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Are expensive speaker cables better than cheap ones? Sorry guys, I’m changing team! Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 4th June 2017
  #1171
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norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
That was my thought too. If the signal path is critical, any "easy instantaneous switching" system is going to add its own character to some degree.

I've also read some opinions that any extraneous noise at changeover, such as 'pop" while switching, makes it much harder to properly judge the two signals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumbergh View Post
My power amps use relays to switch 2 pairs of outputs with no muting circuit and theres no audible pop or thump (this is certainly not true of all designs!) So it would be very easy to tap the coil feeds at the amp outputs and connect them to relays plugged into the speaker inputs. Zero extra cable involved, just the 2 pairs you want to test A/B. A basic circuit with a rotary switch and a bunch of dip switches could handle the X. Simples!


Edit: The above might seem to contradict when I said "Its really not that easy." For my amp architecture and because I dont have a problem modding my amps and building some very simple circuits, in this very specific case it is easy.
Makes complete sense in the world of science. The problem to me is that we are looking at differences that purportedly exist to the ear but apparently cannot be measured either in terms of cable parameters or in terms of cable frequency response or impulse handling or other scientific measurements.

If the effect is truly caused by some electrical variation too subtle to be measured, it would appear that almost anything might be enough to skew the results.

Sounds like one of the weird quantum phenomenon where the act of observing the result changes the result.......
Old 5th June 2017
  #1172
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cozmik Prod. View Post
The problem I have with these high end cables is... there is only so much factory's that make cable, you know, the ones that take raw copper in and make it into an insulated wire.
There are far more exquisite cable brands then there are factorys making actual cable.

So most of this stuff is simply cheap OEM cable, with lots pf added plastic, they even use leadshot to make it feel big and heavy.
Yes, this is why there's so much snake oil. But the serious makers pull their own cable of their own designs and material specs at contract manufacturers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post
True, there is a lof of BS out there. Acoustic Zen makes their own copper. I'm sure others do too. Yet that's not the point. It's how the materials are used and combined that can make a different also.emphasis added by uncbilly
Exactly. In really great cables, every aspect of the cable is different than you can get in standard bulk cabling - cable materials & formulations, cable geometry, shield materials/geometry, tubing material and manufacture process, tolerances, solder - everything is different. Add in the economy of scale and the truth is that the costs of manufacturing great cables are exponentially higher.
Old 5th June 2017
  #1173
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Matt, the point is that when one end of the unused cable is disconnected it is no longer part of the circuit and all the things you mentioned no longer apply.
In some situations it can still act as an interference antenna.
Old 5th June 2017
  #1174
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedskater View Post
In some situations it can still act as an interference antenna.
You need to be a little more specific, the cable is either connected or it's NOT...
Old 5th June 2017
  #1175
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedskater View Post
In some situations it can still act as an interference antenna.
I did mention that possibility.

Also as was pointed out to me, even attached at just one end, a twisted pair could still *theoretically* act as a capacitor as it would be across the + and -.

I think in the real world, the possibility of either having an audible effect on a speaker level signal is not a real possibility.

But for those that believe that it is possible they could hear this, simply set up the test to switch in and out BOTH ends of the unused wire to be sure.


Back to my original point, a double blind test to compare wires would be extremely easy to implement, assuming one has access to the $6,000 cables. But people that own such cables won't do this, they spent a lot of money and are afraid of the truth.
Old 5th June 2017
  #1176
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To form a 'proper' test BOTH ends of the 'alternate' cable must be disconnected by means of switches/relays that ADD no more resistance, capacitance or inductance than the cable connected on it's own. Solve this and you can have your A/B/X test.

Matt S
Old 5th June 2017
  #1177
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... which is another reason why its best to do cable tests with long lengths, it magnifies any differences and reduces the effect of the test equipment. 5m/20ft is a good test for passive spkr cables IMO. Audiophiles and some MEs like having their amps on display between their monitors (5ft spkr cables? ) but most slutz have gear all over that area and issues with heat and noise mean their amps are usually more remote.
Old 5th June 2017
  #1178
Mine are 3 ft
Old 5th June 2017
  #1179
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumbergh View Post
... which is another reason why its best to do cable tests with long lengths, it magnifies any differences and reduces the effect of the test equipment. 5m/20ft is a good test for passive spkr cables IMO. Audiophiles and some MEs like having their amps on display between their monitors (5ft spkr cables? ) but most slutz have gear all over that area and issues with heat and noise mean their amps are usually more remote.
Note: It's best to keep amps away from vibration, even SS amps.

Another good test is multiple cables in a chain, where the distortions build up and are thus more audible with one cable change. For example in a mastering desk. 1M XLR cables x 5 with 4 hardware pieces is easier to hear that swapping the 1M only between DA and AD. Amplify the effects to hear it more easily.
Old 5th June 2017
  #1180
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If you are auditioning prewired cables that makes a lot of sense
Old 5th June 2017
  #1181
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cozmik Prod. View Post
Mine are 3 ft
Show off!
Old 19th June 2017
  #1182
Gear Addict
 

What an absurd crock of nonsense. $6000 speaker cables...

There isn't a polite word strong enough to describe the otherworldly degree of horse dung that's being flung around in this thread. It's nearly so outrageous as to seem like a cleverly crafted trolling joke, yet its supporters aren't joking.

That anyone buys it, ever, is a testament to human foolishness.

That anyone can sell them with a straight face and sleep at night is astoundingly sad and tragic. But otherwise smart people get caught up in cults and Scientology, too, so I suppose it's isn't too surprising. This is just the audio nerd version of the same. Ardent supporters vehemently asserting the validity of this version of nonsense, like every other snakeoil salesman that came before them, using the same arguments and techniques.

Shameful, really. And embarrassing to watch. Like Tom Cruise - I respect his work and giggle at his Scientology, and Mr Lucey does have an impressive client list, but this is something else entirely. It's hard to watch and listen to.
Old 19th June 2017
  #1183
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by RunnyKine View Post
What an absurd crock of nonsense. $6000 speaker cables...
I know, it's crazy!

But, have you even listened to a really really good HiFi system in an acoustically treated room?

Forget about active studio monitors or tiny, design-compromised near-field speakers.

When you listen to a well-designed passive full-range system, in great acoustics - when you get to that level of detail and clarity, everything shows and counts in the signal-path, everything...

This weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to listen to a full-blown TAD Reference 1 system in a purpose build and acoustically treated room - the only fully dual-mono and bi-amped TAD R1 system in the World. Not even the CEO or designers of TAD have set up a fully bi-amped system like that.
Four TAD M600 amps and dual setup of everything else, DACs etc. Two Isotek EVO3 Super Titan power-conditioners.

I will probably never ever hear such clarity, depth, punch, transient integrity, earthy low-end or mid-range vibrance again. Music will never sound the same again.

Describing it as a Wall Of Sound doesn't do it justice, cause the sound stage put me right into the music. Goose-bums all over my body, grinning from ear to ear...

The ultimate TAD experience! #Church_Of_TAD

Anyway, what cables was used? Siltech!
MUCH more expensive than Acoustic Zen. Crazy, right?
Well, sometimes you just want to attend every detail with the outmost care.

Is it worth shelling out $26000 for a pair of one meter Siltech Triple Crown interconnect cables? Or $66000 for a pair of their most expensive speaker cables?

Only you (and your wallet) can decide.

I'm glad I got the change to listen to a sound system of that caliber, one of the the greatest - arguably the greatest - HiFi-system in the World.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RunnyKine View Post
Mr Lucey does have an impressive client list, but this is something else entirely. It's hard to watch and listen to.
To Brian's defense, he's not the one with the $6000 speaker cables, I am. ;-)

Brian has stated that it's not necessary to spend such money on speaker cables. But I had to buy them.

He has also stated - in my humble opinion - the best comment on cables and their effect on the sound.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post
As I said, cables and wires are the tip of the the top of the last gas. Don't sweat it. Nothing to worry about, until you decide they are. It's very much a personal journey, building the palate, and the room to hear it all.
I couldn't have said it better myself.


Cheers
Fred
Church Of TAD
Old 19th June 2017
  #1184
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Hi
You must 'test' cables at the lengths you are going to use for YOUR studio with YOUR amps and speakers otherwise all bets are off.
If you use a monoblock amplifier and only need 1 foot of cable to link it to the speaker then practically any cable will be 'perfect'. If you need 20 feet or more cable then the scene changes massively.
Remember that you should use cables designed for the right jobs. A suitable mic cable for a 'noisy' electrical environment would be 'star quad'. This is not as suitable for line level signals as a general rule but might be necessary in a particularly harsh environment.
In most studio situations 'any' decent twin screened cable will be perfectly good and you won't 'NEED' star quad. The extra capacitance will roll of the high end which would be a waste if 'ordinary' twin screen will do the job without interference pickup.
Probably of most relevance is to use only the length you need so if 10 foot is enough, don't use 20 foot cables.
Matt S
Old 19th June 2017
  #1185
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Hi
@ Fred
Very nice I am sure but exactly what was the 'source' material and with what cables, mics, convertors, preamps etc was it 'captured'?
Was it 'recorded' material or live?
Could you hear which of the mics had been connected using a 'Monoprice' cheap mic cable ?
Matt S
Old 19th June 2017
  #1186
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ponzi's Avatar
Can we use some Occam's razor type thinking to simplify the thinking? Does a $6,000 speaker cable sound better. Sure! Does it sound $6,000 better? Well, there's the rub...
Old 20th June 2017
  #1187
Quote:
Originally Posted by ponzi View Post
Can we use some Occam's razor type thinking to simplify the thinking? Does a $6,000 speaker cable sound better. Sure! Does it sound $6,000 better? Well, there's the rub...
With a handle like "Ponzi", you should be selling 'em! (Sorry couldn't resist!)

I really can't slam someone who sees value in something. OMG $6K!!! Hey at the end of the day, what works, works. I would say however, "Kid's don't try this at home, without very adult (preferably a wife's control of checkbook!), control"....
Old 20th June 2017
  #1188
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ardis View Post
Kid's don't try this at home ...
Thats important, and why I bother replying to threads like this. I dont want less experienced readers to think that "decent speaker cables for $600" means that that is the minimum spend to get a pair of cables which are Pro Level/Industry Standard or whatever you want to call the bar, when you should spend $60 to achieve the same result.
Old 20th June 2017
  #1189
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ponzi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ardis View Post
With a handle like "Ponzi", you should be selling 'em! (Sorry couldn't resist!)

I really can't slam someone who sees value in something. OMG $6K!!! Hey at the end of the day, what works, works. I would say however, "Kid's don't try this at home, without very adult (preferably a wife's control of checkbook!), control"....
I live near Audio Research and have had a factory tour. These guys make a home stereo amp that costs $40,000. I do believe that they can hear a difference with all this exotic interconnects and so forth. I formed the opinion that these guys are honest and very serious about producing the very best product that can be made, and if they say they can hear something, they can. Now that doesn't mean that I think everybody who makes a claim like that knows what they are doing--no, just pointing out it is possible.

Now the thing is, does the 'difference' that can be heard increase one's enjoyment of the music? Is that last thousandth of improvement in fidelity worth it to folks like us who don't spend $250,000 on a home entertainment system?

Clearly in my mind, the answer is no. And while in some theoretical sense I believe a really expensive cable can sound better by some miniscule increment, I doubt that all expensive products sound better--and I suspect that me, personally, can't hear these differences due to hearing damage from rock concerts.

My main point is that there is no reason to dispute the possibility of expensive gear sounding better, whether it in fact does or not, but that we seek to maximize our bang for the buck and find such components to be not worth the money.

Now if you are an engineer or product manager selling a $40,000 amplifier, you had better be able to hear these tiny differences, but for a guy like me to enjoy a song--no need to go there. Better to use the money to pay the mortgage or whatever.

I play a bryston 3bst through some boston acoustics speakers and I am very pleased with the result--probably under a grand used.
Old 20th June 2017
  #1190
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If you're selling audiophile gear you dont need to hear any difference, you just have to convince the customer that they can ...
Old 20th June 2017
  #1191
I don't think that market works like that,... maybe ask Casey as he is selling amplifiers in that pricerange
Old 20th June 2017
  #1192
Gear Head
 

All cables can be modeled as a combination of physical parameters (inductance, capacitance, DC resistance of conductors, leakage resistance of dielectric, etc.). Depending on where a cable is used in a circuit, some of these will have more of an effect on the signal being transmitted than will others.

So, while it may in fact be possible to hear some difference from one cable to another due to variations in these properties, there's no reason why a super-expensive cable would be inherently better than a "commercial-grade" cable with similar properties. There's no magic voodoo here -- transmission line theory is well understood. Are cables more complex than they would appear at first glance? Absolutely. Do they possess any properties that cannot be measured objectively? Nope.
Old 21st June 2017
  #1193
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Syson View Post
Hi
You must 'test' cables at the lengths you are going to use for YOUR studio with YOUR amps and speakers otherwise all bets are off.
Agree, everything affects everything.

The difference I hear using different cables - both speaker, power and interconnect cables - is probably due to the interaction between the DAC, cables, amp and speakers.
Is that interaction fully understood and measurable, obviously not.

Is it audible? To me it is.

Is it audible to you? There's only one way to know, try it out yourself.


Cheers
Fred
Old 21st June 2017
  #1194
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Hi
Where are you getting your 'reference' material to put into your DAC that was recorded on equipment that was SIGNIFICANTLY better than your 'HiFi' system?
Unless the source material can be demonstrably 'truer' than your playback it makes a nonsense of many of the arguments. I am happy to agree that it may sound 'better' to you as of course all things are subjective.
Matt S
Old 21st June 2017
  #1195
That sounds logic.


But still, I have heard systems play that defy all logic...

Personally I rather have such system over the logic that would make it impossible
Old 21st June 2017
  #1196
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Hi
If you LIKE a lot of bass you turn the bass tone control up, job done.
It will not sound the same as when the music was recorded, as heard by someone standing in the room with the musicians, but then NOTHING is that 'real'. Although 'dummy head' or other techniques can have a fair go at capturing the sound and replay on fancy speaker systems it will never be the same as being there.
It is all an illusion.
Matt S
Old 21st June 2017
  #1197
Yes it is....

But I hear sounds comming from behind me on a two speaker system (no Q sound recordings) fully emerged in amazing 3D sound.
Or listen to a piano recording and feel like I am hovering over the piano exactly like the mics are... a weird experience.

At that point, your logic goes out the window with me, as it simply does not support my experience at that time.

The thing is time is an illusion, your logic assumes time as a fact... "if monoprice cables where once in the chain while recording then.... "
That "once in the chain" THAT is the illusion here !

Now with time out of the equation,.... rules change ?

Dutch astronaut André Kuipers once held a plea to remove (t) from all mathematical equations to bring science up to par with reality.... he's a smart dude.
Old 21st June 2017
  #1198
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Syson View Post
Where are you getting your 'reference' material to put into your DAC that was recorded on equipment that was SIGNIFICANTLY better than your 'HiFi' system?
I don't sweat too much about it, but I do prefer well-recorded high-resolution material.

Alison Krauss and Union Station recorded at 96kHz by Mike Shipley are one of my favorite references. Analogue recordings with Patrician Barber transferred to DSD also does the trick for me.

That said, listening to a well-produced CD on a great-sounding HiFi system sure makes me respect 16bit 44.1kHz audio more than I want to.

My 'reference' will always be the sensation I get from listening to acoustic instruments during a concert or recording session. Church organ is a great reference, piano as well. Double Bass too, and vocals of course.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Syson View Post
Unless the source material can be demonstrably 'truer' than your playback it makes a nonsense of many of the arguments.
I don't follow your logic. A state of the art HiFi system will portray the music in a more vivid and dynamic way.

Or rather, a sound system than is not as state of the art, will somewhat compromise the sonic illusion I'm trying to create with the playback.

I'm the first to admit that the speakers and the room acoustics will be the prime source of distortion and frequency anomalies. They will most likely affect the sound more than anything else in the signal-path.

Still, everything counts to me, including the cables.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Syson View Post
Hi
If you LIKE a lot of bass you turn the bass tone control up, job done.
Yes, and if you like bass dynamics, you exchange the power cord to your amp or active speakers from an un-shielded ´licorice´ power cord that came with the amp, to - for example - a shielded Supra LoRad 2.5 power cord (costing about $45).

Do try it, I would love to hear your verdict. ;-)

Then attend the rest of your cabling and - in my experience - the bass response will improve even further. 'Truer' to the source, if you like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Syson View Post
It will not sound the same as when the music was recorded, as heard by someone standing in the room with the musicians, but then NOTHING is that 'real'.
True. But listening to a high-resolution recording of Steve Gadd on a TAD Reference 1 system sure put me right in front of his drum kit. It gave me the same sensation as when I'm about to adjust the kick drum microphone during a recording session.
I really wasn't expecting that kind of clarity or transient integrity from a sound system. But it's the TAD experience, I guess...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Syson View Post
It is all an illusion.
It sure is, and to me it's all about creating the 'perfect' illusion. :-)


Cheers
Fred
Old 23rd June 2017
  #1199
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by frenzy View Post
I don't follow your logic.
That pretty much sums up this entire thread...........
Old 23rd June 2017
  #1200
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robert82's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by frenzy View Post
It sure is, and to me it's all about creating the 'perfect' illusion. :-)

Cheers
Fred
At the end of the day, you spent what a Starbucks barista earns in four months on wires.

I notice you have dropped the "Contributor to Sound on Sound" from your signature. I imagine Hugh Robjohns and others would prefer to distance themselves . . . .
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