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Hi All,

I just purchased a Marantz pre/pro combo (AV8802A, MM8007, MM7705 and Pioneer ELITE BDP-88FD) and I am wondering if the brand/type of cable really matters? I am using this set up for a home theater (7.4.4) and I will not be using this for music.

When I look the price of cables the price ranges far and wide. I look at Monprice and cables are very cheap but I notice a big difference in $ if I get Canare, Mogami, Belden, etc. Will I see any big difference in sound for what I want these cables for?

Thanks for any advice you maybe able to give.

Thanks
 

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Will I see any big difference in sound for what I want these cables for?
No. My only concern with inexpensive XLR is the connectors. I'll only use name brands, Neutrik, Switchcraft, ITT Cannon, Amphenol. If a name brand connector isn't specified I'd steer clear.
 

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Will I see any big difference in sound for what I want these cables for?
No. You won't see (pun intended) or hear a difference in sound. Good construction is all that is required.
 

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No differences. I like Hosa.


By the way, balanced connections help cancel out noise picked up along the way from one component to the next, not all of it but the specific kind which is called common mode, but they also do a fantastic job of perfectly passing along the existing noise in the signal itself.


People often hear hiss in their audio and errantly think "If I upgrade to XLRs instead of RCAs this problem will go away" and guess what, it usually doesn't. AC hum and AM radio noise are the main things that get reduced and these aren't usually problems for home audio consumers using short lengths in say an audio rack. [Although they can stem from numerous sources besides just "my interconnects are acting like antennas!"] Run wires from the front of a studio to the back, or wire a stage, and we are talking about exactly where these issues come into play. That's why the pros insist on them.


Everything I've written so far goes completely against what most people are taught so they will attack this post. They'll point to articles which show how and why balanced connections reduce common mode noise and anecdotal stories, under sighted conditions with no scientific controls, where the owner will say, "But I switched to XLRs and boy did it help reduce my noise!" and in some instances this might actually be true, but usually it is all in their head.


Ask them for evidence based science which shows an example where under measurement, not sighted, anecdotal testimony, where using XLRs instead of RCAs reduced noise by 1 dB or more, using short, 2 meter or less runs in a real world audio system [you could easily rig the test by including an artificial noise generating device next to the RCA, but that's cheating]. None of them will be able to provide you with any such evidence.


So why does this all matter to you? Because generally XLR wires cost more (although not always) and because with some audio devices their XLR in/outs actually have more inherent noise, distortion, and inferior channel separation than their RCA in/outs and unfortunately I happen to know at least one Marantz multi-channel amp [although I'm not sure about yours] that's on that list: MM7055.


Unlike my detractors, I bring third party, objective, evidence based science to back my claims:


"THD+N from the amplifier was less than 0.007 percent at 1 kilohertz when driving 2.83 volts into an 8-ohm load using the RCA input. When using the XLR input under the same conditions, THD+N was less than 0.014 percent. Crosstalk at 1 kHz driving 2.83 volts into an 8-ohm load was –85.57 dB left to right and –84.22 dB right to left using the RCA inputs and –81.05 dB left to right and –81.09 dB right to left using the XLR inputs. The signal-to-noise ratio with an 8-ohm load from 10 hertz to 24 kHz with “A” weighting was –111.44 dBrA using the RCA input and –98.63 using the XLR input.—MJP
Read more at http://www.soundandvision.com/conte...mplifier-ht-labs-measures#GpbQ5sQxxxdj0Aa8.99


BTW, I personally own and use a Marantz prepro with both RCA and XLR connections and have used XLR for certain scenarios (long runs across the room to a headphone amp) but I usually just use RCAs. Also, the increase in noise, THD, etc. on that amp I linked to is not necessarily audible, but it is worth noting.
 

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To be more specific, the very well-made and reasonably priced Monoprice XLR cables I have are used in a home audio application. They are used between my preamp and power amp. They get the job done.
 

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To add:
I stated "construction" not "connectors". With that, if you expect to frequently unplug/plug the XLR cables, then Wayne makes a valid point for consideration. But, if you intend to connect up the gear and infrequently unplug/plug the cables, don't fret. ;)
 
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Solder your own. You can get shielded Mogami signal cable for $0.30/ft and Neutrik connectors for a couple dollars each
 

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I have never tried Monoprice XLRs. I generally use Pro-Co from Sweetwater Sound; decent construction with Neutrik connectors at a reasonable price. I have had a lot of bad experiences with Hosa cables (poor connectors and build quality, plus the cables themselves tended to break and be generally less resistant to abrasion) though still own a few of them as well. My experience is mostly in commercial or professional installations which puts more stress on the cables so Hosa may be fine at home. I went with Pro-Co in my system. I have used Mogami and Canare as well as a few others but haven't felt compelled to pay the cost difference over Pro-Co. If you can build your own, as stated above, you can save a lot of money.

On XLR vs. RCA there are a couple of things at play:
  • With a truly balanced connection the signal passes through two conductors isolated from the shield (ground). This provides better EMI/RFI rejection since the shield is separate from the signal return and the balanced signal design rejects common-mode noise. It also provides the option of lifting the shield (safety ground) to break a ground loop.
  • A differential signal offers reduced distortion and noise. Differential operation cancels even-order distortion terms, and the signal level increases by two (2x) but (uncorrelated) noise by only the square root of two (1.414x) so there is a slight SNR advantage. You can see this in a lot of detailed spec sheets for pro equipment (most of which does not have RCA connections but does allow single-ended operation).

For audio, the first point is most critical in the vast majority of installations.

IME/IMO - Don
 

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When I look the price of cables the price ranges far and wide. I look at Monprice and cables are very cheap but I notice a big difference in $ if I get Canare, Mogami, Belden, etc. Will I see any big difference in sound for what I want these cables for?
Among the brands you list and for your purposes I suspect the difference if any would be difficult to hear at best.

In the general case, it's like starting a religious war. :D
 

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I didn't like the Monoprice cables, mostly because they were excessively large. They use very large gauge wires and thick insulation, which might make them popular because they look so beefy, but I found them to be a major PITA to deal with because they are relatively inflexible and take up too much space. I really like the Mogami cables I made in my DIY amp build, because they are really flexible and much smaller.
 

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...because they were excessively large...because they are relatively inflexible and take up too much space.

I just walked over and checked the cables...

"excessively large"
No, the power amp AC cord is much larger.

"relatively inflexible"
Well, I bent them back and forth and I got a lot of flex out of them, nothing broke.

"take up too much space"
I checked the space and it turns out that the preamp and power amp take up way more space.
 

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Avoid IXOS- they're expensive, filled with BS and the box probably costs more than the cables. I used one set and when I looked at them, I was pissed. No-name connectors, translucent white nylon mesh and three braided wires. I offered to return them and the customer told me "in the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal". I never liked Munster or AudioQuest and it was the only time I have sold expensive cables.
 

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I didn't like the Monoprice cables, mostly because they were excessively large. They use very large gauge wires and thick insulation, which might make them popular because they look so beefy, but I found them to be a major PITA to deal with because they are relatively inflexible and take up too much space.
Since probably 99% of XLR cables are used for pro-sound that's to be expected, as they need to be very durable.
 
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The pro recording music studios...what brand of XLR cables are they using for their mics, amplified instruments and recording machines? ...In general.
...And the brand of connectors. ...In general.
 

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I just bought some of these, haven't gotten my other equipment yet though to try them out, but I have used their RCA and HDMI cables and have had great success with them. Always great reviews and very good build quality in every cable I have gotten from them. The XLR's I got are very nice from what I felt, good metal connections with a solid clip at the end. http://www.amazon.com/Microphone-Ca...&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00 I have used the Monoprice ones before as well. I will say the ones I provided a link to from Mediabridge seem to be built better imo.
 

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The pro recording music studios...what brand of XLR cables are they using for their mics, amplified instruments and recording machines? ...In general.
...And the brand of connectors. ...In general.
In general they make their own, using Belden, Canare or Mogami wire and Switchcraft, Neutrik, ITT Cannon or Amphenol connectors. Some of them might have a 'high end' cable or two on hand to placate customers who think that there's any reason to use them. A few even use all 'high end' cables, which means they're either fools or they're charging too much for their services, or both. :rolleyes:
 
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