Originally Posted by Digitalchkn
Well. There are as many opinions as there are people involved. So not having done exhaustive field studies in every aspect of cabling and interconnects I can only offer my person opinion from my personal and professional experience. In other words, my disclaimer is that I can offer you my opinion.
In my opinion:
1. high quality cabling is critical for analog signals.
2. quality cabling is critical for digital I/O only to the point that digital data gets across correctly.
As this answer is somewhat vague and has potential to spawn countless debates I shall leave it that... for now
Yeah, that's a real teaser of an answer
I agree with both of your points. In fact, #2 is common sense for anybody familiar with digital systems.
What I want to get at is what constitutes "high quality cabling"? I cannot think of any reason why something with reasonably high wire gauge, good shielding, quality connectors, and reasonable length (like these) wouldn't be orders of magnitude beyond the limits of human perception in terms of signal transparency. The monoprice cable I linked has a 16 AWG twisted pair cable with 98% shield coverage and corrosion resistant connectors. And its pretty short. These are all of the electrical characteristics I would expect to make an excellent connector for a voltage bridging connection such as line level audio signals. Yet, folks in the Cables and DBX-free forum call me an a-hole because that cable only cost 7 bucks. Why? What could some esoteric audiophile cable costing $1000/meter improve upon for a line level 10-22kHz bandwidth-limited audio signal?
What about the stock cable on my HD280-pro headphones? It's 3 ft, coiled, stretches up to 10 ft. The connector is gold plated (corrosion resistant). I believe it is a pair of twisted pairs, sheilded. My headphones are nominally 64 Ohm and Tyll measures the headphone response, distortion, and impedance to be this. The frequency response is rolled off -20dB by 20kHz. The distortion somewhere between 0.1 and 1% from 40Hz -- 6kHz. What possibly could a fancy cable upgrade provide that would be audible? an extra 0.1 dB at 20kHz (which I can't hear over 19kHz anyway)?
If there are some special worst case scenarios where a cable or interconnect can provide an audible difference, I'd really be interested to know what they are, but as it stands, I cannot devise a "killer sample" scenario for any reasonable setup where good quality cables are already in place.
Edited by ab initio - 5/22/14 at 6:35pm