Originally Posted by John_In_PA
I do agree that Monster cable prices, and the sales pitch you'll likely receive at your local Best Buy, are borderline criminal, but I don't necessarily agree that all cable is the same. I agree 98%
Well... thats because you're right. I'm an audiovisual consultant, its my job, and I can tell you that cables are not the same.
The preference goes to any cabling type which has a twist. Not just any twist, but a high twist rate, even spacing (in part, this is an important aspect of CAT-6). Additionally, you want a guage of wire appropriate to the application, and shielded! cable. If you want th best, look to Belden and iberty cables. In the rgbhv (pc video) realm, I personally like the cables Extron makes.
Now Monster likes to create their alternate universe, where 100000 virgins hand weave the wires in a pattern to ward off the evil spirits. Its just plain BS. Better than radio shack RCAs? Sure. Worth the money? No.
Also, you can get interference on a digital line like you can with analog audio. Because you can still get ground loops due to poor pc component design (in our industry we call this the "pin 1 problem" - very audio-specific reason), what you can end up with is dropped bits. Better than dig. coax is to go with optical to carry your audio, but take care to check the specs of any card you buy - some only send 2.1 on the optical side. Which is silly, really, but they do.
Better still? A balanced audio cable. Now, you're not going to have balanced audio on your pc without buying something like an M-Audio Delta 1010 (10 in, 10 out, line level XLR), so I'd say you're best bet is, as mentioned before, the audigy (or whatever new name they've put on the same box this month, with one more useless feature). If possible, go optical. If not, use the orange SPDIF jack. Worst case, you'll need some 3.5mm stereo to dual rca breakouts to handle your various channels.