Better cables from BetterCables
It is more and more common that a computer acts as the media server instead of just being a workstation. Nowadays computers can be used as an audio and video source - possibly the only the source used in a household. Computers can carry huge amounts of compressed music or movies and they also serve well as DVD players. But the common problem is that computers aren't something we like to place to out living rooms, next to the audio system, TV or home theatre. This means extended cable length and low level video or audio signals need good carriers to deliver the signal without quality loss. A high quality cabling is needed.
We had a chance to have a look the products of online cable dealer BetterCables.com. This U.S based online dealer offers a large variety of high quality cabling for virtually every purpose and they deliver internationally.
Silver Serpent audio interconnect
Factory RCA cables delivered with sound cards or home audio equipment are often very low quality. Low quality means literally hair thin threads of copper carrying the signal with hardly any shielding. It is most recommendable to replace factory cables with decent interconnects in every audio system (excluding market class boomboxes), but when the cabling distance extends to several meters, which is often the when audio connecting a PC, a high quality cabling is vital in order to achieve optimal sound quality.
The Silver Serpent has a thick isolating shielding and silver coated copper conductor. The word "serpent" definitely describes the looks of this product. The connectors are very tight and really lock on to your audio devices. We tested a 5 meter cable, connected in between Stereo-Link USB Hi-Fi audio device and a sound system with Genelec 1030A studio monitoring speakers. The Silver Serpent succeeded in delivering the audio with the full power and fidelity made possible with this very high quality audio setup.
The connectors of Silver Serpent however raised some questions. We wondered which what is the reason for the central connector of being hollow and why the outer connector was only a thin "needle" and not around the whole connector? The "needle" results as small contact area which reduces the contacting area and therefore increases the resistance and the contacting point. Also, the hollow central connector has reduced signal carrying area with the same theoretic affect. In real life the cable did perform very well, and the connectors were tight.
Silver Serpent S-video
We also tested a 5 meter S-video cable, used between a computers TV-out and a Sony Trinitron TV. We also tried the cable with a stand-alone DVD player In video signaling the quality of cable and the isolating of the cable has an important role, as the cable carries multiple independent signals. It usually isn't recommended to use S-video cabling longer than 5 meters and in such cases a high quality cable is recommended.
Of the products we tested the Silver Serpent S-video was the most positive one. The cable delivered improved clarity and sharpness of the image and suffer from any disturbances (potentially caused by the bunch of power cables nearby).The connectors were good and the isolating shielding thick. This is a very good choice for a video cable.
Silver Serpent VGA
BetterCables also offers VGA cables for computer or HDTV use. The Silver Serpent VGA was one damn thick and stiff piece of cabling equipment. We tested the cable with 17" Panasonic PL70Pro, a 21" Hitatchi and a 15" TFT flat screen Samsung and the cable had a length of 1 meters.
In this case we had difficulty of detecting any real life benefits. On the other hand the monitors we used were of quite good quality, and it is reasonable to believe that the screens were already delivered with decent cabling. When the length of the connection is longer the importance of cabling naturally increases.
Also in this case the connectors received critique. To attach the connectors you need a screw driver, as one can't tighten the screws with bare hands. And as the cable is very stiff, it's necessary to make sure that the connectors really stay on their place.
The products of BetterCables.com were definitely of high quality. Also the company had responsive email support and products were shipped promptly via UPS. High quality cabling is quite suitable for online sales as the value / weight ratio of the products is fairly high, so the shipping costs aren’t too high when compared to the value of the product. It’s also worth mentioning that BetterCables.com offers free delivery inside U.S.
Good innovative company, good products. Worth a look if you are about to invest in high quality cabling!
Written by: Lasse Penttinen