A non confrontational cable thread? We will see...

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by frimleygreener, May 19, 2019.

  1. frimleygreener

    frimleygreener "It 'a'int why...it just is" Thread Starter

    united kingdom
    Just posting some observations, and trying to avoid hyperbole and emotive adjectives!
    I t is fair to point out that all of the speaker cables/interconnects are in the budget or middle range sectors of the market: that is my ball park,so have no idea or experience of what the "high end" sector delivers or promises to deliver.
    I also have no desire to denigrate any of the products listed,they have all(bar one) performed satisfactorily, and provided many hours of listening pleasure.
    At this end of the market,auditioning before purchase is basically a no no, so one has to rely on recommendations from others, advertising,or hi-fi magazines/forums. Being based in the U.K, that means in effect HI-FI news and Richer Sounds, unless one is lucky enough to be near an independent trader, and they are becoming as rare as hen's teeth.
    So cut to the chase....Hi-Fi news and Richer Sounds have both championed the "budget" offerings from the likes of Chord and QED, and of course the Cambridge Audio brand. I tried them all...they all did the job. Did I notice any changes? Perhaps, but they were all to subtle to quantify.Did I feel "something was missing"? No,but you know as well as I what this hobby is like!
    Curiosity of course won the day, and I took the plunge and purchased some Audioquest Rocket 11 bi-wire speaker cable, (I had no intention of utilising bi-wiring), paired the + and- feeds together, fed them into some good quality banana plugs at both terminations,removed the Chord speaker cable I have used for a good year or two,and installed the Audioquest cable. I think for the first time ever I noticed a palpable difference, although I would be hard pressed to define that difference...."better" or "different" is very subjective!
    I have fairly recently had a birthday,and was in receipt of some gift vouchers, which I have just used to purchase a set of Rega's Couple Two interconnects...they arrived late last night and I swapped out said with the Chord interconnects I had been using.
    I have not yet had the time(family asleep in bed when I got home) to give them full reign,but managed to listen at almost negligible volume to a green label copy of "Astral Weeks", an album I thought I knew every note and nuance of ...I was wrong!
    The combination or synergy(almost certainly accidental) of the Audioquest/Rega feeds revealed detail I had never heard before,or to put more succinctly ,I knew of course that many of the tracks on said album feature acoustic guitars,but I have never heard each note plucked in such startling clarity and isolation..I suppose "focus" is what I am trying to convey...what used to be "background" now in some cases has become pivotal,changing the perception of the song.
    Excuse the ramblings of an old man,at least this post might give you something to splutter your morning coffee/muffins or toast over!
    Grant, vinnn, dennem and 4 others like this.
  2. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Uppsala Sweden
    SSo did you ever return to the old cables and blind test yourself?
  3. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident

    Give us a break this is going down the pan already.

    My experience is that cables do make a difference but I don't think I've heard it to the extent the OP describes but the effect will be more prominent with better resolving system. What I've heard is a tightening and slight increase in the bass along with the top end becoming more 'sweet' and open.
  4. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident

    A bit more info for UK members, if you buy on line you have 14 days, from receipt to decide the goods don't match your expectation, you can return and you'll be due a full refund.

    A few sellers give additional right, such as an extension to 30 days for return, however if you are of the belief of 'burn in' 14 days may be useless..
    RockAddict, bever70 and macster like this.
  5. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Uppsala Sweden
    I was simply asking.
    tmtomh likes this.
  6. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident

    I apoligise, I thought we were going to have the placebo discussion again, my bad:angel:.
  7. Sugar Man

    Sugar Man Forum Resident

    Hermosa Beach
    I just went from good quality but plain OFC single wire copper to inexpensive Canare 4s11 bi-wire (bought here from a fellow SHTV member) and it made a noticeable improvement on my Audio Note E's. More inner detail, bass got a bit tighter and the highs a bit sweeter. Even the wife noticed. Whether it was the cable or the bi-wiring I have no idea, but I don't plan on going back to single wire, although perhaps in a month or so I will switch back to double check for @Leonthepro's sake. :righton:
    Deacon Blues and timind like this.
  8. Fitero

    Fitero Well-Known Member

    Pacific North West
    My 2 cents, that might save somebody money. Of course, my opinion is just as useless or valid as anybody else's.

    I've been an inquisitive experimenter with cables and other tweaks over the last 30 some years or so. I've made all manner of speaker and interconnect cables in most of the iterations available online. I also have access to all of the levels of cables made by Audioquest and Analysis Plus and some others, which I have taken home often to compare to what I have made.

    I firmly believe the following; any change in sound that I hear when changing one cable to the next is entirely due to a change in the Inductive, Resistive and Capacitive characteristics of the transmission line (cable). I don't believe that construction format is a reliable indication of performance. e.g. big, fat, beautifully made cables are mostly only eye-candy.

    After much experimentation for example, my balanced cables are made from a cheap Belden, 22/3, shielded cable. My speaker cables are made up of runs of 12ga, stranded, Belden speaker wire and a run of 16/4, stranded CL-3, Audioquest, generic installation wire. These wires together equal 9AWG and I could not hear the difference when compared to comparable gauge, $15,000 pair wires from Audioquest and Analysis Plus. I can purchase wire from any of these companies for at least 75% off retail prices. I choose not to. My speakers may not be to the taste of everyone, but they are extremely revealing.

    The moral of (my) story is this; there is no panacea to be found in cable selection. I found greater benefit, though less enjoyment, attending to my room's acoustics than by changing cables. I use cable selection sort of like fine-tuning.
  9. Morbius

    Morbius Forum Resident

    Brookline, MA
    I just finished outfitting my Rega system with the Couple 2 and the Reference Mains Power Leads and coincidently I also just traded my original Apollo for the Apollo 2017 and couldn't be happier. I believe there are some nuanced but subtle improvements over my Audioquest Topaz (24 yrs old) and stock power cords, mainly in the midrange with reverb tails that are more distinct and bass that is slightly rounder and better defined. Sounds like the overall presentation is clearer and better defined (crisper, cleaner?). Must admit, definitely subjective and I wonder if I'd notice a difference if I put things back the way they were but like everything about stereo I like interconnects, speaker cables and power cords and if they fall within my budget I don't mind spending money on them.
    macster likes this.
  10. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident

    I'm going back to 2002, so memory can't be perfect but I found the same beneficial effect tighter bass high end cleaned up and the whole sound more relaxed whilst being more dynamic, from changing power leads. This effect was most prominent on equipment with a power supply, the largest benefit on my power supply itself and my power amp second, with no discernible or little beneficial effect on the CDP .

    If I factor in inflation the cords would be £130 each now, the way I look at this those cords will last longer than me and if you upgrade your equipment you've still got your power leads. Given people here have orgasms over certain 'pressings' and the effect can be as great which means the cost per album is negligible.

    These are the updated version:
    AC-3 Signature
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
    Morbius likes this.
  11. rebellovw

    rebellovw Forum Resident

    Prescott, AZ
    I rebuilt all my cables with Canare and Moonshine cables (HD power cord speaker cables.) A very nice noticeable improvement - also much better connections -I really had some poor speaker connections prior to redoing everything.



    I've since covered the + speaker bananas with shrink wrap to ensure they don't touch. Fun project - not very expensive - highly recommended.

    My interconnects are directional -and for the first time - I found almost no hum while connected to my tube amps - much better than prior - but I still use the HumX devices to lift ground for absolute dead silence.

    My system has never sounded so good.
  12. MGW

    MGW Less travelling, more listening

    Scotland, UK
    Just a thought but don't Richer Sounds own Cambridge Audio? Or was that what you were implying with your exclamation mark?
  13. swvahokie

    swvahokie Forum Resident

    Oh goodie. All that popcorn I bought last night won’t go to waste. I can smell the burning metal of pitchforks being sharpened as I type
  14. Wired4Fun

    Wired4Fun Forum Resident

    Cary, NC
    I’ve said my bit on this, many times. I find cables make a difference up to a point. Then, diminishing returns creep in and quickly snowball.

    I do have nice cables, probably way more expensive than needed, but it’s part of the fun for me, too. Seeing if there’s a difference to my ears, which, if we’re being honest, is all that matters :)

    I upgraded my phono cables to AQ Water and couldn’t be happier. Silly? Probably. Different? To my ears, yes. Worth it? Who the heck knows LOL.

    But I do enjoy “better” cables for a variety of unquantifiable reasons.
    Noel Patterson likes this.
  15. ayrehead

    ayrehead It was like that when I found it...

    Mid South
    After much experimentation I've found that keeping my cables at absolute zero (-459°F) makes them sound a lot better.
  16. Madeuthink

    Madeuthink Well-Known Member

    Oakmont, PA
    I think a lot of people are biased against expensive cables because they figure it's just wire and wire should be cheap to make. When people look inside an amplifier they see enough parts and complexity that they can understand why it costs an appreciable amount of money; but a simple straight piece of wire? High end cable manufacturers generally price their cables like amplifier and speaker companies. If they think their cable makes a few thousand dollar difference; they will probably price it as such. Just like a guy who just designed a speaker and is heading to an audio show to unveil it, if he thinks it can stand up on the floor soundwise to other $2,000 speakers and offers a big enough improvement in sound that people will want it enough to pay $2,000; then that's what he may likely price it at.

    I hear big differences in cables, sometimes I think I can hear bigger differences between cables than between most amplifiers, which have wires (cables) running inside them, and I can quantify the differences. Generally I have found thicker cables to have more bass and warmth. Anyone out there who doubts differences in cables; do this. Get a run of speaker cable, slit the sheathing and pull out 4 strands of straight wire and twist the ends together at the ends, both pairs. Then do the same thing with another pair, but quadruple the strands to 16, (don't worry too much about rf), its only an experiment. Notice how the cables with more strands used sounds richer and fuller and other things about the sound are better too.
    Ontheone likes this.
  17. Chilli

    Chilli Pretend Engineer.

    True. But you can only listen to Ice Ice Baby or the Frozen soundtrack.
    CBackley likes this.
  18. frimleygreener

    frimleygreener "It 'a'int why...it just is" Thread Starter

    united kingdom
    Just an update....I have recently swithched to Kimber speaker cables,albeit at the bottom level of the range. I have to admit they are the first cable brand I have purchased that have made a noticible "improvement",although all bought to date have afforded a "difference".
    Noel Patterson likes this.
  19. Madeuthink

    Madeuthink Well-Known Member

    Oakmont, PA
    I have tried enough different cables over the years that I could almost build a suspension bridge. As a matter of fact, that's what cables really are, a "bridge" between your components. People with the best cables (pricey) will tell you that you can easily lose 40% of your sound quality going from your preamp to power amp, and you could have lost the same amount with again with a so so tonearm cable. Power amp to speakers via so so speaker cables is another golden opportunity to lose sound quality big time. I have no trouble believing them. I have heard it for myself. Because people do not understand how there can be big improvements; they doubt there can be.
    Dave, sotosound and MGW like this.
  20. I’ve heard clear differences between different interconnects and between different speaker cables.

    My Atlas Hyper 3.0 speaker cables were a clear improvement up my old Mission Stranded, with a better defined mid-range for vocals and a smoother top end. They made the Mission cables sound grainy.

    Also, there was a clear improvement in bass performance when switching from Hyper 2.0 to the thicker Hyper 3.0 during auditions.

    Regarding interconnects between pre and power, pretty much any proprietary interconnect is better than the generic grey cable that comes with many pieces of equipment.

    Going back a few years, I found Audioquest Ruby to be harsh and compressed and easily outclassed by Van Den Hul Thunderline. Then, after a few years, and after upgrading speakers, amps etc., I noticed a clear upper mid-range lift in the Thunderline and switched to Van Den Hul D102 Mark 3, which clearly outclassed the Thunderline in terms of transparency and mid-range definition, and offered neutrality as a bonus.

    My current interconnects are Atlas Navigator, which seem to take the D102 approach a little further, with greater transparency and no overt character.

    At this time, I can’t imagine doing any further cable upgrades.
    George P and MGW like this.
  21. dennem

    dennem Forum Resident

    Bangkok, Thailand
    Never heard a difference between cables, but had never really tried. I am willing to spend some time and experiment with the cables I have (some Audioquest, Atlas, Monster, generic wire).
    Which interconnect will be easier to start with (which affects the sound the most): pre to power amp or DAC to preamp?
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  22. bluesky

    bluesky Forum Resident

    south florida, usa
    Cables DO make a difference - Synergy.

    Of course cables make a difference.

    Everything makes a difference!
    Sneaky Pete and MGW like this.
  23. punkmusick

    punkmusick Formerly 4011021

    Your opinion is stupid and I hate you! :rant:

    Not directed to anyone yet, I'm just practicing and warming up for the thread.
  24. Ontheone

    Ontheone Drifting Towards the Dead Wax

    I've never tried really high-end speaker cables before and honestly among the wire I've tried I can't seem to really hear a difference. I run a pretty pedestrian set of Kimber 8TC. Now interconnects are a different story. Night and day difference between those that are shielded and those that aren't. Kimber Silver Streaks sound simply awful in my system - treble edge and shrill...had to return them within the return window. Cardas Clear Light seem to disappear in my system - perfect. I buy them used only and at that price point they become a really compelling value in my eyes (and ears).
  25. Madeuthink

    Madeuthink Well-Known Member

    Oakmont, PA
    The biggest sonic improvement I ever got after decades of upgrades of all sorts was cables. Mind boggling. I have never heard a very expensive cable that disappointed. At that price they make sure you're going to be happy.Cannot say that for any other category of audio gear.
    MGW likes this.

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