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How important are cables in audio? Audio Interfaces
Old 21st June 2014
  #1
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How important are cables in audio?

There is a new, high end studio being built in Wien. I found it a bit weird that they will spend millions of Euros on building works, acoustic and equipment, yet, they refuse to spend money for decent cabling. Am I naive in thinking that the whole point of an audio recording studio is to get a high quality of sound?

And, do cables really meter? Do they sound different, or can we get any piece of wire and that's it?

Is it worth spending money on expensive, high quality cables, or cheap ones are good enough ?

I think cables are as important part in overall sound as amplifiers, speakers, recorders, mixing desks and other equipment. If you spend a lots of money on equipment and link it with a c**p cables, you will end up with an inferior sound.
Old 21st June 2014
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KameleonUK View Post
There is a new, high end studio being built in Wien. I found it a bit weird that they will spend millions of Euros on building works, acoustic and equipment, yet, they refuse to spend money for decent cabling.
Most high end studio's use the highest quality cables from quality manufactures like Belden, Canare or Mogami. (and some regional big manufactures)

Quote:
Am I naive in thinking that the whole point of an audio recording studio is to get a high quality of sound?
Of course your are correct, but there are many bigger more expensive challenges in designing and building a studio than cables.

Quote:
And, do cables really meter? Do they sound different, or can we get any piece of wire and that's it?
While cables can sound different - they shouldn't !!

Quote:
Is it worth spending money on expensive, high quality cables, or cheap ones are good enough ?
The above listed manufactures make the highest quality cables. the expensive cables may not be nearly as good!

Quote:
I think cables are as important part in overall sound as amplifiers, speakers, recorders, mixing desks and other equipment. If you spend a lots of money on equipment and link it with a c**p cables, you will end up with an inferior sound.coarse
Because cables one of the highest profit items in the audio equipment chain, marketing departments and vendors promote the idea like crazy.
Old 21st June 2014
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KameleonUK View Post
I think cables are as important part in overall sound as amplifiers, speakers, recorders, mixing desks and other equipment. If you spend a lots of money on equipment and link it with a c**p cables, you will end up with an inferior sound.
If we're talking balanced cables here, go run yourself some null tests and then see if you still feel this way.
It'll save you lots of $$.
Old 21st June 2014
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragan View Post
If we're talking balanced cables here, go run yourself some null tests and then see if you still feel this way.
It'll save you lots of $$.
I've been playing (testing) with all kind of cables and wires and found out that more of less EVERY wire has it's own sound. From stranded to solid copper wires to pure silver. And good cables in some cases made more difference then changing amp or speakers.
Old 21st June 2014
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KameleonUK View Post
I've been playing (testing) with all kind of cables and wires and found out that more of less EVERY wire has it's own sound. From stranded to solid copper wires to pure silver. And good cables in some cases made more difference then changing amp or speakers.
What is your methodology for "testing"?

Have you done null tests?
Old 21st June 2014
  #6
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If you hear a difference in cable's then:

a] One of them is of a poor design or construction.
b] One of them is defective.
c] The output stage of the sending unit or the input stage of the receiving unit is of poor design or defective.
Old 21st June 2014
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragan View Post
What is your methodology for "testing"?

Have you done null tests?
I've made a few cables from different wires, same lengths with same connectors. You should try this…

There were a lots of ears listening, and ALL of them could hear the difference.

And how do you null test your ears?
Old 21st June 2014
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedskater View Post
If you hear a difference in cable's then:

a] One of them is of a poor design or construction.
b] One of them is defective.
c] The output stage of the sending unit or the input stage of the receiving unit is of poor design or defective.
a0 All of them were the same construction, hand made from a scratch
b) all of them were perfectly working
c) test was between a CD and an integrated valve amp

So, why is it so difficult for some people to accept the fact that different sound of different materials used for wires and insulation?

Try it before you say something, please.
Old 21st June 2014
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KameleonUK View Post
I've made a few cables from different wires, same lengths with same connectors. You should try this…

There were a lots of ears listening, and ALL of them could hear the difference.

And how do you null test your ears?
I've made my fair share of cables.

Maybe you don't get what a null test is. If two sounds null, they aren't different.

I'm not telling you what you heard or didn't hear. I'm just saying I've nulled very expensive balanced cables with each other and with very cheap cables. I've also nulled files posted for comparison where people swore they heard differences.

I'm not gonna go down the cable argument road very far (these cables threads are all pretty much identical). I'm just saying it's worthwhile to run an actual null test and, if for whatever reason they don't null, real actual blind ABX testing before shelling out a bunch of dough. This is one area where placebo and marketing lay waste to a lot of folks' cash.
Old 21st June 2014
  #10
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When true differences in interconnect systems are heard, the cause of the difference is often interference or noise or oscillation/ringing. Audiophile's often chose system with a little bit of those defects in the background.
Old 21st June 2014
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragan View Post
I've made my fair share of cables.

Maybe you don't get what a null test is. If two sounds null, they aren't different.

I'm not telling you what you heard or didn't hear. I'm just saying I've nulled very expensive balanced cables with each other and with very cheap cables. I've also nulled files posted for comparison where people swore they heard differences.

I'm not gonna go down the cable argument road very far (these cables threads are all pretty much identical). I'm just saying it's worthwhile to run an actual null test and, if for whatever reason they don't null, real actual blind ABX testing before shelling out a bunch of dough. This is one area where placebo and marketing lay waste to a lot of folks' cash.
We agree to disagree. Nulling the sound have nothing to do with sound quality, just frequencies.
You are welcome to sit down together and do a test. From my experience, 99% of people have herd the difference… Saying all cables are same, is as all cars are same, So, lets all buy Skoda, not Jag or Rolls….
Old 21st June 2014
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedskater View Post
When true differences in interconnect systems are heard, the cause of the difference is often interference or noise or oscillation/ringing. Audiophile's often chose system with a little bit of those defects in the background.
I disagree. I have built and tested tens of cables (hi-fi, guitar, studio, PA, etc) and there is an obvious difference… So, I've don't the walk, not just talk
Old 21st June 2014
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KameleonUK View Post
We agree to disagree. Nulling the sound have nothing to do with sound quality, just frequencies.
You are welcome to sit down together and do a test. From my experience, 99% of people have herd the difference… Saying all cables are same, is as all cars are same, So, lets all buy Skoda, not Jag or Rolls….

For the record, your understanding of what a null test is is incorrect. When two sounds null, the are the exact same piece of audio. There's no differentiating between "frequencies" and "sound quality".

I don't care to try and convince you (or anyone else for that matter) not to buy expensive cables, but you should know what a null test really is. If they null, it's the same audio, end of story.

And I'm not even saying the cables you listened to do null, I'm saying all the balanced cables I've tested do and it's worth checking for yourself.
Old 21st June 2014
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragan View Post
For the record, your understanding of what a null test is is incorrect. When two sounds null, the are the exact same piece of audio. There's no differentiating between "frequencies" and "sound quality".

I don't care to try and convince you (or anyone else for that matter) not to buy expensive cables, but you should know what a null test really is. If they null, it's the same audio, end of story.

And I'm not even saying the cables you listened to do null, I'm saying all the balanced cables I've tested do and it's worth checking for yourself.
Good, so we decided the Earth is flat and we leave it at that.

I don't need to convince you or anyone else, as I said, a car is a car said my granny…
Old 21st June 2014
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KameleonUK View Post
Good, so we decided the Earth is flat and we leave it at that.

I don't need to convince you or anyone else, as I said, a car is a car said my granny…

These analogies aren't good.

The Flat Earth group would be the "these cables sound different because me and my friends think so" group. The Round Earth group would be the "we can show you the audio is the same with science" group. You're not on the team you think you are.

Null testing is real science. Blind ABX testing is real data. Sitting around with your buddies and hooking up different cables and listening for differences is fraught with peril as far as objectivity is concerned.

And like I've said, I don't know if your cable audio nulls or not. I'm still not even sure what kind of cables they were.

I only kept responding because you don't seem to get that IF they do null, there isn't room for debate. Again, IF...

But I'll bow out here. I've no vested interest in whether you believe in science or not. That's your business.

Good luck and enjoy your cables.
Old 22nd June 2014
  #16
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How many "high-end" studios use "magic" "boutique" "snake-oil" cables?
How many big-selling or exemplary recordings were made with "magic" "boutique" "snake-oil" cables?
How many "magic" "boutique" "snake-oil" cables have even been successfully identified in proper double-blind (or A/B/X) tests?
Are any of those numbers greater than zero?

I strongly suspect that people who are trusted to decide how to spend millions creating new studios know where to spend the money to get audible results. And it ain't in the cable troughs.
I also strongly suspect that we will always have mystics with us as this discussion demonstrates.
Old 22nd June 2014
  #17
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Three things mater with cables: shielding, build quality, and impedance.

Use, good, braided or foil shielding. (Although I have plenty of cables that use cheap, stranded shielding and have had no problems with them. Yet.)
Use cables with well done solder joints and sturdy connectors.
Use cables with the correct impedance for the job. (e.g. don't use 75 ohm coax to carry your mic signal.)
Old 22nd June 2014
  #18
S21
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A brand name cable (eg Belden) should be used because this is an environment where someone might care.

Nobody cares what cable you use for a telephone, so cable telephones with whatever brand cable you like. Nobody cares what cable you use for ethernet, so cable ethernet with whatever brand cable you like. Some people care about audio cables, so cable in a way that gives you a good answer to their questions. Belden is a cable that offends nobody. The cost of the cable is trivial compared to the installation.
Old 22nd June 2014
  #19
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Out of curiosity, how many of you have actually took a time to do listening tests of cables?
Old 22nd June 2014
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hxd Ped View Post
Three things mater with cables: shielding, build quality, and impedance.
........................................
Use cables with the correct impedance for the job. (e.g. don't use 75 ohm coax to carry your mic signal.)
Now we are way off topic.
In an audio system the only cables that have a Radio Frequency Characteristic Impedance, are digital interconnects.
Old 22nd June 2014
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KameleonUK View Post
Out of curiosity, how many of you have actually took a time to do listening tests of cables?
Most of us likely use half a dozen different brands of cables, connectors, etc. Moving a microphone 10cm typically makes an order of magnitude more difference than any cable on the planet. Apparently the vast majority of us haven't heard any difference between cables that was compelling enough to spend any money on.

Do different cables "sound" different? Maybe, if you have a good imagination. But I know for sure that money invested in microphones (and even stands) has orders of magnitude more impact on the final result. Spending an extra 10 minutes on mic placement will be much more audible to anyone than using magic cable. It would appear that almost nobody who does this for a living is convinced that magic cable is worth the investment. If it really was so obviously superior, how do you explain such widespread and long-term apathy?
Old 22nd June 2014
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hxd Ped View Post
Use cables with the correct impedance for the job. (e.g. don't use 75 ohm coax to carry your mic signal.)
If you have an unbalanced signal, using RF coaxial cable (of ANY impedance) isn't actually a bad choice. Some laboratory measurement microphones use BNC connectors and RF coaxial cable by design. Impedance is typically not a factor at audio frequencies unless you are talking about cable lengths of kilometers or miles.
Old 26th June 2014
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedskater View Post
Now we are way off topic.
In an audio system the only cables that have a Radio Frequency Characteristic Impedance, are digital interconnects.
Maybe impedance was the wrong term. Resistance maybe?

My point is, use the right kind of cable. Don't use speaker cable to carry a microphone signal, for instance.
Old 26th June 2014
  #24
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Changing to new guitar strings has way more of a difference than changing to a fancy new cable, not only that but as far as I'm concerned you better already have an almost godlike sound to start worrying about cables and such minutiae.

Usually the guys hung up on cables etc are equally hung up about how different batteries sound in there active guitars or pedals

Do different battery brands sound different? MAYBE...........but who cares!
Old 26th June 2014
  #25
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Wasn't this thread titled with a question?
Old 26th June 2014
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneySound View Post
Wasn't this thread titled with a question?
It was

The answer: All things being equal, they're not very important
Old 26th June 2014
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneySound View Post
Wasn't this thread titled with a question?
Yes, but what's your point? It appears that only KameleonUK is a believer in magic cable. If anyone has some compelling evidence (such as objective measurement or even legitimate double-blind subjective listening tests) I'm sure we would all be interested in reading it. For that matter, if the difference is as obvious as KameleonUK claims, he should be able to post a WAV file that demonstrates the difference. Meanwhile, cable isn't in my top-10 list of important factors. And It doesn't seem like many people here are cable fanatics.
Old 26th June 2014
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hxd Ped View Post
Maybe impedance was the wrong term. Resistance maybe?
No, not "resistance" either. Certainly, if you are transmitting speaker power, you want to minimize losses in the cable by using adequate gauge wire.

Quote:
My point is, use the right kind of cable. Don't use speaker cable to carry a microphone signal, for instance.
Perhaps you mean that microphone signals have traditionally required shielded cable to avoid picking up noise along the way. But some of us have found that "super-balanced" but unshielded cable like Cat-5 computer network cable actually works well for microphone lines, so generic statements like that are not as useful in modern times.
Old 26th June 2014
  #29
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Use Mogami and forget it...
Those cables with crimped on XLR's ect are the worst...
Old 27th June 2014
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
Yes, but what's your point?
My point is that when one poses a question, one is usually seeking an answer. It appears that the OP is not interested in answers, but instead wants to sermonize on a beaten-to-death topic without bringing forth any evidence or compelling argument to back up his claims.
Seems a little trollish to me.
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