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Want your personal opinion on interconnects and their effect on sound quality…

post #1 of 426
Thread Starter 
Hi,
Although this might be an old topic, I want honest opinions on the differences experienced by switching interconnects. (Between the source and the headphone amp)… What kind of changes can be expected?
post #2 of 426
Look at the thread in the Science Forum and you will get the same responses here. Some people believe the changes are huge, some think the changes are small and some people think there is no difference.

You really won't get any new information by asking that question here. It really has been rehashed many many many times and it doesn't change.
post #3 of 426
You DON'T want people's opinions regarding cables and interconnects. It is a polarizing subject, and a flame war could start here. As Meat01 stated, some people believe that there is a huge difference (first and foremost, patrick82), others believe that there is negligible difference between using a $30 or a $400 cable.

I say any difference is relatively small, but I don't see any reason to limit your system in any way. IMO, it should be in line with your system, but it shouldn't be your first upgrade.
post #4 of 426
Thread Starter 
I just ordered a Kimber Mini to RCA cable from headroom... Hope it does good things to the K701 sound... playing on a Cambridge 640C V2, amp-ed with Headroom Ultra Micro... fairly upscale rig, huh?
post #5 of 426
Quote:
Originally Posted by bhanja_trinanjan View Post
I just ordered a Kimber Mini to RCA cable from headroom... Hope it does good things to the K701 sound... playing on a Cambridge 640C V2, amp-ed with Headroom Ultra Micro... fairly upscale rig, huh?
Sounds like a nice rig to me. Every cable I have owned sounded different with my current system. Good luck with the Kimber.
post #6 of 426
I've used several aftermarket cables. I have not heard any difference whatsoever. Further, I was not able to measure any appreciable difference with my oscilloscope or DMM.

You may want to read Nick Charles' thread where he obtained and measured a number o aftermarket cables. He found no appreciable difference, either.

Going further back, you might want to read the thread where Edwood built three cables from different materials and sent them to various Head-Fi'ers for listening evaluations and to see if anyone could, just by the sound, identify what they were. The results of that test, statistically, showed that responses were no better than random guesses.

There's plenty more out there on the Internet. Cables have never been identified by anyone in a blind test. There's been 30+ years of controversy over cables, yet not one person has passed a blind test.

Pointing that out usually results in rants against testing methodology, etc. Maybe those people have a point. But what I find strange is that cable manufacturers do absolutely nothing to correct this.

I mean, you have this multimillion dollar business beset by claims of fraud and snake oil. Considering that cables are marked up hundreds or thousands of percent, you'd think they'd have the means to really prove their products are not fraudulent. But they never do. Look at the ads. There are never concrete claims in cable ads. Why is that?

Also, have you noticed that most manufacturers spend a lot of R&D measuring and comparing their products to the competition? Go ahead and Google for comparisons between a F-150 and a Tundra. Or between a Nikon and a Canon. Go ahead. You'll find thousands of hits. Nikon very much wants to prove their cameras better than Canon.

So, wh don't cable manufacturers also do this? Wouldn't Cardas love to stomp Kimber? This is business, not a co-op or some socialized industry. With the fantastic levels of profit found in the cable industry, why not go out and prove your product better than the competition? There are, literally, millions of dollars at stake. Are the manufactuers not concerned about profit? I mean, they'll sell something that costs $30 to make for $500, so why not go the rest of the way and dominate the market? Curious, isn't it?

And on the topic of research and investigation, where is the amateur body of work on cables? Look at any science and you'll find huge amounts of amateur work. Look at astronomy. You'll find amateur enthusiats everywhere; you can even learn how to grind your own mirrors. There are amateur biologists, physicists, and for the industrial arts, too. Google for homemade steam engines - you will be amazed. Funny thing is that there's no amateur body of research on cables. Nothing. Curious, especially given that every other hi-fi component does. You can find deep research for building your own amps, turntables, radios, DACs, speakers, and even your own vacuum tubes. But there's nothing on cables beyond assembly techniques and claims of sound differences. Also interesting is the lack of prior art. Cable manufacturers always throw up claims of "proprietary" work in not revealing their "secrets." But patents eventually expire. Further, the point of a patent is to put knowledge into the public domain. You can find any patent over at United States Patent and Trademark Office Home Page, but you cannot use a current patent to manufacture without owning or or getting permission from the holder. However, there's nothing there about cables. Go have a look for yourself. Why is that?

All of this doesn't prove that there's nothing to cables, but draw your own conclusions about the probability. When you look at that in light of the obscene profits, it sure looks like these people are cranking out heavily marketed snakeoil to turn a buck. Keep in mind that these people are heavily invested in keepin sales up. Many of them hire peoplento give them favorable impressions on message boards as well as other forms of viral marketing.
post #7 of 426
There's a difference b/c no two cables are the same. Even the same cable from the same company will molecularly have different amounts of elements in it. Whether your ears can hear the difference is the real question.

Also, if you want the cables to make a difference, you head will make it so. The opposite is true also. Whatever you do be realistic and stay within your budget.
post #8 of 426
My opinion: fancy cables are bling for your system. They make it look good, but should be well-built, first and foremost. Personally, I want cool-looking components. Do my Kimber mini-mini interconnects make a heck of a lot of difference, sound-wise? Not really. Tested A/B in my Micro Stack versus the Headroom-built mini-mini, I could tell a tiny difference in dynamics but it was so subtle that I can probably chalk it up to placebo. Still, it looks really nice and doesn't hurt the sound in any way so I'm keeping it.

I'm still weighing the benefits of recabling my HD650s versus upgrading the amp. I'm thinking the latter would probably give me the better bang/buck ratio.

EDIT: also, I've had really bad luck with el-cheapo cables. My current RCA-mini cable is so poorly-made the left/right plugs are mislabled, so I have to remember to plug 'em in backward. Still, they sound OK.

EDIT2: Also also, I bought the Kimber to test this whole "expensive cables are better" thing for myself. I think people should at least once, and come to their own conclusions.
post #9 of 426
Thread Starter 
Then why do re-cabling headphones like HD650 and K701 make them sound better? Or do inter-connects behave differently? Hi-fi magazines also speak in favour of cable upgrades... Are reviewers honest when they write on this controversial topic. Writing this on my mobile with T9 text... Excuse me if my post is not particularly well written.
post #10 of 426
Most of my cables are $30-50. Are copper or silver. I pay for good construction, sleeving and connectors. I can hear differences b/w copper, silver or gold. As to tweaked versions of said material aka expensive cables? Naw. Not much difference. Depends on what you use for a source, your amp and your headphones as to how the i/c effects the sound.
post #11 of 426
post #12 of 426
Just because some people who either cant hear or are predisposed to not hear a difference (because they are cheap or spent 10 seconds with said cables) dont hear a difference does not indicate there is no difference, just like when someone cant hear the difference between two sources. The factual answer to the question is this, "You will have to try some cables for yourself if you wish to know if there is a difference". Just because Erik says there is no difference doesnt mean there is no difference for you.
post #13 of 426
I did hear enough of a difference between a standard copper stranded IC and a silver coated copper ribbon IC to buy the latter for a few hundred bucks. While the cost may be debatable, the increase in sq was not. Not too many would spend that much just to try an IC and I had the luxury of borrowing several hundreds of dollars worth of cables from my A/V dealer. It don't take long to hear the differences.

If you are trying a few cables in the 10-20 dollar range, likely you won't hear much difference.
post #14 of 426
This repeated rehashing of this subject reminds me of watching one of those sci-fi or horror movies, where you think that near the end of the movie -- after many deaths and decapitations -- they've finally killed the alien or the monster or whatever. And then, just before the credits roll, this head of an alien or monster pops out of the ground or out of a closet, revealing that the strain is still alive -- and there is going to a sequel! And all the people in the audience gasp in horror as they realize: "OMG, the thing is not dead!"

Oh, and by the way, the plot and the characters in the sequel, and the next sequel, etc., look pretty much like the original movie.
post #15 of 426
*camera close-up on PhilS widens to reveal null_pointer_us in the background*
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