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The Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth!

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 
Well... where to begin? I have been a loooong time member of "Arstechnica." For the most part, these guys are experts on Computers... but they do have a good Audio/Video forum as well. A while back I read a really long post about speaker cable/interconnects/etc etc. and found that the majority of the members there belive that it doesnt matter what quality of cables you use. I brought up the fact that I work for an electronics company and I have been trained the EXACT opposite. To my knowledge, the cables you use on a system make a HUGE difference! So... I was stoned to death and shyed away from bringing it up ever again. Now... here I am, the PROUD new owner of a simple "almost audiophile" headphone setup! In the past few months ive been MORE than confused as I have seen people here pay $100-1000 for cables, interconnects, etc etc. Are you guys insane? Are the guys at Ars full of crap? Show me something I post over there to start a fight... I wanna step in the ring and settle this war once and for all! Thanks!
post #2 of 66
I don't think this battle can end unless you sit these people down in your systems and change cables so that they can hear it for themselves.
post #3 of 66
There are some forums where people argue that there can be no possible difference between cables even over a 40 foot unbalanced run. Obviously that's nonsense, as any pro user will tell you. Avoid those forums. You can't argue with ludicrous claims.
post #4 of 66
Quote:
lan said...

I don't think this battle can end unless you sit these people down in your systems and change cables so that they can hear it for themselves.
Bah, those people would require a perfectly-executed DBT, and even then would probably chalk it up to placebo or being tired or whatever. If this battle could be won so easily, it would've been over a long time ago. Won't go into detail, since this is a DBT-free forum, but just accept that setting up a DBT that's valid to both sides is really difficult. Others could explain it better than me, anyways.

Bottom line, come to your own conclusion through listening. IMO, cables can make a noticeable difference, though never so large as the other components. Keep in mind, you probably won't hear much of a difference if the rest of your system isn't up to par.
post #5 of 66
I think the whole cable thing is funny. Some people just don't want to believe that cables CAN make a difference. If you try to talk to those people they will say that they don't have to listen because they know that cables don't change the sound and that you are wasting their time.

On the other hand, the same people will probably discuss the merits of heat sink thermal compounds to the Nth degree.
post #6 of 66
It's simple. Each and every cable measures differently in capacitance, inductance, propagation, dialetric constant, absolute frequency response, phase over frequency sweep and other factors which these technophiles will quote for every other circuit design and component as a factor of possible sound differences...except for cable.

Somehow, because they do not wish to believe that any of these factors can make an audible sound difference in a cable, because they wish to ignore the factual evidence which proves it (both technical and observable personally, but they do not wish to do that), these factors just don't exist in the cabling realm.

Try looking at a cable manufacturer's technical pages to see measurable differences in cable technologies, Belden:

Belden's Technical Info frame page, direct link

To see the entire page including the outer frames go to:

Belden

and then click on the Technical Info tab.

Belden, one of the world's largest manufacturer's of cable, will openly admit that some cables will work differently than others in an audio system, for a quicker review (including boiled down technical specs - easier to read overall) see:

Blue Jeans Cable stereo audio cable page

where the technical specs will vouch for Blue Jeans' choices of preference - some cables will attenuate high frequencies, for simple instance. If a cable also changes (lets talk straight, simple technical here) phase across the audio frequency realm what kind of effect will that have in bass presentation? How about delay possibly affecting soundstage?

I don't know the exact answer to all those questions, but high-end cable designers either know the details or are experimenting to discover how these factors, combined, effect sound quality.

The science of SOUND, quality cable making can be measured to some exact degree. But including all of the tremendous number of factors properly into the computations to create a great interconnect seems to be somewhat more art than science - and that's where the "tweak" cable companies come in.

It is notable that there is, indeed, a lot of empty promises and snake-oil antics involved with the high end cable business and I'm not going to try to defend that. Sometimes seperating the wheat from the chaff is difficult to impossible - sometimes thanks to our own "experts", the reviewers, who can get so enthused about something new that they over-exaggerate possible differences because they feel that any change from status quo may be good. I'm saying outright that does happen and it just makes finding the truth all that much harder.

Ask how many of these people, who will stand up on their soap box and speak from on high that interconnects do not sound different have actually tried, in their own systems, a good quantity of high quality interconnects in order to make this judgement sound?

Almost every time you'll get dead silence in return.

For the most part it's people crowing their personal opinions, not known nor learned through experimental facts. Very little experience, a lot of hot air.

I need a main IC upgrade myself, so what I'm currently using is no great deal. But I will willingly open my doors to a skeptic to listen, on my system, to the cables that I currently have. And, if he / she can't tell me that they hear a difference in a few of the cables I have I'll flatly call them...liars. How about this - if cables don't make a difference tell them to try - on their own system - hooking up 75 ohm SPDIF digital coaxial interconnects to a RCA audio connection to compare the sound to standard 75 ohm audio frequency interconnects (I did to try it. The digital IC's was so bright and sibilant in the audio frequencies I almost choked). Ask them to listen - then get back to you. See how much they'll lie to you claiming "no difference" (if their system is of high enough quality to hear it - and that's an important clause).

Finally, just ask them how the factual, measured differences in each cable cannot make a sound difference, considering how careful they are about the same differences everywhere else.

Well, buddy, I'm off the soap box. Good luck and regards!
Snake
post #7 of 66
i think cables make a difference. but compared to the amplifier, source, and speaker/headphone...it's a very minor difference.

spending 10% of your systems budget on cables is a nice rule to follow
post #8 of 66

Re: The Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth!

Quote:
Originally posted by Vedder323
Show me something I post over there to start a fight... I wanna step in the ring and settle this war once and for all! Thanks!
I dont think this topic will ever be settled...never

Its like the God question: "Does God exist?" A good topic to start epic flame wars, but in the end nobody proves a point & everybody comes out angry & bitter
post #9 of 66
Quote:
Somehow, because they do not wish to believe that any of these factors can make an audible sound difference in a cable, because they wish to ignore the factual evidence which proves it (both technical and observable personally, but they do not wish to do that), these factors just don't exist in the cabling realm.
you probably want to read this:

http://home.austin.rr.com/tnulla/dunlavy.htm

especially the part on "John Dunlavy's cable posts ...'Cable nonsense' #1-#4."

if you don't already know, Dunlavy was the designer of some of the world's best loudspeakers. his speakers were at one time used in all the world's best mastering houses.... i'm talking like almost all the best ones. anyway.... he knows his stuff.

enlighten yourself.

(but to paraphrase his LONG rants: basically there are factors that make for better cables, but for the most, part most Audiophile cables are just bullcrap.)
post #10 of 66
Quote:
Ask how many of these people, who will stand up on their soap box and speak from on high that interconnects do not sound different have actually tried, in their own systems, a good quantity of high quality interconnects in order to make this judgement sound?

Almost every time you'll get dead silence in return.
not this time. I will stand up.

I will stand up and say that i have heard for the most part no difference between cables. I have tried many, and still own much of it: VD power cables, Cardas interconnects, Homegrown silver interconnects, MIT interconnects.... and many others. (you wanna buy some off me, pm me!)

I even make custom cables for people.... so many of my customers might be wondering, why the heck is he saying something that seems to contradict his own business!?

this is the deal: i make very well made cables that should perform at their best, even in the most extreme circumstances. i believe in quality. and i believe in the real science behind cables, not bullcrap from audiophile manufacturers. that's what my customers pay for. i use similar cables in my own studio, simply because i believe they are the best performing for realistic amounts of money.

...speed of light technology?--vd. wave propagation speeds?--nordost. GOLDEN RATIO???-cardas. give me a break!

don't believe me?--come on over to my place (i'll probably have a head-fi meet in 1/2 year). we'll have a talk.

there.

i have stood up.
post #11 of 66
Quote:
Originally posted by Orpheus
you probably want to read this:

http://home.austin.rr.com/tnulla/dunlavy.htm

especially the part on "John Dunlavy's cable posts ...'Cable nonsense' #1-#4."

if you don't already know, Dunlavy was the designer of some of the world's best loudspeakers. his speakers were at one time used in all the world's best mastering houses.... i'm talking like almost all the best ones. anyway.... he knows his stuff.

enlighten yourself.
Good read. Thanks for the link.
post #12 of 66
Quote:
Good read. Thanks for the link.
yeah, it's worthwhile for both sides of the argument to read that. it's very informative and covers almost all the related issues.
post #13 of 66
Just to tell you guys, most of the people there think Klipsch 5.1 Ultras are top-of-the-line. Those are what they are using, that's why they say cable-differences are BS. If you gave me $1k/pair cables for my NX10, I'd say it's BS, the NX10 isn't nearly good enough to even show a minute difference, I've tried a whole bunch of cheap-o cables, and they don't make a difference.
post #14 of 66
Quote:
Originally posted by Orpheus
(but to paraphrase his LONG rants: basically there are factors that make for better cables, but for the most, part most Audiophile cables are just bullcrap.)
I am not sure who your post was directed to but, mostly, I will have to agree with that. It's not that you aren't paying for a fine qulaity product when you purchase high end cables - you are - but the cost factors and claims can become quite outrageous. I'm all for a difference but I have to weigh cost vs. outcome as some cost factors involved in these audiophile cables can get, umm, questionable.

There are so many factors involved in this. And I'd probably have to agree with Dunlavy that interrelationships and interactions probably make up a good portion of what can be heard (I've wondered about that and so thought it myself). Of course, as a consumer you cannot change these interrelationships (say a preamp to amp connection interrelationship) and that's where cable tuning comes in - with the greatly admitted small, tiny little difference.

I think half of the "cables are cables" argument is just that those seeking to discount cable differences are looking for a large difference to observe. I'll agree with princeclassic - it's a mighty small difference, cables. Mighty small, for some people. Some claim it is a huge difference in their system and who am I to argue? Maybe it is! Dunlavy speaks of oscillations and maybe that's what people are hearing. I've done cable A-B and while there is a difference, again, it's mightly small. You had better be very familiar with your system, the piece playing, and have a high-rez capable system to boot, to hear some of the differences.

Note that Dunlavy does indeed reference difference in cables
Quote:
Thus, I sincerely hope that the above explanations help to explain why measurements alone may not always fully explain the differences heard between cables - without taking into consideration the interactions between cables and the proclivities exhibited by the output stages of some amplifiers, etc.. However, accurate measurements, properly made and interpreted, can almost always predict how a given cable will react within a given system, taking into account all of the "interface" considerations that must be evaluated. Therefore, measurements can be an invaluable design tool when properly interpreted by a competent engineer seeking optimum performance from a cable or a system
...in other words, it can almost get into hocus-pocus range!! How the hell to WE, from our homes, tell these differences until we try a cable to see how it works in the "interface". We can't. Ouch. So some cables have some differences in some systems, and the only way to find out is to try. Ugh.

So we bumble along, finding good and bad. Each cable reacting differently in the "interface" because maybe the cable isn't designed well. Maybe the amp isn't designed perfectly. Maybe the preamp wasn't designed to interface well with an amp doing what that amp' input is currently doing. It's making us crazy!!
post #15 of 66
i was a non-believer and I have since converted. I was using the Grado SR-60 and the Source and MG Head (see sig) with crappy default cables that you get with these sources...

it sounded pretty good...

Then I got directional cables from Agile_One (gene) and I cannot believe the sound!! Its like an obvious, slap in the face, incredible difference!!!!

Im trying out different cables now and although its harder to tell the difference between dedicated and audiophile quality cables, its VERY easy to tell the difference between the crappy and the good
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