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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm generally a supporter of Best Buy because I like their clean, uncluttered, well-lit stores. They also show actual HDTV signals on their HDTVs (a custom Best Buy HDTV Demo loop).


However, I had a bad experience there the other day. A friend was buying a home theatre system and after we picked out his system and he was ringing it up, I wandered off. When I came back, I found out that they were selling him lots of overpriced Monster Cable. I told him not to buy the monster cable and he did return some of it. The salesmen were persistent. After ringing up the sale, they were going to "prove" to me why the monster cable is better. I went over and looked at their demo system and then waited for the salesman. He finally came over and fired up a DVD player with "Bug's Life" connected to two identical Wega's. He then paused it and asked me which one looked better. I picked one and then he said "That is the one with the monster cables" . . . but then it was time to school him. I said sure . . . but monitor is also hooked up with *component* cables and the other TV is hooked up with *composite* cables. Of course a connection that squeezes all the information onto one composite cable looks worse than a connection that has the information spread across 3 component cables. The fact that they were monster cables had virtually nothing to do with the difference. That "side by side" comparison was outright fraud!


Monster cables are indeed nice cables, but in my opinion, they are way overpriced and generally not worth the money. This is especially true for things like Dolby/DTS digital connections wherein a $30 optical cable is just as good as a $50 coaxial "monster cable". But to convince people to but them with a fraudelent comparison is ridiculous. I think I'll have to have a talk with the manager of that Best Buy.


[This message has been edited by dagman (edited 04-25-2001).]
 

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There's almost no quicker way to start a nice firestorm than to make the claim that an optical digital link with a cheap plastic fibre optic cable sounds as good as the same data sent over coax, electrically, to the same decoder.


I'm not one of the zealots, but I know plenty who are...much debate has abounded over the potential jitter induced by the optical connection versus the electrical. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


However, that's still no execuse for the blatantly invalid comparison of composite to component video!


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Andy


[This message has been edited by andrewsi (edited 04-23-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by andrewsi:
There's almost no quicker way to start a nice firestorm than to make the claim that an optical digital link with a cheap plastic fibre optic cable sounds as good as the same data sent over coax, electrically, to the same decoder.
OK, I won't argue that. How about a cheap RCA video cable instead of the "monster cable". It is a digital connection, so either it gets through or it doesn't. It it starts dropping bits, it will get out of sync and you'll notice it. So, I really don't think a $50 coax cable really gets you anything more than a $10 coax cable.


Analog is a different story, slight differences in cable do affect the outcome. But I doubt most people would notice the difference between RCA brand and "monster cable" brand.


I wonder why no other company tackles that market because it is ripe for some competition. Someone should sell some cables that are just as good but not so expensive. There still would be plenty of profit margin.
 

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I used to work at a store that sold Monster cable. Cables that retailed at $60 (what they will sell it to you for) cost us $20. With profit margin like that ofcourse the sales guys will always try to sell it to you. The best is when you try to ask them for a discount and they tell you that there is "no room to move" on the cables.....
 

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dagman,


FYI, optical cables got a bad rap a few years ago. IMHO is was somewhat unfair, since the problem was really with mediocre receiver design. In any event, the problem went away with the advent of DSP-based receivers with Dolby and DTS processing, but you'll still see comments occasionally about optical links.


In detail, the problem arose with optical links between CD players and receivers, carrying a simple 2-channel PCM bitstream. Receivers often generated the 44.1 KHz clock for their D/A converters directly from the bitstream on the optical or coax links, using a simple clock recovery circuit. These circuits had very little phase noise immunity, so any jitter on the links ended up as jitter on the clocks for the D/A converters. The typical coax link tended to had lower jitter than the typical optical link; thus the bad rap for optical links when it was really the poor clock recovery circuits in the receivers.


Nowadays, any DSP-based processing necessitates independent clock generation in the receiver, so this issue is largely irrelevent.


------------------

You have a right to install OTA and dish antennas on property under your control.


See http://www.fcc.gov/csb/facts/otard.html
 

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dagman, the really scarey part in all this is that the sales ASSociate probably believes his spiel because that's how it was demonstrated to him by his supervisor, and he, too, took it as gospel because it did give superior PQ based on type not brand. If it's any consolation, being thought of as a pariah by mass marketer sales dupes is probably a mark of your personal integrity.
 

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BarryO,


There is thread from a while back that goes into great detail on this subject. One of the fundamental conclusions of that thread is that ALL SPDIF receivers are slaved to clock of the sending device. The problem is that if you separate the clocks between sender and receiver you have to implement some type of rate control mechanism otherwise you will eventually have a buffer over or under flow.


When transmitting DTS or AC3 the SPDIF frame is packed with NULL data if there is any space left over. The SPDIF frames are broken down into regular time chunks. PCM data is aligned directly to these time chunks. DTS and AC3 data use the NULL data as a place holder to fill out the SPDIF frame. This is done so that the SPDIF clock can be used by the DSP for decoding the DTS and AC3 data. The SPDIF clock is still used to drive the DAC after the data is converted to PCM.


In the case of TOSLINK vs. COAX, it was shown that the jitter introduced by the TOSLINK transmitter/receivers added to the overall jitter. As far as I know, this is still the case.


More modern DAC's have better characteristics when exposed to jitter. This may be why modern audio devices will sound better with more jitter than older equipment. There are some very good research papers that describe the effects of clock jitter. The best laymen explanation of the effects of clock jitter on the DAC output is to say that it adds high frequency harmonics to the audio output which can be detected with careful listening.


When it comes to cables, the claims of the manufacture are only claims. Some inexpensive cables are just a good as the more expensive cables. The primary thing to keep in mind is that the cable impedance should match the connector impedance. A mismatch in impedance will result in signal reflections which can have an effect that is similar to jitter. A higher quality cable may be closer to the stated nominal impedance listed on the box, while a cheap cable may show more variation. It's also possible that the higher quality cable will have a flatter impedance curve for over a wider range of frequencies than a cheaper cable.


If the manufactures really wanted to demonstrate the quality of their cables they would publish this information on the side of the box for everyone to see. Until they start doing that, it's anyones guess as to the actual quality of any given cable. As such, the advice of members of the forum can be an invaluable resource since pretty much every type of cable imaginable has been tried and discussed on the various forums.



[This message has been edited by JoeFloyd (edited 04-23-2001).]
 

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"If the manufactures really wanted to demonstrate the quality of their cables they would publish this information on the side of the box for everyone to see. Until they start doing that, it's anyones guess as to the actual quality of any given cable. As such, the advice of members of the forum can be an invaluable resource since pretty much every type of cable imaginable has been tried and discussed on the various forums."


Unfortunately, most of the discussion on these matters in these and other forums degenerate into "I can hear a difference, therefore it's really there". The problem with this type of "review" of course, is that humans are inevitably subjective, and these types of listening tests are very rarely done even in parallel, much less in some sort of blind fashion. Trouble is, connecting up one cable, listening to a source, then connecting a second cable and doing a comparison is not much better than randomly picking a cable, as the way a person's memory works is just not sufficient to retain an accurate image of sound with such a large gap in time (assuming, of course, that it takes you a minute or so to connect another cable).


Therefore, what would be much more valuable is what Joe suggests - technical data. I confess that I regard manufacturers of "high-end" cable with a good deal of suspicion because they won't supply such data, instead using superlatives such as "truest to the image, closest to the music"!


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BOYCOTT DVI/HDCP & JVC!
 

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In addition to the question of whether all cables are the same there is also a question of whether all Best Buy's are the same.


There are two of them within my roaming area and, as stores go, they seem to have greatly different personalities, and maybe ethics.


In one of them today I had the experience of finding something priced attractively, but at a price they would not honor at the register. A DVD boxed set was marked at $64 and the computer (and manager) tried to charge me $99 for it. I finally just left.


This is the second time that has happened to me in that particular store. Also a couple times there I've purchased material as new which later appeared to maybe have been open or returned.


The other Best Buy has never seemed to have problems so obviously I try to usually go there.


I don't know if the Best Buy stores are company owned or if it's some sort of franchise arrangement or something, but there seems to be a large difference between stores.


- Tom


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This sentience has tree errors.
 

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Well folks, I use $7.00/M TOSLINK fiber cables (IMO, still too much money). With PLL, buffers, error correction, it should make no difference if one uses coax or fiber (no ground loops with fiber) to transmit the data (want to see jitter, look at the data off a computer hard drive).


Now, for HD-SDI data rates, jitter is a problem not to be taken lightly. Our Sony HD-700 HD cameras uses fiber between camera head and CCU. The data rate is only 1.5 g/bs and is limited to 1000 meters (limitation is because of the two copper conductors for camera head power).


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Wendell

Technical Services Supervisor

MAETV


[This message has been edited by Wendell R. Breland (edited 04-24-2001).]
 

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I am completely unsure of the merits of toslink and coax. I am sure that I am sick of boxes that come only with toslink for digital connection. While a good dvd player will have both connections most of the other stuff does not. How much could it cost to provide a choice on each source? Art
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Art Lloyd:
How much could it cost to provide a choice on each source?
Art, you somewhat answered your own question. More expensive units will have both. There is the cost of the extra connector, interface IC, switching circuits, etc. So lets say it adds $1.50 to each device and they sell 2.25 million units x 1.50 = $3,375,000.00 in savings. What would you do if you were the CEO of the company?


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Wendell

Technical Services Supervisor

MAETV
 

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I believe that cables are high markup items at all electronics stores. Let me tell you a story about my purchase of a computer printer two years ago.


All the stores (BB, CC, Frys) had the printer I was interested in for around $49.99 after rebate. This seemed to me to be very inexpensive for such a device. However all the stores sold the required 1284 printer cable for $19.99 to $29.99. I went to an electronics store that didn't sell printers and bought a 1284 cable for $3. Never had a problem with the printer.


The printers were very price competetive but the cables were not.


Rick
 

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Quote: "I said sure . . . but monitor is also hooked up with component cables and the other TV is hooked up with *composite* cables. Of course a connection that squeezes all the information onto one cable instead of 3 looks better."


If you're implying that composite cable is better than component, than your misrepresentation of cables is not any different than what is happening at Best Buy. Yes, cables are a bit overhyped, but I think there are differences if you move up in quality cables.
 

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I am using a coax cable made from Radio Shack Quad Shield will gold platted RCA connectors. I think it sounds great. I also have a $100 Monster Cable Digital coax. I cannot hear a difference.


Good Luck


Rick


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RJW
 

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Somebody once told me that signals on coax cables can't

travel as far as signals on optical cables can,

but that with optical cables you have to be careful

not to crimp (overly squeeze or bend?) them.
 

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If the cables in a system really made an audible difference then every manufacturer would test their cables under double blind conditions and publish the results. Because many people either simply ignore or misunderstand the need to test double blind, they get away with claims instead of tests. In every other field, double blind testing is the gold standard- it's how you separate opinion from fact. If you look at the ABX testing website, you'll see some interesting double blind results. I haven't seen any contradictory results.


The unfair demo story is really about a different point. It is about the fact that in the US you have two kinds of stores - the big chains using idiots selling equipment and high end boutiques using snob appeal to rip off unsuspecting consumers. Long long ago, the sensible dealers were driven out of business by us audio/videophiles insisting on maximum (chain store level) discounts and high end service. Try giving any of these guys a simple circuit diagram and they are lost, ask them about ground loops or

what inductance is and they are lost. That's how all the misinformation

enters the audio/video food chain. Then we get to eat it.

Rgrds-Ross Salinger

Rgrds-Ross Salinger
 

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Regarding the audible difference comment above, it is difficult to compare audio products because, although they can sound different, it is the individual's opinion if they sound better. Many different brands of amplifiers clearly sound different, but I've heard amplifiers costing three times what mine did, and don't feel they sound any better. They definitely sound brighter and different, but in my opinion, not any better.


The problem with audio, is that equipment is not able to be evaluated in a "consumer reports" type fashion because differences between high end equipment are minor and often something isn't necessarily better than another, it just sounds slightly different.


Regarding cables, it's mostly hype. I have all Monster Cable M Series cables in my system and I think they sound great (or does the system really just sound great?), but at the same time I wouldn't make a blanket statement that they sound better than another cable or a cheaper cable because just because they are Monster Cable. It really wouldn't suprise me if a $20 component cable looked the same as a $125 M1000cv component video cable. The biggest differences I have noticed is not going from cheaper cable to more expensive cables, but rather going from one type of cable to another (S-Video to Component, regular speaker wire to bi-wire, etc.)


[This message has been edited by Scott MS (edited 04-25-2001).]
 

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Wendell,


While I am sure that you are correct the example that you cited is curious. What product would sell in the millions? Certainly only one that is in broad demand and fairly generic. How does one differentiate one's product from those very similar ones being produced in the next Japanese directed Mexican factory? Those relatively cheap extra features such as two digital outputs mght be the answer. Also, when one considers $1.50 he should compare that cost against the $800 retail of the box in question not against the cost to include the feature in a couple of million units. If you compute the cost in all the units then you must mention the billions of dollars that the products would generate. Art
 

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Scott MS,


What are you talking about? You misquoted dagman. You qouted him as saying squeezing all the info on one composite cable is better than splitting it. Reread the post, it says:

"Of course a connection that squeezes all the information onto one composite cable looks worse than a connection that has the information spread across 3 component cables"
 
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