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post #1 of 123 Old 07-03-2015, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Wires and Cables



Cables are the glue that binds a system together. There's no need to spend a fortune, but it's a good idea to plan out your installation. Click here to read 10 tips to help you manage the wires and cables in your system.
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post #2 of 123 Old 07-03-2015, 01:55 PM
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Hello,

Good points on cabling. I have the dreaded "technospaghetti" effect now, due to various factors, but all things considered it would probably not pay to bundle mine exactly like those in the picture you have there, especially since I may be changing them out and don't have ready access to the back of my equipment.

I will be pleasantly amazed if point #9 doesn't generate any controversy. To be sure, there are plenty of high-end cables that carry very high price tags and which I wouldn't buy even if the money were available; I have a hard time seeing spending four figures or more on a pair of interconnects. There are companies in the audiophile world that have reasonably-priced cables ("reasonable" may be relative, I admit); there are also the brands you mention. I have used several Blue Jeans products with no complaints, the only hiccup was one HDMI cable that failed. Even with that, depending upon what I needed I'd consider BJ again.

So again, good points.

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post #3 of 123 Old 07-03-2015, 02:00 PM
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I would add an 11th, 12th and 13th line:


11 Add 12 to 24 inches at each end of the cables for service loops. This will allow the extraction of an item ( e.g. a pre-pro from a rack) without having to undo the entire setup. Especially true if you don't have easy access to the rear of the equipment rack. Also this could help if the speakers have to be moved somewhat from their original planned position.


12 Audio input cables should also be kept separate from speaker cables, never run them in close contact parallel to each other over long distances. This can actually cause a feedback loop resulting in the destruction of the audio amplifier. Again XLR cables offer much better rejection in this case.


13 Beware of ground loops. Make sure the equipment grounds are all located at one point, (a star connection plan), don't have some equipment connecting off of a different power outlet from the other items. Sometimes this is unavoidable and again balanced XLR cables can greatly help in this area, the ground connection of the XLR connector (pin 1) is not really necessary and could be removed in really bad cases.

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post #4 of 123 Old 07-03-2015, 04:00 PM
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"and power cables. Measure twice, cut once." - That's the thing, who is cutting power cables? If they don't offer varying lengths you're SOL.

Kudos to SVS, $20 for their tidy cables, not too expensive when you know you're just paying for fashion.
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post #5 of 123 Old 07-03-2015, 04:02 PM
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complex cable management is only needed for more complex systems and when airflow issues might be involved. There is nothing technically wrong with technospaghetti. For those that will be changing out gear frequently, crazy numbers of wire ties will really slow you down.
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post #6 of 123 Old 07-03-2015, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post
complex cable management is only needed for more complex systems and when airflow issues might be involved. There is nothing technically wrong with technospaghetti. For those that will be changing out gear frequently, crazy numbers of wire ties will really slow you down.
For me, the clutter slows me down on those unfortunate occasions I have to squeeze behind the setup. This is what the rear of things looked like two years ago; it's pretty much like that now.

One thing I had done before was to velcro the pairs of interconnect together; never did that after changing out the cables last year.
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post #7 of 123 Old 07-03-2015, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post





4. Practice good cable management; avoid creating a tangled mess of technospaghetti.

Why? Because it looks neater? Imagine trying to trace one of the 8 XLR connected cables in the illustration in that big fat bundle. Now imagine tracing the same cable hung loosely.
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post #8 of 123 Old 07-03-2015, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skimanfz1 View Post
Why? Because it looks neater? Imagine trying to trace one of the 8 XLR connected cables in the illustration in that big fat bundle. Now imagine tracing the same cable hung loosely.
Lol, I actually swapped out that exact pre/pro and had to ruin what you see there (which I am not responsible for). Not my system, that's Theo Kalomirakis' rack. I did not put it back the way you see it, but that picture was chosen for its suitability for posting on the AVS homepage. As others mentioned in the comments, velcro is a better solution than zip ties. I was simply saying avoid tangled messes, so tracing that cable is easy.
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post #9 of 123 Old 07-03-2015, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skimanfz1 View Post
Why? Because it looks neater? Imagine trying to trace one of the 8 XLR connected cables in the illustration in that big fat bundle. Now imagine tracing the same cable hung loosely.
Labeling each cable at both ends or at least using various colors of tape to color code each cable helps tremendously, regardless of how neatly you arrange your cables. In some cases the cables themselves are offered in various colors.
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post #10 of 123 Old 07-03-2015, 07:44 PM
 
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Here are some more economical cable choices:

http://audiophilereview.com/cables/5...-the-bank.html
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post #11 of 123 Old 07-03-2015, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post


Cables are the glue that binds a system together. There's no need to spend a fortune, but it's a good idea to plan out your installation.


1. Make sure you know exactly how long each cable needs to be. That goes for speaker cables, interconnects, and power cables. Measure twice, cut once.

4. Practice good cable management; avoid creating a tangled mess of technospaghetti.

10. Are you building your room from scratch? Consider running all the cables you need in the walls or soffits.

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1. Good point if your setup is stable and going to be in use for 5 years without changes, I make changes about every 6 months or even more often when in that mode so I stopped cutting my cables to length a long time ago and I use standard lengths like 1' patch, 3' patch, 6' patch, 10' shorty, 25' run, 50' run, 100' run, 200' run, etc.. And as has already been mentioned I leave a courtesy loop at each end usually handy but not close to the gear.

4. Yes I do try to make the back of my equipment rack look like the example. And a part of good cable management would be:
a. Label your cables. For short term lables of less than a week I use white gaff tape written on a tab that can be flipped over and written on both sides what the input or output is. For long term labels I put a nylon zip tie on the cable and put the tape on the zip tie since the tape will leave sticky goo on the cable if left on for a month. Goo Gone (or other citrus cleaner) takes tape goo off nice, then use rubbing alc to take off the goo gone.
b. Velcro ties. Nylon zip ties are useful but I don't use them directly to organize cable bundles, instead I use Velcro ties since they can be redone a lot easier and use a zip tie to tie the velcro if it's needed.
c. Label the length of the cable. I use a permanent maker and mark the cable connector with the length as I unwrap/re-wrap a new cable for the first time. It makes setup go so much faster if you know the length of your cables.
d. Unwrap new cable as if you were rolling it off a spool, I put the cable on my two wrists and roll my arms one over the other until the cable is sitting in a nice pile on the floor, then I re-wrap the cable over-under so that I can pull it off the end and it will lay flat with no kinks. Along the same lines don't pull cable off a spool by letting it slip off an end, put it on a dowel or large screw driver and let it spool/roll off otherwise it will have twists in it.
e. Colored cables are great if they're out of site, it makes it easier to trace, no I don't label the middle of my cables only the ends
f. D-plug power cables come in 1', 3'...many different lengths, it helps a lot if gear is close to the power distro to have short D-plug cable. And I get 10', 12', 15' etc. so I don't have to use an extension cord on powered speakers.
g. Service loop. In addition to a courtesy loop I leave a service loop if my equipment is on sliding rails. Racking on sliders is great when you have space constraints and can't access the back of the rack from behind but you can't pull out the equipment without that service loop on all cables.

10. Soffits!, Yeah, I'm just about to leave to get parts for building them.

Wow...I think I'm cable obsessed. Dr. am I cable obsessed?

Cheers,
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post #12 of 123 Old 07-03-2015, 08:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dnoonie View Post
1. Good point if your setup is stable and going to be in use for 5 years without changes, I make changes about every 6 months or even more often when in that mode so I stopped cutting my cables to length a long time ago and I use standard lengths like 1' patch, 3' patch, 6' patch, 10' shorty, 25' run, 50' run, 100' run, 200' run, etc.. And as has already been mentioned I leave a courtesy loop at each end usually handy but not close to the gear.

4. Yes I do try to make the back of my equipment rack look like the example. And a part of good cable management would be:
a. Label your cables. For short term lables of less than a week I use white gaff tape written on a tab that can be flipped over and written on both sides what the input or output is. For long term labels I put a nylon zip tie on the cable and put the tape on the zip tie since the tape will leave sticky goo on the cable if left on for a month. Goo Gone (or other citrus cleaner) takes tape goo off nice, then use rubbing alc to take off the goo gone.
b. Velcro ties. Nylon zip ties are useful but I don't use them directly to organize cable bundles, instead I use Velcro ties since they can be redone a lot easier and use a zip tie to tie the velcro if it's needed.
c. Label the length of the cable. I use a permanent maker and mark the cable connector with the length as I unwrap/re-wrap a new cable for the first time. It makes setup go so much faster if you know the length of your cables.
d. Unwrap new cable as if you were rolling it off a spool, I put the cable on my two wrists and roll my arms one over the other until the cable is sitting in a nice pile on the floor, then I re-wrap the cable over-under so that I can pull it off the end and it will lay flat with no kinks. Along the same lines don't pull cable off a spool by letting it slip off an end, put it on a dowel or large screw driver and let it spool/roll off otherwise it will have twists in it.
e. Colored cables are great if they're out of site, it makes it easier to trace, no I don't label the middle of my cables only the ends
f. D-plug power cables come in 1', 3'...many different lengths, it helps a lot if gear is close to the power distro to have short D-plug cable. And I get 10', 12', 15' etc. so I don't have to use an extension cord on powered speakers.
g. Service loop. In addition to a courtesy loop I leave a service loop if my equipment is on sliding rails. Racking on sliders is great when you have space constraints and can't access the back of the rack from behind but you can't pull out the equipment without that service loop on all cables.

10. Soffits!, Yeah, I'm just about to leave to get parts for building them.

Wow...I think I'm cable obsessed. Dr. am I cable obsessed?

Cheers,
This is a link with some ideas for cable management for the cable obsessed of us. YMMV:

http://shop.***************.com/Wire.../products/222/
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post #13 of 123 Old 07-03-2015, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post


Cables are the glue that binds a system together. There's no need to spend a fortune, but it's a good idea to plan out your installation.


1. Make sure you know exactly how long each cable needs to be. That goes for speaker cables, interconnects, and power cables. Measure twice, cut once.

2. Use cable designed for the task at hand. Speaker cable should be of sufficient gauge for its length and power handling. Analog interconnects should be well shielded.

3. Double-check all your connections, including the polarity of your speaker cables.

4. Practice good cable management; avoid creating a tangled mess of technospaghetti.

5. Avoid running AC power cables alongside analog audio cables; this can cause interference in the audio signal. If they must be in the same vicinity, try to arrange them so they cross at right angles.

6. If your equipment offers both balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA connections, use balanced XLR for better rejection of induced noise.

7. Avoid excessively long HDMI cable runs. Keep an eye out for signs of signal degradation such as sparkles in the picture.

8. Use a wireless HDMI transmitter/receiver or a powered/active HDMI cable, such as those that use Redmere technology, if you need to cover a distance greater than 20 feet or so.

9. Don't bother with "audiophile" cables that often cost more than the actual gear. Save your money and use basic cabling from companies like Monoprice and Blue Jeans Cable. Amazon is a good source of economical cables.

10. Are you building your room from scratch? Consider running all the cables you need in the walls or soffits.



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Much better job than mine


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingcarcas View Post
"and power cables. Measure twice, cut once." - That's the thing, who is cutting power cables? If they don't offer varying lengths you're SOL.

Kudos to SVS, $20 for their tidy cables, not too expensive when you know you're just paying for fashion.

+1

Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post
complex cable management is only needed for more complex systems and when airflow issues might be involved. There is nothing technically wrong with technospaghetti. For those that will be changing out gear frequently, crazy numbers of wire ties will really slow you down.

I cannot disagree, it is a matter of doing once and not often.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skimanfz1 View Post
Why? Because it looks neater? Imagine trying to trace one of the 8 XLR connected cables in the illustration in that big fat bundle. Now imagine tracing the same cable hung loosely.

Also, I agree with you.
Unless, you are happy with your stuff and not willing to do it often

Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
Lol, I actually swapped out that exact pre/pro and had to ruin what you see there (which I am not responsible for). Not my system, that's Theo Kalomirakis' rack. I did not put it back the way you see it, but that picture was chosen for its suitability for posting on the AVS homepage. As others mentioned in the comments, velcro is a better solution than zip ties. I was simply saying avoid tangled messes, so tracing that cable is easy.

Another +1
A well made cable management look nice, much better than tangled messes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HockeyoAJB View Post
Labeling each cable at both ends or at least using various colors of tape to color code each cable helps tremendously, regardless of how neatly you arrange your cables. In some cases the cables themselves are offered in various colors.

Very good advise

Quote:
Originally Posted by dnoonie View Post
1. Good point if your setup is stable and going to be in use for 5 years without changes, I make changes about every 6 months or even more often when in that mode so I stopped cutting my cables to length a long time ago and I use standard lengths like 1' patch, 3' patch, 6' patch, 10' shorty, 25' run, 50' run, 100' run, 200' run, etc.. And as has already been mentioned I leave a courtesy loop at each end usually handy but not close to the gear.

4. Yes I do try to make the back of my equipment rack look like the example. And a part of good cable management would be:
a. Label your cables. For short term lables of less than a week I use white gaff tape written on a tab that can be flipped over and written on both sides what the input or output is. For long term labels I put a nylon zip tie on the cable and put the tape on the zip tie since the tape will leave sticky goo on the cable if left on for a month. Goo Gone (or other citrus cleaner) takes tape goo off nice, then use rubbing alc to take off the goo gone.
b. Velcro ties. Nylon zip ties are useful but I don't use them directly to organize cable bundles, instead I use Velcro ties since they can be redone a lot easier and use a zip tie to tie the velcro if it's needed.
c. Label the length of the cable. I use a permanent maker and mark the cable connector with the length as I unwrap/re-wrap a new cable for the first time. It makes setup go so much faster if you know the length of your cables.
d. Unwrap new cable as if you were rolling it off a spool, I put the cable on my two wrists and roll my arms one over the other until the cable is sitting in a nice pile on the floor, then I re-wrap the cable over-under so that I can pull it off the end and it will lay flat with no kinks. Along the same lines don't pull cable off a spool by letting it slip off an end, put it on a dowel or large screw driver and let it spool/roll off otherwise it will have twists in it.
e. Colored cables are great if they're out of site, it makes it easier to trace, no I don't label the middle of my cables only the ends
f. D-plug power cables come in 1', 3'...many different lengths, it helps a lot if gear is close to the power distro to have short D-plug cable. And I get 10', 12', 15' etc. so I don't have to use an extension cord on powered speakers.
g. Service loop. In addition to a courtesy loop I leave a service loop if my equipment is on sliding rails. Racking on sliders is great when you have space constraints and can't access the back of the rack from behind but you can't pull out the equipment without that service loop on all cables.

10. Soffits!, Yeah, I'm just about to leave to get parts for building them.

Wow...I think I'm cable obsessed. Dr. am I cable obsessed?

Cheers,

YES and also have very good words of advises.
Now, take the Blue pill or the Red one!?


But to be serious.
I like my cables to be well manage
If you do it often, it is a waist of time to try to achieve perfection.
If it is only be for every few years, why not?


Ray
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post #14 of 123 Old 07-03-2015, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HockeyoAJB View Post
Labeling each cable at both ends or at least using various colors of tape to color code each cable helps tremendously, regardless of how neatly you arrange your cables. In some cases the cables themselves are offered in various colors.
This is Exactly what I do, label both ends of the cabling....
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post #15 of 123 Old 07-03-2015, 10:34 PM
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Add me to the "label your cables" crowd.

It can save SO much frustration.
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post #16 of 123 Old 07-04-2015, 03:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HockeyoAJB View Post
Labeling each cable at both ends or at least using various colors of tape to color code each cable helps tremendously, regardless of how neatly you arrange your cables. In some cases the cables themselves are offered in various colors.
Yes, another reason I've been slow to bundle my cables is that the interconnects are currently Audioquest King Cobra, which have a red/black jacket and are easier to distinguish. The Wireworld power cords come in different colors, also easy to distinguish (not to mention their flat profile). My HDMI cables are Pangeas (blue/black jacket), also easy to spot. So identifying cables is much less of an issue.

It's still tricky to maneuver the tangle if I need to reseat anything, though. And I may be going back to the Kimber Hero interconnect I was using before, which is an all-black jacket. I don't have much room to move the system out from the wall, and I think a big deterrent to my organizing better is rear access to the system. It's a tight space back there.

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post #17 of 123 Old 07-04-2015, 04:25 AM
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I thought of another one...

Stressed that the weight of your cable will pull it from your equipment?
Stressed that the weight of your cable will wear out the plug on your equipment?

Use strain relief.

Typically I run a Velcro tie through its built in loop and cinch it tight around a cable bundle. Then take the loose end and run it through a loose/non-snug zip tie attached to the rack to take the weight off the connectors.

There are also releasable zip ties available and zip ties with cinch limiters. Just other tools for different situations.

Zip tie anchors are also great if there's nothing to anchor too.

Cheers,
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post #18 of 123 Old 07-04-2015, 04:32 AM
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There's only one thing you need to know about cabling.






1. It's spelled gauge, not guage.
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post #19 of 123 Old 07-04-2015, 09:18 AM
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Weird, no mention of the 6' rule for HDMI!

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post #20 of 123 Old 07-04-2015, 09:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skimanfz1 View Post
Why? Because it looks neater? Imagine trying to trace one of the 8 XLR connected cables in the illustration in that big fat bundle. Now imagine tracing the same cable hung loosely.
At pro audio shops there are XLR signal terminators available quite cheaply to see which wire is which from the other end. Stick a terminator on the end you want, then check each other terminal to find out which it is.
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post #21 of 123 Old 07-04-2015, 01:37 PM
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Analog interconnects should be well shielded

Now I'm scared. I recently finished wiring a home project to bring sound to 6 of my rooms and, to save money I shared their grounds. Layout: 3.5mm output of in-wall mounted bluetooth receiver, to zoned amp 100' away using 16awg for L and R, and another 16awg shared by two separate receivers. Am I absolutely going to redo my work or are the shared grounds not that big a deal?
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post #22 of 123 Old 07-05-2015, 10:17 AM
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I've had a 35 and 50 foot HDMI cable run through my walls for 8 years without any issues at all. In all that time I have never heard anyone say keep them under 20 foot, in fact I was always "keep them under 50 foot".
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post #23 of 123 Old 07-05-2015, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skimanfz1 View Post
Why? Because it looks neater? Imagine trying to trace one of the 8 XLR connected cables in the illustration in that big fat bundle. Now imagine tracing the same cable hung loosely.
Ya but look at that picture. As a person who has worked in data centers for 20 years I can tell you that cable management is important but look at all those tie wraps. Imagine the pain of replacing one cable on that rack.

There are much better ways to cable cleanly and allow much easier access to the cables.
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post #24 of 123 Old 07-05-2015, 12:03 PM
 
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That picture of the cabling is for a theater built for someone who is probably not likely to ever do anything for himself in the way of gear is my guess. If they have to hire the guy to do anything in terms of tracing down a problem or changing gear later, he can deal with it (and likely make more money since it will take more time to do). Perfect for the guy who buys complete theaters for his home from that guy. They can afford it.
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post #25 of 123 Old 07-05-2015, 12:43 PM
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It always make me laugh when I see those "top 10" claims...

Ten ideas, maybe.
But this is no "top" ten....at least, not to me.
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post #26 of 123 Old 07-05-2015, 12:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by stef2 View Post
It always make me laugh when I see those "top 10" claims...

Ten ideas, maybe.
But this is no "top" ten....at least, not to me.
Let's see your top ten then....
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post #27 of 123 Old 07-05-2015, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stef2 View Post
It always make me laugh when I see those "top 10" claims...

Ten ideas, maybe.
But this is no "top" ten....at least, not to me.
It's true. "Top" is just there because there's a tradition in journalism that headlines be somewhat sensational

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post #28 of 123 Old 07-05-2015, 12:55 PM
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These are all good points. As an installer, I would modify point #8 to recommend also the use of HDBaseT Sender/Receiver "BALUNS" over CAT-5e or CAT-6 as a reliable option before going wireless. These BALUNS can turn long, cheap runs of network cable into Full HD HDMI interconnects.
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post #29 of 123 Old 07-05-2015, 02:07 PM
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Mark. You nailed it and writing the entire top ten list off the top of your head in what about 12 minutes? Nah. It had to take you at least 15 minutes to generate a list of this quality. Come on. Fess up. How long did it take you to write this list? Rather than pick on this pile by the shovelful I would just caution that often one should avoid using the balanced connectors vs the unbalanced ones because the entire circuit may not be balanced and a cheap awful sounding phase inverters may have been used to provide a balanced chassis output or input. I am looking forward to your next Top Ten list in yet another of your evidently many areas of AV expertise.
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post #30 of 123 Old 07-05-2015, 03:45 PM
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You could summarize "cable management" or any other engineering as such: Design to suit the needs of the user.

There is no need for all folks to go OCD about this and there is as usual an opportunity cost to spending a day wiring your crap that you could have otherwise used to watch movies or cure cancer. One person's over-engineering is another person's "sloppy" work.

I would like to point out that often some of the most productive creative talents in the world have been totally sloppy with their work space. Again, there is an opportunity cost to everything.
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