Recommended, or not, max length for RCA audio cables? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 16 Old 02-15-2012, 09:14 PM - Thread Starter
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So I have my Media PC in a room in the basement and need to get the music up to the stereo in our family room upstairs. I took a quick measurement and would need around 55' of cable.

The PC would just have a standard 1/8" jack out that splits into the two RCA ends. I'd then run a long RCA cable from there up to the stereo.

I see Monoprice has a 75' cable for $15. Am I going to get any noticeable loss of quality with this? I've never had to run cables that far as things used to be much closer together.
http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2


Thanks.
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post #2 of 16 Old 02-15-2012, 11:53 PM
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Hi Kelemvor,

There is nothing inherent that will prevent a 55 foot run, especially if good quality cable is used.

One potential problem would be picking up noise along the way. When I have to use long analog runs, I put the cables through a grounded steal conduit for the added shielding. It also lets me add/subtract/replace cables later.

Another problem could be ground loops. With the two systems on different electrical circuits, there is a possibility of the grounds being at different potentials. The loud 60hz hum will make this problem obvious.

And look for cable with low capacitance, as too much capacitance will attenuate higher frequencies.

Professional installations could be much longer than 55 feet, but would use a balanced line, which is much more noise-immune.

If you can, you should consider an optical link instead of coax. All of the above mentioned problems would go away. Here is a 75 foot optical cable for under $24. They also have 50 foot cables.
http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2
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post #3 of 16 Old 02-16-2012, 05:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, the tuner it's going to get hooked up to is an older one and doesn't have any optical ports. (The good tuner is downstairs in the theater area). So the standard red/white RCA cables is my only option.

I guess I'll just give it a shot and see what happens.

The cables will just be running through the drop ceiling in my basement and then up through the wall so it shouldn't be too bad.

Thanks.
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post #4 of 16 Old 02-16-2012, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kelemvor View Post

The cables will just be running through the drop ceiling in my basement and then up through the wall so it shouldn't be too bad.

Keep the audio cable as far as possible from fluorecent light fixtures and AC power lines.
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post #5 of 16 Old 02-16-2012, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

Keep the audio cable as far as possible from fluorescent light fixtures and AC power lines.

+1
. . . even if that means taking a more circuitous route with a longer cable.
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post #6 of 16 Old 02-16-2012, 02:12 PM
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Get some audio baluns. I use some from Niles that work well and I have a Xantech kit if you are looking to buy one.

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post #7 of 16 Old 02-16-2012, 09:30 PM
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post #8 of 16 Old 02-16-2012, 11:01 PM
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Have you considered a wireless solution?

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post #9 of 16 Old 02-17-2012, 01:35 PM
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Running an unbalanced cable more than ten feet is asking for trouble; all kinds of problems can occur with that kind of setup. You definitely don't want to run an unbalanced (RCA) cable 50 feet!!

There are two solutions that will work.

#1 is to get a piece of pro audio or high-end gear that has balanced outputs; very expensive. You might check a pro-audio site for a device that will send balanced signals and receive them though. You can run balanced cables 100 feet with no problem at all.

#2 is to spend about $40 on a decent wireless router and set up a home network, and then use a receiver in your family room that has wi-fi and can receive the audio from the computer through the wireless link/router.

Most devices that receive internet radio will also access any music that is stored on your computer, so get one of those boxes and receive wirelessly with it.

The Vtech IS9181 is $100 from Amazon. That will wirelessly access internet radio and anything from your computer through your router.





Quote:
Originally Posted by kelemvor View Post

So I have my Media PC in a room in the basement and need to get the music up to the stereo in our family room upstairs. I took a quick measurement and would need around 55' of cable.

The PC would just have a standard 1/8" jack out that splits into the two RCA ends. I'd then run a long RCA cable from there up to the stereo.

I see Monoprice has a 75' cable for $15. Am I going to get any noticeable loss of quality with this? I've never had to run cables that far as things used to be much closer together.
http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2


Thanks.

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post #10 of 16 Old 02-17-2012, 01:57 PM
 
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Quote:


Running an unbalanced cable more than ten feet is asking for trouble;

Not really, it's done often, give it a shot first.

BTW, video signals are unbalanced. CATV is unbalanced and they use cables much longer then 10 feet.
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post #11 of 16 Old 02-17-2012, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kelemvor View Post

So I have my Media PC in a room in the basement and need to get the music up to the stereo in our family room upstairs. I took a quick measurement and would need around 55' of cable.

The PC would just have a standard 1/8" jack out that splits into the two RCA ends. I'd then run a long RCA cable from there up to the stereo.

I see Monoprice has a 75' cable for $15. Am I going to get any noticeable loss of quality with this? I've never had to run cables that far as things used to be much closer together.
http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

Thanks.

Why not just buy it and find out? Should be under $20 with the shipping.

For slightly more money there's 75' XLR cables at under $30 see: http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

If top quality sound is your priority then go with two of these 60' cables at $112 total: http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

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post #12 of 16 Old 02-17-2012, 02:05 PM
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In my old place (apartment) I bought a 50' cable from monoprice. I used it to run component video from my computer around a room, through a doorway, and up the wall to the TV. I didn't need 50' of run, but that's the length I bought at the time. Worked like a charm.
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post #13 of 16 Old 02-17-2012, 02:06 PM
 
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Quote:


For slightly more money there's 75' XLR cables at under $30 see:

He doesn't have a balanced source or load, there no point in using balanced cables in an unbalanced connection.
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post #14 of 16 Old 02-17-2012, 06:26 PM
 
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Instead of running cables, maybe look at a solution that uses dlna, such as a blu-ray, or such. If you really want to send music to the other end of the house, there is always Sonos, and other solutions.
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post #15 of 16 Old Today, 05:29 PM
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Searching the Internet, RCA Audio Cable can be easily run 30m (100ft) if they are well build, and top out around 100 feet to perhaps 200 feet. (30m to 60m)

https://www.techwalla.com/articles/t...f-an-rca-cable

"Most RCA audio cables that are built reasonably well with shielding can be run effectively from 100 to 200 feet."

http://www.cablechick.com.au/blog/cable-length-guide/

"With 2 Audio RCA, you can easily go 30 metres."

This probably holds true for standard LIne Level signals which are measured in Volts. However, for a turntable, where signals are measured in millivolts, it will not be the same.

If you can afford it, some type of Network Streaming is probably the best solution as it gives you access to more than stored music. It also gives you access to 20,000 Internet Radio Stations and most of the Streaming Services like Spotify, Amazon, Slacker, Pandora, etc....

This also assume you are using quality well-shielded RCA cable. Though, that need not be expensive, but it does have to be a step or two above the basic Walmart / Dollar Store crap.

Given the reasonably low cost of MonoPrice wire, you could give it a try and see if it works. More likely than signal loss on a long run is going to be the picking up of noise as all that wire acts as an antenna for noise in the air.

While 30m or 100ft seems to be the acceptable limit based on a quick search of Google, I would try to keep the cables as short as possible.

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post #16 of 16 Old Today, 05:51 PM
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Having your media server on a different floor from your music system is going to be a PIA. Why isn't your media on a portable device? I have my main video recorder in another room and I can choose and record programs but I can't do any mods to the recordings, it's a pain to get up and go to another room.

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