Cables?
Nov 14, 2008 at 2:40 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

Copyright

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I am still really new to the headphone scene and had some questions about cables. Is a cable mod really worth it? I have a budget setup that consists of a Zero DAC (upgraded version) and Denon D2000 headphones. I have always been into modding anything I get ahold of so I am curious as to what the cables will do for me? Is this something I do my self or do I need to ship my headphones off to get this done? Thanks for any info
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 3:16 PM Post #2 of 12

MaZa

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Yes and no, it depends. Cables are important and they need to be good so they can conduct the signal well, thats a fact, but do differenct good quality cables alter the sound, (not to mention those insanely costly "Hifi cables") that is a question that has plagued Hifi hobby for centuries.
Those who know electricity or persons who cannot hear the difference say it is wrong and impossible for it to do anything but conduct, yet some folk claim and swear to god that they do hear the difference very clearly.

If you want to ask about cables and possibly finally hear for yourself if they make any difference, this is a right subforum for it.
Cables, Power, Tweaks, Speakers, Accessories (DBT-Free Forum) - Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio

If not, objective subforum of sound science is here.
Sound Science - Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio


Yes, they got separated because of the constant fights, otherside mocking other for closed mindedness and other placebo victims.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 3:18 PM Post #4 of 12

pataburd

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If you plan to spend serious time with a set of headphones, and are convinced they're worth the expenditure, then a re-cable is warranted, IMHO. I've had the HD600/650, Proline 750/2500, K701 and most recently the K501 re-cabled with positive and notable improvement. The problem with re-cables, especially if you "out source" them--e.g. to Cardas, Equinoxe, APS, Moon, etc.--is difficulty recouping your investment. That's why I conditioned my advice on your already liking the headphones in question and therfore being willing to make the expenditure.

If you are a competent DIYer, you can re-cable at close to 1/3 the cost of out sourcing, but you can't acquire the "proprietary" wires that some places, like RAL and APS, use.

I solicited a competent cabler, Zach at Enigma Audio, to custom build my K501 cable. I saved more than $100 over a competitor's recable quote and have a cable that I specified using UPOCC silver and copper, and which sounds great!
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 3:24 PM Post #5 of 12

krmathis

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Cables certainly can make a different.
Its all about component matching, and a cable can help you tune the system to your preferences.

I personally live by the rule that ~10% of the total budget are to be spent on cables.
Others are non-believers though, and are perfectly happy with the $10 cable from the local low-fi dealer.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 7:13 PM Post #7 of 12

apatN

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I only heard the difference between a cable from my local hardware store and Mogami. The difference was definitely there. IMO, the Mogami sounded more natural with better spacing. Some people will describe it as opening up. I agree with that. BTW, the 'cheap-o' cable cost me more then the Mogami. :O
If DIY really itches, why not get some Mogami and recable your Denons? Just don't spend too much atm, since your set-up ain't worth it. Don't spend too much on cables anyway.
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Nov 14, 2008 at 7:26 PM Post #8 of 12

DunninLA

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In an expensive home stereo system (let's call that more than $3,000 for source, RCA cables + power cord, amp, speaker cables, speakers), you will easily notice a difference especially with interconnects between a $20 cable and a $150 cable.

I don't know if the same can be said of the cable from the output of a DAP to headphone cans. I assume so. If you listen straight from
- mp3 128 in DAP ->headphones, probably no difference between stock cable and custom cable.
- mp3 V0 or mp3 320 in DAP->portable amp->phones, maybe a little difference.
- FLAC or other lossless to portable amp-> phones, probably a little more noticable.
- cdp->plugged in home HP amp-> phones, then the difference is probably very noticable.

So it really depends on the quality of the data, the source, the amplification, and the phones themselves more than the cable into the phones.

I like KRMATHIS' rule of 10%, except that in my home stereo I have about 20% of my budget in the connections (ICs, power and speaker).

But the 20% rule would only apply if my data, player, amp and phones were already the quality I can live with. If any of those is sub-par, I would not worry about the cable until those four parts of the audio chain are set.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 7:43 PM Post #9 of 12

hawat

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Copyright /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I am still really new to the headphone scene and had some questions about cables. Is a cable mod really worth it? I have a budget setup that consists of a Zero DAC (upgraded version) and Denon D2000 headphones. I have always been into modding anything I get ahold of so I am curious as to what the cables will do for me? Is this something I do my self or do I need to ship my headphones off to get this done? Thanks for any info
smily_headphones1.gif



I have only recabled my hd 650 and I would say that the small difference is there but I feel that it is exaggerated in this forum.

According to some it can make more difference than a different cup, material or driver.
I will need to see another one myself that make such a difference next to a non recabled one to really believe it can be worth spending so much.

In short if the headphones have unpluggable cable and I really like the headphones, I will happily recable it with a better cable and not too expensive one but if they like are not and the cans are expensive, I don't think it is worth the risk of losing the guarantee.
And if I don't especially like a headphone I'd rather sell it and get something else than get another cable and hope that that I will like headphone.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 8:23 PM Post #10 of 12

tintin47

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The bottom line with cables is that, yes, good cables conduct the signal better and therefore have definitively more accurate sound. Whether you can hear this is heavily debated. Hence the forum rule of no cable DBT threads.

Nicer cables are completely passive, though, and simply remove possible signal loss. They don't add anything to the sound.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 10:08 PM Post #11 of 12

illy2k

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I agree with everything that was said so far. The main thing is the you need to be able to test for yourself! It is hard when you don't have a set of cans with a detachable cable, but it is a personal thing as with all head-fi setups. If it sounds better to you and you enjoy it more than it is worth it.

That being said imagine that headphones/amp/dac count for 97% of your noticeable difference, with cables maybe having a 1% change. If you don't have all the good components then chances are cable will make no difference to you.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 10:57 PM Post #12 of 12

Seamless Sounds

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for me, I will recable under these 2 conditions to make my money's worth.

Performance-wise
1. If the headphone's stock cable is really bad or damaged.
2. If I go balanced

Most likely it would be #2.

Finally if you do decide to recable then there is the aesthetics and design to compliment your cans. That would include the length of the cable, the looks of the cable, the sturdiness of the cable, and the stiffness and flexibility of the cable. But be warned that these hi-fi cables can be expensive per foot. It's a total waste of money if you don't go with the above conditions imo.
 

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