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My own cable test

5666 Views 45 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  tsteves

Since there are alot of single reviews on random cables that vary from the cheap to expensive and thoughts on biwire vs. shotgun, since i have alot of cables now (accidentally) lying around I figured I'd do a test to see whats the deal.

Everyone's 2c on cables are form completely different setups. No one has actually heard differnt cables on the same setup. Just different cables on different setups.

What I plan to show is not that there is a different sound for a different caliber cable, but that boutique cables may be hyped up but are not all hype, and may be worth purchasing over Lowes/Home depot. (maybe I'll see if bi-wiring does anything since i'll be testing the same cable in shotgun and biwire configuratoins).

Heres my setup:

jVC RX-7030 VBK

Yamaha NS-777

(all tests will be done on one speaker sitting right in front of me, unless someone else has a better or more preferred way).

Here are my cables:

Audioquest Type 4 shotgun. (8')

Audioquest Slate shotgun (12')

Canare 4s11 shotgun (30')

Canare 4s11 biwire (30')

Monster Cable XP (25')

el-cheapo wires that come with mini-systems. (?)

all shotgun tests will be done with that silly jumper plate on the speakers.

This will be a completely biased personal hearing test. No science at all whatsoever.

On that note if anyone has a preference of how I should do this besides just sitting in front of the thing let me know.

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This will be a completely biased personal hearing test. No science at all whatsoever.
So, it's just like every other cable test.
if anyone has a preference of how I should do this besides just sitting in front of the thing let me know.
You should try to find a friend so you can at least do a blind test, and have him/her do random and duplicate testing with you.
Originally posted by tvtech1
So, it's just like every other cable test.
Damn Straight!

But I'm not pretending or anything.

My 'second opinion' will be my wife who is decidedy not an audiophile (not that I am or anything either) and will be far more critical since she thinks this is all a waste of money anyway.

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All of your cables are too long.;)
Well, thats the price of being married. I could just have 15' running from the front of the room to the back, but I have to have them running around the walls so no one steps on them.

Cable apparently looks ugly running across the rug under the coffee table.

mm, and when can we expect your results?
Actually that was a joke...

But... if you're goin through the effort, why not throw in some Radio Shack Gold series and AR cables?
Anybody looked at the new RatShack Gold cables lately? They are suspicously similar to Monster Cable, with almost the exact same propaganda.... oops, I mean "product features" listed on the back. They have also picked up Monster's coveted nitrogen gas-injected dialetric. Perhaps Monster's patent just ran out?

Forgot to tell you when I'll post the results. My mains should have come in already, but they aren't here. As soon as they come in (maybe tomorrow) i'll do it. I'm hoping they come before the weekend.

The reason I'm not buying any more cables of other popular brands, as much as I'd love to, I don't have any more money for this department.

I'm only going to keep the ones I like, and e-bay the rest.

One cable set I did add are:

a 15' pair of Straightwire Quartet biwire

a 6' length of straitwire Quartet shotgun.

I'm real curious to see how this ends up.

Since my speakers will be 'out of the box' new, I imagine the 'not broken in'ness of them may play a role. That and all of my cables being new except the audioquest which I got used because new they simply were too expensive.

But hey, life isn't perfect. At least my equipment is all the same.

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You are a real man! Brave undertaking. The equipment mentioned is not exactly high end, but hopefully this review will help people with normal, good equipment.

My suggestion is to not do the "plug in", "unplug", "plug in" time consuming switch between cables, and rather do some kind of immediate switch between cables. This is hard to do properly. Since I doubt you will have a balance control to use to switch beteen speakers, and no "mono" switch, it will be very hard to switch between speakers quickly.

I use one cable coming from my sacd (right or left) and connect that to one input of a video switchbox, the different switched outputs go to right and left on my preamp stereo inputs. I place my speakers next to one another. I sit in front of them and switch back and forth between sides. I then swap speaker cables, to see if percieved differences could be related to something before the speaker cables. I then swap the speaker cables to see if differences could be due to my left or right ears.

Listening material is KING for this. If you listen to pop, rock, rap, industrial, or other music that is either very compressed at the mastering stage (or elsewhere) or music that is based on "samples" (which are already compressed, generally) then in my experience you will probably not hear any difference in perceived quality. Your ears are younger, so maybe so.

When you listen to acoustically derived music that is very well recorded the easiest thing to hear is a difference in "transients", especially with complex instruments like sax or trumpet or various drums or other "percussive" instruments. Keep in mind the transients are the tricky part. Any cable can give you steady state current for any held notes.

What music will you be listening to?
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Since my mains didn't come in yet I'll kill time by telling what I'm going to do and with what.

To start, I'm not sure if I'm going to test on movies. Minaly beacuse I think properly recorded music is a better test than some explosion in the matrix.

So I'll get some unrelated music, movie soundtracks, some classical, some vocal, maybe techno, stuff that has nothing to do with each other and will sound totally different.

Here's how i'm going to run the test.

The receiver will be set to 'all channel stereo' which means no ditital nothing processing will be involved, its straight in and straight out, and each speaker will 'see' the same thing, so left/right fades i can avoid.

I will have one speaker in the main front channel and the other in the other main front channel. I'm going to use my DVD player hooked up via digi-ciax for the CD playing. Yes I thought of running both speakers to the same output on the rear of the AMP but the resistance will be all screwed up.

Both speakers will be hooked up simultaneously on the speaker end, and only half on the amp end. That way I can sit with my banana/ spades and by hand just touch the other wire to the other post. Meaning say, the red wires will be all the way in the receiver, but the blacks not. This way I can start and stop the sound at will.

The 'rankings' will be decided like a drag race. Put two up to eachother, and the winner stays in, and another contender comes up. Then the test is run again. This way I won't have to worry about "brighter, darker, fuller, weaker, tinny, bassy, forward, open, etc" and all those other fun words to describe the sound. It will simply be, to my ears, and based on my equipment, better and not as good.

This will be like those old aptitude tests where suzy is in front of steve who is behind sam. Who came in first place?

I only wish I had more choices of cabling to test. Yeah on ebay are a bumch of kimber and audioquest stuff which I could probably test, then just throw back on e-bay to get my money back, but thats a little bit much in the $$$ dept. If anyone wants to get me some cables which I'll happily send back to you I'll do the test with them, although I may be finished by the time they arrive. Let me know beforehand if you want to do this before you send anything my way.

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You can also sit the speakers side by side (I mean RIGHT NEXT TO the other one) and run it in MONO. Just use 2 different cables for the 2 different speakers. That way, you can switch back and forth (or someone else can) with no lag and no way of knowing which speaker is playing.

This also allows for easier balancing. IF one cable would happen to measure louder (probably not) you could adjust the level of that speaker in your pre-pro to compensate.
bpape - "sit the speakers side by side"

This is how I do it.

"run it in MONO"

I tried doing it this way initially, and this is my favorite way to do this. You can use the balance control as a simple "switching" method. I no longer have anything much good that can be set to mono, so I am having to do things differently.


"and by hand just touch the other wire to the other post"

Careful! Don't do this at high volumes.

Why not throw 18 awg zip cord into the mix?
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My 'second opinion' will be my wife who is decidedy not an audiophile (not that I am or anything either) and will be far more critical since she thinks this is all a waste of money anyway.

your wife sounds like a smart lady.

Real annoying news. I spoke to the seller of these speakers, and he told me they are backordered to Feb. 01 when 'quality control' will ship them. This apparently is a Yamaha issue and not the seller. So I won't even get the speakers to test until Feb 08.

At least its an opportunity to get more types of cable in the meantime, right?


In the meantime a picture speaks 1000 words, so I'll show you the test dummies: from 6:00 clockwise:

cheapo free stuff which came with a HT in a box.

Audioquest type 4 shotgun.

straightwire quartet biwire/shotgun.

canare 4s11 biwire/shotgun.

Audioquest slate shotgun.

That white wire down left is Monster XP.


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News update: got some Kimber 4PR to add to the 'collection'. Wish I could get some MIT stuff, but prices are kinda high. Be on the lookout for this stuff in 2 weeks on ebay so I can get my money back.

I'm just wondering why you want these speakers so much, you seem to have enough cash for alternatives?
I don't understand.

I have only bought 2 mains so far for $400 shipped.

I bought a center channel and rear bookshelves, but the store I bought them from hasn't shipped them, and hasn't charged me either so there was no cash spent there.

The cables I bought I am selling back on e-bay when I'm through with this test.

I bought them used and haven't spent more than $500 on all them.

I plan to get back maybe $300+ (since I am keeping what I like the best).

The money I spent to buy the speakers in the first place didn't come from out of pocket anyway, I sold some computer parts on e-bay and made enough to buy the speakers.

In otherwords I've broken even. The only thing out of pocket are the extraneous cables which I bought solely for this test.

I can spend a little money to show other people what to expect.

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