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Old 08-25-2009   #35
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 36
Default Re: Are cables the weak link in your system?

This thread is so full of mis-information it's not even funny. Too much drinking the marketing cool-aid and not actually thinking.

Originally Posted by Captain Stereo View Post
For effs sake, grow a pair and have the courage to actually DO the comparison, instead of telling me it is just my opinion. At least my opinion is informed and one that has been put to the test (and seriously, like I WANT to spend more on cables???). When one makes a comment but does not do any testing of their hypothesis, that is called a prejudice.
I have done this comparison using various $1000 speaker cables and my Home Depot 12 ga CL2 rated (in-wall) cable. On my $8K main speakers (Paradigm Signature S8's) there is no difference. You can see pictures and details of my setup here:

It's very temping to sell the higher end cables. The markup is huge. But for my own use, I use bi-wired 12 ga (reducing the gauge to 9 ga) Home Depot CL2 rated (in-wall rated) speaker wire as do many other with $100-200K home theaters if you browse the AVS home theater construction forum. These are people without budgets that have done their homework.

My background: 25 years in the A/V industrustry and formally trained as an electrical engineer. I run a home theater store and website. But that doesn't matter - I'm a A/V fan first off and if there was any difference in my setup I would have bought the more expensive cables regardless.

Now some people may notice a difference. Good for them. But to say it's night and day is just plain stupid. Any reasonable cable with good connectors as far as analog is concerned will do well.

Now on the digital side there's significantly less difference.... it's more about the shielding, signal drop, and proper termination. As a general rule if it works, it's fine. If you get sparklies (dancing dots) or dropouts then it's not good enough.

On the digital video side the video path to my $30K projector includes $4 HDMI cables from as well as other reasonably priced cables.

There's been a lot of talk of Monster cable here. Yes, they make reasonably good cables but something you have to keep in mind is that their $400 HDMI cables are (in my opinion) no better than $20-$50 well built cables from elsewhere. They have a MASSIVE markup due to the millions they spend per year on marketing and advertising which no other cable supplier does. So if you're ok that 80% of the money you spend on Monster goes towards their marketing/advertising then go for it and buy their cables. Anyone who spends the time and does their homework will buy similar (or better) cables for about 1/5 the cost or less. I thought this was common sense but obviously not.

It's important to notice that Monster posts absolutely no specifications on their cables. Take their HDMI cables. There is NOTHING on their website that will give you any information using concrete terms and numbers. All you get is 'marketing speak' that cannot be verified against other manufacturers. They do not provide any meaningful specifications such as these:

Monster continually ignores universally acepted standards for rating cables such as category 1 and 2 in rating their cables because if they did, people would realize that their cables would not be any different than anyone else's so why would you pay 5-10 times the price? Monster's not stupid in this regard. They're big enough that they instead create their own new spefications to confuse the ignorant consumer. They choose to never post any specs but instead make up their own standards such as "speed rating". Speed rating isn't actually a bad thing - it actually gives us a little bit of information but not enough to compare the cables or even understand how they would work in real world situations.

As a home theater retailer it's very temping to carry Monster - the markup is absolutely massive! But I could not in good concience because our customers trust us and I cannot with an honest face tell someone that a $200 Monster HDMI cable is actually better than the $30-40 version from a reputable cable manufacturer that uses excellent quality wiring like Belden.

Retailers LOVE Monster: You can sometimes easily make more profit off the cables than the TV or other item that the person is buying. It's an easy sell too: The customer has already decided to buy that nice new $1000-2000 plasma and is ready to sign. "You need an HDMI cable with that too" you say. "We have these excellent gold/platinum blah blah blah Monster cables here" you say. Customer bites because the extra $100-$200 is only 10% more on the purchase price and customer has already decided to buy. It's an excellent marketing strategy and it works.

Just, please, PLEASE stop telling everyone that Monster is in some way superior or defies the laws of physics in the ways that other cable manufactures cannot. Some companies actually pour most of their profits back in the R&D instead of marketing.


P.S. I completely expect my post to be erased as I'm bad-mouthing Monster. It's possible that they're one of AV Rev's major advertisers (Monster's advertising dollars hard at work)

Last edited by kal; 08-26-2009 at 11:07 AM..
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