Audioquest Solid Core Conductor vs Generic Sprawled Wiring for HDMI - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 50 Old 02-28-2013, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello! So I work at Best Buy and I'm just transitioning on the sales floor and something that is just absolutely annoying me is EVERYONE from the home theater guys to managers truly believe there is a difference in "cheap" HDMI cables vs some expensive Audioquest ones that we carry. They all have different misinformed opinions about it but their consensus is that there is a DIFFERENCE. Now, I'm pretty much convinced that there ISN'T from all the research that I've done but I have one concern. People consistently tell me that you can cut a cheap HDMI cable open and an expensive one and see the differences in the conductors or whatever they call it. The cheap ones sprawl and spiral whereas the Audioquest cables are solid the whole way through. Does that actually make a difference? From my own research, HDMI cables either work or don't work and clarity in both audio and video is not affected. Snow or loss of pixels is a sign of not working just to clarify.

Can somebody explain explicitly though WHY the sprawl/spiral vs solid conductor doesn't make a difference?
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post #2 of 50 Old 02-28-2013, 06:40 PM
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Much like a cat5/5e/6 cable, a better constructed or shielded cable (often this means better control of geometry throughout the cable for this type of data transmission) might have less handshake issues with quirky HDMI transceivers, or might maintain signal integrity over a longer distance, etc.

But what it won't do is create a prettier picture, more vivid colors, lift a veil of distortion or smearing from the audio....

Meaning, in the context in which your coworkers mean it, they are all just full of it.

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post #3 of 50 Old 02-28-2013, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Burleigh View Post

Can somebody explain explicitly though WHY the sprawl/spiral vs solid conductor doesn't make a difference?
Every try to prove a negative? Better to ask the folks who believe it makes a difference to prove why it does.

FWIW there is a difference. The TMDS lines over which the video and audio are transmitted digitally function as transmission lines (you can look it up on wikipedia) because of the frequency at which they operate. We want the characteristic impedance of the cable to match the impedance of the source and sink as closely as possible because any mismatch anywhere along the signal will result in distortion of the signal. The impedance of the cable is basically a function of geometry and the dielectric used. It is just easier for the manufacturer to control the geometry closely with solid wire than stranded wire. This is why solid wire is specificed for ethernet except for short stranded patch cords which required the added flexibility.

That said, solid wire doesn't necessarily make a better cable. There are a lot of other factors that affect cable quality.

The nice thing is that HDMI transmits both the video and audio digitally. As long as the signal received by the sink is a close enough approximation of what was sent by the source, you don't lose any information. The one thing that a better cable might do for you is to allow you to get acceptable video and audio at a longer length that you could with a lesser cable.

It all comes down to this: if you aren't getting sparkles or worse, replacing the HDMI cable won't improve the picture or sound.

Oh, and the proper word is "stranded" not "sprawl" or "spiral", although the latter may sometimes describe the lay of the stranded wire.

Congratulations on having an inquiring mind and thinking for yourself, unlike your co-workers.
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post #4 of 50 Old 02-28-2013, 07:52 PM
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BTW there is a down side to solid wire. If you flex a copper wire repeatedly at the same point, it will work harden and eventually break. Solid wire is normally used where it is not going to be subjected to flexing, for examples in walls, because it is cheaper than stranded wire. Stranded wire is used where flexing is expected, which is why most HDMI cables use stranded wire.

And it doesn't matter if the copper in the cable was annealed to dead soft. That will just add a few flexes to its life.
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post #5 of 50 Old 02-28-2013, 10:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you very much for the responses. I'm definitely somebody that wants a more thorough, scientific explanation rather than a "Hear it for yourself" explanation. In fact I asked them to perform a test for me in one of our studios today for me to actually hear the difference and I'M the one who apparently is crazy for not hearing the difference between a Dynex 30 pin connector for an iPod over an Audioquest 30 pin connector. Now, that isn't HDMI we're talking about and while that was my main concern for my fellow co-workers, they said that it "basically is the same concept." I would definitely love to learn more about that and the supposed magic of having better power cables and DACs like the Audioquest Dragonfly affect audio quality, but its good to know more about HDMI and I'm looking forward to when they have an Audioquest guy come in and test the HDMI cables for me LOL

BTW: Stranded ah! That's what they call it! Thank you XD
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post #6 of 50 Old 03-01-2013, 05:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigus View Post

Much like a cat5/5e/6 cable, a better constructed or shielded cable (often this means better control of geometry throughout the cable for this type of data transmission) might have less handshake issues with quirky HDMI transceivers, or might maintain signal integrity over a longer distance, etc.

But what it won't do is create a prettier picture, more vivid colors, lift a veil of distortion or smearing from the audio....

Meaning, in the context in which your coworkers mean it, they are all just full of it.

The differences in how quickly a device on a HDMI cable engages with the source at a given resolution can be huge. There can be problems with intermittent patchy pictures. But if there is a long-term stable picture, the picture quality has to be as good as it gets.

With TV the resolution selected is often 1920 x 1080 or die. But if you use HDMI with PC's you can select a goodly variety of resolutions and see a stable picture at a low resolutions turn into patches and then no picture as the resolution selected goes up.
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post #7 of 50 Old 03-18-2013, 05:37 PM
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The differences in how quickly a device on a HDMI cable engages with the source at a given resolution can be huge. There can be problems with intermittent patchy pictures. But if there is a long-term stable picture, the picture quality has to be as good as it gets.

With TV the resolution selected is often 1920 x 1080 or die. But if you use HDMI with PC's you can select a goodly variety of resolutions and see a stable picture at a low resolutions turn into patches and then no picture as the resolution selected goes up.
Well all I will say is that when I went from a basic 30$ monster cable to a audioquest carbon HDMI..there was a difference!.. And no it was no placebo effect..the carbon sounded much better,more depth and soundstage..the highs are more 3- dimensional.. Probably has to do with the amount of silver used..I do not work at best buy,but I can tell you that audioquest HDMI cables are definitely worth the extra money.
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post #8 of 50 Old 03-18-2013, 05:59 PM
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And no it was no placebo effect.
How do you know?

(Hint: You don't. Whereas anyone who knows how these devices work would tell you that there is no physical way that what you describe is possible.)
Quote:
I do not work at best buy,but I can tell you that audioquest HDMI cables are definitely worth the extra money.
"...are soon parted" is how the saying ends.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #9 of 50 Old 03-19-2013, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

How do you know?

(Hint: You don't. Whereas anyone who knows how these devices work would tell you that there is no physical way that what you describe is possible.)
"...are soon parted" is how the saying ends.

The ones were clearer and more unitary. The zeros were inky black.

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post #10 of 50 Old 03-19-2013, 06:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esh516 
Well all I will say is that when I went from a basic 30$ monster cable to a audioquest carbon HDMI..there was a difference!..

Probably has to do with the amount of silver used...

Yes, the use of silver is as likely an explanation as anything. Not that it changed the actual sound, be certainly contributed to your perception of it.

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post #11 of 50 Old 03-19-2013, 08:21 AM
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Yes, the use of silver is as likely an explanation as anything.

Of course! Where would The Lone Ranger be without silver bullets and his horse... Silver. Hi-ho!!!! biggrin.gif
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post #12 of 50 Old 03-19-2013, 03:19 PM
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Looks like esh has decided to take his claims out of the Parasound thread and into, uhm, more hostile territory.
This could be fun.

For every new thing I learn, I forget two things I used to know.
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post #13 of 50 Old 03-20-2013, 06:14 PM
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Looks like esh has decided to take his claims out of the Parasound thread and into, uhm, more hostile territory.
This could be fun.
Alright...I love A/V..been doing this since 1988.. I have had many setups thru the years..have tryed many many amps..DACs..cables..etc
All I am letting people know is what MY experience is with the proper setup and gear..you do not have to agree with what I believe in..I'm just letting everyone know
What I have experienced with certain upgrades..do what you want
Spend your $ on what you want..why should I care what your setup sounds like???.. Well I'm just trying to help out others that love this hobby!..
1).. Room setup/acoustic treatment
2) speaker setup/placement
3) good class a/b hi quality amplification.
Once you have achieved all this..then you go from there,and very good cables,power cords .etc
Are just the icing on the cake.
Don't believe ..then don't.
I'm in sonic bliss and I know why!
Peace...
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And if you ever look inside a receiver or high end speaker they never use exotic wire or copper to connect the banana plugs to the circuit board or speakers. Sometimes the bannana plug jacks connect to the circuit board via an aluminum bar. The crossovers in speakers run the amplified signal across coils that use just oxygen free copper and through capacitors that may use plain aluminum foil. So how would using exotic cables with their fancy names and high prices really make a difference when the signal reaches its destination it then runs across plain old copper circuits or speaker wire.
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post #15 of 50 Old 03-20-2013, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by gsamples View Post

And if you ever look inside a receiver or high end speaker they never use exotic wire or copper to connect the banana plugs to the circuit board or speakers. Sometimes the bannana plug jacks connect to the circuit board via an aluminum bar. The crossovers in speakers run the amplified signal across coils that use just oxygen free copper and through capacitors that may use plain aluminum foil. So how would using exotic cables with their fancy names and high prices really make a difference when the signal reaches its destination it then runs across plain old copper circuits or speaker wire.

^^^ This is exactly why I have never "bought" into the non-sense of high end
Cables and inter-connects. I just get a big grin and chuckle.
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post #16 of 50 Old 03-21-2013, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by esh516 View Post


Well all I will say is that when I went from a basic 30$ monster cable to a audioquest carbon HDMI..there was a difference!..

The carbon sounded much better,more depth and soundstage..the highs are more 3- dimensional..

I presume the above is based on a casual comparison.

What happens if you try to do an bias-controlled evaluation?
Quote:
Probably has to do with the amount of silver used..

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_703CARB1M/AudioQuest-Carbon-1-meter-3-3-feet.html



"Silver-plated solid copper conductors for better signal transfer
AudioQuest Carbon uses solid-core, 5% silver-plated conductors — meaning that if you looked at a cross section of a conductor, the layer of silver would amount to 5% of the total diameter. Silver is the most conductive metal, so silver-plated copper conductors are ideal for very high-frequency applications, like HDMI audio and video. Because these signals travel mostly on the surface of the conductor, Carbon's high-purity silver plating provides performance that's close to that of a solid silver cable, but at a much lower price. Bottom line: you'll enjoy exceptionally clear, noise-free video and audio."

Your results appear to differ from the manufacturer's claims. You said nothing about noise, and that appears to be their major claim.
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I do not work at best buy,but I can tell you that audioquest HDMI cables are definitely worth the extra money.

Who do you work for, since you raised the issue?
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post #17 of 50 Old 03-21-2013, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

I presume the above is based on a casual comparison.

What happens if you try to do an bias-controlled evaluation?
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_703CARB1M/AudioQuest-Carbon-1-meter-3-3-feet.html



"Silver-plated solid copper conductors for better signal transfer
AudioQuest Carbon uses solid-core, 5% silver-plated conductors — meaning that if you looked at a cross section of a conductor, the layer of silver would amount to 5% of the total diameter. Silver is the most conductive metal, so silver-plated copper conductors are ideal for very high-frequency applications, like HDMI audio and video. Because these signals travel mostly on the surface of the conductor, Carbon's high-purity silver plating provides performance that's close to that of a solid silver cable, but at a much lower price. Bottom line: you'll enjoy exceptionally clear, noise-free video and audio."

Your results appear to differ from the manufacturer's claims. You said nothing about noise, and that appears to be their major claim.
Who do you work for, since you raised the issue?
Nothing to do with a/v..its just my hobby,passion..I actually do kitchen remodeling.
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I actually do kitchen remodeling.
Well then for God's sake don't do your own wiring. smile.gif

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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Well then for God's sake don't do your own wiring. smile.gif
Excuse me???.. You have noooo clue!
I only work in 5+ million dollar homes in Miami
So do not insult my work..grow up and learn something!D.A.S
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I'm in sonic bliss and I know why!

So do we wink.gif
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grow up and learn something!

Irony....do you know what that means?
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post #21 of 50 Old 03-21-2013, 06:46 PM
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So do we wink.gif
Irony....do you know what that means?
Think outside the box..do YOU know what that means?
Ya know...whatever!... Just because you refuse to believe don't mean ya gotta bash @ those of us that do
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no one's bashing you, pumpkin.

A little education would cure you wink.gif
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post #23 of 50 Old 03-21-2013, 08:09 PM
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I only work in 5+ million dollar homes in Miami

And what does have to do with either qualifications in electrical wiring or electronics?
I install hydronik heating systems including controls in 1 mio$ houses (i KNOW, CHEAP, Ahhhh), but do not claim to be an expert in electronics, and avoid making BS claims about electronic devices that have so far no evidence for their validity.

I also worked as a Lab tech and you know what? none of our spectrophotometers or scintillation spectrophotometers that measured either the molecular content of a tiny sample or the alpha decay of a nuclear labelled sample contained or where hooked together with fancy wires, neither were any of the electron microscopes or scanning electron microscopes etc. my wife operated. All used mainly shielded wire that cost cents per foot and not dollars.

And you really want us to believe that something so mundane in comparison as a disc player, a TV or an amp could benefit from wires that cost 100$/ft or more ?

Stop kidding yourself - you might be a decent furniture maker, but check your claims regarding electronics against reality.
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I actually do kitchen remodeling.

I want to bring out the very best of my microbrew collection so I'm considering upgrading my fridge from a Kenmore Elite to a Sub-Zero. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
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post #25 of 50 Old 03-22-2013, 05:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esh516 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by SAM64 View Post


Think outside the box..do YOU know what that means?

What I know is that doing a good job of thinking inside the box usually precedes productively thinking outside the box.
Quote:
Ya know...whatever!... Just because you refuse to believe don't mean ya gotta bash @ those of us that do

You don't seem to understand that this discussion is about dueling beliefs. One side believes in Science and Physics and the other side seems to believe in pseudo science and metaphysics.

Tell me, how much silver plated house power, control and signal wiring do you install in those megabuck kitchens?

Interesting conundrum: Gigiabit ethernet wiring is usually done with cable that has zero precious metal content:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigabit_Ethernet

Here are the details of the construction of CAT-7 network cable for gigabit ethernet:

http://www.siemon.com/e-catalog/ECAT_GI_page.aspx?GI_ID=cable_tera-1000-mhz-cable-international

Cable Construction

0.57mm (0.023 in.) (23 AWG) solid bare copper
8.4mm (0.33 in.) max jacket diameter
Pairs individually shielded with aluminum-polyester foil
Overall tinned-copper braid

No exotic conductor or insulation materials at all! Just copper, tin, aluminum and polyester.

Here is the punch line: Each pair in a HDMI cable passes a signal whose maximum frequency is less than half the frequencies commonly used in gigabit ethernet. In both cases the signals are digital. Gigabit ethernet cables are typically many times longer than HDMI cables.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI

Maximum clock rate (MHz) version 1.0-1.2a - 165 version 1.3 - 340 version 1.4 - 340

Gigabyte of course refers to frequencies of 1,000 MHz or greater.
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post #26 of 50 Old 03-22-2013, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by holt7153 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by esh516 View Post

I actually do kitchen remodeling.

I want to bring out the very best of my microbrew collection so I'm considering upgrading my fridge from a Kenmore Elite to a Sub-Zero. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Interesting question - do Sub Zeros have better thermostats or more uniform distribution of temperatures inside? Last time I read an objective review of fridges, Subzeroes were at best mediocre. Hmmm, a canonical high end product - only the price and profit margins are better! ;-)
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post #27 of 50 Old 03-22-2013, 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by holt7153 View Post

I want to bring out the very best of my microbrew collection so I'm considering upgrading my fridge from a Kenmore Elite to a Sub-Zero. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

You'll still need to buy the aftermarket power cord to get the best flavor...
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post #28 of 50 Old 03-22-2013, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by bfreedma View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by holt7153 View Post

I want to bring out the very best of my microbrew collection so I'm considering upgrading my fridge from a Kenmore Elite to a Sub-Zero. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

You'll still need to buy the aftermarket power cord to get the best flavor...

..and power the fridge with an active power regenerator. ;-)
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post #29 of 50 Old 03-22-2013, 05:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holt7153 View Post

I want to bring out the very best of my microbrew collection so I'm considering upgrading my fridge from a Kenmore Elite to a Sub-Zero. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bfreedma View Post

You'll still need to buy the aftermarket power cord to get the best flavor...

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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

..and power the fridge with an active power regenerator. ;-)

Don't forget to put the thing on top of an isolation pad... Or on spikes. In either case, the lack of picovibrations will lead to a creamier head on the beer when it's poured.

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post #30 of 50 Old 03-22-2013, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by JD in NJ View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by holt7153 View Post

I want to bring out the very best of my microbrew collection so I'm considering upgrading my fridge from a Kenmore Elite to a Sub-Zero. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bfreedma View Post

You'll still need to buy the aftermarket power cord to get the best flavor...

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

..and power the fridge with an active power regenerator. ;-)

Don't forget to put the thing on top of an isolation pad... Or on spikes. In either case, the lack of picovibrations will lead to a creamier head on the beer when it's poured.

Also, you must place Totem Beaks at each corner of the top of the fridge:

http://totemacoustic.com/pdf/beak.pdf



This will create a beer-friendly acoustic environment around the fridge.
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