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Have You Heard Exotic Audio Cables Improve Sound Quality? - Page 21

Poll Results: Have You Heard Exotic Audio Cables Improve Sound Quality?

 
  • 8% (45)
    Yes, and it was a big improvement
  • 10% (56)
    Yes, but it was only a slight improvement
  • 54% (284)
    No, I did not hear any improvement
  • 25% (132)
    I don't have enough experience to say
517 Total Votes  
post #601 of 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

I would really like to see more people get involved in bias controlled testing. It is fussy and boring but amazingly revealing and a serious budget saver. I once had a system that cost more than both my cars combined. I would never let that happen again. Just thinking back on it angers me. But the audiophilia is completely cured.

Why take the fun out of it? It shouldn't anger you if you got enjoyment out of it and your family wasn't starving for it. Keeping in the spirit of the original poll, it doesn't matter if there really was a difference, it's what difference you thought you heard.
post #602 of 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVfile View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

I would really like to see more people get involved in bias controlled testing. It is fussy and boring but amazingly revealing and a serious budget saver. I once had a system that cost more than both my cars combined. I would never let that happen again. Just thinking back on it angers me. But the audiophilia is completely cured.

Why take the fun out of it? It shouldn't anger you if you got enjoyment out of it and your family wasn't starving for it. Keeping in the spirit of the original poll, it doesn't matter if there really was a difference, it's what difference you thought you heard.

So it's okay as long as the family isn't starving? Just don't need the money? What is fun about spending money on silly crap? I sure don't enjoy it. I do know some people with more money than sense, though and they do buy stuff like well marketed....anything.
post #603 of 645
^ it is like artwork, smoking, or any other luxury. If it makes you happy and you can afford to do it, why not. It's just a hobby for me. I don't work for the FBI X-division and need to find the truth if it kills me.
post #604 of 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVfile View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

I would really like to see more people get involved in bias controlled testing. It is fussy and boring but amazingly revealing and a serious budget saver. I once had a system that cost more than both my cars combined. I would never let that happen again. Just thinking back on it angers me. But the audiophilia is completely cured.

Why take the fun out of it? It shouldn't anger you if you got enjoyment out of it and your family wasn't starving for it. Keeping in the spirit of the original poll, it doesn't matter if there really was a difference, it's what difference you thought you heard.

thats is all well and good in your the privacy of your own home. problems start when folks jump up on a soapbox and start preaching to the masses the audible superiority of this cable or that amp, or this dac. they will be challenged and asked to prove their claims. inevitably they wont be able to prove anything because the refuse to partake in objective testing methods.
post #605 of 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVfile View Post

^ it is like artwork, smoking, or any other luxury. If it makes you happy and you can afford to do it, why not. It's just a hobby for me. I don't work for the FBI X-division and need to find the truth if it kills me.
Just keep the damned second hand smoke away from me...rolleyes.gif
post #606 of 645
post #607 of 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVfile View Post

Why take the fun out of it? It shouldn't anger you if you got enjoyment out of it and your family wasn't starving for it. Keeping in the spirit of the original poll, it doesn't matter if there really was a difference, it's what difference you thought you heard.

It bothers me that there is an entire industry that makes its living from lies. When I read ad copy from a cable outfit that offers cables for 4 figures that couldn't possibly have cost more than $20 or $30 to manufacturer, I cringe. It is wrong to do it and I believe the cable merchants know it. They are taking advantage of a natural human characteristic through lies. I do understand that the lies are often well meaning since the manufacturers have the same hearing bias that the rest of us have. And I do understand that the people buying the cables can afford them and have the right to use their money as they wish.

I don't care that people buy expensive cables. I do care that people are duped by their own hearing bias and that other people take advantage of that financially as an industry. I'm not mad at the audiophiles. They don't know any better and believe they are receiving value for their purchases. I'm mad at the exotic cable industry. Perhaps I would like to see some sort of government mandated messaging on the packages similar to what we have for other products. If people are told that what they hear with the cables isn't real and then decide to buy them for whatever reason anyway, I'm a happy camper. I just don't like the situation the way it is now.

Since we aren't about to see government labeling on cables because cables aren't dangerous, I encourage more bias controlled testing. Learning the truth is fussy, time consuming and boring but it isn't difficult and it isn't expensive. Truth is good thing in my view. We seem to have so little of it in this day and age. There you have my motivation such as it is.
post #608 of 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by ForumNameHere View Post

I can't help but feel this applies:

http://arstechnica.com/science/2011/08/users-treat-criticism-of-favorite-brands-as-threat-to-self-image/

I don't think there is any question about it. Everybody feels they make good decisions and get great deals. For someone to deny that hurts. It is human nature. We all make mistakes. What we should all do when we realize we made a mistake is to come to grips with the mistake and fix it. I always used to tell my employees: If you foul up, raise your hand and tell me about it. I'll help you fix it. I want mistakes to be fixed so I'll be on your side. Guess what side I'll be on if you hide and lie.
post #609 of 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

I don't think there is any question about it. Everybody feels they make good decisions and get great deals. For someone to deny that hurts. It is human nature. We all make mistakes. What we should all do when we realize we made a mistake is to come to grips with the mistake and fix it. I always used to tell my employees: If you foul up, raise your hand and tell me about it. I'll help you fix it. I want mistakes to be fixed so I'll be on your side. Guess what side I'll be on if you hide and lie.

I'm up for almost anything that will make a night vs day difference. If I could spend a measly $300 on a power cable for it to make that difference I would. I brought a loaned Pangea power cable to last years GTG in November everyone had a good chuckle.
post #610 of 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

It bothers me that there is an entire industry that makes its living from lies. When I read ad copy from a cable outfit that offers cables for 4 figures that couldn't possibly have cost more than $20 or $30 to manufacturer, I cringe...I don't care that people buy expensive cables. I do care that people are duped by their own hearing bias and that other people take advantage of that financially as an industry.

I agree with everything you posted above. I posted this very early on in this thread (20 pages ago), and thought I might just reproduce it here - my point of view as someone who has worked in consumer A/V sales from 1983 through to 2008:

One of the very first tests I ever did was to compare the top of the line Monster Cable to the cheapest stuff I could get at the hardware store, back when I worked at Soundtrack here in Colorado Springs. The other salespeople were all convinced that the Monster sounded better, but when I swapped cables without telling people which was which no one could hear any difference at all.

Speaking of working retail, here is the dirty truth. The reason that there was an explosion of so many esoteric high end cable brands during the 90s is because profit margins on actual AV components started getting thinner and thinner, and the A/V retailers started turning to overpriced accessories and warranties to bolster profits. It was almost impossible to make money on the stereo components and televisions themselves. Monster started this trend, became very successful, and then other companies started following suit. In my 8 years of retail experience I saw the commissions on the actual A/V components shrink down to barely 3% of the retail price (if you were lucky), while commissions on high end interconnects and extended warranties were usually 20% - or more! In fact, at Soundtrack one could get fired if their warranty and Monster Cable percentage of sales was less than 10% of overall volume. It was in response to this incredible pressure to sell more Monster Cable that I conducted the aforementioned test. We also had a line of freeze-dried (!) video cables that people swore improved picture quality. Again, I put this to the test. And once again, no one was able to tell any difference when they did not know which cable was being used. Yet the other salespeople kept telling themselves their was a real improvement, probably so they could sleep better at night. Here we run into another very human phenomenon - cognitive dissonance.

My own cognitive dissonance forced me to quit retail, go into the actual sound recording / mixing business, and start a company called Integrity Home Theater in the early 2000s. I left the company I started about 5 years ago, but the same statement I wrote back in 2004 is still prominently featured on the web page: "No pushing extended warranties or overpriced accessories. Ever go into an electronics store and feel pressured to spend more money than you did on the product for accessories and extended warranties? The reason why is that pricey speaker cables, interconnects, and warranties are MASSIVELY PROFITABLE to the dealer. It is not because they are a good deal or necessity for the consumer. We have made it a policy to never push these types of items."

Even though Integrity Home Theater is behind me, I still stand by the above statement as the truth as to why salespeople and companies spend so much time trying to convince you that some outrageously priced product is worth the $$$. What led me to this conclusion? Eight years of being force fed this stuff, then actually putting it to the test only to find that the Emperor had no clothes.
post #611 of 645
+1. I sell one "high end" brand of cable which has good looking cables, but it's by customer request. I like them because they look very nice aesthetically, not for performance reasons. if you have any exposed electronics, they look nice vs. a plain blue PVC jacketed cable. But it is the exception when anyone asks for them.

John, is Brad still with Integrity?
post #612 of 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by GetGray View Post

+1. John, is Brad still with Integrity?

Yes, but he only runs the books while Mike Adams handles the sales. They still occasionally use my house as a showroom, but very rarely.
post #613 of 645
I have some insight into the industry because I have a friend that used to own and operate an A/V retail store. I do understand how difficult it is. I owned and operated a retail store in another industry myself. Our stores were less than a mile apart and we used to lunch together often. At age 60 he threw in the towel and retired. He told me the marketplace was forcing him to do things he didn't want to do. He had hoped to turn the store over to his son but believed his son wasn't ready for it. He sold the store to another man and never looked back. Tough business to be sure.

I view monster as exactly what its name implies. One of the nastiest companies in the country. They've made a living working at destroying other companies. Bad people.

By the way, I believe one of the purposes of the outrageous prices is to feed the expectation bias of magazine reviewers. The companies can live or die by those reviews. Expensive cables create an expectation of high performance and, sure enough, that's how things turn out in print.
post #614 of 645
I would never recommend exotic cables to anyone. In fact most of the time I recommend DIY or some value-oriented brand that at least looks half decent on the carpet so the wife can be happy too. Either way they need to be functional and safe. Wire should be terminated properly with connectors suitable for the components, properly color-coded heatshrink, low-maintenance (stay tight and free of oxidization) and serviceable. By the time you do all this it can actually be cheaper to buy something semi-exotic if nicely discounted online or on the used market, local installer's bargain bin, etc.

Hate Monster. When I go into a retail store and see a display case with a dozen different levels of cables by one company like Monster or Audioquest with the goofy names, I think ... where does the poor sod start? Where does it end? It is more obvious greed compared to a company that only has 1 or 2 models like BJC or DH Labs. They are usually cables that are both overpriced AND cheaply made (non-serviceable connectors).
post #615 of 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

By the way, I believe one of the purposes of the outrageous prices is to feed the expectation bias of magazine reviewers. The companies can live or die by those reviews. Expensive cables create an expectation of high performance and, sure enough, that's how things turn out in print.

My favorite review is from 2001 where Marc Mickelson compared the $225 DH Labs Q10 to $3350 Nordost SPM Reference and $9800 Transparent Reference XL.

http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/dhlabs_airmatrix_q10.htm

He had to strain to hear the slightest difference, and only with certain reference quality gear, yet seemed to be very honest about the whole thing. Just prior to finding the review I had replaced all the Transparent Ultra interconnects (acquired at fire-sale prices) in my system with DIY versions of the DH Labs stuff. I tried very hard to hear any difference but I could not. The proceeds of that exercise funded a new component that I needed at the time, and I enjoyed making my own "hi-end" cables since I already had the tools. When I told my audiophile dealer (pimp) what I did, he said to me, as if I was just going through a phase "You might be happy for now, but you'll be back." I did not go back to him and still use the same cables today, but also keep a few specialized Cardas cables due to their functionality and aesthetics.

I have no regrets about buying the expensive cables - in fact the whole journey was fun turned out to be somewhat profitable, thanks to eBay and Audiogon wink.gif

Now I'm sure someone will say I could have gone even cheaper with Home Depot wire or whatever, but there is no point for me. I have reached a level where I am comfortable with the quality, aesthetics, functionality, price, and time invested. Just for peace of mind my decision was even backed-up with a believable professional review.
Edited by AVfile - 8/26/13 at 12:18pm
post #616 of 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVfile View Post

My favorite review is from 2001 where Marc Mickelson compared the $225 DH Labs Q10 to $3350 Nordost SPM Reference and $9800 Transparent Reference XL.

http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/dhlabs_airmatrix_q10.htm

He had to strain to hear the slightest difference, and only with certain reference quality gear, yet seemed to be very honest about the whole thing. Just prior to finding the review I had replaced all the Transparent Ultra interconnects (acquired at fire-sale prices) in my system with DIY versions of the DH Labs stuff. I tried very hard to hear any difference but I could not. The proceeds of that exercise funded a new component that I needed at the time, and I enjoyed making my own "hi-end" cables since I already had the tools. When I told my audiophile dealer (pimp) what I did, he said to me, as if I was just going through a phase "You might be happy for now, but you'll be back." I did not go back to him and still use the same cables today, but also keep a few specialized Cardas cables due to their functionality and aesthetics.

I have no regrets about buying the expensive cables - in fact the whole journey was fun turned out to be somewhat profitable, thanks to eBay and Audiogon wink.gif

Now I'm sure someone will say I could have gone even cheaper with Home Depot wire or whatever, but there is no point for me. I have reached a level where I am comfortable with the quality, aesthetics, functionality, price, and time invested. Just for peace of mind my decision was even backed-up with a believable professional review.

I can understand strain as in working out with weights but how does one strain with hearing, clinch you teeth and grunt. Just kidding. I am with you on cables but I did get 150 feet of monster rope lay 14 gage UL Monster for around 50 bucks on sale at Crutchfield, its still in the walls attic and when I did some upgrade and moving equipment I got just about the same stuff from Monoprice. I don't think there is much to be saved at home depot, and just out of curiosity I went to the Crutchfield web site, thats where the Monster came from and they have AudioQuest UL rated in wall & direct burial 14/4, thats 4 conductor cable for 300 bucks for a 250 foot roll. Not a bad price and could save money depending on the job. This is the cable that is just white jacketed. I know some try to us outdoor, low voltage, lighting cable, it comes in 12 & 14 gage and then again it not UL approved and may cost more.
post #617 of 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil17108 View Post

I can understand strain as in working out with weights but how does one strain with hearing,

I've found that the best workout for learning how to hear real differences is available to you when you do DBTs by yourself.

Once you have an objective measure of whether or not you are reliably hearing differences, you can make some real progress. Blind tests give that to you. Sighted evaluations don't.

Using small segments of music that have been found to reveal differences might be an example of "straining" during a listening test.

Moving your head around to find the small place in the room where the difference is easiest to hear might be an example of "straining" during a listening test.

Using music segments that have been "doctored" with juiced but decreasing amounts of the difference involved might be an example of "straining" during a listening test.

There are a number of tricks for hearing differences that you never read about in golden-ear's listening tests because many of them involve imagination a lot more than reliable perception.
post #618 of 645
Yes, to Scott's question, I have listened carefully to uber-expensive cable set-ups. Everything sounded superb.

Of course, the sources, amplification and speakers were all amazing, and priced accordingly. We were listening to a system that cost a good deal more than many people's homes.

My guess (nothing more) is that any low gauge, high purity copper cables would have sounded equally wonderful in that system.

But we did no testing (let alone valid testing) of any kind, thus leaving the quality of the Emperor's cable clothing entirely unexplored.

My well-cabled friend is a laid back guy, but I'm certain he would've been insulted at the suggestion that double blind testing those latest cables might be an interesting endeavor. (The bloody things cost an arm and a leg. Of course they're better!)

Plus his patient wife was watching, and there is no way I'd do that to him, ever. He's already softening her up for his next big-ticket upgrade. biggrin.gif

On my last HT upgrade, I made the leap from Monoprice 12 gauge to BJC 10 gauge, but only because I was placing unusually long runs to very low ohm electrostatic speakers. I wasn't at all sure that "upgrade" was worth it, but since I didn't want to snake all that cable twice, I figured the extra $80 bucks was worth it for that reason alone.

That's likely as far as I'll ever travel up the cable food chain. But even so, I spent less on all of that speaker wire, I'm sure, than my buddy did for the sales tax alone on his very attractive short cables.

He loves them, and is certain they make a difference, and I think that's pretty much the definition of the only thing that matters.
post #619 of 645
What you heard were some exceptional speakers in an acoustically good room. The rest of the stuff was pretty much jewelry. I'm not against it. People should buy what they want, not what I want. I just don't care for people suggesting it to others that don't know any better.
post #620 of 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by 67jason View Post

thats is all well and good in your the privacy of your own home. problems start when folks jump up on a soapbox and start preaching to the masses the audible superiority of this cable or that amp, or this dac. they will be challenged and asked to prove their claims. inevitably they wont be able to prove anything because the refuse to partake in objective testing methods.
Yes so many preachers, up to us not to listen and ignore them what ever they are preaching!
post #621 of 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

I don't think there is any question about it. Everybody feels they make good decisions and get great deals. For someone to deny that hurts. It is human nature. We all make mistakes. What we should all do when we realize we made a mistake is to come to grips with the mistake and fix it. I always used to tell my employees: If you foul up, raise your hand and tell me about it. I'll help you fix it. I want mistakes to be fixed so I'll be on your side. Guess what side I'll be on if you hide and lie.

Yes, yes, yes, I have made mistakes and bought Monster cables, and a couple others before I started looking at the laws of Physics. I don't hide I learned, I don't buy anything any more until I can listen and see if I hear any improvement in my own system!

No more fancy cables, yes I have some speaker Kimber Kables and use them, fortunately I bought them at cost, still too much money. I know only buy either Mogami, Canaree or Belden cables that are used in recording studios, good quality but not priced for audiophiles!

My dealer loaned me these, http://www.nordost.com/34/odin-supreme-reference-analog-interconnect

I could not hear a difference at all! Thanks but no thanks.
post #622 of 645
I was using monster speaker cable then switched to DIY 10g wire. I didn't hear any difference. However, I was using cheap RCA interconnects from my Panasonic blu ray which I used to play FLAC. A friend loaned me a set of Audioquest King Cobras and the difference was night and day. My music sounded full and airy. Music hasn't been the same since he took them back. Now I have to scrounge up the money to buy my own set.
post #623 of 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by elementtw1023 View Post

I was using monster speaker cable then switched to DIY 10g wire. I didn't hear any difference. However, I was using cheap RCA interconnects from my Panasonic blu ray which I used to play FLAC. A friend loaned me a set of Audioquest King Cobras and the difference was night and day. My music sounded full and airy. Music hasn't been the same since he took them back. Now I have to scrounge up the money to buy my own set.

Before you break the bank, try a pair of ordinary interconnects that are known to be in good shape.

Sounds to me like the cheapie RCAs were broken.
post #624 of 645
Better yet: Audioquest Ethernet cables.

SERIOUSLY:

I will go get $10K in CASH out of the bank. I'll post it a pic of it online.

I'll setup a computer with two 3 foot patch cables. One AQ and a certified same Category from a data vendor. The computer will have two identical Ethernet NIC's. This will go to a dual wall plate through the structured wiring (40ft) to a switch then cabled to a 'server' of some sort.

If any audiophile wants to bring $10K of their own and flip the coin 20 times all you have to do is get it 90% right. With each flip of the coin one cable or the other will be disconnected.

My mind boggles at the number of rubes out there.
Edited by Jinjuku - 8/29/13 at 12:25pm
post #625 of 645
Ok here is a quote from the AQ website on the Ethernet cables:

DIRECTIONALITY: All audio cables are directional. The correct direction is determined by listening to every batch of metal conductors used in every AudioQuest audio cable. Arrows are clearly marked on the connectors to ensure superior sound quality. For best results have the arrow pointing in the direction of the flow of music. For example, NAS to Router, Router to Network Player.

It's packet data! There are send and receive pairs. It's why Ethernet is a full duplex standard.

Should I just challenge the corporate owner/s of AQ? What utter crap.
Edited by Jinjuku - 8/29/13 at 1:22pm
post #626 of 645
LOL, I wonder if they took that into account when they twisted the wires together! Do they even make the cables there, or re-configure generic ones?
Edited by AVfile - 8/29/13 at 6:28pm
post #627 of 645
post #628 of 645
Audioquest must have found out some people are using CAT5 for speaker cables.
post #629 of 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by wse View Post

I assume for interconnect that the shorter the better as well yes!

You used physics whoa in HiFi world that is contrary to good standards. In HiFi they use voodoo $2,500 for 3 feet of coper! http://www.thecableco.com/Product/Air-Dragon

Enjoy smile.gif

lol! I'm surprised someone has not come out with speaker wire called "Basic Physics." Then, you could charge $1,000 more for speaker wire called "Advanced Physics." smile.gif
post #630 of 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVfile View Post

Audioquest must have found out some people are using CAT5 for speaker cables.
And what's wrong with that? 4 24 gauge strands in parallel is roughly equivalent to a 17.5 gauge wire and if you run two pieces that doubles the ampacity to a nearly 15 gauge wire! eek.gif Don't believe me? There's a chart on this page: http://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm
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