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Better cables = better sound? - Page 2

post #16 of 108

A better idea would be to get a better source for your money. If you don't mind the awful and slow software, an iBasso DX100 is a vastly better-sounding piece of kit than an iPod or iPhone, even with an amp IMO. If you love your iPod, a Foxtex HP-P1 or a number of other components can get music from an iPod over a digital connection and have better DACs. That's the place to start before you consider cables of any kind.

 

If you ask about cables, you'll get people saying any of:

 

1. No.

2. Yes.

3. YMMV. 

all with various arguments repeated ad nauseum until the thread ends up locked.

post #17 of 108

i find myself cycling up on the setup...cans..dacs...amps...cables..rcas...usbs..pwcords...

and then it reached a stage where i am cycling down somewhat on my cans esp;

parking myself at the midfi zone, and milking every ounce of cream out of it..

(busted my wallet yiakkkkkssssss !! )

 

so far, i havnt heard two IDENTICAL item...

some differences are minute, but its there...if u spend time listening..

across diff genre...

transient, depth, highs, lows..color...etc etc..

what stayed would be a matter of value/taste.

its a journey of learning n self discovery.

 

Nirvana is just one cable away... :P

ps: waiting for my killer usb cable...its in the mail. ..rubbbb my hands.


Edited by Lorspeaker - 4/19/13 at 7:39pm
post #18 of 108

The OP asked only about cables. But to prevent misunderstanding of my last reply, I also agree you should first concentrate on improving you main components, like source, amp, phones. Only think about cables once the main components are sorted and in balance. I've never advocated that you should spend money on cables instead of main components.

post #19 of 108
Thread Starter 
I was actually thinking about the IEM earphone cable. The one that connects to the IEM. But it is still the same? Thank you again.
post #20 of 108

Cable sometimes does work in a way that offer better signal. But some people may think the improvement they get might not worth the price

post #21 of 108

It is rather unfortunate that to avoid fanaticism and confrontation, I have to preface my post by saying this, but I will note that these are my opinions only, backed by what I know about science and my engineering degree, but others may have a different subjective experience

 

===

 

That said, no, I do not believe cables make an ounce of difference as far as humanly perceptible sound quality goes. I tend to get premium cables or make my own, but that's only because I prefer the better build quality, a more flexible cable, or because stock cables are often too long (seriously, I'm not in a studio recording my platinum album... I don't need a 10ft+ cable...). Plus, it can be fun to DIY. 

 

But for SQ? Not a chance. Just think about it -- if cables really made such a great difference, why wouldn't the headphone manufacturers include all these newfangled silver, etc cables of 7N+? Or why wouldn't they make their own and sell it at an aftermarket premium? If it actually mattered, isn't failure to do so negligence on their part by gimping the maximum potential of their own product? In a market where the upper echelon manufacturers are separated by only minute differences, why wouldn't they want to squeeze as much out of their headphones as possible?

 

Alternately, just think about the actual worth of your entire headphones. If you have, say a (once upon a time high-end) mid-fi phone like the HD650, which is roughly $300-350... how can spending that much, or even half that (or even a quarter), be worth it? Wouldn't it better to, I don't know, get a new pair of headphones with that money than to try to squeeze infinitesimal performance out of the existing one?

 

Third counter point. All chains are bottlenecked by the weakest link. People who insist cables can be bottlenecking your system fail to realize that cables aren't just the wire that's inside. Cables are composed of interconnects, which probably aren't 9.99999999999999999% pure unobtanium and function by mechanical contact rather than a strong electrical contact bridge like solder. So, even if you got the best cable ever, that's not the bottleneck, the interconnects on the cable and your system are. Let's go a step further. What about the solder that binds your cable to the interconnects. Chances are they're some combination of tin and lead. Let's go even further. Your actual amp, DAC, etc. have all kind of components soldered and if there's point-to-point wiring, those wires are probably not as nice as the cable wire itself. 99 times out of 100, it's going to be OFC copper, or worse. Replacing your cable and hoping to get better sound quality, without realizing that there are other electrical bottlenecks, is like if I upgraded my graphics card from a Radeon 7970 to the latest Radeon 7990 but am still running a Pentium 2. The graphics card isn't the issue, and neither are your cables.

 

I could go one all day about the science about it too, but since people are touchy on about science here, I'll save that for the sound science forum and just present the three arguments above based on logic, not science. There are reasons to get better cables (again, I do!) but sound quality is not one of them.


Edited by tintin220 - 4/20/13 at 9:46am
post #22 of 108
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tintin220 View Post

It is rather unfortunate that to avoid fanaticism and confrontation, I have to preface my post by saying this, but I will note that these are my opinions only, backed by what I know about science and my engineering degree, but others may have a different subjective experience

 

===

 

That said, no, I do not believe cables make an ounce of difference as far as humanly perceptible sound quality goes. I tend to get premium cables or make my own, but that's only because I prefer the better build quality, a more flexible cable, or because stock cables are often too long (seriously, I'm not in a studio recording my platinum album... I don't need a 10ft+ cable...). Plus, it can be fun to DIY. 

 

But for SQ? Not a chance. Just think about it -- if cables really made such a great difference, why wouldn't the headphone manufacturers include all these newfangled silver, etc cables of 7N+? Or why wouldn't they make their own and sell it at an aftermarket premium? If it actually mattered, isn't failure to do so negligence on their part by gimping the maximum potential of their own product? In a market where the upper echelon manufacturers are separated by only minute differences, why wouldn't they want to squeeze as much out of their headphones as possible?

 

Alternately, just think about the actual worth of your entire headphones. If you have, say a (once upon a time high-end) mid-fi phone like the HD650, which is roughly $300-350... how can spending that much, or even half that (or even a quarter), be worth it? Wouldn't it better to, I don't know, get a new pair of headphones with that money than to try to squeeze infinitesimal performance out of the existing one?

 

Third counter point. All chains are bottlenecked by the weakest link. People who insist cables can be bottlenecking your system fail to realize that cables aren't just the wire that's inside. Cables are composed of interconnects, which probably aren't 9.99999999999999999% pure unobtanium and function by mechanical contact rather than a strong electrical contact bridge like solder. So, even if you got the best cable ever, that's not the bottleneck, the interconnects on the cable and your system are. Let's go a step further. What about the solder that binds your cable to the interconnects. Chances are they're some combination of tin and lead. Let's go even further. Your actual amp, DAC, etc. have all kind of components soldered and if there's point-to-point wiring, those wires are probably not as nice as the cable wire itself. 99 times out of 100, it's going to be OFC copper, or worse. Replacing your cable and hoping to get better sound quality, without realizing that there are other electrical bottlenecks, is like if I upgraded my graphics card from a Radeon 7970 to the latest Radeon 7990 but am still running a Pentium 2. The graphics card isn't the issue, and neither are your cables.

 

I could go one all day about the science about it too, but since people are touchy on about science here, I'll save that for the sound science forum and just present the three arguments above based on logic, not science. There are reasons to get better cables (again, I do!) but sound quality is not one of them.


Greatly appreciate your reply. I have not much to say about it because it makes sense.

post #23 of 108

cables do make a difference!

 

but if the iem potential is maxed out, no matter what excellent cables you put, nothing will improve

 

i beg to differ upgrading source over cables or iem, i tried using a UM1 on an ipod and then on a Colorfly C4 and there was not much difference in sound.

post #24 of 108
Some cables are so good I could hear the brand of the drumsticks....lol.
I m excited...anyday now...one more cable in my postbox..
Some kind of silver crystal witchcraft. Yummmmm.
post #25 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by tintin220 View Post

 Just think about it -- if cables really made such a great difference, why wouldn't the headphone manufacturers include all these newfangled silver, etc cables of 7N+? 

 

 

Audio Technica does advertise that their more expensive headphones come with OCCC cables. Sony just upgraded their XBA series with OCCC copper too. Maybe it's just for marketing though, I don't know.  However, my own opinion is that there was no SQ benefit when I upgraded a pair of AD2000s with a better cable. The opposite was the case with HD-800s and Audeze's headphones.  As for the science of it, I gather special equipment is needed to measure the electrical behaviour of wire properly. However, I totally understand how crazy the idea of spending a significant percentage of the cost of a pair of headphones on a cable is to many people. I think it's more important that people should choose to do whatever makes them satisfied, whether that be to buy something to decide never to.

post #26 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
As for the science of it, I gather special equipment is needed to measure the electrical behaviour of wire properly.

 

Unless you're talking about ferromagnetic materials (which would exhibit magnetic hysteresis), the only thing the wire itself brings to the table is simple resistance. The rest (i.e. inductance and capacitance) is a function of geometry and dielectric material (which is a separate issue from the wire itself). Anything else that might possibly be going on would be buried below the thermal noise of the wire (heat is responsible for nearly all of the wire's resistance). That in turn would be buried below the thermal noise of the wire in the headphone's voice coil and that in turn would be buried below the amplifier's noise. And all of that, save perhaps for particularly noisy amplifiers, would be trounced by the music we're listening to which is the whole idea of all this stuff in the first place.

 

se

post #27 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Eddy View Post

 

Unless you're talking about ferromagnetic materials (which would exhibit magnetic hysteresis), the only thing the wire itself brings to the table is simple resistance. The rest (i.e. inductance and capacitance) is a function of geometry and dielectric material (which is a separate issue from the wire itself). Anything else that might possibly be going on would be buried below the thermal noise of the wire (heat is responsible for nearly all of the wire's resistance). That in turn would be buried below the thermal noise of the wire in the headphone's voice coil and that in turn would be buried below the amplifier's noise. And all of that, save perhaps for particularly noisy amplifiers, would be trounced by the music we're listening to which is the whole idea of all this stuff in the first place.

 

se

 

 

 

I find it kinda peculiar that with all the comments posted in this forum on the differences some cables make, you choose to completely dismiss these as evidence, and only stick to what you know scientifically. if anything these comments should give you some kind of clue, or a hint, that maybe, just maybe what you know is not all there's to know on metal conductivity, etc..

 

have you ever wondered why Toxic's cables are so popular, and selling more cables than you do, and probably all the other cables sellers put together? I know, Frank is nice guy, maybe too nice at times (for me), but surely it cannot be just that! you're a nice fellow yourself, maybe even nicer, afaic. you cannot accuse him of making wild claims about his cables... I don't think I ever saw him making a comment on his cables... every claim on Toxic's cables are made entirely by the users. okay, maybe he has a couple of funboys, but so do you.

 

there have been a few cable sellers before Toxic's , including yours, but none have been so popular. why? you cannot possibly dismiss these facts as mere coincidence, or the result of cognitive biases (or whatever theories are).

 

if this is how the scientific community work, I feel sorry for you, and for us all.

 

 

 

apologies for the awful grammar .

post #28 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenni View Post

you cannot possibly dismiss these facts as mere coincidence, or the result of cognitive biases (or whatever theories are).

 

 

Marketing. I believe Monster sold even more cables, it means nothing.

post #29 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Graphicism View Post

 

Marketing. I believe Monster sold even more cables, it means nothing.

 

what marketing? I don't remember Toxic's advertising anymore than anybody else, if anything, even less.

 

Monster is precisely my point. if advertising was all there was to it, Monster's should be the most popular cables among audiophile. in fact, it's not popular at all!

post #30 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenni View Post

what marketing? I don't remember Toxic's advertising anymore than anybody else, if anything, even less.

 

Monster is precisely my point. if advertising was all there was to it, Monster's should be the most popular cables among audiophile. in fact, it's not popular at all!

 

Maybe "Toxic's" cables have a more personal feel and touch which appeals more to the audiophile (head-fi) market.

 

You guys all tell yourself one cable is better than another, anything corporate i.e. monster is automatically disqualified.

 

Most people can't hear the difference in source quality or bit-rate and to believe you can hear an audible difference between the metal used inside a cable is hogwash!

 

EDIT: In fact James Randi is offering one-million-dollars to anyone who can hear a difference between cheap and premium cables.


Edited by Graphicism - 4/24/13 at 2:15pm
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