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Is a gold-plated HDMI cable really worth it (1 Viewer)

Clinton McClure

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I’ll admit that I still have a Monster Power HTS 1600 power conditioner / distribution point for the equipment in my HT rack.
0EAF8159-3571-46DC-A2F8-903D25F46701.jpeg
Was it overpriced? I’m sure it was but I needed an immediate solution and it’s all I could buy locally that day.
I would like to eventually replace it with something newer from a company I feel better about supporting but it’s still doing its job.
 

Clinton McClure

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I remember my parents taking me to Best Buy to advise them on a new tv purchase and not only did they ignore my advice on which DLP tv to get that was in their price range, they also let the blue shirt talk them into a 3’ Monster hdmi cable that cost north of $200. I never went tv shopping with them again.
 

Bryan^H

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I remember my parents taking me to Best Buy to advise them on a new tv purchase and not only did they ignore my advice on which DLP tv to get that was in their price range, they also let the blue shirt talk them into a 3’ Monster hdmi cable that cost north of $200. I never went tv shopping with them again.
Oh no. That is awful. One of the reasons I was scared of visiting Best Buy years ago. I always knew what I was after, and what to look for. But during the comparison/deciding factor of the purchase I was bugged constantly by employees, to the point of distracting me.
I never had that problem at Circuit City, which is why I was sad when they went out.
 

Tony Bensley

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I remember my parents taking me to Best Buy to advise them on a new tv purchase and not only did they ignore my advice on which DLP tv to get that was in their price range, they also let the blue shirt talk them into a 3’ Monster hdmi cable that cost north of $200. I never went tv shopping with them again.
That's so awful, and for a lousy 3' cable on top of that, UGH!! :thumbsdown:

Awhile back, I picked up a 5' HDMI cable from Dollarama for $3.50 plus tax. If/when I ever have $200 to spare, it'll go towards much needed household appliances and/or actual device upgrades.

CHEERS! :)
 

edee_em

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I remember my parents taking me to Best Buy to advise them on a new tv purchase and not only did they ignore my advice on which DLP tv to get that was in their price range, they also let the blue shirt talk them into a 3’ Monster hdmi cable that cost north of $200. I never went tv shopping with them again.
I hate it when they spend my inheritance like that !! 😭
 

ManW_TheUncool

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I hate it when they spend my inheritance like that !! 😭
Here, son. Your brother gets the house, your sister gets the bank accounts, and you get this lousy hdmi cable.

I swear my family might actually worry about that stuff, LOL -- and don't get me started, @JohnRice... :huh::rolleyes::lol:

Well, I don't have any monstrous HDMI cables for inheritance, but they might feel a little that way about my various hobby gears (and movie collection, especially my collection of Stargate alone, which should probably get its own section in a mausoleum, LOL) anyway... :laugh::laugh::laugh::rolling-smiley:

I’ll admit that I still have a Monster Power HTS 1600 power conditioner / distribution point for the equipment in my HT rack.
View attachment 106311
Was it overpriced? I’m sure it was but I needed an immediate solution and it’s all I could buy locally that day.
I would like to eventually replace it with something newer from a company I feel better about supporting but it’s still doing its job.

I never went that route in the past, but did finally just splurge a bit and exceed $100 spent on a Furman unit recommended by Wirecutter, et al, for my updated HT setup instead of just another $20-40 APC/Belden/etc surge protector I usually use.

Of course, unlike you, I do live in (at least the parts of) NYC that generally provide very reliable, fairly clean, uninterrupted power and seem fairly safe from things like lightning strikes. IF I lived where you are (or similar), I'm guessing I probably would've spent much more all along... but then again, I'm probably already spending at least an order of magnitude more on housing costs and such, LOL...

_Man_
 

Clinton McClure

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Luckily, where we moved to last year benefits from underground utilities (including electricity) and we’ve yet to have a power outage, or even a surge, during storms.
 

DFurr

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I have always looked at Monster Cables as an overly greedy company preying on the uneducated. It's a shame they are still in business.
Exactly!! I totally agree.
What's hard for me to wrap my head around is how much people spend for speakers. Unbelievable!!
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Exactly!! I totally agree.
What's hard for me to wrap my head around is how much people spend for speakers. Unbelievable!!

Yeah, "interconnects" and speaker cables can get pretty crazy, and actually, Monster is probably pretty tame for that esoteric audiophile arena...

I do think you don't necessarily wanna scrimp too much on them and get something poorly made, particularly around the connectors.

I just bought some pretty nice speaker cables from Blue Jeans that cost ~$60 each (for 20ft length) -- and much of the cost was in the connectors (and the involved work)...

_Man_
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Oops… just noticed it was for speaker cables and not HDMI cables, but my point remains.

I'm not aware of any quality, well-made/terminated, higher gauge speaker cables costing much less than ~$70 for 20ft. The Canare 4S11 cables I chose for LCR channels, which is BJC's most expensive, can also be bought unterminated for ~$40. They have other cheaper (Belden) options that cost as low as ~$18 unterminated, $50-55 terminated for 20ft -- and they offer pretty nice, locking bananas, if you want banana plugs for terminated (and interestingly, do not charge extra for bi-wire termination, which is an option for the Canare 4S11). I only went this route for the front LCR channels, not surrounds (nor ceiling/height speakers) -- for those, I'm just going w/ inexpensive rolls of Monoprice 14 AWG CL3 wires (from Amazon) that I'll just terminate myself. I only felt the LCR channels (and maybe subwoofer) *might* benefit that extra bit from better, but not ludicrously priced, well-terminated cables -- actually, I might've gone cheaper for the center too, but that's just 1 cable and I just felt better about having it match the stereo mains.

Sure, I could easily have chosen the $50-55 option instead of ~$70 option, but didn't think saving $15-20 each for 3 rather long cables to drive (ELAC) speakers that cost at least $500 each (and quite probably more if/when I upgrade speakers again in the future) was worth reducing that peace of mind. I'm certainly not crazy about terminating those quality, higher gauge cables myself for my main speakers though, so the extra cost there is easily worth it to me. FWIW, I had actually originally chosen those for much more expensive, extremely hard-to-drive, former flagship Thiels (and you wouldn't wanna know what a lot of audiophiles spend on cables for systems w/ that level of speakers :lol:)... but I was recently forced into major change of plans for foreseeable future :huh: (and switched to ELAC Uni-Fi 2.0s for LCR)...

_Man_
 

Scott Merryfield

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I had a co-worker many years ago who was in to really high end audio. He had a pair of speaker cables that were encased in water and cost close to $2,000, which was more than my front B&W 600 Series tower speakers cost. I thought he was a little off the deep end.

Personally, I use generic 12ga copper wire from a spool, and terminate the ends myself using decent quality banana plugs. The plugs are for convenience, not audio quantity. It's much easier to connect speaker cables to the tightly packed back of an AVR using plugs than bare wire.
 

edee_em

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Like most things, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Who hasn't swapped out 18 gauge speaker wire for 14 or 12 gauge once we got a nice set of speakers or were convinced that thicker wire was the answer? The point here is do companies have to charge hundreds or even thousands to get that to us? If it's a must due to recommendations from the speaker manufacturers, then hey, what's $2000 more after dropping $20000 on fronts? Maybe it's like needing to use expensive, high octane fuel for that expensive car you purchased? And, perhaps, there are some numbers to support the thicker wire/better sound equivalency. All I know is that when I'm sitting down with the family to watch Spiderman during our Marvel Universe Marathon (yes, that's happening!!) I don't have any measuring equipment that would tell me the difference. For the first time that I have had surround sound in our house (90s?), my wife, last night, said, "Hey, you can hear the sound come out of the speakers back here." Point is, many people/most(?) people don't care. What is so important to us, how the sound gets there, is not important to them. They are about the end, we are about the means.

Quick story: My first set of "real" speakers (circa 1972) was a pair of Dynaco A25s, which are still in service on the basement stereo setup, that I bought off of my cooler, older cousin. One day I needed to bring the pair outside but I didn't have any speaker wire long enough (had to keep the receiver and tape deck inside: tape deck, that's funny). Rummaged around my dad's odds and ends and found a spool of wire/something that could only be described as "twist-tie" like. I don't know if there is a gauge smaller than 24, but if there is, this stuff was it. Anyway, connected this stuff and the Dynaco's sang like they were in the basement. The run must have been close to 40', using something that wouldn't work closing a bag of bread.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Like most things, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Who hasn't swapped out 18 gauge speaker wire for 14 or 12 gauge once we got a nice set of speakers or were convinced that thicker wire was the answer? The point here is do companies have to charge hundreds or even thousands to get that to us? If it's a must due to recommendations from the speaker manufacturers, then hey, what's $2000 more after dropping $20000 on fronts? Maybe it's like needing to use expensive, high octane fuel for that expensive car you purchased? And, perhaps, there are some numbers to support the thicker wire/better sound equivalency. All I know is that when I'm sitting down with the family to watch Spiderman during our Marvel Universe Marathon (yes, that's happening!!) I don't have any measuring equipment that would tell me the difference. For the first time that I have had surround sound in our house (90s?), my wife, last night, said, "Hey, you can hear the sound come out of the speakers back here." Point is, many people/most(?) people don't care. What is so important to us, how the sound gets there, is not important to them. They are about the end, we are about the means.

Quick story: My first set of "real" speakers (circa 1972) was a pair of Dynaco A25s, which are still in service on the basement stereo setup, that I bought off of my cooler, older cousin. One day I needed to bring the pair outside but I didn't have any speaker wire long enough (had to keep the receiver and tape deck inside: tape deck, that's funny). Rummaged around my dad's odds and ends and found a spool of wire/something that could only be described as "twist-tie" like. I don't know if there is a gauge smaller than 24, but if there is, this stuff was it. Anyway, connected this stuff and the Dynaco's sang like they were in the basement. The run must have been close to 40', using something that wouldn't work closing a bag of bread.

You know... it was fun(ny) back in the early 90's reading about some "heretic" reviewer for Stereophile (Sam Tellig IIRC) raving about trying some lamp cords instead of multi-$K cables for his speakers (alongside all the other $$$ reviews) at some points... :laugh:

Of course, none of that went on over in the other high(er) end rag, TAS...

Digital essentially makes all of that irrelevant though, which is why I definitely agree on spending substantially less for HDMI cables (w/ few exceptions/caveats)... not that I'd ever wanna exceed $100 on one piece of analog cabling either...

_Man_
 
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BobO'Link

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Banana plugs are dead easy to put on. "Well terminated" would only mean they've also been soldered to the wire - another dead easy thing to do. There's no reason to pay more than a couple of $$ each per connection for such service. Like Scott says, generic 12ga multi-strand copper wire is one of the best speaker wires you can use. Heck, I've often used "zip wire" (aka lamp cord) with no issues and couldn't tell the difference between that and thicker wire. Maybe it can be measured but if it truly can't be heard then who cares?
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Banana plugs are dead easy to put on. "Well terminated" would only mean they've also been soldered to the wire - another dead easy thing to do. There's no reason to pay more than a couple of $$ each per connection for such service. Like Scott says, generic 12ga multi-strand copper wire is one of the best speaker wires you can use. Heck, I've often used "zip wire" (aka lamp cord) with no issues and couldn't tell the difference between that and thicker wire. Maybe it can be measured but if it truly can't be heard then who cares?

We can say that for just about everything we might spend $ on these days, no? And yeah, I generally do that myself too... but obviously, we all only have so much time (and desire for DIY) on our hands to go around... and not wanna do too much scrutinizing and DIY at such levels, if we can afford it...

Heck! I even tried my hand w/ some basic violin repairs/tweaks and even cutting/adjusting a bridge or two instead of paying $200-300 to have each done since our family was growing into 4 players of various levels -- I actually even once tried using nail polish remover to take off some (albeit too much) "varnish" that was obviously way overdone (probably the cheapest way possible while looking nice to the untrained novice) and killing the tone of this old, factory-made student violin I bought off eBay for $100, LOL. Yeah, I sorta went the mostly DIY route for shopping/adjusting/repairing stringed instruments for over a decade for the family, but the kids are growing a bit beyond the DIY skill level I've chosen/attained (and enjoyed) for myself, so will have to start paying big $$$ on that front if any of them actually continue w/ that into the advanced collegiate/pre-pro level and beyond...

And I just finally started using an Instant Pot... and like a lot of others, I'm wondering what took me so long, LOL... but if we all did that, most of the restaurants will go out of business even w/out the pandemic me thinks...

_Man_
 

jcroy

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Of course, none of that went on over in the other high(er) end rag, TAS...

(On a tangent).

Ever since stereo magazines stopped publishing technical measurement details, they're not much more than "cheerleading". Basically reading a 100+ page opinion piece or op-ed.

It goes to show that people are willing to pay $$$ to read something they want to believe or already believe.
 

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