While HD Guru has long advocated the picture and sound performance value of using generic and inexpensive brands of high-speed HDMI cables and related accessories, anyone who has had a cheap cable suddenly fail without warning in an elaborate home theater system knows the frustration and effort required to trace and replace the offending item from a nest of inflexible plastic-shielded wires.
Enter high-performance home theater accessories manufacturer Austere, based in Portland, Ore., which is now shipping its lines of premium home entertainment items including HDMI high-speed 18 Gbps cables, high-performance audio cables, speaker cables and subwoofer cables. The company has also developed a new clean and protect solution for its III Series portfolio to help keep TV and mobile device screens free of dust, smudges and finger prints.
Keep in mind that in today’s digital age where signals can be delivered almost as effectively from many inexpensive no-name cords — Austere cables aren’t bargain basement items for door-buster TV specials. The company’s lines are designed as premium accessory items targeted at advanced AV entertainment enthusiasts who need reliable interconnects that match the look and performance of their expensive high-performance components.
They are designed to last and look attractive for years to come – important considerations for anyone looking to run cables behind walls, ceilings and conduit that can be tricky and expensive to get to.
The company even advertises “a lifetime guarantee” on the front of its elaborate packaging material.
Austere said the premium accessories portfolio was designed for reliable performance along with a sleek and efficient look and feel to match today’s premium home theater components.
The latest additions to the Austere portfolio consist of two lines of HDMI cables – the III and V series – both are available in three lengths: 1.5m (4.9 feet) / 2.5m (8.2 feet) / 5.0m. (16.4 feet) and meet or exceed requirements for “high-speed” HDMI (18 Gbps) cables with Ethernet.
Note that no HDMI 2.1 products are available from the company yet as the industry continues to move toward required testing and certification processes. Stay tuned.
The company’s designs are said to use high-performance materials and are created with an eye toward environmental responsibility; The sophisticated packaging is created from 100% recycled materials that can continue to be reused, the company said.
Austere said the HDMI III and V series cables are tested to support “high-fidelity” Audio Return Channel (ARC) technology. Cable materials include durable Kevlar reinforced windings and WovenArmor sheathing for flexibility and strength. For solid contact points, the V series uses “pure-endurance” 30-pin gold plated connectors (15-pin gold plated connectors for the III series), designed “to hold for a lifetime,” the company said. V Series audio integrity is assured using silver-plated conductors.
The Austere V Series 4K HDMI Cables are available at suggested retail prices of $79.99 (1.5m),$99.99 (2.5 m) and $149.99 (5.0m). All support 4K HDR, High-Fidelity ARC, 30-micro inch Pure Gold contacts, Pure Silver-Plated Conductors, aDesign precision connector housing, LinkFit locking connectors and WovenArmor cable.
The III Series 4K HDMI Cables are also advertisized for long-lasting reliability. The Series III HDMI units are available at suggested retail prices of $49.99 (1.5m), $69.99 (2.5m), and $129.99 (5.0 m). All support 4K HDR, High-Fidelity ARC, 15-pin Pure Gold contacts and the company’s “aDesign precision connector housing and WovenArmor cable.”
The company said its Pure Gold connectors will prevent oxidation from occurring, while LinkFit connectors are engineered to produce “an internal grip that holds tight for optimal audio performance.”
We found a sample of the 5.0 m Austere V Series cable to have a secure tight fit between various 4K source devices, high-end AVRs and various brands of on-hand QLED and OLED TV displays. The cable was rigid enough to assure signal integrity yet flexible enough to easily snake between other HDMI cable and speaker cable connections without entanglement. Even at 5.0 m, we found the video signal to be consistently sharp and clear without audio distortion.
Dolby Atmos stream with a Dolby Digital Plus soundtrack over the 5.0 m Series V cable from the TV ARC output connected to an AVR was consistently clean and consistently.
To reduce audio distortion, Austere uses a grounded shield, while the cable itself is made of durable Soft-Touch materials with the flexibility required to wire for “a complete home theater experience,” as the company puts it.
Austere also sells V Series audio cables, which are said to reflect the same design and performance integrity as the V Series HDMI cables. Cable options include the following:
• V Series Optical Audio (2.0m, $39.99), with Pure Gold connectors, precision-polished termination for digital audio accuracy, aDesign LinkFit and WovenArmor cable, lifetime guarantee.
• V Series Audio Interconnect (2.0m, $69.99), offers Pure Gold connectors, aDesign precision LinkFit housing, Soft-Touch high-flex cable, lifetime guarantee.
• V Series Subwoofer Cable (5.0m, $79.99) features Pure Gold connectors, aDesign precision LinkFit housing, Soft-Touch high-flex cable, lifetime guarantee.
• V Series Speaker Cable (14-gauge 100-feet, $149.99; 12-gauge 100-feet, $199.99) with fine-stranded 100% pure oxygen free copper for better conduction and corrosion resistance; Soft-Touch, high-flex cable with a durable jacket for smooth wire routing, lifetime guarantee.
• Austere Banana Adapters (four adapters, $29.99) Pure Gold shield to prevent copper wire oxidation, High-performance adapters with SecureLatch & Twist-by-hand Design, lifetime guarantee.
• Austere’s III Series Clean & Protect solution ($19.99) will work with all device screens and includes an anti-bacterial, ammonia-free formulation that eliminates static build up. It ships with a dual-textured cloth to remove dust.
By Greg Tarr
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