advises as well). This is a useful tip. I'll try to find a few more articles along this line out on the web.

NickTheGreat I was thrown by several comments I heard over the phone yesterday but I don't come to final conclusions without something more tangible than people's word ... especially salesman. I'm tend to be fairly thorough with my decisions. I simply haven't investigated this issue in the past.

With a little more work I think I can come up with some moderately priced cables. The room treatment issue is an interesting topic to look into especially with my room.

Thanks for the feedback ...
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post #8 of 10 Old 07-08-2014, 10:28 AM
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One way to prove it however it would not save you money but do the opposite but would in fact prove to you either way what's better would be to buy some inexpensive cables from monoprice. Then go out and also buy some expensive cables and test it both way's. I'm fairly certain you would see no difference in picture quality however. A digital signal will not get "fuzzy" do to poor quality. You just won't get a signal. If it artifacts then yes there could be a problem with the cable and would probably need to be replaced but that can happen with in expensive cables or expensive cables. And if it was me I'd rather have to replace an inexpensive cable then an expensive cable.

Just my 2 cents.
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post #9 of 10 Old 07-08-2014, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, I could run a test like that. Good reasoning.

I talked to an installer today that provided an estimate. He mentioned he had a lot of problems with Monoprice products and now uses Vanco products (another opinion). I do like the technical details on the bluejeans.com website and talking with their customer support. I'm not sure exactly which cables I will initially buy but they won't be overly expensive. I may experiment with some higher end cables latter down the road with the option to utilize their return policy.

The installer pointed out another problem. My TV alcove is against an exterior wall. He was talking about either knocking holes in the drywall on the inside, install some pvc thingy outside the house, or running cable along the baseboard to the side wall (which is not exterior) and going into the wall their (and up to the in ceiling speakers). I don't really like any of these options. I'll talk to another home theater installer on Thursday.

I had a really good electrician do all of my lighting upgrades. He never blinked about dealing with exterior walls, multiple stories(which I don't have), etc. He deals with them all the time. He installed 8 recessed lights, two pendants, and a ceiling fan in the same room. He is also very reasonably priced because he works by himself (less than the home theater installer and his assistant today). I could ask the electrician to install the two in ceiling surround speakers for me? However, I'm not sure whether it's reasonable/advisable to have an electrician do this install work or not?
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post #10 of 10 Old 07-08-2014, 07:30 PM
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At first glance Vanco seemed like more Yuppy Snake Oil (I don't trust any company that says 'Request Quote' and doesn't post prices for a cable) but Amazon carries them and $15 for a 12 foot cable seems OK. http://www.amazon.com/Vanco-Installe...nco+hdmi+cable . As most everyone has pointed out there's really no point paying more.
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