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are high-end speaker wires bunk? - Page 2  

post #31 of 492
I prefer not to pay the 1,000 % markups for exotic cables.
post #32 of 492
Bhagi: I couldn't agree more!
post #33 of 492
hmmmm let me see i spent $12000 on speakers i should use radio shack speaker wire?
post #34 of 492
From N2.."Bluescat: You are correct,and most don't know this,but that is why a lot of people open their speakers and rewire them with better wire and/or upgrade the crossover pieces and/or replace the generic push on tabs for the speaker terminals. Obsessed? Weird? Enthusiast and music lover? You decide. To each their own. The bottom line is if you think it is worth it,great and enjoy. If you don't,then great too. Enjoy the music!"

I agree with most of what you have said N2 (although the Sigma retros are a very very nice cable, are they worth the $$$, hell NO!!!! but why aren't more people complaining about the $45k cables that Transparent sells, I would be willing to be mucho $$ that Monster did more R&D on their retros than transparent. as for the comment by someone about the marketing is probably more important than the actual cables, I would agree, Monster is great at that, infact (relating to the quote above), I have just recently started to notice specs of certain speakers that say they are wired with Monster cable (got to hand it to them, they are great marketers, that make a decent, but as we are learning, perhaps an unnessary product)
post #35 of 492
my new vmps large sub says-wired inside with 12ga monster cable------- you can run but you cant hide from the monster -lol
i plan on replaceing it hand spun gold-lol
post #36 of 492
Tom

Kudos for going through the effort to do such a comparison, which as you must now know is not easy. It's interesting that no one who claims 'huge differences' with boutique cables can point to any DB study to back these up, and they often get mad when the subject comes up.

M
post #37 of 492
Quote:
I'll stand by my belief that marketing plays a much greater role than science EVER will in this consumer oriented world, let alone the audio industry.
Yep, I agree. Although, I was shocked and stunned to see that Kimber posts actual electrical specs for his cables on his web page. None of this veil-lifting, wine-tasting, subjective BS but real specs like capacitance, inductance, DC resistance and frequency response. He gained my respect for having the huevos to do that. I doubt most cable manufacturers even know what those specs mean, let alone have the ability to measure them.

http://www.kimber.com/kkspec-loud.htm
post #38 of 492
I agree on the audio cables. I have never read about objective testing or heard on my own a difference between high end audio cables versus large guage insulated well-connected generic audio cable that comes on a big spool.

However, since this is avsforum and some audiophiles also watch TV, let's talk about video cables for a minute. When this skeptic hooked up AT&T analog cable TV, I was shocked to see that the video signal was awful especially low number channels had ghosting and noise after the standard cable tv hookup. I called the cable tv company (ATT) who described the problem as signal interference, put on better cables, and a device at the cable box. It was better but still pretty bad. Encouraged that some improvement had occurred with "better cables", I put on some of Monster's best coaxial cables and the TV reception markedly improved. Wow. I had to rethink things. The cable company said they couldn't fix it but the Monster coaxial cables fixed the problem. That was analog cable a couple of years back and in spite of switching now to digital cable and getting a cable box, it still looks good. :D

My conclusion is that audio signals may be hard to improve by going from good to better but if you have noisy video signals it might be wise to consider a trial of a good cable, especially if signal interference might be the problem. Monster was the only name I knew back then and now I would probably buy a standard length Bettercables and if it didn't help, I could always return it within 30 days. Seems like there is little to lose.

Good luck.

Rick
post #39 of 492
Quote:
Originally posted by faziod
hmmmm let me see i spent $12000 on speakers i should use radio shack speaker wire?
As it won't make a bit of difference in how your $12000 speakers sound, I would say yes. Well, actually I would say no, as RS charges 99 cents/ft for their #12 and you can get it for 35 cents/ft from Home Depot. So you would be paying too much for your speaker cable if you are buying it from Radio Shack.

I'm in violation of this myself, as I'm using speaker cable that cost me $1.90/ft on my $9000 front L&R speakers. That's because it looks real nice and was easy to use. Doesn't sound any better though. I've actually got $6/ft cables upstairs in my bedroom, bought them before I ran any of my speaker cable comparisons. I am using standard #12 to my center & rear speakers though. I brought in a couple of $400-$600 pair of cables for my comparisons, borrowed from my local audiophile shop. They too sounded the same as #12 in the double blind comparisons (to multiple listeners).

I may play around with some Cat 5 cables some day soon. I have a couple hundred feet that was left over from an office remod. But I'm not going to go to all of the trouble described in the Cat5 post above. Probably just twist three runs of Cat5 and use 4 wires in each bundle for hot and ground (which would be 12 wires each for hot & ground).

Tom B.
post #40 of 492
"Whoa! Whoa! steady there! Now my little fellows, where be you a-going-to, puffing like a bellows? What's the matter here then? Do you know who I am? I'm Tom Bombadil. Tell me what's your trouble! "

Not to crush your lillies Tom, but I do hear differences in cabling and power cords. Lotta overpriced BS out there in wireland, I agree, but I humbly disagree with you it's all orc dung. I have a moderate, high end audio system (been in high end audio only for about ten years, I admit) and a combination of Nordost and TGA wires have improved my system a great deal to my ears. Some people hear it, others don't.

If you're satisfied with your current wire, I'm happy for you and Goldberry. The wire wars are pretty old by now, I just wanted to weigh in for the Yes-they-make-a-difference side.

Missed you in PJ's FOTR.
post #41 of 492
rodh: You are completely right about Monsters marketing. I'll give Noel Lee that,he knows how to make some money! Another major plus for Monster is the fact that Noel has managed to make it a household name. Almost anyone that knows about stereo equipment at all,has heard of Monster. Once again,it is another great marketing tactic for them when a speaker company (as you stated) can use the "wired with Monster cable" as a selling point. Trust me,if I could do what he does,I would be a happy camper! :D

codemarine: If Rackon is happy,then that is all that matters. I'm assuming you are happy with your choice? I would hope so. In the whole jest of things,how does it really affect any of our lives if someone who has never seen or heard our system agrees with our wire purchases? Will your system automatically sound better because you have someone else's approval? I think not! I'll try this one more time,you are the one that should enjoy your system,so make a choice that makes you happy and lets you enjoy your system to the fullest. Who gives a @#$& if anyone agrees with you? Enjoy the music,not someone else's approval! :D
post #42 of 492
catapult: Nordost post all of their cables' specs as well. Velocity propagation,etc. But then again,with those price tags,they can afford to pay for those measurements! Just for the record,I think the Valhalla sounds incredible. Would I pay that much for cables? Uh.....NO!
post #43 of 492
N2,

If people come off as attacking others, it is because they are trying to keep more people from believing the other side. I'm personally in the Home Depot 12ga camp. If someone is happy with their Kimber, Nordost, Monster, etc. then that is all well and good. If they are happy, more power to them. Someone on the tweaks forum said a majority his enjoyment of the better cable was simply the fact that he knew he paid more for a high quality product. To each his own.

When they try to tell others to purchase it with their only qualifier being "well I switched them and it sounds better" I will try to argue for the other side that has some scientific support.
post #44 of 492
Quote
"N2,

If people come off as attacking others, it is because they are trying to keep more people from believing the other side. I'm personally in the Home Depot 12ga camp."

I personally don't care who believes what. I have heard everything from those top of the line very expensive Transparents to the Home Depot wire and have been involved in the set-up of likely somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple of hundred high-end systems and have yet to hear one that is not impacted to some degree by a change of cable, some obviously much more than others. The Home Depot stuff is certainly not the worst thing in the world and is a good choice vs. many entry level cables for those those who don't have the hearing capacity to discern what instruments and music sound like in real space. I've been in many homes with real expensive stuff (e.g. $140k for a 2-channel system) and there is no sense to try to change what someone believes equates to good sound. I've been in homes with very expensive things that just sound somewhere between mediocre and dreadful. I have also been in homes with very expensive cabling that I don't think the cost/value was warranted. As long as the person who owns it is happy, that is the bottom line. The same equipment can sound different just based on the room characteristics. There is little sense in paying costs for something that you personally listen to and can't tell the difference whether that is a CD source, preamp, cable or anything else. There are those who just pay the costs as well since they believe that it is more expensive and therefore must be better. Obvisously too, with music vs. HT, there are differences in the perception of what is good for music. Many people with a great HT set-up assume they have great 2-channel too.
post #45 of 492
Quote:
Originally posted by HighEndWire

As long as the person who owns it is happy, that is the bottom line.
That isn't the bottom line, it is the end-result. I personally believe and have read to the fact that much of the being happy with it is trying to justify the expenditure. I even remember reading someone on the tweak forum say something pretty close to "much of the enjoyment of buying the best wire is knowing that you paid for a high price for the component." Sure, spending and showing off money in and of itself can make one happy. Why else would someone purchase something like a Ferrari when you can get a top of the line Corvette (check out the new magnetic suspension ) which is 98% the car for a fraction of the price? You pay to show off your prancing horse. There's nothing wrong with that, I'd love to own a Ferrari myself. But people aren't asking if the cable "is cool" they want something that just performs as well as it.

How does one get there? By asking others if they think $1000 wire really makes a difference. Those who believe so and can't prove it with a scientific test simply say "well it makes me happy and thats all that matters." IMHO this is something of a cop out. The cheaper people want some scientific proof that normally goes along with any purchase. It might make you happy, but how do you convey this quantitatively to someone who is just buying interconnects for the first time? Its a rather ridiclious leap of faith people are sometimes asked to undertake...
post #46 of 492
"rodh: You are completely right about Monsters marketing. I'll give Noel Lee that,he knows how to make some money! Another major plus for Monster is the fact that Noel has managed to make it a household name. Almost anyone that knows about stereo equipment at all,has heard of Monster. Once again,it is another great marketing tactic for them when a speaker company (as you stated) can use the "wired with Monster cable" as a selling point. Trust me,if I could do what he does,I would be a happy camper! "

I really think that Noel has gotten the name to be sort of like Kleenex, I think that many average people (in the audio world) use "Monster" just to mean "large" or "better than OEM" cable, not always the brand, again Noel is a smart man (actually one of my best friends works for Noel, so I don't have much bad to say about him, other than I am jealous of his cars-TIC)
post #47 of 492
It's easy to afford cars like that when you have a Monster bank account! :D
post #48 of 492
Quote:
Originally posted by codemarine
Rackon... Some people do blind comparisons, others don't.

--Steve
That's about the gist of it. I was a fervent believer until I took the time to set up a double blind comparison.

After having watched more than a dozen staunch "wire makes a difference" audiophiles all fail miserably in double blind tests, I now believe that I could make a lot of money running around conducting these tests. I could bet each audiophile $100-$500 that they could not tell a difference between RS Gold vs their interconnects or #12 wire vs their speaker cables in their own system with their own favorite demo music.

I'm confident I would win at least 90% of these bets. I would lose 5% because that many people should pass out of the pure randomness of the test. And maybe there are a few people who can tell a difference in their system or who have wires that alter the music so much from normal that there would be a real difference (for example you can load up certain parameters in a wire to roll off high frequencies).

And all of these wire-believing audiophiles would have 90%-100% confidence in their ability to tell a difference (heck, all of the participants to-date, including me, were 100% confident). So they would be an audience ripe for the picking.

Tom B.

BTW: I have passed other DBT's that others have failed, on such things as CD players, DACs, tube vs solidstate preamps, and more. So it isn't that I'm deaf or just unable to pass a DBT.

PS: I'll add that multiple engineers and designers from high-end audio companies have told me in private that they've never been able to hear differences in power cords. However they offer detachable cord sockets on their equipment because audiophiles won't buy it if it has an integrated cord. I once had lunch with a couple of the top engineers from BIG name audiophile companies and they were telling jokes and laughing about expensive power cords. It can be enlightening when you can get these guys to be candid about all of the tweaks.
post #49 of 492
"PS: I'll add that multiple engineers and designers from high-end audio companies have told me in private that they've never been able to hear differences in power cords. However they offer detachable cord sockets on their equipment because audiophiles won't buy it if it has an integrated cord. I once had lunch with a couple of the top engineers from BIG name audiophile companies and they were telling jokes and laughing about expensive power cords. It can be enlightening when you can get these guys to be candid about all of the tweaks."

LOL, I wish I were a fly on the wall to here those conversations.
post #50 of 492
There are those who will buy the most expensive just to say they have it and that makes them happy. In many cases, as noted above (by Namlemez) a fraction of the expenditure will get one better than 95% of the performance and it is a matter of the size of one's wallet and preferences (and perhaps even ego) as to whether the additional cost is warranted. Engineers in most cases (and of course know much better- just ask them, I have a few in my neighborhood and knowing what they know they all bought the very best money can buy - Bose speakers) are a different breed who believe that everything can be measured or there can't be a difference. I have actually heard one explaining (lecturing more like) to a sales person in a high end shop how unethical he was selling a $20k Linn CD-12 that does not sound any different based on the specs of his $79.99 CD player. I've heard another tell a sales person that the 140W Marantz SR-18 receiver the store had in one room will sound no different than the $20k Levinson monoblocks in another room that are rated at 150W. Specs and measurements will only get one so far. We all hear differently and even the same components in different rooms will not sound identical.
post #51 of 492
Tom B,

You mention you may experiment with Cat 5 speaker wires. I would love to hear your observations. However, please take the time to follow the recipe otherwise your test would not be valid for the design which reportedly gives the best results.

I have not tried this wire in any configuration other then the braided 27/9. There are many posts on Audio Asylum where non-Teflon coated wire is tried and/or various alternative configurations used with the reported results being less then positive.

The way I looked at it, when considering this project, was that no one has an investment to justify and no one is making any money with it so the reported results could be largely accepted. My own experience following completion of these wires has been consistent with the reported results, when following the recipe. As such I have no reason to disbelieve those who post negative comments for "non-recipe" configurations.

IMHO, for little more then the cost of # 12 lamp cord Cat 5 (27/9 braided Teflon) is the way to go. There is no down side, just take great care when making them and check for errors before connecting to your amp. I would have bet anything I had not crossed any wires but I tested with a battery and flashlight bulb anyway before connecting to my amp. A short was found and easily corrected.

Happy listening,
WP
post #52 of 492
The "engineers" I was referring to were not your garden variety kind. These were the designers of high-end gear, with some of them having their names right on the front of a number of $5000 & up audiophile gear. They could describe their equipment's power supply stage in great detail and explain to you why a different power cord would not make a difference. And who told stories about how their marketing departments forced them to incorporate detachable power cord sockets.

Tom B.
post #53 of 492
Is there a good "Monster cable" pre-fab alternative that is cheaper and of equal or better quality? After reading all of the posts, I've decided that I'm not going to spend mega $$ on cables. But neither do I want #12 lamp cord from WalMart.

A pre-fab cable that would go with my 5803 and soon to be Energy Veritas speakers would be good. Do I need to make sure all of the lengths to similar speakers (i.e. front pair, rear surrounds) are all the same length? The cable runs will all be fairly short since the room is about 11 x 12.
post #54 of 492
Tom makes a good point. This is pure speculation,not gospel. Some people with high end amps with very well designed power supplies often say that they don't get nearly as much improvement from a pc upgrade. Some even say no improvements. I think Tom is correct,audiophile engineers seem to have a better grasp on the concept that not all improvements can be measured. I would sure like to pick their brain for awhile! You don't learn most of their knowledge from books,it's from experience,trial and error.

Actually,an argument from the "purist" camp would tell you that a detachable cable is one more unnecessary connection. Would make it kind of hard to try different cables though! :D
post #55 of 492
Quote:
Originally posted by yngdiego
Is there a good "Monster cable" pre-fab alternative that is cheaper and of equal or better quality? After reading all of the posts, I've decided that I'm not going to spend mega $$ on cables. But neither do I want #12 lamp cord from WalMart.
Many audio shops offer custom wiring termination. Some of them carry "normal-type" #12 cables from Esoterica, Monster, and other brands. You could tell them what types of connectors you wanted on them and how long the cables needed to be and they would make them up for you.

Or you could buy 50-100' of wire and use screw-tighted banana, spades, or pin connectors. Very easy to put on. Radio Shack and Best Buy carry a lot of these connectors.

Or you could go to www.partsexpress.com and buy either nice bulk wire & connectors, or pre-made Monster cables in 10', 15', 20', and 30' pairs.

Tom B.
post #56 of 492
I'm not going to get into the debate, but I figured this little story was appropriate.

Last year at the CEDIA expo, Monster was demonstrating how their speaker wire was better than 'normal' speaker wire. They had a huge rack of equipment, full tower speakers, a nice beefy looking A/B switch.

The 'normal' speaker wire had little bass, a tinny sound, and total lack a dynamics. When they switched to their wire, WOW! Full bass, wonderful dynamics, basically what you would expect the system to sound like.

Closer inspection, before we were ushered away, showed the Monster wire to be around the standard 10' set running from the switcher to the speakers. The 'normal' speaker wire (which looked like 22g security wire) ran from the switcher down to (and I'm not joking) a 1000' spool of wire, and then out to the speakers.

It's kind of funny they never mentioned the length difference between the two wires.. Hmm..
post #57 of 492
One quick comment:
Reading through this thread the word "belief" came up far too many times. In particular it came up in sentences like "I believe because I read article y" or "I believe because of argument x". It would seem that if you subtracted off the posts of people throwing out their opinions based on no actual listening tests of their own this would have been down to maybe 4-5 posts. Strikes me as interesting, that people can have such vehement opinions on either side of this debate without ever actually trying more than 1 or 2 cables for themselves. Myself, I'm more humble about my ability to observe things and think I should actually do a lot of research and testing before making such bold statements. I'm impressed by those who can reach such conclusions without doing so. . .

Tim
post #58 of 492
When I bought my system I bit the bullet and bought decent (not necessarily overly expensive) cables - they're not Radio Shack, but they're not Kimber either. My thought was this - I'm spending close to $10k on my system, what was another couple of hundred for decent cables to go with my system?

A few months later I needed to buy a digital coax cable for my digital cable box - this time I ran to Radio Shack and got one for somewhere less than $20. It did sound like crap - very tinny - almost tiring to listen to. My $70 IXOS digital coax sounded warm and clean from the very day I bought it - I swapped it from my DVD player to my cable box and the sound was ENTIRELY different. This wasn't just my imagination - anyone with half an ear could have easily discerned an A/B comparison here.

Cables are one of those places where you have a definitive point of diminished return on your investment. If you've got a $10k system with $500 worth of cabling, that makes more sense to me than a $2000 system with $500 worth of cabling. Are Kimber cables you going to get any better sound from your Kenwood HTIB? Maybe, but why? Will they make a difference between your monoblock amps and Martin Logan's? Probably - and if you can afford those, the cash for the cables probably doesn't mean much to you anyways. And I think that's the bottom line here.

Where I get mad in this is when the blue-shirt at Best Buy makes you feel that you're a moron if you don't buy $200 worth of cables to connect their $100 DVD player.
post #59 of 492
Quote:
Originally posted by MrSquid
My thought was this - I'm spending close to $10k on my system, what was another couple of hundred for decent cables to go with my system?
That's exactly the mentality that the boutique audiophile and cable shops feast on. Why not buy cables that are less overpriced, and use the money saved to get more CD's and DVD's, where a real improvement can be heard by anyone?

Quote:
A few months later I needed to buy a digital coax cable for my digital cable box - this time I ran to Radio Shack and got one for somewhere less than $20. It did sound like crap - very tinny - almost tiring to listen to. My $70 IXOS digital coax sounded warm and clean from the very day I bought it - I swapped it from my DVD player to my cable box and the sound was ENTIRELY different. This wasn't just my imagination - anyone with half an ear could have easily discerned an A/B comparison here.

That's very interesting. Perhaps the RS cable is broken? I doubt many others will share your experience. IMO, and that of many people, the RS Gold 75 ohm video cable is entirely adequate for digital audio.
post #60 of 492
Quite an admirably done scientific test there :)

I remember reading a webpage where a guy used a coat hanger with the end stripped and RCA jacks soldered on for the audio. He couldn't tell the difference between that and his previous Monster "tuned for digital audio" wire.
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