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Are 'Monster' Cables Worth It?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the your-cables-may-bite-you dept.

The Almighty Buck 415

Digitarius asks: "Are "Monster" cables really better, or are they just more expensive? I'm setting up my HDTV, and I can get Component video cables made by Belkin for half the price of the Monster cable equivalents. Are there any actual stats or studies to back up Monster's claims of superiority? So far most people tell me to get the Monster cables, 'just to be sure,' but what's the real truth?"

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415 comments

use any old thing (4, Informative)

Mr.Coffee (168480) | more than 9 years ago | (#12023853)

unless you're looking at a significant length cable run (25 feet or more), i highly doubt you'll notice any difference at all, even between regular patch cords and a "component video" set of cables (which are three patch cords bound together). i have used monster cable speaker cables and signal cables, and you'll not notice a large difference using plain lamp cord and regular cables. as far as component video is concerned, you'll want to make sure the three cables are as similar as possible, and i recommend true coax, with the proper resistance bnc terminated ends (52 ohm i believe). for rca component video, 75 ohm coax terminated in rca plugs works very well, a friend of mine pointed out that for analog audio, this setup works well. for both situations, the components being connected seem to appreciate the higher resistance cable. it helps to curb noise.

either way, unless you're looking at a long run of cables, pretty much anything will do well. and for digital audio, it dosen't matter what the cable is, if it'll pass the signal, it'll work, (there's no signal loss with digital connecitons)

all that being said, monster cables sure are purty... i like purty cables...

Re:use any old thing (4, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024159)

the funniest thing I've seen was gold plated optical connector...

monster cables might be a bit better than the cheapest of cheap.. but the situations where you would benefit from that are very uncommon(AND EVEN THEN THEY'RE NOT WORTH THE MONEY! what you're paying with monstercables is the brand).

Re:use any old thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12024612)

Make sure you use good quality cable, though. Regular lamp cord is not very good for speakers, it has high resistance and the copper isn't very good quality. Lots of companies make heavy-gauge speaker cable with oxygen-free copper that doesn't cost much more than lamp cord. Of course, Monster cable is rarely worth it, you can always find a better cable for the same or a lower price.

Component cable quality is significantly more important. Make sure the cable is made of oxygen-free copper, has good shielding and that all connections are terminated with solder. Even partially oxidized connections will noticeably increase noise.

Re:use any old thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12024951)

check out the hook up on penny arcade
http://www.penny-arcade.com/hookupmain.php3 [penny-arcade.com]

Re:use any old thing (1)

nocomment (239368) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025116)

one time the cable went out at my house while some friends and I were watching the superbowl. I pulled the cable out of the back of the cable box (it was digital cable) and stuck the coax on my tongue. I was suprised to see how well I worked like an antenna. It wasn't perfect, but it worked.

If I worked so well as an antenna I doubt "Monster" cable will do anything for you. The only time I've seen cables make a difference is a friend that had a full kilowatt powering his car amplifiers (for the record it was obnoxious).

Depends on your other stero components (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12023859)

If all you got is a lousy Schneider CD player then go with Belkin. If you got a more high-end marantz OR NAD then the monster cables (or better - there's an open end above monster cables, for example with prices of 3000 Euro per meter!) will be worth them.

Re:Depends on your other stero components-AND YOU (5, Insightful)

jsailor (255868) | more than 9 years ago | (#12023997)

When I got into audio I thought all of these things mattered, but I slowly realized that I couldn't tell the difference. Much like I can't tell the difference between a diamond with E color and F color. 12 years ago back a company introduced a cable that somehow carried different frequencies at different rates or some other similar magic - I really can't remember. A friend of mine swore he could tell a difference, I couldn't. He dropped hundreds on the cables, I didn't.
Visit one of your friends who is recommending monster cable, listen to his system. Swap the cables with lower-end ones, and see if you can tell the difference. That hour of time may put your mind at ease.

Re:Depends on your other stero components-AND YOU (1)

Mr.Coffee (168480) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024086)

That's a really good suggestion, please mod parent up.

Re:Depends on your other stero components-AND YOU (1)

tchuladdiass (174342) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024769)

Or better yet, swap them without your friend knowing, then ask him about about the sound quality a few weeks later. If he doesn't complain about the quality difference, then you only have a placebo difference.

Re:Depends on your other stero components-AND YOU (2, Funny)

pclminion (145572) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025380)

Visit one of your friends who is recommending monster cable, listen to his system. Swap the cables with lower-end ones, and see if you can tell the difference.

Actually, a better experiment would be to swap the cables when your friend isn't looking, and see if HE notices. Also, wear Kevlar.

Re:Depends on your other stero components (2, Insightful)

narrowhouse (1949) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024947)

If you think there is an audio cable that is WORTH 3000 Euro a foot, I seriously suggest you reprioritize, but hey it is your money.

from my own experience... (2, Informative)

rogabean (741411) | more than 9 years ago | (#12023896)

...with my HTPC/HDTV setup. I have found that I notice no difference between the Monster cables I have and the other brands I have laying around. Only really important thing I can stress is Gold->Gold Silver->Silver. Don't mix and match those for corrosion reasons. Shielded cables are good, but they don't have to be the more expensive Monster cables.

The above is just my experience... and of course YMMV.

Re:from my own experience... (2, Informative)

Paladin128 (203968) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024501)

In my experience, Monster Cable is very good, but not necessarily the best.

In high-end Home Theater/Home Audio/etc., cables do matter. NEVER use the cheapo skinny no-brand cables for anything greater than 15" TV set, or any audio setup you spent more than $200 for. There's a huge jump from going to better than junk cables, a much lesser jump going from those to premium brand cables (like Monster, Acoustic Research, etc.)

Go to a decent (but not too snooty) hi-fi store. Ask them what they recommend for someone on a budget. The often carry brands you'll have never heard of that will be better than Monster for the same price. Monster makes good stuff, but frankly they charge too much for it.

Now, where Monster Cable excels, IMHO, is in game console cables. We upgraded from the stock cables on our X-Box and Game Cube to Monster S-Video cables, and the difference was nothing short of staggering. Plus, they give you long runs (10') in a nice snagless casing. Super happy with the results!

Re:from my own experience... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12025123)

going from composite to svideo gives huge quality improvement!

film at 11.

monster cables are not worth what they're asking for it.

Re:from my own experience... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12025432)


Spoken like an audiophile. Fact is that the better cables matter much much much much less than the technology used, such as svideo vs. coax vs. component, etc. As long as the cables are sheilded where needed, and they aren't completely broken, they'll work just fine.

Was your X-Box move from coax to svideo or did you really go from svideo to svideo, because the "Monster" brand is just there to suck money out of people. I bet the stock xbox cables are just those standard RF adapters, which suck in all kinds of interference.

Re:from my own experience... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12025522)


Hehe, I just looked, and the xbox stock cables just have RCA jacks on them. Of course you'll see a difference moving from them to svideo (again Monster is irrelevant). The fallacies of Slashdot have been averted, yet again!

Re:from my own experience... (3, Informative)

DShard (159067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024518)

Gold does not corrode readily and silver-oxide is a conductor. gold->silver should not cause either one to corrode differently, instead air contact and dc current (as in any speaker signal) will. on the other hand, both have a different electrical characteristics that will alter the sound. How noticable and whether it is a bad thing is probably a matter of taste and imagination.

Simple Answer (0)

dcocos (128532) | more than 9 years ago | (#12023911)

No, next time use google.

If you don't like my answer, then my 2nd answer is "Your Monster cables will make your Bose system rock man!"

Re:Simple Answer (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12024515)

No, next time use google.
He did use google. It 302 redirected him here...

it doesnt really matter what we say (4, Insightful)

Anonymouse Cownerd (754174) | more than 9 years ago | (#12023929)

you try monster cable and radio shack cable in your setup. if you can't hear a difference, return the monster cable.

it doesn't matter if WE can hear a difference, if you cannot then it is not worth the money for you, even if money is not an issue as you claim.

Not worth it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12023930)

Generic cable is good enough unless you're running a long distance. If that's the case, use coaxial.

Component cable is for short runs only.

Electrons no different (4, Informative)

jgardn (539054) | more than 9 years ago | (#12023955)

As a physicist, I can tell you there are two important qualities for the wires, both of which won't affect the sound quality. Those two factors is how well the wires connect to the posts, and how well the wires transmit the signal.

If there were some frequency dependencies, then you would see a degradation of sound. But there isn't. If there were some variability of resistance based on current, then there would be a degradation of sound. But there isn't.

The only benefit your get from monster cables is a perhaps slightly lower resistance. That is all. The higher resistance of standard wires can easily be overcome by "turning up the volume".

So, Monster Cables are not worth it, strictly speaking. The only reason people get Monster Cables is the same reason people get gold-plated pens. Other than a status symbol, it is meaningless.

And besides, people who sport jewelry or expensive toys tend to be poorer than those who are more modest. (Case in point: It seems these spinners people buy for their cars are bought by the lower class in my town. Where they get the money for this, yet can't pay for their children's college education, is a question I don't think they'd want to answer.)

As a physicist... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12024072)

As a physicist , I can tell you that there is virtually nothing that I don't have expert knowledge of. Indeed, if the combination of my powers of intellect and the shear volume of my encyclopedic knowledge and my brains little grey cells where allowed to run the world, we would never have an energy crisis, no one would go hungry, and sex would be plentiful. I really think people ought to listen to me more.

Re:Electrons no different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12024208)

And besides, people who sport jewelry or expensive toys tend to be poorer than those who are more modest. (Case in point: It seems these spinners people buy for their cars are bought by the lower class in my town. Where they get the money for this, yet can't pay for their children's college education, is a question I don't think they'd want to answer.)

Where the fuck is this coming from? I'll bet you think they are all black and Hispanic too. Typical racist crapola coming from some middle class white guy who thinks they are king shit because they drink chardonnay. In the '80s these stuck-up snobs where called "quiche eaters".

Re:Electrons no different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12024247)

Fo' shizzy, mah nizzy!

*bling! bling!*

Re:Electrons no different (0, Offtopic)

Deagol (323173) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025378)

Oh piss off!

I live in a rural, mostly poor, white-bread dairy town, and I can tell you there are shiny sports cars in many of those driveways and satellite dishes on many of those roof-tops. The poor-but-must-have-shiny-things mentality crosses all races. I noticed the same thing in Salt Lake City, too, in the white trash 'burbs as well as the poorer minority (mostly hispanic) 'hoods downtown.

In my small town I've witnessed more poor whites buy loads of garbage with food stamps then drive away in nice cars than the poor hispanics (who at least have the sense and ability to maintain their own 20-year-old cars themselves).

If there was racism in the origial poster's comment, it was only because *you* perceived it. So you might be the one with the problem.

Re:Electrons no different (2, Interesting)

DarylBeattie (540029) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024410)

Oooh, sorry physics dude, you are right about resistance, but you forgot about SHIELDING. Trust me, I used to use cheap cables, and when I upgraded to a Monster video cable I noticed that I had much better colour (indicating that before I was suffering from signal degradation), and the lines displayed by my TV were sharper. Also I noticed when I upgraded to higher quality (not higher gauge) speaker wire I had MUCH better sound. I know a lot of people like to bash expensive cables; but having moved from cheap cables to expensive cables, I can tell you that there definitely is a significant improvement in signal quality (except for digital signals of course; digital is digital). With my cheap cables, I even had banding of brightness across my TV; that disappeared with the Monster cables. Perhaps you should research more into what makes Monster cables different before you go around telling people how the world works. My empirical observations have proven your physics theory to be false; time to come up with a new theory.

Re:Electrons no different (4, Funny)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024686)

I bet your email address rhymes with "at conster fable spot on."

Re:Electrons no different (5, Insightful)

|<amikaze (155975) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025273)

I noticed that I had much better colour (indicating that before I was suffering from signal degradation), and the lines displayed by my TV were sharper.

My empirical observations have proven your physics theory to be false;

Do you have those plots handy? What device were you using to measure colour and sharpness? Without hard numbers, it's really difficult to show that you weren't actually just really excited about the really expensive cables you just bought and tricked yourself into thinking that they were better.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the cables might not have a better picture.

There is also capacitance and inductance to take into account. Video sits around 4MHz (off the top of my head). At frequencies like that you can definitely have cable effects too, which essentially results in a low-pass filter. This would attenuate the more subtle details (edge sharpness for example).

Re:Electrons no different (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12025608)


Does Monster use some sort of super-metal (more metal than metal!) that, when grounded at each end, does a better job of blocking EM fields than other types of metal? It could be that your other set of cables had a real defect (wear and tear, broken shielding, etc.) that, independently of brand, caused your problems.

Monster == Marketing == You Been Duped

Re:Electrons no different (4, Informative)

ctr2sprt (574731) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024620)

As someone who does a fair bit of plugging together home electronics equipment, it's also important to get quality connectors and shielding.

The former is important because you will need to unplug those bastards occasionally, and I have some Radio Shack cables that I have to disconnect with a wrench and significant amounts of muscle. I'm concerned about literally breaking the connector from the amount of force I have to apply. From the other direction, if they come off too easily you will have to tape them to the TV or something, which doesn't impair signal quality but is annoying.

The latter is important not because of interference or anything, but because stuff will happen to the cables. You'll vacuum it, your pets will chew on it, you'll get crap on it, etc. It's a pain in the ass to get behind your TV to replace frayed or broken cables, so you should try to minimize it.

Note that neither of these considerations imply that you should buy Monster cables, just that you should avoid the extremely inexpensive (read: cheap) ones. So instead of buying the $30 Monster cables or the $5 generic cables, buy the $15 name-brand-but-not-Monster cables. Belkin seems like a pretty good target for that, and you could in fact do better if you find a place that lets you return cables. (You obviously have to open up the package to try them out, and some places don't want to take them back after you do that.)

I do always laugh when I see the rusted-out '85 Honda Civic with the brand new shiny 20" rims and chrome exhaust tips. "You just spent $2500 on mods, and a Civic is the best you can do?"

Re:Electrons no different (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025567)

The Honda Civic seems like it was built to be modded.

No reason for it to be rusted out though.

Re:Electrons no different (4, Informative)

Bastian (66383) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024642)

It is worth pointing out that some of the physcal phenomena that Monster babbles about when talking up their cables do exist. For example, the skin effect can affect the quality of analog signals being transmitted across a stereo cable. . . in the megahertz range.

But I think the two big things you really need to know about Monster Cable in order to make an informed decision about whether it is worth it have nothing to do with physics. The two things you need to know are:
1. Recording and video studios don't tend to use Monster Cable.
2. The wire you find inside your speakers look a whole lot more like cheap $3 a spool bargain bin wire than they do Monster Cable.

Re:Electrons no different (5, Interesting)

drakaan (688386) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025294)

Umm...

Recording and video studios don't tend to use Monster cable because they also don't tend to use RCA cables to patch things together. Too easy for noise to get into the signal path. They tend to use balanced lines so that any noise can be self-cancelling (if you're interested, google "balanced line driver"...that ought to give a few hints).

The wire you find inside your speakers is specifically designed to maintain it's form, take high heat, and/or lie flat (for the wire wrapped around the former), or to be flexible enough not to come apart (for the wires going from the terminals to the cone/voicecoil). They're typically made much differently from speaker cable.

If you want to talk to people that know more than a little about pricey cabling (rca cables, at least) talk to a reputable car stereo shop. Home theater environments have only a tiny fraction of the shielding, grounding, impedance-matching, and noise problems that automotive applications do.

Most of the expensive home theater cables are shortened or rebranded versions of ones that were developed for automotive use. Noise rejection characteristics, signal path length (both parts of the path being equal), shielding type, and overall cable quality (fit, insulation, solder joint quality, etc) are all part of what makes expensive cables cost as much as they do.

If you're hooking up a TV and a DVD player with connectors 3 feet apart, most of the design features of the expensive cables will be unnecessary simply because there won't be that much chance for noise to enter into the picture. If you have preamps, amps, multiple sources, multiple grounds, noise sources, long cables, etc. the expensive stuff just might make everything work better.

Re:Electrons no different (1, Interesting)

alienw (585907) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025359)

For example, the skin effect can affect the quality of analog signals being transmitted across a stereo cable. . . in the megahertz range.

Wrong. Skin effect applies to any non-DC signal. It will cause a significant roll-off at frequencies as low as 100KHz. It doesn't matter much for signals in the audio band, though.

Recording and video studios don't tend to use Monster Cable.

From what I've heard, many recording engineers are more obsessive about cable quality than the most rabid audiophile. Studios don't use Monster cable because it's not good enough for their needs. When you have miles of cable carrying sensitive signals, it better be the best damn cable you can get your paws on. You can bet your ass they don't use anything cheap.

The wire you find inside your speakers look a whole lot more like cheap $3 a spool bargain bin wire than they do Monster Cable.

Maybe if you have bargain bin speakers. Besides, wire parameters are strongly dependent on length. The 6 inches of wire inside the speaker are not going to make much of a difference compared to the 15 feet of wire connecting it to the amplifier.

Re:Electrons no different (1)

alienw (585907) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025162)

You might have a point about speaker cables. However, don't assume that the effect of impurities in the cable is negligible. Oxidation can cause nasty things to happen to your signals, and a cheap cable will not have oxygen-free copper.

You are 100% wrong when it comes to low-level signals. There, minor differences in cables will have significant effects. Too much capacitance will cause a significant roll-off for high frequencies; skin effect can do the same thing. Poor quality or improperly designed shielding will increase noise. Poor impedance matching will degrade video quality by several orders of magnitude. Low-quality connectors, cable, or termination will cause significant nonlinearities (oxides act as semiconductors, by the way). I've seen cheap cables detect AM radio -- that should tell you something about their behavior as ideal conductors!

Re:Electrons no different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12025170)

And besides, people who sport jewelry or expensive toys tend to be poorer than those who are more modest. (Case in point: It seems these spinners people buy for their cars are bought by the lower class in my town. Where they get the money for this, yet can't pay for their children's college education, is a question I don't think they'd want to answer.)

Are you capable of addressing anything without without injecting any sort of bigoted social commentary?

On topic, Mr. Physicist, you failed to note, as others have, details such as connectors and shielding. Both of which are important factors in cable design. Whether or not Monster Cables excel in these areas I don't know, nor do I care.

Go digital (2, Interesting)

objekt (232270) | more than 9 years ago | (#12023970)

Why is there an analog part of the signal chain at all?

Re:Go digital (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12024423)

Amp to Speakers is likely analog, uness you have some really odd speakers with DAC in them.
DVD, Video Games, Digital Cable/Sat Box is likely Analog Out as well, unless you have one using DVI-D, in which you are digital.

Yeah, well (1)

objekt (232270) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024538)

He's not asking about speaker cables. Video in an HDTV system should be digital, in my opinion. It just makes sense.

Tests between brands with pictures (5, Informative)

rask22 (144831) | more than 9 years ago | (#12023976)

Firingsquad did a test between different brands and different types (rca vs svideo). The results where pretty interesting:

http://www.firingsquad.com/guides/ps2picture/ [firingsquad.com]

Re:Tests between brands with pictures (3, Informative)

BiAthlon (91360) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024525)

Interesting how?

The zoomed in "screen shots" of the television didn't show any pixels at all. Just a nice smooth image.

He also could tell the difference between Monster Cable optical cable and generic optical cable while listening to music. Unless I'm off on my optical theory isn't that like saying "Sure, you have ones and I have ones but my ones are more exact ones than yours"?

Re:Tests between brands with pictures (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024653)

You mean here?

http://www.firingsquad.com/guides/ps2picture/pag e6 .asp

There seems to be a difference.

Re:Tests between brands with pictures (2, Informative)

Paladin128 (203968) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024970)

They'er on crack. There's two possible ways a crappy optical cable could pass a bitstream poorly:

1) It fails to pass a bit properly (a 1 becomes a zero, or vice versa)
2) Frame jitter

If 1) was an issue, you'd be hearing skipping and popping very loudly in a way that the system would be unlistenable. Though CD's have error-correction built in, the S/PDIF standard doesn't; it just passes 16-bit words; no ECC codes.

Frame jitter can be corrected REALLY easilly by about a dollar's worth of hardware on the other end; you have a 16 frame delay (16 x 16-bits = 32 bytes of memory required) and a little clock generator. You fill up the queue as everything comes in, and send things from the front of the queue to the DAC. Not hard! I'm a programmer that took one hardware class 6 years ago, and *I* could design this circuit! Yeah, a 16 frame delay does translate to a delay -- but one of only .0004 seconds. Even when syncing with video, that's completely imperceptible by the human brain.

Monster Cables and other Audiophile rubbish (5, Informative)

Schezar (249629) | more than 9 years ago | (#12023981)

Monster Cables are a giant scam designed to relieve gullible people of their money. Double-blind testing has shown time and time again that you can not physically perceive the difference.

There is a huge industry around selling useless crap to people. Monster cables will give you about the same results as rocks [audaud.com] . (Yes, people buy those rocks and yes, they think they make their stereos sound better.)

I highly recommend that you check out the James Randi Educational Foundation [randi.org] , and do a site search for "audiophile" or the like.

Frankly, I don't know what scares me more: the fact that someone will honestly claim that a magic rock will make music sound better, or the fact that people will pay good money for one...

Re:Monster Cables and other Audiophile rubbish (4, Funny)

qengho (54305) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024721)


There is a huge industry around selling useless crap to people.

My absolute favorite example of this is the US$1500 Audio Magic Clairvoyant Power Cord [soundstage.com] . I thought this was an April Fool's column until I looked at the date.

Re:Monster Cables and other Audiophile rubbish (1)

GoodbyeBlueSky1 (176887) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025311)

GODDAMN IT!! What is wrong with you people?? How many posts do I have to read about Monster cables and audio? Try answering the question posed next time (from the post: I'm setting up my HDTV, and I can get Component video cables made by Belkin for half the price of the Monster cable equivalents.). Sheesh. Thank you for you worthless post.

As far as COMPONENT VIDEO is concerned, Monster cables seem thicker and sturdier than other brands, but there probably isn't much picture quality difference. This may change at super-duper high resolutions, but I think the important part is the fact that you use component cables over RCA (bad) or S-Video (better than RCA, lesser than component). HUGE difference in quality there.

Re:Monster Cables and other Audiophile rubbish (2, Insightful)

madstork2000 (143169) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025641)

The discussion may not always directly answer the question, but it does provide valuable background, and offers insights into different aspects the poster may not have thought about.

Those insights help make the discussion interesting. What do you want Yes / No answers? Ask Slashdot is more about the discussion than about actually getting answers, since most of the time a quick google seach will provide a better answer more quickly.

-MS2k

Regarding Cable Types (5, Interesting)

karn096 (807073) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024070)

I can't say that I did an empirical review to accurately measure differences, but recently I purchased an HDTV and was wondering the very same thing. I tried several different "just normal cables" one being the cable the cable company gave me, one being regular coax, one being a cheap svideo, and one being a top of the line from radio shack, and a component video set from Monster. The coax was the worst of them all, the sideo cable being second worst. Then came the cable company component, which still wasn't that great. Some of the colors seemed a little washed out, and I could see some signal noise, but that was probably due to my setup. Then I finally tried out the Monster cables. I saw an immediate difference over all the previously tried, the signal came in nice and clear, and there was no color bleeding, and no signal noise visible on my screen. But of course results may vary.

I would personally go to a store, and keep the receipt and just try it out, and see if you notice a difference.

Re:Regarding Cable Types (1, Informative)

karn096 (807073) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024174)

I just wanted to mention also, that I got an almost 70% discount on the cables, and that definately helped the purchase along!

Re:Regarding Cable Types (1)

crow (16139) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024509)

You ran svideo to an HDTV?

Perhaps for non-HDTV channels, that's fine, but to use high definition modes, you have to have DVI, HDMI, VGA, or component. If your HDTV has a built-in HDTV tuner, then coax should work, too.

Rule of thumbs (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12024084)

You should spend about 1/10 of your A/V equipment in cable. So for a 500$ don't spend more than 50$ on cable.

NO (2, Informative)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024121)

No. Monster cables are overpriced and unnecessary.

For digital signals (e.g. DVI or SPDIF audio):
Use a good-quality cable. It doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate, but you'll want to ensure that the conductor is large enough and the shielding (if it is necessary) is good. Also ensure that the connectors are solid. Most cables meet this criteria.

For analog signals (e.g. Component Video):
Follow the rules for digital cables. You may want additional shielding and. Ensure that the cable has the correct impedence. Make sure that the connectors can provide proper RF isolation.

I've found that the Philips cables found at Wal-Mart are quite sufficcent. They have nice metal connectors and are well-shielded, plus they have strain relief. They run about $15 to $20 for 10ft (component video).

Re:NO (4, Informative)

alienw (585907) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025456)

Let's clear up a few myths. First, there is no such thing as a digital signal. It's an analog signal which encodes digital information. Wrong impedances can cause bad things to happen (such as some of the bits getting corrupted). Depending on the protocol used, this can be very significant.

SPDIF is a horrible protocol that is sensitive to cables and almost anything else. Though it's nominally a digital signal, it's multiplexed with the system clock (which is as analog as it gets). If your cable distorts the signal (it almost certainly does), the system clock will be jittery and this will cause distortion. On a decent system, this can be audible.

Analog signals are a whole different ballgame. If you don't think cables can make a difference, pick up an electromagnetics book. Anything from Wal-mart is probably suboptimal -- even if it looks well-made, it probably isn't.

On this subject... (5, Informative)

PhyrePhox (218873) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024230)

I was recently shopping for a DVI cable for my HDTV, and was blown away by the US$80 AND UP prices I was finding around town. 80 bucks for a bloody 1 meter cable!?!? Thankfully, someone pointed me to http://www.pacificcable.com/ and I found a 1 meter DVI-I Dual Link for $22. (I am not affiliated, just a satisfied customer)
The Monster-type cables are the profit center for the A/V stores. They have to compete for pricing on the actual gear, where they may get less than 10% markup from their cost. On cables and accessories, they can get up to 40% or more. There is no way that one cable is better than the other, provided the connectors make good contact at the jack. Don't waste your money.

Re:On this subject... (1)

Paladin128 (203968) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025006)

The only time you want to pay extra cash for brand-name DVI cables is if it's long. Cheaper cables can degrade the signal and fail occasionally on long (>2 meter) runs.

Signal quality is not all that matters.... (4, Informative)

Welshalian (733176) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024251)

.... solidity and good build quality matter just as well. Especially for musicians - as a guitar player, I've lost count of how many times I've tripped on a cheap cable, only to find out I'd ripped one end off or something. Good build quality is something I've paid for in the past and got my money's worth for.

As an employee at RadioShack.... (-1, Troll)

RavenLrD20k (311488) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024270)

I have to say a resounding YES! They are most certainly better than most other brands of cables. To be honest, I haven't seen other cables perform as well.

If you have doubts, your local RadioShack should have an RF Noise Demo sent to them by Monster Cable. Granted, this demo is designed to display the insulation on the 'Monster' surge protectors only, but they use the same insulating technology on their A/V Cables as well.

RadioShack is supposed to use the demo on 'Monster' equipment only, however, I would suggest demanding to see the demo used on a non-Monster surge protector as well. This way you can hear the difference between two types of protectors and not just the difference between the wall plug and the protected plug.

As a warning: Depending on the managment of a particular store, you may or may not be able to get the demo used on any other brand of surge protector. We are ordered by Corporate to not use the demo on ANY other brand of protector besides 'Monster'. I also know that not all the stores recieved the demo, but I do not know which ones did and which ones didn't so you may have to do some searching in your area.

As an intelligent human being... (4, Insightful)

Schezar (249629) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024395)

" To be honest, I haven't seen other cables perform as well."

In what context? Did you engage in double-blind testing? Was there a control? What do you mean by "perform?"

"We are ordered by Corporate to not use the demo on ANY other brand of protector besides 'Monster'"

The reason for that rule is simple. Any other protector will give the exact same results as the Monster one. Monster is not a cable company, it is a marketing company. They take components that are no better than standard ones (often manufactured in the same factories and then branded) and market them at a higher price-point.

Insecure and gullible people assume that the high price is justified, when in fact their products provide zero benefit.

Not to sound cruel or flamebait-ish, but you are either very naive, or else a Radio Shack/Monster shill.

As a customer (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024597)

I have to say that pretty much anything, including opinions, that comes out of RadioShack sucks.

Re:As a customer (1)

chromaphobic (764362) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024985)

Ditto with Belkin. I guess their cables aren't so bad, but my experiences with their shit KVMs has turned me off Belkin for good.

Re:As a customer (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025411)

You can have my USB KVM [kvms.com] when you pry it...

Seriously. They make plenty of junk, but some of their products are very, very nice.

Monster Cables & BOSE (3, Funny)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024293)

Produce the highest fidelity output possible.

Just make sure you use Bose speakers, none of that Sony or Nakamichi junk.

Re:Monster Cables & BOSE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12024623)

Wow. Just...Wow.

How well do you hear? (3, Interesting)

crmartin (98227) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024323)

Here's a little hint: you don't actually hear much below 20 Hz or above 15kHz (if that: at 20 I could hear the 15kHz horizontal sweep on a TV; at 50 I can't.) Unless you've got perfect pitch and a music degree, you don't hear most of those little details of voicing etc.

What you --- and everyone else --- does do is react to suggestion. When the audio guy comes in and puts you in the fancy listening room, he gives all sorts of suggestion cues to let you know that the more expensive system "sounds better". And sure enough it does.

Of course if you're contemplating buying monster cables, you've also probably gotten a multiple thousand dollar system, which means the guy in the audio room already got to you.

Re:How well do you hear? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12024524)

at 20 I could hear the 15kHz horizontal sweep on a TV; at 50 I can't.

Maybe it's not you... TV electronics are a lot quieter than they use to be as well. My grandmothers wood paneled console TV still has that distinctive hair-raising squeal that I remember from my youth.

Re:How well do you hear? (1)

rot26 (240034) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024648)

My grandmothers wood paneled console TV still has that distinctive hair-raising squeal that I remember from my youth.

She probably just needs a new flyback transformer.

Disinterested Report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12024402)

I'm not a physicist and I don't play one on the IntarWeb, but here is a link to a USA Today article that asks (and answers!) the same question:


Is Monster Cable Worth it? [usatoday.com]


Now I know that USA Today is worthless, but at least they aren't trying to sell you cable.

Quote from the link (You know you're too lazy to click. Don't pretend.):

The differences were subtle. Without a back-to-back comparison, we might not have noticed.

Still, Gene DellaSala, president of Audioholics.com, says he advises stereo shoppers to "put more of the money into the loudspeaker, when it matters most."

The whole package is important (2, Informative)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024436)

Having good cables won't make a shitty amp sound good, nor will it make your grandfather's hand-me-down speakers sound better. Start with a good amp and set of speakers, then worry about cables. That being said, I think it depends a lot on use. If you're expecting the Balrog roar in Fellowship of the Ring to tear the flesh from your skull because you bought Monster cables, be ready to be disappointed. But if you're a classical music afficionado, the extra clarity might be more apparent.

Usage (1)

FireFlie (850716) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024486)

I have only noticed one place where more expensive cables will make a difference. I am a guitarist, and guitar teacher (not that it makes me an expert, but I have experience with sound), and the quality of patch cables between instruments and amps does have an effect on the quality of your sound. This, however is the only place where I have found them to make a difference. Most musicians that I have met will agree that using monster cables is a good idea, but only really important in a performance setting. Of course in this case your sound will also have a lot to do with the quality of other devices: guitar, amp, cab, cables, pedals, pretty much anything in your rig that concerns your sound.

big fat cables (1)

martin (1336) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024487)

the bigger the physical copper the less resistance the better the signal flow.

Don't mess with all these zero oxygen, gold etc rubbish. Chrome is fine, just make sure the cable itself is nice and big (not shoestring) and you'll get nice signal flow.

I know of a professional audio engineer (first name Colin, now unfortunately dead) who wired his speakers to the amp using 15 amp mains cabling. No kidding and a lovely sound he got too.

Good read on Skin Effect (5, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024500)

For the physics inclined, have a read here [st-andrews.ac.uk] about skin effect in audio cables.

The basic idea is that electrons ride the outside of a conductor, not equally through its cross-section. The depth of the 'skin' depends on frequency. You might think that stranded cable would do better then, since there's more surface area, but because the strands aren't insulated they act as a single conductor, providing no skin-effect benefit. There is an exception, cables of 'Litz' construction, where each conductor is individually insulated, creating a virtual cable of effective diameter without skin effect.

My take-away from the linked article is that skin effect does have a slight effect on sound quality that can be measured and possibly perceived. Swinging back to the topic, Monster does make a Litz speaker cable, but it runs you $1500 per 3-foot cable - this isn't Best-Buy level Monster cable. A Google search on Litz at monstercable.com [google.com] only provides two hits, both 3rd-party write-ups.

So to achieve top theoretical sound quality, assuming good connections, etc., you can buy thousands of dollars worth of top-quality Monster cables or cheap cables with fat conductors. If gauge and weight are far more important than cost, say on a Space Shuttle or similar, then dropping $10K on speaker cable might be worthwhile.

This all has me wondering of anybody here has used 10-gauge Romex as speaker cable.

Re:Good read on Skin Effect (2, Informative)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025542)


This all has me wondering of anybody here has used 10-gauge Romex as speaker cable.

Yes! My brother who used to run a kW/channel with a pair of Carvers used either #10 or #8 for speaker wire, and 220V/30A twistlocks for connectors. It worked very well. We looked at the instantaneous current waveform, at it was great due to the low resistance of the wire and connectors.

I Think So (2, Insightful)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024549)

Just to be a tool, I'm gonna offer an opposing viewpoint from the others here.

First off, don't ask audiophile questions on /. unless you want to be told that a bit is a bit and how it gets from point A to point B doesn't matter.

Second, look at your audio rack. How much did you spend there? For my $250 Pioneer and $20 VCR, the cables don't matter. What's the point.

But if you spend thousands on components, why skimp on a $10 cable vice a $50 one? The price difference is negligable. It's like complaining about a WinXP license on a $20k server. Just buy big and never worry.

Now, some annecdotal evidince. I recently replaced all the cables from my $250 receiver to my $300 surround speakers. The stock cable was 20 guage aluminum. The new stuff is 12 guage copper. My system now sounds better.

One poster advised you to "just turn up the volume". That's no good when you start driving the internal components to near their peak output. Turning it up just causes more noise.

As for the interconnects, I've used everything from RCA solder-type connectors on 26 guage wire to monster cable with no real difference.

But, if you spend thousands anyway, why skimp on Radio Shack cables?

Re:I Think So (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025172)

But if you spend thousands on components, why skimp on a $10 cable vice a $50 one? The price difference is negligable. It's like complaining about a WinXP license on a $20k server. Just buy big and never worry.

It's very interesting listening to the difference between scientists and marketers. I work with both. Scientists always want to make a better product, without wasting resources. Marketers always want to make a product seem better while being cheaper to produce. The most common advice from Marketers to scientists is "raise the price."

For some reason purchasers often assume that a greater price indicates a better product. Often the best way to make your product seem superior in the eyes of consumers is to price it higher than everyone else's. It works too. Otherwise people like you would not describe the quality of their components in terms of how much they cost.

First off, don't ask audiophile questions on /. unless you want to be told that a bit is a bit and how it gets from point A to point B doesn't matter.

Yup. Lots of people with scientific minds here. They care about facts and how things work. If you want I can sell you very poorly made components and cables at high prices. You'll probably even think they sound better. (Maybe someone like Monster has beaten me to it.)

But, if you spend thousands anyway, why skimp on Radio Shack cables?

The original post said that price was not a concern. The question was about the quality of Monster cables relative to other cables. Are they better or just higher priced? It is a very valid question that you don't really answer.

It's like complaining about a WinXP license on a $20k server. Just buy big and never worry.

On Slashdot this has to be a troll. But it is a troll that brings out a very real problem with Linux. The functional value of Linux is often demonstrably better than Windows, especially for servers. Since the price is free, however, people perceive it as less valuable and less useful. Luckily there are plenty of companies ready to charge you money for free things.

Re:I Think So (2, Informative)

pclminion (145572) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025266)

Now, some annecdotal evidince. I recently replaced all the cables from my $250 receiver to my $300 surround speakers. The stock cable was 20 guage aluminum. The new stuff is 12 guage copper. My system now sounds better.

That, I can believe. Aluminum has nowhere near the conductivity of copper, and on top of that, it was a thinner wire. The result is a lower voltage at the other end of the cable than you would have had with copper, which means that some component somewhere needs to amplify more. Amplification introduces noise. I'm not surprised at all.

I doubt you could tell the difference, however, between a 12 gauge copper wire and a 12 gauge "oxygen free" copper wire.

Monster is Marketing (3, Informative)

gothzilla (676407) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024556)

I worked on F-15 radar and avionics in the Air Force. Working with radar teaches you a lot about signal loss. Monster cables are pure marketing and nothing else. You can actually hurt the quality of signal by using a cable that's too large or thick.

Don't buy the cheapest cables you can find, but don't buy the most expensive either. I saw the post below about spending 1/10 the cost of the equipment on cables and that's nothing but marketing also. Cable really is cheap. It's cheap to make and cheap to build. Some cables are expensive because they know they can get away with charging those prices and not because they're any better than the competition. A cable for a $4000 tv is going to be more expensive than a cable for a $150 tv, simply because hell if you're willing to spend $4K on a tv then you're willing to spend $100 on a cable. Just buy decent cables and you'll be all set.

Re:Monster is Marketing (1)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025163)

As someone who has little knowledge in this area, what is "too much", "too little", and "decent?"

Lots of people here are talking in relative terms like this without giving anything concrete. I assume the answers are "depends on your setup," but some examples would be nice. Or at least factors which effect ones decisions (length of cable? power output of amp? etc.) and how they effect it (longer cable needs less impedance?).

For real monster cables, go to the hardware store. (1)

syntax (2932) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024570)

For speaker cable at least, don't bother buying monster cable. Buy a cheap extension cord and cut off the plugs. You'll end up with a much better gauge of wire than anything you can get from Monster for a fraction of the price.

Disclaimer: This only applies to insane audiophiles that feel that they *need* cable with this much insulation.

Digital cables and Best Buy twits (2, Funny)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024577)

I was about ready to punch a kid at Best Buy after he first insisted that gold-to-silver is an excellent combination and then demanded that I buy the most expensive brand of fiber optic cable they sold. He swore up and down that the higher priced brand's bits were "cleaner" and that I'd get a better sound.

Ugh - that's one store I definitely don't miss.

Re:Digital cables and Best Buy twits (1)

kniLnamiJ-neB (754894) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025223)

I've always heard the joke is that Best Buy got its name because "you best buy somewhere else..."

NO. See some opinions here... (1)

techstar25 (556988) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024615)

The general concensus is a resounding NO. Look here for opinions:
http://www.hdtvoice.com/voice/index.php

Cost... (1)

adamjaskie (310474) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024637)

I can hear a slight difference. Is that difference worth the extreme difference in cost? No way. Get medium priced cables that are fairly heavy gauge and, I cannot stress this enough, AS SHORT AS YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH. The MOST EFFECTIVE way of improving the sound of your stereo by changing cables is to simply stop using 3m cables wadded up and stuffed behind your stereo. A decent quality 1m or shorter cable will probably cost the same as a cheap 3m cable.

Thicker gauge cable + shorter length == better sound.

Also, wipe off the connectors on your stereo equipment and cable ends with isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab right before you connect them. This will ensure a good connection with no finger oil or manufacturing oils on the connectors.

And you will probably get the best improvement in sound simply by positioning your speakers properly.

Re:Cost... (1)

jargonCCNA (531779) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025293)

Also, wipe off the connectors on your stereo equipment and cable ends with isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab right before you connect them. The odds that oil and dirt well mess up your connection quality are negligible.

On a tape deck, however.. isoproping the metal bits every time you use it is absolutely key.. as long as you use alcohol of purity no less than 99%.. and you cap the bottle whenever you aren't directly dipping the Q-tip in it.

But you're absolutely right about speaker position. Speaker quality's important too. I find bass reflex enclosures give a little bit better punch.. but avoid Yamaha NS-10s at all costs. They're pretty much designed to sound like shit, intentionally. Why? Because if it sounds decent on NS-10s.. it should sound good on any other speaker. Want speakers that'll always sound good? Get B&Ws.

FWIW... (1)

hp46168 (740846) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024646)

Belkin kit has a lifetime warranty.

That's useful. Not sure how the warranty compares to Monster, though.

I will say, that the Monster cables look neat.

Kyle

Well. (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024690)

If the cables are passing pure analog, maybe. If the cables are passing digital, no. Flat out no.

Dollars and Sense (1)

waynegoode (758645) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024710)

Good quality cables are important, but beyond "meets requirements" there is nothing more to be gained. Monster Cables are for people with more dollars than sense.

try blue jean cables - high quality, lower price (2, Interesting)

avi33 (116048) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024752)

I researched this same topic, and it led me to blue jeans cable [bluejeanscable.com] , named so because their aim is to be, simply, an unpretentious commoditized version of "name brand" cables.

As most other posters here seem to be reinforcing, Monster and the like are short on specs and long on "voodoo" - though they look nice. The fact is, using high quality materials, tools, and techniques isn't rocket science.

Lamp Cord (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024866)

I'm the kind of cheap bastard that uses lamp cord for speaker wire. (I tin the ends, which makes all the difference.)

BUT, I did buy a monster cable for my bass. Instrument cables get the crap kicked out of them, and the cable has a "life time warranty". We have yet to see how that goes when the cable starts to go.

-Peter

Actually if it really matters that much... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024909)

If it really matters that much, maybe you should be going pure digital all the way to each speaker.

And each speaker would have its own amplifier built-in or very close to built-in.

If you want to be extreme, you should be reading the position of the speaker cone optically (or some other way - using something like gray code) to 24 bit resolution and at >100K samples a second, and have a very high powered amplifier shove the cone (very very very fast) to the exact position which the digital signal says it should be. Of course you'd probably want to be able to control the volume but I don't think it is that hard.

Even though there'll be square waves and some overshooting due to all the shoving here and there, at > 100K samples a second (or higher) your _ears_ become the low pass filter for the "DAC".

At the amounts which some HiFi enthusiasts are willing to spend, I'm surprised no one has done this yet (not that I know of anyway - I suggested this more than a decade ago). I don't think it's impossible, just difficult. Should be even easier nowadays.

But what do I know...

Cables matter (2, Funny)

Hulver (5850) | more than 9 years ago | (#12024946)

It's common knowledge amoungst audiophiles that you need the best cable to get the best sound.

Those of your sitting smug with your all digital system should take note as well.

Just because your signals are digital doesn't mean that the sound isn't going to change because of the quality of your cable.

Even the brand of hard disk that you use can effect the quality of the audio you get from your system.

You need to check that your hard-disk is insulated correctly as well. Installing vibration isolators in your computer can effect the sound coming out of it.

Want proof? This guy [johnvestman.com] is a sound engineer and has performed extensive tests on different hard drives and transport mechanisms. Did you know that the same file played from the CDR can sound different if it's played from a FireWire hard disk?

Re:Cables matter (2, Informative)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025365)

Here's a buck, kid: go buy a book on signal theory.

Digital is digital is digital is digital. As long as the carrier can accurately reproduce the stream of bits (hint: pretty much every transport can, especially at the negligible distances we're discussing), the end result will be identical. Not "close", not "almost", but "exactly".

Grounding is more important (1)

Drunken_Jackass (325938) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025016)

I've found that you can do more to effectively improve the sound quality of your stereo system by providing it with a true ground.

I'm not entirely sure why, and i'm sure someone can explain here, but it's a difference that you can actually hear.

Cables just need to be good enough. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025019)

But there is a limit. Ultra cheap low quality cable is not going to be as good as decent quality branded cable. Most people will agree with this to some extent.

More expensive cables may be better still, or they may just be a marketting thing, but there is a point where no human ear will be able to tell the difference. Once you're at this point, it doesn't matter what scientific tests show about noise or audio quality. If you can't tell the difference by using them then there is no worthwhile difference.

So just get some decent quality branded cables. Preferably from more oscure brands.

They may be outrageously priced but... (2, Informative)

meanfriend (704312) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025122)

To say that any old cable is the same as the next is not true in my (admittedly limited) experience.

I have not done quantitative measurements, but recently I bought one of those multi-format DVD player (ie. can read a data CD/DVD and play avi & mpeg files). It came with some cheapo cables that I tried and it was terrible. There was a thin bright line that slowly moved up and down the screen, and there was a persistent hum that could be heard whenever the volume was turned up to any reasonable level.

On a larf, I went and bought some of the less expensive Monster cables and the problems totally went away. I assume the shielding made the difference here. I dont attribute my observations to some magical Monster pixie dust, as any other brand of decently constructed cable probably would have been an improvement over the crappy cables that came bundled with the DVD player.

The moral is that from a quality perspective,there is probably no need to go out and pay the premium for Monster cables, but you dont want to use cables from the dollar store either.

There is another reason to go Monster that no one seems to have mentioned yet, the lifetime warranty. Cables dont really break down, but I was told at the checkout that I can get a replacement *under any circumstances*; even if my dog chews it up. We'll see if they actually honor that 5 years down the road, but that's a benefit that has to be worth at least a little price premium.

Don't Go There (1)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025205)

If you ever step into the land of high-end audio- and video-philes, all your friends and family and, worst of all, we at /. will lose you forever. Don't go there, please!

yawner (1)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025306)


It's funny that people eek out the "best in audio quality" without examining that most of the music they listen to, or recorded at all, is of mediocre quality to begin with. Want to listen to some awesome jazz from days gone by? then don't worry about speaker cables, room resonance, or other things esoteric. just put it in the mid-level stereo and go make dinner. there *is* value to just having music reside in the background, rather than trying to recreate a headphone-like experience with your house.

i find my reaction to audiophiles a little negative. just another obessive-compulsive outlet for those so inclined.

most people spend all this money just to hear loud explosions in crap-ass movies in their home theatre anyway.

too bad everyone uses UNBALANCED i/o (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025395)

sigh.

the consumer market just doesn't get it. but the pro's do.

in pro audio, they use balanced (differential) analog i/o. there is no shield or ground - each wire is relative to the other. just like POTS phone wires. there is inherent common-mode cancellation and so longer runs don't really bother things, like they do on unbalanced consumer stuff. plus the consumer stuff uses lower voltages and so interference is made worse (nearby fields induce problems with lower signal levels on cables).

for audio, at least; if you have to make really long cable runs, its almost worth converting to balanced, using xlr style cables to do the hauling then convert back to unbal. at the receiving end. works great in car audio that way and shielding becomes totally irrelevant. you can convert to balanced via transformers or via opamps.

for video, its harder. and for digital i/o, of course, NONE of this matters - bits really are bits.

Re:too bad everyone uses UNBALANCED i/o (1)

norkakn (102380) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025582)

most runs in people's homes aren't worth it and the transformer that should be used to unbalance the signal adds weight and money. That being said, balancing rocks (though I'd probably go TRS over XLR for home use)

It all depends (1)

guroove (231050) | more than 9 years ago | (#12025475)

While I do believe Monster cables are not worth the money, I also believe that not all cables are created equal. As one physicist pointed out, there is little difference in the electron flow. I have noticed in the past in my own setup, some snow on a really old RCA cable I was using to connect my Xbox to my TV. I replaced it with a newer, heavier guage cable with better shielding and the noise was gone.

Also, as a musician, I have some 1/4 instrument patch cables that see a lot of use. I used to use the crappy rubber wrapped cables, and they would go microphonic after a few months of use. About 5 years ago, I bought a cable with the braided wrap (not a monster cable however) and it lasted 5 years until I stupildy broke the cable tip off inside my bass while I was drunk. So not all cables are created equal, in my experience, but I've never gone so far as to buy the ridiculously overpriced monster cables.
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