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post #1 of 18 Old 11-07-2019, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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HDMI Help

So I am 90% sure that I am taking the plunge and buying a 77" A9G and doing some home automation as well. I spent 3 hours yesterday with a very nice and knowledgeable home advisor. We put the build together and he was very transparent on what he thought I needed and what I didn't. However, the one thing I can't decide on is HDMI cables. He says he uses the AudioQuest Vodka cable for his setup and recommended the AudioQuest Chocolate HDMI in wall cable (2 actually) for my setup. I am a pretty good judge of character, and I believe he believes that there is a significant difference in video/audio quality with AudioQuest cable. However, the more I research the less I can determine if I need "expensive" HDMI cables or not. They are ~$500 for 2 cables which is crazy to me. I know they get a lot more expensive than that but I was hoping to stay under $200 at most for 2 cables.

I am a novice and really don't know what to do here. I don't want to buy something I don't need, but I don't want to spend $8K+ on this entire setup and not realize the video/audio benefits because I went cheap on cables. Please, if anyone has any advice, I would greatly appreciate it. If you think I need the "expensive" cables please elaborate and explain why (i.e. you bought cheaper cables but they didn't produce the result you were look for, or visa versa.) Thank you so much!
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post #2 of 18 Old 11-07-2019, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Bigterpsfan View Post
So I am 90% sure that I am taking the plunge and buying a 77" A9G and doing some home automation as well. I spent 3 hours yesterday with a very nice and knowledgeable home advisor. We put the build together and he was very transparent on what he thought I needed and what I didn't. However, the one thing I can't decide on is HDMI cables. He says he uses the AudioQuest Vodka cable for his setup and recommended the AudioQuest Chocolate HDMI in wall cable (2 actually) for my setup. I am a pretty good judge of character, and I believe he believes that there is a significant difference in video/audio quality with AudioQuest cable. However, the more I research the less I can determine if I need "expensive" HDMI cables or not. They are ~$500 for 2 cables which is crazy to me. I know they get a lot more expensive than that but I was hoping to stay under $200 at most for 2 cables.

I am a novice and really don't know what to do here. I don't want to buy something I don't need, but I don't want to spend $8K+ on this entire setup and not realize the video/audio benefits because I went cheap on cables. Please, if anyone has any advice, I would greatly appreciate it. If you think I need the "expensive" cables please elaborate and explain why (i.e. you bought cheaper cables but they didn't produce the result you were look for, or visa versa.) Thank you so much!
How long is your cable run?

Keep in mind that a lot of "home advisors" will recommend cables like AudioQuest, Monster, etc because they usually get some sort of discount that can be passed back to the retailer.

If your run is in-wall then you need to seriously consider installing your cables in a conduit because that will be the ONLY way to future proof your cabling. Video standards are changing and what works today may not, probably not, work later on so you need a way to easily and safely swap your cables out when it becomes necessary.

The discussion on whether a cable can actually modify the signal it is carrying for improved pq/aq can be lively to say the least. The cable is just a data pipe. It can not make greens any greener or reds any redder. The testing data that some cable companies make public looks really good, but a lot of the "specs" they show for audio and video are outside of the normal human perception so while the cable may offer better performance, in your living room you can't tell the difference. The signals are digital ones and zeros. You either get the signal as it is intended from the source or you don't (sparkles, drop outs, etc).

The bottom line is this:

For 4k HDR, and runs up to about 25', a Premium High Speed HDMI cable (with the QR label for authenticity) should work just fine for the HDMI 2.0 hardware specifications.
For 4k HDR, and runs over 25', the recommendation is to use a hybrid fiber cable (Ruipro4k) for HDMI 2.0 specifications. Those cables are active and are not cheap but they do get the most positive reviews by actual users here.

I wouldn't be too concerned about HDMI 2.1 yet. There aren't any consumer devices that are available yet that have validated HDMI 2.1 chipsets that are capable of delivering all of the HDMI 2.1 feature sets (48Gbps) and there isn't any source material. That's where using a conduit comes in handy.

There are other factors that come into play as well for a successful cable run. Bend radius is one to keep in mind. You don't want any sharp bends in your cable run/installation because that can adversely affect the signal path over time. Wire gauge is another consideration. The thicker the wire, the better the signal path but a thicker wire drastically reduces the bend radius and can lead to increased strain on the HDMI input, which is not a good thing. Hybrid fiber cables are active so the wire gauge is thinner resulting in an excellent bend radius.

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post #3 of 18 Old 11-07-2019, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post
How long is your cable run?

Keep in mind that a lot of "home advisors" will recommend cables like AudioQuest, Monster, etc because they usually get some sort of discount that can be passed back to the retailer.

If your run is in-wall then you need to seriously consider installing your cables in a conduit because that will be the ONLY way to future proof your cabling. Video standards are changing and what works today may not, probably not, work later on so you need a way to easily and safely swap your cables out when it becomes necessary.

The discussion on whether a cable can actually modify the signal it is carrying for improved pq/aq can be lively to say the least. The cable is just a data pipe. It can not make greens any greener or reds any redder. The testing data that some cable companies make public looks really good, but a lot of the "specs" they show for audio and video are outside of the normal human perception so while the cable may offer better performance, in your living room you can't tell the difference. The signals are digital ones and zeros. You either get the signal as it is intended from the source or you don't (sparkles, drop outs, etc).

The bottom line is this:

For 4k HDR, and runs up to about 25', a Premium High Speed HDMI cable (with the QR label for authenticity) should work just fine for the HDMI 2.0 hardware specifications.
For 4k HDR, and runs over 25', the recommendation is to use a hybrid fiber cable (Ruipro4k) for HDMI 2.0 specifications. Those cables are active and are not cheap but they do get the most positive reviews by actual users here.

I wouldn't be too concerned about HDMI 2.1 yet. There aren't any consumer devices that are available yet that have validated HDMI 2.1 chipsets that are capable of delivering all of the HDMI 2.1 feature sets (48Gbps) and there isn't any source material. That's where using a conduit comes in handy.

There are other factors that come into play as well for a successful cable run. Bend radius is one to keep in mind. You don't want any sharp bends in your cable run/installation because that can adversely affect the signal path over time. Wire gauge is another consideration. The thicker the wire, the better the signal path but a thicker wire drastically reduces the bend radius and can lead to increased strain on the HDMI input, which is not a good thing. Hybrid fiber cables are active so the wire gauge is thinner resulting in an excellent bend radius.
^^ Wow thank you for all of the very helpful information! The cable run is only going to require 6-8 feet of cable but the in wall AQ chocolate minimum length is 13.2 feet. Can you recommend a cable that is a "Premium High Speed HDMI cable (with the QR label for authenticity)" that won't break the bank?

Thank you again!
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post #4 of 18 Old 11-07-2019, 10:48 AM
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post #5 of 18 Old 11-07-2019, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Bigterpsfan View Post
^^ Wow thank you for all of the very helpful information! The cable run is only going to require 6-8 feet of cable but the in wall AQ chocolate minimum length is 13.2 feet. Can you recommend a cable that is a "Premium High Speed HDMI cable (with the QR label for authenticity)" that won't break the bank?

Thank you again!
There are lots of cable mfrs who submit their cables for testing by an HDMI.org approved testing center (ATC = Authorized Testing Center). The cables will be labeled as Premium High Speed HDMI and will come with a QR label of authenticity. The cables are certified to meet all HDMI 2.0 hardware specifications. The nice thing about Premium cables is that any mfr can submit their cables so you are not stuck with a specific mfr. 25' is the maximum certifiable length even though I have seen some in the past that were 30' and certified by HDMI.org. You need to keep your cable connection as simple and clean as possible. In other words, a single connection from source to sink. No adapters, switches, wall plates, etc. Any "break" in the cable connection can possibly introduce errors, and the longer the run, the more important it becomes. 4k HDR can be very finicky with its connections. It sounds like you are using a wall plate. You can install a passthrough plate in lieu of an HDMI wall plate. It's not a good idea to mix cable brands due to differences in build, etc. Keep in mind that no one can give a 100% guarantee that any cable will work in any given setup so that's why you need to pay careful attention to how the cable is installed.

I might add that currently only passive cables can be submitted to an ATC for certification and receive the QR label if it passes. Active cables, be they copper-only, fiber, or hybrid fiber can not get HDMI.org certification. A lot of cable mfrs will claim their cables are certified but there is no way to know if they follow an "in-house" certification process or whether they use standardized, HDMI.org approved certification protocols and testing equipment.

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post #6 of 18 Old 11-07-2019, 01:51 PM
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He says he uses the AudioQuest Vodka cable for his setup and recommended the AudioQuest Chocolate HDMI in wall cable (2 actually) for my setup. I am a pretty good judge of character, and I believe he believes that there is a significant difference in video/audio quality with AudioQuest cable.
He may be very nice character and you may be a very good judge. But, business is business.
Don't believe what he believes. It changes whether he sells cables to pay for dinner at MickeyD's or Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.



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post #7 of 18 Old 11-07-2019, 02:20 PM
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Keep in mind that a lot of "home advisors" will recommend cables like AudioQuest, Monster, etc because they usually get some sort of discount that can be passed back to the retailer.
And also benefit the employee (commission/spiff).
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post #8 of 18 Old 11-11-2019, 02:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone, I’m still not sure what to do. I read hundreds of positive reviews on the AQ cables, but could be a case of “I spent a lot on cables therefore I want to feel good about it.”
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post #9 of 18 Old 11-11-2019, 05:01 AM
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Thank you everyone, I’m still not sure what to do. I read hundreds of positive reviews on the AQ cables, but could be a case of “I spent a lot on cables therefore I want to feel good about it.”
Nothing wrong with AQ cables from a technical perspective. Although, there are many other less expensive alternatives that can/will produce the same results.


Of course owners (or paid non-owners/employees) will typically post highly positive reviews. It helps to justify the expense and get others on-board to cheer from the bandwagon.


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post #10 of 18 Old 11-11-2019, 05:24 AM
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Everything is great about audioquest cables except the price, for hdmi you may not want to go audioquest but you can check out audioquest pearl if you do want to go with it, it's not too expensive (I own a pearl but I got it for free). Vodka and Chocolate are too expensive, so avoid them. You don't need any premium certificate sticker , it's just for peace of mind, build quality and gauge is what matters (go at least 28 gauge or thicker). No audioquest cable has any premium certificate, but every one of their current cables works with hdmi 2.0 features. According to an audioquest guy, their hdmi cables haven't changed since 2013 (whereas the hdmi 2.0a/b spec was finalized later), but all their hdmi cables upto 8m in length are capable of supporting bandwidth upto 18gbps, which means every hdmi 2.0 feature works.

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post #11 of 18 Old 11-11-2019, 05:31 AM
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Thank you everyone, I’m still not sure what to do. I read hundreds of positive reviews on the AQ cables, but could be a case of “I spent a lot on cables therefore I want to feel good about it.”
Buying analog interconnects, speaker cabling, banana plugs from audioquest would be more justified because with that stuff, it can make a difference in some setups, with an hdmi cable, it's a luxury, you get same video/audio no matter the setup, all you benefit is a more high end looking cable.
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post #12 of 18 Old 11-11-2019, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Bigterpsfan View Post
So I am 90% sure that I am taking the plunge and buying a 77" A9G and doing some home automation as well. I spent 3 hours yesterday with a very nice and knowledgeable home advisor. We put the build together and he was very transparent on what he thought I needed and what I didn't. However, the one thing I can't decide on is HDMI cables. He says he uses the AudioQuest Vodka cable for his setup and recommended the AudioQuest Chocolate HDMI in wall cable (2 actually) for my setup. I am a pretty good judge of character, and I believe he believes that there is a significant difference in video/audio quality with AudioQuest cable. However, the more I research the less I can determine if I need "expensive" HDMI cables or not. They are ~$500 for 2 cables which is crazy to me. I know they get a lot more expensive than that but I was hoping to stay under $200 at most for 2 cables.

I am a novice and really don't know what to do here. I don't want to buy something I don't need, but I don't want to spend $8K+ on this entire setup and not realize the video/audio benefits because I went cheap on cables. Please, if anyone has any advice, I would greatly appreciate it. If you think I need the "expensive" cables please elaborate and explain why (i.e. you bought cheaper cables but they didn't produce the result you were look for, or visa versa.) Thank you so much!
Another thing to consider is what you are connecting to at either end of the cable, what those devices support and when do you anticipate replacing and upgrading them?

As others have noted HDMI 2.1 isn't really mainstream yet but features like eARC are starting to show up in higher end components. If you want to future proof just for eARC then be sure your "Certified Premium" HDMI cables also support Ethernet.

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post #13 of 18 Old 11-11-2019, 06:35 AM
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Buying analog interconnects, speaker cabling, banana plugs from audioquest would be more justified because with that stuff, it can make a difference in some setups, with an hdmi cable, it's a luxury, you get same video/audio no matter the setup, all you benefit is a more high end looking cable.
Prices for all AQ products are not justifiable for any cable/wire/connector IMHO.



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post #14 of 18 Old 11-11-2019, 06:53 AM
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Prices for all AQ products are not justifiable for any cable/wire/connector IMHO.
Try their banana plugs you'll like them (search suregrip bananas, best banana plugs I used and I previously tried sewell, nakamichi, monster etc., worth it to me. I don't judge everything on the basis of a price tag alone. Though justifiable at the end of the day is quite subjective. Same way people would see a pair of towers for 20000 differently, for some that price would be justifiable, for others paying 20000 for only marginal gains over what a 5000 pair could get you won't be justifiable.
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At the praise and suggestion of the salesman, I tried expensive banana plugs once by MIT. They didn't "sound" any different than bare wire.

They didn't do anything but empty my wallet. Luckily the retailer provided a full refund after he made sure I "broke them in".



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post #16 of 18 Old 11-11-2019, 09:57 AM
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+1. If your cables are installed properly, paying attention to wire gauge and bend radius, you shouldn't need SureGrip connectors (which are a good idea but not necessary for a lot of setups) or whatever. Thicker gauge wiring as mentioned earlier does work very well but you give up bend radius, which can lead to unnecessary and dangerous strain on the HDMI input, hence the addition of SureGrip), and ease of installation.

Certification is definitely for pieces of mind, and yes, there are all kinds of cables that will work, up to a point, but with certification, at least you know that the cable has indeed been tested by standardized protocols and equipment as defined by HDMI.org, the very folks who got us in this HDMI mess in the first place. Certification now-a-days, at least by an ATC, does not really add to the cost of the cable so you can still find very good, certified cables, for reasonable prices.

As to banana plugs, I use Sewell and they perform extremely well. Unless one has really expensive equipment, or has exceptional hearing (above what is considered normal for most people), then the additional cost is not justifiable. However, that's a personal decision.

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post #17 of 18 Old 11-11-2019, 06:51 PM
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Thank you everyone, I’m still not sure what to do. I read hundreds of positive reviews on the AQ cables, but could be a case of “I spent a lot on cables therefore I want to feel good about it.”
So buy the Monoprice cable (also available on Amazon in case you decide to return it), and have your home advisor bring those he recommends. Fire up a movie you're familiar with, play the same scenes with the Monoprice and the AQ cables with no other changes. If you detect a difference in audio or video quality between the two, go with the one that looks/sounds best. If not, go with the Monoprice.


Spoiler alert: I'll go out on a limb and say you won't notice a difference.
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post #18 of 18 Old 11-12-2019, 02:13 AM - Thread Starter
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So buy the Monoprice cable (also available on Amazon in case you decide to return it), and have your home advisor bring those he recommends. Fire up a movie you're familiar with, play the same scenes with the Monoprice and the AQ cables with no other changes. If you detect a difference in audio or video quality between the two, go with the one that looks/sounds best. If not, go with the Monoprice.


Spoiler alert: I'll go out on a limb and say you won't notice a difference.
That’s a good idea. Thank you.
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