Audio interconnect cables: Myths vs. truths

A/V techs investigate common myths vs. truths surrouding the purchase and deployment of audio interconnect cables.

Audio interconnect cables: Myths vs. truths
Audio interconnect cables: Myths vs. truths

A/V technicians at Youtube's AudioholicsLIVE (a production of the online A/V magazine Audioholics) recently produced the following video, which investigates common myths vs. truths surrouding the purchase and deployment of audio interconnect cables.

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Professional opinions aired in the video include the following claims:

-- "For audio interconnects, shielded twisted pair or shielded coax work extremely well...Unshielded twisted pair is good for rejecting magnetic pickup but not so good at eliminating capacitive pickup (unless the interfaces between components are balanced). Shielded twisted pair provides excellent shielding for low frequency signals in which the magnetic pickup is the major concern. The effectiveness of the twisting increases as the number of twists per unit length increases."

-- "Shielded twisted pair is more than enough for frequencies below 100kHz, but above 1 MHz, the losses in the shielded twisted pair increases considerably. In addition, a twisted pair cable cannot maintain the proper impedance necessary for video applications (75 ohms). This is why [we] generally prefer double braided foil shielded coax cables designed to be used for video applications such as the Belden 1694A or equivalent. If a cable can pass video signals over long distances with no problems, it will easily handle any line level audio signal without any loss of signal or fidelity or chance of noise pickup, or cross coupling from adjacent cabling."

-- "Termination quality is also an important consideration. [We] don't care for the turbine RCA connectors, as they tend to lock down too tightly on an RCA jack, which can actually rip off the connector if you don't carefully twist the cable as you are removing it from your AV gear. Canare type RCA connectors make a nice snug, but not overbearing, connection as do the compression WBT-type connectors."

-- "Bottom line: If a cable can pass video signals over long distances with no problems, it will easily handle any line-level audio signal."

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