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.