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Which cable upgrade made the most difference in your system? Power cord, interconnects or...

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 

I have assembled a decent system and looking to make cable upgrades.

Thanks

Larry

post #2 of 55

The cable to my pacemaker. Without it my heart would skip a beat whenever I listen to music. :D

As you might guess, I don't believe much in cables, unless one is either defective or was manufactured cheaply. YMMV.

post #3 of 55
I'd suggest starting with the interconnects. Good luck.
post #4 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by dguitarnut View Post

I have assembled a decent system and looking to make cable upgrades.
Thanks
Larry

This question is difficult to answer without some specific information about what is in your system. What kind of amp/DAC, headphones, speakers etc, are you using? What kinds of interconnects are you using now? In my own system I found that using balanced XLR cable to my Airmotiv 4 speakers rather than RCA connectors made (to me, anyway) a very noticeable difference in sound quality. On the other hand, my inexpensive Audioquest Forrest USB cable from my MacBook to my Wadia 121 amp/DAC was just as good as the considerably more expensive Nordost blue heaven USB. Honestly, I could not reliably differentiate between them. Well made cables with reasonable shielding are usually every bit as good as extremely expensive cables to most listeners. I'm sure if you provide more specific information, others will chime in.
post #5 of 55
^^^ The OP's info is in his profile.
post #6 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget67 View Post


This question is difficult to answer without some specific information about what is in your system. What kind of amp/DAC, headphones, speakers etc, are you using? What kinds of interconnects are you using now? In my own system I found that using balanced XLR cable to my Airmotiv 4 speakers rather than RCA connectors made (to me, anyway) a very noticeable difference in sound quality. On the other hand, my inexpensive Audioquest Forrest USB cable from my MacBook to my Wadia 121 amp/DAC was just as good as the considerably more expensive Nordost blue heaven USB. Honestly, I could not reliably differentiate between them. Well made cables with reasonable shielding are usually every bit as good as extremely expensive cables to most listeners. I'm sure if you provide more specific information, others will chime in.

Using balanced cables doubles the voltage and being louder affects how one perceives sound. One would have to compare with matched volume and do so quickly to really tell if there is any difference. Then there's always the human aspect.

post #7 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaffer View Post

^^^ The OP's info is in his profile.

I know you are trying to be helpful, but the short answer is that questions should be self contained and not require additional research to answer. He may have also asked an open ended question deliberately and I tried to answer accordingly. You are also assuming his profile (yes, I know it is recent) is up to date as of today.
post #8 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by StanD View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget67 View Post

This question is difficult to answer without some specific information about what is in your system. What kind of amp/DAC, headphones, speakers etc, are you using? What kinds of interconnects are you using now? In my own system I found that using balanced XLR cable to my Airmotiv 4 speakers rather than RCA connectors made (to me, anyway) a very noticeable difference in sound quality. On the other hand, my inexpensive Audioquest Forrest USB cable from my MacBook to my Wadia 121 amp/DAC was just as good as the considerably more expensive Nordost blue heaven USB. Honestly, I could not reliably differentiate between them. Well made cables with reasonable shielding are usually every bit as good as extremely expensive cables to most listeners. I'm sure if you provide more specific information, others will chime in.
Using balanced cables doubles the voltage and being louder affects how one perceives sound. One would have to compare with matched volume and do so quickly to really tell if there is any difference. Then there's always the human aspect.

I'm a cable skeptic too, though in this case the difference really seemed significant. I've done some very limited research on balanced vs RCA and I recall reading about the volume differences so you are likely correct wink.gif.
post #9 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget67 View Post


I'm a cable skeptic too, though in this case the difference really seemed significant. I've done some very limited research on balanced vs RCA and I recall reading about the volume differences so you are likely correct wink.gif.

But no difference in SQ. Just turn up the volume and save some moolah.

post #10 of 55
Thread Starter 
Sorry I should have posted what I have.
My desk unit is a Soloist with a emotiva dc1. MacBook Pro and th900 headphones.
Right now I'm just using some semi nice monster cables and the original power cords and a generic USB cable.
I was considering some sub $200 silver interconnects as a starter.
post #11 of 55
Thread Starter 
Although I really posed the question as what did you find in your own upgrade path.
Thanks
Larry
post #12 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by dguitarnut View Post

I was considering some sub $200 silver interconnects as a starter.

I would never put that amount of money into any kind of cable.

 

You don't need to go fancy (or expensive) to get the highest sound quality, as long as you have the right cables. For speaker cables the gauge is obviously very important. For long cable runs, especially with mics or guitars at the end, balanced cables are the way to go to reduce interferences.

Some headphone cables are overly thin, so again a question of the right gauge.

 

Switching to different materials, like silver, doesn't help. I've talked to some mastering engineers and they neither use expensive audiophile nor the cheapest cables they can find, but solid, durable, reasonably priced cables (you'd say they're cheap compared to what some audiophile cables cost).

post #13 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post
 

I would never put that amount of money into any kind of cable.

 

You don't need to go fancy (or expensive) to get the highest sound quality, as long as you have the right cables. For speaker cables the gauge is obviously very important. For long cable runs, especially with mics or guitars at the end, balanced cables are the way to go to reduce interferences.

Some headphone cables are overly thin, so again a question of the right gauge.

 

Switching to different materials, like silver, doesn't help. I've talked to some mastering engineers and they neither use expensive audiophile nor the cheapest cables they can find, but solid, durable, reasonably priced cables (you'd say they're cheap compared to what some audiophile cables cost).

I couldn't say that any better.

post #14 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by dguitarnut View Post

I was considering some sub $200 silver interconnects as a starter.
I would never put that amount of money into any kind of cable.

You don't need to go fancy (or expensive) to get the highest sound quality, as long as you have the right cables. For speaker cables the gauge is obviously very important. For long cable runs, especially with mics or guitars at the end, balanced cables are the way to go to reduce interferences.
Some headphone cables are overly thin, so again a question of the right gauge.

Switching to different materials, like silver, doesn't help. I've talked to some mastering engineers and they neither use expensive audiophile nor the cheapest cables they can find, but solid, durable, reasonably priced cables (you'd say they're cheap compared to what some audiophile cables cost).

I agree 100%. Good advice, especially the last sentence.
post #15 of 55

Get power cord+power conditioner first. Always powered the conditioner with your best power cable. you'll be surprised how easy it is to hear the difference.

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