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Do Expensive Cables make a difference or is it just Snakeoil....... - Page 8  

post #106 of 131
Off-topic:

So I'm looking at this video this SnazzyIphoneguy uploaded onto Youtube about how Monster cheated their customers by selling cables that perform as well as regular cheap cable. And now I'm seeing "cables make no noticeable differences to the ear" threads. Anyway this snazzy guy isn't really credible. He goes back on his words, which is definitely a no-no. One time he reviewed Beats as undoubtedly one of the best studio headphones that he's ever used, and a few months later he rewrote the review claiming them to be horrible and overpriced.

On-topic: I'm reading the Audiophile Project Sourcebook to gain a better technical understanding of audio equipment. It's too bad I'm not into electrical engineering, I've always wanted to custom-build my own amp from scratch.

=D
post #107 of 131

Cables are wire, whether they be interconnects, AC mains / power cables or digital coax/aes/ebu (toslink not metal, and that IS a good thing!).  And as such they are prone to affecting anything and everything in the entire audio chain.  Impedance mismatch between components doesn't help the situation nor the dirt flowing from residential AC power sockets.

 

Cables do make a difference, the question is whether or not it is a perceivable one.  Too many variables exist and swapping cables (typically over rated/priced) isn't the root answer to the problem.  Wireless and powered speakers will help kill off the audiophile cable industry, watch for Apt-X lossless to hit the market.

 

Trying new components and swapping cables might be fun, for a while, but in the end having a system your ears enjoy without issue is priceless.  Don't have to break the bank to achieve it...

post #108 of 131

I have read this thread with great interest and would like to add my thoughts. I have spent many years struggling to get a system to sound superb to my ears. The closest I got was with car audio. Mainly because effective DSP is available at a relatively low price point. With the home system I recently gave up. I am now happy to listen to my music through headphones. I have been a believer in the idea that the right cables can improve sound but have come to the conclusion that while they may make a small difference the main effect of cables is to encourage me to sit nit picking rather than listening to my music. Fine. If you want to go on a technical voyage. If you want to enjoy listening to music the best upgrade is discovering a new band or album that excites you.
 

post #109 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by krismusic View Post

I have read this thread with great interest and would like to add my thoughts. I have spent many years struggling to get a system to sound superb to my ears. The closest I got was with car audio. Mainly because effective DSP is available at a relatively low price point. With the home system I recently gave up. I am now happy to listen to my music through headphones. I have been a believer in the idea that the right cables can improve sound but have come to the conclusion that while they may make a small difference the main effect of cables is to encourage me to sit nit picking rather than listening to my music. Fine. If you want to go on a technical voyage. If you want to enjoy listening to music the best upgrade is discovering a new band or album that excites you.
 


FWIW, I totally agree, and have similar experiences.  When it comes to cables, my only targets are ergonomics & build quality.  As long as it isn't detrimental to sound, I don't care anymore.  And I'm not spending hundreds of dollars for fancy connectors & exotic wires; though one has to admit, many of these after-market cables sure are pretty.

post #110 of 131

I'm not an engineer nor expert, but even though some cable types like silver and copper have subtle difference in resistance, isn't that only measured in dc?  If you increase frequencies, then you'll have to account for another property called inductance, which increases the impedance/resistance, and it gets really high with higher frequencies.  Also, I read somewhere that all cables have some sort of capacitance.  So even if the differences between the properties of silver vs copper seem really small, doesn't that still cover all the bases to form a resonance frequency, aka setting a bandwith frequency? 

 

Changing 1 variable of a resonance formula just a tiny bit will still have a very noticeable effect.

 

The changes can be subtle, but remember, your ears can hear things that vibrate too fast for your eyes to see.  To your eyes, there's no difference between 1k and 20k, but your ears can sure hear it.  I know it's a lame analogy lol.

 

 

Feel free to flame this noob.  I plan on doing some blind cable testing when my jh16's come in.


Edited by chengsta - 5/4/13 at 6:52pm
post #111 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by krismusic View Post

I have read this thread with great interest and would like to add my thoughts. I have spent many years struggling to get a system to sound superb to my ears. The closest I got was with car audio. Mainly because effective DSP is available at a relatively low price point. With the home system I recently gave up. I am now happy to listen to my music through headphones. I have been a believer in the idea that the right cables can improve sound but have come to the conclusion that while they may make a small difference the main effect of cables is to encourage me to sit nit picking rather than listening to my music. Fine. If you want to go on a technical voyage. If you want to enjoy listening to music the best upgrade is discovering a new band or album that excites you.
 

Amen! Music is what's important.

post #112 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by chengsta View Post

I'm not an engineer nor expert, but even though some cable types like silver and copper have subtle difference in resistance, isn't that only measured in dc?  If you increase frequencies, then you'll have to account for another property called inductance, which increases the impedance/resistance, and it gets really high with higher frequencies.  Also, I read somewhere that all cables have some sort of capacitance.  So even if the differences between the properties of silver vs copper seem really small, doesn't that still cover all the bases to form a resonance frequency, aka setting a bandwith frequency? 

 

Changing 1 variable of a resonance formula just a tiny bit will still have a very noticeable effect.

 

The changes can be subtle, but remember, your ears can hear things that vibrate too fast for your eyes to see.  To your eyes, there's no difference between 1k and 20k, but your ears can sure hear it.  I know it's a lame analogy lol.

You can measure both DC resistance and impedance at any frequency.

 

Basically you're right, but big differences do not show up until we're beyond 20 kHz.

post #113 of 131

 I was wondering if anyone can hear the difference between oxygen free copper and run of the mill zip cord. The measured difference between the various alloys of copper is really minuscule over the 4 feet length of your headphone cord. Can you measure it? Yes. Can you hear it in a properly designed ABX test. I doubt it. My guess is that aluminum  wire, if a bit larger in diameter is just as good as silver or oxygen free copper wire. I doubt anyone could here the difference if the cable resistances were equal.

post #114 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElmersEAR View Post

 I was wondering if anyone can hear the difference between oxygen free copper and run of the mill zip cord. The measured difference between the various alloys of copper is really minuscule over the 4 feet length of your headphone cord. Can you measure it? Yes. Can you hear it in a properly designed ABX test. I doubt it. My guess is that aluminum  wire, if a bit larger in diameter is just as good as silver or oxygen free copper wire. I doubt anyone could here the difference if the cable resistances were equal.

 

From what I know, OFC is just another name for very pure copper. There are other cheaper copper variants that meet or exceed conductivity standards, but OFC sounds nice and premium (after all, you're paying a lot for a good headphone).

 

Resistances change as a function of diameter and length, but in order to make any discernible difference, you'll need cables that are hundreds of feet long.

post #115 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

 

From what I know, OFC is just another name for very pure copper. There are other cheaper copper variants that meet or exceed conductivity standards, but OFC sounds nice and premium (after all, you're paying a lot for a good headphone).

 

 

Oxygen free copper is a copper which has only microscopically small amounts of oxygen in it.

 

"Regular," or ETP (Electrolytic Touch Pitch) copper is what's called an oxygenated copper. It starts out as a high purity copper, and during the melt, very small and precisely controlled amounts of oxygen is added. The purpose of the oxygen is to scavenge remaining impurities and take them out of solution. The result is an increase in conductivity, same as if you used an even higher purity copper, except that oxygen scavenging is more economical compared to processing the copper to have higher inherent purity.

 

The "problem" with ETP copper is that because of its oxygen content, if it's heated in a reducing atmosphere such as hydrogen (as you might find in a hydrogen annealing furnace), the hydrogen can react with the oxygen in the copper, causing it to become brittle and possibly break.

 

So for situations such as that, because you can't take advantage of oxygen scavenging, the copper can't have any appreciable amounts of oxygen in it. And in order to achieve the same conductivity as ETP copper, the copper has to be of a higher inherent purity.

 

se

post #116 of 131

since i listen to music in such a furnace, i clearly need to upgrade my cable

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Eddy View Post

 

Oxygen free copper is a copper which has only microscopically small amounts of oxygen in it.

 

"Regular," or ETP (Electrolytic Touch Pitch) copper is what's called an oxygenated copper. It starts out as a high purity copper, and during the melt, very small and precisely controlled amounts of oxygen is added. The purpose of the oxygen is to scavenge remaining impurities and take them out of solution. The result is an increase in conductivity, same as if you used an even higher purity copper, except that oxygen scavenging is more economical compared to processing the copper to have higher inherent purity.

 

The "problem" with ETP copper is that because of its oxygen content, if it's heated in a reducing atmosphere such as hydrogen (as you might find in a hydrogen annealing furnace), the hydrogen can react with the oxygen in the copper, causing it to become brittle and possibly break.

 

So for situations such as that, because you can't take advantage of oxygen scavenging, the copper can't have any appreciable amounts of oxygen in it. And in order to achieve the same conductivity as ETP copper, the copper has to be of a higher inherent purity.

 

se

post #117 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Doug View Post

since i listen to music in such a furnace, i clearly need to upgrade my cable

 

 

Well, that asbestos leisure suit makes sense now. biggrin.gif

 

se

post #118 of 131

I read this on a review from Amazon:

 

We live underground. We speak with our hands. We wear the earplugs all our lives.

PLEASE! You must listen! We cannot maintain the link for long... I will type as fast as I can.

DO NOT USE AUDIOPHILE CABLES!

We were fools, fools to develop such a thing! Sound was never meant to be this clear, this pure, this... accurate. For a few short days, we marveled. Then the... whispers... began.

Were they Aramaic? Hyperborean? Some even more ancient tongue, first spoken by elder races under the red light of dying suns far from here? We do not know, but somehow, slowly... we began to UNDERSTAND.

No, no, please! I don't want to remember! YOU WILL NOT MAKE ME REMEMBER! I saw brave men claw their own eyes out... oh, god, the screaming... the mobs of feral children feasting on corpses, the shadows MOVING, the fires burning in the air! The CHANTING!

WHY CAN'T I FORGET THE WORDS???

We live underground. We speak with our hands. We wear the earplugs all our lives.

Do not use audiophile cables!

post #119 of 131

^  I have a feeling that guy used a little bit more than just audiophile cables.  

 

 

Question:

 

If you upgrade your headphones cables, do you also need to upgrade the rest of your cables (cables connecting PC, DAC, amp, etc.), or is it mostly the headphone cables that make the biggest difference?  

post #120 of 131

The amount of difference, I believe, depends on the individual perception, and his thirst for sonic perfection.  I recently found myself to have a high thirst for sonic perfection, so whatever difference, no matter how small will still be a 'noticeable' difference for me.  I gather it all up, all the little things that make a difference in sound quality, big and small, in hopes of it all coming together to complete one large beautiful puzzle.  Others with less of a drive for perfection however, will dismiss the small differences such components make, seeking only the components that contribute to major leaps of quality.

 

With that said, I heard cables and dac make the least difference. 


Edited by chengsta - 6/9/13 at 3:28pm
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