Computers & Electronics

HDMI and Optical Cables... Cheap or Expensive?????

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  • Aug 9th, 2009 9:16 pm
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Sr. Member
Mar 27, 2009
513 posts
55 upvotes

HDMI and Optical Cables... Cheap or Expensive?????

Hello,

what is everyones opinion on Cheap Vs Expensive HDMI and Optical Cables?

I went to school for "Electronic Engineering Technology" and one of the reasons we learned why people go the digital route (digital signals are sent via HDMI and Optical) is because of the robustness off the signal itself. Ill explain simply: it takes a LOT of transients to interfere with a digital signal for it to lose quality. Analog signals, however, require more shielding and better quality conductors or else transients will easily interfere with the signal creating what we call "static" or loss of quality.

So whats the difference between a 200 dollar monster HDMI / optical cable and 10 dollar cheapo HDMI / optical cable?

Ive pretty much proven (as far as I can tell) that the quality of optical cable doesnt matter. I have a 125 dollar monster optical cable and a 3 dollar cable I got from a electronics surplus store. Using both on a Blu Ray disc they both sound amazing and my ears cannot tell the difference in any way.

anybody have any experiences or comments on the issue?
11 replies
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2004
3429 posts
708 upvotes
Calgary
You pay for the name and marketing, and on the misconception that a more expensive product is better simply on the fact that it's more expensive and has fancy sounding coating.

I really hope you bought that monster cable for some school project and did not buy it as a consumer choice.
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Oct 1, 2004
5833 posts
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You're paying for Monster's lawyers so they could sue everyone...
Sr. Member
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Nov 17, 2008
523 posts
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Halifax, NS
No difference. With analog, your signal could degrade and you might not get the best quality. With digital, you get the best and clearest signal... or no signal. That's just the way it works with no in between (that I have yet to see anyway).
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[OP]
Sr. Member
Mar 27, 2009
513 posts
55 upvotes
thanks guys, you guys seem to be thinking along the same lines as me. When I was in college we had a whole course dedicated to analog/digital signals and the broad range from 3 dollar cables to 200 dollar cables really confused me! I bought the Monster HDMI and Monster Optical cables a year or 2 ago because I needed cables quick (best buy right across the street) and figured id give em a try. suppose I was suckered, lol. ANyways, thanks for the comments!
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Dec 12, 2006
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Barrys Bay
It will not make difference on low end audio/video equipment. Only high end 10k + home theatres will make a difference.

But as well you do pay for name/advertising.

But you can see the difference from a $10 hdmi to a $150 on a 60" TV, on a 32" you never see it.

It all comes down to the variance in quality, think about resistors, can be 1, 5,10, 15, 25% off value. High end equipment needs and works on perfection usually 1-5%, low end runs 15-25%. This makes big difference in performance and can be see audiphiles, but not average joe on street.

SO the quality and restraints on a high end cable are to a certain rage, while low range is unacceptable for there specs but work.
Sr. Member
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Jun 12, 2008
983 posts
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It depends on how long the cable is.
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Nov 18, 2007
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Valleywood
zibzer wrote:
Aug 8th, 2009 10:05 pm
thanks guys, you guys seem to be thinking along the same lines as me. When I was in college we had a whole course dedicated to analog/digital signals and the broad range from 3 dollar cables to 200 dollar cables really confused me! I bought the Monster HDMI and Monster Optical cables a year or 2 ago because I needed cables quick (best buy right across the street) and figured id give em a try. suppose I was suckered, lol. ANyways, thanks for the comments!
Earlier this year a CTV investigative reporter went on a shopping spree for HDMI cables and bought the uber-expensive cables from Best Buy, Futureshop, including those from Monster. (I wish I could find a link.)

They also purchased some "dollar" cables (which may have included one from Monoprice, if I remember correctly) for comparison.

With the help of one of their broadcast engineers at the studio and the use of some signal generating equipment, they performed frequency sweeps on each cable. The test was to measure frequency attenuations across a wide range.

Almost all of the cables showed no differences. Attenuations across the chosen spectrum were insignificant.

Unfortunately for Monster, its cables, did not fall into the "almost all" category!

The Monster cable had the poorest performance.
Deal Guru
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Nov 27, 2005
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zibzer wrote:
Aug 8th, 2009 6:46 pm
Hello,

what is everyones opinion on Cheap Vs Expensive HDMI and Optical Cables?

I went to school for "Electronic Engineering Technology" and one of the reasons we learned why people go the digital route (digital signals are sent via HDMI and Optical) is because of the robustness off the signal itself. Ill explain simply: it takes a LOT of transients to interfere with a digital signal for it to lose quality. Analog signals, however, require more shielding and better quality conductors or else transients will easily interfere with the signal creating what we call "static" or loss of quality.

So whats the difference between a 200 dollar monster HDMI / optical cable and 10 dollar cheapo HDMI / optical cable?

Ive pretty much proven (as far as I can tell) that the quality of optical cable doesnt matter. I have a 125 dollar monster optical cable and a 3 dollar cable I got from a electronics surplus store. Using both on a Blu Ray disc they both sound amazing and my ears cannot tell the difference in any way.

anybody have any experiences or comments on the issue?
I learned all that for free on the internet.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Mar 27, 2009
513 posts
55 upvotes
board123 wrote:
Aug 9th, 2009 12:01 pm
I learned all that for free on the internet.
thanks for the comment :o , however I learned a lot more than the 1 paragraph of information I wrote...
Sr. Member
Feb 24, 2007
662 posts
24 upvotes
fastlayne wrote:
Aug 9th, 2009 10:40 am
Earlier this year a CTV investigative reporter went on a shopping spree for HDMI cables and bought the uber-expensive cables from Best Buy, Futureshop, including those from Monster. (I wish I could find a link.)
I saw a similar one on cbc with market place I think its called and the went into the production room and tested the cable and found out that price doesn't make a hdmi cable better.
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