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Is there evidence that more expensive = better?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Assuming there is a difference between cables of any or all types from ICs to USB. Is there good evidence to show that more expensive = better?

Magazine reviews would tend to suggest that more expensive does mean better, but that is not guaranteed.

There are instances of a cheaper product becoming flavour of the month, but then crashing and burning as attention turns elsewhere.

My experinces with cables are;

Speaker, QED (cheaper) to Kimber (more expensive) = better, as you would hope for when spending your money and buying extra quality.

ICs, unbranded (cheapest) to QED to Kimber = better, as you would hope with one system, but with another Choseal (cheaper) to SHB (even cheaper) = better. So the reverse happened.

USB, Oehlbach (more expensive) to unbranded (free) = no difference.

Headphone extension cable, Sony (cheap) to ThatCable (cheap) = better, so same price but one better than another.

Now I have entered the world of DIY cables and pulled a few apart (very cheap) it is clear to me that build quality = better and not price. Whilst a high price gives more guarantees of build quality, it is possible to do the same at a much smaller price.

So my answer to my question is no, more expensive does not equal better and there is evidence to show that.
post #2 of 18
Sometimes a worse cable is better because it might hide flaws.
post #3 of 18
I don't think that you will find a clear correlation here. There are many very expensive interconnects that are clearly preferred over cheaper ones in the same product line of the manufacturer in question. There are also many budget cables that perform much better (dollar for dollar, at least) than certain expensive boutique cables. Each side has its proponents. You will not get a concrete answer, either way. Trust your own ears.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sampson_smith View Post
I don't think that you will find a clear correlation here. There are many very expensive interconnects that are clearly preferred over cheaper ones in the same product line of the manufacturer in question. There are also many budget cables that perform much better (dollar for dollar, at least) than certain expensive boutique cables. Each side has its proponents. You will not get a concrete answer, either way. Trust your own ears.
I get what you are saying sampson_smith, but I do think that there is a concrete answer which is more expensive does not necessarily mean better. There is loads of evidence out there to show that.

The most someone who spends silly money (which for me is over £50 or $75) on a cable is that it will be well made, probably to the point it is over engineered. But there is no guarantee it will sound better.
post #5 of 18
The concept of "better" is entirely subjective in this hobby, so the answer would vary for the individual regardless of which particular component of the chain you refer to.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jax View Post
The concept of "better" is entirely subjective in this hobby, so the answer would vary for the individual regardless of which particular component of the chain you refer to.
I say we can judge better by forum opinions and professional reviews. Some products are regarded that way as better than others. Otherwise we have no hobby and the whole industry is based on a falsehood.
post #7 of 18
Power cable, interconnect, digital cable and speaker and headphone cable all need theoretically different things to be better, with direct interfacing (ie, no cable) being ideal for some of these things.

If you're comparing say 24 awg conductor vs 10 awg conductor power cable for a subwoofer, umm yes it'll probably be worth the expense. If you compare 10 awg regular copper conductor (not even OFC) vs 10 awg 99.9999 silver conductor, my guess is it would be too expensive and overkill.

Me personally, I want 3/4 of my cables to be mass produced audiophile/studio cables like sonicwave or canare, 1/4 being $50-100 DIY cables for sound tweaking. The super expensive cables like $300+ should probably be used in systems that cost $7500+, even then I'd consider figuring out a way to directly interface everything rather than spend hundreds on cables.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post
Power cable, interconnect, digital cable and speaker and headphone cable all need theoretically different things to be better, with direct interfacing (ie, no cable) being ideal for some of these things.

If you're comparing say 24 awg conductor vs 10 awg conductor power cable for a subwoofer, umm yes it'll probably be worth the expense. If you compare 10 awg regular copper conductor (not even OFC) vs 10 awg 99.9999 silver conductor, my guess is it would be too expensive and overkill.

Me personally, I want 3/4 of my cables to be mass produced audiophile/studio cables like sonicwave or canare, 1/4 being $50-100 DIY cables for sound tweaking. The super expensive cables like $300+ should probably be used in systems that cost $7500+, even then I'd consider figuring out a way to directly interface everything rather than spend hundreds on cables.
I would love to hear a super expensive setup with well made cheap cables. Problem is that all hifi dealers (that I know of) do wire up their expensive setups with expensive cables, I am sure with the intention of maximising their margins.
post #9 of 18
I guess one way to find out is to loan some, and try them out

something that I'll consider doing once I finished putting together my system
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prog Rock Man View Post
I get what you are saying sampson_smith, but I do think that there is a concrete answer which is more expensive does not necessarily mean better. There is loads of evidence out there to show that.

The most someone who spends silly money (which for me is over £50 or $75) on a cable is that it will be well made, probably to the point it is over engineered. But there is no guarantee it will sound better.
By the definition of what I have quoted and emboldened, you are actually saying that there is no concrete answer. Your statement is a falsehood. "Not necessarily" means that it can go one way, or the other, as per my first post here. A concrete, definitive answer cannot be "sometimes yes and sometimes no". There is plenty of evidence for both verdicts. It boils down to a matter of opinion. End of story.

That said, I am all for finding the 'sweet spot' as far as interconnects go, which, based on what I have read, is either a $35 Blue Jeans cable or a $50 Signal Audio one. So: Cheaper doesn't necessarily mean a bad thing. Also: Are many cables overpriced for what they offer? YES, indeed.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jax View Post
The concept of "better" is entirely subjective in this hobby, so the answer would vary for the individual regardless of which particular component of the chain you refer to.
The concept of "much" is far more subjective in this hobby but... "better" is already entirely subjective..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prog Rock Man View Post
I say we can judge better by forum opinions and professional reviews. Some products are regarded that way as better than others. Otherwise we have no hobby and the whole industry is based on a falsehood.
I think that most industries are based on "much"'s and "better"'s.
post #12 of 18
Spending more money typically just makes me more apprehensive... but I do it anyways

I'm really a mid-fi kind of guy. Cheap stuff usually doesn't sound so good to me, although you find some gems now and then. Mid price stuff I find has a fairly consistent cost/quality ratio. High end equipment... I honestly don't hear the difference in most of it, and even if I do I can't justify the cost.
post #13 of 18
Put it this way. I'll sell you a £9999 USB cable. It's just a normal one from the £1 shop but I encased it in a bit of garden hose and some cool looking mesh wrap.

Clearly it must be better because it costs more. Or not.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenni View Post
I guess one way to find out is to loan some, and try them out

something that I'll consider doing once I finished putting together my system
This is the winner. Did the same as it's the only way to do it without all the BS one way or other.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post

Sometimes a worse cable is better because it might hide flaws.

This is so true and unfortunately many audiophiles blame their cables instead.

 

I'll never buy an expensive cable without trying it out in the actual system. Price and reviews can only serve as a rough guide.

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