We are moving fast into a wireless world but it will be quite a few years till we can get rid of those pesky cables completely. In the mean time we are find ourselves struggling with cable management. We wrap our cables around the device, use twisty ties, purchase special velcro cable wraps, or even haphazardly throw loose cables into our gear bags to get later tangled. Velcro or other rubber cable wraps always produced the cleanest results but it was just another thing to keep track of or loose.
Here I will show you my solution to the problem for cables on the go. By using a little bit of cable origami, you can neatly and securely wrap the cables up in themselves.
Interconnects, IC for short, are the cables that go between your player and another device with an input jack – a car stereo, home stereo, or a portable headphone amp. The problem with the latter of those setups is that the amp is often directly under the player and so you really only need 2cm of cable to make the connection, but they don’t make cables that short. As a result, a lot of people drag around long cables that are just inthe way. There’s no need to. Read on for a guide on how to make your own tiny bridge-interconnect.
Yesterday we joked about a manufactures getting together and releasing a single transfer cable to alleviate the need to buy all kinds of different cables. Some bought this April first joke until they saw pictures of this massive cable below the fold.
While a single cable will forever be a pipe dream and the proprietary vs standard debate will go on, you can easily and cheaply whip up your own “MediaWire” as seen in our April fools post. Read on to make your own.
There are upsides and downsides to having proprietary cables, we have had this debate before. The upsides being the ability to use your player on a doc or with accessories that require more than just a USB connection. But the two biggest problems are you need to carry an extra cable when traveling and docks and other accessories are not cross brand compatible.
This is all about to change. In a bid to alleviate consumer confusion and an open source accessory ecosystem Microsoft, Apple, SanDisk, Sony, and Samsung have teamed up on the what they have dubbed the “MediaWire” (previous code named “RX-1″). The standard has been set but they have yet to decide on manufacturing facilities for this new “super cable”, though I have been told it will likely be available near the end of Q2 of 2009. There are some photos of this cable below. Keep in mind that this is a prototype, but expect a more refined version of this “one size fits all” cable packaged with your next player.
Remember Andreas posted a few weeks ago on the $105 Sony cable? Since the cable was being sold in Norway, some people said, “it’s just because of the exchange rate” or “it’s because things are more expensive there”. Well here is more proof from the US that Sony has little regard for fair pricing and your hard earned dollar.
Today at Circuit City I saw this same cable on sale for $69.99 right next to the Sony Walkman E430 containing the same exact cable for $89.99. To me this pricing is predatory, hoping to cash in on unsuspecting customers. I do have a very good opinion of Sony’s latest line up of MP3 players, but I tend to shy away from Sony products because of their tactics to lock you into their own technologies and overpriced ancillary products- Memory Stick, ATRAC, SonicStage, and in this case a Sony Cable™.
In the end, you can easily buy a third party cable on eBay for a few bucks, but not everyone knows that or can wait a few days to have it shipped. So when you are considering a new MP3 player, please keep this in mind.
Since the first MP3 players came on the market there’s been a constant question of what connection method the player should use. Proprietary cables have more potential, but standard USB is easier and more accessible.
For some this might mean the difference between buying a player or not while others don’t care, but what is really the difference between the two? Read on for the connection cable showdown between the two.
A few of us in the forums have been hacking together our own custom cables for the sport of it, but additionally we don’t want to pay monster prices for cables. David Randolph, a 12 year video broadcast engineer is joined by Diggnation co-host Kevin Rose to discuss the hype of overpriced cables (I know the video is wicked old, but still very relevant). Most of the episode is a great how to on making your own high end reference cables for a fraction of the price of those expensive cables your find at Best Buy. Not only will you get a great quality cable you also stand to gain in sound quality by not having excess cable wound up on the floor.
This is an absolute must watch for the AV enthusiast that values their hard earned dollar looking to squeeze out every bit of performance with just a little more effort than driving to the local big box retailer. Also, a quick note that if you decide not to roll your own cables, please check out MonoPrice for the same quality cables you would find in the store.
Microsoft introduces yet another pinout configuration to the mix of portable media players. Unusual cable configurations usually mean the consumer is forced to buy “the official” manufacturers cable, but in this case the Zune AV cable has somewhat of a happy ending. The Archos, Gigabeat, Creative Zen Vision:M/W, Cowon iAudio, and Apple iBook AV cable all have the same pinout configurations so they are all interchangeable. Standard camcorder cables are a different configuration and the iPod video has yet another pinout configuration.
The good news for Zune owners is AV cables are similar enough to the a standard camcorder cable as well as the iPod video where as swapping cables will give you the correct connections. Check out the chart below to see what cables will work for each device.
Those who want to squeeze every bit of performance out of their MP3 players can now do so with these custom cables from appropriately named company Qables. These cables are unique in that they plug right into the proprietary dock connections of Creative”s Zen line as well as iAudio’s X5, giving you direct line-out to plug into your hi-fi setup.
But as with any quality cable, these come with a heavier price tag. Depending on the player and cable setup, mini jack or RCA, they can run anywhere from $60 to well over $100. If you are a hardcore audiophile, you may want to check them out. White-earbud-wearing kids need not apply.