Audiophilia: Harmonic Technology Magic Audio HDMI 1.4A High Speed Cable

by Roy Harris, March 2011

This is the third in a series of reviews of HDMI cables. This cable differs fromthe Cardas and Audioquest in that its conductors are copper, without silver plating. In addition, like the Audioquest, there is an aarow at one end. Jim Wang, president of Harmonic Technology, informed me that directionality is important for lengths greater than 7 meters. Lengths less than 7 meters do not impact the sound regardless of orientation.

Since this is the third review of HDMI cable, I wanted to include an explanation as to the reason(s) for auditioning these cables. Essentially, it is in response to PS Audio’s assertion that its power wave transport and dac is optimized, sonically when using I2S via HDMI. According to Steve Nugent of Empirical Audio, PS Audio uses the HDMI connector for their differential I2S, having nothing to do with the HDMI spec. They are just using the connector. A technician at PS Audio has stated that the quality of the shielding and conductors affects noise, and that two HDMI cables may reveal differences in frequency response, but the latter has not been tested by him. I believe that if there were no difference in the performance of HDMI cables when using their digital hardware, eventually such information would be revealed to the user.

I applied the same break-in procedue as used for the Audioquest and Cardas cables, namely, 1 week (about 42 hours) from cable box to TV, followed by 24 hours of a signal between transport and DAC.

Cable Construction
Metal is all copper, 22 strands. Gauge is 24AWG. Geometry satisfies the 1.4 specification. Dielectic is polyethylene. Connectors are gold plated copper. Conductors are soldered to connectors using silver solder. Jim Wang suggested that silver plating exaggerates the impact of the skin effect.

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