Mini Cable Shoot-out: Monster MV2CV vs. Signal Cable CV

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by Edward J M, Jan 24, 2004.

  1. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Intro

    I upgraded my component video cables from Monster Cable MV2CV with the Signal Cable brand.

    The Signal Cable product is based on the Canare L-5CFB cable, and is hand-terminated with true 75 ohm RCA connectors. For more information, go here:

    http://signalcable.com/component.html

    I have no affiliation with Signal Cable - I personally use them because they do very high quality work, and I like to support businesses in my own state whenever I can. As an alternative, this cable can be done DIY (if you are confident in your termination abilities), or purchased from other cable vendors.

    Equipment Used:

    Denon DVD-2900
    Hitachi 53” Ultravision 16x9 (calibrated with Avia)

    Picture Resolution:

    The improvement in fine detail and resolution was quite significant. The Monster product always seemed slightly out of focus in comparison.

    In the opener of “Below”, every metal rivet on the airplane chassis was clearly resolved with the Signal Cable. The rivets were blurry and indistinct with the Monster. Other DVDs showed similar resolution improvements every time.

    Background shots on most DVDs took on an almost liquid quality with the Signal Cable, with fine details visible everywhere and less video noise/grain.

    Color:

    Low light scenes showed the most improvement with the Signal Cable, with subtle blues and reds colors coming through with perfect hue. In comparison, the Monster Cable washed out colors during the dark scenes.

    In addition, the Monster overemphasized greens during dark scenes, whereas the Signal Cable brought a more balanced and natural looking tan/green.

    Without question though, the biggest color improvement was blue. Blues went from ho-hum to simply stunning in pureness and hue. The improvement in blues was frankly almost beyond belief for what could be expected with a cable change alone. Tough tests included Underworld (shot almost exclusively at night) - the lightning strikes, the vampire eyes, the irradiated bullets, neon lighting, the subway walls – everything blue was simply a huge improvement.

    Summary:

    If you can’t tell, I’m VERY excited about this cable upgrade. By any HT standard, I had a very good PQ with the Monster. But the PQ with the Signal Cable is just stunning. I honestly was not expecting such an obvious improvement in PQ and I’m generally a skeptic when it comes to these things. But I have to say, the Signal Cable (Canare L-5CFB) is truly a reference quality interconnect - it blew away the Monster Cable MV2 in every respect for about the same price. Highly recommended.

    Regards,

    Ed
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Return the Monster's to the store you bought them from for a new set and see if matters are still the same. Lifetime warranty and all that.
     
  3. Frank Carter

    Frank Carter Screenwriter

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    Hi Ed,
    Glad to see you're pleased with your new cables. In general, what actually accounts for the better signal transfer with higher performing video cables?
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    (boy, did you ask the wrong question [​IMG] )

    [Engage Lecture Mode:]

    A large part of it is bandwidth which translates to "what does the cable do to the lowest video frequencies, and what does it do to the highest frequencies?". The cable that has the least difference shows better focus and color saturation.

    Here is the frequency response chart for the coax used by Signal Cable (Monster does not provide this information to us)

    [​IMG]

    Look at where each of the lines hit the 3 dbline. This is where the signal-strength has dropped by 50%. (Attenuation is a fancy word for "reduced")

    You want to pick a coax that can take 3-times or 4-times your maximum frequency and have less than a 50% drop.

    Here are some max frequencies:

    Component Video: 4 Mhz
    Progressive Video: 13 Mhz
    720/1080 HD video: 35 Mhz

    My guess is the Monster Video 2 cables are designed for Component video. If they followed the 3X rule, their cable probably creates a 50% signal drop around 12 Mhz.

    But Edward used a progressive-scan DVD player which produces a lot of video signals in the 4-13 Mhz range. That is why he saw a visible difference between the Monster and Canare cables - The Monster cable was not designed for progressive or HD video.

    Please, Please, Please learn 1 thing from Edwards fine write-up:

    If the cables dont say "HD Rated" on the package, they only have to work with Component Video signals. Not progressive let alone HD.
     
  5. Frank Carter

    Frank Carter Screenwriter

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    Thanks a buch Bob...that was a very informative post(for me at least).
     
  6. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Yes, Bob crushed that answer out of the ballpark much better than I could have.

    There is nothing "wrong" with the Monster Cable product per se, so I really don't feel right about returning it and asking for a refund.

    Bob is 100% right; it is a mid-grade component video cable and works as advertised, but it sure doesn't hold a candle to the Canare 5CFB cable - the differences in detail resolution and color hues (again especially the blues) were obvious to everyone involved in the A-B comparison.

    A really big improvement for not much money - something we all can appreciate and I wanted to share with HTF. And thanks to Bob for the education on the frequency vs. attenuation for progressive scan and HDTV. It looks like the Canare has a -3dB point at 250 MHz so even for HDTV (35 MHz x 4 = 140 MHz), the Signal Cable should be A-OK. [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Ed
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I wasn't questioning your findings Ed simply indicating that the differences are so startling that I'd bring them back not for a refund, but an exchange. That way you'd have a decent spare on hand rather than something of questionable quality. Regardless, the Canare offering is a good one.
     
  8. JoshuaT

    JoshuaT Stunt Coordinator

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    That website looks pretty good, but I was curious if this is just some guy that is making these cables in his basement or what? I have a buddy who makes his own cables and they are homerun or miss by a mile... how are they tested?

    ~josh
     
  9. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Most likely, as the Canare system makes the cables very easy to build. In fact, I think these hand-built methods usually offer a better cable in terms of performance and build than something machined in China.

    In other words, there is nothing wrong with buying from "some guy in his basement"- most of the major canare sellers (Signal, Blue Jeans, Wicked, Etc) are just hand built by a single builder.

    -Vince
     
  10. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    I'd directly ask Frank over at Signal Cable about his QA/QC and testing methods.

    I use SC because I (and my fellow A/V enthusiasts) have been very pleased with the build/termination quality. We've never had a bad cable or a loose connection, and for this peace of mind I can certainly live with the (still very reasonable) asking prices.

    As I stated above, you can certainly buy Belden or Canare offerings from other vendors (Vince listed a few), or go DIY if you are confident in your termination abilities.

    Finally, I checked the Monster website and reconfirmed what Bob stated: The least expensive component video offering from Monster that is rated for HDTV is the Z300, with the M500CV, and the M1000CV being the premium HDTV-rated offerings. Live and learn, I guess. [​IMG]

    Ed
     

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