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Question about cables.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Isn't the cable only as good as the termination? A jack is a jack so am I right to say that it would not matter if you had a descent stock cable or a super expensive one?
post #2 of 17
The same argument goes for power cables and the fact that electricity runs through tons of crappy cabling in your house and over miles and miles of power lines. The claim is that the cable reduces the overall "damage" to your system. So in a way the cable mitigates the poor quality of the jack.

That's the argument anyway.
post #3 of 17
I have at least one cheap headphone adaptor that clearly changes the sound. Can't say I've experimented enough with plugs to see how much difference they make. Different metals have different electrical properties though.
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
I have at least one cheap headphone adaptor that clearly changes the sound. Can't say I've experimented enough with plugs to see how much difference they make. Different metals have different electrical properties though.
Yes, but only a few different metals are used in audio jacks (as far as i know) - copper, silver, gold. i think someone here should start an interconnect company that offers TRS jacks plated with exotic metals like platinum and titanium. You can coat a copper plug with a titanium layer only a few atoms thick for really cheap, then make a fortune selling "solid titanium interconnects"
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by FirebottleRon View Post
Is it possible for anyone person to know what everyone else in the world can and cannot hear?
The real question is whether a difference exists in reality or whether the difference is imaginary.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvrboy View Post
Yes, but only a few different metals are used in audio jacks (as far as i know) - copper, silver, gold. i think someone here should start an interconnect company that offers TRS jacks plated with exotic metals like platinum and titanium. You can coat a copper plug with a titanium layer only a few atoms thick for really cheap, then make a fortune selling "solid titanium interconnects"
Rhodium plated xlr's demand quite a price premium over their standard copper or whatever cousins (from Furutech).
I strongly doubt there's a difference between standard (Neutrik) and fancy (Furutech) in SQ, but there's definitely a certain satisfaction in plugging in a solid metal Furutech termination.
post #7 of 17
Just a thought. Some people w/ DIY skills can actualy try a foot length of canare Star Quad and devide it and terminate with one with Gold Nuetric both ends and Canare F12 both ends. This woull be a cheap and not too complicated way to try. =)
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by AtomikPi View Post
Rhodium plated xlr's demand quite a price premium over their standard copper or whatever cousins (from Furutech).
I strongly doubt there's a difference between standard (Neutrik) and fancy (Furutech) in SQ, but there's definitely a certain satisfaction in plugging in a solid metal Furutech termination.
Rhodium sounds different than Copper. I have 4 sets of The Furutech FP-106R. With my Darkvoice 336se I prefer the sound of Rhodium. Copper is a little too warm for my set-up right now.
post #9 of 17
Partly true.
A cable may not be better than its termination. But then again there are differences between terminations, as a jack is not just a jack. There are quality differences between different jacks. Copper, silver, ...
post #10 of 17
My theory is that it's wrong to think of a cable like a road that delivers a signal.

If we think of it as a "road", then we imagine a signal going down the road, encountering things along the way like jacks, getting distorted, etc.

A cable is really a way of connecting two systems into one larger system.

A metaphor would be two pendulums which you set in motion, then connect the pendulums with a spring between them.

The jack, cable material, the source device, and downstream device all interact.

Now, whether that makes an audible change in sound is an open question as far as I'm concerned.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike1127 View Post
My theory is that it's wrong to think of a cable like a road that delivers a signal.

If we think of it as a "road", then we imagine a signal going down the road, encountering things along the way like jacks, getting distorted, etc.

A cable is really a way of connecting two systems into one larger system.

A metaphor would be two pendulums which you set in motion, then connect the pendulums with a spring between them.

The jack, cable material, the source device, and downstream device all interact.

Now, whether that makes an audible change in sound is an open question as far as I'm concerned.
Metaphors aside, how about the cable forms an electrical connection between two points?
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvrboy View Post
Yes, but only a few different metals are used in audio jacks (as far as i know) - copper, silver, gold.
More often brass, even the audiophile ones. Gold is usually done over a nickel plating, and rhodium over silver.

I don't care what the manufacturer claims the plug/jack "sounds like" or how exotic the materials are. Quality jacks and plug should be machined to tight specifications and have a quality plating.

I spent $20 on 10 pairs of chinese-imported rca jack's, and 2 of them had nuts that didn't screw in all the way. The gold plating scratches easily. I spent $22 on one pair of rhodium plated cardas jacks, and they were completely unacceptable for an expensive project; one of them fit much looser than the other one, and by the end of the project, I'll have spent $44 for a pair of jacks that fit correctly.
post #13 of 17
Various metals I can see "coloring" the sound a bit. I know there are people on this forum who swear to hear a difference, I don'tk now but I'm open to the thought that it can work. If head-fi can suffer the thought of something working that normal people would call snake oil makes me curious.1000$ for a power cable? GTFO, but there were two cords that one guy reviewed that had effect on the music that were only 10-30$, and I can justify a small cost like that to satisy my curiosity.

That being said... yes a cable is a cable... but a low quality cable you'd notice causing imperfections, a moderate cable would do it's job, but I refuse to believe that if there's a difference between low to medium, that there isn't one to medium to high.

But I'm very open to being proven wrong.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by krmathis View Post
Partly true.
A cable may not be better than its termination. But then again there are differences between terminations, as a jack is not just a jack. There are quality differences between different jacks. Copper, silver, ...
That's pretty much it though....
post #15 of 17
I'd be inclined to agree. The termination of a cable will make the most difference to any possible sound quality - especially if you have impedance changes going on.
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