Audio Interconnect Cables

Written by Serena Berger
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There are many different pieces of equipment in a comprehensive audio system, and you may or may not want to keep them all connected at the same time. For example, cassette players and turntables have been phased out of many modern systems, but there may be a time when you really want to listen to an old record, or copy a CD to a cassette to take in a car without a CD player. If you have these pieces of equipment, you'll need to have the audio interconnect cables to hook up the additional components to your receiver and get them integrated into your system.

CD and DVD players (as well as satellite TV receivers) are digital sources. VCRs and cassette decks are analog sources. On most receivers, any input will have an associated pair of analog audio inputs--typically, these will be RCA jacks. You must connect these for analog sources, but with digitals sources, it is optional. Turntables must be connected to a specific set of analog inputs: these will be marked "phono." All other analog inputs and cables are the same--but for a turntable, the phono inputs will give you better bass response and better levels overall.

Some receivers have enough digital inputs that you can use them for any digital sources you have. In other cases, you will have to choose which digital sources get digital inputs and hook up the pair of audio inputs for the rest. If you have a DVD player which delivers surround sound (i.e. Dolby), incidentally, you must use a digital connection in order to take advantage of this feature.

Easy-to-Use Audio Interconnect Cables

Many receivers conveniently label their inputs. Color coding is increasingly common, and a great feature to look for. You should take it a step further and color code your own audio interconnects with a simple piece of masking tape colored with a highlighter or inscribed with a label that's easy to read. This makes it easy any time you need to move a single component or relocate your whole system. People have been seriously frustrated and even injured trying to mess with a number of audio connects in the back of an entertainment center, so anything you can do to simplify the process is good for you in the long run.


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