We thought we'd take some time to write about the new AudioQuest 8K/10K cables that are new to market and to discuss some of the nuances between the 4K variants as well as talk about the new eARC cables too.
First and foremost - the new 48Gbps (8K/10K) cables are replacing the current line of 18Gbps (4K) cables. The cables are all backwards compatible so a device on HDMI 1.4 and 2.0 will not only work, but should also see a distinct improvement in picture and sound quality with the latest cables.
AQ’s entry models Pearl 48 and Forest 48 were the first HDMI 2.1 cables to receive HDMI LLC’s Ultra High Speed certification; others will follow. HDMI only certifies a bare minimum, though of course no AudioQuest cable is only a bare minimum.
Sample label only. AudioQuest’s entry models Pearl 48 and Forest 48 were the first HDMI 2.1 cables to receive HDMI LLC’s Ultra High Speed certification
Should you have invested in one of the new XBOX, PS5 or other 8K source - these cables will provide reliable connectivity and as you go up the range, significantly better clarity and audio transport.
The range is as you'd expect - perfect for all budgets and brings the same design / range names as the 18Gbps cables but with one exception: Blueberry.
BlueBerry is a new range brought in to fulfil the 18Gbps market (4K/8K24) which has a starting price of just £25.
The packaging has all been reworked to include the A/V conductor type, eARC conductor type, the Noise-Dissipation characteristics and of course the max supported bandwidth.
As can be seen above, the amount of bandwidth utilised when going up the output resolution from HD 1080p / 4K and 8K stream increases to the point where at HDMI 2.1, you need 48Gbps for a 4K/120 and 8K/60 in a 12 bit stream.
The 48Gbps bandwidth is made possible by 4 balanced audio/video pairs capable of 12Gbps each. The precision and tighter manufacturing tolerances required to produce HDMI cables that transfer up to 48Gbps bandwidth mean many of AudioQuest’s tried-and-true ingredients and techniques are more important than ever before.
At this point it's worth saying - although HDMI is a digital stream (some may say 1's and 0's) - it's still an electrical signal passing down the cable. As such - noise absolutely plays a significant part in how the streams are managed, what impact noise/distortion has on the signal quality, colour and audio accuracy etc and how reliable the connection will be.
As such - as we start and look at the range, you'll see 4 important variables per cable:
- A/V conductor starting from solid long-grain copper, moving to varying % of silver in the conductor right through to solid PSS silver.
- eARC conductor also starting from solid long-grain copper, moving to varying % of silver in the conductor right through to solid PSS silver.
- Ground Reference (the thin jacket that surrounds each of the conductor groups)
- Noise-Dissipation - what is the construct of what used to be called shielding - but working to not just defend against noise/distortion, but how to move it away too.
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The complete HDMI range
All of the 8K/10K cables have a max length currently of 5m. The Cherry Cola (not listed above) is AudioQuest's Active HDMI cable (optical) carrying 18Gbps / 4K only but is available up to 30m.
Carbon 48 and above have a max length of 4m.
You'll note that as you go up the range, the A/V and eARC conductors have a higher silver % improving their conductance as well as the noise-dissipation levels increase. Thus the increase in price factoring all of this in.
HDMI and eARC
There are a number of use cases where you'd want to use the ARC/eARC channel from your TV but understandably, don't want to spend £499 on a Vodka 48 just for audio.
Those use cases are:
- Your TV has inputs via 8K HDMI but you want to use an external sound system i.e. a soundbar or an active speaker hub
- As a current work around for the chipset issue on common AVR's - you will connect your sources directly to your TV but then output the audio ONLY to the AV Receiver so you still get the full surround sound benefit of the AVR.
In AudioQuest's eARC-Priority HDMI cables, the eARC data-pair conductors and Ground-Reference drain use the same advanced design ingredients as their 48-Series counterparts, enabling superior sonic performance at the friendliest possible prices
Here you'll see the Vokda 48 HDMI cable and below it, the Vodka eARC cable.
To put this into perspective for you:
Vodka 48 3m is priced at £629
Vodka eARC 3m is priced at £259
The same range, but just focussing the priority on the audio conductors. This way, we’re boasting performance and value without raising concerns regarding chipset issues
eARC cables are due to arrive early in 2021 and as such, are not currently available to order online.
Below is the complete pricing for the entire range including eARC.
You can view the range online by clicking here: note - some stock is yet to arrive. Please contact us for lead times if urgent.