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Nordost WyreWizard HDMI Cables

Part I

December, 2005

Kris Deering

 

Specifications:

Nordost Wyrewizard HDMI Cable (HDMI/HDMI)

● 22 AWG 99.9999% OCC Solid Core Copper
    Conductors
● Polyethylene-Coated PC Board
● Pure Silver Solder at Junctions
● MSRP: $139.99/1 Meter; $10 per Additional
    Meter

 

Nordost Cables

http://www.nordost.com/wyrewizard

Introduction

The subject of cables will cause debate with just about any group of A/V aficionados. How much should you spend on these things?  Many believe that the only difference youíll find is the pretty braiding or nice name attached to the packaging.

When all we had to deal with was analog signals up to about 100 kHz, all cables worked reasonably. But now that cables handle digital signals, and in the MHz frequency range, problems have started arising.

The Frustration of Design

At CEDIA - 2005, in Indianapolis, Indianaa, one of the booths I visited was Paradigmís in anticipation of seeing the new Anthem D2 Surround Sound Processor. While I was there I talked with them about how things were going, and they mentioned how much trouble they were having with HDMI cables. Essentially most of the cables they tested would not pass a 1080p output they were providing to their projector without dropouts or "sparklies". Sparklies look like random white specs in the image.

Sometimes Paradigm couldn't get a signal through at all. This wasnít even a very long run, somewhere in the order of around 25 feet. In my own room, I use an HDMI cable run of about 30 feet from my equipment to my projector. While I hadnít experienced sparklies yet, I did have more than persistent dropouts and the end connector on the equipment side seemed to be getting looser and looser as I switched components manually.

After my conversation with Paradigm I took it upon myself to keep a look out for HDMI cables that seemed to have better build quality than what I was typically seeing. Eventually this led me to several booths, including Nordost, whose various cables have been reviewed here many times over, including the new WyreWizard line. When I asked them about HDMI cables specifically, they said they had just released an HDMI cable in the WyreWizard line. I mentioned the issues I was having at home with frequent dropouts and the construction of the cable being a likely culprit. He showed me their new offering and how substantial the terminations were in comparison to most HDMI cables Iíve seen.

The Goods

So, later, at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, in Denver, Colorado, I obtained one of these new cables for testing.

Right away, I was extremely impressed with the quality of the cable construction. The outer shielding uses a familiar mesh that most high end cables use, but the terminations were the most impressive aspect. There is really no room for bending.  The cable I was using before had a lot more flexibility where the cable met the connector and I think this created issues with the internal soldering points.

When I talked with Joe Reynolds from Nordost, he informed me that their termination is actually a min-microchip that uses silver solder for its connection points and then is molded over with Polyethylene. This contributes to the solid connection point and lack of issues when it comes to dropouts. The cable uses 22AWG wire that consists of silver plated 99.9999% oxygen free copper (OFC). The cable is then double shielded with foil and a braided shield and tested to the HDMI specification.

The WyreWizard HDMI cables are guaranteed out to 15 meters and come in pre-made lengths of 1, 2, 3, 6, 10, 12 and 15 meters. The starting price is $139.99 for a one meter cable and $10 per extra meter after that. This puts the 10 meter length cable that I used for this review at $229.99 which is actually a lot less than many of the HDMI cables I looked at during my trip to CEDIA.

Because this design is stiffer than most HDMI cables Iíve dealt with in the past, I would caution users who do not leave a lot of room behind their components for cabling, and require a certain amount of elasticity in their cables for nearly 90 degree bends. You can't bend to make sharp turns. You should be sure you have adequate space behind the component to allow for the stiffer termination and overall construction of the cable itself. I would say a good 5-6Ē of clearance is needed to allow for the natural radius of the cables to bend without putting undue strain on it.

Click Here to Go to Part II.

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