Monster Cable Products, Inc. is the world's leading manufacturer of cables for audio, video, home theater, car, computer, satellite, and custom installation.
Monster began manufacturing premium speaker cables 21 years ago. Monster has since grown to encompass several different new divisions that manufacture and market a variety of superior quality products including Monster Game, Monster Power power conditioning solutions, Entech audio and video components and Monster Sound loudspeakers. Monster products have become an indispensable accessory for music lovers, audiophiles, recording studios, sound professionals, musicians, custom installers, computer users and home theater enthusiasts throughout the world.
With their entry into the PS2 market, gamers can now expect the same quality cables and surge protectors that audiophiles the world over have enjoyed for many years.
Monster Cable specifically with the PS2 in mind has engineered the Gamelink 300 S-Video AV Cable. This of course means that one end of the cable terminates in the PS2 / PS1 proprietary A/V out connector. The cable has also been sheathed in a wonderful blue color that closely matches the blue PS2 logo adoring the top of the consoles casing. To put it plainly, this cable looks very cool.
The ends are all gold plated to ensure optimal audio and video transfer and fit into a receiver or TV was nice and snug. The cable comes in a 10-foot (3m) length to allow for ease of PS2 movement in or out of an audio rack. The cables are also quite beefy, much thicker than the standard PS2 S-Video cable and have a substantial feel to it.
Cable performance is something that has been debated to death by audio enthusiasts around the globe. There is usually one side (the right side J) that feels cables and speaker wires can play a substantial role in improving the audio and video capabilities of a system. There is also the other side (the wrong side) that feels a lamp cord would work just as well as some high-end speaker wire in delivering good sonic quality. While this debate is sure to go on forever, the bottom line is that anyone looking for improvements in their audio / video will definitely benefit from this relatively inexpensive tweak.
For our lab test we sat two PS2's side by side with each one set at the normal display (there is also a sharp and smooth image option on the PS2). We decided to leave one PS2 connected with the Monster GameLink 300 S-video AV cable while swapping cables on the other PS2 for comparison purposes. These cables were run into our A/V receiver so that we could easily switch between the two. The receiver is connected to our TV via the monitor out post with a standard Monster S-video cable.
To start with, we inserted the Gladiator DVD movie and powered one PS2 up with the standard A/V RCA cable that is supplied with the PS2. While this is a decent enough cable, color bleeding (especially the reds) and blurriness were immediately detectable during the movies opening battle scene. All we needed to do was look at the fires in the woods to be convinced that this cable was not conducive to quality DVD movie viewing. Freezing the scene, we popped another copy of the same title into the PS2 with the Monster Cable connected and began watching the same scene. The first thing that immediately stood out was the color saturation and image sharpness. The flames now had an intense red glow that stood out in sharp contrast to the surroundings. Image quality was immensely improved with everything taking on a much more theatrical presentation and realistic appearance. Plainly put, the difference was like night and day.
Now for those of you that actually purchased your PS2 to play games (just kidding…), the difference between the standard cable and the Monster one is substantial. Game came across looking extremely sharp and crisp. Colors were much more vibrant and intense. This is obviously how PS2 games are intended to be viewed and played. The only downside is that the picture is now so sharp you can begin to pick out jaggies a bit better. The regular A/V cable with its inherent blurriness actually played a cheap anti-aliasing role. Trust us though; the trade-off in image quality far outweighs this little distraction.
Finally to complete our test we decided to compare the Monster S-video against the $30 S-video that Sony provides. One again, we were able to pick out subtle quality differences between the two cables, particularly in the darker scenes of movies and whenever intense color combinations where apparent. The opening scene of the original Austin Powers movie showed a clear image winner with the Monster cable. Games proved to be somewhat more difficult to tell the difference between with the two S-video cables being nearly evenly matched. The two games that seemed to show the most visual improvement with the GameLink 300 were SSX and Kessen, with the cut-scenes in Kessen really standing out. Overall, while the difference was nowhere near as dramatic as compared to the standard RCA cable, there was enough of an improvement with the Monster cable to easily warrant the difference in cost.
What really shocked us though was the audio quality when using the Monster cable. The standard cable lacked the depth and quality of sound and just seemed to produce hollow sounds when compared to the GameLink 300. While we surely do not believe RCA/analog is the way to go for sound reproduction (see our Monster optical cable review), there was a very real difference in the sound quality between the cables. This could of course be attributed to a number of things; RF and other misc. interference, overall construction, contacts. The Monster cable obviously has superior shielding and build quality and it does make a difference.
Professionally calibrated 50" Mitsubishi RPTV
Denon 5800 A/V Receiver
Timber matched 5-piece Mirage speaker set-up (OM-6 fronts, OM-R2 rears, OM-C2 center)
Mirage 1500 Watt SubStrata subwoofer
2 Sony PS2's
· Advanced Double Helix™ construction delivers reference quality sound for all your games, CDs and DVD movie titles.
· The highest performance S-video AV connection of PS2 to TVs and receivers with S-video inputs.
· 24K Gold contact and 8-cut Turbine RCA connectors ensure optimal audio and video signal transfer.
· Nitrogen Gas-Injected Dielectric insulator delivers maximum video signal strength for the clearest, sharpest picture possible.
· 3 in 1 cable design makes it simple to hookup and it looks good too!
· 10 foot extra long length so you can play anywhere without controller extension cables.
One of the things that obviously scream out from this cable is "Quality Construction"! You can immediately see the difference in the thickness between this can ordinary PS2 cables. This is due to the actual wire thickness (thicker is better in this case), and the shielding and casing used to enclose the wire. The end connectors are of a very high quality with heavy rubber grips and gold plated entrance cap and pins.
To back up their cable Monster tacks on a 100% lifetime replacement warranty…break the cable and you get a new one for free. Now how's that for reliability.
This was easily one of the most interesting tests that we had the pleasure of performing here at API. While many people may not be aware and are quite satisfied playing their games and DVD with the stock PS2 cable, this is one of those instances that once you see and hear the difference with the Monster cable you most certainly can never go back. The image quality difference between the standard and GameLink 300 cables was startling, with games and movies seemingly jumping off the screen with the Monster cable. Trust us when we say that this is easily one of the best and easiest upgrades you can make for improving the video image and audio quality of your PS2. For the money it is a tremendous bang for the buck. Besides, the blue cables just look so damn cool….