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Benefits of Recabling Headphones?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I've been hearing a lot about Moon Audio, Cardas, and other such companies' recabling options for headphones, and I'm curious, how much of a difference does recabling make? Is it a huge improvement, or is it just to get that last few percent out of your headphones?

I mean obviously if you're using something like D5000s with a SkullCandy cable (just an example), you're going to see massive improvement with a recable, but if you're using a stock D5000 cable, how much of an improvement will you see recabling with let's say the Moon Audio Silver Dragon cable? I've heard D5000 stock cable is quite good, so would it just be a couple percent improvement?

Same thing with headphones like HD650, DT880, and K701/2 (just stating 3 of the most popular headphones as examples), would their stock cables see a huge improvement with a recable, or are they pretty good as is?

I guess I just somewhat answered my question in suggesting that the quality of stock cable obviously determines the difference, but I'm assuming the 4 mentioned headphones already have pretty decent stock cables that are somewhat on par with each other, so would they see a big difference, or just a small percentage gain?
post #2 of 14
Re-cabling does not always equate to an improvement, big or small. It's a matter of preference. Some will prefer the stock cable with some headphones over a re-cable. Some will prefer X cable on A headphones but Y cable on B headphones. And, the associated equipment used factors into the results obtained with various cables.

Some headphones reportedly scale very well with re-cabling, in part because of a poor stock cable. But again it's a matter of preference. A re-cable does not guarantee a perceived improvement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Necrolic View Post
Is it a huge improvement, or is it just to get that last few percent out of your headphones?
post #3 of 14
Re-cabling is win! Not that I would know... It just sounds cool.
post #4 of 14
IMO recabling has much to do with psychoacoustics, and there's lots of money to be made. I given in that this is a minority opinion, at least at this site.

If a nice boutique cable makes you feel better, why not? It's at least better than spending money on weapons or drugs.
post #5 of 14
Pretty cables, oh my.
post #6 of 14
I'd rather buy drugs than headphones cable
post #7 of 14
Cables are usually one of, if not the, most subtle sound changers in equipment. I have a hard time justifying spending hundreds on a cable at this point in my life, but simple cheaper recables using (for instance) Canare, Mogami, Homegrown Audio, etc are reasonable enough for me. If you put it together well, you still come out with a good looking, quality cable. It just may not be as good as the very expensive ones, whether it's because the expensive cable really is better or just in your mind because you paid more for it.
post #8 of 14
Yet another thread for the Sound Science forum.

Determining whether or not differences between one cable and another can be heard by any particular listener is quite simple. Listen to one and then the other. This could be a blind test or not; wouldn't really matter to many because the differences often would be so apparent.

Such a comparison would either show the headphones sound the same to that listener or different. And if different, that listener may prefer one or another cable.

It only costs $2 for an extension cable on eBay to determine whether or not one can hear differences between cables with their particular equipment. I have done this myself. Connect the cheap extension cable between the headphones and other equipment, and listen. Then connect the headphones without the extension cable and listen again. Repeat these two steps if necessary. I could easily hear differences between whether or not the extension cable was used.

Such a simple test would show many who try it that the cables used with headphones makes an audible difference. I previously did a similar test. I could hear a difference between a stock HD580 cable and an HD650 cable with my HD580 plugged into a cheap sound card or vintage receiver.

As far as the cost of re-cabling is concerned, that's simply a matter of one's own finances. Buy and enjoy what you like and can afford.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nickchen View Post
IMO recabling has much to do with psychoacoustics, and there's lots of money to be made. I given in that this is a minority opinion, at least at this site.

If a nice boutique cable makes you feel better, why not? It's at least better than spending money on weapons or drugs.
post #9 of 14
The only benefit I see of recabling a headphone is to have the cord of the desired length, or replacing a cable that has been damaged.

The rest is just a pile of piffle.
post #10 of 14
No need to assume you would prefer a more expensive cable. You compare headphones with different cabling. And no need to wonder if it is in your mind. You either hear a difference and prefer it, or not. Then you look in your wallet and decide whether the price is worth it to you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by squid+ View Post
Cables are usually one of, if not the, most subtle sound changers in equipment. I have a hard time justifying spending hundreds on a cable at this point in my life, but simple cheaper recables using (for instance) Canare, Mogami, Homegrown Audio, etc are reasonable enough for me. If you put it together well, you still come out with a good looking, quality cable. It just may not be as good as the very expensive ones, whether it's because the expensive cable really is better or just in your mind because you paid more for it.
post #11 of 14
Said the Head-Fier who never compared headphones with different cables?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullseye View Post
The only benefit I see of recabling a headphone is to have the cord of the desired length, or replacing a cable that has been damaged.

The rest is just a pile of piffle.
post #12 of 14
from a measurable # perspective I wouldn't recable unless you eliminate the TRS Jack/Plug interface with its unfortunate common R/L gnd and high "single point contact" interface resistance that causes crosstalk between the R/L signals reaching the drivers

using a 4-pin multi-contact low-R pin/socket connector gives measurable improvement in crosstalk (or the dual 3-pin XLR "balanced headphone" "standard")

of course bridged/"balanced" output amps are the only ones currently available for such 4-pin "balanced" terminated headphone cables - but the crosstalk improvement could be had with single ended amps if the designers wanted to provide the improved connectors

if you want to apply some (very incomplete) psychoacoustic numerical knowledge it seems unlikely that the measureable "improvement" in crosstalk from ~ -60 dB to less than -100 dB would be detectable in properly controlled listening tests (compare to ~30 dB phonograph playback channel separation, or sound leakage with open cans)
post #13 of 14
Almost makes me feel sorry for everyone who re-cabled otherwise and are enjoying their headphones more than before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcx View Post
from a measurable # perspective I wouldn't recable unless you eliminate the TRS Jack/Plug interface with its unfortunate common R/L gnd and high "single point contact" interface resistance that causes crosstalk between the R/L signals reaching the drivers

using a 4-pin multi-contact low-R pin/socket connector gives measurable improvement in crosstalk (or the dual 3-pin XLR "balanced headphone" "standard")

of course bridged/"balanced" output amps are the only ones currently available for such 4-pin "balanced" terminated headphone cables - but the crosstalk improvement could be had with single ended amps if the designers wanted to provide the improved connectors

if you want to apply some (very incomplete) psychoacoustic numerical knowledge it seems unlikely that the measureable "improvement" in crosstalk from ~ -60 dB to less than -100 dB would be detectable in properly controlled listening tests (compare to ~30 dB phonograph playback channel separation, or sound leakage with open cans)
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by lorafenik View Post
I'd rather buy drugs than headphones cable
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