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Support Test of Affordable SVEN HDMI Cables. Is There Sense to Pay More?

One day we saw three packages with affordable HDMI cables on our editorial table, which are used for commutation of different AV equipment. Of course, nothing extraordinary would be in them, because SVEN trademark established a reputation as popular for a long time. That is if something electronic, modern and inexpensive is required then you may not only look to this brand but you must. Nevertheless, a task put by the editor-in-chief surprised a little bit, as he ordered to test those cables. Frankly, all tests of cords designed to transmit the digital (!) signal, finish as a rule in one word – “serviceable”. But if to obtain further insight into the problem, then everything is not so unambiguously as it seems at first glance.

In the internet you will find dozens of articles explaining that there is a difference between HDMI cables, and at the same time you can read hundreds of disclaimers. But any branch at a thematic forum exceeds easily the mark in one hundred pages. We will not take the responsibility for ourselves and dot one’s i’s and cross one’s t’s, but we just will tell about an entertaining experience with SVEN cables. The test consists of two parts. During the first part we will try maximum impartially estimate the quality of items guided by theoretical knowledge and towards the end we will arrange the subjective listening and examining to answer whether there is a difference between a cable at the price of $10 and $1000. We will examine three cables at once with the very famous trademark: Sven HDMI 19M-19M V1.3 Rotate, Sven HDMI High speed 19M-19M, Sven HDMI 19M-19M High Speed and HDMI with Ethernet Flat.

SVEN HDMI cables: appearance, construction, materials

So, we have in our hands three most ordinary cords. They differ structurally a little bit, but fundamentally this changes nothing. All the same, the cables belong to the ultra affordable segment, because each of them can be bought at the retail network at the price of $13…20 depending on the appetites of a shop assistant. The package in all three cases is the most standard – a packet. In general, an honest product at the honest price.

Let’s start with a cable with rotating connectors. He differs nothing from an ordinary cable, only the HDMI cable has folding connectors, i.e. it can be bended at any angle. We think that such a solution is unnecessary for in-home use, but for those cases when the equipment is moved or reconnected constantly such a version is very tempting. Connectors on both ends are covered with a thin layer of yellow metal. According to the producer’s information it is gold. Ordinary polyvinylchloride is used as the external braid. The cable thickness is equal to 7 mm, but the braid on wires perceptibly is not tight, and if it is shrunk the way it should be then the cord will be thinner on one millimeter minimum. According to the specifications this cable comply with a standard of version 1.3, the thickness of cores is 28 AWG, shielding is executed by the triple method. This cable is produced in two modifications: 1 or 1.8 meter long.

The second cable is more habitual. Its length is 3 meters, connectors are yellow as well. Its thickness is approximately 7 mm, but the external isolation is poorly tight to the “entrails”. There is a ferrite filter on one of ends.

The third cable belongs to the Flat category, or more simply, it is flat. It can be handy while laying it in places difficult of access or in some exotic conditions. In this case its thickness is equal to approx. 3 mm and width is about 13 mm. Connectors are of ordinary metal color, there are no filters at all. The rigidity of construction is quite tolerable, but there are only two variants of length: 1.8 and 3 meters. The same polyvinylchloride is used as an external isolation. In spite of great difficulties during production, cores according to the manufacturer’s information saved a standard thickness 28 AWG.

In order to check how much qualitatively cables are made inside, let us cut them and examine their structure. We will begin with a sample with rotary connectors. The double shield is located immediately beneath the external isolation. Groups of conductors are wrapped around with aluminum foil and the grid of numerous silvery wires is over it. A copper multiple-core wire is plait in it. Four twisted pairs have individual shielding with aluminum foil with a copper wire, at that every shielding is seperated from each other with thin film. In general, everything is very accurate. All important moments of shielding are realized according to rules. There are seven copper cores (fibres) inside every wire. We measured a diameter of one of them with the help of a micrometer with a minimum grade value 0.01 mm, and it happened to be 0.11 mm. That is the area of section of one core is equal to 0.0095 sq. mm. Taking to account that there are seven cores the total area is 0.066 sq. mm. Based on the table, it is something between 28 and 29 AWG. In general, it is possible to say taking into consideration all errors and rounds-off s that the area of section of conductors corresponds to the declared area.

A round cable 3 meters long was made inside just the same. Moreover, shields of four twisted pairs are not isolated there at all and they are simply “thrown together to one point”. Theoretically, it can be a reason of the interference immunity lowering. The area of section of conductors is entirely identical: one core is 0.0095 sq. mm, the total area of the cable is 0.066 sq. mm.

We will give particular attention to the flat cable. Due to its flat construction it is quite difficult to realize a common external shield, therefore it is not available at all. But on the other hand, all conductors are located inside of their own shields isolated from each other. At that, there is the fifth twisted pair – a specific character of compliance with HDMI 1.4. The external diameter of wires is different a little bit, but they differ by the thickness of used isolation only. Every wire has as usual seven cores. The diameter is a little bit less – 0.1 mm. The area of section of a core is equal to 0.000785 sq. mm, and the total area is 0.0055 sq. mm. And that is somewhere between 30 and 29 AWG.

Subjective testing

We examined the cables with the help of a quite reliable system available in one of Minsk Hi-Fi salons. Not Hi-End, of course, but a quite thorough system to catch even minimum differences. We used a 50” plasma panel Panasonic 50GT30 to display the image. A source was Marantz UD5005 Blu-ray player, ONKYO TX-NR579 AV receiver and KEF Q700 speaker system. AudioQuest Cinnamon and Diamond cables at the price about $100 and $1000 accordingly were used as standard cables.

A result turned out not that stunning, but compelling to think indeed. One would think that the digital bitstream flows via HDMI cable, and if it reaches from a source to a receiver then there must be differences neither in the sound nor in picture at all. However, all four participants of the experiment agreed that there was a difference. A minimum, barely noticeable, existing on the verge of the resolving capacity of eyes and ears, but the difference was available. Speaking in greater detail, we saw the following… During connection of components with SVEN cables the sound and picture rouse absolutely no censure. Everything looks just perfectly. There is not a hint of distortions, artifacts or other troubles even in case of “hard content”. During reconnection with the use of expansive cables there have been some changes. For example, in some scenes, the amount of grey color gradations has increased and the level of noises in shadows slightly has diminished. However, all this is so imperceptibly, that you should know where to look at, how to look and have an exhaustive idea about the content. And even then there is no guarantee that in blind test you will be able to distinguish SVEN cables from a cord at the price of one thousand dollars. The situation is slightly more expressed with the sound. It has become clear during listening of test tracks that SVEN does not provide the ideal width of the scene and even slightly influences the tone balance. A difference in sounding of cables has been confirmed by a blind test.

However, it is necessary to understand perfectly several things. The difference in the movie is so minimum, that it can be seen only after concentration and effort for a well well-known picture. Probably, there will be no even such nuances on inexpensive LED displays. That is to say, a difference between cables is available, but whether it costs that is a rhetorical question. Sounding differs more, however again during watching a movie or concert on the home theatre you are hardly concentrated in such a way that you are able to notice barely perceptible small things.


Summarizing the results, we can draw several conclusions at once. In the first place, HDMI cables sold under SVEN trademark are made quite qualitatively and thoroughly. These products have an honest price, which is justified to the last cent. Any of the cables having been tested by us is suitable to transmit high-capacity modern content. And if you may need a cable for a typical home system, then with every reason go to a shop and buy suitable according to a situation any of these laces. In the second place, an illusory difference in the picture quality and more perceptible differences in the sound between cables at the price of $10…20 and samples at the price of hundreds and thousands of dollars is available. However, all this is so insignificant that borders of opinions and estimations turn out quite fuzzy. For the majority of people there is no difference at all, but for some people it is like a precipice. Everything depends on the extent of audiophile disease only.

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