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What's your view on custom headphone cables? - Page 58

Poll Results: Custom Headphone Cables?

 
  • 21% (90)
    Yes: Only if they don't cost too much
  • 17% (74)
    Yes: I will shovel out some cash if they promise results
  • 8% (38)
    Yes: I will buy if they look nice
  • 23% (101)
    No: I don't believe in it
  • 14% (63)
    No: I'd rather spend money on something else
  • 13% (58)
    Maybe: Only if it "changes" the phone (IE Balanced option, etc.)
424 Total Votes  
post #856 of 881

The only way a cable can make a difference in the sound is if it is poorly designed or defective. It's no great feat to manufacture a cable that passes the signal across cleanly and accurately. You can get cables that do that perfectly at Monoprice or Radio Shack.

post #857 of 881
Quote:
Originally Posted by doublea71 View Post

Another little known fact is that the more complicated the name of the cable, the greater the improvement in the sound. For example, I am a big Norah Jones fan and love to listen to her with my 1964 Quads. Now that I'm using my new custom Poisonous Albino Spider Monkey Silver Wormholes of Doom cables, it feels like she's licking my earlobes and I ain't complainin'.
 


lol

Reminds me of racing stripes on cars or custom painted engine compartments. . . they all add horse power. You can't tell me that my car didn't go faster after I installed LED mood lights, I totally felt a difference no matter what your tests say :)

 

On a more serious note, I agree that some of the cables look pretty awesome and I do enjoy having custom headphones. Although I feel even more superior since I made my own wooden cups and modsgs1000.gif     If the cables were cheaper I'd buy them for the looks and custom factor.

post #858 of 881
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

The only way a cable can make a difference in the sound is if it is poorly designed or defective.
This is the frugal answer to the question and holds no more validity than the polar opposite stance. Is it that you may have come to this conclusion on your Radio Shack gear and didn't bother to give it any credence since? I'd suggest coming out of the music room and give it another try. The music wasn't made on Radio Shack gear so why give the replay any less respect? By your analogy, we'd all be jammin on Radio Shack gear. I believe people are biased on the great prices these products command. They may command that but getting it is another matter. But to say they don't have any impact on the sound and are the same as Radio Shack products is as foolish as a $25k IC.
post #859 of 881
Well, in his answer bigshot doesn't say RadioShack should sound the same as the more "respectful" cables, as you call them (probably means MORE EXPENSIVE, I guess). If RadioShack's cable is poorly designed, there's your answer, it may sound worse than stock cables.
post #860 of 881
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post


This is the frugal answer to the question and holds no more validity than the polar opposite stance. Is it that you may have come to this conclusion on your Radio Shack gear and didn't bother to give it any credence since? I'd suggest coming out of the music room and give it another try. The music wasn't made on Radio Shack gear so why give the replay any less respect? By your analogy, we'd all be jammin on Radio Shack gear. I believe people are biased on the great prices these products command. They may command that but getting it is another matter. But to say they don't have any impact on the sound and are the same as Radio Shack products is as foolish as a $25k IC.

 

 

To date I've not yet seen any measured differences in headphone cables (on user end parameters such as FR) that suggest any strong potential for audible differences and Tyll's measurements show very little variation between cables and this small variation may be random measurement variation (When I've measured things I do it 5 to 10 times) and take an average it  helps smooth out variations. I'd hesitate to rule it out entirely but data so far leans towards the null hypothesis 

post #861 of 881
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post


This is the frugal answer to the question and holds no more validity than the polar opposite stance. Is it that you may have come to this conclusion on your Radio Shack gear and didn't bother to give it any credence since? I'd suggest coming out of the music room and give it another try. The music wasn't made on Radio Shack gear so why give the replay any less respect? By your analogy, we'd all be jammin on Radio Shack gear. I believe people are biased on the great prices these products command. They may command that but getting it is another matter. But to say they don't have any impact on the sound and are the same as Radio Shack products is as foolish as a $25k IC.


I don't know about Bigshot, but I don't have money to burn, and if someone is going to convince me to buy a $25k headphone cable, it better bring to the table substantial difference in sound quality.

 

I don't see absolute consensus about how incredibly great any big deal audio cable is vs. other more accessible cable. Furthermore, there is not even proof that such cables dramatically improve sound quality so as to justify their price. It doesn't make sense to me to spend > $25k in cables that if making a difference, it's in the mosquito fart range.

 

Also, I'm not aware of $25k audio ICs. Intellectual Property rights to ICs might go very much north of that, but usually individual integrated circuits are in the < $25 range (sometimes even $2.5 range.)

 

Please don't take this post as an opinionated attack. If you or someone else feels that cables bring a lot to the table, then by all means buy and use them. But if someone is going to make a claim about what X or Y cable does so great, it would be nice if there was proof about it.

post #862 of 881

It always kind of tickles me how relatively higher-end (meaning expensive here) consumer audio products are named.

 

Headphones:

K701

ATH-W5000

HD 800

HE-6

LCD-3

 

Amps, DACs:

V200

D2

Conductor

Gungnir

Blue Hawaii

 

Cables:

Crystal Piccolino

Uber Muzik V5f

Gold Alloy 9

Endorphin

Clear Light

 

 

These days you see headphones with some more fanciful names like Momentum and so on.  For amps and DACs, I think it's interesting to consider the philosophy of the companies selling the products and their target markets.


Edited by mikeaj - 3/11/13 at 8:59pm
post #863 of 881
Everyone gets tired of the argument. The amount of difference is indeed up to the listener. The value is certainly a contentious point and the VAST majority of hobbyists will not delve into that hole. Even those of us that can hear differences don't feel the price is justified. I will drop a few hundred on a headphone cable that lets the sound come through easier. Any more, I'm standing in the rain, looking through the window.
post #864 of 881
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post

Everyone gets tired of the argument. The amount of difference is indeed up to the listener.

 

No, this is wrong. You are assuming a difference as a given, you cannot do that.. Thinking about the effect of cables on ear-end (FR,noise,distortion etc) parameters Several possibilities exist on a case by case basis. Significant below used in the statistical sense !

 

1. There is no significant objective difference but a perceived difference which is the product of imagination, self-deception or persuasion or some other psychological mechanism

2. There is no significant objective difference and no perceived difference

3. There is a significant objective difference and a perceived difference and the objective difference is causally related to the perceived difference

4. There is a significant objective difference and a perceived difference but the objective difference is not causally related to the perceived difference

5. There is a significant objective difference but no perceived difference (the objective difference though significant is below the threshold of detection)

 

Believing a difference exists does not make it.

 

 

Clearly you could make a cable so badly it impacts audible criteria but what rational person would do that !


Edited by nick_charles - 3/13/13 at 6:28am
post #865 of 881

I am not going to draw any more conclusions about all cables out there but here is what I have found with my gear.

 

Source:  PC ( USB 2.0 ) Foobar2000, anything from CD to 256kbps mp3

DAC:  Grace Design m903

Amp:  HeadRoom's Balanced Ultra Desktop Amp

Cables:  PBJ RCA interconnects by Kimber Kable ( $150 or less ), some super cheap XLR to TRS cables ( $60 for 6 pair )

 

To my ears I cannot hear any differences other than the obvious gain increase going from the PBJ cables to the cheap XLR balanced interconnects.  This includes going from a single ended to balanced headphone cable.  What I thought initially was deeper extension in bass was actually psychoacoustics.  I gave my ears and wallet a break and listened again to the gear more objectively.  I was more than a little surprised that I hear no differences going between balanced and single ended including the headphone wiring.

 

I am conducting some headphone cable tests using a pair of LCD-3 headphones and going from balanced to the single ended stock cable, but the time it takes to swap the cable pretty much invalidates the results.

 

To be fair I also heard little to no difference between the m903 and the O2 + ODAC.  I do hear some improvement in the bass and dynamics using the BUDA over the m903 as an amp.

 

I am on board with those that want proof of the difference rather than opinion.  If anyone truly hears a difference then let's design a test that can find it.

 

Why do I have the Kimber Kables?  I have used cheap RCA cables from various vendors and find that especially with RCA connectors that the ones made by companies known for great quality control give better results.  This is especially true using RCA cables to and from a TV.  The cheap cables gave horrible noisy lines in the video while a cable made better removed the lines.  This is the reason I went with the affordable PBJ cable.

 

Why the cheap XLR to TRS cables?  Part of the answer is cost and the other part is availability.  I found it hard to find an affordable ( less than $150 for 2 pairs ) of XLR - male TRS cables.  When my sets arrived I gave them a visual inspection, opening the connectors and inspecting the solder / cabling, as well as a cable test.  All of the inspecting checked out and the audio tests also resulted in no audible differences between the Kimber Kables and the cheap XLR-TRS balanced cables.

 

In the end it all comes down to preference.  I like having gear made by respectable companies known for their good customer service, quality control, and low cost.  As long as the cable is made well, tests OK on my cable tester, and sounds identical to more expensive cables I am all for it.  Almost all of consumption is first based on budget and then convenience.  I see nothing terribly wrong with going either way.

 

Here is to us all enjoying our expensive and cheap whatever it is!


Edited by NA Blur - 3/18/13 at 10:14am
post #866 of 881

WOFTAM unless you're converting to balanced or the OEM cable was appallingly designed in the first place.

post #867 of 881

Personally the only kind of cable change I would spend extra $$ on is one that would improve the function or increase robustness / durability.

post #868 of 881

Just finished my LCD-3 cable tests.  I used one track to do the testing and had it on repeat.  I did the cable swap between an after market Cardas balanced cable vs the stock cable.  In the end I heard no differences between the two and any time I thought I was hearing a difference I made sure to repeat the test.  Every single time I repeated the test I ended up hearing no difference.

post #869 of 881

back then i used fiio e7 with custom TF10  to compare westone ES cable vs Lune cable. And it was bright as day. The westone clearly is really dark while Lune shine like silver. I can here the different in tone the moment i plug them in.

post #870 of 881

Tried some Tralucent 1+2 and for kicks swapped it's pure silver cable with my stock JH13 cable on both IEMs. Neither is defective. Both IEMs got worse with the other's cable. 1+2 was dull with the JH cable and JH got brighter and less open with the Tralucent cable. I was hoping for the opposite with the JH so it wasn't about expectations. It also only took a moment to hear.


Edited by goodvibes - 3/21/13 at 5:10am
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