Thursday, March 27, 2014

Do Expensive Audio and Video Cables Make a Difference?

Kirk McElhearn:

This journalist believes in magic. Note that he expressly talks about digital cables. While there is a possibility that there can be tiny differences in analog cables, this is simply not possible with digital cables, whether they are USB, HDMI or Ethernet.

Andrew:

Isn’t there another, more basic, way to use ‘digital’ cables, that doesn’t necessarily include error correction? I’ve read that ‘digital’ cables necessarily entail faultless transmission, but I don’t buy it. Digital cables are analog cables made to carry digital information. How you work with what comes out the other end depends on the circumstances. The OSI model doesn’t require reliable transmission on the physical layer (for obvious reasons), and some audio over ethernet protocols use this layer.

Kirk McElhearn:

In other words, when recording engineers set up to record very subtle music – this was a choir in a chapel, and the sound is very complex – they don’t use anything other than cables which, most likely, are thick and robust enough to withstand rolling, unrolling and people walking on them. If even recording engineers don’t use fancy cables, then why should anyone think that expensive cables are necessary to play back music; let alone expensive digital cables?

Kirk McElhearn:

The above review was for an audio interconnect; that’s the cable that you run from, say, a CD player to an amplifier. But look here, at a review for speaker cables from the same company: it’s exactly the same review! Word for word; it’s a copy and paste (though the header, Neutral, detailed and smooth, has been removed from the speaker cable review). Speaker cables and audio interconnects are two totally different kinds of cable, and it would surprise me that it is possible to say exactly the same thing about two different kinds of cable.

Geoffrey Morrison:

Dozens of reputable and disreputable companies market HDMI cables, and many outright lie to consumers about the “advantages” of their product.

[…]

Because it’s important to understand that it is impossible for the pixel to be different. It’s either exactly what it’s supposed to be, or it fails and looks like one of the images above. In order for one HDMI cable to have “better picture quality” than another, it would imply that the final result between the source and display could somehow be different. It’s not possible. It’s either everything that was sent, or full of very visible errors (sparkles). The image cannot have more noise, or less resolution, worse color, or any other picture-quality difference.

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