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How Does "8 Conductor Cable Design" Improve the Sound of a Headphone?  

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm not necessarily doubting that the new cable design used on the newest models of Grado headphones have improved the sound. I can't say one way or another as I haven't compared one with another. The following is a quote from Grado's website:

"With the new 8 conductor cable design you will notice improved control and stability of the upper and lower range of the frequency spectrum with both better supporting Grado’s world renowned midrange. The SR325is will produce a sound that is pure Grado, warm harmonic color, rich full bodied vocals, excellent dynamics and an ultra smooth top end."

My question, for anyone here who knows (For the skeptics, please don't pull an answer out of your butt.), how does an 8 conductor design create an advantage over one that uses fewer conductors (I assume that fewer is the norm?)? Also, I am looking into recabling my 325is headphones (I need longer than the 4' run that come with the headphones.) and would want a cable that is sonically at least the equal of what comes with this latest iteration of the headphones.

Thanks, in advance.
post #2 of 10
Bare in mind I really have no professional/scientific background in this area, and that I personally don't believe that an 8 conductor design is better or worse. Simply, if I had to assume why it would potentially be a better design, here would be my argument

If we are to assume that headphone cables are similiar to speaker cables, then I'd like to quote BlueJeanCables and their thoughts on speaker cable designs

Speaker cable is a bit different from a lot of the interconnect cables we handle, in several respects. Because speakers are driven at low impedance (typically 4 or 8 ohms) and high current, speaker cables are, for all practical purposes, immune from interference from EMI or RFI, so shielding isn't required. The low impedance of the circuit also tips the balance of concern from capacitance, which is important in interconnect use, to inductance, which, while a concern, can be controlled only to a limited degree. The biggest issue in speaker cables, from the point of view of sound quality, is simply conductivity; the lower the resistance of the cable, the lower the contribution of the speaker cable's resistance to the damping factor, and the flatter the frequency response will be. While one can spend thousands of dollars on exotic speaker cable, in the end analysis, it's the sheer conductivity of the cable, and (barring a really odd design, which may introduce various undesirable effects) little else that matters. The answer to keeping conductivity high is simple: the larger the wire, the lower the resistance, and the higher the conductivity.

If we are to assume that that's correct, then simply more conductor material, the better.

I am then assuming that the new Grado cable is designed similiarly to how headphone balanced cables are, where each channel has 4 conductors, 2 hots, 2 grounds (total of 8 wires). If we are to assume that each channel has 4 conductors, it might also assume that it is perhaps in some sort of starquad/litz braid geometry configuration, which helps to reduce EMI/RFI, which according to BJC should not be an issue. But that is under the assumption that they are speaker cables, not headphones. So perhaps we assume that headphones may in fact be affected by EMI/RFI

To quote BJC again:

When conventionally wired, star quad speaker cable has the advantage of reducing the EM field around the cable, which will tend to diminish the effect of the signal in the speaker cable upon nearby interconnects--though this is not, in most applications, a significant concern.


So in effect, more wires = more conductive material. 4-braid geometry per channel = less EMI/RFI.

Again, this is all mere speculation/assumption, so take it how you will. I've read before grado changed their cable that people have successfully used Mogami Neglex StarQuad (as well as Canare and the more expensive Cardas) to great success. I'd check out Moon Audio and read their descriptions on how their cables affect the Grado sound signature
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your answer. The explanation certainly makes sense.
post #4 of 10
From what I can tell there are only a few reasons to have an eight-conductor cable.

1. You can make a litz braid for each channel for great shielding
2. cable thickness influences what inductance and capacitance it has. If I remember right, the thinner ones have less inductance. Having eight cables would then provide a better (or a more different) sound that way.

If the wires are all eight twisted together, I don't think it'd be any better, but with two twists of four, I can certainly imagine it being better.

overall, I can't imagine it makes a huge difference. It'll be pretty easy to reterminate to balanced, but probably no more so than the normal 4-conductor.
post #5 of 10
Xan7hos explanation make sense since headphones have between 25 to 600 ohms resistance compared to 4 to 8 in speakers then the interconnect designs for headphone cables make more sense than speaker cables design I guess.
post #6 of 10
"How Does "8 Conductor Cable Design" Improve the Sound of a Headphone?"

It doesn't.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Why do you say this? Have you tested this yourself?
post #8 of 10
Just in case you missed the sticky in this forum.
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f4/do-...forums-227349/
There is the sound science forum for this kind of discussion.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Who Discussed Double-Blind Tests?

I was asking about the benefits of recabling, right? Someone said "There aren't any." What is that response based on? Why did that poster say that? A fair question.

My original question still stands and the responses had been interesting and worthwhile. This thread should remain open.

I asked in the original response that skeptics not respond unless they had had experience with this.
post #10 of 10
There are only three wires, left, right, and ground. You can add more, but they are just redundant. If you do balanced/bridged, then you can have four, right positive, left positive, right negative and left negative.

I'm not an electrical engineer, but I don't think you can do negative to ground, you can do positive to negative, and positive to ground.

Maybe they are braided, or twisted, but I think that only matters at high frequencies (1Mhz and above).
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