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Discussion Starter #1
This certainly belongs in here. For years, that discussion has gone on, do cables in general, make any difference at all. Now, what about HDMI?


Critics Say All HDMI Cables Sound The Same - And They Are Wrong!

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* , View Jerry Del Colliano's Reviews


* April 20, 2009

I love it when people get so absolute with their opinions on audio-video. How can an HDMI cable sound different than another one? Its digital they argue. And they argue wrong.

I spent some time on Friday in the listening room of AudioQuest's Irvine, California's test lab and their blind AV test was eye (and ear) opening. Despite what the nay-sayers say - you CAN in fact hear the difference in AV cables. Their system setup is modest with a Sony BDP S350 Blu-ray player, a Yamaha entry level HDMI AV receiver and a pair of (not my favorite) Vandersteen 1C loudspeakers in a large room.

The demo is simple. They play a Johnny Cash (or something similar) recording with an acoustic accompaniment on a Radio Shack "zip chord" HDMI cable for 1:30 of the demo. And it sounds good. Open. Spacious. Musical. Really, it sounds pretty good. Then they switch in a $100 HDMI cable and - HOLY - the midrange opens up and the voices sound more real and less compressed. Anybody who cares about audio would pop for the $50 to $60 extra for this upgrade assuming they weren't lobbing shells at the Vietcong in DaNang to the detriment of their critical hearing.

Don't let anybody believe that all cables are created equal. You get what you pay for without question specifically on the audio side. Don't believe the hype with out a blind A-B test at a specialty AV dealer who knows the difference.

Keywords: All HDMI cables don't sound the same, HDMI cables are not all created equal, AudioQuest cables sound better than others, AudioQuest, AudioQuest Cables, Yamaha HDMI receiver, Sony BDP-S350
 

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There is a possibility that really bad HDMI cables can affect sound and picture. With video it is usually obvious when the cable is causing problems.

I personally recommend getting cables from a reliable online source such as Monoprice. They have cables every bit as good as the top of the line vendors at prices sometimes as low as 1/10th the cost.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thats interesting. I have seen a ton of double blind tests that all suggest hdmi quality does not change anything. This is the first test I have seen suggesting otherwise. Maybe the quality of RS stuff is just really really pathetic.
Nice system, yeah, this cable stuff, you gotta be smart, and careful.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
There is a possibility that really bad HDMI cables can affect sound and picture. With video it is usually obvious when the cable is causing problems.

I personally recommend getting cables from a reliable online source such as Monoprice. They have cables every bit as good as the top of the line vendors at prices sometimes as low as 1/10th the cost.
Yes, I have heard very good things about these cables. But, have yet to try them yet.
 

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There is a possibility that really bad HDMI cables can affect sound and picture. With video it is usually obvious when the cable is causing problems.

I personally recommend getting cables from a reliable online source such as Monoprice. They have cables every bit as good as the top of the line vendors at prices sometimes as low as 1/10th the cost.
+1 for Monoprice.
 

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I think the biggest difference with a cheap cable and and better $25 HDMI cable is the ends, I cant believe that the wire inside can affect the transmition of the digital signal that drastically. Connection at the ends is where the signal will fail and most certainly cause the problems you describe.
 

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Elite Shackster , HTS Moderator Emeritus
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It depends on what the signal is. If it is quantized (packets), then digital is digital, provided the signal gets through with no errors. If it's bitstream, then timing issues can affect the sound quality.\

This was hashed out and argued a lot in the PCM/Dolby Digital era when Toslink and Coax digital connections were new. The bottom line was that DD would sound the same as long as the signal got through, and PCM (stereo audio) could be adversely affected by the cable. It has something to do with timing and jitter of a raw signal, where the packetized data has embedded timing codes to more accurately recreate the signal (albeit compressed -- DD/DTS).

If HDMI passes audio through via PCM (similar to the Toslink/Digital Coax), then I *could* believe there was a change. This would probably not be the case with packetized multichannel data.

It's easy enough to duplicate, though. Sadly my receiver doesn't decode HDMI directly or I'd try it. I have plenty of throwaway HDMI cables and some good Parts Express / Monoprice ones.
 
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