I set up an FTP site for AudioQuest and uploaded the Home Entertainment by D-Tronics video featuring David Ellington of AudioQuest (if anyone wants to download the video, please drop me an email…I’ll share the credentials to the FTP site). This was the very same file that I analyzed. I made no changes to the audio or video. Amir at the What’s Best Forum confirmed that my analysis was accurate and that the audio was altered during postproduction. I’m confident that AQ’s people will also confirm that the soundtrack of the promotional video doesn’t accurately reflect improvements caused by the various grades of AQ HDMI cables. The questions that remain are who was responsible for the modifications, who directed that the sound be “enhanced” to show fidelity improvements, and how is it possible for any interested party not to notice that the claimed sonic improvements couldn’t possibly be the result of different grades of HDMI cables?
Most of the comments I’ve read around the web devolve into the same age-old argument about whether cables make a difference in the fidelity of your system or not. Intelligent people on both sides of the debate make their cases without any convincing anyone to change their mind. Believers will continue to believe while those that tend to the “show me data” end of the spectrum remain steadfast in their rejection of $1000 HDMI or USB cables. You all know where I stand on this issue. Don’t buy cables thinking they are going to improve the fidelity of your system. If you like the wonderful windings, the cool colors, the heavy connectors, or the status of a branded cable, then by all means spend the money…but don’t expect the sound to improve. There are plenty of other things you can do…at far less cost…that will affect your sound.
A functioning digital audio interface cable (AES-EBU, S/P DIF, SDIF, USB, or HDMI) cannot and should not alter the bit stream connecting a digital source component to a digital destination. All those “believers” who challenge this important fact are living in a dream world. Simply stating that hearing is believing doesn’t cut it. I know there are many individuals, reviewers, companies, consumers, and publications that profess otherwise but they all have a vested interest in perpetuating this myth…and others. Professional audio studios don’t use expensive cables or power cords so why should you?
I can’t say that I’ve tested every permutation, format, cable, connector, or material but I did compare the data delivered by a $300 USB cable and a $5 USB and found that each successfully delivered exactly the same data. The audio from the different cables when the polarity of one was reversed completely and exactly nulled the other. The both accomplished their tasks with equal “fidelity”…as expected.
I know this sort of factual or “objective” demonstration drives the “subjectivists” crazy but I believe doing a rigorous evaluation informs consumers. My favorite recent comment is quoted below:
Ever call and ask Benchmark Audio what USB cable they suggest to use with their DAC. I own a DAC2 HGC (and love it)
I need a longer run (10 feet) than I have now. Reading this thread I decided to call them. Today they recommended the best $6.95 USB cable I can find. I cancelled my Audioquest USB on back order at Music Direct. Yes I have the cancelled email to prove it 🙂
I trust Benchmark, why would they want their wonderful product to perform poorly.
Your turn to prove HDMI cables matter now. To an audience …
Now Mark. Excellent analysis, do not lower yourself to their misguided emotions