I'm also at a loss to understand how differences can be possible with a purely digital signal. I've been into hi-fi music systems and used SCART for many years and have seen/heard differences in how the analogue signal is handled. The market for such analogue cables was and still is huge.
Being an electronics engineer is a previous life, I understand that digital is 1's and '0's forming a digital code that is interpreted and decoded by (in this case) the TV's circuitry. So how does a cable make differences to this code? Do we get slimmer 1's and rounder 0's?
The ONLY way I can see the cable making any difference is in the quality of the shielding in the cable but even then it would be length dependent...
Last point as I see it - the effects described (richer colour, better contrast, more bass, sharper dialogue etc) are all ANALOGUE characteristics of the final result which can only be a result of the encoding/decoding process?
Best way to test this is a blind testing with a small panel of people - ask them to rate (say) 5 branded cables of various expense and throw in a couple of cheapies. Play them in random order (sometimes playing the same cable twice to see if changes are evident to the panel!)
Whoever says HDMI Cables do not make a difference is very wrong - in all honesty - they do!
I have the QED Reference Graphite (had for about 12months) and just tried the Chord Silver Active Plus against them all day today on many different Blu rays.
Both Cables present both the sound and image completely different.
Its personal preference to what is better for you, both have their merits, both are very good.
I would generaly say the Chord is better - more full on, controlled cinema sound - "muscular" to use What Hi Fi terms, with a very sharp and detailed picture.
However the QED also gives a very sharp (sharper than the chord) image and detailed sound still, with good movement however, you may find yourself turning up your sub as a lot of the bottom end is missing in comparison.
These upgrades definately make a difference - as with all cables they shape what you hear and see.
I have to say What HiFi have got it bang on with their reviews of both these cables
I have witnessed it today, and had someone else come in and say the same !!
System = Pioneer LX5090, Yamaha Z7,Pioneer Lx-71
QED Revelation Speaker Cable, B&W Nautilus 805 / HTM4s Front, CDM SNT Rears.
"the luxurious greens and sunshine are faithfully reproduced."
"expansive and elastic sonics that dig deep when needed and are packed full of dynamics and punch"
Are you freaking kidding me? You guys run a site supposedly dedicated to hi-fi, yet you seem to have no grasp as to what the word "digital" means. I'll sum it up for you, so you can catch up to the current standards in media interconnects.
A fully digital connection, like HDMI, either works or it doesn't. There is no color degrecation or change in sound dynamics. The only way an HDMI-cable can affect the final visual and acoustic representation of the recording, is if it's defective and the signal doesn't reach the output device.
People like you are what's wrong with electronics retail today. People buy into your hocus pocus fantasy reviews, and actually cough out hundreds for cables that are matched in performance by budget cables at a fraction of the cost of your "Reference" quality DIGITAL A/V CABLES.
As for the QED reference HDMI cable, It's a really expensive HDMI cable, and performs like you'd expect a regular HDMI cable to perform.
@shinmai, you are mistaken my friend. The quality of connection lends discernible difference over the standard cable bundled with your device. Try for yourself & you will revise that opinion.
I'm sorry to say that you're both deceiving yourselves. When HDMI cables introduce errors, they introduce random data, which will manifest itself as loud and clearly perceptible clicks and pops in the soundtrack or as single pixels which are markedly the wrong colour. If either variety of error is detected by the receiver you might get black pixels or moments of silence in the soundtrack instead. At high error rates the receiving device will struggle to identify the frame start, lose sync and show a blank screen.
ellisdj said that you might need to increase the volume of your subwoofer using one cable or the other. This would point to selective attenuation of low-frequency sound, something which is possible when using analogue transmission but not with digital standards like HDMI. If you knock the low frequencies out at the HDMI physical layer you might increase the transmission error rate leading to the aformentioned pops and crackles, but you certainly won't produce anything so subtle as a "muscular" sound quality.
Similarly a "sharp" image would result when the data points for individual pixels aren't running together. This is possible in analogue video transmission by attenuating high-frequency content on the wire, which can happen if a cable has high capacitance. With digital standards like HDMI, similar cable defects will introduce bit errors the same as any other. The picture won't lose sharpness, it'll include random data.
It's relatively trivial to dump the raw bytes received at a PC's HDMI port. Using an appropriate test video it would be easy to verify this way that the cables are functionally identical and the same data is being received through both cables.
High-quality cables do have a role to play here -- basically if your display is 20+ metres from the producing device there's a danger that the cable will introduce a high rate of error. HDMI basically sucks for this purpose; a better idea at that point is to use Ethernet cables and decode at the far end. It's easy to tell if this is happening though; your picture won't get blurry, and your sound won't get muddy, they'll both fall of a cliff really quite quickly in a very noticeable fashion. For short runs, mediocre cable will run error-free.
So: given the physical impossibility of the phenomena you describe, how come you think the fancy HDMI cable is producing a picture that's qualitatively different from its cheaper brethren?
I'd hazard that this is the placebo effect doing what it does. You expect to see differences, so you do. The proper test would be to ask viewers to differentiate the cables without knowing which is plugged in at which time; you'll quickly find that they're identical.
So in summary: buy a �5 HDMI cable, unless you're trying to run the cable over several rooms, in which case you need a more specialist solution. If you really do need something better it will be very, very obvious.
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