One question I get a lot is â€œdo expensive cables really make a difference on video qualityâ€? AVIC cables (www.aviccables.com) sent me several sets of cables to test against what I already own. I have two other brands in my video system: BetterCables (www.bettercables.com) Silver Serpent Reference and Bolder Cables (www.boldercables.com). The starting prices for each set of 1 meter are $99 for AVIC, $199 for BetterCables, and $250 for Bolder Cables.
The build of the AVIC cables reminds me a lot of my BetterCables Silver Serpents. Three similar red, green, and blue cables have a braided jacket around each cable, all of which are surrounded by a rubber housing. The AVIC has added an additional 100% mylar foil mesh on the outside creating more protection from RF noise. Because of the additional shielding, I would have to give the AVIC cables a better rating for build. The Bolder Cables component set comes as separate cables with no rubber containment housing like the other two brands. Each cable is shield and constructed in a very sturdy fashion. The connectors are pretty nice in that you can increase and decrease the tightness by turning the case on the ends of the RCA connectors (something AVIC nor BetterCables have on RCA connectors). Therefore you won’t run the risk of ending up with a loose connection. I would consider the build quality of Bolder Cables to be excellent as well.
Hitachi 57TWX20B display
Denon 2200 with SDI Mod DVD player
Lumagen VisionHDP Video processor
Sound Application XE-12 power conditioner
AVToolbox component splitter
Tektronix 457A oscilloscope
I have two outputs on my component splitter. I evaluated all three cable sets in pairs against each other (AVIC-BetterCables, BetterCables-Bolder, AVIC-Bolder). I could switch quickly back and forth between the cables as they are connected to two different inputs on my display.
I started by looking for noise. I put up some low luminance IRE windows (10IRE, 15IRE, and 20IRE) from AVIA Pro, looking to see if I could find more or less noise in the windows for each set of cables. No differences between the cables were noted. I checked the 20IRE on the oscilloscope and the noise floor for all cables looked identical. I went to the resolution patterns looking for noise in the background and around edges. No differences were noted.
Next was color. I looked at color bar patterns from AVIA Pro and video material from familiar test scenes. I could not discern any difference in saturation levels between the cables.
Last was to see if there was any difference in frequency response. I put up the AVIA Pro multiburst pattern. I connected the cables one set at time to the oscilloscope. All three had the same response, which looked like the picture below. The falloff you do see at 5.0Mhz is attributed to my system components. I also applied the multiburst pattern from my Sencore VP-403 to the cables with 720p output and detected no differences in frequency response between cables.