Your Home Theater System Bible

Tips on Handling Home Theatre Cables and Interconnects

HT cables and interconnects2Configuring a home theatre could be a breeze for those technically adept, yet baffling to the untrained. But for those who consider themselves as jack-of-all-trades and would rather have their own home theatre set up by themselves, would need to always double check that the cables as well as interconnects are properly connected as doing otherwise will result in unwanted distortions.

A cable’s major function is to acquire electrical signals from point A to point B minus any consequential modifications. A suitable cable would be able to transmit a signal in its pure form from one end to the other. Any deviation in the transmission will directly depend on the structure of the cable as well as its connectors.

Cables can basically attenuate or weaken a signal, contribute to the signals inductive and capacitive reactance, and also expose the signal to any electromagnetic energy present in other nearby sources, which can alter the transmitted signal with noise.

Well-shielded, well-insulated and durable cables, which had been terminated with properly-shielded connectors and set up in the most suitable locations within the home theatre area, will definitely provide satisfactory performance and clearer signals. Otherwise, it will be possible that any of the distortions identified below will be created:

1. Frequency Distortion – Practically, every electrical system produces some degree of distortion. However, it’s not feasible to totally eliminate these effects, but with a suitable setup, it is possible to maintain the distortion within non-detectable limits. This may be accomplished by setting-up transmission systems with a restrained section for unbroken acquisition of higher frequency signals. As such, in high-fidelity systems, the amp response has been designed to be wide enough to catch each and every harmonic element of which the human ear is sensitive to.

2. Phase distortion – Since cables function like passive filters, they also transmit on a distorted phase (time) range. Signals of varied frequencies travel through wires at distinctive speeds. Practically, higher frequency signals arrive at the end even before lower-frequency signals do. To resolve this, cables in which higher frequency signals are slowed down to match the lower-frequency signals are put in place. High-end cables are able to provide such functionality.

3. Local interference distortion – Cables or wires that are used in a home theatre system are normally long. These cables capture every detectable signal, including noise. Two of the usual noise sources within a home are local broadcast stations as well as AC power wirings. These may interfere with the signals being transferred from the wirings to either the video display equipment or through the audio equipment.

4. Termination Distortion. Every cable has what is called ability to resist current flow (technically termed as impedance), and should match what is specified in the audio/video equipment requirement. Discrepancies in the two will result in a termination distortion such as signal reflections that look like ghosts on the video display.

Given these, if you are considering installing your own home theatre system, you would need to consider the type of connectors that might be needed as well as the length of the cables your setup will require. Remember to choose wirings or cables with connectors that will work well with your setup.


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Posted on July 10, 2013 by 0 Comments Short URL


Alphonso Soosay, an accomplished musician and sound recording specialist has been in the industry for more than 30 years. In this blog Alphonso shares all his experiences and knowledge in the recording and home theatre industry. Alphonso Soosay's Blog

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