The Audioquest Coffee HDMI Digital Cable

by admin on March 1, 2011 · 73 comments

in Cables

by Roy Harris

Data from a transport is usually transferred to a DAC via one of the following cables: COAX, USB, Toslink, Balanced. Years ago, Wadia and other manufacturers offered another option — ATT glass. I am unaware of the availability of glass cable as an interface for DACs in production.

Audio Alchemy was an early proponent of I2S as an interface for its transport and DAC. Currently, I am aware of two companies which use this interface, namely PS Audio and Stello. HDMI is most frequently found in video applications. For example, it is used between a cable box and TV set, between a DVD or Blue Ray player and TV set, or between a video player and a receiver, usually in the context of a surround sound system.

I do not recall seeing or hearing of a review of an HDMI cable used exclusively for audio. It is therefore possible that this review is the first of its type. I intend to follow up with reviews of at least two other HDMI cables. HDMI cables are designed for bandwidth and speed. CDs have less data stored on them than DVDs and Blue Ray discs.

The HDMI cable will feed a signal from the PS Audio Perfect Wave transport to the Perfect Wave DAC. This method is recommended by PS Audio as optimizing the performance of its flagship digital hardware. The 72 volt battery charge eliminates the need for break-in. I will follow up the individual reviews with a brief comparison of the significant differences in the effect of each cable upon the performance of my stereo system.

Note, the Audioquest cable is directional, and the preferred direction is indicated by arrows etched upon each connector. Prior to serious listening, I observed differences in sound when reversing cable direction. I elected to review the cable in the obverse direction, i.e., I connected the cable between transport and DAC with the arrows reversed. I did this because as I compared the sound associated with each orientation, I selected the direction which seemed most spectrally balanced. I communicated my findings to Joe Harley of Audioquest. He was surprised and suggested that following the direction indicated by the arrows should reduce grain and glare. However, I did not notice grain or glare in either direction. Rather, I noticed changes in frequency response. Joe said he would listen to several Coffee cables to see if he noticed any changes in grain or glare.

Technical Details

Wire is silver plated copper with no nickel layer. Connectors are 10 percent silver plated LGC copper with no nickel layer. Insulation on conductors is foam polyethylene. Wires are attached to connectors using silver solder. Each conductor is 28 AWG–a total of 19 strands.

Listening Sessions

5 CDs were selected–3 classical, 1 pop and 1 jazz. These 5 CDs will be used in all reviews of HDMI cables. As a reminder, I will reiterate my decision to have connected the cable in the opposite direction as the one recommended by the manufacturer.

The first selection was a solo harpsichord recording. The source was a performance by Sophie Yates from the disc, SCARLATTI IN IBERIA, Chandos 0635, track 1. The sound of the plucking of the strings did not obscure the body of the instrument. There seemed to a balance between both elements. The strings sounded solid and dense. While all harpsichords do not sound the same, I did not notice in errors in timbre. The harpsichord was centrally positioned between the speakers having a slightly distant perspective. The articulation of the strings had a natural , but not an overbearing percussiveness–a result of the expertise of the performert as well as the facility of the cable to communicate to the listener, the skill of the player and her control of the harpsichord.

The second selection from the classical genre, was the “Concerti Armonici” by William Van Wassanaer, with the Aradia Ensemble, led by Kevin Mellon, Naxos 8.55384, track 5. This was an ensemble of period instruments, which evinced a smoothness that belied the bite one often expects to hear from violins. When a stereo system exhibits phase or frequency response errors the strings can obscure the sound of the harpsichord. Although the latter was in the background. Its presence was noticeable at times. The proportion of string sound to that of the harpsichord was typical of a composition in which the harpsichord was not the solo instrument but rather acted in a supporting role. Strings were never forward and the frequency response seemed balanced. The music emanated from behind the speaker, exhibiting a mid to rear hall projection, enabling a listener to sense distance from himself to the performer. The strings sounded a tad soft, not sufficient to note a loss in clarity, but enabling the listener to attend to the music for a long period of time without a sense of fatigue and yet recognize and perhaps appreciate the nature of the instruments and the style (Baroque) in which they played. In short, the cable was a catalyst in the conveyance of the musicians’ intentions in a manner not inimical to the listeners’ ears.

The third disc was the last of the Classical selections. It consisted of a section, track 1, from Offenbach’s “Gaite Parisienne”, conducted by Arthur Fiedler with the Boston Pops, JVCXRC 0224-2. Dynamics were not over or under emphasized. The strings had no bite and seemed natural in timbre. The woodblock was positioned deep into the soundstage having both weight and clarity. The triangle was positioned somewhat further back into the orchestra than I am accustomed to hear, yet space between the two instruments was maintained, but less so than usual. The sound of the triangle did not ever emphasize the upper harmonics. Hence, it had a solidity with slightly less sparkle and articulation, yet one could still distinguish the wand from the instrument itself.

The fourth selection, I believe, is considered an audiophile favorite, namely Holly Cole, DON’T SMOKE IN BED, Alert Z2 81020, track 1. I noticed a bit more emphasis upon “s” consonants when the words “see”, and “obstacles” were sung. With respect to the acoustic bass, both body and strings were in proper proportion. The piano was in the background and the voice was centered between the speakers. However, there was a slight emphasis, upon the keys, relative to the wood body of the instrument. Not knowing how the recording was engineered, it is impossible to assign an explanation for my observations as either the recording or the cable, or both. I have heard this disc many times both at home and on other stereo systems. In each instance I noticed a subtle difference to the sound. What ever possible exaggeration I heard was slight in magnitude and in no way interfered with the enjoyment of the music.

The last of the 5 sources was Steely Dan, AJA, MCAD, track 3, “Deacon Blues”. Donald Fagen’s voice was, clear, smooth and at the same time, slightly distant. Cymbals were not obtrusive sounding, while laid back, and the chorus did not exhibit any smearing, or congestion, sounding clear, full and not etched. Instruments filled most of the space behind the speakers and presented a mid to rear hall perspective. While this recording has been criticized for its subpar sound quality, I find it an effective way of highlighting flaws in a stereo system. In spite of the dubious sound quality, I found the timbre of the saxophone, while not totally accurate, reveal its tenor-like characteristics, and in no way sounded like an alto.

Conclusion

The terms natural, balance, mid to rear hall, smooth, and somewhat distant have been noted as the salient affects of the cable upon the sound of my stereo system.

One of the challenges of any reviewer is facing the fact that the sound of a recording is unknown. Those present at the recording session may be more familiar with the sound of a recording than a reviewer or listener, regardless of the opportunity to audition the disc on a variety of stereo systems. While the experience of a reviewer may reveal some consistent sonic attributes, variations in sound will be heard at different venues. The personnel at the recording studio can hear the musicians live, but, as they analyze the recording it will be auditioned through electronic equipment which will produce some distortions and therefore present a particular perspective of the sound of the music, and thus the definitive sound of the recording will never be known. Reviewers and non-reviewers who own a copy of the performance , i.e., a recording, can develop some level of confidence regarding its sound which is probably true.

I refer to the above paradigm for two reasons. First, as an observation which should be considered when evaluating equipment for various reasons, e.g., reviewers and potential purchasers of equipment, to realize the risk of making judgments in absence of complete information, while alleging familiarity. There is a risk in making an error when relying on that which is probably true. Second, in the context of my experience listening to the Holly Cole CD, with its audible sibilance.

I cannot be sure to what extent both the recording and the HDMI cable contributed to the slight exaggeration of sibilance. It is possible that the cable was partly responsible in reducing what sibilance was on the recording, accurately provided a conduit of what was on the recording or added some SPL to the upper midrange.

What was heard on the first selection was in contrast to the absence of any peak in the upper midrange observed on the other four recordings. Thus, I would opine, albeit based upon a small sample, that the cable favors truth over beauty, but not exaggerations in any frequency range.

At no time was their a perception of unpleasantness, and as I remarked, one could listen to a variety of recordings for long periods of time without experiencing any fatigue. At no time did the music sound analytical, but maintained that rare combination of resolution without any negatives associated with the term.

Associated Equipment

Digital Hardware: PS Audio Perfect Wave Transport and DAC
Preamp: Bent TVC passive preamp
Amplifier: VTL Deluxe 120
Speakers: Quads Unlimited Quad 57 and Magnepan 1.6
Interconnects: Ear to Ear and Soundstring
Speaker Cable: Ear to Ear
Power Cords: Ear to Ear and MAC Burley
Accessories: PS Audio Juice Bar and Balanced Power Technology power strip,
Sound Fusion Sound Busters, furniture foam, Egg Crate Mattresses,
Circuit Breaker Filters, Millenium Weight, Ennacom Filters,
Room Tunes and maple bases, and the Z Systems Z Sleeve

website
email

Price: $595
Source: Manufacturer Loan

{ 1 trackback }

Cardas HDMI 1.4 Cable — Audiophilia
03.14.11 at 8:00 am

{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

admin 03.01.11 at 6:36 pm

A thoughtful and detailed review, Roy. As always, huge thanks.

Cheers, a

digitalISdigital 03.02.11 at 10:46 am

Thorough review, but I have a question:

If information passing along the HDMI interface is digital, what difference does a cable make?

Digital information is not like analog information - it DOES NOT suffer from interference. As 1′ and 0’s, it either arrives at the destination or not. There is no in between. Digital information can’t sort of be transmitted, or partially received. You either get the signal or you don’t.

So, as a follow-up question:

Why would I pay $595 for an HDMI cable that does the EXACT same thing a $6 HDMI cable? Answer: I wouldn’t because it’s snake oil.

Justin Case 03.02.11 at 10:49 am

Err.. you’re talking about a digital cable! DIGITAL. Its the EXACT same pattern of bits that you put in one one end that is received on the other. That’s the whole idea of a DIGITAL interface.

Do the same review on a 3$ HDMI cable. You wont notice a difference. The digital Data that is received by your DAC is EXACTLY the same as with the 595$ cable.

The cable looks nice though.. ;-)

admin 03.02.11 at 10:56 am

Thanks for the comments, guys.

I think Roy chooses equipment to review for Audiophilia that annoys the measurement fans.

Justin and the other guy, at least your replies are polite and thought provoking. We like that. Many thanks. Welcome. What cables do you use in your system?

Roy, take the challenge. I know you’ll be honest. Grab a three dolla holla from Monoprice.com. Would love to read your notes.

Cheers, a

Bert 03.02.11 at 12:40 pm

Better yet Roy, take a quality microphone and record your system playing the 5 CDs (playing 44.1 kHz 16 bit audio?) and make a recording from the “3 dolla holla” and the “595 jive talkin overdrive” and upload it for everyone to analyze.

Your move.

admin 03.02.11 at 2:42 pm

Welcome, Bert.

Roy, Bert’s throwin’ down! :)

thinkaboutit 03.02.11 at 2:46 pm

If you want to do a proper experiment with a three dollar cable, and one that is 500 dollars, have someone swap the cables and have the reviewer guess which one is which. If one is truly better from the other it will be obvious

Kent 03.02.11 at 4:44 pm

Here’s my review. I put a bunch of 1s and 0s in one end of this cable and the same 1s and 0s came out the other end. This review should be Pass / Fail!

Griff 03.02.11 at 7:15 pm

I’d like to see a double blind test between the Coffee cable, a cheap HDMI cable from Monoprice and one from Bluejeans cable.

You also might want to consult with an independent scientist from one of the HDMI founder companies, and an electrical engineer and learn how the technology works and why the idea of this cable is somewhat silly.

P.S. Here’s an idea for Audioquest, sell a cable that “filters out” errant noise/data that “can sometimes be left over” from the HDCP decryption processes that the audio/video signal goes through. You can run a promo that comes with free rose colored glasses to “add analog warmth” to video signals that “emulates the atmosphere of 24fps film viewing”.

roy harris 03.02.11 at 7:49 pm

i can think of at least two reasons why digital cables could account for differences in sound, namley metal type, solder composition and the connector.

those who aver that all hdmi cables sound the same cannot prove their assertion. all that is necessary is for two hdmi cables to produce different sonic results.

if i were to write say, 5 identical reviews using 5 different hdmi cables, that would not constitute proof of the hypothesis that all hdmi cables sound the same.

it is a philospohical posi8tion of an inductive nature which can never be proven, as there may be two cables producing different results.

in addition it is up to the doubters to confirm their assertions.

i only report what i hear.

so far no one has questioned my perceptions.

there is no way to prove anything in audio.

one is dealing with subjective perceptions of any component reviewed which can be questioned but knowledge and proof is not consistent with aesthetic endeavors.

opinions are the stuff of analysis and reviews not knowledge.

we are all entitled to our opinions, but opinions are probably true and probably false.

that digital cables sound the same or different cannot be proven.

if anyone posits a different point of view it is not my resposnsibility to try to confirm alternative views. it is incumbent upon the naysayers to try to corroborate their statements.

evidently their are some disciples of julian hirsch out there.

such adherents are irrelevant to my efforts.

as long as one understands the nature of a review, it is up to the reader to accept or reject the content and not up to the reviewer to confirm a reader’s disagreements.

Darren 03.02.11 at 8:28 pm

“that digital cables sound the same or different cannot be proven.”

Yes, yes it can. Capture the data stream prior to going through the cable, and after it goes through the cable. If the series of 1 and 0 are the same at both ends it will sound exactly the same as any other cable that also passes through the same series of 1 and 0. The only thing that will have any effect at that point would be what your DAC does to that digital signal after it is received.

The only way you would get a difference in audio (or video for that matter) in a digital cable is if it was of such low quality that the peak signal of 1 weakened to the point it was interpreted as a 0. In which case it would not be a certified HDMI cable because it would not pass the HDMI spec.

Paul 03.02.11 at 8:43 pm

“i can think of at least two reasons why digital cables could account for differences in sound, namley metal type, solder composition and the connector.”

That is a completely false statement. You should take a little time to learn how digital signals are sent over a hdmi.

The ONLY way that two cables would sound different is if one of them was of such bad quality that the error correction bits would overwhelm the actual data bits. If this was the case, the sound would be horrible and full of artifacts that the average layman on the street would complain about.

This is not a case for opinion. It is completely (and very easily) provable. One simple sends a digital signal in one end of the cable and measures that the same data came out the other. In fact, your equipment does it all the time. If there’s an error, that information is passed back to the sender.

It’s basic science and anyone with a novice level of digital electronics knowledge knows that.

giony 03.02.11 at 9:53 pm

It is not about perception Roy, it is about science.
The bits that a player sends through a cable are exactly (and please , repeat that word 1000 times if you have to: EXACTLY), the bits that get to a speaker (or TV in case of Blu-Ray, or whatever receives them….).
It is like saying: usually 1+1=2 , but for very large values of 1, sometimes you can get 3.
No you cant. Not with the natural numbers set and the already defined addition operation.
Therefore, metal type, solder composition and other things you want to throw in there, make absolutely no difference.
The bits pass trough the cable or they don’t. This is why it is digital.
In the analog world things were different. Yes, back then, maybe the metal type mattered.
Maybe the alignment of stars mattered.
But not here. A 5$ cable is just as good as a 500$ one. It is not better, it is not worse. As long as it conforms to the specifications, it is perfect.
But hey, why am I trying to convince you?
I have a bridge I’d like to sell you? Interested?????

Mike Dawson 03.02.11 at 11:02 pm

I’m not sure who Julian Hirsch is, but I will say that these reviewers probably came from a link on Reddit, in the Technology section. I have to agree with the other posters, and respectfully disagree with you that the things they said are merely “opinions”, because in fact an HDMI cable does transmit simply one’s or zero’s. Whatever type of Analog-to-Digital or Digital-to-Analog processing that occurs inside the devices that are connected by the HDMI cable will not change based on the digital cable itself. Either the digital information gets there intact, or it does not (meaning there were errors in the transmission). In the old days, cables were of Analog nature and all the fancy shielding and connector types could possibly have made a difference in the signal received at the other end, however in the digital age it all boils down to one’s and zero’s. A ‘one’ can’t be higher fidelity than another ‘one’.

admin 03.03.11 at 12:22 am

You guys have still not said what cables you use in your system. Would like to know your frame of reference(s).

Thx.

Cheers, a

Alex D. 03.03.11 at 4:26 am

I think we could use a bit of a lesson on the difference between digital and analog.

Hopefully we all know how analog signals work. They are a set of electrical waves that can be directly mapped to sound waves. The biggest problem with this is that the medium that carries the electrical signals can negatively affect the signal, much like how being under water radically changes how sound travels.

The main advantage of analog is that it has a simply insane amount of information in it. With proper filtering you can hear background noise from blocks away on records, at least rumour has it that at least one historical speech has been recovered this way, but I can’t find any adequate sources.

Digital on the other hand is inflexible. It has limited depth compared to records but we can easily encode audio well enough that almost everyone would find it indistinguishable from the analog rendition. Further more most formats introduce what is called a parity bit. You can read more about it on wikipedia, but basically it’s built in error correction. If only one bit is wrong then it can tell that the data is off and ask to see it again. Different formats have more advanced error detection algorithms.

So when when your hdmi cable is sending data to whatever; it’s not sending a set of variable wave amplitude like analog. It’s sending a fixed string of 1’s and 0’s, probably with some kind of error correction.

The only way the cable could affect the signal it’s carrying is by slowing it down slightly (latency) or dropping bits. It can only drop bits one way, so a 1 can turn into a zero but not the other way around. Now if you did have, let’s say, one particular wire that wasn’t hooked up right (it always reports a zero no matter what) then you wouldn’t see any consistent changes. You could get changes in depth and tone if their wasn’t any error correction built in but it wouldn’t be consistent. The way digital audio is transmitted means that different parts of the sound spectrum are being sent on different wires at different times, not to mention the fact that these cables are tested before they leave the factory to insure that defects like the ones I’ve mentioned aren’t in any production gear.

The only way your digital cable choice could affect your sound system is if your system was relatively and didn’t separate the ground on the digital and analog parts of your DAC. In that situation it could be compared to the affect that having an unplugged cable plugged into your system would. It might pick up a bit of radio or local EMF but it’s very very unlikely that you’d be capable of hearing it.

Matt 03.03.11 at 6:03 am

I did some experimenting a few years ago with various digital TV co-ax cables and found that the cable with the best picture quality also had the softest sound. At the time I found this confusing as I thought that anything digital had to be either “right or wrong”.

I then read that digital video data and audio data are transmitted at different frequencies suggesting that a cable that is designed to carry one type of frequency may not be so good at carrying another.

It’s possible that the cable with the best picture was creating errors in the audio data signal that were then being disguised by the hardware’s error correction circuit which repeats the previous split second of sound to hide the mistake. This would explain why the sound was softer.

Tetten 03.03.11 at 7:04 am

Admin,

I have these:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0017RW94A/ref=ord_cart_shr?ie=UTF8&m=A12LLKL8UTC1PK

I think Justin and Darren have these too. Don’t know about the rest…

Cheers!

admin 03.03.11 at 7:12 am

LOL!!

:)

Dennis 03.03.11 at 7:27 am

Matt: Coax cable carries ANALOG signal which is a complete different discussion from a digital signal through HDMI.

I’d like to see mr Harris do the exact same test with a cheap cable.
And make recordings to analise, everyone experience sound different, but a recording is not

Philip Post 03.03.11 at 10:15 am

Dear Dennis,

Coax can carry a digital signal. Here in holland Digital TV is quite common and enters the home via the same cable as the analog tv signal. This does not change the fact that the cable used has no influence on the picture quality.

roy harris 03.03.11 at 12:05 pm

i will be reviewing other hdmi cables. i’ll report the results.

if i hear a difference, will there be those who question whether i hear them ?

regarding proof, it is of a mathematical nature. secondly when you allude to measurement, it is possible that all parameters are not being measured.

let someone construct a specific experiemental design, execute it and lets see what happens.

we are still in the realm of induction. hence , you can compare 100 digital cables and you cannot say that all cables sound the same.

proof is mathematical and deductive.

can some one offer a deductive mathematical proof.

also, what about other cables, such as balanced, usb, and toslink. should they all sound the same.

it seems that some have already made up their minds before i consider other hdmi cables.

admin 03.03.11 at 12:12 pm

you are the e.e. cummings of audio reviewers.

;)

Hang in there, Roy.

Andy Baker 03.03.11 at 1:47 pm

Roy. At the end of the day this is really basic science and if you won’t learn enough about the technology you’re supposed to review then it’s not our job to fix your misconceptions.

It’s like arguing with faith-healers and homeopaths. At the end of the day life is too short and I’d rather be doing something more worthwhile with my time.

A few hints about experimental setups: Get a cable you want to test. Copy a set of data across it and compare a hash of the files before and after transfer.

roy harris 03.03.11 at 4:00 pm

since when is mathematics akin to faith healing?

i suggested that those who criticize should offer a mathematical proof to support their assertions.

i have not said hdmi cables may sound different or may sound the same.

i have been totally misinterpreted.

let me restate my position on the subject of hdmi cables:

i reviewed an hdmi cable. i will review at least two other hdmi cables–a total of about 4 cables.

no where have i stated a relationship between the sound of one hdmi cable and the sound of other hdmi cables.

after i review other cables, the reader can opine as to the veracity of my perceptions.

with respect to hdmi cables all sounding the same if they meet certain specifications. i take no position on such a statement.

for those who understand what induction means and the null hypothesis, one cannot prove the null hypothesis.

hearing and measurement are two different phenomena.

those who criticize can either be part of the problem or part of the solution.

if you assert that a=b, and assert that the justification is “science”, such an assertion does not constitute proof.

saying something is scientific does not make it so.

with regard to measurement, not all parameters are measured which explain what one hears.

measurement is usually not predictive of hearing results.

roy harris 03.03.11 at 4:05 pm

one other point is worth noting:

this review has generated more responses than any review i am aware of.

it is somewhat surprising that a review of a cable has generated so much buzz. i think the comments are out of proportion to the relatively unimportant nature of the subject.

if im were reviewing a component whose retail price exceeds $10,000 i could understand the extent of the reaction, but given the price of the component and the fact that all i am doing is reporting my perceptions and not making any other statements or drawing conclusions about this cable and other hdmi cables, it is my opinion that “thou protests too much”.

Dr DaveP 03.03.11 at 4:08 pm

When Roy started with “…it is a philospohical position of an inductive nature”, I thought he might have some inferential meat to add to his subjective potatoes.

Unfortunately, the air leaked out of his pretence at rigor or objectivity when he added the following: “…in addition it is up to the doubters to confirm their assertions”. I’m afraid not. It is not up to aetheists to disprove the existence of God, rather the onus is on those who peddle the existence of the patently non-existent to provide the answer. So it is with Roy and all other snake-oilers who provide no accounting for their ‘perceptions’…

D

admin 03.03.11 at 4:52 pm

Roy, Harry’s excoriation of Diana Krall still holds the lead.

As for the negative reaction. I think the naysayers are reacting to the difference in a $3 cable compared to one that they perceive (measures) sounds the same at 200% (is my math correct?!) markup.

Marvin fox 03.03.11 at 6:26 pm

Completely overpriced.

roy harris 03.03.11 at 7:32 pm

i am not peddling anything.

i still say its up to the sccusers to prove their point.

i have been completely been misinterpreted.

i reviewed a cable. i did not state that it was better than any other cable. i merely stated my perceptions.

i am not on trial and do not have to confirm them.

i have reviewed many components and heretofore have not had to justify my perceptions.

it is interesting that i called to tak here but not with respect to previous reviews.

as far as i am aware reviewers have not been asked to confirm their opinions. a review is basically an opinion.

if you don’t agree with the review you are entitled to your opinions.

you are free to read or not read a review and i will respond accordingly.

as i understand it the word “peddle” means to sell. i don’t believe i am selling anything when i report my observations.

i am not advocating its purchase or even influencing the reader to take any course of action.

roy harris 03.03.11 at 7:42 pm

oops, there were a few typos.

accusers should replace sccusers and i meant to say “i have been called to task” , not “i called to tak”. sorry for the errors, as i was typing quickly.

oh, one other issue–an opinion cannot be proven, as an opinion is probably true or probably false. thus, there would be no way for me to “prove” the statements comprising the review.

only that which is knowledge can be proven or disproven, not facts and not opinions.

i’m not sure whether the objection is the review of a product that would seem to be overpriced, or the mistaken belief of my advocacy of the product. as i have said, i am not an advocate of the product and whether an item is overpriced is based upon the economic principle, the value in use=the value in exchange.

evidently some people believe some expensive products are not overpriced, but others think the same product is overpriced.

if i review such a product, it does not address the issue of my opinion as to the value of the product.

k995 03.04.11 at 5:06 am

roy , its simple.

You claim the hdmi cable you use or even the direction you hook it up too changes the input signal (the 0’s and 1’s) . (quote ” I observed differences in sound when reversing cable direction”)

Problem with that is given the technology that is designed to PERFECTLY replicate the signal on the other hand, that seems strange.

If Indeed the cable is changing the input sound then this is a very very bad cable and nobody but YOU can prove wether you are right or wrong. Its really simple, you claim the 0’s and 1’s change according to wich “direction” you plus it in, well prove it. Nobody but you (as you have that specefic very unique cable) can do this and end this discussion.

The question is also not wether or not its overpriced but wether or not those cable manufacturers are screwing people by labeling a 10$ cable with a 500$ price tag and invent some easy sounding excuses to be able to influence people like you into thinking this is going to provide better/different sound .

JJ 03.04.11 at 5:29 am

In the end, the ‘all digital 1 and 0′ signal is carried in an analogue wave form that has to be interpreted. There are some interesting eye-pattern tests that Monster Cable likes to show that at least give the idea there should be a difference in cables.
And there is, otherwise every HDMI cable would always work with every signal.
I’ve had to replace a short HDMI cable because it would do 720p but wouldn’t do 1080p. How is that possible if every cable is the same, and it basically worked?
It’s just that [i]most[/i] generic cables really are good enough to get a perfect reception on the other end.

An important question in a review is the relation of the reviewed product to similar products, and the question ‘would you buy it’.
Thats where the point of value comes in: sure, maybe you have to replace that $1 cable a few times more often because it doesn’t work, but you can buy a whole lot of $1 cables. A $20 cable fixes most of the reliability problems.

This $500 cable probably does save you the worries and time to buy new ones (does it come with an at-home-service?) so maybe it is actually financially viable for the very well paid people out there that would think about buying this cable ;)

JJ 03.04.11 at 5:39 am

May I assume that the prior way of connecting the Perfect Wave and Dac was with an s/p-dif cable? It would be more logical to explain the sounds heard as a difference in the s/p-dif and I2S protocols (I2S also carries the timing signal, s/p-dif is re-clocked on reception).
Though I don’t actually see a comparison, so as such it really is just a description of the system as a whole.

admin 03.04.11 at 7:02 am

Again, thank you all for your comments. Once again, cable reviews (as are all Audiophilia subjective reviews) are subject to scrutiny, which is a good thing.

That said, if you offer some practical advice, or a diametrically opposed opinion (or, even one that agrees with a reviewer), great. Keep them coming. But, if you are a spammer or offer a comment filled with litany of drivel, personal insults and attacks or invective, you will be cheerfully ignored and placed in the spam file. Thx.

After 14 years online (an eon on the WWW), and many, many millions of page views, regular readers know where to return for honest opinions about our beloved avocation. The good news is that we do not shill, will report negative reactions towards equipment after exhaustive listening, as well as publish reviews that may go against mainstream or non mainstream thinking. But, then, you already knew that.

Cheers, a

darkangle 03.04.11 at 10:04 am

Hello Roy,

What most here try to convey is that, indeed, most things are up for subjective interpretation. However, carrying a digital signal is not (note the choice of the word ‘carrying’)

I’m not going to open up the can of worms of the analog discussion, so I’ll try to keep it brief: analog data being carried over a certain connection might be subject to many, many influences that possibly could alter the sound in one way or another.

Again, this does not fly for Digital due to the nature of the signal: the signal is not subject to transformation, and if it is then the data loss (which is technically why a cable could be inferior) would be like observing an elephant at a tea party. Everyone will notice something is up = there will be no gain or loss in the richness of the sound or anything like that; it will just sound plain bad (a bit Dependant on the coding (what precise protocol) how much it’s effected, but it will be noticeable in most cases like signal drops, stutters or beep sounds.

The whole point everyone here is trying to make you see is that in this case the data carrier from device A to device B does not in any way matter: if they adhere to the standard, sound quality will be 100% unaltered. This isn’t a subjective opinion, this is a fact that is inherit to the technique used.

Now, if you want to discuss or review long cables, that’s another story: there the making and finishing of the HDMI cable makes all the difference. It does, but again only due to data package loss, so again an elephant. Here resistance and return times matter, but only because of the lenght of the cable VS the standard (it has been designed to operate only within certain parameters.

Now, I can go into as much detail if you want, but I feel it’s best to keep it broad and understandable.

If after this explanation you still feel that somehow the matter is open for subjective interpretation, then please elaborate on either what I failed to explain sufficiently or why you think it does not work like that.

admin 03.04.11 at 10:58 am

Thanks for the eloquent comment. ‘darkangle’.

Wish I knew your name so we could welcome you even more warmly. :)

Cheers, a

roy harris 03.04.11 at 11:01 am

again, a review is an opinion. it cannot be proven. if i observe a difference sonically between cable orientation, i cannot prove it .

if i have reviewed many other products and they have not been analyzed to the extent of this one.

i find it interesting .

roy harris 03.04.11 at 11:45 am

is the essence of the argument that some do not beleieve what i hear?

or do some question the manufacturer’s intent to indicate directionality ?

by all means disagree with either hypothesis.

you may consider the review dubious or not read the review, but it might be more direct if my observations were challenged directly rather than indirectly.

such as “i don’t believe you can hear a difference because of direction”, or “i don’t believe you can hear a difference between two hdmi cables which meet the 1.4 standard, regardless of materials used”.

the above objections would certainly be acceptable.

Darkangle 03.04.11 at 12:03 pm

Hello Roy,

The whole point of the matter is that this is one thing that isn’t open for a subjective interpretation. It’s absolute. It is not in the eye of the beholder, there are no grey areas.

Don’t think I’m trying to undermine you, or discredit you. I’m setting some time apart so I can help you better understand.

The problem is not that your review is over analyzed, people are simply trying to point out an error. Don’t take it as an attack, rather as that people care and want to help by pointing it out. They might not always do so in a friendly manner, but if you keep the motivation in mind, it will all seem a lot less like an attack.

Since you did not specify why you think it is a matter of observation, I’ll try to explain a bit how the digital conveying works.

My analogy is inherently flawed, but it does help with visualizing the whole process a bit if you’re new to the digital way of things.

I explain this to kids every now and then, so don’t think I’m trying to talk down to you, it’s the example that works best for me.

We have player building 1, that plays is music with 8 different colored marbles as sound (shortened a bit, so bare with me)
The people who package the marbles for transport with trucks are color blind, so for them to work with the marbles, they made a nice system; they just use black and white marbles, but they now use 4 marbles for every color, and the order of the marbles (rows) tells the packagers what color it should be. So for example white-white-white-black counts as red.

The marbles go into boxes, 16 rows of 4 marbles. This is done by the colorblind handlers.

The boxes go into trucks for transport, the handlers do this too, since the order of the boxes matters. They agreed upon a very specific order, which the packagers who unpack observe the same way of working.

A truck holds only 128 boxes, no more, also no less.

The trucks start driving, but all in the order they where loaded in: we wouldn’t want the handlers getting the boxes in the wrong order. on the receiving end.

Now, whatever may happen in between, bumpy roads, exploding trucks, people getting lost. Nothing will be able to get those 16 rows of 4 marbles per box to move, since they are in perfect lock down, 128 boxes per truck.

some trucks might get lost, resulting in the receiving end missing whole parts of the black and white instruction set. They call the Player building 1, and ask them to resend that truck again, with the exact 128 boxes with the exact 16 rows of 4 marbles each.

End of analogy.

Now, as you can see, the road stands for the chosen data carrier. In this particular review, your cable. With the modus operandi described above, it doesn’t matter if it’s a sandy road, a highway or a high tech gravity pad fly road. As long as it allows for the trucks to drive, it’s fine. Nothing will chance.

For analogue, imagine them transporting the colored marbles all loose unpackaged in the back: pray for a smooth ride.

I hope this helps to visualize the whole process a bit. Like I said, it’s a bit flawed, which if you learn more about digital handling, protocols and coding standards will become more obvious. However flawed, at an entry level this perfectly helps to point out why there is no difference in the actual sound: the marbles lost due to road conditions are lost per whole truck, not per color bit.

Again, I am in no way trying to talk you down; I’m used to explaining this in a very child friendly manner.

People here have been pointing out that for your observation of the sound difference there is technically no possible way for it to be different. The cable transports something that has been altered (color to black and white in sequence) and packaged to an extent where that if anything gets hindered by the cable it will not change the sound in a way that can be observed as minute as a change in richness, deepness or whatever. All that gets affected are certain non color sequenced marbles, per truck no less. And long before assembling those back into colored marbles, the recieving end already ordered the missing truck again from player building 1.

It’s not a matter of observing change: there technically IS no change.
This is why people point out the digital part. These are facts, not open for debate or interpretation, just facts. Now, people far more eloquent then me can probably explain it far better, and I hope they do. But I hope you can understand why it’s technically impossible for there to be a change in the sound when you change the carrier cable of a digital carrier wave (In lamen terms: the colored marbles on both ends will either end up identical, or just whole truckloads will be missing).

Sadly, English is not my first language, so I hope I haven’t butchered it too much or lost something in translation.

Darkangle

Ps: @Admin, this has been my nick since the rise of the internet. I don’t hide, I just choose not to use my real name.

roy harris 03.04.11 at 12:19 pm

let me change the subject slightly to answer a question about coax vs hdmi.

i found my reference coax cable to be less resolving, smoother, slightly veiled and less extended in the treble.

it should be kept in mind that it is impossible to know the sound of a component.
hence a review constitutes the affect of the sound of a component upon the sound of the stereo system, not the sound of a component.

now, let me summarize, as i understand it what issues have been raised.

essentially, it is alleged, and i won’t dispute this, that the performance of an hdmi cable, properly constructed, should not differ with direction.

i have claimed that direction makes a difference.

so there is a conflict between (subjective) hearing and science.

i have no explanation. maybe its the placebo effect. i hear what i hear. a review is definitely akin to an opinion. it is not absolute.

if you place 5 audiophiles in a room and have them listen to a stereo system, there will be disagreement as to the sound.

i think there is not much to say on the subject. points have been made and disagreements have been aired.

obviously it would be useful if others could replicate my review. without paying me a visit, it’s impossible.

so i guess, we’ll leave it as science vs perception.

Andy Baker 03.04.11 at 12:42 pm

“so i guess, we’ll leave it as science vs perception.”

No. Roy. It’s about:
a) Expensive products making fraudulent or at least nonsensical claims
b) Paid experts who really should know better.

Would you accept the challenge of a properly constructed double-blind placebo test of your ‘perceptions’?

(By the way - if you’d rather not publish this comment then feel free to reply via email instead.)

admin 03.04.11 at 1:02 pm

No worries, DarkAngle. The welcome is still very warm.

Cheers, a

admin 03.04.11 at 1:16 pm

Andy:

1. Is a libelous comment directed at Audioquest, Inc. Ensure you have proof. (see Courtney Love’s recent loss regarding a recent Twitter post. The award is $500,000.
2. Is factually incorrect.

The long arm of the internet world can reach to Brighton.

Thanks, a

Here’s a old editorial.

roy harris 03.04.11 at 1:42 pm

i would accept a blind test.

the issue of what i hear is till an issue. no one has contradicted my report.

there have been objections as to price.

as i said, i will be reviewing other cables and report what i hear.

audioquest is making a product available for sale. if anyone feels that there is no value in the cable, don’t buy it.

i sense that there is an objection to having reviewed the product because of its price.

i believe that reasoning could be applied to other components. i don’t recall objections to other reviews of expensive products.

so again there are two issues:

1) the product is allegedly over priced.

2) science dictates that directionality is irrelevant to the performance of the cable..

i have no other answers so , i see no value in beating a dead horse.

in the future those who have made objections can be selective as to the reviews i write.

you can read them or not as you see fit.

Griff 03.04.11 at 5:46 pm

Seriously, a double blind listening test with this expensive cable and some el-cheapo monoprice cable and another high-end but a mere fraction of the cost cable from a supplier like blue jeans cable would suffice.

I’d also love to hear how the directional affinity of this cable works from a physics POV as well, but that’s just icing on the cake.

This kind of reminds me of those “CD demagnetizers” that are supposed to improve the sound of data read by an optical device.

roy harris 03.04.11 at 6:41 pm

how shall the double blind test be conducted ?

who will design the test ? what equipment will be used ? what recordings
how shall the double blind test be conducted ? what equipment shall be used ? how shall the test be performed ? what recordings shall be used ? how shall the test be designed ? where shall the test be performed.

what is the criterion for statistical significance.

i dare say many of those making comments probabably couldn’t pass a double blind test when amps, preamps, cd players are used as the test subject.

however, i would be a willing subjeeect if the test could be designed properly.

what about my challenge to use preamps, amps, dacs, transports, cd players, or other equipment, perhaps except speakers.

who avers that he could pass a double blind test when an another compoent is the test subject ?

Alex D. 03.05.11 at 2:41 am

We are trying to see if the coffee hdmi cable has any different qualities then a normal, cheap hdmi cable; right?

As for testing I propose the following. You get a someone to take 2 different cables, then you listen to a piece of music of your choice on your system 8 different times. in this cycle the coffee cable is used once. We do this again but have it be the normal cable that is used only once. On our 3rd test we randomly switch between the 2.

Easy enough double blind. Post a video to prove that you it was in fact a double blind (get a very patient friend to administer the study) and if you do consistently manage to tell which is which you will have overturned a whole bunch of electrical engineering theory. To say that you will get a lot of traffic would be an understatement.

It’s potentially very profitable for you and this site if you do it right and are confident that this cable is in fact different from other cables.

Atane 03.05.11 at 6:45 am

Nothing gets as lively as a good ol’ cable conversation. It’s the bane of the audiophile community. Once had a guy who used rewired coat hangers for cables tell me I was wasting my time with “fancy cables”. He invited me to listen to his system, and it sounded like utter sh*t!

I’m not one to talk down to people, but this should be taken into consideration. Most of the detractors of high end cables usually have little experience with them. It’s like a virgin giving sex advice. Their knowledge is strictly academic, and never hands on.

With that said, I have no experience with the Audioquest HDMI cable, so I won’t share my opinion, but I will share my experience with HDMI cables. They are not all the same. I used to have a cheap Belkin HDMI cable which was fine to me, until I switched it out for a Blue Jeans Cable Series-1 Belden Bonded-Pair HDMI Cable. The difference in A/V quality for blu-ray was immediately apparent on my Pioneer Kuro plasma. A display that is ISF calibrated might I add. I too thought that digital was simply “ones and zeroes”, so I bought a brand spanking new Belkin HDMI cable just to make sure the previous one was not defective. It was the same result. The image was duller than with the Blue Jeans Cable. This is my experience, and it flies in the wind of the digital is all the same crowd. That’s fine. I trust my own judgment.

Cheers,
Atane

roy harris 03.05.11 at 1:25 pm

before i summarize, let me say that all of the comments are very entertaining to me and i find it some what amusing that some take this review so seriously as to vociferously present objections.

i respect the fact none of the comments were personal.

summary:

1) based upon my previous reviews and the current one, my intent is not to persuade and provide an opinion or attitude about the product i review

2) there was a conflict between my review and “scienece”

3) the double blind test proposed was not rigororous. ithere are mnay variables, such as auditory memory, fatigue, duration of source, etc. . there are very few double blind tests applied to auditioning components.

4) a review is but an opinion at a point in time. you can accept or reject the review for a variety of reasons, and you can express your objections.

5) personally, once i have reviewed the product, i move on and generally have no interest in further comments about the product.

6) it is up to thr reader to accept or reject the statements of the review and question the integrity of the reviewer.

7) i do not take any criticisms , personally, and place reviewing in a heirarchy of other activities i do, so i will devote as much time as i deem appropriate to the endeavor.

admin 03.05.11 at 5:49 pm

Here you go, Andy. 140 characters. $430 large.

admin 03.05.11 at 5:53 pm

Roy:

1. You don’t like Mozart.
2. You love the harpsichord.

Personally, I don’t trust anything you hear! LOL

See you for dinner in June. Bring your arguing boots. You’re gonna need them! ;)

admin 03.05.11 at 5:58 pm

Great comment, Atane.

I’m always open to the measurement folks’ passion. That said, one of these guys swore to me that a Yamaha solid state receiver measured better and thus sounded better than my ARC tube amp at the time. The Yamaha was crap, the ARC pretty wonderful. I didn’t need a blind test to hear zero ambient bloom on orchestral instruments from the Yamaha, and from the ARC trailing transients sounding so tactile you could feel them. The Yamaha projected a sound scape as cold as a witch’s tit. Dude was a cable hater and used to call us ‘High End Audio Fags’! Ahem!

Do these people know that metronomes keep better time but have not replaced conductors?

Cheers, a

roy harris 03.05.11 at 8:08 pm

mozart is overrated. bach cleans his clock , is more creative and mozart paid homage to bach.

mozart’s creative years ended with the divertimento k136–his greatest work, and had so many surprises. it is a great pleasure to listen to that work and the eine kleine. the unpredictability of harmonic changes and the uniqueness of composition were exemplary. a lot of his symphonies are more predictable and not as interesting.

bach was more mathematical and a genius with a capital G.

i respect mozart and would not say he isn’t a great composer. its just that the classical period seems not as stimulating as other periods . for example, renaissance, baroque and romantic periods offer more musical enjoyment to me. yes, it is comparing apples to oranges, but if i had to list my 10 favorite compositions, only one would be by mozart.

of course, it helps to define what is meant by musical genius and to be able to refer to objective criteria when comparing composers, or offering objective criteria as to what constitutes “good” and “bad” composition.

otherwise, its subjective as to who,are the top ten composers.

by the way anthony what about your top ten, and how do you compare bach to mozart ? or, do you consider them so different as to not want to compare them?

in the instrumental realm, what can compare to the well tempered clavier, or the chromatic fantasy and fugue, that mozrt wrote. with respect to the latter, mozart’s piano works sound primitive compared to Bach.

admin 03.05.11 at 8:23 pm

I love all great composers, but music begins and ends for me with Mozart. My prose could not begin to describe what I hear in his music.

admin 03.05.11 at 8:26 pm

As for a Top Ten, I don’t have one.

But for the last forty years I’ve been passionately in love with Bruckner, Mahler, Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Berg, Stravinsky, Bartok and a hundred others. And I love discovering works hitherto unknown to me.

My latest passion is for John Adams.

Back to bashing Roy and his cable review ;)

roy harris 03.05.11 at 9:08 pm

anthony:

you heretic, you excluded the greatest, js bach.

admin 03.05.11 at 9:57 pm

:)

He’s among the ‘hundred’ others. When I can be arsed! LOL

After playing all the Passions, Brandenburg 2, 4 and 5 (with Alfredo Campoli) and the great Sonatas ad nauseum over a 20 year period, I didn’t listen for a while. I’m getting back slowly. I prefer Handel.

Now, let’s take this to email. The cable guys want at you. I can feel it! ;)

roy harris 03.06.11 at 12:37 pm

i forgot to emphasize that there is a 72 volt dc charge placed at the source end of the cable. a definite change in picture quality was observed when connecting and reconnecting the cable between tv and cable box. my wife corroborated the change.

perhaps the 72 volt charge is responsible for the difference i heard when i reoriented the cable.

i believe the manufacturer may have a comment or two to help calm the waters.

previous posters emphatically denied the possibility that directionality could affect the sound. but when adding a battery charge to one end of the cable, perhaps this variable changes the picture.

John 03.07.11 at 10:00 pm

Hi Roy,

I’d like to get back on the topic of a double-blind test. You being the reviewer and in-house “cable expert”, why don’t YOU design a double-blind test? I’m sure Audiophilia would love to help sponsor or design one with you. After all, this would prove the capabilities of Audioquest’s Coffee HDMI, right?

I sincerely hope you do this; after all, as an audio enthusiast, aren’t you the least bit curious about the differences between standard cables and high-end cables? Don’t you want to validate your love of high-end cables empirically?

I don’t mean to be condescending or insulting, but I have a few genuine questions:

1. Have you heard of the placebo effect? If so, do you think it could have influenced your interpretation of the Coffee HDMI’s “better sound”?

2. Have you ever reviewed a monoprice HDMI cable, or other low-end HDMI cable? If so, please direct me to it :)

3. What is your education? Do you have a technical background?

4. Do you believe in homeopathy?

Finally, I took a minute to peruse AudioQuest’s website. Here is the link to the Coffee HDMI pdf: http://www.audioquest.com/pdfs/hdmi/coffee_hdmi.pdf

It says a few things that caught my eye:

1. “Solid 10.0% Silver-Plated LGC conductors eliminate inter-strand distortion and reduce jitter”. Despite my googling efforts, I couldn’t find a reliable definition of “inter-strand distortion” in terms of digital audio. Do you know what that is? Also, it doesn’t seem that the material matters in this case, as both copper and silver (in any percentage) “LGC conductors” do the same thing, according to AudioQuest. Hmm…

2. “HD Polyethylene composition optimized to ensure critical signal-pair geometry”. After some more googling, I’ve learned (!) that HD Polyethylene is nothing more than the plastic used to make milk jugs, laundry detergent bottles, and the insulation of coaxial cables (!). It’s stronger than LD polyethylene…so that’s a start right? However, I don’t understand how the plastic insulation of the cable helped “ensure critical signal-pair geometry” (whatever AudioQuest thinks that is…). If they meant the ’skin depth’ of the insulator, I present to you this (scientific) investigation: http://www.audioholics.com/education/cables/skin-effect-relevance-in-speaker-cables

3. AudioQuest’s patented ‘DBS’ system (http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/7126055/fulltext.html) is certainly worth reading with a critical eye…but I’m going to retire (for now) and make some food.

Roy, I hope that you’re a true audiophile, and in being so, perform a double-blind test on various ‘grades’ of HDMI cable.

-John

Darkangle 03.08.11 at 3:55 am

Hello Roy,

It should not.

It’s like claiming that your gold plated CAT5 cable is severely effecting the color depth of the JPG’s on the top of this page (CAT5 is a network cable type).

admin 03.08.11 at 6:14 am

’should not’ or ‘will not’?

Not so subtle difference.

Darkangle 03.08.11 at 6:58 am

‘4/3/2011 Admin:
1. Is a libelous comment directed at Audioquest, Inc. Ensure you have proof. (see Courtney Love’s recent loss regarding a recent Twitter post. The award is $500,000.’

You asked to keep it vague, due to lawsuits etc. :)

the DC current:
For the transport of a digitally encoded content it will not make any alterations during transport of the encoded content to the format after decoding.

MP3’s don’t sound better or worse downloading them using the previous analogy of the goldplated CAT5, movies don’t get better quality (the quality has been downhill the last few years, but that’s another debate entirely).

But, we seem to be going in circles.

roy harris 03.09.11 at 3:30 pm

i thought the case was closed.

however it is not. i am in the process of reviewing a cardas hdmi and was speeaking to the technician today.

he said that differences in dieelectric and metal will affect the sound. i realize that this opens up a can of worms.

perhaps, those who think that all hdmi cables sound the same when passing digital information, should consider that it’s noy just 1s and 0’s , but how fast the data is being passed and the degree of signal loss. certainly, dielectric materials affect the sound of analog cables, why woulndn’t the affect exist in the digital domain ?

again, i think the main objections that have been expressed boil down to directionality, and that all hdmi cables sound the same.

Charles 03.10.11 at 1:27 pm

Perhaps the reason for the number of comments is that this is a very expensive cable indeed, and yet there is no rigorous explanation for why it should be able to transmit a digital signal with more fidelity than a much cheaper one. Presumably, the materials for the cable were chosen by the manufacturer for a reason, and the price reflects that choice. But what are the scientific principles underpinning that choice?

And since, yes, this is a subjective review; is this cable, at about three hundred times the price of, say, a Belkin cable, even a hundred times better? In short, is it worth it?

roy harris 03.13.11 at 1:15 pm

hi john:

initially i was receptive to a double blind test, but have decided against it for three reasons:

1) its too much work and very difficult to do in that the design must be rigorous, and other variables will affect the result. auditory memory is very short.

2) there have been no requests for double blind tests in conjunction with the review of any other component that has ever been reviewed, as far as i am aware. why focus on this cable ?

years ago i reviewed more expensive cable and there were no comments associated with the review.

3)a review is an opinion, or perception of what is heard, and is subject to two errors, errors of omission and errors of commission. that is , one can fail to hear what is there and one can hear that which is not there. take it for what is.

4) i think the reactions to it are out of proportion to its importance. it’s just a cable. why get so exercised about it ?

5) i will be reviewing two other lower priced cables and we’ll see what he results are.

6) as for me. a review is just a report of what is heard. one can accept or reject for any reason. there is no need to justify it with additional work.

7) one can believe or reject as untrue what one reads without the ned to prove anything. i suspect that most of the commentators will not have the opportunity to use an hdmi cable as a transport/dac interface, do that the review is academic for those persons.

8) comments are welcome as feedback, but a review should rest on its own merits or lack thereof, even when there are unanswered questions.

admin 03.14.11 at 8:14 am

I call chicken! ;)

Here’s the 2nd installment. Cardas HDMI 1.4 review.

Interested Listener 08.16.11 at 11:13 pm

Roy,

I just bought a 3m AudioQuest Chocolate HDMI cable for $80. I am crazy cheap usually and have been trying to find a reason to return it. The AudioQuest cable does indeed sound better than my two other HDMI cables. I am not sure why but the sounds are clearer, better separated and just resonates nicer. My two other cables are a generic one which came with the blu-ray player and a 40 foot Blue Jeans cable. Both the generics sound the same but the AudioQuest one sounds different. I wish I could understand why but I don’t.

As of right now, I’m holding onto the cable even though I feel it’s really pricey. The sound is just better. I have also done double blind tests with me and my wife. We both agree that the AudioQuest one is clearly the superior cable.

Keep up the good work!

Audiophile 09.05.11 at 10:10 pm

Roy,
Stick to what you hear / see.
The science has not caught up with the audio and video market products.
There are many hypothesis, but science changes and evolves as we gain further knowledge.

To support Roy - I have 3 HDMI cables.
One came free with the Oppo DVD player, one is a $10 Amazon generic, one is Kimber HD-19 ($100+).
On my system, the Oppo is the closest to standard def, the Amazon in the middle, the HD-19 the best.
The video picture difference is noticeable.

For another monkey wrench:
Comparing outputs - a AQ Component video YIQ-G cable (analog) outperforms the Oppo and Amazon HDMI cable but not the Kimber HD-19 in my opinion.

For all those out there:
I suggest you try it yourself.
Note: the better your system, the more likely you may see a difference.
If you have a junk tv, all cables may look the same because your tv is the limit on the quality.
If you think a cable is too expensive - don’t buy it.
If you see a difference and are willing to pay the price - go for it and enjoy.
Don’t get wrapped up with what others buy or don’t buy - it’s their money.
On either end, just be happy with what you have and what you paid for it.

Tom 03.13.12 at 2:47 pm

Cognitive bias is a funny thing. It has been proven to actually make wine taste better. Therefore, in certain cases I’m happy to remain blissfully unaware (especially when it brings my wine bill down).

admin 03.13.12 at 3:00 pm

Hi Tom. Welcome.

With you on the HDMI cable, but you are completely wrong about the wine :)

Yours in Pinot Noir, a

Joe 05.30.12 at 10:39 am

Interested Listener and Audiophile. Please stop trolling and let Roy go on his merry way.

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