Current circumstances mean we are spending the vast majority of our time at home. You could take advantage of this lockdown to optimize and clean your hi-fi or home theater system, and organize and hide your audio and video cables. Often put off until a later date, it is essential to carry out these tasks so that your audio and video system can function correctly.
How to clean your hi-fi or home theater system
Over time, a large quantity of dust can build up on the chassis and inside the different elements of your hi-fi or home theater system. It’s very common for it to accumulate on the back of your equipment or when several devices are stacked on top of one another. This dust can lead to your devices overheating or malfunctioning. It is therefore a good idea to thoroughly clean your hi-fi or home theater system every once in a while to maximize its durability. If you have several stacked devices, start by unplugging them and moving them so that you can clean each side of the chassis with a new or completely clean microfiber cloth. If you are wearing jewelry, it’s better to take it off to avoid any accidental scratches.
If your A/V receiver or hi-fi amplifier is placed in the center of your living room and is regularly dusted, then you probably won’t have to clean your entire system. That said, the rear panels of devices are often forgotten about and dust can accumulate inside the various connectors. To get rid of it, remove all the cables and wipe the rear panel with a microfiber cloth. To eliminate the dust particles that have accumulated inside the connectors, you can use a compressed air can or an air duster. Once the connectors are completely clean, it is recommended to use caps, such as the Audioquest RCA Noise-Stoppers, on unused connectors to prevent dust from accumulating again. These caps also have the added advantage of blocking the electromagnetic waves that can be picked up by exposed connectors.
How to optimize your cables
Once you’ve cleaned your different devices, you can take advantage of the fact that they are unplugged to reorganize and optimize the wiring. For example, you can separate the power cables from the audio and video cables. If one of the cables isn’t performing as well as you’d like, you can replace it with a better model. Having to move your equipment or A/V cabinet is often an obstacle that prevents you from changing your cables, so this is the perfect opportunity to do it. Changing your cables can truly transform your system. The quality of the cables is often the weak link in a hi-fi or home theater system. Although the signal systematically passes through every cable, even the cheapest, the precision of the transmission isn’t the same with an entry-level model as it is with a higher quality model. This is mainly due to the different technologies and insulation used, as well as the quality of the conductors and the connectors. Choosing a high-quality cable results in greater accuracy, better reproduction of audio details, and a more refined soundstage. Consequently, before organizing and concealing your cables, you can replace them with more efficient models to optimize your system if necessary.
How to organize and conceal your cables
Before reconnecting the various cables to your devices, you could also reorganize and conceal them to reduce interference and to achieve a more esthetically pleasing installation.
To stop cables from getting tangled behind a TV or hi-fi stand, you can use strips of nylon or velcro to group the various cables by type: one group for the power cables, another for the audio cables, and another for the video cables. It is very important not to mix different types of cables. This makes them easier to identify the next time you clean, move or upgrade your system, but, more importantly, it prevents the interference generated by electrical cables from deteriorating the audio and video signals.
After organizing the cabling behind the A/V cabinet, it is time to tackle the speaker, HDMI or power cables that you have running across the walls. Cable columns and cord covers are the ideal solution to safely conceal them. They are easy to stick above a baseboard or in the corner of a wall thanks to their adhesive side. It is even possible to paint them the same color as the wall on which they’re mounted so that they are seamlessly integrated into your decor.
There are also cable columns that are specifically designed to discreetly route cables to a wall-mounted TV. The Vogel’s Cable 10 L stands out with its unique design and its ability to hold up to 10 cables. Enough to connect all of the devices in your system.
Lastly, to ensure that your entire system looks good, it is also important to conceal the power strips that are lying around beside your desk or TV. To do so, there are boxes such as the D-Line Cable Tidy Box Big that are designed to hold one or several power strips and all the connected cables.