Mapleshade Vivlink HDMI Cable
Without a good cable, you simply won’t see the great video
image your expensive plasma or LCD/LED monitor can
deliver. Conventional high-end HDMI cables have plastic
insulation that’s too thick and copper wires that are too fat;
this distorts video data streams, just like it distorts audio
data and signals. So we decided to try making a
great HDMI cable using the same design ideas that make
our audio cables so astonishingly good: thinner conductors,
less insulation, and better dielectric materials than any
of the famous high-end video cables. Then we added in the
chemical and thermal treatments that work so well on our audio wires; they took our HDMIs up another sizable notch.
After hundreds of viewing tests during our R&D, we ran a final viewing panel comparison to test just how good our
final design was: Mapleshade’s Vivilink versus the $1500 Audioquest Diamond HDMI (2m), a current industry reference.
Unanimous result: the panel saw more brilliant colors, more shadow detail, subtler pastel shades, better edge
resolution, blacker blacks and less washed-out whites with the Vivilink; none on the panel saw any downside. With
these findings in hand, we confidently guarantee our Vivilink delivers similar or better results against other top of the
line HDMIs such as Wireworld, Crystal, PS Audio, Kimber, Siltech, Furutech, Acoustic Zen, Synergistic, Tara Lab,
and Acoustic Zen.
Concept and Design Approach
The basic design concept for Vivilink is simple: we use viewing panel tests to uncover the crucial variables in designing good video cables—in exactly the same way that we use listening panel tests to design audio cables. The execution of this concept, of course, requires endlessly long hours of testing
and extraordinary attention to detail. For instance, the image deficiencies of even the best existing Blu-Ray discs led us to shoot our our own high definition video footage in order to have reference viewing scenes of sufficiently high quality. But all that work and all that meticulous care led to a clear conclusion: the same minimalist principles that make audio wires sound good lead to video wires that create superb imagery.
Our tests showed that the leading high-end HDMI cables use plastic insulation materials that have excessive dielectric absorption and that are much too thick. They also use conductors with too large a diameter: the most expensive ones use silver, notably inferior to copper in accurately
transmitting signal waveforms. These weaknesses lead to degraded edge resolution, reduced dynamic range (less shadow detail and less brilliant highlights), and muddier colors.
So instead we decided to come up with a first rate HDMI cable using the minimalist ideas that underly our audio cables: the thinnest possible conductors, the least possible insulation thickness, dielectric materials that prove best in viewing tests, and pure copper conductors. Then we added in the chemical and thermal treatments that work so well on our audio wires;
they led to a further visible improvement in the HDMI performance.
And, not coincidentally, the Vivilink will also yield significantly better audio quality than other HDMI cables. However, you will get even better audio performance by using our Mapleshade digital coaxial interconnects to carry the digital audio signal over a path separate from the HDMI cable, wherever possible. Audio always sounds better if it is not bundled inside an
HDMI cable together with video and power wires.
REVIEW by Audiophile Audition, July 2012
"Well, I have to retract my previous advice on this site that with HDMI cables there is one of the few cable areas where you are getting fleeced if you pay high prices for premium high-end HDMI cables instead of getting the $10 ones online, which I said are just fine. I haven’t A/B’ed the $10 ones with the premium cables from the cable biggies—perhaps there’s little difference. But the difference with Mapleshade’s new high-end HDMI cable was easily seen.
I’ve had some very bad luck with HDMI cables recently. Two of them went out simultaneously, and I was thinking it was my equipment rather than the cables. One was even what seemed to be the excellent short HDMI cable Oppo furnishes with their players. At the same time I have a video display of greater resolution and detail than my previous RPTV, and I’m following the advice of Pierre Sprey at Mapleshade to run the Oppo BPS-95 directly into my Panasonic plasma display rather than thru my Integra 80.3 multichannel preamp. (By the way, I hope none of you are using the audio channel of your HDMI cable. Sure, it was nice for the industry to provide both the video and audio on one simple cable (that often doesn’t work) instead of multiple cables, but I discovered long ago that the sonics are greatly improved running separate audio cables to and from the TV.)
I didn’t have the $1500 Audioquest Diamond HDMI to compare with, but I did have an expensive Monster Cable HDMI cable I’ve been using for some time. The instructions say to keep the HDMI cable away from anything plastic and to have it cross other cables only at 45 degrees of more, never bundled with other cables—especially power or speaker cables. One end of the Mapleshade HDMI cable is banded in red and that end goes into your video display. Mapleshade has a standard model at $125 as well as the Plus which they provided. The break-in time for the Plus version is double that of the standard: 100 to 200 hours, so I supposedly will be seeing even further slight improvements over time. I can see no visible interference from any other signals.
I had just completed most of the video tests on both the Spears & Munsil and HQV Silicon Optix Blu-ray Test Video Discs on my new Panasonic display. The first disc had some hi-def clips shot in the vicinity of Astoria, Oregon. I immediately saw that the struts on the long bridge across the Columbia River connecting Astoria with Washington State were fuzzy and indistinct with the Monster Cable HDMI. With the Mapleshade HDMI everything snapped into perfect focus, and at the same time the shadow detail improved considerably and the colors seemed to sing more. Although the Panasonic display has enhanced the black levels greatly over what was possible with my old Samsung RPTV, the Mapleshade HDMI cable offered up even blacker blacks. I had to do over again the Spears & Munsil evaluation patterns for black levels, contrast and brightness, which all affect one another and require lots of going back and forth.
Although Mapleshade’s Pierre Sprey is far from a videophile, he finds that the plastic insulation on all the other HDMI cables is too thick and the copper wires too fat. This distorts video data streams, so his design uses thinner conductors, less insulation, and better dialectic materials than the other high-end video cables. He then adds the same chemical and thermal treatment that they do on the Mapleshade audio cables, and that took it up another notch to the Plus version.
All I say is that when I’m now watching a superb Criterion restoration of a classic film, I’m viewing nearly as good an image as I could get in Portland’s best theatrical room, plus sound that probably beats it handily. " — John Sunier
||Complete no-brainer if you want an improved TV image
|I have been using regular HDMI cables between my cable box, Oppo 105, and Samsung LCD and they seemed to work perfectly fine. But I know how important are cables in my audio system and have found that Mapleshade audio cables offer greatly improved performance, so why not give their HDMI cable a try? I ordered it with the PLUS upgrade and first installed it between my cable box and display. I immediately noticed a difference and continued to watch a baseball game to observe and evaluate the picture. It seemed to me that the colors were more saturated, deeper.
After a few hours of initial burn-in with the cable box I switched the cable to run from the Oppo and the display and started watching the Blu-Ray of Oz The Great and Powerful. Wow. With the Mapleshade HDMI cable the colors and impressions of depth in the movie were again noticeably improved.
In summary, the Mapleshade HDMI cable made an immediate and noticeable improvement in the video performance of my system and at a relatively modest price. Im sure that itll do the same in yours. Highly recommended.|
|- Mark J., IL|
|I have a very good Pioneer Elite 65 inch TV and blue ray player, and Im on Direct TV, I told Mapleshade my picture was great but thought Id try your HDMI cables, they said I could send them back if I didnt see improvement. Wow! Lots of improvement, the colors and clarity are stunning! Ive already had people say what kind of TV is that? What a great picture! The helicopter scenes in Hawaii Five O are outrageous and the bluray picture cant be beat!!|
|- Steve Hansmeier, NE|
||An excellent cable for video AND audio
|I decided to try this cable between my DVR and TV because its design and construction seemed intriguing to me and I thought that it held promise for improved picture.
That promise has been delivered. Ive compared this cable to an AR copper HDMI cable, an Audioquest silver clad HDMI cable, and a PS Audio all silver HDMI cable and only the PS Audio was comparable, the Mapleshade being in my opinion as good at delivering picture in all the important factors, and at considerably less than even the heavily discounted price I bought that cable for. I also had been using a shorter PS Audio silver HDMI cable as the I2S link between my PS Audio PerfectWave Transport and DAC Mk II, and substituting the Mapleshade HDMI surprised me by offering an improved audio output.
Im more than satisfied with this Mapleshade HDMI cable and would recommend it to anyone seeking a better video or audio result. When I ordered this cable I had not seen the option for the Plus version, so I have now ordered an additional one in the Plus version to use between my PerfectWave Transport and DAC Mk II.|
|- Lon Armstrong, TX|