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Cables can certainly be a factor in such things, though perhaps not likely given the research you’ve done with this.
I’ll see if I can make some audio captures of 1.5 vs 1.6 vs direct connection, I was going to do that today but I’ve hurt my back so can’t bend to hook up all the cables.
I’ve heard before that sync strippers can cause issues. Could you explain what kind of issues can be seen?
Technical explanation from Voultar:-
An LM1881 is going to generate a certain amount of line delay. And based on how many uS that line-delay is, the raster will start drawing the screen “too late” causing a horizontal shift in the picture. That’s on top of all of the nasty reflection problems and other things you have to take into account. If you have a device that requires a logic level sync signal, you should use what the console provides. An LM1881 should really only be used if you don’t have access to this.