It's probably not much of a mystery, for those of you following along at home, that I'm a bit of a music guy.  I play in a band, love music, listen to all sorts of it all the time, etc. etc.  Not much of a logical leap from that is that I tend to also be a bit of an Audio/Video nut.  I have a pretty decent home stereo, love the stuff, geek out about balanced inputs vs. 5-way bindings, speaker sensitivity, the pros vs. cons of working at a lower overall impedance, etc. That said, there is a particular piece of audio gear that is often overlooked by the non-audio-geek types. We even have a special name for it, the "interconnect". 

An interconnect is just a cable. In this case it usually refers to an audio cable that attaches either your devices to each other or the pre-amp/amp in your system, or the amp to the actual speakers. Interconnects tend to get pretty darn pricey, in the high-end audio world, because they get more and more refined. Thicker, higher grade copper, more shielding, more stringent standards, etc. This is because you're often dealing with an analog signal in the audio world, and an analog signal can be distorted by very minute variations along the way as it's being sent, say, from your amp to your speakers. In the digital world, this isn't such an issue. If the data gets there, it gets there, period. It's either a 1 or  a 0, right? So who cares if it's a little fuzzy around the edges, if the receiving system can tell that it's a 1 or a 0, all is well.

Denon, among many other audio manufacturers, seems to be intent on ignoring that little fact. Denon is one of many companies seeking to continue cashing in on high priced cables in the audio arena, even as more and more of the source devices become digital (DVD players, DVRs, etc) and don't require them. They don't seem to care that the digital signals aren't as fragile, and don't require the amazingly high-priced cables that may be seen as "necessary" elsewhere.  They build their cat5 cables to the same standard, and then try to charge the same prices, even though there really isn't any need. How else could one explain paying hundreds of dollars for a patch cable? Even if it is "high purity copper" and "high performance connection parts".

What cable am I speaking of, you ask? Well, in particular, I'm speaking of a 1.5m patch cable that's going for a mind-boggling $499. That's right, folks, I give you the most expensive patch cable in the world.  This is the part where I pause for every geek to shed a few tears, throw their stuffed tux across the room, or stop screaming at the monitor.

I know there is a reason to pay top dollar for some of these parts, but unless I'm painfully mistaken, this is one heck of a service charge for not doing your homework. This happens in every market, not just audio. There are plenty of people out there saying they can deliver the same as the best in class solution when they can't, or promising all sorts of gimmicks and wiz-bang features that you don't need or don't even make a difference, just to charge a few extra bucks, or win the sale.

Don't listen to them. Do your homework, find out what's best for you, and go with that. That's one of the best parts about working here at F5. I never have a problem telling people to just go with the best, because I really think that's us.

#Colin