Top 5 Things to Consider When Buying Audio Cables

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Changes in technology have led to an increase in the type of audio cables, and while some people look for audio cables to go with their new entertainment systems, others look for them to upgrade. Finding audio cables to serve different needs is easy when shopping at brick-and-mortar shops that sell cables and connectors, although online platforms like eBay give buyers more options from which to choose. In any case, buyers should pay attention to aspects like cable format, types of speaker wires, and speaker channel options. Buyers should find out about interconnect audio cables and understand audio cable terminology.
1 Choose the Correct Cable Format
Choose the Correct Cable Format

Choosing the correct cable format is crucial when buying audio cables because different audio cables work differently. Instrument cables connect instruments like guitars and keyboards to amplifiers. These cables tend to carry low voltage signals and come with 2.5 cm phone plug connectors. Microphone cables, on the other hand, connect microphones with mixing boards and come with XLR male and female connectors on either end. Patch cables are typically short and come into play when connecting effect pedals. Patch cables come with different types of connectors. Speaker cables come in two-wire formats. They offer larger gauges than instrument, microphone and patch cables because they have to carry higher voltage signals. Speaker cables also come with various connectors.


2 Understand Audio Cable Terminology

Since buyers have a number of audio cable and connector types from which to choose, they should learn about new audio terminology. Audio cables, with the exception of speaker and optical cables, come with shields, sometimes braided, serve, or foil. Braided shield makes use of braided bunches of copper strands, offering 50 to 97 per cent coverage, and it maintains coverage even when bent or flexed. Serve shield comes with flat layers of copper strands, and offers great flexibility, although it offers lesser tensile strength when compared to braided shield. Foil shield makes use of copper drain wire along with thin, Mylar-backed aluminium foil. While this option is cheaper than the other two, flexibility and durability remain limiting concerns. Different cables come with different connector interfaces that include MIDI, USB, AES/EBU, BNC, and S/PDIF.


3 Decide on a Type of Interconnect Audio Cable
Decide on a Type of Interconnect Audio Cable

When choosing between different types of interconnect audio cables, buyers have two basic options: digital and analogue. Digital audio interconnect cables comprise of HDMI cables, optical cables, and coaxial digital cables. Analogue digital interconnect cable options comprise of XLR cables, two-channel analogue cables, and multi-channel analogue cables. HDMI cables work best with HD televisions, HD gaming consoles, and Blu-ray players. Optical cables are the next best alternative and are suitable for HDTVs, CD and DVD players, and home theatre setups. Coaxial digital cables are not as easy to find as optical cables, and work well when delivering surround sound through home entertainment units. XLR cables are ideal when it comes to connecting high performance audio equipment, like amplifiers and preamps. Two-channel analogue audio cables commonly find their way into making stereo audio connections between different components. Multi-channel analogue audio cables work well to deliver Blu-ray surround sound in the absence of HDMI-capable receivers.


4 Understand Standard Speaker Channel Options
Understand Standard Speaker Channel Options

While buyers can find speakers sold individually and in the form of speaker systems, they ought to bear in mind that different speaker drivers handle different sound frequencies in order to reproduce sound authentically. In a typical multi-channel setup, the front speakers create three-dimensional effects, speakers on the side help add depth, rear speakers help complete the surround sound effect, and subwoofers generate low frequency sounds. The role of speakers in terms of channels can be limited significantly. For example, front left and right height speakers come into play only with 9.0 or 11.0 surround.


5 Understand Speaker Wire
Understand Speaker Wire

When buying speaker cable, it is important to pay attention to gauge. Lower gauge translates to thicker cable, and thicker is better when it comes to a cable's capacity to pass amplified sound signals. Since long wire runs can have a detrimental effect on sound quality, longer cables should ideally be thicker. For cables less than 15 m, 16-gauge cables should suffice, and for more than 15 m, buyers should look for 14-gauge cables. Some speakers, like those that come with Bose Lifestyle systems, do not work with third-party cables.


How to Buy Audio Cables on eBay

When shopping on eBay, buyers have numerous audio cable options from which to choose. Buyers can expect to find all types of audio cables from microphone cables to patch cables to speaker cables because many top-rated sellers on eBay deal in cables and connectors. The range of audio cables sold on eBay also includes HDMI cables, XLR cables, optical cables, and analogue cables. In addition, buyers also get to choose from different types of connectors. Some sellers on eBay give buyers the ability to save money by offering them deals with free delivery. Buyers can also save money by looking for used audio cables on eBay.
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