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Do Monster Cables (and other brand names) make a difference?

by kenworbr / January 20, 2009 5:44 PM PST

...or are they just marketing geniuses? I have heard both sides of the argument, but in the race to save the little $$ I have, I don't wanna spend the extra gazillion dollars to buy a wire just because it says Monster on it unless it actually matters. I am curious about this for not only HDMI cables, but for speaker wire as well. Thank you

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Do Monster Cables (and other brand names) make a difference?
by irishtom29 / January 20, 2009 10:37 PM PST

There's no difference between competent cables and wires. The entire business is a hype, note that the old time hi-fi designers and users didn't use oddball cables and they had gear at least as good as that used now. But they were hard-nosed and pragmatic engineers and veterans of the Great Depression and World War II. Nobody was gonna sell them a 10 cent piece of wire for $100.

However by the 1970s most of the REAL problems of hi-fi reproduction had been solved and businessmen needed a new product. That need, combined with the coming into money of the technically ignorant, drug-addled and self indulgent Baby Boomers made for a new business----the cable and wire business.

Get your cables and wires from Parts Express, Monoprice or Blue jeans Cable. You'll save alot of money and get just as good a product.

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No differance.
by grc24 / January 20, 2009 10:53 PM PST

The signal that is being passed through the HDMI cable is a digital one. It is either ON or OFF. There is NO signal strength or nothing to amplify or anything like that. You either get a picture on your TV or you don't. Therefore, No one HDMI cable is better than the other at passing a signal. Some cables may have a little better build quality than the other but they won't be better at getting a picture to your TV. I purchased all my cables from The HDMI cable is a very solid cable. I payed $20. for a 6' cable. I also purchased a couple of HDMI cables from Wal-mart. They are Phillips brand and are a very good cable too. Don't fall for the $80-100. dollar cables. They won't produce anything better.


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Brand names are phooey!
by techsorceress / January 20, 2009 11:16 PM PST
In reply to: No differance.

I agree with the above post. HDMI cables that are branded are the same as all things branded-you are paying the high cost for the branding. I purchase all my cables including HDMI cables at where they are a fraction of the cost of Monster and other branded cables but are 100% comparable in quality. Why pay more for the same thing?

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by jasondtx / January 21, 2009 7:48 AM PST

Yes they make a difference! If you can't see or hear a difference then you are probably not comparing good brands to each other. There are major differences in audio and video cabling and there is science to back it up. There is a brand called MIT that is much more technically advanced than Monster, or Trbutaries, or Rocket Fish or any other for that matter. I could tell you about them or you could visit their website There are white papers published that tell about the differences. Also try going to a higher end dealer near you and usually they will have different brands in the store and demo them for you. I used to think the same way as these people until I tried MIT. Do you think a recording studio such as Skywalker Sound would use them and write a letter stating the huge differences they uncovered in the sound unless they believed it?

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by irishtom29 / January 21, 2009 11:44 AM PST
In reply to: Cables

MIT has been known to use filters incorporated with the wires---EQ. Of course putting a EQ circuit in can change the sound. Of course it won't be accurate but a coloration.

A great many recording studios use plain old Belden industrial grade wire.

Ask yourself a simple question: if the giants of the industry, the men who actually invented amplifiers, microphones and loudspeakers; men like Hilliard, Lansing, Olson, Wente, Thuras, Walker and Voight---men who worked at Bell Labs, RCA Labs, British Edison and MGM---if these guys didn't notice that something as simple and basic as wire made a difference is it likely that it does?

There's also the little problem that wire fetishists are unable to identify the differences in wires in double blind tests. Not that they can't identify their preference; they can't even tell a difference.

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by jasondtx / January 24, 2009 5:25 AM PST
In reply to: Cables

First of all MIT does not use filters or eq. It is a passive network that helps correct the phase of the signal. They also use poles of articulation. This gives you a very clear, tight, 3 dimensional sound which has better more accurate bass, a cleaner midrange, and gets rid of any edginess in the treble. Yes a lot of studios use belkin or different brands but there are a lot of studios that use more expensive brands like MIT. Would you like me to send you a letter from one of the engineers saying what a drastic difference they uncovered in the sound when switching over to MIT speaker cales in their reference studios? This is studio that records some of the biggest hit movies and music soundtracks of all time. So when you state that it doesn't make a difference or that studios don't use this because it's more expensive, you end up not making any sense. And yes I have heard the difference and seen it too, I spend all day showing it to customers.

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HDMI Cables
by Snapshot711 / January 21, 2009 12:41 PM PST

Okay.. So some of the cheaper cables will be sufficient compared to Monster cables for a much cheaper cost. That's great information. But can you answer me this.

Do I need to be concerned with specifics?

I just got a 1080p, 120Hz Popular brand HDTV.
Should I only purchase a cable that specifically states it is:
1080p? yes
HDMI Version?
anything else?

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by MrGadgetman / January 23, 2009 10:33 AM PST
In reply to: HDMI Cables

As long as the HDMI cable is in compliance with what you need, the brand itself is not important. In other words, if you device has an v1.3 HDMI supported jack then use a compatible cable to get the features supported by all devices connected. The biggest difference is in the quality of the cable construction (as stated in a prior post) and the version refers to the supported bandwidth.

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Cables are in the ear of the beholder!
by dlborda / March 1, 2009 9:28 AM PST

Some look at a Picasso and wonder how anyone would call it art, let alone pay millions of dollars for it. Other are without even the most rudimentary appreciation of fine music and the artists intent. Most may have never even entered a fine hall to experience the emotion, passion and color of what was once a mere mortals dream made real. For those content to listen to just the notes, I say God speed. For those of us who need to feel the solemn sarcasm of Shostakovich or the technicolor grandeur of Mahler, we choose more than just wire....we choose MIT:O) When the Victrola was released, the engineers said music reproduction couldn't get any better...Hmmmm.

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I found 6 foot HDMI for around $5.00 with shipping...
by IHaveAJuiceBox / January 21, 2009 11:40 AM PST

Yes it can make a difference from cheap to $$$, but most of the time it's not much of a difference and not worth the extra cost. Some cable is so cheaply made it just falls apart and can be dangers (no danger in HDMI cable as far as I know). Sometimes it can lead to issue with the components. Don?t buy cable that feels or looks poorly constructed. Most cables are fine!!!

If you?re swimming in cash, then sure, get monster or another good brand. Personally I found 6 foot HDMI cable for $2 and another $3 for shipping on It might be a waste of my money, but I'm going to give it a try, because I'm willing to bet it's just as good as the monster cable, for 1/10th the price. If it?s poorly constructed I will send it back.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 21, 2009 10:53 PM PST

I have a few of those 7 buck cables and swapping cables results in no differences.

Let those that can be "sold" be sold the goods.

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O, and on speaker wire, the say it depends on how...
by IHaveAJuiceBox / January 21, 2009 12:00 PM PST

Far your speakers are from your receiver.

Distance from speaker to amplifier Gauge
Less than 80 feet 16 Gauge
80 to 200 feet 14 Gauge
More than 200 feet 12 Gauge

If you have a very expensive receiver and speakers then always get the 12 gauge and get some quality wire. If your system is more on the average or less expensive then get cheep wire, but still pay attention to the chat for distance to gauge.

HDMI is only pushing a signal (Audio and Video) and not power as far as I know.

Hope this helps.

O and this web has great info on wire for AV



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by gabereyes / January 21, 2009 12:23 PM PST

Monster makes one of the most reliable cables on the market, you probably will not se any difference in picture quality, but you can cut down the frustration of a cable not working.

I spent a couple of hours last week concealing a HDMI cable up a wall across the attic and down a side wall and the customer called and said the cable will not pass any signal from a Blu-Ray player, and this was a monoprice cable.

Also if you cut open most other brand cable?s you will find most cable companies do not use copper wire and fake gold tips do to the price. And I know Dynex, monoprice, and rocket fish do not use copper inside they use aluminum, and science says that silver is the very best coductor followed by copper, Gold and then Aluminum, and monster uses the fist three, copper wire, silver solder, and gold plated tips.

And most people think that monster has the biggest markup, and this is wrong.
It is the low to mid range company?s that have the biggest markup, any where from 50-90%, and most stores make less % on monster then other brands.

So yes you will pay more, but you will get more.
most people just can not see any diffrents in picture quality.

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As I stated in a previous post...
by grc24 / January 21, 2009 11:16 PM PST
In reply to: Yes

Some manufacturers probably have a better build quality, but as far as PQ. You won't see a differance. If you just want to hook up your TV so you can watch HDTV and hook up the BluRay...Why would you want to spend 3 and 4 times more on a product that is just the same as the lower price product? I have Monoprice and Phillips brand cables. I have run my 10ft. monoprice HDMI cable through a wall and back out of the wall when we moved, and back through another wall in the new house. It still works great and I'm glad that I did't let the salesman where we bought our TV talk me into all the Mon$ter products that they were pushing in my face.


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by ns387241 / March 4, 2009 1:40 PM PST


I agree with you in the respect that there are companies out there that care about their product enough to build it right with no screw-ups.

I do not agree with your analysis on the difference these cables make.

I will start with the hardest to prove: HDMI. As a certified CE Installer and co-developer of HDMI, an owner of an audio consulting firm, and a downright hardcore enthusiast, allow me to assure you that with different versions of HDMI came different standards on build quality and minimum bandwidth acceptance. Without enough bandwidth, one cannot properly transmit a digital signal. If the cable is not rated for the latest version of HDMI (1.3b), then it will most likely not transmit enough information to make up a 1080/120p picture with 36-bit color and DTS-HDma audio. The video alone would ruin even an HDMI 1.2 cable, and with the audio, an HDMI 1.3a cable would loose its footing.

Also, there will be new versions of HDMI coming soon to handle 4K or 1080 3D environments. The cables you buy today at whatever price cannot handle that.

With HDMI, it's all about the ratings that HDMI defines.

Speaker Cable and Analogue Interconnects are where your average Joe will be able to see and hear a diffrence. These cables ar more suceptible to interference and distortion (which is why HDMI is liked so much).

Monster is not the best, rather the beginning of quality. Anything less than Monster (ie Dynex, Rocketfish, Philips, etc) is a waste of money and time (These companies take a $7 HDMI cable or $.02/ft speaker cable and charge 30-60 bucks for it. There is your true rip-offs.

Companies like Nordost and Analysis-Plus are the companies to look for. These guys make a real product that is audibly and visualy different and better than the competition. Don't believe me? Check out their websites. They both have scientifically verifiable quality that makes one wonder how they got along without it in tne first place.

I constantly test my refrence system with a variety of wires, from lamp cord to A-P Golden litzwires and everything in between. There is an audible and visual difference that once you see andd hear, your thinking on this subject shall be forever changed.

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the moderator at projector central forums recommends
by jostenmeat / January 22, 2009 5:10 AM PST
In reply to: Yes

Monoprice for ALL cabling needs. He's never once found an instance where spending more netted any benefits. Seeing how he knows how to install mega Crestron systems (which can run into the hundreds of thousands), I think he knows quality when he sees it.

Monoprice, FTW.

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Dollar markup vs percentage markup
by Pepe7 / January 22, 2009 11:46 PM PST
In reply to: Yes

Keep in mind there can be a difference between a percentage markup and dollar markup. The Monoprice cables technically might be marked up higher percentage wise, but the Monster cables are marked up more dollar wise. In this sense, why would Best Buy focus on a generic product with lower return(?) Of course they won't- that's why they promote Monster so heavily. $$$$$


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by gabereyes / January 23, 2009 12:31 PM PST

I didnt forget that, but I also didnt want to say the dollar amounts.

but I can tell you a retailer makes more money on the middle priced product like rocket fish, belkin, or phillips then they do on monster.
this is true for almost any products, a retail store knows customers dont want to pay for the highest dollar product, and customers are scared to buy the cheapest one, so most people buy right in the middle. So to make lots of profit the middle priced product should make the most money.

if someone want to buy lowest price cable's they could find, thats fine I just wanted everyone to see it at a diffrent angle, there is always a reason something cost more, but we dont always know why, thats what I wanted to get acrossed.

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BB actually makes more *revenue* on Monster
by Pepe7 / January 24, 2009 10:54 AM PST
In reply to: Ok

Hence, their focus on getting customers to purchase it along with most HDTV panels. They might *profit* more on the Belkin if you prorate the bulk cost though. I have a couple of insiders currently working for BB (business consultants, not sales floor associates) who have 'enlightened' me, shall we say ;).


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Monster Cables
by k4421 / March 1, 2009 10:30 AM PST

Most people, I will state this again, most people that have worked in the Audio/Video industry know and understand that Monster Cables are on the shelves to make HUGE profit for the seller of this product. Customers will buy A/V products and the sales people are instructed to sell as much of this High Price, not High End, cable as possible. If a $120.00 Monster Cable was marked down to $35.00 at your local B/M store, that store would still make a profit. It is very hard for people to admit that they have been taken for their money, and they will defend what a sales person has sold them. What they should have found out is how little the sales person paid for those cables. If you payed $90.00 they payed $18.25,... Was it worth it?

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yes, it's an old thread, but oh well.

I don't know about Monster Cables or the cable industry, but in some cases, stores benefit from pushing a certain product. It's called push marketing. Push marketing is where one creates promotional strategies aimed at retail channels to encourage them in promoting your product, often through wholesale discounts, kickbacks, and bonuses. Perhaps Monster is using push marketing. The more Monster cables a retailer sells, the bigger bonus the retailer receives from Monster.

You see, with this strategy, the retailer wins either way. If the customer wants to buy a mid-priced cable, the percentage markup is greater, so the retailer makes more from the markup percentage-wise. If the customer decides to go with the higher-priced Monster, the retailer still wins because of Monster's push-marketing strategy, even though dollar-wise, the markup percentage is not as much as a mid-priced cable. (assuming this is the case)

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