Cable upgrade…(what do you think)
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SanS

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Hi, guys,

There are a lot of postings saying that a cable upgrade gives a great improvement to the sounding of some cans (Sennheiser top models HD590/580/600 in particular)…
But in the same time there are some head-fi’ers who don’t believe in some sound improvements due to stock cable change, so I do… Because I think that if the cable upgrade really makes noticeable difference in the way some cans sound – why for example Sennheiser don’t supply their top models (600/650) with a modified (upgraded) cables…, is there any evident reason that makes manufacturers to keep from this?

And I can hardly believe that cable upgrade makes day’n’night difference for HD590 (as it was stated here many times), and ‘gives much more than cheap amp’…
Stock cables of all the Sennheiser's cans are really thin, but I don’t think that this thinness implies poor sounding…

By the way, I’d like to know: how many people here are also skeptical for cable upgrade?

(I understand that it’s the question like – ‘do you believe in burn in’: someone thinks that a cans are ‘burning in’ – the others that a hearing is just getting used to the specific sounding of some cans, but anyway…)

Thanks in advance four your opinions!
 
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gpalmer

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I have heard the improvements and the differences between stock and replacement cables with the 600 and 650 and I'm sure the upgrades were an improvement. The reasons I would suggest for Senn not including a better cable are:
1) People's opinions of different cables varies, some such as fewtch really like the stock cable even, so even if they did include the upgrade there would still be folks who wanted another one.

2) They manufacturing for a price point and the upgrade cables add quite a bit to the price. This might change with the higher volumes of mass production but it would still up the price considerably.
 
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SanS

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Quote:

Originally Posted by gpalmer
2) They manufacturing for a price point and the upgrade cables add quite a bit to the price. This might change with the higher volumes of mass production but it would still up the price considerably.


But for the top models (~ HD650) this point isn't really applied, because the sound quality is more significant here than price... Maybe Sennheiser sees no use to make such an upgrade...
 
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kalzone

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Perhaps it's to leave some room for aftermarket/3rd party vendors to sell their accessories which improve sennheiser's products.
 
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h3nG

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it really depends who you're asking...

and the problem is, questions like these are often asked and answered only on this forum. some of the members here own audio equipments that costs more than some cars i've seen on the street. to these folks, that slight gain in performance sounds a lot to their ears. and they often express their experience it in such a way that often lead others new to the forum to believe that the difference is night and day.

with that said...you also have to keep in mind that not everyone has the same ears or perception of sound. this is because not everyone listens to music in the same fashion or condition. some critically pay attention to every detail and note, really experiencing the tunes, while others often play music for background sound and rarely have time for critical listening sessions.

being the latter of the two (and a broke college student), i find that cable upgrades are...kinda wasteful. but that's because my audio philosophy is not the same as others here. to me, if i have to really have to listen for the difference in order to detect them, then it's not worth it (atleast not at the price point). because i know that when it comes time to actually listening, i wont notice. and i think most people would not notice that they are using stock cables if they weren't actually looking for the difference or noticing the physical differences. but i am also sure there are those who can detect quite readily.

to me, cables are last on the upgrade list, even for the senns. headphones makes the greatest difference in sound, then sources, followed by amplifiers. i've had the cardas, and i can detect the difference with a good source and amp...only when i critically looking for it, and on songs that i've heard probably more than 100 times in a month. so that's why i got rid of it and started my fund for the ppx3. i may someday upgrade my cables again, but that day would probably be after i pay off my college debts...and hopefully not sooner.

when you read the comments here, just remind yourself where you're at and who you're talking to. folks here are such experts that you would lead to believe they came out of the womb wearing a pair of phones. they're not like some of your friends, who cant detect the sonic differences between the sr225 and sr60.
 
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JaZZ

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It's not that a cable replacement is absolutely essential for sound quality. Source and amp come first IMO. But once you reach a certain rung on the ladder you don't want to renounce the last bit of refinement -- which a «better» cable will indeed offer. And it's not even that subtle once you're accustomed to the specific sound of your system. However, I guess I could live with HD 650 and stock cable if I had to -- but there's no reason for going back, instead there's a Silver Dragon on the way to complement my Zu Mobius.
Audiophilism is an addiction -- if not a religion.

 
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StevieDvd

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As I own both the HD590s and the HD600s I thought I'd pipe up with my amateur comments.

The stock cable on the HD590s is really thin and a single cable, whilst the HD600 at least has double cable and connectors.

I doubt the cost difference between the 2 cables would be that much so why not use the same double cable? So perhaps the HD590s use the same coonector & cable as the much cheaper models and Sennheiser realised it was too cheap for the HD600.

I've already replaced the cable on the HD600s and am looking to do the same on the HD590s if I can get one for a reasonable price.

Steve
 
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SanS

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Thanks everybody for the comments and especially h3nG for your view point!

I can just add that there is other overly important thing that makes some people (including me) doubt in cable replacement - not everybody, but a great number of listeners just can not distinguish the sounding of the stock cable from the replaced one with a BLIND TEST...

That's why all the talks about day'n'night sound difference due to cable replacement remain to be just a subjective view points IMO... Just try to do a BLIND test, and you'll see...
So why to pay up to $250 for a "magic" cable having not distinguished "new sounding" from the stock one....
I admit that improvements in sounding are, but you can never catch them with your ears.
 
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JaZZ

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To everybody his own point of view... that's okay and part of Head-Fi's discussion culture. Well, it seems like you already had your one from the beginning
and wanted to confirm it or be confirmed in it.


Quote:

Originally Posted by SanS
I can just add that there is other overly important thing that makes some people (including me) doubt in cable replacement - not everybody, but a great number of listeners just can not distinguish the sounding of the stock cable from the replaced one with a BLIND TEST...


I can't remember that a blind test with headphone cables ever has been done or reported, resp., which would be difficult to do anyway. But you seem to be convinced that there's no audible difference between the different cables. Have you ever done such a (blind) comparison yourself or is this just guessing?


Quote:

That's why all the talks about day'n'night sound difference due to cable replacement remain to be just a subjective view points IMO... Just try to do a BLIND test, and you'll see...


Why not also call for blind tests for headphones, while we're at it?
You seem to mix up things: hearing differences is not a matter of the viewpoint (at most insofar as a biased ideology towards their non-existence possibly prevents you from perceiving them), but simply of unbiased hearing.


Quote:

So why to pay up to $250 for a "magic" cable having not distinguished "new sounding" from the stock one.... I admit that improvements in sounding are, but you can never catch them with your ears.


What a great logic!
And what's it actually that I hear, then?
Improvements that are real, but that I can't hear?


 
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well, actually i think the reason why some people think that cable upgrades make a world of difference is because it is a world of difference to them.

to us people who have an interest in the technical aspects of sound reproduction, what is objectively a small difference, when interpreted by our subjective minds, becomes a whole lot of change.

we perhaps forget to view the change as someone new to the hobby might, as our enthusiasm takes over.

in short, you could say that we head-fiers are a little disconnected from reality.


for the record, as someone who has done a cable swap (on a dt880) while he was still a relative newbie (and hence ostensibly more objective
), the differences are subtle. but they are there.
 
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wallijonn

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Quote:

Originally Posted by SanS
...a great number of listeners just can not distinguish the sounding of the stock cable from the replaced one with a BLIND TEST...

... you can never catch them with your ears.



Part of the problem with blind tests is that you are forcing me to listen with your equipment. My equipment probably sounds different to me. If you use my equipment then it will sound different to you then what you are used to or what you expect it to sound like. The second problem with blind tests is that the music may not be consistant with what I want to hear. My music may not consist of just piano notes. Music by its very nature is subjective. Yet blind tests seek to make it objective.

Your statement is based on a preconcieved notion. Who is this "great number of listeners"? A great number of listeners can't tell the difference between stock buds and really good headphones. It is just noise, afterall.

I replaced my cable(s) on the K501 and the K401. The K501 had a greater deal of improvement in the sound. No blind test was necessary. It was an obvious difference. The K401 change was much more subtle. The question was, "Is it better or worse?"

Some people can hear "the veil," while others cannot. Those who can hear "the veil" and who perceive no veil when they change the cable, to them the cable change is justified. To those who cannot, it is a waste of money.

As an example, I hate my cable company's reception. My neighbours didn't see any difference. Since they had Digital channels I switched between the two and showed them the lines going through the none Digital channels. Their response was "I never noticed". I just hate spending money for channels with heringbone or noise or floating lines through them.

So I look at TV through rabbit ears. Most channels are abominal. But there is one channel that blows away the cable. I just wish that they had better programming at times.

Listening to cable swaps may not show any difference. Throw in really discerning equipment with SACDs and they should sound better than redbook CDs.

As a purist I say that no equipment should run off of AC. Just hook up a really big battery.
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by JaZZ
there's a Silver Dragon on the way to complement my Zu Mobius.


JaZZ: I look forward to reading what you think of the Silver Dragon in comparison to the Zu Mobius
 
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gpalmer

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Quote:

Originally Posted by SanS
But for the top models (~ HD650) this point isn't really applied, because the sound quality is more significant here than price... Maybe Sennheiser sees no use to make such an upgrade...


Even high end audio equipment has compromises. Senn has priced their headphones inexpensively with an eye to volume sales including the 650.
 
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tkam

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A few points on cable upgrades:

1) The improvement in sound that you can get from a cable upgrade is going to be as apparent as your source and amp let it be. The better your source and amp are the greater the improvement an upgrade cable will give you.

2) Even though manufactuers have top of the line equipment that they often market as being "cost no object" items they are still constantly making compromises trying to hit a price point (or profit margin).
 
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tom hankins

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Quote:

Originally Posted by gpalmer
I have heard the improvements and the differences between stock and replacement cables with the 600 and 650 and I'm sure the upgrades were an improvement. The reasons I would suggest for Senn not including a better cable are:
1) People's opinions of different cables varies, some such as fewtch really like the stock cable even, so even if they did include the upgrade there would still be folks who wanted another one.

2) They manufacturing for a price point and the upgrade cables add quite a bit to the price. This might change with the higher volumes of mass production but it would still up the price considerably.



I think you hit the nail on the head. (twice) These are probably the two reasons they don't supply a better quality cable when sold.
Reason one is right on. Even if the 650 came with the Silver dragon, cardas, or equinox, I would still try and buy the Zu. I like what it does the best to the phones. I'm glad I've had a chance to explore my options.
For the people who have no desire to try the aftermarket cables and are happy with the stock cable, be happy Senn. has not decided to put a more costly cable on the phones. The senns are very good with the cables they come with. I think they should keep on leaving it to us to decide if and when we want to upgrade the cables.
JaZZ, You will be very happy with both the Zu and SD cables. They are different sounding but equally good. In my system the SD just blows me away with the increased soundstage over the Zu. However the extension in both directions seemed a little better with the Zu. Also the overall tone seems a little warmer with the Zu.(I like that
) I also see my self owning both cables in the future.
 
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