HDMI VS Analog cables for SACD


I recently purchased a Samsung 4K QLED TV and a Marantz 4K HT receiver. I own a few Bluray and SACD discs which are played through an Oppo-93 universal player. Also purchased a few HDMI 4K certified cables on Amazon ($25/each) which looked fine when watching 4K videos available on Youtube.

I started playing some of my SACD discs such as Pink Floyd ‘Wish you were here’ via the analog output of my Oppo into the Marantz HT preamp input which sounded great. I tried the HDMI output on the Oppo was truly disappointed, the bass was lacking in extension and quantity and there was no air in mid/high frequencies. There are numerous audio ‘sound modes’ adjustments on my Marantz SR5013 and finally set it up to ‘Pure Direct’ to get some improvements. Still, I knew I was missing the visceral impact I had been enjoying on ‘Welcome to the machine’ track when using the analog outputs from my Oppo.

I read some of the Audiogon threads on HDMI cables where the majority of posters claimed that paying higher prices for HDMI cables was futile. Other posters only indicated that they purchased ‘Brand X’ HDMI cable and were happy with it. My experience is that practically every component can have an impact on the audio quality (speaker/interconnect/power cables, vibration control devices, fuses, etc.). I know this, because I have replaced and tried many different components with positive results.

So I started thinking that maybe my Amazon HDMI could be at cause here. So started to do some search on the different used audio market web sites and finally decided to purchase a Wireworld Ultraviolet 7 HDMI cable. Installed the cable and started playing my Pink Floyd SACD. Boy oh boy! The magic was back. I could now hear the bass as it was before using the analog output of the Oppo. I played David Gilmour’s ‘Live in Pompei’ bluray disc which has a DTS HD MA audio track which is the best 5.1 audio recording that I now have. You have the feeling that you are seated in first row of the concert and that David is playing his guitar in your room. The bass impact is fabulous and visceral. The three vocalists singing on ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’ are so present and real they practically brought tears to my eyes listening to this great track. While I did not find a significant difference in the video quality, besides a minor decrease in background video noise,  HDMI cables can make a positive discernable difference on the quality of your audio content. 


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I agree, HDMI cables are like any other cable, some are better, a lot better.
I'm not fond of using bluray player for music, I have always known that is a weak link.
With that said, you are the one in the end that appreciates what you’re listening to, and that’s all that matters.
Not surprisingly perhaps, HDMI cables, like all other cables including power cords, are directional and should be controlled for directionality during manufacture. You know, like the Audioquest top of the line HDMI cables.
Oicu812

I totally agree with you on bluray player for music, they are not the greatest. I mainly use it for concert movies. I use a Sonore UltraRendu/Benchmark DAC 3HGC playing streams from Roon/Tidal combo.
Geoffkait,

I’ve tried different brand of cables (Furutech, Audioquest, Shunyata Research, Acoustic Zen and Wireworld) and they really outperformed the equipment manufacturer provided cables. Majority of them do provide hookup directionality indications, to benefit from their manufacturing process.

So sad that some audiophiles still do not believe that cables make no difference, in the playback quality of their music.
My point was that the only HDMI cables that are “controlled for directionality” are the ones from Audioquest. Makes ya think, right?
Geoffkait,

Ok got ya! Very surprising that other players haven’t thought about it. Good to know.
I actually don’t find it that surprising. Many manufacturers seem to be blissfully unaware of a lot of things, HDMI and fuse and power cord directionality included. They catch on kind of slow.