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The Great Cable Con

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Ya dummy, :blink: that’s the DC resistance measurement, it has nothing to do with the cables characteristic impedance at RF frequencies, which needs to be 70 ohms.

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Duhh O.K , dummy.. Just for fun I pulled apart a $2 yrw cable and they are the same. I use component cables from jcar the more xpensive ones but they do seem better than the ones from panasonic so I dont know how to answer this deep and meaningful.Dum Dum.

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Take a set of supplied-in-the-box 3-wire RCA cable Yellow-White-Red, are you telling me the Yellow wire is 50ohm for video and the White-Red are 300ohm for audio?!! Pigs fly. Chances are all three are identical to each other, whatever the ohm number happens to be.

Not True, but sort of true. As you say there will be no difference whatsoever between the type of cables used for the Video and Audio. HOWEVER: The Impedance of the cable is measured at the frequency that the cable is intened for. The very same cable can have a rated impedance of 300 ohms for Audio, and 75 Ohms for Video.

Going back to the cost argument that started this thread, it is the length of the cable that may have the greatest difference. A cheap $2 800mm cable connecting components will in most cases we be equally as good as one costing $100's. At the distance of the cable gets longer a better qualiy cable may be needed.

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Not True, but sort of true. As you say there will be no difference whatsoever between the type of cables used for the Video and Audio. HOWEVER: The Impedance of the cable is measured at the frequency that the cable is intened for. The very same cable can have a rated impedance of 300 ohms for Audio, and 75 Ohms for Video.

Going back to the cost argument that started this thread, it is the length of the cable that may have the greatest difference. A cheap $2 800mm cable connecting components will in most cases we be equally as good as one costing $100's. At the distance of the cable gets longer a better qualiy cable may be needed.

Let me ask this question. What is the difference between a cheap HDMI cable and a $100 plus HDMI cable? The answer is nothing!! HDMI is a digital connection and it should make no difference what so ever. I'm amazed that the stores have the balls to rip people off. I worked at a retail store and the margin they make vary from 40% to 70%.

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Let me ask this question. What is the difference between a cheap HDMI cable and a $100 plus HDMI cable?

Well According to one Retravision employee the diff between a $230(Monster) HDMI cable and a 'cheapie'(as he put it) for $130(Crest) was a whopping 10-15%. I begged my mate to go elsewhere and get a $30-$50 cable. He got the $130 cable as he was unwilling to sacrifice any more 'performance degradation'.

Not only is such sales advice utterly unethical, its a flat out lie.

Of course I cant wait to see the look on my mates face when he brings his cable around to my place and we test it against my decently priced cable.

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could someone clear this up for me please.

a tech told me component leads are the same as composite leads,the only diff is the colour at the ends.

so i said why are they much thicker.---reply, they just use thicker caseing around the wire.

thanks seeya.

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could someone clear this up for me please.

a tech told me component leads are the same as composite leads,the only diff is the colour at the ends.

so i said why are they much thicker.---reply, they just use thicker caseing around the wire.

thanks seeya.

Circuitry-wise they are the same, two wires per lead.

Build-wise they are kinda the same, one wire in the core and the other wrapping around the core wire.

Performance-wise they are different in the sense a lead good enough for good composite may not be enough for good component connection (but it still does the connection).

Cheers

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Well According to one Retravision employee the diff between a $230(Monster) HDMI cable and a 'cheapie'(as he put it) for $130(Crest) was a whopping 10-15%. I begged my mate to go elsewhere and get a $30-$50 cable. He got the $130 cable as he was unwilling to sacrifice any more 'performance degradation'.

A $200 cable is certainly a rip-off to the uninformed buyer. Everyone should know Australian retailers charge astronomical amounts of mark-up on these Monster/PureAV cables.

You can haggle them down to $80 or you can buy from the US for roughly the same amount, inc shipping.

At $80 are they worth it? Absolutely. Perhaps not from PQ improvement factor (I can only see minimal improvement), but from build-quality.

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from build-quality.

not necessarily true. a friend bought a set of monster cables and the picture was missing a colour. couldnt figure out the problem so went and got an exchange. the new cables had the same problem so he decided to open up the plug and they had a really bad soldering job. two of the cables were broken at the solder joints on both ends and they werent even aligned. re-soldering them obviously fixed them. not something u would expect from an expensive set of cables

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not necessarily true. a friend bought a set of monster cables and the picture was missing a colour. couldnt figure out the problem so went and got an exchange. the new cables had the same problem so he decided to open up the plug and they had a really bad soldering job. two of the cables were broken at the solder joints on both ends and they werent even aligned. re-soldering them obviously fixed them. not something u would expect from an expensive set of cables

This may be unrelated, but im in China atm and have seen places like Wal-Mart selling Monster cables for about 150RMB (about $25) for 1m lengths. Now I wouldn thave thought Wal-Mart would want to be caught selling fake cable, but its China, so who knows. On the other hand, it could be genuine cable that is made locally, but poorly, and perhaps that is what your friend got sold.

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Apparently there was a presentation, by retail experts, about Blu-ray technology for the consumer, recently on A Current Affair. Some viewers in this Forum were not impressed by the quality of the advice, or lack of advice, about Monster cables. For those who haven't already seen the thread:- Blu-ray Report on Aca

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I wasn't going to participate further in this debate, because of doubts about the facts, but unfortunately I have now personally witnessed a Monster cable demonstration and feel compelled to report what I saw. The facts were clear-cut.

At an HN store in Brisbane, the demonstration was between a set of Monster brand component cables (retail $120) and a single composite cable. I repeat, a single composite video cable. Video cable for that purpose can be bought for $5. The picture was coming from a DVD player. There was also some "very high quality" Monster component cable on sale at the store for $369, for high definition video use. Perhaps the demo might have helped sell those, because if $120 cable can make such a difference, surely $369 would be even better!

There was some other component cable on sale for $60. Was this the "cheap cable" the demo was referring to?

I spoke to the person in charge, who appeared to be technically minded, but who stuck firm to simple explanations. I told him from the start I was quite concerned about the demo and how it could be misinterpreted. He said the demonstration was to show how component cable was better than composite cable. When I mentioned to him that what the printed display material actually said was Monster cable was better than cheap cable, he had no real answer. I said that if the demo was really for that purpose:

*there was no need to use expensive Monster cable; they could have used the cheapest component cable to establish that point; and

* the printed explanation should have indicated that was the purpose of the demo.

I said it was very misleading and I intended to complain to their Head Office about the practice and seek improved printed material, or a cessation of the demonstrations. (I note that with improved printed material the demo would be a bit of a fizzer, and certainly wouldn't assist the Monster brand over other brands of component cables.)

I said that if they had compared the monster cable with ordinary component cable for the video coming from the DVD player, customers would not be able to see the difference. He asked me what made me say that. I said that if there were a visible difference, that is what would be used for the demonstration, instead of a paltry composite cable [not even S-video!].

Interestingly Monster composite cable exists at the retail price of $79. Whether in double blind tests it has ever been established that a $79 composite cable gives a better picture than a $5 composite cable I don't know. I am not aware of any in-store demonstrations to promote the $79 composite cable. Perhaps such cable could be compared with audio cable. The salesman could then say the demo was for the the purpose of showing that you get a better picture if you use video cable rather than audio cable.

At a cursory glance, the packaging on the Monster cable seemed to explain the different types of cables and their typical uses (composite, s-video, component) okay.

It was the in-store demonstration that seemed to gloss over the matter of the different kinds of connection that exist and promote one brand of cable over other "cheaper cables", rather than "cheaper types of connection".

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The world of cables & interconnects has long been one where bull**** thrives. Years ago it was the world of audio where the "Golden Ears" would swear their $500 interconnects were more "transparent" or "honest"in their transmission of signal. However they were usually reluctant to submit to a double blind test! This hokum reached its zenith ( nadir ?) with a brand of speaker cable which the manufacturer claimed was directional (ie one end had to go to amp. other had to go to speaker)!!! I applaud your efforts MLXXX to give the snake oil merchants a bit of stick!

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I wasn't going to participate further in this debate, because of doubts about the facts, but unfortunately I have now personally witnessed a Monster cable demonstration and feel compelled to report what I saw. The facts were clear-cut.

At an HN store in Brisbane, the demonstration was between a set of Monster brand component cables (retail $120) and a single composite cable. I repeat, a single composite video cable. Video cable for that purpose can be bought for $5. The picture was coming from a DVD player. There was also some "very high quality" Monster component cable on sale at the store for $369, for high definition video use. Perhaps the demo might have helped sell those, because if $120 cable can make such a difference, surely $369 would be even better!

There was some other component cable on sale for $60. Was this the "cheap cable" the demo was referring to?

I spoke to the person in charge, who appeared to be technically minded, but who stuck firm to simple explanations. I told him from the start I was quite concerned about the demo and how it could be misinterpreted. He said the demonstration was to show how component cable was better than composite cable. When I mentioned to him that what the printed display material actually said was Monster cable was better than cheap cable, he had no real answer. I said that if the demo was really for that purpose:

*there was no need to use expensive Monster cable; they could have used the cheapest component cable to establish that point; and

* the printed explanation should have indicated that was the purpose of the demo.

SNIP

It sounds like he gave you the perfect explanation from a legal standpoint. And unlike the setup described by the OP, the setup you saw is a perfectly plausible demonstration. As he said, it highlights that Component is better than Composite...this we all know. The fact they chose their most expensive cable to demonstrate this is entirely their choice, and as long as they didnt tell you when you asked that it was a demo to show that Monster was in Example A and ordinary component was in Example B when it clearly was composite.

They cant be criticised too much for using their "best" cable in a display setup, just like they coudlnt be criticised for setting up their Plasmas and LCDs to look better than their Rear Pros. Its their choice to advertise and push the items they want to sell.

What i would be interested in, is if there is a way to justify Monster cable as being better from a different standpoint. I.e. electrical interference reduced thru better shielding or even simply better durability. (these are just examples, but you get what i mean) Cos you know at any sort of disciplenary action, these factors would be most definitely argued.

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It sounds like he gave you the perfect explanation from a legal standpoint. And unlike the setup described by the OP, the setup you saw is a perfectly plausible demonstration. As he said, it highlights that Component is better than Composite...this we all know. The fact they chose their most expensive cable to demonstrate this is entirely their choice, and as long as they didnt tell you when you asked that it was a demo to show that Monster was in Example A and ordinary component was in Example B when it clearly was composite.

They cant be criticised too much for using their "best" cable in a display setup, just like they coudlnt be criticised for setting up their Plasmas and LCDs to look better than their Rear Pros. Its their choice to advertise and push the items they want to sell.

What i would be interested in, is if there is a way to justify Monster cable as being better from a different standpoint. I.e. electrical interference reduced thru better shielding or even simply better durability. (these are just examples, but you get what i mean) Cos you know at any sort of disciplenary action, these factors would be most definitely argued.

This is where the problem lies is that they always have a back door to make a discreet exit should the need arise.

Honestly I would put my component cables which cost about $60 against the a Monster offering in a blind test and defy anyone to tell the difference.

I agree that some cables are better than others no question but in Monster's case it is 90% marketing hype that has got them where they are.

They are good cables no question but no better than similar offerings by other companies at a fraction of the cost.

It is astounding the cost of some cables and the fact that they must sell them to remain in business but there is no way that someone could justify to me some of the prices of cables.

Just OT for a moment who could justify spending US $23,000 odd for a 2 metre pair of speaker cables, that is just ludicrous.

Good quality cables are a must for any good system but at some point cable is still just cable.

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What i would be interested in, is if there is a way to justify Monster cable as being better from a different standpoint. I.e. electrical interference reduced thru better shielding or even simply better durability. (these are just examples, but you get what i mean) Cos you know at any sort of disciplenary action, these factors would be most definitely argued.

The better quality cables have gold contacts, and are physically stronger and more durable. In practice these features may not give the majority of consumers any practical advantage, as the cables once connected stay safe, tucked away behind an entertainment unit.

What persuades a customer is a visibly different picture. However, the cables cannot deliver that. That perhaps is the reason the demo compares a BMVW sedan with an average motor bike, for passenger carrying capability. The BMVW can carry six people, but the motor bike can only carry two. Therefore if you want a vehicle to carry a driver and 5 passengers it is suggested you buy a BMW rather than a motor bike. Perhaps a poor similie (apologies to BMW), but indicative.

Edited by MLXXX

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BMV deserve an apology as well. :blink:

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The better quality cables have gold contacts, and are physically stronger and more durable. In practice these features may not give the majority of consumers any practical advantage, as the cables once connected stay safe, tucked away behind an entertainment unit.

What persuades a customer is a visibly different picture. However, the cables cannot deliver that. That perhaps is the reason the demo compares a BMVW sedan with an average motor bike, for passenger carrying capability. The BMVW can carry six people, but the motor bike can only carry two. Therefore if you want a vehicle to carry a driver and 5 passengers it is suggested you buy a BMW rather than a motor bike. Perhaps a poor similie (apologies to BMW), but indicative.

Yeah, i get the analogy, but its the same deal walking into a car yard. THey steer you towards their highest margin cars. Selling you crap you dont need is what marketing is all about.

I can see the consumer-misleading part of the argument, but the more i think about it, the more i come back to the Seinfeld adage about the helmet "the head that needs a helment doesnt deserve to be protected"...simiarly the consumer who is so lazy that they cant even jump on the net and do some quick research about their expensive purchase really does deserve to be taken for a sucker in some ways.

If you want to pay bottom dollar, get informed. If you dont mind being ripped off, stay ignorant.

This does have its limits of course and the line i draw is at overt deception:

Consumer: "is this a component vs component test?"

Salesman: "yes"

It annoys me that they sell these things the way they do, but it annoys me more that people are dumb enough to buy them.

I feel the same about LCDs/Plasmas vs Rearpros, but we'll keep this discussion to cables. hehe :blink:.

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Congratulations JB Hi-fi (Indooroopilly, Brisbane)!

Recently I called in at the above store and saw a cable comparison display. The television had a piece of cardboard above the clearer side of the screen, labelled 'component cables'. And above the slightly fuzzy side of the screen, there was a piece of cardboard labelled 'single video cable'. (The single video cable was a composite cable.)

A helpful display! It demonstrated convincingly that component cables can give a noticeably clearer picture than a single composite cable. The labelling was accurate, rather than misleading.

This is the first decent and acceptable video cable comparison display I've seen, so far.

After being educated seeing this type of demonstration, customers will start querying the misleading types of demos in some other stores.

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HN Woden Canberra had a similar setup, but one was monster cable, and the other wasnt. the difference was obvious in the monster setup, but I was not able to confirm in both of the displays (same models) were calibrated the same and the same type of interconnect was being used from the same source.

For analog cables its far better to make your own DIY. Belden have a number of specialist cables that are exceptional. It's not hard, and it's easy to do better than monster/pureav with DIY. AVSForum has comparisons and feedback.

In the analog world there is measureable differences in inductance and other areas between cables. If you have a sufficiently accurate amp and speakers, you can hear differences between different cables. In that respect I dont think it's a con.

For digital connections the only thing I am convinced of is for good quality cables to go longer distances without loosing the signal strength. I'm not sure if quality can be different between cables if we disregard cable run lengths.

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Congratulations JB Hi-fi (Indooroopilly, Brisbane)!

Recently I called in at the above store and saw a cable comparison display. The television had a piece of cardboard above the clearer side of the screen, labelled 'component cables'. And above the slightly fuzzy side of the screen, there was a piece of cardboard labelled 'single video cable'. (The single video cable was a composite cable.)

A helpful display! It demonstrated convincingly that component cables can give a noticeably clearer picture than a single composite cable. The labelling was accurate, rather than misleading.

This is the first decent and acceptable video cable comparison display I've seen, so far.

After being educated seeing this type of demonstration, customers will start querying the misleading types of demos in some other stores.

Its funny you say that MLXXX cos I have also dealt with that exact same store and they were absolutely fantastic. I bought some speakers etc from them at a very good price, but after they'd sold them to me, they found that the colour i wanted (the wood-looking ones not black) wasnt available in that model, and as it was a discontinued line they couldnt get me anymore.

I started to get a bit annoyed as i suspected some kind of trick to get me to pay more for some other ones...but to my surprise they gave me the new ones at the same price as the old, and threw in over 100m of their best quality speaker wire, some sub cables and a rear centre speaker. They also lent me a showroom set of speakers to get me by until the new ones arrived, and then when i came to pick them up i also went to buy a spindle of DVDs and some other stuff...which they told me to not worry about paying for because it was on the house.

Absolutely brilliant experience.

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MLXXX the amount of gold used in most of the RCA connectors is not sufficiently thick for it to make an electrical difference. This is another reason why building your own analog cables is the way to go with producing very high quality cables at reasonable cost.

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I wasn't going to participate further in this debate, because of doubts about the facts, but unfortunately I have now personally witnessed a Monster cable demonstration and feel compelled to report what I saw. The facts were clear-cut.

I am pleased to report that the particular branch (of what is often referred to in this Forum as the 'Hardly Normal' chain) has now removed what was, in my opinion, misleading written promotional material concerning a certain brand of cables. It's to be hoped more stores that have cable comparison displays will cease to rely on questionable written explanations.

However ...

No replacement written material has been provided, that gives even a broad technical explanation.

I note that in the absence of a written explanation, the emphasis is on what oral explanations staff provide.

A non-misleading written explanation would seem to be the most direct way of informing customers. It would reduce the chance of an individual staff member misleading a customer about what an in store cable comparison demonstration was intended to show. It would indicate a store was doing its best to comply with Trade Practices requirements.

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