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Haven't read much here and at the asylum to convince me that $400 Magic One is a really leap in performance over the HT Platinum.
I recently replaced a HT Truthlink with a PureNote Epsilon analogue interconnect. I guess I am moving away from the big players in favor of the more niche web-direct vendors in an effort to seek out more value and performance for the dollar.
I'm curious why anyone would spend several hundred dollars on a "high quality digital cable". As an electrical engineer I question the merits here. The beauty of a digital interface is, like your computer, that the signals are logic "1" or "0", not logic "1.00372" or "0.0345". Precision connections are not necessary here. Noise, unless it is extremely bad, is not an issue. Getting back to your computer, the internet (landline, sat or DSL) enables exact (read: no degredation) digital copies to be transferred over less-than-precision cables (e.g. phone wire). Because I don't consider myself to "all knowing" and am always looking to learn, please enlightnen me as to how an expensive cable can improve upon this simple relatively low-speed interface.
Hockey: Yes it is just 1 and 0 logic, however if the signal quality is poor because of a poor quality cable, the D/A decoder chip in your DAC will have to work harder to find the correct signal and decode it. This will affect the sound. The poor cable can also affect things like the timing and pace of the signal (and hence the music), even though all the data will arrive. These things are not an issue sending computer data, unless you get upset that your computer data arrives a fraction of a second later than you expect.
It is the same as high speed data (faster than DSL) needs a better quality cable than standard telephone cable. I live in a rural area and have never gotten a faster connection than 43.8kps on my 56k modem. I usually average around 38.6K. The quality of the phone lines is just too old here. I can get digital cable TV here. However, they had to install better quality cable in the ground to get it to work. The old cable TV lines could not handle the digital TV signal well enough to actually see the improvement.
I am actually on your side in part. While I believe a good digital cable matters, I doubt is it as crucial as an analog audio signal.
I felt the same way that you did, but I compared three cables and found drastic differences (as drastic as any cable change, anyway). I found an Apogee Wyde-Eye to sound much better and more musical than a Better Cables video/digital cable. I preferred a Cardas Lightning 15 over the Apogee, but both are very different sounding. The seperation between the instruemnts seems much greater with the Cardas, there is also less "noise", and it seems to be a bit more upfront. At the same time the Apogee is nicely balanced, very musical, and $200 or so less. I have no idea why digital cabes should sound different, but for some reason they do.
I've owned the HT Platinum, Nordost Silver Shadow, DH Labs Silver Sonic and Stealth Fineline II. Personally, I couldn't detect any differences between the cables. At the same time, I have found significant differnces in analog cables. In my limited experience, you'll likely get better results spending the money elsewhere in your system rather than on the digital interconnect - just my 2cents. Good luck.
Make it three! I also switched from HT Platinum to AZ Mc2 which I feel is superior in all respects. I also slightly prefer the $99 AZ Siver Photon to HT Platinum, this cheap cable really performs!
Have not heard other two you mention and of couse system matching is imperitive so home trail of several cables is really needed.
I could never hear a difference in digital cables while using the low end audioquest cable,dh labs or radio shack.I borrowed a wireworld gold digital cable last year and could hear a difference on a modest home theater system.I took the wireworld digital back as it was 400.00 and i was about to upgrade my home theater to a b&k receiver and five very revealing monitors that all have scan speak revelators ect.I now use the az mc=2 digital and find it to be a bargain and one of the best upgrades iv'e ever made.If this cable can make such a dramatic difference on 5.1 dvd playback,i can only imagine what it could do for a high end seperates 2 channel playback.