found this on the Something Awful forums (http://forums.somethingawful.com/sho...readid=1769298
) , definitely worth reading:
YOU DON'T NEED PREMIUM CABLES!
What an amazing revelation! Yes, that's right, you don't get any noticeable gain with Monster Cable or any other "premium" cable for audiophiles or home theater...philes.
Every cable you can buy at any retail store, even including Radio Shack, is a complete ripoff. There's a LOT of money being made on people's assumption that premium cables make a difference - that's why there's so much misinformation about them. (You'll notice that most of the misinformation comes from current or previous employees of stores that sell expensive cables...)
Audio: You ever take a look at what they use in real studios? It's not Monster or any other "premium" brand - it's the no-names, because they know it doesn't matter, and you don't need to spend $80 on cables to hook up a $50 piece of equipment. Can be found for under 2 bucks.
You can also run "coaxial" (not optical) S/PDIF over the same cables - you don't need special "digital audio" cables. Also, there's no quality difference between optical and coaxial S/PDIF - it's the same signal, just different means of transmitting it.
What about speaker cables? Basic lamp cord of at least 18-gauge thickness is fine (thickness determines the maximum power you can pump through it). Buy a 300-foot spool at Home Depot in the same color as your walls for $10 and never buy another speaker cable.
Video: If you REALLY NEED "component video" cables (which are just "good" RCA cables), I guess you can spend $9 online instead of $50 at Best Buy, but I run my Xbox across 25 feet of walls to my HDTV in 1080i with a combination of regular old RCA audio cables and 1/8" headphone extension cables and it looks identical to a direct connection with the 6-foot super-thick "component" cables it came with (I got bored one night and actually tested this).
About gold plating: The only advantage to gold-plating is that the connectors won't corrode. But I have some RCA cables with nickel-plated connectors (the usual alternative to gold) from the 1980s that haven't corroded at all. Unless you're rigging up your stereo underwater in the ocean, I really wouldn't worry about it. I only linked to gold-plated cables above because the difference is like 30 cents, and at that price point, who cares?
USB: Retail stores make almost nothing on printers, so they jack up the price of every accessory to make a decent profit - including the cables. You know those $19.99 or $24.99 Belkin 6-foot cables? Those cost the store about $2. (One of the appalling things I learned while working in retail.) And the $30-40 "Gold" version? Yeah, those cost the store $4. If you buy a printer but it doesn't come with a USB cable, don't pay more than $4. There is no performance or quality loss... this is just crap the marketing managers make the employees spew at you to sell more $40 gold cables for their $30 printers.
The exception: The only exception to the "get the cheapest cable you can find" rule is if you're carrying a very delicate analog signal likely to have major signal loss or be subject to major interference. The only time this is likely to matter to you is with a VGA (computer monitor) cable. In this case, you don't have to go crazy with the Monster version or whatever, you should just get a relatively thick one with ferrites (those little wrap-around cylinder magnet things) near both ends.
There's a whole bunch of tips for all sorts of stuff in this thread, lots of interesting ideas.
Tips and Tricks You’ve Picked Up Along the Way…Part 4! [The Awful Forums]