Do the type/brand of XLR Cables really matter? - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #31 of 89 Old 06-06-2016, 10:26 AM
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F.u.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_...inty_and_doubt

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there IS no concept of "accounting for personal taste/preference". As art consumers we don't "pick" the level of bass, nor the tint/brightness of a scene's sky, any more than we pick the ending of a novel or Mona Lisa's type of smile. "High fidelity" means "high truthfulness", faithful to the original artist's intent: an unmodified, neutral, accurate copy of the original master, ideally being exact and with no discernable alterations, aka "transparency".

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post #32 of 89 Old 06-06-2016, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post
I like to use pre-made XLR cables with Neutrik XLRs for HT installations, Proco does just fine, though they don't use the gold pin versions, but that doesn't matter. Gold gets you lower oxidation in difficult atmospheres, that's about it.
The new (I think) Pro Co Ameriquad cables use quad pairs and gold-plated Neutrik connectors. They cost roughly 2x their standard cables (~$40 for a couple of 20' mic cables). I have never tried them; haven't had problems with their standard line and live in a dry climate. Guess they're trying to compete with the higher-priced Canare and Mogami cables.

My problems with Hosa were the connectors (both loose pin connections and poor shell retention, plus the strain relief was essentially non-existent) and the cables themselves were smaller and less resistant to abrasion (thinner outer layer). Probably fine in a home system, but since I had the finances, the Pro Co and Mogami cables I usually used were reasonable choices for me. Guess we all have our thresholds; I was willing to spend $20 for Pro Co instead of $15 for Hosa, but not willing to spend $100+ for a "premium" cable.

Aside: At one local "high-end" store the salesman was showing me the advantages of a premium cable by plugging XLR F into XLR M on a pair of cables and pulling on them to show how the positive capture and retention kept them from coming apart. I was just starting to explain how all decent XLRs work like that when, as he was tugging on the cables to prove it to me, the shell on one end broke... End of demo. (Chances are somebody stepped on it, but it was still funny to me at the time.)

Disclaimer: I have no experience with Monoprice or Mediabridge XLR cables.

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post #33 of 89 Old 06-06-2016, 12:42 PM
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I haven't dissected a Monoprice XLR cable yet, but I find most of their premium RCA cable to be ok, but the thickness is mostly the outer jacket, though. Their XLR cables are some of the thickest I've ever seen, probably also mostly the outer jacket. I'll crack one open if I get a chance.
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post #34 of 89 Old 06-06-2016, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
. I was just starting to explain how all decent XLRs work like that when, as he was tugging on the cables to prove it to me, the shell on one end broke... End of demo. (Chances are somebody stepped on it, but it was still funny to me at the time.)
…And it’s still funny, I don’t care who you are!

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post #35 of 89 Old 06-06-2016, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post
I haven't dissected a Monoprice XLR cable yet, but I find most of their premium RCA cable to be ok, but the thickness is mostly the outer jacket, though. Their XLR cables are some of the thickest I've ever seen, probably also mostly the outer jacket. I'll crack one open if I get a chance.
Be interested to see what you find. Their females are the same type I highlighted in the link in Post #7.

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post #36 of 89 Old 06-06-2016, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthSky View Post
"I wouldn’t touch the Venoms, no matter how good they may sound. Their XLRs look pretty, but are substandard. As described in this post, the female is a poor design, similar to cheap cables offered by Monoprice and Hosa, that I’ve seen fail time and time again.

Bottom line, I can't see spending good money on high-end cables with structurally-inferior connectors.

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Oooh, nooo, North! Buddy, Pal! Are you trying to launch that legion of fanboys at What’s Best onto me again?

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post #37 of 89 Old 06-06-2016, 09:33 PM
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The Monoprice XLRs that I have use a 1cm OD cable, with the two signal wires appearing to be 24AWG and stranded shield wire roughly 16AWG. It lists the shield as 97.5% coverage. The insulation is 2mm thick. Here is a pic of the connector internals:



For comparison in the photo is the Mogami w3080 wire I have been using, 5mm OD with 25AWG signal wires, 1mm insulation, and 60 X 37AWG as the shield. I think I paid $0.62/ft for it.

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post #38 of 89 Old 06-06-2016, 09:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne A. Pflughaupt View Post

Oooh, nooo, North! Buddy, Pal! Are you trying to launch that legion of fanboys at What’s Best onto me again?

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No no Wayne; your post was a good post, the only reason I included here, if you don't mind of course.
And nobody is going to object with a sound advice.


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post #39 of 89 Old 06-07-2016, 05:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
I have never tried Monoprice XLRs. I generally use Pro-Co from Sweetwater Sound; decent construction with Neutrik connectors at a reasonable price. I have had a lot of bad experiences with Hosa cables (poor connectors and build quality, plus the cables themselves tended to break and be generally less resistant to abrasion) though still own a few of them as well. My experience is mostly in commercial or professional installations which puts more stress on the cables so Hosa may be fine at home. I went with Pro-Co in my system. I have used Mogami and Canare as well as a few others but haven't felt compelled to pay the cost difference over Pro-Co. If you can build your own, as stated above, you can save a lot of money.


On XLR vs. RCA there are a couple of things at play:
  • With a truly balanced connection the signal passes through two conductors isolated from the shield (ground). This provides better EMI/RFI rejection since the shield is separate from the signal return and the balanced signal design rejects common-mode noise. It also provides the option of lifting the shield (safety ground) to break a ground loop.
  • A differential signal offers reduced distortion and noise. Differential operation cancels even-order distortion terms, and the signal level increases by two (2x) but (uncorrelated) noise by only the square root of two (1.414x) so there is a slight SNR advantage. You can see this in a lot of detailed spec sheets for pro equipment (most of which does not have RCA connections but does allow single-ended operation).
For audio, the first point is most critical in the vast majority of installations.

IME/IMO - Don
+1


And to add.


Using a balanced cable is not about the cable only. Equally important, if not more important is the circuitry in the equipment at each end of the cable.
The transmitting device doesn't pose much of a problem as usually the output impedance is equal.


The input circuit at the receiving end could be poorly designed.
In some of the 'balanced' amplifiers the input is not a differential input, the noise is carried through the amplifiers and cancels out across the loudspeaker.
This principle is often marketed as 'truly balanced' but this is a red flag as there is some audiophoolery involved.


Another topology is the input is a differential input. This should reject the common mode noise however the simpler designs have a different input impedance on the + and - input. The common mode rejection in such an amplifier is far less than it could have been.
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post #40 of 89 Old 06-07-2016, 10:11 AM
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Hello FriscoDTM,

So based on your disassembly in the picture, what is your verdict concerning the XLR Monoprice vs the name brand?
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post #41 of 89 Old 06-07-2016, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthSky View Post
No no Wayne; your post was a good post, the only reason I included here, if you don't mind of course.
And nobody is going to object with a sound advice.
Well we know a few people who did, don't we? LOL Nah, just kidding of course, it’s fine – I just hope those precious snowflakes over there don’t get wind of it!

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post #42 of 89 Old 06-07-2016, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by auronihilist View Post
Hello FriscoDTM,



So based on your disassembly in the picture, what is your verdict concerning the XLR Monoprice vs the name brand?


My ears aren't golden enough to comment if there are any audible differences, and I don't have any measurements to show if there are differences in signal transmission. From my perspective as an engineer fancy cables are largely a total waste of money.

I used the Monoprice cables only for subwoofers and stopped using them because of the flexibility and size as well as a desire to have custom length cables on a budget. I made my cables and would suggest everyone does the same, using whichever connector and cable you like best.

I have nothing against Monoprice and just bought a bunch of CAT6 cables and even a pair of Carbon fiber wheels that they started selling. I didn't like the XLR cables for my needs but there was nothing particularly bad about them.

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Originally Posted by FriscoDTM View Post
My ears aren't golden enough to comment if there are any audible differences,
No worries. Even the golden ears couldn't hear differences between commodity cables from consumer market and boutique cables from high-end market in double blind test.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne A. Pflughaupt View Post

Well we know a few people who did, don't we? LOL Nah, just kidding of course, it’s fine – I just hope those precious snowflakes over there don’t get wind of it!

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Nobody's going to notice...because I ain't told anyone...and AVS is not the place where that stuff flies, so no flies no lies. Lol
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post #45 of 89 Old 06-08-2016, 08:00 PM
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Good to know – thanks Bob!

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post #46 of 89 Old 09-07-2018, 04:20 PM
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XLR help?

Hey there - currently running a Marantz 8805 + Krell Chorus 5200 combo. I was using RCA's but a few months ago, I switched to XLR. I got some super basic cables off amazon to try it out...I noticed a difference right away. I'm also running AQ Rocket 44 speaker cable, but decided to upgrade those as well.

In speaking w/ SVS and an AV guy I know, they recommended upgrading my XLR before my speaker wires. Wanted to get some opinions from you guys - 1. do you agree? 2. will upgrading my xlr make much of a difference? i have read/heard both sides, so im just curious. remember, i'm using super cheap amazon cables. 4. what brands would you recommend? 4. i can get good deals on Straight Wire - any of you have experience w/ them? one of the guys at SVS used to sell their cables and spoke very highly of them. i would ideally get both speaker cables and xlrs from them

thx for reading and any input is appreciated!
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post #47 of 89 Old 09-07-2018, 05:03 PM
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since neither the Marantz nor the Krell are based on a balanced design the whole XLR toys are completely useless anyway...

if you imagine your cables would make a difference in sound (please be aware of: admitting this means automatically your electronic parts are more or less "rubbish") go for the most expensive ones.
if you like the look, go for the best looking ones
if you want the best sound, concentrate on speakers, room, acoustic etc. and not on cables...
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post #48 of 89 Old 09-07-2018, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey Mouse View Post
since neither the Marantz nor the Krell are based on a balanced design the whole XLR toys are completely useless anyway...

if you imagine your cables would make a difference in sound (please be aware of: admitting this means automatically your electronic parts are more or less "rubbish") go for the most expensive ones.
if you like the look, go for the best looking ones
if you want the best sound, concentrate on speakers, room, acoustic etc. and not on cables...
The problem is - my XLR are like 21g....which I'm assuming is a bit thin.
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post #49 of 89 Old 09-07-2018, 05:23 PM
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the pre doesn't transfer "power" to the amp, so the thickness of the wire is completely irrelevant!

IF you have a "decent" pre-amp it should be able to "push" the signal through ANY cable to the power amp. IF NOT you have a problem with your pre and not the cable
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post #50 of 89 Old 09-07-2018, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Mickey Mouse View Post
the pre doesn't transfer "power" to the amp, so the thickness of the wire is completely irrelevant!

IF you have a "decent" pre-amp it should be able to "push" the signal through ANY cable to the power amp. IF NOT you have a problem with your pre and not the cable
Got it - I'm using the Marantz 8805, so def have a nice pre
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post #51 of 89 Old 09-07-2018, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Ethos4Lyfe View Post
The problem is - my XLR are like 21g....which I'm assuming is a bit thin.

Perhaps a guru can weigh in, but I don't think interconnect cables need to have a very heavy gauge. The difference you noticed after adding the XLR interconnects may have been due to the higher voltage output of XLR connections. But, IMO, if those Amazon XLR cables are really cheap, then it's entirely possible that a quality set of XLR interconnects could improve your sound quality even more. Yes, I can hear difference between analog cables.

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post #52 of 89 Old 09-07-2018, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethos4Lyfe View Post
Hey there - currently running a Marantz 8805 + Krell Chorus 5200 combo. I was using RCA's but a few months ago, I switched to XLR. I got some super basic cables off amazon to try it out...I noticed a difference right away. I'm also running AQ Rocket 44 speaker cable, but decided to upgrade those as well.

In speaking w/ SVS and an AV guy I know, they recommended upgrading my XLR before my speaker wires. Wanted to get some opinions from you guys - 1. do you agree? 2. will upgrading my xlr make much of a difference? i have read/heard both sides, so im just curious. remember, i'm using super cheap amazon cables. 4. what brands would you recommend? 4. i can get good deals on Straight Wire - any of you have experience w/ them? one of the guys at SVS used to sell their cables and spoke very highly of them. i would ideally get both speaker cables and xlrs from them

thx for reading and any input is appreciated!

I doubt you'd notice a difference among XLR cables, so my advice - don't spend much! You do want something that is well-built, so if you want a name brand minus really stupid prices, have a look at Mogami:


http://www.mogamicable.com/category/...6-15-25-50.php


The "microphone" part of it is not relevant. I built my own out of this cable, and the same Neutrik connectors, so cheaper than buying pre-built, plus I built them right-sized. Still, this cable offers a variety of lengths, down to 2ft., so depending on your needs....


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethos4Lyfe View Post
The problem is - my XLR are like 21g....which I'm assuming is a bit thin.

The stuff I use is is 24awg..... (Mogami, and Belden)

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post #53 of 89 Old 09-07-2018, 08:19 PM
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Krell Chorus 5200 balanced input impedance = 200 k-ohms
24 AWG wire = 0.020 ohms/foot

So if you had 100' interconnects to the amp that is 100 * 0.02 = 2 ohms driving into 200 k-ohms. You'll lose 20*log10(200000/200002) = -0.000087 dB. I don't think you need to worry about the small wire gauge. Actually, since it is two wires into a balanced input, it should be 20*log10(200000/200004) = -0.00017 dB loss for 100' of cable. Still think you'll be OK. Spend the money on movies or music. Or I can PM you my address and you can send it to me.

Oh, capacitance, say 25 pF/ft so now if only considering the 100' cable you'll be about -3 dB at about 1/(2*pi*4 ohms*2500 pF) = 15.9 MHz. Nope, still probably OK, even with the ears of a bat.

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post #54 of 89 Old 09-07-2018, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
Krell Chorus 5200 balanced input impedance = 200 k-ohms
24 AWG wire = 0.020 ohms/foot

So if you had 100' interconnects to the amp that is 100 * 0.02 = 2 ohms driving into 200 k-ohms. You'll lose 20*log10(200000/200002) = -0.000087 dB. I don't think you need to worry about the small wire gauge. Actually, since it is two wires into a balanced input, it should be 20*log10(200000/200004) = -0.00017 dB loss for 100' of cable. Still think you'll be OK. Spend the money on movies or music. Or I can PM you my address and you can send it to me.

Oh, capacitance, say 25 pF/ft so now if only considering the 100' cable you'll be about -3 dB at about 1/(2*pi*4 ohms*2500 pF) = 15.9 MHz. Nope, still probably OK, even with the ears of a bat.

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see...i'm not that intelligent LOL
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post #55 of 89 Old 09-07-2018, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey Mouse View Post
since neither the Marantz nor the Krell are based on a balanced design the whole XLR toys are completely useless anyway...

if you imagine your cables would make a difference in sound (please be aware of: admitting this means automatically your electronic parts are more or less "rubbish") go for the most expensive ones.
if you like the look, go for the best looking ones
if you want the best sound, concentrate on speakers, room, acoustic etc. and not on cables...
I may never want to use XLR for connections. However, is there a simple way to discover whether a piece of gear with XLR inputs or outputs uses the true differential circuitry? (Can you supply a reference for the Marantz or the Krell? I'm not questioning your post. Just curious.)
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post #56 of 89 Old 09-08-2018, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Ethos4Lyfe View Post
see...i'm not that intelligent LOL
NP. And hmph... Not knowing (ignorance) is not a determination of intelligence. Electronics I know; plumbing I leave to the experts, and their expertise does not require a graduate degree. I think, don't actually know.

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post #57 of 89 Old 09-08-2018, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by bobknavs View Post
I may never want to use XLR for connections. However, is there a simple way to discover whether a piece of gear with XLR inputs or outputs uses the true differential circuitry? (Can you supply a reference for the Marantz or the Krell? I'm not questioning your post. Just curious.)

Call the manufacturer?

7.2.4 System: Display: Sony XBR-65X930D; Processing: Anthem AVM60
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post #58 of 89 Old 09-08-2018, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Jonas2 View Post
Call the manufacturer?
Wish it was that easy! Call customer support and ask them if the outputs are quasi- or fully-differential and the circuit topology and prepare for crickets followed by a reading of the marketing brochure. It usually takes a test system or a schematic. The latter is usually easier to find if you can locate a service manual.

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post #59 of 89 Old 09-08-2018, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Ethos4Lyfe View Post
I got some super basic cables off amazon to try it out...I noticed a difference right away. I'm also running AQ Rocket 44 speaker cable, but decided to upgrade those as well.

In speaking w/ SVS and an AV guy I know, they recommended upgrading my XLR before my speaker wires. Wanted to get some opinions from you guys - 1. do you agree?
No. Neither needs to be upgraded [assuming you are using typical living room length runs].

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethos4Lyfe View Post
2. will upgrading my xlr make much of a difference?
No, with the same caveat.

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Originally Posted by Ethos4Lyfe View Post
i'm using super cheap amazon cables.
Those are perfectly adequate even for a state of art system costing hundred's of thousands of dollars.

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Originally Posted by Ethos4Lyfe View Post
4. what brands would you recommend?
They may differ in construction quality, hence durability in a pro use scenario where the connections are made and then broken down as one moves from gig to gig, but not in sound quality. In most home use, unlike pro, the connection is made and it stays that way for months or years.

I bought a $5 Amazon XLR [on sale, normally ~$10] specifically to examine it visually and for no other purpose. It uses nickle plated contacts so I can't for the life of me see how it would corrode/oxidize even after a decade of typical living room use. The strain relief is not super heavy duty so it may wear out sooner than an expensive cable but I'm talking decades (in consumer use), not years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethos4Lyfe View Post
I noticed a difference right away.
There's almost always a level change of a few dB when moving to XLR connection and there is a well known illusion all humans suffer from [including the ones who claim they are immune to it] to incorrectly perceive small differences in level as changes to the sound's quality. To properly test if the difference you heard was more than level you'd need to perform what is called "level matching": A test signal such as a 1kHz tone is passed from device A to device B and the level is measured with instrumentation under the two scenarios. Humans can be fooled into thinking there is a change in sound quality even if it is nothing more than a level change that's a fraction of a dB.

Last edited by m. zillch; 09-08-2018 at 05:42 PM.
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post #60 of 89 Old 09-08-2018, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
No. Neither needs to be upgraded [assuming you are using typical living room length runs].

No, with the same caveat.

Those are perfectly adequate even for a state of art system costing hundred's of thousands of dollars.

They may differ in construction quality, hence durability in a pro use scenario where the connections are made and then broken down as one moves from gig to gig, but not in sound quality. In most home use, unlike pro, the connection is made and it stays that way for months or years.

I bought a $5 Amazon XLR [on sale, normally ~$10] specifically to examine it visually and for no other purpose. It uses nickle plated contacts so I can't for the life of me see how it would corrode/oxidize even after a decade of typical living room use. The strain relief is not super heavy duty so it may wear out sooner than an expensive cable but I'm talking decades (in consumer use), not years.

There's almost always a level change of a few dB when moving to XLR connection and there is a well known illusion all humans suffer from [including the ones who claim they are immune to it] to incorrectly perceive small differences in level as changes to the sound's quality. To properly test if the difference you heard was more than level you'd need to perform what is called "level matching": A test signal such as a 1kHz tone is passed from device A to device B and the level is measured with instrumentation under the two scenarios. Humans can be fooled into thinking there is a change in sound quality even if it is nothing more than a level change that's a fraction of a dB.
Well, I can honestly tell a difference. I have never bought into the more expensive cabling theory...but, I get great deals cables (35-40% off) and I get to try them for a bit before I make a decision. I unhooked the flimsy amazon cables and connected some AQ Mackenzies. Immediately, the db level was higher. I was watching the same youtube content I watched earlier in the day, and I had to turn it down...so, it was playing the same volume but at lower settings. Not sure what that does for me overall, but interesting to note.

Also, it 100% seemed like the bass response was better - it was just more prevalent...I just hearing more bass than I was previously. I only did the front 3 speakers, and plan on keeping it - for less than $225 I don't have a problem keeping them. I don't think its placebo effect (LOL) because I actually did need to turn the processor master volume done while watching the same content. Again, not sure what that means for me in real world usage/value, but I'm okay with it.
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