I'm not afraid of spending money for good cables. I have PS Audio XStream Reference Bi-wire speaker cables and Kimber Hero interconnects in my HT system. But the high bandwidth requirements and typically long cable runs of HDMI make me think that for a good data transfer there must be a better way than enhancing a passive interface with expensive metallurgy.
Playing on that hunch, I ordered up a trio of Redmere Technology HDMI cables from Monoprice at a mere $13.49 each. Redmere taps into a low voltage conductor in the HDMI bundle to power a little booster chip installed in the destination end of a Redmere HDMI cable to keep signal strength and speed up to spec.
I just took delivery yesterday and installed them. This is easily the best pic and sound I've ever gotten in my HT rig. I'm not saying it's better than the $1K solid silver AudioQuest because I've never tried it, but for me I've decided not to get those Pangeas from AudioAdvisor after all--$40.47 vs. $239.85 for three 2M lengths.
I have no affiliation with Redmere or Monoprice, but I think that at these prices and their return policy, it's worth checking out before spending more.
I've had a week for my Redmere/Monoprice cables to burn in, and last night I was so captivated by the picture quality that I kept switching from one source to another--Blu-ray, live cable, DVR, Netflix InstantWatch, and Amazon Video. All were the best I've ever seen them on my rig. The sound was better too, though that may be from my new pre/pro breaking in, or both.
Bluejeans is just one of many sources trying to explain why expensive HDMI cables are a waste. But since the bandwidth requirements are nearly ridiculous for a passive cable, I would think that larger gauge silver conductors could help, but that's a steep price/performance curve. Now that I've had active Redmere HDMI cables in my system for a bit, I think active cable is the way to go.
In 2008, videophiles were shocked to see that a $200 Blu-ray player could trounce a $6K DVD player.
When a successful new paradigm such as Blu-ray or Redmere emerges, it redefines the price/performance ratio for that market. I spent about $42.50 shipped for three 6' Redmere HDMI cables.
They are so good and so cheap, I really don't care what Bluejeans says about the passive paradigm. Bluejeans should be negotiating a licensing agreement with Redmere (maybe they are) and write a new white paper.
No matter how expensive, a DVD player can't quadruple the native data density. Why is this even a question? I mentioned that example because a few years ago an A-goner asked for advice on the best $6K DVD/CD combo player and EVERY response (and there were many, many from people with very expensive systems) was that he was throwing good money after bad and it was time to move on to Blu-ray. It wasn't the answer he wanted and he got mad at everybody.
Here's the thread. Draw your own conclusion. Turns out his upper budget was $8K, not $6K. He was looking for SOTA CD/SACD playback, but also wanted to preserve the viability of his collection of 500 DVDs.
Just bought a couple of the Redmere cables upon reading your recommendation and just plugged them in and wow, the picture & sound is amazing! Love that they are so thin & flexible also. I'm not going to bother getting AQ HDMI's now.
that thread is all over the place, a real mess. No wonder the OP got confused?
I run into this every once in awhile on various forums. When someone asks whether to get WireWorld or AQ for example, I figure he wants the best HDMI cable performance he can get. Well, what if there's a third option that operates on a new paradigm that's not so damn expensive and overbuilt? That's why I mentioned the Redmere technology by Monoprice. Add in Monoprice's guarantee and return policy and it's a no-risk experiment. Some may see that as off-topic but I see it as returning to the fundamental issue--getting a better picture and sound via a better HDMI connection.
I have the $1000 AQ Diamond Silver HDMI cable on loan and just ordered the Redmere monoprice cables given the recommendations here.
The AQ diamond made a significant improvement in the hd pic quality running from my cox cable box to my pioneer sc-79 AVR with a stock generic hdmi cable running into my sharp Elite 70.
I noticed much less motion distortion and it appears to have eliminated the occasional tiling distortion I was seeing. Colors are much better as well. My wife noticed right away as well.
I am not sure it made a significant pic improvement running from the oppo 105 blue ray however.
I need to listen more, as others have said there is a significant sound improvement. I did not hear it jump out at me with the Oppo, as compared to the improvement noticed in the cable box pic quality.
I will compare to the redmere monoprice cables when they come in and see if they are equal. They are so cheap I ordered 3 for cable box, Oppo and AVR to TV. I am pretty hooked on the AQ Diamond picture improvement but would love to return it if these cable can equal.
I had the Redmere HDMI cable from my Oppo BDP103 to my Marantz 8801 pre/pro. Recently I purchased the WW Starlight 6 because I was offered a trial purchase with 30 days to return. I expected to not tell a difference and honestly felt it was a waste of money to consider upgrading from the redmere.
On the video side I could tell no difference. I have a very capable 1080p projector; a Marantz VP15s1. If there was any improvement offered I believe my projector would have exhibited the difference.
On the audio side it was a different result. The bass was a bit tighter and lower, and, the top end seemed to open up a bit more. The differences were only subtle at best, but, there was still an improvement. I decided to keep it. Would the average person with low to mid-fi equipment tell a difference? I don't know. I use proceed for amplification and Aerial Acoustics speakers. My sub is a Seaton Submersive.
I would only suggest you give it a try and see what difference you can tell. I am curious what differences you can discern.
Got Redmere in yesterday. My ht system: Pioneer sc-79 AVR Oppo 105 Def tech bp7000s, 8080hd center, 4 in wall 75 running full range Cardas Neutral Ref bi wire cable
Audio test: steely dan gaucho multi channel SACD Results similar to Jdlynch: AQ Diamonds exhibited slightly fuller mid and bass, but most noticeable was finer resolution of highs. Very evident in first track babylon sister where the wind chimes go back and forth across the rear channels and no other music is present. About 1.5 min into the song.
I listened to this section 5 times.
Although not earth shattering, the audio advantage is enough for me to keep the AQ diamond, especially since i only paid $500. I don't know if I could get the same advantage over the Redmere with lower price AQ offering.
Video testing: Did not a b between my oppo105 , only did the test between my cable box on hd channels, since that is what I watch majority of the time. I don't believe this is full 1080p hd.
Results: Swapping Redmere for the AQ diamond brought back the same distortion I experienced with the stock cables when viewing my 70 elite LCD. So I am keeping the loaner AQ diamond for the cable box to AVR.
I think the Redmere are a great bargain for their price, and especially how easy to work with for light components. That said, with my full array, local dimming LED set, they did not perform any better video wise compared to my stock generic hdmi cables for hd cable tv. So, unfortunately for my budget, the AQ diamonds were a significant improvement video wise and are staying.
The one caveat here is that the redmere was put in right out of the package, where as the AQs were used and fully burned in.
I will let the Windmere run in for couple days straight in my oppo and see if there is any difference in pic quality between the cable hd compared to the non burned in performance.
Could you try running direct to your Elite from both your box and then again from the Oppo and let us know? There's always gonna be losses thru an AVR, not to mention the degradation thru your generic HDMI you're running from AVR to Elite.
I will eventually try that but I suspect the issue is not the AVR - it is most likely noise on the cable box that the AQ diamond does a better job of filtering.
I am currently burning in a 1 m and 2 m redmere from the oppo to the AVR and then to the Elite. The pic looks very good with Jeff Beck blueray.
The distortion on the cable HD comes back when I swap out the AQ diamond for the Redmere, even with the Redmere 2m between the AVR and the Elite. Hence my suspicion on cable box generated noise causing the picture distortion.
I will let that go for a week and then check the redmere against the AQ Diamond from the cable box. I will also check the AQ against the Redmere from the Oppo to the AVR. In both cases I will run the Redmere from the AVR to the Elite
After running in the redmere 1m between the Oppo and AVR and redmere 2m between the Pioneer SC-79 AVR and my 70" Elite, I swapped out the redmere's for AQ diamond between the Oppo to AVR and AQ Diamond 2m between the AVR to Elite TV.
Oppo Sound quality w AQ Diamond on SACD continues to beat the redmere per my earlier comparison. Slight but noticeable. Not worth the price delta in lower price systems but since I got the AQ cable at 50% off, I'm keeping the AQ diamond.
The bigger surprise was the picture quality improvement when swapping out the AQ Diamond 2m for the redmere between the AVR and Elite TV. Colors were richer and blacks were improved. Not as major a difference as the noise reduction with the AQ between cable box and AVR, but noticeable enough on my Elite TV that I'm keeping the AQ diamond.
While the Redmere is a really good value, it didn't clean up a noisy signal like the AQ Diamond did in my system.
Redmere is a really good value for long runs like for a projector but I would highly recommend the AQ diamond for high end systems between sources and AV processor.
You should try the Redmere's direct to the display especially from the Oppo 105. I agree as far as the audio assessment goes I compared it to a Pangea H24 with 6% silver over Pocc which is great for multichannel sacd and indeed noted fuller sound and pristine highs and tonal mids but the Redmere's are killer for video.
I did run the Redmere from both the AVR to display and the oppo to display. AQ diamond was slightly better in both cases. colors were richer. AQ diamond was dramatically better between cable box and AVR.
Redmere is great for the price, but AQ diamond gets the last 10% in a very good display like the Elite.