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  Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie 
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phil Mar 31, 2005, 09:20pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie
i have 2 mac's now.. but one is going.. so im looking to see if it's worth replacing the pair

huntsville, ontario, canada.. 2.5 hours north of super XP

from person international..
427>407>400>11>northwaseosa lake road>cottage lane>my drive way

umm... does this count as a thread hijack yet :P ... back to topic!

can't access HWA unless I use a proxy... lol

pfft ..f**k that! (almost sounds like work)
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Will Olson II Mar 31, 2005, 10:09pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie
Remember another HUGE factor in the sound thats being produced and heard is the room and enclosure. You set that up in your bathroom or in your bed room you'll hear huge diffrences. Hook it up in a carpted room or a wood floor room you'll hear huge diffrences. I think Sander is trying to say the cables have a very MINIMAL effect on the overall quality of your sound.

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Armageddon Mar 31, 2005, 10:40pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie
"The simple truth is that resistance (R), capacitance (C), and inductance (L) per foot and the length of cable used are the only parameters that have any effect in the audible spectrum, 20Hz to 20KHz, for which these cables are used."

I guess Sander hasn't heard silver (the best conductor element) cables. I've heard Audioquest Sterling cables, and I tell you, I heard the difference. The Copper wires, I admit, I had a hard time making out whether there's a difference between them, but when I heard them silvers!!! Oh boy! Audio perfection!

Brian Stewart Mar 31, 2005, 10:55pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie

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OCGW Apr 01, 2005, 12:35am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie
To: all ppl who think that digital sound is better than analog sound

Digital audio is a quantization of an analog event

The very best it can ever hope to achieve is to equal the original analog event



Brian Stewart Apr 01, 2005, 01:01am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie
Yes, analog is better.
But we do not deal with analog media, do we?

CDs offer better quality samplings than vinyl records.
The machiens that made the vinyl records weren't that precise.

ALL of our media is digital
If you take a digital source and turn it into analog and pass it along a long cable, you hurt your signal. I don't care if your cables cost 5 million dollars and were developed by NASA.

If you take your digital source and pass it through digital conenctions, it can be converted at the speaker, and pass through a few inches of analog cable before hitting the cone of a speaker.

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OCGW Apr 01, 2005, 01:19am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie
OK, that is a very logical theory, but maybe hard to implement

A friend of mine bought some Krell digital speakers w/ a digital crossover, & seperate D/A conversion, & amps for each driver

I wasn't "carried away" w/ the sound like I am when I listen to Martin-Logan planar magnetic speakers

Then again, maybe it was the room, or the equalization

But you know what is really funny, those Martin-Logans sounded really good w/ those horribly distorted (1%THD) vacuum tube amps

I don't have a clue how to explain that 1



Sander Sassen Apr 01, 2005, 07:58am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie
The only properties of loudspeaker cables that are important to their performance in the audio frequency range include:

1. Their series resistance (R), dictated by the crosssection of the cable, the purity of the copper used and the length of the cable.

2. Their characteristic impedance (Z), dictated by the series inductance and parallel capacitance per unit length.

3. Their loss resistance (Rl), dictated by skin-effect losses versus frequency, and dielectric losses versus frequency.

4. Their capacitance (C), dictated by the distance between two cable conductors carrying an opposite charge and their respective surface areas and the dielectric constant of the insulation used.

5. Their inductance (L), dictated by the series inductance per unit length.

All of these properties have and effect on the signal being transported through the cable, but in the audio frequency range these are neglectable. Mind you that I'm not saying you should hook your speakers up with telephone cord, good quality (hence not overpriced) speaker cable is all you need. Whether that's generic 2x2.5mm^2 lamp cord or 2x2.5mm^2 pure OFC silver stranded cable brand X is up to you, I'm just saying that in a double blind test, and by measuring them, these cables will be identical. So why pay absurd prices if there's no measurable or audible difference?

Best regards,

Sander Sassen
Editor in Chief - Hardware Analysis
Ian Yeoh Apr 01, 2005, 09:22am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie

Martin Logans sound fabulous with vacumn tube equipment. That goes to show that scientific measurements like THD are absolutely meaningless. The only reason why I moved to Krell solid state amps and digital front ends is that I am too lazy to deal with tubes and vinyl. The very highest fidelity systems in the world are pretty much still vinyl based, much to the contrary of what the "experts" here say. However, no, I don't own a turntable that costs more than the average BMW and, no, neither do I own a speaker system that costs more than the most expensive BMW. What I do know is that cables have a distinct effect on tonality, soundstage and depth. I don't care what cables cost. Just because one uses $30,000 worth of speaker cables doesn't mean that a particular system will sound terrific. I know of some thousand dollar cables that don't sound so hot on my system, again in my home with my ears. I wish the the 12 gauge cables they sell at Radio Shack sound great with my system, then I can save a ton of money. But unfortunately no. So, I buy the best sounding cables for my system, up to the limit of my budget and my listening patience, and the patience of my audiophile dealer who lends me all sorts of cables, expensive and not-so-expensive. I didn't rush out there to buy the most expensive cables I can afford. That would be silly, and frankly not a good strategy. Up to about fifteen years ago, I used to run Audio Research tube amps and a Basis turntable, but guess the constant adjustments and the finickyness of the system got to me. I got lazy and have gone to an all Krell solid state front end. That doesn't mean that vinyl sounds worse than digital: mediocre vinyl sounds mediocre; cheap digital sounds horrible; expensive vinyl is a taste of nirvana, but then, it may be cheaper to just rent Carnegie Hall and the whole symphonic orchestra or rock band :)

Ian Yeoh Apr 01, 2005, 09:32am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie

In a blind test on *what* equipment? A Denon receiver and JBL speakers? Creative Audigy and Klipsch? A Bose lifestyle system? You don't test the effectiveness of tires on a Kia or a Hyundai, you don't test visual quality of NVidia vs. ATI on a 15 inch generic Taiwanese CRT; you don't sample wine by drinking out of a darn plastic cup.

Audiophiles are not idiots. We know our physics every bit as well as you guys who choose to explain everything with scientific measurements. We know what sound good and what doesn't: again, subjectively to our ears. We're not going to use lamp cord in our systems. Give me a break.

Thermalfreak Apr 01, 2005, 12:38pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie
Blind test with a full proper hi-fi system of course.....then again whenever anyone points out something to an audiophile they correct it by stating something else which is just as hard to quantify and measure...

Ive snapped:
An xbox360 and a 12" iBook....
And a kawasaki er-6n to mod instead
Hitek146 Apr 01, 2005, 02:57pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie
Also being an Electronics Engineer, I would have to agree with Brian Stewart, while adding a thought. I have noticed over the last many years that alot of people prefer tube amplifiers, analog signal routing, vinyl, etc. over solid-state amplifiers, digital signaling, DVD-A, etc.... It has occured to me that the self-proclaimed audio professional may actually be preferring the inconsistencies introduced into the analog audio, while finding the "lifeless" accurate preservation of audio by digital means displeasing. It is to this end that I do believe some cheap cables can accurately reproduce a digitally recorded analog audio source to the degree that is indiscernable by the human ear, while the extremely expensive cables that are "fine-tuned" for a certain effect can sound much better to a person that may not like the "hollow" sound of a digital recording played back with complete preservation. Maybe a person preferrs the added "boom" of a tube amp over a silicon amp, even if the amp is not accurately reproducing the source material.....


PS - The purpose of a "fine-tuned" cable escapes me to this day.... I thought this is what a parametric EQ was supposed to be used for.... :)

And even if you could show a 0.1% improvement(still significant) in the use of $3500 cables over $350 cables, who in their right mind would spend an incredible amount of money(I still value money, regardless of my substantial income) like $3500 on cables that only give you an improvement of 0.1% every once-in-a-while when "that" note gets hit during "that" song... Even if the difference is somewhat more noticable than just exampled, come on... $3500!?!?!?!?!?!?! Gimme' a break!!!

Ian Yeoh Apr 01, 2005, 03:16pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie
Just like the argument that you really need a SLI system with two 6800 Ultra Extreme overclocked video cards to play.. a game... where 30 fps is really "not enough" .. where one already gets 70 fps at the highest resolution, but really "needs" to spend a gazillion dollars on vaporchill freezer/water whatever so that one can attain that extra 2 fps? That is not extreme?

Or the guy that spends over a $100 grand on a Porsche but decides that the 450 hp is not enough, and then spends another $200 grand in order to attain that extra 100 hp, where all you need to get to 65 mph on the freeway is 50 hp? That is being rational?

I have witnessed a $100 grand audio system in action. I have also seen a $200 grand audio system but not engaged in extensive listening. The owners are guys in search of the Holy Grail. Money is no object.

I don't have unlimited funds, but I enjoy my hobbies. When I sink a significant amount of money on my audio system, you think I want to use 12 gauge wire from Radio Shack?

Ian Yeoh Apr 01, 2005, 03:20pm EST Report Abuse
>> Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie
Not to toot my horn, but I think I know what sounds natural and what does not.

Hit the middle C on a piano. The average Joe wouldn't know what's in proper tune and what isn't. The average audiophile does, and not just on a piano: a violin, a guitar, etc.

I attend enough concerts, rock, classical and opera, to know what is natural and what isn't. There are lots of fabulous digital systems. There are much fewer fabulous vinyl systems. However, at the pinnacle of audio, there are a hell a lot more fabulous analog systems than there are digital ones. Having said that, I'm all solid state and digital front end because I cannot afford the very best and because I'm too lazy.

Hitek146 Apr 01, 2005, 04:02pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie
Perhaps I came off sounding wrong... :) I am, by no means, a proponent of "zip-cord", and I wouldn't use it in my audio system. I just think that there gets to be a point at which a person is just getting a little crazy, and wasting money. This includes doubling the money spent on your PC for 2 more frames per second, or spending $200K on Porsche mods that will only net you 65hp(someone needs a new mechanic!), or any of the other ways that someone can spend massive amounts of money for very little return(in comparison). Someone would have to be fairly-well engrossed in their own worlds and income levels to not let such waste bother them. I would spend $20K to mod my Porsche, though, but would certainly expect to get more like an additional 300hp for my money. Still a bit of a waste, but at least a more realistic one... :) Just my two cent, OT... :) I just don't see what justifies the expense of the more costly cables. I agree with the free-market, but I think that the expensive cables are being sold at rediculous prices. I would venture to guess that an independant manufacturer of some sort could endeavor to duplicate the perceived quality of the thousand dollar cable(by using subjective studio testing), and the resulting cable would be indistinguishable in listening tests from the cable costing ten times as much. Granted, even the less expensive duplicate cable would still not be cheap, as I agree that it does take quality material to make good components, just not that good... :)

Brian Stewart Apr 01, 2005, 04:15pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie
"Audiophiles are not idiots. We know our physics every bit as well as you guys who choose to explain everything with scientific measurements. We know what sound good and what doesn't: again, subjectively to our ears. We're not going to use lamp cord in our systems. Give me a break"

It is my experience that audiophiles ARE, in general, idiots.
They spit out physics terms and list off fancy brands and their respective cabling design components.
They believe BLINDLY in the "physics" behind the design.
That's not too bad though - that's what marketing is, getting someone to believe in something, regardless of how true it is.

The REALLY bad part is people who come in and say they prefer certain things, or can hear a difference.
1: You can not hear a difference between good cables and ultra expensive cables - it has been proven.
2: If you CAN hear a difference, then one of the sets of cables (usually the ultra expensive ones) is actually introducing a good amount noise into the signal, and you actually LIKE it.

Yes, that's what happens. People talk about soft or dark or bright or warm cables all the time - why? Because the expensive cables are so elaborately wound and twisted around eachother that they often noticeably distort the signal.

The goal of any signal carrying cable is to transfer a signal.
The goal is to have the signal at one end be the same as the signal at the other end.

Expensive cables are not any better (in many cases, they are worse) than standard cables. (Not cheapo cables, but good standard cables)

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Ian Yeoh Apr 01, 2005, 04:54pm EST Report Abuse
>> Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie

Appreciate if you could kindly give me an idea of what constitutes "good, standard cables." How much are we talking about? I use bottom range Monster cable for my living room TV system and my son's personal stereo. They cost all of $20 per pair. Is that excessive? Should I be looking at $5 cables then?

Bruce Bettridge Apr 02, 2005, 12:36pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie
Yes, $5 is enough. Monster are buying these things from the factory in China for about $2.00 and then sell them on to the retailer for $8, who then sells them to anybody fool enough to buy them for $20 and up.

As an example, a scart cable, fully lined and tested leaves China for $0.40 to $0.80 depending on who you are trying to fool. An RJ11 cable for a modem will cost sub $0.20, a USB cable no more than $ get the general picture here. Yes we could make them more expensive, but the like of Monster don't want them that way, they want them CHEAP. They then sell them as expensive.

Guys, seriously, if you want to blow a couple of hundred dollars on a set of cables, give me the full spec, i will make them and fed ex them to your door for so little money it would take your breath away. Better still, you want to spend a couple of thousand i will pay the air fare to China and you can watch them being made and hand carry them home.

You are not hetting value for money when you buy a cable you are feeding the companies that are making fortunes from you. If you all stopped dropping money on over priced elaborately boxed interconnect products then the companies selling them would have to start getting realistic.

OCGW Apr 02, 2005, 05:27pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie
Yes, $5 is enough.!?!?

Is there a such thing as a $5.00USD retail interconnect, or speaker cable?, I have never seen one

Are you saying that we should just use the cables that came in the box?

Let me go out on a limb here, yours miiiiiiiiiiiiiight not be the house where family, & friends gather to watch the "Big Game"




Brian Stewart Apr 02, 2005, 05:49pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie
Price range for cables?

It depends on the type of cable, and the length of course.

For a single patch cable, be it rca, svideo, component video, coaxial s/pdif, ofr average length.
15-30 dollars is a good price range.
Of course, it depends where you shop, when you shop, and what brands they have available.

For speaker cable, I'd say about 50 cents a foot is the max. 25 bucks for 50 feet is a tad high, 50 bucks for 100 feet is high, but 12.50 for 25 feet is fine - usually it costs less per foot if you buy longer cables.

It's also a good idea to buy something made in america if it's available for a similar price (good luck finding one) That way, you can be more certain that their claims of the cables specifications are valid.

I rwally hate Monster cables, they're the expensive cables for the masses. Theor cables are fine, good quality, but insanely overpriced.

Radio Shack makes great cables, and they're prices are fair.
It's been a while sicne I've bought cables there, but I'm sure they still have all the stuff you'd ever need, or the tools to build it.

Another tip is to always use the best cable possible.
Don't go hooking up your dvd player with the composite cable when you could use component or s-video.

It's pointless to spend 50 dollars on a monster s-video cable when you could get a 35 dollar set of component cables.

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