Have You Heard Exotic Audio Cables Improve Sound Quality? - Page 4 - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: Have You Heard Exotic Audio Cables Improve Sound Quality?
Yes, and it was a big improvement 45 8.62%
Yes, but it was only a slight improvement 56 10.73%
No, I did not hear any improvement 289 55.36%
I don't have enough experience to say 132 25.29%
Voters: 522. You may not vote on this poll

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post #91 of 645 Old 03-01-2013, 03:18 PM
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You forgot a poll option: "no improvement, but I've heard expensive wires ruin things"

I've heard speaker wires make a difference precisely twice in 20-odd years of caring about audio.

The first time, the wires were MITs with their blister-thingy, and the speakers were Martin-Logan Quest-Z's. Compared to other wires, the MITs sounded very dull.

For any technically literate person, the reason is obvious: that stupid blister had a resistor in it, and it was interacting with the very low treble impedance of the electrostatic panel to massively roll off the highs.

The second time, the wires were Anthony Gallo Acoustics, and the speakers were also by Gallo. The speakers kept cutting out. Turns out the solid-core 18AWG wires Gallo peddles are cheap garbage, and in a few years of use they developed a bunch of little breaks. Replacing them with bog standard stranded wire greatly increased reliability, with no sonic difference.
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post #92 of 645 Old 03-01-2013, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russelliht View Post

What happens when everything is wireless? Exotic invisible cables?...

Fantastic point!
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post #93 of 645 Old 03-01-2013, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by russelliht View Post

What happens when everything is wireless? Exotic invisible cables?...

Oxygenated proprietary special polymer coated gold wire antennae wink.gif
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post #94 of 645 Old 03-01-2013, 05:21 PM
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I used to do a lot of critical listening to my "upper mid-fi" system. The only time I could tell any diffence in cables was when I built a set of speaker cables based on a white paper I'd read that instructed to use a 20 conductor ribbon cable and combine the odd-numbered conductors on each end to compose one single conductor (ex. positive) and the even numbered conductors to make up the negative. Since I had access to some ribbon cable I decided to try it and I was shocked that I could hear a distinct difference from my standard generic 10 gauge wires. I was so excited I spent the next month or so listening to my entire music collection all over again. I didn't expect to hear anything like that which I experienced. While it was subtle, I felt that it was more open, clearer, etc. That is the only time I ever noticed any difference in cables of decent quality. I eventually went back to other cables because the ribbon cable was big, ugly and when I moved into mutichannel (Home theater), everything turned to cr@p, sound quality wise, compared to my old 2 channel setup and I had to run CL2 rated wires through the walls anyway.
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post #95 of 645 Old 03-01-2013, 05:34 PM
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I can remember actually being embarrassed for a salesman who had the nerve to tell me that the fiber optic cable I was about to buy would not be adequate and I really needed to spent an exorbitant amount on a much "higher quality" cable if I was serious about good sound. I asked him how the higher cost cable could in anyway change/improve a digital signal comprised of 1's and 0's and the only answer he could give was that I should trust him that the difference in sound was huge. Needless to say after a slightly contentious conversation about digital transmission and his seeming frustration at not being able to convince me to go with the overpriced fiber I purchased the 8 or 10 dollar cable and have been happy with the results for the past 10 years or so! It seems so simple what people need to understand about digital audio, the digits are received or they are not...nothing more and nothing less...as long as the data is flowing and the connection is good there is nothing else to be done.
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post #96 of 645 Old 03-01-2013, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post


Perhaps you are misreading the headline. If it said "Have You Heard that Exotic Audio Cables Improve Sound Quality?" it would be one thing. The headline says "Have You Heard Exotic Audio Cables Improve Sound Quality?" as in have you ever heard exotic cables make a difference. He's asking about people's personal experience. Based on your answer, I would guess your personal experience is the same as your science-based opinion.

Yes, exactly! I'm asking if people have personal experience hearing exotic cables affect the sound of an audio system, not what they believe based on theory or what others have said. Thanks for reinforcing this point.


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post #97 of 645 Old 03-01-2013, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by russelliht View Post

Thank you Scott for posting this! I have really enjoyed reading peoples comments on this topic. That survey says it all.... biggrin.gif

What happens when everything is wireless? Exotic invisible cables?...

Yes, some very interesting comments, for sure! And great question about wireless!


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post #98 of 645 Old 03-01-2013, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post

Yes, exactly! I'm asking if people have personal experience hearing exotic cables affect the sound of an audio system, not what they believe based on theory or what others have said. Thanks for reinforcing this point.

AGREED!

This thread is not for:

1. "Theoretically it should not make a difference therefore cables make no difference" crowd
2. "I bought cheap cable and never bothered to try expensive cable" crowd
3. "I've read somewhere that cables make no difference therefore they don't make a difference" crowd

This thread is ONLY for people who have tried multiple cables and their experience with them.
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post #99 of 645 Old 03-01-2013, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by wingnut4772 View Post

In my limited experience I have found that gauge matters more.

Absolutely! That and quality copper. The biggest difference I've ever heard in speaker cable was many years ago when I exchanged my thin speaker wire with 12 gauge. Hooked one speaker up to the thin stuff and the other to the 12 gauge and it was noticeable. Other than that? The exotic stuff is indeed snake oil.

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post #100 of 645 Old 03-01-2013, 08:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post

Yes, some very interesting comments, for sure! And great question about wireless!

My wireless signal travels through silver plated air... so na na na na, na na! biggrin.gif

The whole audiophile cable industry is preying on fools with big gobs of money.

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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post #101 of 645 Old 03-02-2013, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GetGray View Post

Oxygenated proprietary special polymer coated gold wire antennae wink.gif

That would be for the mid-level buyers. For the ultra high-end buyers, they would offer some spray that can change the air within their home, supposedly making the waves propagate better. I bet it could double as Febreze as well. biggrin.gif
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post #102 of 645 Old 03-02-2013, 07:51 AM
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post #103 of 645 Old 03-02-2013, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post

Yes, exactly! I'm asking if people have personal experience hearing exotic cables affect the sound of an audio system, not what they believe based on theory or what others have said. Thanks for reinforcing this point.
I have such a problem with people who speak and don't have actual experience. I'd rather listen to one who has conducted their own tests and heard or didn't hear anything then a guy who read a review , or a thread about how they do or don't.
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post #104 of 645 Old 03-02-2013, 08:56 AM
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You ppl are, well weird. smile.gif
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post #105 of 645 Old 03-02-2013, 09:12 AM
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I find the poll outcome pretty interesting. For one, the 16% that hear a difference is lower than I thought it would be on this forum, and the 28% that don't have enough experience, in my mind, points to a big "snake-oil" susceptible percentage.

Some very basic things for those people;

-If a cable or interconnect alters the signal enough to make an audible difference, it is no longer a cable it is a passive "filter".

-Most or all copper available in wiring is actually 99% or better, it's not common to find any less pure copper. Even if you did, the "purity of copper" shouldn't affect conductivity if gauge is sufficient, the material itself is largely irrelevant as long as it meets transmission requirements for the distance. There's a ton of gauge requirement tables available if you search the net.

-Solid and clean termination of cables should be the secondary concern to proper gauge, (that's mostly a mechanical requirement).

-What happens once the sound comes out of your speakers is really where you need to pay attention. How the speakers interact with the room relative to the listening position is where you'll get the most appreciable and audible benefits.

Lastly, and the toughest thing for the 16% to admit is that the most significant factor in audio is our brain. It takes those ear drum vibrations and using a fuzzy logic of its' own turns those into something, well, logical.
That is done without conscious thought, in the subconscious mind obviously. The truth is you can "believe" you hear a difference because something like the act of buying a $14,000 cable will pretty much pre-program that fuzzy logic to create that difference.

Remember that when you encounter all the rhetoric associated with this hobby.
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post #106 of 645 Old 03-02-2013, 10:13 AM
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Room acoustics is 50% of the sound so before spending large amount of money on cables ones should really improve the room.

 

I tried these cables Nordost Odin Supreme Reference cables, and compared them to my Mogami W3104 with my B&W800Diamond no one in my family or friends could hear any difference.

 

So from my perspective forget these fancy cables and invest you money in music and movies. The Cables looked nice but who cares! I don't like to see cables. 

 

Many years ago I bought Kimber Kable 8TC 60 feet for $150, and these where the most expensive cable I ever purchased.  Now that I know better I just use shorter cables and use Mogami!

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post #107 of 645 Old 03-02-2013, 11:26 AM
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I'm in the gauge camp. Years ago when I went from lamp cord to 10 gauge speaker cable, it was a dramatic improvement. There is definitely a ceiling on the improvement though and it's many hundreds of dollars less than the price of the exotics. As long as your gear has circuit boards inside you might as well forget trying to find the holy grail of cables, now if everything is hardwired...wink.gif
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post #108 of 645 Old 03-02-2013, 02:25 PM
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Oh, what a load of BS. tongue.gif
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post #109 of 645 Old 03-02-2013, 03:31 PM
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The first time I heard a Purist Audio Dominus Power cable I was flabbergasted to say the least.
None of the settings on the amp were changed just listened to the amp with the standard power
cable then powered off put the purist audio cable in and WOW....

The next time was when I heard 5 Noise Harvesters connected to a walgreens power strip.
The best way to explain what happened when turning the power switch on the strip on and off
is like listening to a guitar with new strings vs old strings..
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post #110 of 645 Old 03-02-2013, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by by-tor74 View Post The first time I heard a Purist Audio Dominus Power cable I was flabbergasted to say the least. None of the settings on the amp were changed just listened to the amp with the standard power cable then powered off put the purist audio cable in and WOW.... The next time was when I heard 5 Noise Harvesters connected to a walgreens power strip. The best way to explain what happened when turning the power switch on the strip on and off is like listening to a guitar with new strings vs old strings..

 

Really are you serious, come on please what a joke :)

 

Ask your local electric company what cable they use, the cheapest :)

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post #111 of 645 Old 03-02-2013, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by by-tor74 View Post

The first time I heard a Purist Audio Dominus Power cable I was flabbergasted to say the least.
None of the settings on the amp were changed just listened to the amp with the standard power
cable then powered off put the purist audio cable in and WOW....

The next time was when I heard 5 Noise Harvesters connected to a walgreens power strip.
The best way to explain what happened when turning the power switch on the strip on and off
is like listening to a guitar with new strings vs old strings..

If you heard a difference because of a power cable switch and the cables are of the same gauge, the probable explanation is that one of the power cables was defective. In my experience power cables have never, ever made any difference in sound quality, when I see a power cable that costs thousands of dollars it's almost confusing.

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post #112 of 645 Old 03-02-2013, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post I hasten to point out that a power cable is not a speaker cable. If you heard a difference because of a power cable switch and the cables are of the same gauge, the probable explanation is that one of the power cables was defective.

I could not agree, more do you think the electrical company use audiophile lines :)

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post #113 of 645 Old 03-02-2013, 06:39 PM
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I was given some of the original multi wire kimber cables? and I thought I could hear subtle improvements in the sound compared to my larger gauge speaker wire I had been using and I did try to level match at least and really wasn't expecting to hear any difference at all seeing how I had no money in them anyways to try and convince myself my money was well spent.
That is about the only time I've ever heard adequate wires sound slightly better then other adequate wires and trust me I don't buy all the high end voo doo they hit the audiophiles with to separate them from gobs of money. They don't believe in double blind testing or just about anything else that might take your preference out of the equation either.
I always figured if everything is level matched and you don't know which is which whatever you like better is actually better, at least to you, and if a bunch of people agree then it really is better. Anything else has too many variables and personal wants, prejudices, and all that to be real.
My lil sisters hubby buys all that crap all the time and has a excellent analog 2 channel only system. Some of his cables cost more then my whole setup. It does sound outstanding but I think the biggest gain he made was buying some really nice sounding speakers, second was getting a excellent quality amp, after that I can't really pick out anything that was a gain but he's always getting some new cable or tweak, and buying even more records. Some sound great, some not so much. I grew up with this stuff and there's a reason I like the new stuff, stupid loudness wars be damned.
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post #114 of 645 Old 03-02-2013, 08:55 PM
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Hey Scott... how about your ideas on this subject? You are the Editor here. Seems like you've stuck your finger in a hornet's nest, and ducked out.

What do you think about the claim that exotic , expensive audio cables make a difference? Where do you stand on it? Not just subjectively, but based on the science this forum is based upon? I'm sure you've 'heard the claims'., and I think your answer to the very question you've asked would be a valuable contribution to this entire community. You are the head honcho, no? How do you feel about the very topic you raised? I'm sure others, beside myself, would be very interested in your comments.

sincerely, Joseph Williams,

...what a long, strange trip its been.
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post #115 of 645 Old 03-02-2013, 10:50 PM
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This forum is NOT based on Science. AV Science is the name of the store that started this forum.

If this forum is based solely on science, there will be no discussion about "preference", "taste" or anything subjective.

I wish this forum is based solely on science. It'll make everything easier.

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post #116 of 645 Old 03-03-2013, 07:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mantis10 View Post


I have such a problem with people who speak and don't have actual experience. I'd rather listen to one who has conducted their own tests and heard or didn't hear anything then a guy who read a review , or a thread about how they do or don't.

+1
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post #117 of 645 Old 03-03-2013, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Susilo View Post

This forum is NOT based on Science. AV Science is the name of the store that started this forum.

If this forum is based solely on science, there will be no discussion about "preference", "taste" or anything subjective.

I wish this forum is based solely on science. It'll make everything easier.

That is impossible as long as humans are involved. It's akin to religion with a lot of these things, you're dealing in powerful beliefs, and on top of that it's supported by slick marketing hyperbole.

You can prove what people can physically hear easy enough, you can prove group preference to a degree, but you can't prove the differences individuals "believe" they hear or don't hear....

It just is what it is.
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post #118 of 645 Old 03-03-2013, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by G-Rex View Post

+1

Don't you want to know why they hear a difference?

I have tried a wide variety of everything under the sun, I've reached the conclusions I have based on practical experience as well understanding the basic science behind a lot of these things. Does that make my path less valid than a guy who swaps out cables in their home and perceives a difference?

The "tests" one uses at home is subject to pre-determined outcomes, there is no way around it, and that's the major flaw. Just the fact someone knows about Kimber, (or whatever brand you choose) and has read an ad or review, might be enough to tip the scales.

Unless it's a controlled test with all variables accounted for, including the "blind" factor so there's no pre-conceived bias, it really is opinion and nothing more than that.

Nothing wrong with opinion as long as you don't accept it as fact.
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post #119 of 645 Old 03-03-2013, 10:13 AM
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In the annals of bogus claims made for exotic cables, this one takes the cake in my book: http://www.stereophile.com/content/van-den-hul-takes-usb-plunge. I never imagined a USB cable could be subjected to the old "Audiophile markup".

Honestly, in my life I have not heard any difference between USB cables, power cables, HDMI cables, speaker cables, etc. Shielded analog interconnects, that's the one area where there I think there could be some value to over-built, high-end product. I have no RCA cables in my system anymore, but back in the day it was possible to pick up extraneous noise through unshielded cables. However there was still never a need for exotic cables; even with analog interconnects, well made was good enough. When I used to audition Krell/Apogee systems back in the '90s, of course all the cabling was exotic. That system still couldn't beat my own more commercial high-end system that cost 1/10 as much and had no exotic cables, just nice quality analog cables that were as short as was practical.

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post #120 of 645 Old 03-03-2013, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post

Don't you want to know why they hear a difference?

I have tried a wide variety of everything under the sun, I've reached the conclusions I have based on practical experience as well understanding the basic science behind a lot of these things. Does that make my path less valid than a guy who swaps out cables in their home and perceives a difference?

The "tests" one uses at home is subject to pre-determined outcomes, there is no way around it, and that's the major flaw. Just the fact someone knows about Kimber, (or whatever brand you choose) and has read an ad or review, might be enough to tip the scales.

Unless it's a controlled test with all variables accounted for, including the "blind" factor so there's no pre-conceived bias, it really is opinion and nothing more than that.

Nothing wrong with opinion as long as you don't accept it as fact.

Since you have taken the time to test low priced cables and exotics your opinions (reached on your system) are just as valid as someone who has reached a different conclusion and has also tested both cable types in a competent manner (on their system). Different systems=different results. Different amps, speakers, processors, room acoustics and the interaction between each component in the system does not render a one size fits all conclusion. Results simply differ as there are lots of variables. I have done lots of blind tests with results consistent enough to justify my cable purchases. I am not saying what I hear should be considered fact to all, but what I and others heard at my theater are real enough to go higher end.

One example: I listened to 4 different speaker wires from Purist Audio. Each speaker wire sounded different enough to pick each model out in blind testing with multiple listeners. Why the majority of others can't hear the difference between zip wire and Purist does not concern me. What concerns me is my testing was done well enough to conclude that my purchase was justified.
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