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HIGH END CABLES - The truth revealed! (personal opinion only)  

post #1 of 229
Thread Starter 
OK. I recently got my MF kW SACD and I have been doing some tests on this.

I have also been experimenting on some different cables.

Here is what I have found:

kW SACD -> Grace M902 -> Pass Aleph -> K-1000

If the IC is connecting devices with no potentiometers and varying currents, then it's less essential to use a good cable.
kW SACD to preamp is a good example. The current is static and stable and a semi-decent cable is more than capable of doing the job.

However, from 902 -> aleph, the current changes all the time as you control the volume. I have found that it makes a small difference in the quality of cable you use here.

NONE of the differences is mind boggling or explosive. They are all extremely subtle.

Next time you're at a Hi-Fi store, go look how the output terminals are hardwired to the mainboard on those high-end players. They look like $10/meter cables but probably a slightly higher grade. The kW sacd has that "good" cable connection and solder joints, but it's DEFINITELY NO VALHALLA!!!
post #2 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by KrooLism View Post
I have also been experimenting on some different cables.
It's also possible, of course, that the "different cables" you are comparing may in fact sound similar to each other. What cables are you talking about here?
post #3 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon L View Post
It's also possible, of course, that the "different cables" you are comparing may in fact sound similar to each other. What cables are you talking about here?
I agree....

What are you comparing?
What do you consider to be a High end cable?
post #4 of 229
Thread Starter 
Nothing super high end. Got a couple of Tara Labs Monsters.

Borrowed a AQ Cheetah from an audio hi-fi store.

Also have an assortment of customs and AR master series.

Like I said, if you have a chance, go look at what cables they use to connect the outputs of your source to the mainboard. Nothing hihg-end about them at all.

I probably wouldn't spend over $200 for a cable. AQ Cheetah sounds the same as my $40 customs ones. And my custom ones look better.
post #5 of 229
Why put a price point on cables? Why can't a $10 cable be as good as a $1000 cable? If they measure the same in respect to RLC they are going to sound the same regardless of price point.
post #6 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by naamanf View Post
Why put a price point on cables? Why can't a $10 cable be as good as a $1000 cable? If they measure the same in respect to RLC they are going to sound the same regardless of price point.

there's no doubt that there's a difference. everything you add to the audio chain makes a difference... but the law of diminishing returns kicks in pretty damn fast with cables. $50/meter is my favorite, i can't tell much of a difference at all after that, and $100/meter is pushing it still. there's a gigantic quality leap from $10/m -> $30/m for me, and after that not so much... there's just a breaking point where the manufacturers start cutting corners. $1000/m is completely frivolous, you're nuts if you pay that much... i refuse to spend more than 5% of my budget on cables; odds are it's going to be 30% source, 30% amplifier, 30% cans, 10% other... example: Benchmark DAC1 + Singlepower Extreme + Grado HP1000 + $30 optical + $100 interconnects + recable on the headphones.

it's ridiculous to say that there's no difference, and ridiculous to spend a crapload on interconnects... but hey, it's your ears. i still think you should spend about $30/meter just to be safe... or at least from a reputable name.
post #7 of 229
I made my own audio cables (out of copper wire from small DC motors) for my home theater system and it sounds much better than my friend's setup with expensive wires.
i use several strands of loose wire going through 2 separated plastic tubes, soldered each wire at break points and soldered firmly into their end connectors.
i believe that my loose wires through each tube cancel out any micro electromagnetic effects that would normally be caused in a standard twisted or straight cable of any price.
ive tested and currently use wiring of this sort for all my wiring; short range betwen all my components and even ling range to my surround speakers.
cost is near nothing.. at least nothing extra since its from all sorts of small dc motors from small toys and given my my neighbours(from toys/etc again).
post #8 of 229
I have owned Outlaw PCA and Van den Hul D 102 mkIII, the latter costs about 4 times more. The difference between them was MUCH smaller than Van den Hul vs Nordost Valhalla.
post #9 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by naamanf View Post
Why put a price point on cables? Why can't a $10 cable be as good as a $1000 cable? If they measure the same in respect to RLC they are going to sound the same regardless of price point.
stick around for a few years will change your mind.

If you are using $1k cable I assume your system is at least $10k. you are better off upgrading the power cable first, or even better yet split $1k between IC and PC.
post #10 of 229
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thelonious Monk View Post
there's no doubt that there's a difference. everything you add to the audio chain makes a difference... but the law of diminishing returns kicks in pretty damn fast with cables. $50/meter is my favorite, i can't tell much of a difference at all after that, and $100/meter is pushing it still. there's a gigantic quality leap from $10/m -> $30/m for me, and after that not so much... there's just a breaking point where the manufacturers start cutting corners. $1000/m is completely frivolous, you're nuts if you pay that much... i refuse to spend more than 5% of my budget on cables; odds are it's going to be 30% source, 30% amplifier, 30% cans, 10% other... example: Benchmark DAC1 + Singlepower Extreme + Grado HP1000 + $30 optical + $100 interconnects + recable on the headphones.

it's ridiculous to say that there's no difference, and ridiculous to spend a crapload on interconnects... but hey, it's your ears. i still think you should spend about $30/meter just to be safe... or at least from a reputable name.
LAW OF DEMINISHING RETURNS... That's the phrase I was looking for.

Ahhh... you just got a splinter out of my mind!!! Cheers.

Yes - I couldn't agree more.
LDR is extremely fast on cables. I have a $5 (20 feet) rca IC and it sounds horrible. As if it can't even carry the signal that distance. But after $50 - barely can hear the difference. With my current system, a $200 and $2000 sound exactly the same to me.

...and once again, we're back to the same old argument.
post #11 of 229
Has anyone that can tell the difference between cables ever taken part in a blind test? In my experience I haven't seen anyone consistantly identify the same cables in a blind test. Even just to say, that's cable A or that's cable B, regardless of whether one is supposed to sound better than the other or be more expensive.

While I highly doubt there is an audible difference, I haven't listened to enough HIGH END systems to completely discount the possibility that in certain conditions two analog cables could sound different from one another.

One thing I find amusing though is the idea of high priced digital cables. Ones and zeros are what's going down that wire, and if any of them get mixed up along the way, they are corrected on the recieving end using ECC (Error Correction Codes). In undamaged digital cables there should be no difference in what is recieved at the end of two different cables.

The other thing that gets me is power cables. The whole distance the power travelled from the power station down your street, into your house, through the wiring in your walls is completely out of your control. Now a 3 foot run of wire between that uncontrolled infrastructure and your pre-amp/power-amp/source/whatever is all of the sudden going to clean everything up? I don't believe it.

This issue is like discussing religion or politics though, it's likely impossible we're going to change anyones minds here. So that being said, let's play nice.

Shawn.
post #12 of 229
Believe it or not, the rules of this "Cables" forum actually prohibit discussing double-blind tests. Hence the "DBT-free forum" designation.
post #13 of 229

So that being said, let's play nice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4 eyes View Post
While I highly doubt there is an audible difference, I haven't listened to enough HIGH END systems
I believe this sums it up nicely!
post #14 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4 eyes View Post
One thing I find amusing though is the idea of high priced digital cables. Ones and zeros are what's going down that wire, and if any of them get mixed up along the way, they are corrected on the recieving end using ECC (Error Correction Codes). In undamaged digital cables there should be no difference in what is recieved at the end of two different cables.
yeah man... have you seen how expensive that Aural Symphonics stuff is? snake oil if i've ever seen it! however, optical cables follow the same rule as interconnects for me; there's a difference going up in price under $100, and after that it's nigh-impossible to tell.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4 eyes
The other thing that gets me is power cables. The whole distance the power travelled from the power station down your street, into your house, through the wiring in your walls is completely out of your control. Now a 3 foot run of wire between that uncontrolled infrastructure and your pre-amp/power-amp/source/whatever is all of the sudden going to clean everything up? I don't believe it.
think of it as the first 3 feet instead of the last 3 feet... most of your degradation in electricity will come from that wiring in your walls. a way around that is the wire the power lines directly into your system, which i've seen some (crazy) people do. like that one dude from the audiophile club of athens... hey, what else can he do to upgrade his system? damn rich people...
post #15 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4 eyes View Post
One thing I find amusing though is the idea of high priced digital cables. Ones and zeros are what's going down that wire, and if any of them get mixed up along the way, they are corrected on the recieving end using ECC (Error Correction Codes). In undamaged digital cables there should be no difference in what is recieved at the end of two different cables.

The other thing that gets me is power cables. The whole distance the power travelled from the power station down your street, into your house, through the wiring in your walls is completely out of your control. Now a 3 foot run of wire between that uncontrolled infrastructure and your pre-amp/power-amp/source/whatever is all of the sudden going to clean everything up? I don't believe it.


Shawn.
On the digital coax side of the house you could argue that a better cable is properly impedance matched allow better propagation of the signal. But at the short distance used and the frequency of the signal it really isn't a factor.

As far as power cable goes I am with you 100% It is either the proper gauge to carry the required current without a voltage drop or it isn't. If a power cable can really effect the sound of a component I would seriously question the engineer of the equipment used on why he/she can't design a proper power supply. Does one really thing using a high end cable on their computer will make it faster. Or give brighter more vivid colors on their monitor/TV? Does high end electronic test equipment use special power cables? Nope.
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