Bettercables vs. AR

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JohnMW, Oct 28, 2001.

  1. JohnMW

    JohnMW Second Unit

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    Yes I did a search before posting this. [​IMG]
    There seems to be no real advantage to paying double, maybe triple, the price for interconnects compared to the price of the Acoustic Research Pro series cables. Can you really see/hear the difference between the 2 brands?
    [Edited last by John M Welch on October 28, 2001 at 02:04 PM]
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    The answer is "YES" and "NO".
    To run audio/video 4 feet to a tube-type TV of about 35%, there is no advantage to buying BC. AR will do just fine.
    But if you start doing long-runs, using a bigger display or (for audio) move into more accurate speakers, the cables DO have a noticible effect.
    My rule of thumb is to stay with the modest AT/Radio Shack cables for any system below this:
    - 45" display
    - 4 feet runs
    - Source is a VCR/CATV box
    - Standard composite video
    Once you start going into long runs, Progressive/HD signals, or larger displays, then you should purchase Better Cables.
    Hope this help.
     
  3. JohnMW

    JohnMW Second Unit

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    That's perfect, I appreciate the reply. My A/V cables will be no longer than 3-6ft.
     
  4. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Bob,
    I sort of agree and sort of disagree at the same time.
    Yes I do agree with your assesment concerning long runs
    and very large displays. What I disagree with is that I
    doubt you will see a diffrence between AR's Pro Series
    Cablings and BetterCables.com's. Both are top quality
    and AR's Pro Series aren't exactly dirt cheap for long
    cable runs.
    My theory is that ifyou use good base materials (Cable,
    connectors,Oxygen Free connections, EMI Sheilding) you
    end up with a superior cable reguarless of the name that
    is on the cable.
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
    Brett DiMichele
    My Home Theater Site!
    [email protected]
     
  5. Brian Corr

    Brian Corr Supporting Actor

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    I have compared 3M s-video cables and saw no visible improvement over the AR pro cables. This was on a toshiba TN61X81.
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    what are the criteria for speakers and displays that would lend themselves to discerning differences? Has better cables published some comparative test data to illustrate superiority or at least differences?
     
  7. Mike Knapp

    Mike Knapp Supporting Actor

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    Chu,
    You are certainly vociferous and tenacious about your opinion that cables are mostly the same. In fact, you are almost as zealous as I am from the other perspective! [​IMG]
    Would you mind telling us what you are using as home theater or hi-fi equipment and your experience level in the home theater hobby? Also if applicable, your experience as an electrical engineer? This way we can determine a proper level of creedence to give your assertions.
    Respectfully,
    Mike
     
  8. JasonRH

    JasonRH Second Unit

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    Brian,
    You had both the Bettercables and Catcables brands, right? So you thought the AR series produced as good a picture? Did you return the others? Sorry, I just remember (I think) that you had done a comparison of bettercables vs. catcables s-video and found them both to be excellent. Just wondered if you thought they were worth the price.
     
  9. JerryW

    JerryW Supporting Actor

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    Chu, what Mike wants to know is if you're an EE... because, if you are, then you're screwed. [​IMG]
    Ya see, Hi-Fi is an esoteric experience, an audial metaphysical practice of almost kabbalistic proportions... a religion if you will. No one can measure with instrumentaion the great depth and spirit that true Hi-Fi can recreate. *tongue firmly planted in cheek*
    Truth is, most aspects of this hobby can be properly measured, but I'll readily admit that there are perhaps some facets of it that can't (yet). For this reason, lovers of this great lifestyle should do whatever they can to improve their listening experience. And if putting rolls of dimes under their couch improves their low-end frequency response (yes, I have seen someone claim to do this), then that's all that really matters.
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    September 11, 2001
    "Those who died will always be remembered.
    Those who killed will never be forgotten.
    We who remain will not let it happen again."
     
  10. Jay_E

    Jay_E Stunt Coordinator

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    Why is it that some people think it is impossible to mass produce a quality cable at a reasonable price? The AR pro series are a perfect example of such cables. Could someone please explain why is it that only small boutique cable companies like Bettercables and Catcables are capable of producing quality cables? Making cables is not rocket science. Has anyone actually tried the AR pro series cables and found them to be inadaquate? I would be very interested in knowing what the circumstances were in that case. I am not saying that in some cicumstances cable brand A might not be better that brand B. What I am trying to say is that I don't understand the mindset of someone who thinks that if a cable isn't made by a specialty shop and cost in the $100 and up range then it must be crap. Just my thoughts.
    Jay
    [Edited last by Jay_E on October 29, 2001 at 08:28 AM]
     
  11. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Hey I manufactured my own Bi-Wire sets for my mains and I
    think they sound better than any cable on the market, and
    that includes the TaraLabs Zero's which sell for a paultry
    $32,000.00 per 8 foot cable. Why do my cables sound better?
    Well for starters I used only the finest purest 12Ga Copper
    wire which was hand forged by the ancient people of the far
    away Tibetan Mountains. Then I hand soldered all 300 strands
    seperately and when the soldering was done I quenched the
    Banana Terminations in Unicorn Urine which as we know adds
    warmth to the sound. Then to dry it all off I used a special
    cotten towel I stole from the Waldorf Estoria that had been
    previously sprinkled with a white poweder (not what you are
    thinking) Pixie Dust!
    Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dogs Tails!
    [​IMG]
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
    Brett DiMichele
    My Home Theater Site!
    [email protected]
     
  12. JerryW

    JerryW Supporting Actor

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    Good question Jay, the truth is that most of the time all the cable hype is just crap. But, I do believe that in some hi-fi systems cables can make a difference.
    Does AR make quality cables? Yes. Are they adequate for almost anyone's needs? Yes. Are they right for everyone? No. See, one advantage to boutique cables such as Catcables, Homegrownaudio, Kimber, etc. is their attention to detail, craftsmanship, and consistant quality.
    For instance, I use Catcables quite a bit (and the cables I don't buy from them I make myself). I like their locking RCAs, custom build capabilities, and high quality wire. If I tell Doug that I need a 29" (.75 meter) pair of Silvercats, he can do it. I'll have them within the week and the price will be about half way between what he charges for his .5 and 1 meter lengths. I'm not going to quibble over a few $ when I'm getting that level of quality and customer service.
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    September 11, 2001
    "Those who died will always be remembered.
    Those who killed will never be forgotten.
    We who remain will not let it happen again."
     
  13. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Can mass produced cables sound as good as the Catcables type ones? Of course they can..the trouble is to get a mass produced cable that uses locking RCA's, silver solder and silver wire you are looking at MAJOR dollars compared to the more affordable prices that companies like catcables can offer.
    Anyway back to the quesiton at hand I'm using AR cables for my video runs (s-video) and for my audio connections that aren't related to my 2 channel audio...ie my VCR does not require the resolution that catcables offers. I do however notice a significant difference between different cables that connect my amp to the the pre amp and to the DAC...for these connections I'm willing to pay the little extra.
    ------------------
    http://www.mts.net/~glendap/
     
  14. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Botique cables are great.... And even better when you make
    them yourself! A pair of 12Ga Bi-Wires (15' each) I have a
    total of $50.00 into materials. And I have enough materials
    left that I can make another 15' pair and sell on ebay for
    I dunno $100.00 if I use catchy words in the listing! [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    "Audiophile quality, Totaly transparent, Silky Smooth, 100%
    Botique look, yadda yadda" [​IMG]
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
    Brett DiMichele
    My Home Theater Site!
    [email protected]
    [Edited last by Brett DiMichele on October 29, 2001 at 10:07 AM]
     
  15. Brian Corr

    Brian Corr Supporting Actor

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    I did compare 3M lengths of S video cables from Cat, BC and AR pro and I couldn't see a difference on my ISF'd Toshiba TN61X81.
    All are excellent cables and Brad and Doug are excellent to deal with and can handle custom lengths.
    I still have the cables and was gonna do some more comparisons next time I had some other people over.
    But to my eyes, the AR pro's are just fine!
    Now if I could only remember where I put my glasses! [​IMG]
     
  16. Jay_E

    Jay_E Stunt Coordinator

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    Andrew Pratt said:
     
  17. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Jay while I agree in principle with your logic on the advantages of mass producing products in real life it seems the added middlemen, marketing and inflated prices end up maning that compareable probucts end up costing more then companies like SVS and catcables.
    ------------------
    http://www.mts.net/~glendap/
    [Edited last by Andrew Pratt on October 29, 2001 at 11:57 AM]
     
  18. Mike Knapp

    Mike Knapp Supporting Actor

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    I wasnt trying to dis Chu. I was asking for his experience level so I could have a better idea of where he was in this hobby. He often makes some valid points but he also seems to jump in on every wire thread to try and save the innocent from the snake-oil salesmen. [​IMG]
    I meant no disrespect and was just curious who I was arguing with! [​IMG]
    Mike
    [Edited last by Mike Knapp on October 30, 2001 at 06:01 AM]
     
  19. JasonRH

    JasonRH Second Unit

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    Brian Corr,
    Thanks for the update on the comparisons.
     
  20. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    I am a long time cable sceptic. My current cables are mostly AR Pro series and Canare. Recently, I bought a used AudioQuest Cinemaquest Component Cable for only $20 at a dealer bankrupcy sale. I also just bought a pair of BetterCables Silver Serpent Component Video cables on the recommendations of Obi and MK. By this weekend, I will know, which cables "LOOK" the best to me. My testing will be wholly unscientific. I will simply watch and switch, watch and switch, watch and switch... back and forth between different cables and OTA HDTV and progressive scan DVD. By the end of my testing I will "KNOW" one of these things:
    - The BC cables look the best and are worth the money.
    - The BC cables look the best but the improvement is not worth, to me, the additional $250 versus my Canare cables.
    - The CinemaQuest Cables look as good as the BC cables and holy cow did I get a bargain!
    - All the cables look pretty darn good...
    Whatever is see... I will post.
    ------------------
    Take Care,
    merc
    ----------------
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    God Bless America!!!
     

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