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Do Expensive Cables make a difference or is it just Snakeoil.......  

post #1 of 131
Thread Starter 

Hi there, for portability I own an iBasso D6 and D10 and Ipod Touch which power my JH16's, and a Burson Audio HA-160 for home use, after doing some reading, I was wondering, do these more "crazy" expensive headphone cable really make that much of a difference for the money they are charging, in particular these two companies, ALO and Elite TWag, I mean my JH16 sound great now, what kind of improvement should I expect, and is that improvement worth the money. I mean it's only a cable, how deep can one really go with this anyways.

post #2 of 131

There is 50 years of evidence suggesting that the differences between cables can't be reliably detected. 

 

Don't let that stop you, though! 

post #3 of 131
Thread Starter 

Thanks Roy, the only thing stopping me is cables that cost more that the components themselvesrolleyes.gif

post #4 of 131

I just received a 15' Norse Audio Cable for my LCD-2's. Sonically I cannot tell any difference from the stock cable. However:

 

- It's 15' long. so I can sit on my couch instead of sitting on my floor.

- It's half the weight of the stock cable

- It looks fantastic.

 

Buy cables for the right reasons.......looks and function. Any other expectation is unrealistic.

 

 

post #5 of 131

Technically speaking, cable thickness can change the impedance of a pair of headphones by offering less or more resistance (thicker cables, the physical metal in the cable, have less resistance).  Also material can slightly change that as well (but not as drastically as thickness).  Again, take all of this with a grain of salt.

post #6 of 131

I had a chance to hear some pure silver cables for my custom iems and I have to say that there was a clear difference in the sound. It was  different (maybe a bit better in some ways) and it wasn't a huge "oh this is now a different earphone" difference, but it was audible.

 

One question is: Is it worth the price? That's hard to answer.

 

However, keep in mind that there has been controversy with TWag (supposedly pure silver) cables turning green due to the fact that they were really copper alloyed with silver (copper oxidizes to a green color)--something that was confirmed with lab tests. Keep in mind, I'm not making any kind of accusation, only stating a lab-proven fact, nothing more. Caveat Emptor.

post #7 of 131

I have custom cables from Beat Audio for my IE8s (in avatar). Without burn in it was not audible. However, after about a week of on stop playback, the difference was quite clear and it was not placibo since I have been listening to the regular IE8s for over a year and am quite familiar with their sound sig. I got them directly from Beat Audio for $95 and they have totally transformed the IE8s IMO. 

http://www.custom-iem.com/supreme-pro-beat-audio-earphone-cable-p-646.html

post #8 of 131

I'm certain you guys who have detected clear difference were careful to volume match when you were conducting your testing.  Certain of it. 

post #9 of 131

Let me know if it really affects it.wink.gif

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_resistivity_and_conductivity
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post

Technically speaking, cable thickness can change the impedance of a pair of headphones by offering less or more resistance (thicker cables, the physical metal in the cable, have less resistance).  Also material can slightly change that as well (but not as drastically as thickness).  Again, take all of this with a grain of salt.



 

post #10 of 131
Do you visit palm readers? Would you make an important life decision based on advice from a tarot card reader?

How about ghosts - do you believe in them?

If you were diagnosed with cancer, would you travel to a third world country for treatment from a witch doctor or faith healer?

Do you believe that it is possible to talk to the dead through a medium? Can you bend a spoon with your mind?

Are aliens visiting Earth?

Is it necessary to perform a human sacrifice to ensure that the sun rises the next day?

Cables seem plausible on a basic level. Dig deeper, ask some hard questions, start measuring things, and cables turn into Bigfoot or any other silly superstition. And those kinds of superstitions that are designed to generate cash, too.

Even worse, take a hard look at the manufacturers who sell them. They don't actually perform any research because they can't. By their own admission, you can't "measure" cables. Neither can you conduct listening tests, according to them. If you assume those to be true, then you cannot "develop" a new cable as there is no way to differentiate them.

Of course, you can take all the measurements and listening tests at face value. Instead of a rational discussion, you're instead labeled a "hater" or told that your ears/equipment aren't any good. Curious, because the people who believe run like frightened children from any kind of listening test.

Also, those who believe (and especially those who sell) deny that they could be experiencing the well-documented effects of placebo and expectation.

There's a lot more to discredit cables, but you should understand that the harder you look, the less evidence there is. No one has ever measured a difference in the audio range. No one has ever passed an unsighted listening test. And neither will ever happen.

Save your money. Buy cheap cables.
Edited by Uncle Erik - 7/9/11 at 1:03am
post #11 of 131

^ "If you were diagnosed with cancer, would you travel to a third world country for treatment from a witch doctor or faith healer?"

 

Just a reminder that there are also witch doctors and faith healers in First World countries, but otherwise an excellent post

 


Edited by music_4321 - 7/9/11 at 1:12am
post #12 of 131

I wouldn't take anyone's word for it and have a listen for myself. 'Facts' and how they're derived have a way of changing over time in many fields.

post #13 of 131

the only reason I upgrade cables is because UE stock are horrible for tangling and retaining coiled shape. SQ increase has always been negligible to me.

post #14 of 131

It is always easier to notice differences between silver and copper cable.   Seeing is believing. Get a 3.5mm splitter, go to nearest audio shop, ask to audition UE triple fi 10 and westone es2 cable (audiophile shop should have both of them), plug in your laptop, play music in mono,  right driver with stock cable, left drive with es2 cable. You dont need to have goldent ear to hear the differences.

 

 


Edited by sterob - 7/9/11 at 11:13am
post #15 of 131

Those who state cables do inherantly make a difference to sound quality have yet to isolate how that happens. We know how cables work and their properties have been identified since the 19th century. Audiophile cables started to appear in the 1970s and even after 40 years of studies and research there is no electrical property or properties which has been identified as causing sound quality affects.

 

Those who claim a difference rely on the seriously flawed arguement of; I hear a difference, cables are made differently/measure differently, therefore the cable causes the difference. But they cannot prove the link. Meanwhile there is another very good reason as to why cables sound different, placebo.

 

As it stands the cable industry is like the homeopathic medicine industry. The science is lacking, but there is no doubt that many get benefits from the products. So take your pick, is the lack of science or the feel good factor more important to you?

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