Cable Materials Affecting sound?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by JaeYoon, Oct 21, 2017.
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  1. JaeYoon
    I think a lot of companies like these even those selling 1k to 2k. Plant ideas in consumers brains first, say the cable increases the soundstage and bass and treble.
    Let the customer do rest of the talking. It's like planting a seed that will house the placebo in users mind.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
    hemipowered007 likes this.
  2. ev13wt
    Listening to pink noise? Ok. Levels matched? That could really work!
  3. castleofargh Contributor
    let's start at the beginning with this(can't say if nice tuto or worst ad ever from the 80's).

    then we can discuss how we really need an IEM cable for when you go out in space without a suit like in guardians of the galaxy 2.

    maybe a few interesting points also for beginners about speaker cables from the bodybuilding engineering society
    there are several stuff they said over the years that made me cringe, but overall they come with good intentions and make a few relevant points, so what the hell.

    I had a pretty good paper on signals inside a conductor, touching a few aspects that could be of interest to us, but I can't seem to find it (so many of my bookmarks are dead links now :'( ) but anyway the crux of it was that for the audio band in short cables, we really don't have to worry about much. audiophiles are the most exigent people, but most other applications actually require more care. very high frequency transmissions, or massive amount of data like with video, those stuff can actually reach limitations pretty fast with the wrong cable. but for audio signal, it's relatively easy in comparison.

    as for why sometimes the sound is different, well we'd have to look at specific uses and situations, but of course it happens and of course it's just electricity. a cable is after all one component closing a specific electrical circuit with whatever other stuff on both ends of the cable. just like any electrical circuit, replacing a component with one that has different electrical properties will have an impact on the electrical signal. that's obvious. what's less obvious is why a short cable with almost no impedance at all, would come to make night and day difference compared to another short cable with almost no impedance at all. and often enough, the answer is simply that one of the cables has crap specs. and it's not always the cheap one.

    I can demonstrate some changes but the almost impressive stuff(as in audible) are caused by deliberately using the wrong cables for a given use(wrong specs), or by plugging weird overly sensitive and unstable gear like some multidriver IEMs. it's wouldn't show anything about cables, only poor deduction skills would blame the cables instead of the user or the gears. IMO TBH AFAIK etc.
    ev13wt, cathee and JaeYoon like this.
  4. bigshot
    A few years ago, I was being shown a new mixing stage at the studio I was recording at. The head engineer was going over all the features and he mentioned that the room hadn't even been used yet because he had just finished laying the last of the wiring. I asked him what kind of wire he used. He laughed and went over to a closet and opened it. In it was a huge spindle of wire. He pointed at it and said, "Monoprice".
    JaeYoon and hemipowered007 like this.
  5. Speedskater
    Monoprice sells unlabeled cable to home theater installers. So that the home owner won't know the real cost of the cable.
    ev13wt likes this.
  6. bigshot
    Ha ha! My home theater installer told me he was using monoprice. He said he'd use something fancy if I wanted, but it wouldn't make any difference.
  7. castleofargh Contributor
    who was it who also had some commercial anecdote like those? maybe mc intosh, but I'm not too sure. something about how they were using cheap cables at a show and people kept on focusing on the cables so much that they ended up changing them just so that people would focus on the gear a little.
    not like those stories prove anything, but they're fun.
  8. amirm
    His PhD must be from a correspondence college. :) He absolutely has no knowledge of how wires works. And at any rate, relationship between sound and cabling is not taught in any school.

    What is taught is how the eddy currents and so called skin effects work. As I explain in this post (, the full depth of cabling is used to transfer power in audio cables.

    Even if he is right, then we should be able to see that in transfer function of the cable (i.e. frequency response) and this doesn't show up. Wires have flat response in audio band.

    If anything, it is often the "audiophile cable" that has frequency dependent response. Here is a test I did of generic audio interconnect compared "Transparent Audio" cable. First I set my source impedance in the my generator to 20 ohms and then 600 ohms:


    At 20 ohm source impedance, both cables are flat and on top of each other to 200 Khz (cyan and yellow).

    At 600 ohm, both start to droop some. The generic cable (green) drops -2 db at 200 Khz. At 20 Khz there is no negligible drop.

    The transparent audio cable however has a 5 db drop at 200 Khz and about .2 db at 20 Khz.

    So clearly if we care about equal and flat response to our source music, the generic cheap cable wins here.
  9. bigshot
    Looking at that graph, I'd say both the cables would sound exactly the same transmitting music for human ears.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
    JaeYoon likes this.
  10. JaeYoon
    Thank you so much for amount of info as well, looked at eddy video and rest of thread in Audio Science review, really nice forum too!
  11. amirm
    My pleasure and thanks for the kind words. Great to see this pocket of head-fi being receptive to audio science. My first few posts where elsewhere and there was so much resistance I always gave up participating here!
    JaeYoon likes this.
  12. JaeYoon
    Im definitely gonna sign up there. That forum has a lot of good information even if a small board.

    Yeah there's parts of headfi where I can understand. But there's part where shady things like conning people to spend a lot of money on gear that won't benefit them. Or basically spread dangerous myths like you need to listen to music at max volume or else you lose precious bits that are tossed away by lowering volume!

    Lots of crazy stuff.
  13. ev13wt

    If one has the chance to run the digital at full volume, and control actual volume after the DAC, theoretically:

    In reality, dropping bits ain't a real problem with most music.
    JaeYoon likes this.
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