For the record, I don't have experience with aftermarket cables aside from using the HD650 cable on my HD600, which has made no noticeable difference for me so far (just got it a few days ago).
I doubt that everyone who has made the 'snake oil' argument has zero experience with recabling.
I think the reason why a lot of us feel very skeptical about the potential improvements of recabling is because of exactly the kind of language you've used here. You claim that recabling never makes more than a 5% difference (which a lot of the people here would probably never be able to notice) and yet you claim that you HATE the HD600 with Canare cables. No offense man, you've obviously contributed a whole lot to this community over the years, but I can't take you seriously because of how often you use such extreme language. You apparently hate the HD600 when a Canare cable changes it just 5%. You hate the DJ100 when unamped even though everyone else says amping doesn't effect it. You think the HD580 is way better than the HD600 even though everyone else says they sound virtually identical (probably the only difference being very small manufacturing variances which exist even within the exact same headphone model). I just don't know man.... either your ears are way more sensitive than anyone else's or you're using way too extreme of language to explain what are actually very miniscule differences that most people would never notice or base their headphone judgements on.
This 5% figure isn't based on any scientific evidence. Putting the differences into a percentage is kind of stupid on my part, but it's better than saying it will totally transform a headphone. I don't want to get people's hopes up that a recable will majorly improve a headphone. It doesn't. Sometimes it actually makes it worse. I don't even like the Q701 as much with some DIY (cheap) cables. All along I always suggested to listen with your own ears by making your own cable for $10. If they don't hear a difference, then don't bother in the future.
Right now I don't care about my cables much. I use Mogami and whatever else I have around. For people with thousands of dollars worth of gear, $40 for some nice cables is no big deal.
I could have worded my comment about hating the Sennheisers with Canare a little better. I'm not a super huge fan of the HD-600, but do like it. Using it with Canare would not put it any further into my like category and sounds worse than stock in some areas. I won't try to explain why. You've never had a headphone where you felt you would have kept it if it was improved in one area just a little bit? The HD-600 is like that for me. It's good, but due to preferences I prefer the HD-650 now. I don't actually hate the HD-600. Sometimes my comments make it seem like I do. I just have other sound signature preferences.
Nobody has to take me seriously. I can't explain why I hear the things I do or what causes it. Every day I'm trying to figure out why things sound the way they do and sometime I'll be able to know why. This whole sound thing with headphones and cables is sometimes a big mystery to me. All cables should technically sound the same. So, why can't my 598 sound exactly like stock with Canare? Explain that. I told myself for a week I was just hearing things, but then it just sat in the closest until I switched to some other wire. I sure do wish the comment about "copper is copper" was really true. My HD-598 is using Mogami, which might be as close to the stock signature as you can get. That was my goal. I don't recable to change a headphones sound signature.
I actually would hope people just ignore what I say and try making their own cables or hear things with their own ears. Even if there is ZERO difference, what's so bad about that? Knowing how to solder is a good skill to have and I learned how just to recable my headphones! I don't bother making speaker cables because I can't tell an ounce of difference. Don't know why.
Here's some more "extreme" language for you. I'll let you figure out why. I only like the DJ100 unamped from a Clip+ using M50 pads. When using stock pads the bass is too bloated. Does someone want to guess why? I don't hate the DJ100 unamped, but prefer using it with a good amp. Desktop is best. Sure the DJ100 sounds good enough from some portable players.
All the differences I mention are usually very minor. Some of them so minor that most people might not care about. I do and I guess i'm a little too picky about getting my headphones to sound perfect.
Also..about the HD-580. Some say the HD-600 has better matched drivers. The key here is the grills! This changes the sound more than you'd think! Yes, the difference could be zero difference to some, but I think it's enough to make me prefer the HD-580 over the HD-600. It's actually less of a difference than switching from the K702 to the Q701. Neither is better overall, just that I prefer the HD-580. It's a VERY slightly more aggressive sounding HD-600, but it has less bass and a tiny bit more forward upper mids. I'm not going to do any scientific test to prove this, but even the graphs show a bit of difference.
BTW I do feel that some MIGHT just be repeating the snake oil comment based on what others have said without trying it for themselves. No big deal. Again, I won't be buying any fancy cables. I did a few times, but I kept using stock cables. For a headphone I might be using for 10 years, $200 for a slight improvement is no big deal. Actually, I think $200 is a bit overkill for me. I figure 75% of that is in labor markups!
If someone wants to do me a favor, they can tell me why my HD-600 gets so much louder out of my amp when using Double Helix headphone cables and interconnects. I could get such loud volumes it would rupture my eardrum. I experienced this with portable devices too. When using regular old cables the volume isn't as high. This is just so bizarre. I'll measure it for you if you want I think i'll need to become an electrical engineer to explain everything I'm hearing. It seems nobody ever points out stuff like this. I know the difference has to be more than 1db.
Why is high capacitance wire warmer sounding and low capacitance wire thinner and brighter? This I would love to know. Don't tell me it's all in my head. This is always the biggest difference for me. No major changes in it's sound signature. How would this show up on graphs anyway? The HD-600 and DT-880 often measured the same (in old graphs) and couldn't sound any more different.
Why also do people prefer silver with the HD-650?
Another thing I'd love to sometime figure out is why the differences between cables is less noticeable with different gear? With my Total Airhead and portable players it's amazing how similar they sound. I remember when I didn't have my HRT MSII DAC I couldn't tell an ounce of difference between K702 cables. ZERO. If I was using only a portable amp and Ipod with my HD-600 I'd never buy any fancy cable. I do have a HD-600 Double Helix cable Zombie_X made me and felt it was worth it, but on the HD-650 it makes everything a bit clearer and thinner. Otherwise the same. I know why, but won't go there. I prefer stock for it's extra warmth, but have been switching to the DHC for gaming lately.
Edited by tdockweiler - 12/11/12 at 5:58pm