The purpose of an audio cable is to deliver an audio signal from point A to point B with minimal losses in sound quality. The cables that you use are actually quite an integral part of your home theatre or sound system, so you want to choose cables that will optimise your sound experience. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you make the right choice. Read on for more.
Types of Audio Cables
There are three types of audio cables – speaker cables, interconnect cables, and power cables. Speaker cables are used for connecting the speakers to the amplifier; interconnect cables connect different components within your system; and power cables are used to deliver power to the system.
- Optical cable – these transmit digital audio signals as pulses of light.
- Coaxial cables – these look like standard analogue cables but they transfer digital audio signals.
- HDMI cables – HDMI cables are an audio cable as well as a visual cable so you have the advantage of only needing one cable between the AV receiver and the TV in order to receive both an excellent visual and audio signal.
Choosing Audio Cables
Something that you do have to think about when buying audio cables is the actual quality of the system that you are using the cables in, whether that’s a home theatre system or a sound system. If you have a fairly modest system for example, you may not want to spend too much money on your cables, as you are unlikely to get too much improvement in sound. However, if you have an expensive, top of the line system, you may prefer to spend a lot of money on equally good audio cables, to ensure that your sound experience is as good as it can possibly be. While there is no firm rule on how much you should spend, a good guide is to spend between 10 to 20 percent of the cost of your home theatre or sound system on the audio cables you’ll be using.
Another important thing to think about is minimising unwanted noise travelling along the cables. Unwanted noise is generally caused by interference and interference becomes more likely as the audio cable becomes longer. Interference can also occur when the audio cable is not properly shielded. Therefore, you will want to buy a cable that is both well shielded, and not longer than it has to be for your purpose (by this we mean that you want the cable to reach its destination but not have a lot of slack left over).