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Discussion Starter #1
What is with the endless pursuit some have with taking the fun out of audio equipment? It's sole purpose in life is to evoke emotion, change moods, and generally be an escapist path that is far more healthy than drugs or alcohol (and sometimes more effective!)


With cables, the focus is on electron flow and margin to the dealer; not the immense change that can occur when the properties of the cabling play so well with the inherent properties of the equipment.


I guess it's that some people aren't happy to go along for the ride. They'd rather criticize dealers and cable manufacturers for being snake oil purveyors instead of experiencing the equipment.


Thoughts and comments would be appreciated and I honestly do not wish this to be a flame fest. I think some here need to cool their heels and really discuss this, because the hostility this topic generates goes against the concept of enjoyment and entertainment this stuff is supposed to provide.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by iboon
I honestly do not wish this to be a flame fest. I think some here need to cool their heels and really discuss this, because the hostility this topic generates goes against the concept of enjoyment and entertainment this stuff is supposed to provide.
H-m-m-m...


Allow me to be first! :rolleyes:
 

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I think the biggest issue people have with cables is the ridiculous markup on some of them. Realistically, cables can make a difference - a very very small difference. IMO, it's not worth the money spent in most cases for the differences gained. There are many other places where the same or less money will yield significantly more benefit.


The other reason I think this is such a hot topic is the pseudo-engineering garbage spewed by many cable manufacturers. Reference Monster's assertion that their jacket makes things sound better. Reference any manufacturer talking about skin effect for analog cables (this is real but not at analog audio frequencies). And on, and on.


About the only things from cable to cable that matter are:


1. Connection quality - both cable to connector and a nice snug fit to the component.

2. Significant changes in resistance, capacitance, and/or inductance that could either act in a small way as a filter or could make the equipment unstable as in the case of extreme capacitance speaker cabling.

3. Approprate impedance for applictiaons where it matters. Things live video or digital audio are impedance critical. Analog audio - really doesn't matter as much


Once you get quality materials assembled in a quality fashion, anything more is very much in the category of a very steep diminishing returns curve. Now, if you want it to look nice and impressive, that's fine - but it does very little to change the sound for the money spent. I can take a nice basic piece of Belden 1694A, use some nice Canare RCAPs for connectors, cover it with a nicely done sheath, heat shrink the ends, and voila - nice looking cable that performs just as well if not better than a lot of boutique cables and looks just as good if not better - AND I have the enjoyment of the DIY process and the resultant satisfaction.


In short, you hit the nail somewhat on the head initially. This is supposed to be fun. It is an emotional thing. Spend your money wisely on things that will assist in evoking those emotions and bringing your system/room closer to accurate reproduction. I think that's the bottom line people are trying to get across - some just get a little more wound up about it than others.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by bpape
I think the biggest issue people have with cables is the ridiculous markup on some of them. Realistically, cables can make a difference - a very very small difference. IMO, it's not worth the money spent in most cases for the differences gained. There are many other places where the same or less money will yield significantly more benefit.


The other reason I think this is such a hot topic is the pseudo-engineering garbage spewed by many cable manufacturers. Reference Monster's assertion that their jacket makes things sound better. Reference any manufacturer talking about skin effect for analog cables (this is real but not at analog audio frequencies). And on, and on.


About the only things from cable to cable that matter are:


1. Connection quality - both cable to connector and a nice snug fit to the component.

2. Significant changes in resistance, capacitance, and/or inductance that could either act in a small way as a filter or could make the equipment unstable as in the case of extreme capacitance speaker cabling.

3. Approprate impedance for applictiaons where it matters. Things live video or digital audio are impedance critical. Analog audio - really doesn't matter as much


Once you get quality materials assembled in a quality fashion, anything more is very much in the category of a very steep diminishing returns curve. Now, if you want it to look nice and impressive, that's fine - but it does very little to change the sound for the money spent. I can take a nice basic piece of Belden 1694A, use some nice Canare RCAPs for connectors, cover it with a nicely done sheath, heat shrink the ends, and voila - nice looking cable that performs just as well if not better than a lot of boutique cables and looks just as good if not better - AND I have the enjoyment of the DIY process and the resultant satisfaction.


In short, you hit the nail somewhat on the head initially. This is supposed to be fun. It is an emotional thing. Spend your money wisely on things that will assist in evoking those emotions and bringing your system/room closer to accurate reproduction. I think that's the bottom line people are trying to get across - some just get a little more wound up about it than others.


I just wish more would take the mature approach you take, instead of villifying cable companies. The solution is don't buy them, if you don't believe in the value.


This is an example of mature posting. Everyone paying attention?
 

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Why shouldn't cable companies, and reviewers for that matter, be villified for making unsuported claims bordering on the paranormal and putting forth ridiculous theories that exist nowhere else? How is it mature to politely ignore the above and give them a pass?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai
Why shouldn't cable companies, and reviewers for that matter, be villified for making unsuported claims bordering on the paranormal and putting forth ridiculous theories that exist nowhere else? How is it mature to politely ignore the above and give them a pass?
Because if you swap one interconnect with another, and a difference is perceived that is pleasurable to the listener, that is the only important thing. Forget the claims, the percieved differences under real listening conditions are all that's important! Remember, this is a hobby, not life and death.


The other reason to politely ignore it is because A: It's not your money and B: It is indeed the polite thing to do, given that cable companies are far from alone on basing their business models on perception instead of machine-measured "reality".


Again, we have to consider the individual client.
 

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iboon: I guess it may go with what one wants to get out of the hobby.


Different people get different things out of it. I, and many people here I suspect, view the hobby as a technical pursuit with the side benefit of enjoyment and entertainment.:)


I find digital technologies like optical and coaxial digital fascinating, and sound formats like Dolby Digital/DTS very cool.


Obviously you have perceived differences in cables and that's fine. I personally have not seen any repeatable, verifiable, rigourous evidence to support this. If there is a huge difference everyone would be able to perceive it all the time. It wouldn't be subtle at all.


Some do experience a difference and that's fine. But all the same, it has yet to be proven to me.


From the standpoint of physics and electronics, there really isn't a whole lot going on. The problem was more or less solved 100 years ago with the introduction of the first practical AC power grids, where they realized that connections needed to be good, gauge needed to be sufficient and resistance needed to be low. With the high-purity copper that came along decades later, this is a non-issue for most people these days even with the very cheapest wire.


Also where does it end? You could easily spend 5 figures on cabling. What a waste! If we are to embrace the claim that wire and cables make a difference, it would therefore mean that the more expensive the wire/cable, the better it performs. The outlandish claims of cable manufacturers cannot be verified to support this. The fact that the construction is better but that it's still the same copper means that somewhere along the line someone is making a whole lot more money!


Sure, there is super-exotic wire made with silver which would justify the extra cost, but again the performance increase cannot be justified based on anything that can be measured, i.e. resistance per foot, which is only marginally better than copper.


As they say, extraordinary claims deserve extraordinary evidence, and it just isn't there.


If we try to apply this thinking to any other product, these claims would be ludicrous. One product that can be fairly easily tested is a car - there are industry-standard tests for horsepower, torque, fuel consumption, etc. If a company was to make claims that could not be verified, they would very quickly be taken to court.
 

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I once saw a posting that said:


"I changed out my speaker cables and the sound improved greatly. I then changed back to my old cables and the sound improved again!" :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fraoch
iboon: I guess it may go with what one wants to get out of the hobby.


Different people get different things out of it. I, and many people here I suspect, view the hobby as a technical pursuit with the side benefit of enjoyment and entertainment.:)


I find digital technologies like optical and coaxial digital fascinating, and sound formats like Dolby Digital/DTS very cool.


Obviously you have perceived differences in cables and that's fine. I personally have not seen any repeatable, verifiable, rigourous evidence to support this. If there is a huge difference everyone would be able to perceive it all the time. It wouldn't be subtle at all.


Some do experience a difference and that's fine. But all the same, it has yet to be proven to me.


From the standpoint of physics and electronics, there really isn't a whole lot going on. The problem was more or less solved 100 years ago with the introduction of the first practical AC power grids, where they realized that connections needed to be good, gauge needed to be sufficient and resistance needed to be low. With the high-purity copper that came along decades later, this is a non-issue for most people these days even with the very cheapest wire.


Also where does it end? You could easily spend 5 figures on cabling. What a waste! If we are to embrace the claim that wire and cables make a difference, it would therefore mean that the more expensive the wire/cable, the better it performs. The outlandish claims of cable manufacturers cannot be verified to support this. The fact that the construction is better but that it's still the same copper means that somewhere along the line someone is making a whole lot more money!


Sure, there is super-exotic wire made with silver which would justify the extra cost, but again the performance increase cannot be justified based on anything that can be measured, i.e. resistance per foot, which is only marginally better than copper.


As they say, extraordinary claims deserve extraordinary evidence, and it just isn't there.


If we try to apply this thinking to any other product, these claims would be ludicrous. One product that can be fairly easily tested is a car - there are industry-standard tests for horsepower, torque, fuel consumption, etc. If a company was to make claims that could not be verified, they would very quickly be taken to court.


That's a far better post than one that attacks cable companies and the groups that sell them. Even if you disagree with the theory, remember that perception has a lot to do with many types of stimuli, not just what you hear. And that everyone's different; that's the most important thing.


And as far as cars go, you may enjoy driving the cars I do. If those cars are far more expensive, I wouldn't construe them as being ripoffs. I have attempted to ignore the claims on how things cable-wise are accomplished, and worry more about whether or not they in fact acheive those goals.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fraoch
iboon: I guess it may go with what one wants to get out of the hobby.


Different people get different things out of it. I, and many people here I suspect, view the hobby as a technical pursuit with the side benefit of enjoyment and entertainment.:)


I find digital technologies like optical and coaxial digital fascinating, and sound formats like Dolby Digital/DTS very cool.


Obviously you have perceived differences in cables and that's fine. I personally have not seen any repeatable, verifiable, rigourous evidence to support this. If there is a huge difference everyone would be able to perceive it all the time. It wouldn't be subtle at all.


Some do experience a difference and that's fine. But all the same, it has yet to be proven to me.


From the standpoint of physics and electronics, there really isn't a whole lot going on. The problem was more or less solved 100 years ago with the introduction of the first practical AC power grids, where they realized that connections needed to be good, gauge needed to be sufficient and resistance needed to be low. With the high-purity copper that came along decades later, this is a non-issue for most people these days even with the very cheapest wire.


Also where does it end? You could easily spend 5 figures on cabling. What a waste! If we are to embrace the claim that wire and cables make a difference, it would therefore mean that the more expensive the wire/cable, the better it performs. The outlandish claims of cable manufacturers cannot be verified to support this. The fact that the construction is better but that it's still the same copper means that somewhere along the line someone is making a whole lot more money!


Sure, there is super-exotic wire made with silver which would justify the extra cost, but again the performance increase cannot be justified based on anything that can be measured, i.e. resistance per foot, which is only marginally better than copper.


As they say, extraordinary claims deserve extraordinary evidence, and it just isn't there.


If we try to apply this thinking to any other product, these claims would be ludicrous. One product that can be fairly easily tested is a car - there are industry-standard tests for horsepower, torque, fuel consumption, etc. If a company was to make claims that could not be verified, they would very quickly be taken to court.



I couldn't of said it better myself.
 

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If "esoteric" wire/cable made improvements to transfer electrons... I wonder why cable providers, voice and power utilites don't use "esoteric" wire/cables?


Why/how do the laws of physics become so important for 3' of coax or 10' of speaker wire?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman
Why/how do the laws of physics become so important for 3' of coax or 10' of speaker wire?
Because you can see them.


Kal
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson
Because you can see them.


Kal
Sorry, I don't understand...

See the cable(s) or the wire inside?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman
Sorry, I don't understand...

See the cable(s) or the wire inside?
Whatever. ;)


Kal
 

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Okay thanks. Quite intuitive. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman
Okay thanks. Quite intuitive. ;)
I think everyone is aware that differences in cabling, whatever that may be, affects picture and sound; some positive, some negative. High power lines simply have to carry massive power. I'm sure there's good, better, and best even with that like everything else on the planet.


Others choose to compare apples and oranges, like comparing high voltage lines coming into your house to the ones carrying the delicate signals, simply to be argumentative.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by iboon
Others choose to compare apples and oranges, like comparing high voltage lines coming into your house to the ones carrying the delicate signals, simply to be argumentative.
Is it not the same thing though? Electrons travelling down a piece of metal (OK, or being displaced). And they're both AC as well!


In fact, wouldn't the demands of power lines be more rigourous due to the massive amounts of power involved? You can generate extreme heat should the gauge/resistance be improper.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fraoch
Is it not the same thing though? Electrons travelling down a piece of metal (OK, or being displaced). And they're both AC as well!


In fact, wouldn't the demands of power lines be more rigourous due to the massive amounts of power involved? You can generate extreme heat should the gauge/resistance be improper.


Use Romex to hook up your speakers, and find out. :D
 

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Quote:
Because if you swap one interconnect with another, and a difference is perceived that is pleasurable to the listener, that is the only important thing.
Well, that's certainly the only important thing to the manufacturer and vendor now isn't it? They could give a rat's ass if you're deluding yourself or using faulty methodology.
Quote:
Forget the claims, the percieved differences under real listening conditions are all that's important!
Why should we forget the claims? Why should we allow the perpetrating of 'theories' and claims that have been put to the test and been refuted? As an example, see the work that Audioholics did when it came to measuring distortion of various interconnects, notably those by Audioquest which purported to reduce distortion. Why do we allow the cable mongers and their lackey reviewers a free pass and treat them as Nobel laureates instead of the incompetents that they are? You speak of real listening conditions but how often have sales associates used tricks like order of presentation and level imbalances to create the impression that one cable is better than another? What about when people are told to direct their auditory focus in one particular area of the musical presentation when listening to Cable A and then to another part of the presentation, the net result being that the presentation appears to change when in fact it hasn't? Consumers aren't properly informed by either the manufacturers or by the reviewrs when it comes to these matters or to the fleeting property of auditory memory.
Quote:
Remember, this is a hobby, not life and death.
The mongers also want you to think this way. There are plenty of hobbies where the foolery that exists in this one somehow don't even manage to get a toe-hold such as ham operators or PC gamers. Why does truth, integrity, accuracy, and respect for the consumer only have to occur when it's a matter of life and death?
Quote:
That's a far better post than one that attacks cable companies and the groups that sell them. Even if you disagree with the theory, remember that perception has a lot to do with many types of stimuli, not just what you hear. And that everyone's different; that's the most important thing.
Say's who, you? As Kal noted succinctly, the perception depends entirely on you knowing, seeing if you will, which cable is in your system. Once the benefit of omnicience is removed, the listener can't tell. It's easy to win the 3 card Monty game when you see all the cards.
Quote:
Others choose to compare apples and oranges, like comparing high voltage lines coming into your house to the ones carrying the delicate signals, simply to be argumentative.
There is nothing especially delicate when it comes to audio signals. Far smaller and delicate signals have been measured with accurary and precision in a number of other fields and it didn't need some wonks from Transparent or some power cable outfit to do it.
 
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