When most consumers go shopping for their home theater system, they suddenly realize they are going to need audio cables to hook it up so that they can hear it. They have no idea what they should know about cables and why it is important to understand what type of audio cables they need. Some people do not even know that there are different types of cables. Then there are some technology fans that have been keeping up with all the advances in the different cables and know just what kind they need to purchase and why.
There are some basic types of audio cables that you need to know about. Analog cables are the kind that is used with the older systems that have RCA jacks and are on the older DVD recorders and televisions. Analog audio cables are sold in pairs and easy to connect because they just have a left and right audio channel.
Another type is called interconnect cables, otherwise known as coaxial audio cables. They look just like analog audio cables except that you only need one cable instead of two. Digital audio signals are conducted the same way through coaxial audio cables as they are in a fiber-optic interconnect. Interconnect cables means that they are the kind that you will need to connect your various components together and send digital audio signals to them, such as to your receiver or your DVD player or CD player. Interconnect cables carry a very small amount of energy.
A second type of cable that you need is the loudspeaker cable. The loudspeaker cable carries relatively high amounts of energy, even up to 10 amps or more. They hook up to your speakers. The job of audio cables is to carry the sound to your CD, DVD player, etc. Audio cables are important because you do not want your audio signal to be corrupted by the wire between your amplifier and loudspeaker. You paid a lot of money for your system and you expect good sound quality. As soon as the loudspeaker receives the audio signal, its job is to transform the signals back in acoustical waveforms.
Coaxial audio cables are covered with insulation and an outer mesh shield so that any external hum from other noise producing fields are prevented from interfering with the signal. That means they are protected from electromagnetic interference.
Coaxial RF cables can connect the antenna, VCR, TV, DVD player, DVR, ect. It carries both the video and the stereo audio signals. Use this type only to connect a television that does not have any other type of inputs.
Audio cables that can also connect video signals between the various components to your home theater system are called HDMI cables. Things get a lot easier with an HDMI cable. HDMI stand for High Definition Multimedia Interface. If you bring home your new HDTV and have a new Blu-Ray DVD player that you want to connect to it, the HDMI cable is all you need.
However, let’s say you want to connect a new surround sound system to your television and to your DVD. You check all your connections to make sure they are all the same but they aren’t. One or more has a DVI terminal. Now you need an HDMI to DVI adapter to connect your component to the DVI terminal. HDMI audio cables are backward compatible with DVI terminals, but not the other way around. Before you buy your cables, make sure you speak to someone who has extensive knowledge on all the different types of audio cables so you will not waste your time and money getting the wrong kind.