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What's up with speaker cables? Modular Synthesizers
Old 2 weeks ago
  #91
Gear Nut
 

Disclaimer: I work for Accusound Cable Company. I'm not here to promote anything. I'm offering my knowledge based on experience from long before I got involved with Accusound.

- About 95% of the time the price of a cable has no direct correlation to the sound. Yep, bummer. There's a LOT of hype and marketing in both the "pro" and the "audiophile" markets concerning cables.
- Most cable is not built to a sound quality, it is built to a profit margin and price point. Most cable makers don't have the ears, nor do they even listen, especially in lower end stuff. They simply meet the generally expected specs for the least amount of cost to build and highest profit.
- Funny thing is, most people choose their cable on how it feels in their hand - flexibility, thickness, and connector weight. (btw, the whole "thicker is better" thing is an oversimplified generalization based on incomplete science. It's like saying that the car with the most horsepower will always win the race.)

The only way to wade through the cable quagmire is to listen and compare. A lot. Like Lucey said above, most people don't/won't go through the steps and go deep enough for the difference between cables to matter.

Cables are an essential part of studio infrastructure like clean power, tight clocking, good room treatment, solid non-resonant speaker stands, etc. Until you you have those in order, everything else will not perform to its full potential.
Old 1 week ago
  #92
Moderator
 
Blast9's Avatar
@uncbilly,

I had a fascinating conversation with an audiophile, who also designs and builds lovely tube headphone amps.

I asked him his opinion on fancy power cords and speaker cable, and in his opinion the type of wire does have an audible effect, due to the method of wire extrusion.

He told me to look up Ohno continuous casting. Very interesting.

He explained that, in a nutshell, the traditional wire production method creates a great deal of strain on the copper wire, causing outer surface to crack... the broken surface and internal "jumbled" crystal structure causes resistance.

6moons audio reviews: Interconnects - Theory &*Practice

Quote:
Twenty years ago, a Japanese engineer invented the Ohno wire extrusion method to produce PCOCC or pure copper Ohno continuous cast wire. Instead of forcing molten copper billets through a cold-mold extrusion machine, they are processed in heated molds and subsequently slow-cooled to room temperature. This results in far fewer molecular boundaries than regularly processed copper extrusions. It should come as no surprise that raw PCOCC wire is much more expensive than LF-OFC or TPC.
Old 1 week ago
  #93
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
 

Verified Member
I have worked with Jeff G at Sonic Craft in Texas on upgrading my tube amps over the years. He's way past cables into the sound of diodes, resistors, etc ... and of course capacitors. Some things that measure better sound worse and some things that make EE sense make no musical sense. It's a strange world yet people like him get it, and have done the testing and the work to be vital.
Old 1 week ago
  #94
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post
I have worked with Jeff G at Sonic Craft in Texas on upgrading my tube amps over the years. He's way past cables into the sound of diodes, resistors, etc ... and of course capacitors. Some things that measure better sound worse and some things that make EE sense make no musical sense. It's a strange world yet people like him get it, and have done the testing and the work to be vital.
well - electrical engineers have a very different set of goals than do listeners or musicians ... it stands to reason. what might be considered a 'successful' design by an EE might not be by a music consumer or audiophiile - and vice versa of course.
Old 1 week ago
  #95
Lives for gear
 

The magical properties of the cable or how the copper become cleaver.
Old 1 week ago
  #96
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petrus View Post
Signal stregth in speaker cables are so high that an interference audible in a mic cable is totally buried and totally inaudible.

When we worry about XLR cables we buy the best at $3/meter (Mogami, Canare etc). When we worry about speaker cables we buy 10 or 12 gauge from the hardware store, or fancy yellow Black&Decker extension cord like Tony Faulkner.

--- The story from New Scientist:

'Interestingly, New Scientist recently commented on the London Heathrow Hi Fi Show, saying that among the cables selling for up to £30,000 for 6 metres, they found Quad demonstrating their latest speakers to great enthusiasm. The orange cable to the speakers looked oddly familiar. When asked about it, Tony Faulkner, the recording engineer demonstrating them (who'd used the speakers as monitors while recording Saint-Saen's complete works for piano & orchestra, Gramophone's Record of the Year), said of the cables:

"Yes, they would look familiar if you have a garden. Before the show opened we went over the road to the DIY superstore and bought one of those £20 extension leads that Black & Decker sells for electric hedge-cutters. They are made from good, thick copper wire, look nice and sound good to me. The show's been running for three days and no one in the audience has noticed..." - New Scientist Magazine'
My speaker cables are just the same, made from Black and Decker mower extension cable. Heavily soldered strands on the ends, screwed down by the binding posts, no banana plugs. Work fine, sound great, no probs!
Old 1 week ago
  #97
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blast9 View Post
@uncbilly,

I had a fascinating conversation with an audiophile...in his opinion the type of wire does have an audible effect, due to the method of wire extrusion.

He told me to look up Ohno continuous casting. Very interesting.

He explained that, in a nutshell, the traditional wire production method creates a great deal of strain on the copper wire, causing outer surface to crack... the broken surface and internal "jumbled" crystal structure causes resistance.
Thanks for sharing the link. Yes, Ohno has been highly regarded in the audiophile world for a long time now.

Although I haven’t done any critical listening of Ohno in my own system, I’ve heard Ohno-based cables in a couple systems in Japan that sounded wonderful. These were the personal systems of older Japanese audiophile reviewers back in 2004. (I can’t remember the makers, sorry)

20 years ago Ohno had a clear advantage over most commercially available cable, however:
  • The purity of copper has increased dramatically over the last 20 years. Extrusion techniques have also improved dramatically in the last 20 years. The problems that Ohno sought to mitigate are now virtually non-existent if you use the right CMs/vendors and know what you’re doing.

  • Most importantly, copper purity and the extrusion method of the wire itself is only part of a cable’s performance. The analogy I make is to a race car - the one with the most horsepower doesn’t necessarily win the race.
Old 1 week ago
  #98
Lives for gear
 

The purity is a myth
Old 1 week ago
  #99
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dinococcus View Post
The purity is a myth
Please elaborate. Are you saying that TPC, OFC, and OFHC are the same purity? Are you saying that Ohno is not really as pure as claimed? Or are you saying that the purity of copper has no effect on the sound of cable under any circumstances? Something else?
Old 1 week ago
  #100
Lives for gear
 

Elaborate? If you have some datas showing the importance of the purity, this is with a great pleasure i will read.
I know a good way for fight the audio hallucinations : the double bind randomized call on this planet : ABX.
Old 1 week ago
  #101
Gear Maniac
 

Oxygen-free copper?

I can even hear Oxygène... the timeless masterpiece by Jean-Michel Jarre.

EE's vs. audiophiles...
Old 1 week ago
  #102
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dinococcus View Post
Elaborate? If you have some datas showing the importance of the purity, this is with a great pleasure i will read.
I know a good way for fight the audio hallucinations : the double bind randomized call on this planet : ABX.
So, your assertion is that purity of copper has absolutely no effect on sonic performance.

Do you assert that a wire made of 1% copper/99% percent lead, tin, rat hair, dirt, bone meal, etc, will perform as well as a wire made of OFHC?
Old 1 week ago
  #103
Gear Maniac
 

For the engineer performance is measured using calibrated instruments in a controlled environment (non objectively quantifiable performance remains by definition subjective), for the audiophile performance is often mostly based on the price spent on the equipment.

But mileages vary, true deep-pocketed audiophiles, please forget those entry-level Antelope tickers and do yourself a favor getting a serious clock like this one:
MHM 2010 Active Hydrogen Maser | Microsemi

(If I'd require a good timebase for technical (non audio) purposes I could probably live with a good GNSS-disciplined rubidium oscillator.)

Sorry, couldn't resist, from a strict engineer's POV some typical audiophile assertations are just funny.
Old 1 week ago
  #104
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitsmith View Post
well - electrical engineers have a very different set of goals than do listeners or musicians ... it stands to reason. what might be considered a 'successful' design by an EE might not be by a music consumer or audiophiile - and vice versa of course.
Exactly

It takes a guy with major EE chops AND major ears to sort this all out

Certain materials in caps, resistors etc are just not musical. They meet the electrical need, yet not the tone need.
Old 1 week ago
  #105
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncbilly View Post
So, your assertion is that purity of copper has absolutely no effect on sonic performance.

Do you assert that a wire made of 1% copper/99% percent lead, tin, rat hair, dirt, bone meal, etc, will perform as well as a wire made of OFHC?
Any electric cable in copper does the job. The purity aspect is an audiophile invention.
Old 1 week ago
  #106
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dinococcus View Post
Elaborate? If you have some datas showing the importance of the purity, this is with a great pleasure i will read.
I know a good way for fight the audio hallucinations : the double bind randomized call on this planet : ABX.
And I know an additional one: With high-end testing lab equipment (for example: https://cdn.rohde-schwarz.com/pws/dl...0701_96dpi.pdf) a lot can be veririfed quantitatively.

I don't say that what each audiophile subjectively perceives is quantifiable, I'm referring to formal comparative technical tests.

Using copper purity grades intended for PVD would just be a joke, regular electrolytic copper used in good cables will do it, there are zillions of other issues to fix before having to worry about the oxygen content of copper.

Another example are ultraprecise master clocks for which external cable length differences will affect timings more than imperfections of the timing signal at the output of the time base source (and needless to say that formal computations show that such sampling timing inaccuracies will never lead to any audible degradation).
Old 1 week ago
  #107
Lives for gear
 

And ? Where are the tests cable? Where are the academic literature about the purity?
What is it the link between degree of purity, resistivity value and length ?

An ofc copper speaker cable 2,5 mm cost less 2 euro and his purity is equal to 99,99%.



You drown the fish!
Old 1 week ago
  #108
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dinococcus View Post
The magical properties of the cable or how the copper become cleaver.
An audiophile's version of the philosopher's stone which turns common electrolytic copper into gold... at least referring to the price.

There's long list of various ways to pour money down the drain and investing in magical properties of audio equipment is a very common one.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dinococcus View Post
Any electric cable in copper does the job. The purity aspect is an audiophile invention.
Exactly. That's it. Period.
Old 1 week ago
  #109
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schoeller View Post
there are zillions of other issues to fix before having to worry about the oxygen content of copper.
Cablin' ain't easy
Old 1 week ago
  #110
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by acorneau View Post
Do a search for "monster cable vs. coat hanger".
Post number two nails it. You folks are in a heartfelt but wankywonky treasure hunt for the seven cities (you know, the ones that don’t exist).
When you’re done with this, perhaps you could start a six year quest for the very best pencil or coffee cup. Those can be really essential and exotic studio equipment, if you get twisty enough... and I see that some of you can!
There are rumors that assert that if you hold the perfect coffee cup to your ear just right you can hear Abbey Road outtakes.
Old 1 week ago
  #111
Gear Nut
 

The best philosophy I've heard is to reduce resistance, inductance and capacitance as much as possible.

I use 12ga solid house wiring that I buy from Home Depot, twist the two conductors together, and then heat-shrink the whole thing. Works pretty well for me. The solid wire makes sure there's no interaction through oxide between strands(whether or not this makes a difference I've yet to prove, but I think it adds a certain annoying sizzling sound in my tweeters). Stranded wire that's tinned can also accomplish this. Stranded wire does not reduce skin effect unless the strands are insulated from each other. Twisting the wires together reduces interference(probably not important at speaker level impedances and voltages) and inductance, but increases capacitance somewhat. I haven't experimented with different insulations to see if they make any difference.

Some amplifiers(depending on topology and internal compensation) may react differently to different levels of capacitance and inductance. So cables with high capacitance or inductance, or low capacitance or inductance, may perform better or worse with some amplifiers. My understanding is that class-D amplifiers are somewhat immune to the phase angle(whether it's primarily capacitive or inductive) of the load.
Old 1 week ago
  #112
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Post number two nails it. You folks are in a heartfelt but wankywonky treasure hunt for the seven cities (you know, the ones that don’t exist).
When you’re done with this, perhaps you could start a six year quest for the very best pencil or coffee cup. Those can be really essential and exotic studio equipment, if you get twisty enough... and I see that some of you can!
There are rumors that assert that if you hold the perfect coffee cup to your ear just right you can hear Abbey Road outtakes.
Excellent. What's next? Quoting a comparison between a Yugo and a Gremlin
Old 1 week ago
  #113
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncbilly View Post
Excellent. What's next? Quoting a comparison between a Yugo and a Gremlin
I think it’s more like saying that you’d dramatically change the performance of the Yugo if you put ten thousand dollars worth of tires on it. Wires and tires... that’s where the important money should be spent!
Old 1 week ago
  #114
Lives for gear
 
razorboy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncbilly View Post
So, your assertion is that purity of copper has absolutely no effect on sonic performance.

Do you assert that a wire made of 1% copper/99% percent lead, tin, rat hair, dirt, bone meal, etc, will perform as well as a wire made of OFHC?
I think that hemp should be on that list as well.
Old 1 week ago
  #115
Lives for gear
 
razorboy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u87allen View Post
I use 12ga solid house wiring that I buy from Home Depot, twist the two conductors together, and then heat-shrink the whole thing. Works pretty well for me.

12 gauge is always best, in cable wire and in shotguns.
Old 1 week ago
  #116
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
quest for the very best pencil
Palomino Blackwing 602

...that was an easy quest
Old 1 week ago
  #117
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Wires and tires... that’s where the important money should be spent!
Agreed. And, to put a finer point on it, let's bring it down to a real word scenario. In the real world great tires won't cost $10k, but let's say we had $1k as our budget :

- Where would $1k improve the performance the most on a Yugo? Would $1k worth of engine tuning yield any benefit using stock tires? Think of it - even if you had some re-jetting of the carbs, better coil, or a cam shaft, ect, on stock screechers - would it make your lap times better?...

Or badass tires, which would allow A SERIOUS PRO DRIVER to keep the throttle full-on around the whole track ...

Which would improve your lap times?

I assert that the savvy driver would opt for track tires every time in this situation. The $1k on engine/transmission/electrical/etc is useless if you can't keep traction on the turns.

Back to audio, if I had, say, $3k to spend on a monitoring system, I'd spend $2k on the monitors and $1k on cabling to make the whole system work accurately - Cables that I could keep for life and that would be accurate in any system.

We're talking about a whole different level than "monster vs coat hanger" here. Serious cables are like serious track tires.Track tires are actually illegal in most states. Stock consumer tires are specifically made to slide out early because the average consumer isn't able to deal with real traction.
Old 1 week ago
  #118
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by razorboy View Post
12 gauge is always best, in cable wire and in shotguns.
Agreed, regarding shotguns! My Grandpa had an 8 gauge. Fired it once. knocked me on my ass and left a bruise on my shoulder for a couple weeks.

Now, when it comes to audio, diameter is not a direct correlation to sonic performance.
Old 1 week ago
  #119
Lives for gear
W

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncbilly View Post
Stock consumer tires are specifically made to slide out early because the average consumer isn't able to deal with real traction.
Thank you for introducing conspiracy theory into the discussion. So “the man” is deliberately giving us poor tires (and wires)? That is tinfoil hat nonsense.
The point is, if you want performance, you don’t spend your money on tires for the Yugo, or thousand dollar cables for your “Yugo-ish” speakers. You buy a better car or better speakers, or a better amp for your speakers.
Old 1 week ago
  #120
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allstar's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncbilly View Post

Back to audio, if I had, say, $3k to spend on a monitoring system, I'd spend $2k on the monitors and $1k on cabling to make the whole system work accurately - Cables that I could keep for life and that would be accurate in any system.
Nearly spat my coffee out reading that. 2000 dollar monitors have plenty of deficiencies that are crying out for some more cash. The difference between $20 and $1000 speaker cable is on a completely different scale.
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