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Could the Oehlbach cable be as good as Cardas, Equinox? - Page 2

post #16 of 63
Without any real experience, I decided to go against the grain and ordered a new Cardas cable to accompany my HD650s. I'll use it for a few months and then "possibly" order the Zu, just to see the diff. for myself. I'm concerned that the sources I'll be using with this setup won't really do it justice just yet.
post #17 of 63
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I appreciate your honest opinion however I would see where the sound of the Oehlbach is after about 150-200 hours, it may open up more. 72 hours of signal is a fair amount of time for a cables dielectric to become conditioned but I've seen many cables take far more hours to break in and this may or may not be the case with the Oehlbach.
My experience is that cables tend to be 80-95% broken in within 48 hours of continuous use, and 98% broken in after 72 hours (these figures are not of course exact), which is why I considered it appropriate to review them after this period. I have never encountered any cables that took longer than this to run in, although I have listened to many, many cables over the years constructed of many different kinds of materials. Certainly, there will be some marginal further improvement with time, but I think you should be able to hear everything you need to know about a cable after 72 hours.

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if anything, your impressions further prove that the differences between the two headphones alone (600/650) are pretty noticable and for the most part, are worth the upgrade.
I'm not sure I actually said that. In fact, I don't really think the 650 is worth the upgrade unless you have lots of money you're trying to spend, or - like me - you have this anal compulsion to own everything. The 650 is noticeably different to the 600, but it is a small difference, and it is largely a non-musical difference: i.e. it sounds a little more substantial, a bit better defined spatially, a slightly more prominent midrange, but these are marginal changes, and they don't make the music any more enjoyable (just as, in my opinion, the 600 did not represent a musical improvement over the 580s; I can happily sit back and listen to my 580s instead of the 600s without feeling that I am missing anything ... but I digress.) What I really meant to imply was that the difference between the 600 and 650 was so small that the difference between two cables was more noticeable. That said, my 650s probably still have some more running in to do (headphones and speakers tend to take months to run in properly, unlike cables).

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just wait until you hear what the Zu's can do with the 650's.
I'd be interested to hear the Zu's, but I have never liked cables with silver content. I find they have just the kind of treble extension you describe, but in an artificial way which I don't generally find attractive. Silver content cables (even when it is a small amount of silver) also tend to drain colour from the sound, in my experience. Now, I haven't heard the Zu's, so they may be different, but I have yet to hear a silver or silver/copper cable that doesn't fall into this pattern. For that reason I won't be buying the Zu's, but would love to hear them.
post #18 of 63
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Originally posted by Ross
The result is that the Oehlbach cable is not a giant killer. In fact, I'm not even sure it's a midget killer. First of all, against the Cardas cable, the Cardas clearly blows it into the weeds. The Cardas has extended highs and lows, a natural midrange, and a liquid and sweet sound. By comparison the Oehlbach cable sounds dull and flat, with clearly limited high frequencies; the sound is a little grainy compared to the Cardas, and doesn't have the sweetness or liquidity of the Cardas. In fact the difference between two sets of 600s with one using the Cardas and the other using the Oehlbach cable was bigger than the difference between the 600s and 650s. I would take the 600s/Cardas over the 650/Oehlbach any day. (Fortunately I own both!)
It's interesting in that your opinion differs from the majority who found the Oehlbach to be a major improvement over the stock cable (at least with the HD600s), and not drastically far off from the pricier Senn cables.

Of course, I should say that the very fact that different people have such wildly differing experience with cables in general only reinforces my skepticism and belief that cables are 99.999% snake oil -- maybe 100%. In other words you hear what you pay for (the cost determines the perceived SQ gain), or maybe people just hear what they want to hear.
post #19 of 63
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In other words you hear what you pay for (the cost determines the perceived SQ gain), or maybe people just hear what they want to hear.
If that were the case, I would rate the Oehlbach cable over the stock cable (which I don't), and I would also rate the Clou cables as better than the Oehlbach and close to the Cardas (which I don't). I've also replaced most of my expensive Kimber Select, Nirvana and Magnan interconnects with cheap Chord Chrysalis and Cobra because they sound better to me in ways that I value, even though they cost a fraction of the price of my other cables. So much for the theory that you hear what you pay for.
post #20 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Ross
If that were the case, I would rate the Oehlbach cable over the stock cable (which I don't), and I would also rate the Clou cables as better than the Oehlbach and close to the Cardas (which I don't). I've also replaced most of my expensive Kimber Select, Nirvana and Magnan interconnects with cheap Chord Chrysalis and Cobra because they sound better to me in ways that I value, even though they cost a fraction of the price of my other cables. So much for the theory that you hear what you pay for.
The theory is not debunked by a single person's opinion, but I appreciate your input on the matter.

Given that the Oehlbach is technically better than the stock cable in all ways (OFC, better construction, thicker, better shielding, one piece plug, etc), what's your explanation of the impression you got that it's no better (or even worse) sounding than the stock cable?

Edit -- actually, don't bother... voodoo can't be explained by rationality or science.
post #21 of 63
Well fewtch, think of it as republicans and democrats. Same facts, but WHOA different interpretations. I hear the difference with cables, but I don't feel it's worth paying for with my current income. It would be major bang for buck in other areas of my life. A cable or a bottlehead tube preamp? A headphone cable and an IC or sacdmod my cd player? No question which ones I'd go for...But if I had mucho moola, hey, I'd get both!
post #22 of 63
Quote:
Given that the Oehlbach is technically better than the stock cable in all ways (OFC, better construction, thicker, better shielding, one piece plug, etc), what's your explanation of the impression you got that it's no better (or even worse) sounding than the stock cable?
First, I haven't said that it is no better. I said that it was better in some ways - it clearly has a more substantial sound with a fuller midrange - and these differences could be accounted for by the different cable construction. But subjectively I thought that these improvements were outweighed by the restricted dynamics and high frequencies. I also said that many people would prefer the Oehlbach cable All of this is consistent with a differently constructed cable.

Second, I offer no explanation for differences between cables. I am not an engineer, a physicist or a materials scientist. I hear a difference and I report it - explaining it is someone else's job.

Third, for if you think that cables don't make any difference, why are you wasting your time in a cable thread?

Finally, cables do make a big difference. As I said earlier, the difference between the cables was bigger than the difference between the headphones. If you can't hear any difference, then that's great, just save your money. But please don't tell me what I am or am not hearing, or that it is somehow more "rational" or "scientific" to ignore the evidence of your ears and brain in favour of your own particular prejudice that prevents you from hearing clearly audible differences.
post #23 of 63
I've found the Equinox to be a pretty huge improvement over the stock cables on my HD600. I tried the Clou cables, and didn't like them at all, way too bright. I even preferred the stock cables to these. I later found out, after I had sold them, that Clou uses silver-plated copper, which explains the brightness. I think it's generally agreed that silver-plated copper often ends up sounding bright, or at least brighter. I found the same thing with my DH Labs BL-1 IC's, and they also use silver-plated copper. Similar sonic signature. Basically, in my experience, with cables you can narrow it down to two things, proper materials and proper construction.
post #24 of 63
Thread Starter 
Fewtch,

I welcome your skepticism (never a bad thing) but I wonder what your beliefs are when it comes to cables. Would you say that their is no difference in the sound between silver and copper cables? Do you believe the gauge of the wire used in the cable can effect the sound (up to a point, of course)?

I'm sorry to challenge you but I'm curious as to what, exactly, you are skeptical about when it comes to cables. Any sound engineer or experienced audiophile will tell you that the metal used in the wire of the cable (and in the connectors) will effect the sound. The same goes the gauge of the wire (again, up to a point). But whether those changes are positive or negative, well, of course, that's up to the listener.
post #25 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Patrickhat2001
Fewtch,

I welcome your skepticism (never a bad thing) but I wonder what your beliefs are when it comes to cables. Would you say that their is no difference in the sound between silver and copper cables? Do you believe the gauge of the wire used in the cable can effect the sound (up to a point, of course)?
Rarely, and in very few cases.
Quote:

I'm sorry to challenge you but I'm curious as to what, exactly, you are skeptical about when it comes to cables.
Mostly the claim that they make major, substantial sonic differences that are worth paying mucho dinero to get. Also, the fact that everyone hears something different (at least until they discuss it, at which case agreements emerge) indicates to me that the placebo effect is strongly operative here.
Quote:

Any sound engineer or experienced audiophile will tell you that the metal used in the wire of the cable (and in the connectors) will effect the sound.
False.
post #26 of 63
Oh come now, what if the cable were made of a tube of water? Made of plastic? Sound the same? There have to be some ground rules. Conducting electricity would be a good place to start...At the very least, anyone with a strong position on this issue has the obligation to have at least listened for themselves. You may think the difference is negligible, or it may even be detrimental. If you don't hear a difference, then you don't hear a difference. At the very least, be informed.

As I often have said, even if it is placebo effect, placebo effect works.
post #27 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by ooheadsoo
Oh come now, what if the cable were made of a tube of water? Made of plastic? Sound the same? There have to be some ground rules. Conducting electricity would be a good place to start...
Thing is, that's probably about where it ends as well.
Quote:
As I often have said, even if it is placebo effect, placebo effect works.
So you'd pay $500 or something for what amounts to a bottle of sugar pills?
post #28 of 63
I wouldn't, but some people would. If $500 will cure "cancer" but all it really is, is a bottle of good ol' sugar pills, and I had cancer...I'd buy it! Good thing I don't have cancer...
post #29 of 63
fewtch,
I've seen it with my own eyes. I "blind" tested my girlfriend while I was experimenting with my own DIY cables. We both have well-trained ears, being serious music students and all. I had already done some listening for myself, and had come to some conclusions as to the differences between two particular interconnects. None of this was disclosed to my girlfriend. I told her "here, sit down, listen to this." then played her a part of a track. Then swapped cables, and repeated the procedure. She heard differences, and her impressions were strikingly similar to my own. Far too similar to be a mere coincidence. Mind you, she wasn't actually blind folded, but she's no audiophile... All these cables were just hacked together as test subjects, so they all looked pretty much the same. I'm not trying to convert you or anything, just sharing my experiences. If you can't tell the difference, then I guess you don't need to buy expensive cables. Simple as that. These differences are subtle-- they're not going to turn your Senns into Grados-- but to me anyway, these subtleties make the difference between a system that sounds great, and a system that sounds truly pleasurable . Again.. your mileage may vary!
post #30 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by fewtch
Thing is, that's probably about where it ends as well.

Well water conducts electricity. I don't think anyone would go so far as to say that a garden hose would make a good IC given "proper construction" and all that jazz.
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