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Old June 7th, 2007, 12:31 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: San Diego CA
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Firewire/HDMI cable quality

I have been discussing this with a friend and I want to know some opions , when buying cables for capture, do you feel ( like I do) that the quality of the cable is paramount?
I keep thinking about speaker wire and how in the last 20 years cable quality has jumped leaps and bounds. Back in the day you bought a good stereo and used any wire for speakers. Now there monster cable ,gold plated connections ect. Im wondering if that is true with capture cable.
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Old June 7th, 2007, 03:06 PM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
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There is little reason to spend extra money on expensive digital cables, provided you find a cheap cable that works for your situation. Digital is somewhat all-or-nothing so you won't get a better image or sound if your cable has more resistance than an expensive cable. To the contrary, there is a tangible reason not to use the beefy expensive cables. The heavier cables can put strain on the small HDMI and firewire connections. You can buy half a dozen cheap models of digital cables online for the price of one "name brand" cable at the local electronics store. The only reason I would consider spending the big bucks on an expensive digital cable would be if I had failures on the cheaper models. So far, I have tried HDMI cables up to 15' with no problems.

The lessons I have learned buying A/V cables have been fairly conclusive. I don't like obviously cheap cables nor do I like the very expensive models. I have had excessive failures at both ends of the spectrum. I also figured out why the mid-range cables seem to last longer. The angle a cable bends near the connector is the primary factor in cable life. If the connector is too bulky, it becomes inflexible and the cable itself bends sharply beyond the connector. If the connector is too wimpy, it also bends too sharply. A cable with a connector with a bit of flexible cable reinforcement that extends gradually a couple of inches into the cable itself will last longer.

While I don't like to buy any cheap equipment that I must depend on for professional work, I haven't seen a payoff with overly expensive cable. I would rather a cheap cable break than have a fat cable pull on the connectors of my $4000 camera.

Another factor with newer cable types that I like is the reduction of pins. I like the USB contact style that has flat connection points instead of pins that must align in a socket. HDMI cable are very similar. I really don't like lots of little pins on a cable that must be reconnected frequently. It's one thing to connect a cable with dozens of pins to a computer monitor and leave it for years; it's a completely different situation when the cable is being used on a portable camera that might be set up multiple times every day it goes to work. There isn't a lot of history yet with HDMI cables, but I'm sure we won't see a lot of failures because of the contact points.

When you buy inexpensive cables online, buy extras of different brands and you will surely find one you like and also have backups.
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