Silver Sonic HDMI 1.3 Cable
Silver Sonic HDMI 1.3
Price: $70 USD per 1m cable
Warranty: One year parts and labor
- Silver-coated OFC copper conductors
- Nitrogen-injected dielectric
- Double foil shield
- Custom die-cast connectors with contacts plated in 24-karat
- Protective woven outer jacket
- HDMI 1.3 certification
- Lengths over 6m include built-in amplifier-equalizer
I love how the HDMI format allows me to
transmit high-definition digital video and audio signals through a single cable. I
used to connect my universal player to my surround processor with a set of component-video
cables and six analog audio cables. Now, not only can I send hi-rez signals digitally to
my processor -- which has its own advantages -- but the number and complexity of cables in
my system has been greatly reduced.
Because many HDMI cables are relatively expensive, Id
been using generic brands since upgrading my system with an HDMI-equipped Anthem Statement
D2 audio/video processor and a JVC HD-56FC97 1080p D-ILA RPTV. One of my sources is an
Oppo DV-970HD universal player, which came with an HDMI cable; I picked up another generic
HDMI cable at a local computer store for around $10.
But high-end cable manufacturers have now begun to offer
HDMI cables, and DH Labs is known for providing high-quality, high-performance cables at
reasonable prices. Ive been using a DH Labs Silver Sonic D-75 digital coaxial audio
cable for several years, and consider it one of the best values in that category. Based on
my experience with the D-75, I was curious to try out the companys Silver Sonic HDMI
1.3 cable, which retails for a very reasonable $70 for a 1m cable.
The DH Labs Silver Sonic HDMI 1.3 cable looks to be a
relatively straightforward but high-quality design. Its surface-treated, silver-coated,
OFC copper conductors are encased in a dielectric injected with nitrogen. A double foil
shield and high-density copper braid are designed to provide maximum rejection of both RF
and electromagnetic interference. The custom die-cast connectors have contacts plated in
24-karat gold, and the Silver Sonics woven protective outer jacket, intended to
prevent abrasions, gives it a purposeful look. A 6m length is available for $170; longer
runs begin at 9m ($495) and include a built-in amplifier-equalizer.
I used the Silver Sonic HDMI 1.3s with my Oppo DV-970HD
universal player and Sony PlayStation 3 as sources, along with my Anthem Statement D2 and
With the DH Labs Silver Sonics, my systems picture
quality was pristine. 1080p material from Blu-ray Discs was simply stunning: Pirates of
the Caribbean: Dead Mans Chest exhibited incredibly detailed dark scenes, tons
of shadow detail, and razor-sharp daylight scenes. The very best HD material has a sense
of depth and dimension, and the Silver Sonics conveyed that. The beautifully restored
exterior shots in the Blu-ray edition of Blade Runner: The Complete Collectors
Edition had the kind of detail that I would not have expected to see in a film more
than 20 years old. I was expecting to see flaws in the set design, but none were visible
-- and not because the source was not resolving this fine detail. The Tyrell Corporation
building, for example, did not look like a model but like a real building; the DH Labs
cables wonderfully reproduced this incredibly lifelike picture.
High-resolution multichannel audio from Blu-ray also
sounded spectacular through the Silver Sonics. The acoustic guitars on Dave Matthews
and Tim Reynolds: Live at Radio City Music Hall sounded like real guitars -- big,
bold, and rich. Their sound, strummed by these talented players, was something to behold.
Although this is primarily an acoustic performance accompanied only by Matthews
singing, the sound is incredible -- its my favorite demo disc for music in hi-def.
Unless you have a Blu-ray player with 5.1- or 7.1-channel analog outputs, youll need
an HDMI cable to send the Dolby TrueHD signal as either a bitstream or a transcoded PCM
signal to your receiver or processor. I reveled in the purity of the transcoded Dolby
TrueHD soundtrack sent via the DH Labs cable from the Sony PS3 to the Anthem D2.
Upscaled standard-definition DVDs also looked excellent.
While the results varied depending on the initial video quality of the DVDs, I used the
Oppo DV-970HD to send a 480i video signal to the Anthem D2 for scaling and deinterlacing.
With the DH Labs cables, the picture was rock-solid and sometimes breathtaking. I would
not mistake this upscaled SD signal for a true HD source, but detail and color were
generally quite good, and there was a distinct absence of video noise. Background details
were typically lost in Becoming Jane, but close-ups had a particularly filmlike yet
natural look that made me overlook the lack of resolution when compared to true hi-def
source material. CGI animation can look stunning when upscaled, and Pixars Cars
was no exception. As expected, the colors were bright and eye-catching, but I was again
struck by the pictures smoothness and lack of noise, even during rapid pans around
the stadium in the opening scene. The Anthem D2s Gennum VXP-based video processing
no doubt had much to do with the excellent images that I was seeing, but the DH Labs
cables functioned flawlessly, with no dropouts or other problems, while transmitting video
up to 1080p and 24-bit/96kHz multichannel PCM audio.
I could not reliably discern any difference in the picture
quality between the DH Labs HDMI 1.3 cables and the generic HDMI cables. Nor did the
generics suffer from dropouts. However, when I bought one of the generics and it
wouldnt lock on to a signal, I exchanged it for a replacement that solved the
problem. That replacement has since functioned without problem, but it doesnt
exactly instill a sense of confidence in the quality or reliability of generic HDMI
Although the generics matched the DH Labs in terms of
picture quality, there was a noticeable difference in audio performance. When I switched
back to the generics, I noticed a subtle but definite degradation in the sound. This was
most obvious with music sources such as Boyz II Mens II [CD, DTS 1021510012].
The kick drum on "Comin Home Baby" was definitely a little boomier, and
the highs lost some of their sparkle. The baritone on "Yesterday" was less
distinct, and instead of seeming to emanate from a single point, became more diffuse.
Interestingly, DH Labs Silver Sonic D-75 coaxial cable sounded best with these DTS
tracks. Compared to the generic HDMI cables, the vocals snapped back into focus and the
bass tightened up considerably. Although the Silver Sonic HDMI 1.3 cable could not quite
match the exalted audio performance of the D-75 coaxial cable, it sounded nearly as good.
With hi-rez multichannel PCM, the DH Labs HDMI 1.3 cables
again bettered the generic HDMIs, but the differences werent as obvious. The guitars
on Dave Matthews "Crash into Me," from Live at Radio City Music Hall,
didnt quite have the same clarity with the generic HDMIs. The strumming and
resonance of the instruments were just not as distinct. Matthews vocals on
"Grave Digger" are not recorded as cleanly as they are on "Crash into
Me," and with the generic HDMIs they sounded even a bit more veiled. The sound of the
generics was just a little less refined overall than the Silver Sonics. The uncompressed
PCM soundtrack of Black Hawk Down on Blu-ray, for example, lost some of the
smoothness in the higher frequencies that could become fatiguing during extended
You could easily pay as much or more for brand-name HDMI
cables at a big-box retail store as you would for the DH Labs Silver Sonic. I would rather
spend my money on these high-performance cables, which appear to be well constructed and
come from a respected specialty manufacturer. You could also spend a lot less on generic
HDMI cables, but I found that the improvement in sound quality alone was worth the
difference in price of the DH Labs over generics. Like other DH Labs products, the Silver
Sonic HDMI 1.3 offers exceptional performance at an affordable price.
|Speakers - Paradigm
Reference Signature S8 (mains), Paradigm Reference Signature C3 (center), Paradigm
Reference Servo-15 v.2 (subwoofer), Mirage Omni 260 (surrounds)
processor - Anthem Statement D2
|Amplifiers - Bel Canto e.One
REF1000, eVo6; Axiom A1400-8
- Oppo DV-970HD CD/SACD/DVD-A/V player, Sony PlayStation 3, Trends Audio UD-10.1 USB
|Cables - Analysis Plus,
Essential Sound Products
suppressor - ZeroSurge 1MOD15WI
|Display device - JVC