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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there,

I have slowly been piecing together my audio system. Right now, I just have my amp, but hopefully I'll soon have my speakers, and then a DAC at some point as well.

Cables are an upgrade that I plan to save for later, when I have a bit of money lying around, but seeing as though I'm on an extremely tight budget, buying hi-fi cables right off the bat doesn't make much sense.

Unfortunately, I still need cables. Be it Hi-fi, or just regular old cables, I'm gonna need them in the end. I'm just not sure which kinds my system requires, hence me coming to you for help! biggrin.gif

Int. amp: CA Azur 640A V2 - http://www.cambridgeaudio.com/summar...2%29+amplifier

Not sure yet which speakers I want, but here are the two that I'm looking at:

Monitor Audio Silver RX1 - http://www.monitoraudio.ca/products/...1/your-speaker

Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1 - http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...SRM1/srm1.html

DAC: CA DacMagic - http://www.cambridgeaudio.com/summar...Title=DacMagic

This is how the system will go.

Computer > Int Amp > Speakers.

At some point I will upgrade from my computer's Dac to the DacMagic, but for now I'll just be using the onboard audio from my computer.

I also want to be able to hook up my pod to the amp, so for that I'll need an LOD RCA, correct?

That about wraps it up for me. Please remember, I'm asking which cables I need to connect my system. I wouldn't say I'm looking for the bare minimum in quality, I just want something that's cheap and won't die on me for a year or two.

Thanks!
 

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Okay, so for the onboard audio, you're going to need a 3.5mm to RCA cable. Something like this would probably be fine:

Amazon.com: Pro-Techgroup Professional Grade 15 FT 3.5mm Stereo Male to 2RCA Male 22AWG Cable - Gold Plated Connectors: Electronics Amazon.com: Pro-Techgroup Professional Grade 15 FT 3.5mm Stereo Male to 2RCA Male 22AWG Cable - Gold Plated Connectors: Electronics

Then from your amp to speakers, you're going to need just some basic speaker wire... You can use bare wire, but if you want to get fancy, you can buy some banana plugs and some spade connectors, it will make the wire look fancy
(Its what I did recently)... It honestly makes connecting a lot more easier too haha.

Heres a link to the speaker wire I use:
Amazon.com: MONSTER XPMS-50 MKII 50-Feet Monster Xp Clear Jacket Compact Speaker Cable Mkii: Electronics Amazon.com: MONSTER XPMS-50 MKII 50-Feet Monster Xp Clear Jacket Compact Speaker Cable Mkii: Electronics

I only bought around 20 feet of it at a local audio store... its about a midrange speaker wire, but I honestly think that "High End" speaker wire is a joke.

When you get that expensive DAC, you might want to buy a used/cheap sound card so you can get a optical out, so you wont have signal degradation through usb to miniusb
 

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Monoprice.com is a great place to buy cables. Cheap, and never had issues with their cables. I'm sure a lot of people on here could vouch for them and their products.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ff02 View Post
Monoprice.com is a great place to buy cables. Cheap, and never had issues with their cables. I'm sure a lot of people on here could vouch for them and their products.
I hear great things from monoprice, cheap prices and such. I just shop on amazon because I got the Amazon prime account for being a student, and two day shipping is sooo nice
 

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The problem with Amazon Prime is after a while you start buying all kinds of unneeded $2 trinkets just to abuse the service.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Quote:

Originally Posted by FattyMcFatFatFatty View Post
Okay, so for the onboard audio, you're going to need a 3.5mm to RCA cable. Something like this would probably be fine: Amazon.com: Pro-Techgroup Professional Grade 15 FT 3.5mm Stereo Male to 2RCA Male 22AWG Cable - Gold Plated Connectors: Electronics

Then from your amp to speakers, you're going to need just some basic speaker wire... You can use bare wire, but if you want to get fancy, you can buy some banana plugs and some spade connectors, it will make the wire look fancy
(Its what I did recently)... It honestly makes connecting a lot more easier too haha.

Heres a link to the speaker wire I use: Amazon.com: MONSTER XPMS-50 MKII 50-Feet Monster Xp Clear Jacket Compact Speaker Cable Mkii: Electronics

I only bought around 20 feet of it at a local audio store... its about a midrange speaker wire, but I honestly think that "High End" speaker wire is a joke.

When you get that expensive DAC, you might want to buy a used/cheap sound card so you can get a optical out, so you wont have signal degradation through usb to miniusb
Ok thanks for the recommendations, just a few questions.
For the 3.5mm to RCA, the AWG looks a little high. 22AWG doesn't seem right. I was thinking something more along the lines of 16AWG for a 12ft cable. I've only determined this after reading some guides, and those guides were referring to speaker wire, so I'm not sure if its different for the 3.5mm to RCA.
Now, my onboard DAC on my computer has 7.1 channels, so I'm just kinda curious as to which port on my computer I plug the 3.5mm jack into.

You mentioned that I should consider getting a soundcard so I don't have to suffer from usb to mini usb. I don't think that'll be a problem cause my computer has usb, and the DAC has USB, not mini usb (I think).
As for the second wire, 50ft is way to much. As is 20ft. I really don't need anything over 12ft.

Quote:

Originally Posted by ff02 View Post
Monoprice.com is a great place to buy cables. Cheap, and never had issues with their cables. I'm sure a lot of people on here could vouch for them and their products.
I order fro monoprice regularly, but the smallest length of speaker wire that they carry if 50ft, which is unnecessarily huge for me.

Regarding banana and and spade plugs, does it matter whether I get banana or spade? Will both of them plug into the speaker ports on my amp and the cable ports on my speakers? If so, I think I'd go with the Banana plugs cause they look better and seem more convenient
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ckaz View Post
Ok thanks for the recommendations, just a few questions.
For the 3.5mm to RCA, the AWG looks a little high. 22AWG doesn't seem right. I was thinking something more along the lines of 16AWG for a 12ft cable. I've only determined this after reading some guides, and those guides were referring to speaker wire, so I'm not sure if its different for the 3.5mm to RCA.
Now, my onboard DAC on my computer has 7.1 channels, so I'm just kinda curious as to which port on my computer I plug the 3.5mm jack into.

You mentioned that I should consider getting a soundcard so I don't have to suffer from usb to mini usb. I don't think that'll be a problem cause my computer has usb, and the DAC has USB, not mini usb (I think).
As for the second wire, 50ft is way to much. As is 20ft. I really don't need anything over 12ft.

I order fro monoprice regularly, but the smallest length of speaker wire that they carry if 50ft, which is unnecessarily huge for me.

Regarding banana and and spade plugs, does it matter whether I get banana or spade? Will both of them plug into the speaker ports on my amp and the cable ports on my speakers? If so, I think I'd go with the Banana plugs cause they look better and seem more convenient
I was just giving a general idea for a 3.5mm to RCA, and as regards to AWD, I think its the higher the better. If you're onboard sound has 7.1 surround sound, then you should just be a RCA to RCA (Audio - meaning red / white) connector.

As for the USB, usb is usb, whether it be usb to mini usb or usb to usb. There is a bandwidth cap on usb.

Again, for the wire, I was just giving a recommendation. You can go to your local audio store, and tell the guy how much you want.

Banana plugs will fit into the back of your amp nicely, and you need spade connectors, or pin connectors to hook it into the back of your speaker depending on what kind of connections you have (Post/clip)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Quote:

Originally Posted by FattyMcFatFatFatty View Post
I was just giving a general idea for a 3.5mm to RCA, and as regards to AWD, I think its the higher the better. If you're onboard sound has 7.1 surround sound, then you should just be a RCA to RCA (Audio - meaning red / white) connector.

As for the USB, usb is usb, whether it be usb to mini usb or usb to usb. There is a bandwidth cap on usb.

Again, for the wire, I was just giving a recommendation. You can go to your local audio store, and tell the guy how much you want.

Banana plugs will fit into the back of your amp nicely, and you need spade connectors, or pin connectors to hook it into the back of your speaker depending on what kind of connections you have (Post/clip)
My onboard doesn't have rca jacks though, so I think the 3.5mm to RCA is correct. Here is a pic of my onboard audio jacks


And according to this article, AWG is subjective really to the length of the speaker wire. Its not a huge deal, but I may as well get the best possible since the price differences aren't substantial.
Link:http://www.audioholics.com/education...er-cable-gauge

Also, I've done some reading on USB vs. optical. Its a very debated over topic, but what I've managed to get out of it is that the differences are minimal and subjective to your equipment and ears. I intend to buy a cable for both once I have my new DAC to test it out for myself.

And thanks for the advice on the termination connectors. Are you able to help me out as to whether I need spade or pin connectors for my amp? I'm not sure whether mine uses a post or a clip system. My amp is the CA Azur 640A V2
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ckaz View Post
My onboard doesn't have rca jacks though, so I think the 3.5mm to RCA is correct. Here is a pic of my onboard audio jacks


And according to this article, AWG is subjective really to the length of the speaker wire. Its not a huge deal, but I may as well get the best possible since the price differences aren't substantial.
Link:http://www.audioholics.com/education...er-cable-gauge

Also, I've done some reading on USB vs. optical. Its a very debated over topic, but what I've managed to get out of it is that the differences are minimal and subjective to your equipment and ears. I intend to buy a cable for both once I have my new DAC to test it out for myself.

And thanks for the advice on the termination connectors. Are you able to help me out as to whether I need spade or pin connectors for my amp? I'm not sure whether mine uses a post or a clip system. My amp is the CA Azur 640A V2
With USB vs. optical, it would depend on whether you are listening to flac or not. I'm kinda surprised you're arguing about this, when you're arguing about AWG size - which you will more than likely wont be able to tell the difference between, after a certain point... but anyway

for your amp, you'll want banana plugs. Banana plugs go into amps/receivers, spade and pin connectors go to the speakers.

Also, if i'm not mistaken, the second tier of ports from your left, those are digital outputs TOSlink on the top, and coax digital on the bottom.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by astrallite View Post
The problem with Amazon Prime is after a while you start buying all kinds of unneeded $2 trinkets just to abuse the service.
Also, this is a very true statement. Lol, but with me, i'm very cheap and only buy what I really need, I can see how it could become addicting though.... such cheap fast shipping
 

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@ OP

You would have to get multiple 3.5mm-to-RCA (single/double depending on your connections available) cables to make a complete 7.1/5.1 setup as it would require 3-5 jacks on that. Assuming you're going to make RCA surround connections on your external device.

Don't quote me though -
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Quote:

Originally Posted by FattyMcFatFatFatty View Post
With USB vs. optical, it would depend on whether you are listening to flac or not. I'm kinda surprised you're arguing about this, when you're arguing about AWG size - which you will more than likely wont be able to tell the difference between, after a certain point... but anyway

for your amp, you'll want banana plugs. Banana plugs go into amps/receivers, spade and pin connectors go to the speakers.

Also, if i'm not mistaken, the second tier of ports from your left, those are digital outputs TOSlink on the top, and coax digital on the bottom.
Haha I can't deny the truth in that first statement. As I said, when the options are available, you might as well buy the best.
And yes, those are digital outputs, so I'm set.

Ok, so for the amp I want banana plugs to go into the terminals. You said for my speakers, its either spades or pins. Does it matter which? Cause the wire I'm looking at right now comes with pins, so if it makes no difference which one I use, the obvious choice is pins.

Quote:

Originally Posted by GanjaSMK View Post
@ OP

You would have to get multiple 3.5mm-to-RCA (single/double depending on your connections available) cables to make a complete 7.1/5.1 setup as it would require 3-5 jacks on that. Assuming you're going to make RCA surround connections on your external device.

Don't quote me though -
I'm not making a surround sound setup. I'm using my onboard dac as my source, and I was wondering which port I am to plug the 3.5mm to RCA cable into when I connect it to my amp. What I meant is that since I have 7 ports in total, each for different channels, which channel do I plug my stereo amp into.

When I buy bare speaker wire, how do I go about connecting the terminators (pins and banna plugs)?
Also, is it necessary to use all of the wire included in the spool? Or can I cut off however much I need. Cause all of the bare speaker wire I've seen seems to come in spools of 25ft + which leads me to believe that its meant to be cut off and used according to the length needed.
If i'm not being clear ere, just let me know and I'll rephrase as necessary.
 

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I seem to have misunderstood then. The green port should be your 3.5mm jack for sound out, unless you use a digital link (toslink/coaxial).
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ckaz View Post
snip
When I buy bare speaker wire, how do I go about connecting the terminators (pins and banna plugs)?
Also, is it necessary to use all of the wire included in the spool? Or can I cut off however much I need. Cause all of the bare speaker wire I've seen seems to come in spools of 25ft + which leads me to believe that its meant to be cut off and used according to the length needed.
If i'm not being clear ere, just let me know and I'll rephrase as necessary.
pins or spades doesn't really matter, I used spades because I thought it'd be easier to connect, but I think its a matter of preference/what speaker connector you have.

No its not necessary to use all the wire in the spool, only necessary to use as much as you need... if you dont already, get some wire cutters and wire strippers...

It will depend on what type of banana plug/spade/pin connector you get. I got the compression fittings which I thought were the easiest. You can google how to put them on, if you need pictures, but basically you just unscrew the two parts, put the wire through, and fold it down over the side of the fitting, it'll make a good strong connection without the need to crimp or solder the wire.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Quote:

Originally Posted by FattyMcFatFatFatty View Post
pins or spades doesn't really matter, I used spades because I thought it'd be easier to connect, but I think its a matter of preference/what speaker connector you have.

No its not necessary to use all the wire in the spool, only necessary to use as much as you need... if you dont already, get some wire cutters and wire strippers...

It will depend on what type of banana plug/spade/pin connector you get. I got the compression fittings which I thought were the easiest. You can google how to put them on, if you need pictures, but basically you just unscrew the two parts, put the wire through, and fold it down over the side of the fitting, it'll make a good strong connection without the need to crimp or solder the wire.
Ok well thank you very much! You've been fully invaluable to me here, so expect +rep in return. Just a few more questions first


I'm about to pull the plug on my order of cables, so here is what I'm ordering and it would be dope if you gave me some feedback (is there anything else I need or don't need).

So;
USB Male to Male for computer to DacMagic
Stereo RCA to Stereo RCA for DacMagic to Int Amp
Speaker Wire
Banna Plugs to plug into the amp
Pin plugs to plug into the speakers
3.5mm to RCA for computer straight to amp

I also want to hook up a subwoofer to the amp at some point. I plan to go Amp > Subwoofer > Speakers. Its a powered sub so I can plug my speakers into the amp on the sub, and I'll just apply the crossover accordingly.
My question is what cable do I need to go from Amp to Sub, and what cable do I need to go from Sub to Speakers.
My sub is going to be the Elemental Designs A3S 250
http://www.edesignaudio.com/product_...roducts_id=892
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ckaz View Post
Ok well thank you very much! You've been fully invaluable to me here, so expect +rep in return. Just a few more questions first


I'm about to pull the plug on my order of cables, so here is what I'm ordering and it would be dope if you gave me some feedback (is there anything else I need or don't need).

So;
USB Male to Male for computer to DacMagic
Stereo RCA to Stereo RCA for DacMagic to Int Amp
Speaker Wire
Banna Plugs to plug into the amp
Pin plugs to plug into the speakers
3.5mm to RCA for computer straight to amp

I also want to hook up a subwoofer to the amp at some point. I plan to go Amp > Subwoofer > Speakers. Its a powered sub so I can plug my speakers into the amp on the sub, and I'll just apply the crossover accordingly.
My question is what cable do I need to go from Amp to Sub, and what cable do I need to go from Sub to Speakers.
My sub is going to be the Elemental Designs A3S 250
http://www.edesignaudio.com/product_...roducts_id=892
Bah, you're going after the usb to usb after all that?
Alright, well if you must, I dont think it uses a regular male to male, heres the back of the dacmagic you're looking at: http://www.cambridgeaudio.com/assets...Magic_rear.jpg
I thought it was miniusb, but I was wrong. I'm not quite sure what kind of usb it is. I still say it'd be better, and easier to go with fiberoptic to fiberoptic
.

Everything else looks good though, unfortunately, i'm not the one to ask about sub equipment. I dont have any, I've been getting interested in it though, apparently you can use (if you have two speaker outputs A/B etc) you can just get another pair of wires and attach it through that way, that way you can use your amp to volume up/down on your sub.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Quote:

Originally Posted by FattyMcFatFatFatty View Post
Bah, you're going after the usb to usb after all that?
Alright, well if you must, I dont think it uses a regular male to male, heres the back of the dacmagic you're looking at: http://www.cambridgeaudio.com/assets...Magic_rear.jpg
I thought it was miniusb, but I was wrong. I'm not quite sure what kind of usb it is. I still say it'd be better, and easier to go with fiberoptic to fiberoptic
.

Everything else looks good though, unfortunately, i'm not the one to ask about sub equipment. I dont have any, I've been getting interested in it though, apparently you can use (if you have two speaker outputs A/B etc) you can just get another pair of wires and attach it through that way, that way you can use your amp to volume up/down on your sub.
Ahh, good call on that mystery USB port, but I think I something that looks right. Maybe its a matter of USB 1.0 vs USB 2.0, I'm not entirely sure.


Ok, say I wanted to order a fiberoptic cable for just in case reasons. Well I'd personally prefer SPDIF, but all I can find are TOSLink. I know that these are both fiberoptic, but if there is a difference between the two, I would rather get SPDIF. Unfortunately, I can only seem to find TOSLink on amazon. What's the deal with this?

And thats ok about the sub info, I'll shoot the question to someone else.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tiger S. View Post
I swear by these guys. Order in 2 days in the US.
http://www.bluejeanscable.com/
For most things that aren't speaker wire, I've been finding better prices on amazon. Now I know that the quality won't be the same, but at this point, I'm simply looking for something cheap that won't impair my audio system as opposed to enhancing it.
 

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If ya want digital coaxial, just find a spare RCA cord lying around, and take 1 strand off it, thats a digital coaxial cable.
 
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