Stupid Newbie Cable Question
Oct 3, 2009 at 10:44 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3


100+ Head-Fier
Sep 28, 2009
The variety of cable types out there can be more than a little confusing for the entry level audiophile. Copper, silver, gold, oxygen free, shielding, kevlar, teflon, fiber-optic, ad nauseam...

On the functional side of things, I understand the basics (i.e. the more rare, the better quality, the more expensive), so here are my newb questions:

Realistically, what type of cable do you really need to hook an MP3 player up to an amp?

Is fiber-optic better than regular wire?

What type of connectors should one use?

And even though sound quality comes first, where can someone get really cool looking cables (stock or custom)?

Many thanks to anyone who can answer even one or two of these!

(P.S. This part might belong in the classifieds thread, but I would welcome any seller's offers <$75)
Oct 3, 2009 at 11:41 PM Post #2 of 3


New Head-Fier
Apr 28, 2007
If you do a little reading in the "DIY Discussions" subforum, this will help your understanding a lot.

To connect your MP3 player to an amp you simply need electrical conductors to carry left, right and ground signals between them. These are usually in the form of copper wires; silver is the best conductor but is more expensive. Gold plating is often used on end connectors as it doesn't corrode/oxidize. Kevlar and teflon are simply insulators used to protect wires.

Fibre-optic cables are not compatible with regular wire - the former carries information in the form of light "signals", the latter involves a "flow" of electrons (current).

There a number of different connector brands - some of the well regarded ones include Neutrik, Switchcraft, Furutech, Canare and XLOHT.

Finally, the "Cool looking cables" you see posted in pictures are often DIY-cables - look at the following thread for more info:
Oct 4, 2009 at 12:43 AM Post #3 of 3
Jan 4, 2008
Fukuoka, Japan
Fibre optic cables are used for digital signals (0's and 1's like how data is stored on your computer). The signal from your MP3 player to your amp is analogue, that is, the actual music as you'd hear it, in an electrical signal.

Don't bother with any expensive fancy cables for connecting your MP3 player. A basically decent cable with better than ratshack-cheap plugs is the way to go.

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