Cables (oh no, not THIS topic!)

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twich54

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It is an area well everyone has an opinion regardless of the science and engineering involved. I'm not saying you can't spend your money on cables etc that cost big bucks and look very nice. But, I would do that dead last after everything else it at the level you want it to be. If you have enough money, who cares what kind of cables and wires you buy? It's your money to spend as you wish. For those that don't really have a lot of money and need to sort their system out to a higher level, the speakers are #1, then the room is #2 and after those two are good enough THEN go after the other more expensive stuff like high end amps/preamps, mega buck cables and wires, exotic DSP systems and on and on. I say if you have the money, spend it!
agreed, anyone not understanding the pecking order of what you said is someone you do not want to take advice from !
 

Nuri58

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I have tried some different cables. And yes a difference - mainly for loudspeaker cables due to the square required to conduct the high current. And yes some cables not shielded picks up hum. Once you have enough square I do not hear much difference, actually none. I also heard that the interconnects should be half a wave length (never understood what wave length though). And for the digital cables there no differences in my ears 8or picture difference if we talk cinema). By contrast the loudspeakers makes huge differences and so do any device where an electrical current is transformed into a mechanical movement (or vice-versa). And today I find that the amplifier has almost the same impact as the loudspeaker - maybe because of the DAC does something similar to the analogue/mechanical. So I'll say loudspeakers and the amplifier are nearly equally important and both having a clear impact of the sound to the extend a deaf can hear the difference. Cables on the other hand - many can't tell any difference. Which reminds my about a test sometime back where a lot of golden ear people evaluated interconnects - not in a blind test but with all the explanation of how the cables were build and why/how it impacted the sound. The cables were connected one at a time for listening. And everyone could hear clear improvements proportional to the price points. The trick was that the active connection remained the same low priced interconnect, which in reality was the only cable in use for each demo:)
 

amey01

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But, I would do that dead last after everything else it at the level you want it to be. If you have enough money, who cares what kind of cables and wires you buy? It's your money to spend as you wish.
In the main part - I agree. However the thing that really gets me is that (let's say you have some money (it could be any amount) - say a spare $1,000) - you will always put that money to better use by upgrading speakers, amplifiers, room treatment, et al - than you will buying cable.

Heck - invest nothing more than your time in placement.

So long as you've got quality cable that is not flawed or broken. In this regard, it rarely makes sense.
 

spkrdctr

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I have tried some different cables. And yes a difference - mainly for loudspeaker cables due to the square required to conduct the high current. And yes some cables not shielded picks up hum. Once you have enough square I do not hear much difference, actually none. I also heard that the interconnects should be half a wave length (never understood what wave length though). And for the digital cables there no differences in my ears 8or picture difference if we talk cinema). By contrast the loudspeakers makes huge differences and so do any device where an electrical current is transformed into a mechanical movement (or vice-versa). And today I find that the amplifier has almost the same impact as the loudspeaker - maybe because of the DAC does something similar to the analogue/mechanical. So I'll say loudspeakers and the amplifier are nearly equally important and both having a clear impact of the sound to the extend a deaf can hear the difference. Cables on the other hand - many can't tell any difference. Which reminds my about a test sometime back where a lot of golden ear people evaluated interconnects - not in a blind test but with all the explanation of how the cables were build and why/how it impacted the sound. The cables were connected one at a time for listening. And everyone could hear clear improvements proportional to the price points. The trick was that the active connection remained the same low priced interconnect, which in reality was the only cable in use for each demo:)

That testing has been done thousands of times over the last 40 years. No one can ever tell the difference in interconnects and even speaker wire. I have been involved in tests that would blow people's minds on the forum. But, to not blow their minds, I don't bring them up. I could go on for days on debunking so much snake oil that sells daily in high end audio. Many people will refer to science when buying some equipment but then throw science out the window on other equipment. It doesn't make sense. The number one thing to remember that really covers almost all audio gear is that the hearing/brain function is the easiest thing to fool in the human body. Then on top of that there is the amazing way the brain fills in frequencies and covers up huge sound problems so it all sounds very good. This stuff has been tested repeatedly and documented for decades. But, I don't need to rain on high end audios parade. If you can afford it, it is not hurting anyone, so who cares if people buy snake oil in a box? It can't be stopped and probably never will. If anyone ever wants to know about this stuff they can send me a message for one on one conversation. But, if anyone does, prepared to be blown away!

You will notice I didn't mention any product or gear. I know not to start a catfight!:)
 

Brad225

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For the last 12 years I have used Shunyata - Altair interconnects and Andromeda speaker cables. I went to them after trying a few other manufacturers and some DIY of my own. The Shunyata were far better than others I had tried so I stayed with them.

An EE friend suggested I try a pair of speaker cables he had made from Pure Copper in a StarQuad configuration he had made a number of years ago. I was hesitant at first as StarQuad was kind of the same old cable that had been around for a long time.
Anyway, I tried them and was stunned at the difference in sound. For me, it was not subtle but, I better than anyone know what my system sounds like.

He suggested I order Dr Ohno's patented Single Crystal Copper wire and build a pair as the UPOCC single crystal would sound even better. We built my first pair and I terminated mine with Furutech Gold Spades.
The construction is very simple but must be done with care to keep positive and negative pairs opposite each other along the entire length while twisting them. The wire was then wrapped with a cloth tape some heat shrink tubing and spades installed. I put them in the system, in place of the other cables and it was yet more improvement. Wider, deeper clearer sound stage each time.

With that I decided to build 2 pair of XLR interconnects. 1 pair was 1M the other was 8.5 M. The cable my friend suggested was a bulk cable that was the same Single Crystal pair of wires with a copper and aluminum foil shield with a drain wire with 2 separate casings on it.
This was wire that had originally been manufactured by a major audio manufacturer that apparently sold off the cable name and inventory to another company that sold cables. Recently the new company was taken over and some of the stock is being sold on EBAY. I is being sold in 200' rolls only but at $30 was a no brainer.

Anyway, I purchased it and with the help again of my friend that is much better at delicate soldering we added Furutech Gold Plated XLR ends to them. The end results again was an immediate and very noticeable improvement in the same areas as the speaker cables.

I pulled out all of my 7 pairs of Shunyata cables and sold them in 1 day on Audiogon.

My cost for speaker cables $5 per ft. for wire and $80 per cables for spades. The XLR's was $0.15 per ft for wire and $160 per cable for XLR's

If I hadn't tried it you would never convinced me it was possible. This is not to say Shunyata or other companies don't have current stock that would sound better but, I am happy for the foreseeable future.
 

Nuri58

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Yah. I think we agree here as long you stay away from general electric cables with 1sq mm cord. I guess most goes for his preferred gear at the price point affordable to him, but too many dealers seems to persuade costumers to spend as much as 30% of the investment for cables (guess that's where the profit is the highest). And that means you do not get a system your money worth. Better to spend that 25% extra on speakers and amplifier or a pick-up if you're into vinyl. Than was my point. Anyone to agree or disagree, but I recommend anyone to try out the two options.
 

twich54

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Yah. I think we agree here as long you stay away from general electric cables with 1sq mm cord. I guess most goes for his preferred gear at the price point affordable to him, but too many dealers seems to persuade costumers to spend as much as 30% of the investment for cables (guess that's where the profit is the highest). And that means you do not get a system your money worth. Better to spend that 25% extra on speakers and amplifier or a pick-up if you're into vinyl. Than was my point. Anyone to agree or disagree, but I recommend anyone to try out the two options.
Valid point made here for I've seen individuals when asked on a budget for assembling a system go so far as to recommend 80 % of the speaker cost for wire !

Brad makes a good argument for quality 'wire' and a reasonable cost outlay, so when someone claims 'huge' improvement in cables it either means there was something 'wrong' with their previous wire or they learned how to mix themselves a better cocktail before sitting down to listen !
 

spkrdctr

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Valid point made here for I've seen individuals when asked on a budget for assembling a system go so far as to recommend 80 % of the speaker cost for wire !

Brad makes a good argument for quality 'wire' and a reasonable cost outlay, so when someone claims 'huge' improvement in cables it either means there was something 'wrong' with their previous wire or they learned how to mix themselves a better cocktail before sitting down to listen !

Twich54, everyone knows that music sounds better with more alcohol. In the shooting world it is known as group tightener! I can't drink anymore due to my health but if I did, my system would sound a LOT better.......:)
 

ttocs

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Twich54, everyone knows that music sounds better with more alcohol. In the shooting world it is known as group tightener! I can't drink anymore due to my health but if I did, my system would sound a LOT better.......:)
You mean like Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou?
 

amey01

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Twich54, everyone knows that music sounds better with more alcohol. In the shooting world it is known as group tightener! I can't drink anymore due to my health but if I did, my system would sound a LOT better.......:)
The best system upgrade ever! There was even a thread here about that years ago.
 

Brad225

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Yes but, do you realize how much Bourbon John, Miles and Cannonball can put down in a good session.
 

Speedskater

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That testing has been done thousands of times over the last 40 years. No one can ever tell the difference in interconnects and even speaker wire. I have been involved in tests that would blow people's minds on the forum.................................
Only if the interconnects or speaker cables are well chosen for the task at hand is this true.
While all good interconnects and speaker cables sound the same, there are many that are not good cables.
There is very little correlation between price and goodness (above the freebee point).
 

BDH55

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Okay, I'll admit it... yes, I have been lurking on this thread. Even the title gives caution, but I wandered in, so now I am going to confess... I'm a Cardas guy. 😳 I started with zip cord in the 70's, graduated to heavy duty Monster zip cord, and finally got hooked on Cardas. There, I said it.. :ROFLMAO:

I think my challenge on all the cable wars that go on is they are almost like a political debate, either you believe, or you don't. I'm not an engineer and don't understand all the cable science, but to me, they do make a difference to my ears, in my room, with my system. Could I hear the difference in some type of a cable bakeoff? Likely not. Is it that I know my cables 'should' sound better because of their cost, therefore they do? Possibly...

Probably the biggest challenge I have is if I am changing out cables, it is usually because I am also changing out something else. I end up hearing some improvement and I honestly can't say whether it was X or Y that made the difference. I know, not very scientific...

However, you've got me thinking about this so I am going to do kind of a reverse test. I've spent a lot of money on cables over the years so I'm going to order a pair of Signal Cables speaker cables (either Ultra or Silver) and replace my Cardas Clear Cygnus speaker cables. I only need 1 m so it isn't a big investment, and just may save me a ton of money in the future. I'll bring in my wife as the evaluator as she has much better ears than me, and a music degree as well. Give me maybe a month or two, and I'll give your her honest feedback. Stay tuned....
 

amey01

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I agree with your post - but:

Could I hear the difference in some type of a cable bakeoff? Likely not. Is it that I know my cables 'should' sound better because of their cost, therefore they do? Possibly..
If you can make huge changes by treating the room or investing in better speakers, why would you want to chase the small/controversial (and friggin' expensive in the case of Cardas) changes?

It just makes no sense.

I'm not an engineer and don't understand all the cable science
You don't have to be. Because you can measure time, frequency and amplitude very easily. You can plainly see whether they make a difference. Whether that's all that matters in sound we may not know at this point - but that's certainly all that exists in a recording (because that's all that is mathematically represented by the encoding algorithm).
 

spkrdctr

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Okay, I'll admit it... yes, I have been lurking on this thread. Even the title gives caution, but I wandered in, so now I am going to confess... I'm a Cardas guy. 😳 I started with zip cord in the 70's, graduated to heavy duty Monster zip cord, and finally got hooked on Cardas. There, I said it.. :ROFLMAO:

I think my challenge on all the cable wars that go on is they are almost like a political debate, either you believe, or you don't. I'm not an engineer and don't understand all the cable science, but to me, they do make a difference to my ears, in my room, with my system. Could I hear the difference in some type of a cable bakeoff? Likely not. Is it that I know my cables 'should' sound better because of their cost, therefore they do? Possibly...

Probably the biggest challenge I have is if I am changing out cables, it is usually because I am also changing out something else. I end up hearing some improvement and I honestly can't say whether it was X or Y that made the difference. I know, not very scientific...

However, you've got me thinking about this so I am going to do kind of a reverse test. I've spent a lot of money on cables over the years so I'm going to order a pair of Signal Cables speaker cables (either Ultra or Silver) and replace my Cardas Clear Cygnus speaker cables. I only need 1 m so it isn't a big investment, and just may save me a ton of money in the future. I'll bring in my wife as the evaluator as she has much better ears than me, and a music degree as well. Give me maybe a month or two, and I'll give your her honest feedback. Stay tuned....
Sounds good! I would add that your wife NOT know in any way which cable or wire she is listening too. You have to be sure not to give off any tells or anything that might give her an idea of which one she is listening too. Try the switch about 10 times and see how many times she nails it. Give her the results only after all 10 switches are done and the test is finished.That will at least give you a decent idea of what you have. If she nails it 8 out of 10 times then you have a winner chicken dinner! Good Luck!
 

Robert D

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Sounds good! I would add that your wife NOT know in any way which cable or wire she is listening too. You have to be sure not to give off any tells or anything that might give her an idea of which one she is listening too. Try the switch about 10 times and see how many times she nails it. Give her the results only after all 10 switches are done and the test is finished.That will at least give you a decent idea of what you have. If she nails it 8 out of 10 times then you have a winner chicken dinner! Good Luck!
A good thing for the test would also be to pretend that you are changing the wires but you really don't. See what the listener says then!
 

twich54

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Sounds good! I would add that your wife NOT know in any way which cable or wire she is listening too. You have to be sure not to give off any tells or anything that might give her an idea of which one she is listening too. Try the switch about 10 times and see how many times she nails it. Give her the results only after all 10 switches are done and the test is finished.That will at least give you a decent idea of what you have. If she nails it 8 out of 10 times then you have a winner chicken dinner! Good Luck!
agreed, eliminates as many 'biases' as possible !
 

zigman

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These threads always intrigue me. Ever since I had my Source speakers I noticed a change in the sound when changing cables even when connected to a Denon receiver. If others don’t hear a difference great, save the money.

Pretty much all this goes down to a cable transferring analog sound unaltered from source to preamp to amp to speakers. There is so much noise and interference, to say cables don’t matter is discounting insulation, grounding technology, and other things cables manufacturers do to accomplish this.
 
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