Originally Posted by Glimmie
Perhaps with old tube equipment. But it's highly unlikely a six foot RCA cables makes any audible difference on anything made in the past 20 years! A source impedance of 100 ohms or less is not influenced by cable dielectric at audio frequencies. And most gear less than 20 years old has low impedance line outputs.
No, that's just not true at all. That does not jibe with what I have experienced.
One of the pieces of gear where I observed HUGE differences in sound quality was the Sony SCD-777-ES SACD player, which came out around 1999, and was one of the best-sounding you could get then; with the right cables!
BUT...it would sound like absolute crap with some interconnect cables and much better with others.
I actually thought the thing was defective because it sounded so bad out of the box with the first cables. Five different sets of cables and five distinctly different sound qualities. The ones that were the best by far were Audioquest Diamondback cables.
I have never seen any component before or since that was so sensitive to differences in interconnect cables. It was my primary player for 6 years or so.
Some combinations of source/destination components are very insensitive to differences in interconnect cables; others much more so. This is my personal observation from years of listening tests.
There is no technical explanation I have found to explain this, though being a former engineer and electronics professor I would certainly like to make some sense out of it. Every theory I have posited does not agree with actual results. I have run dozens of scientific tests with high-quality lab gear and the results were inconclusive.
There was certainly nothing in the specs of the Sony player to suggest it would be so finicky. It was 100% solid-state and had a supposedly low output impedance.
One thing I have noticed, however, is that certain cables that use a 3-wire configuration and only terminate the shield at one end (like the Diamondback) are significantly better most of the time.
This is no substitute for a fully balanced cable and balanced inputs and outputs, but it DOES eliminate signal return current in the shield, which seems to be helpful.