Home Theater By Wire or Accellerating Your
When putting together a home theater, one important component
thats often forgotten is the wiring.
The cables that connect the pieces of your system are often its
weakest link. Cables and wires that come with components are generally worth
what you pay for them. Theyre better than nothing, since they allow the
system to actually work, but by putting a little more care and attention (and,
yes, money) into the wires you can actually improve the performance of the rest
of your system.
How much can you spend? Well, just as with the components
themselves, you can spend as much or as little as youd like. Weve
tested cables that sell in the hundreds of dollars and, obviously, they can
work extremely well - though in some cases they're just plain overpriced as
In these virtual pages weve covered higher end cables and
interconnects from such companies as River
Cable and Bettercables.com. Theyre
fine performers that offer excellent value for those looking for something high
end but not necessarily so high end that theyll force you to take out a
second mortgage on your house.
Still, these cables arent cheap and, depending on your home
theater budget, could cost more than youve spent on the rest of your
system. Does that make sense?
Well, not really. High end cables are worth it if you have the
money and your eyes and ears can detect the often subtle differences
between cables and interconnects.
But despite that, it makes good sense to at least upgrade from the
junk that comes in the box so your home theater system can perform to the best
of its ability.
This is where Accell Cables comes in. Its a company that
offers better quality interconnects than youd expect from out of the box,
but at a price thats still quite down to earth. Accell sent us a whack of
such wires and weve been putting them through their paces for a few weeks
now and are very impressed with their value.
Okay, the speaker wires arent as good as, say, our River
Cable FLEXYGY testers. On the other hand, the Accells retail for $25US, as
compared to the River Cable FLEXYGYs which sell for $260 a pair. Quite a
And to be fair, the FLEXYGYs we have are 4 meters in length
whereas the Accell UltraAudios are 3 meters, but that wont explain a
tenfold discrepancy in price.
So are the Accell UltraAudios as good as the FLEXYGYs? Well, no.
But for the home theater owner for whom the ultimate performance isnt the
be-all and end-all - but excellent performance is - theyll do a fine
As will the rest of the line that we tried. Were actually
quite blown away by the value of these Accells.
Accell makes a full line of interconnects, from garden
variety audio interconnects to DVI, Firewire, USB and even power cords.
We didnt try all of their offerings, but we sure had enough to give us
good insight into the brand. They sent us component video, S-Video, composite
video, analog audio, coaxial and optical digital audio and the abovementioned
speaker cables. This let us do some real apples to apples
comparisons of the Accells and the other cables we regularly use which
run the pricing gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous.
We tried the component video first, connecting our progressive
scan DVD player, HDTV satellite receiver and reference 1080i Sony rear
projection TV together. These cables, as with other Accells, use 24K
gold-plated connectors at each end as well as multi-stranded pure copper wires
inside their Ultraflex protective jackets. The cables are thick but
flexible (though we thought the one meter lengths were just a tad inflexible,
undoubtedly because of their short length) and we found no apparent picture
deterioration between using them and the combination of higher end cables
wed been using before.
And all for $40US for the 1 meter length and $55 for the 2 meter
length we ran from the switcher to the TV. This compares with, for example,
$199 for 2 meters of Monster Cables Z300 Component Ultra High-Resolution
Precision Video Cable. We didnt try that particular model of Monster, so
it may not be a fair comparison, but the older Monsters we used were excellent
performers. The Accells seemed just as good or at least close enough
considering the price differential.
Ditto for the rest of the cables we tried. We ran three sets of stereo
audio cables from our DVD Audio player to our preamp/processor to replace
the Digiflex interconnects we usually use. The 2 meter Accells, at $30
a pop (making a reasonable $90 investment for 5.1 DVD-Audio output - not
including the subwoofer cable), performed very well; the music was marvelous,
with nice deep and tight bass and a marvelously wide and encompassing
soundstage. Musical instruments sounded very real, and isn't that the
We were also pleased with the UltraAudio digital audio cables, both coaxial
and optical. We tried a variety of configurations and were quite pleased
with the sound, the channel separation, and the overall performance.
Ditto for the subwoofer cables (we tried a pair of them running
the point one signals from our preamp/processor to our stereo
subwoofers. Low bass and effects were deep and rich and we heard no difference
between these $35 cables and the much more expensive ones we usually use.
The rest of Accells audio cables also feature 24K gold
plated connectors, dual balanced copper conductors, mylar foil and soft
Ultraflex jackets. Its quality beyond what we expected for the price.
One thing you should remember is that cables are directional, in
that you shouldnt reverse them if youre repatching. We had this
point driven home after tearing apart our system and rewiring it: we discovered
that the soundfield had collapsed on itself and the audio had gone from being
remarkable to merely very good. Quickly reversing the cables restored the
auditory glory, much to our relief.
The Accell UltraAudio cables label the directional flow for
you, with little arrows down near the "destination" end, which
is a nice touch.
Our biggest complaint was the damn plastic packages in which the cables
are sold. Theyre a real pain in the butt to get open, but of course
once you do manage to drill through the plastic bubbles youre rewarded
for your perseverance.And of course Accell isn't alone in inflicting such
packages on the world - though they also say they're making a change to
this packaging down the road, so hopefully you'll soon be able to get
the cables out without sweating and cussing.
Our bottom line with these Accell cables is that for their price
theyre a bargain. Sure weve heard better, but not for these prices.
Accell cables truly do bring excellent performance into the world of affordable
home theater and we recommend them highly.
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think