Headphone Cable Quality
Mar 6, 2006 at 4:27 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

needmoretoys

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Among others, I currently have 2 pair of HD590 and one DT880. One of the HD590 has an Equinox cable and the other is stock Senn cable. Since I have a GS-1, it is easy to compare the HD590s. The stock one is a 2002 purchase and the Equinox one was bought this January. My wife and I both think that the Equinox one sounds better, but we can't really say exactly why. If I could listen to one of them and not see which cable it has, I doubt if I could say which one it was with any consistancy. The difference between the standard DT880 and the Equinox HD590 is so much greater.

OK, after all of this rambling, here is my question. The stock HD590 cable is much thinner than the DT880 cable (0.106 in dia vs. 0.159 in dia). The HD590 is OFC and I can't find what the DT880 core is. I assume that it is OFC. Does the semmingly better cable on the DT880 mean that it will benefit less from a cable upgrade than the HD590 (or other Senn)? I believe that most (all) Senns have thinner cables. Is this the reason that Senns are upgraded the most, or is it just because they are so easy to upgrade?

By the way, possibly my hearing is the reason I cannot tell much difference between cables. I am 61 years old, but I can still hear up to about 12K Hz in both ears, with my left ear being slightly better.

As a side note, I noticed something slightly humorous on the DT880 box (old style). On the features on the side pannel it lists the cord as single-sided coiled cable, but on the rear panel (specifications) it lists the cable as single-sided straight cable. The cable is straight.
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 4:43 PM Post #2 of 7

Ice Nine

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[size=small]I would just like to comment on how lucky you are to have a wife that is into your hobby enough to actually take the time to do a comparative listening test. All I ever hear from my wife is "Take those things off, you look like an idiot".[/size]
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 4:57 PM Post #3 of 7

needmoretoys

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ice Nine
[size=small]I would just like to comment on how lucky you are to have a wife that is into your hobby enough to actually take the time to do a comparative listening test. All I ever hear from my wife is "Take those things off, you look like an idiot".[/size]


I already know that and she thanks you. We are also both into astronomy, hiking in the woods, mountain biking and going to historical places. Same people say that best friends make the best marriages and we have done well the past 20 years.
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 8:24 PM Post #5 of 7

needmoretoys

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I really enjoyed the love-in, but does anyone have any thoughts on my question about headphone cable quality? I tend to think that money spent on better equipment will bring a much better return than upgraded cables. For instance, my interconnects are Blue Jeans and I like the sound. I do believe that cables with more capatance, like my old Tara Prisms, will help a harsh system.
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 8:38 PM Post #6 of 7

warpdriver

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The cable on the DT880's is probably not really going to be of that much better quality than the stock 590's, it's just the housing is a bit thicker, so it seems like it's higher quality.

I don't think you are alone, I have trouble comparing cables also. Differences can be minute depending on the source material used. Because of this, I don't spend a lot of time worrying about them, and rather concentrate on areas that I can clearly hear the difference (source, finding good quality CD's). I also buy stuff like BlueJeansCable because the specs are well established (no esoteric cables that color the sound)
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 11:19 PM Post #7 of 7

sgrossklass

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Requirements for cables are pretty much these:
* Must have ohmic resistance + inductance related impedance that is small compared to driver impedance (say, <=1%) over the whole frequency range covered. OFC is used simply because very pure copper also has good conductivity, thus cables can be thin and light.
* Must provide little capacitive coupling between channels.
* Must provide good shielding from RFI, as an amp might not like this.
* Must have low enough capacitance to not get the amp in trouble (or even form an R-C lowpass with the output impedance, but that's unlikely at audio freqs with usual cables).

What I'm not sure about is where the tradeoffs with stock cables are. High inductance compromising shielding? Dielectrics so thin that nonlinearities appear? (Unlikely.) Susceptibility to microphonics? (Again, with impedances at both ends being rather small, probably rather not.) And where do the advantages of balanced connection of cans come into play?
 

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