US Audio MartUS Audio Mart
It is currently Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:10 am

All times are UTC - 8 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 21 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2014 2:05 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:58 pm
Posts: 1
Location: San Jose, CA, US
Hello all! I am a new guy to the forums, but an self-proclaimed audiophile who started out in the 1990’s. I have improved my system so many times over the years and always for the better. A friend of mine who has way more invested in his system is a big fan of high-end cables. Haven't actually heard their quality but I didn't know how they stacked up against other cables. I would like to get some feedback from the forum readers? :?: :D


Last edited by MrModest on Tue Dec 16, 2014 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:54 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:00 pm
Posts: 531
Location: Rio Rancho, NM, US
Welcome to USAM and the forums.

As much as I would love to witness an all-out cable flame-war here in the forums, it ain't gonna happen. The forums here have yet to catch fire and that's a shame.

Every well-meaning audiophool has his own ideas and experiences when it comes to interconnects, speaker cables and power cords. Some guys think copper is copper and any well-designed and engineered cable with decent terminations will get the job done.

At the other end of the spectrum are guys who believe that super-esoteric cable designs with magnets, batteries and oil-dampening(!) are what's necessary to extract the most minute of musical information from a highly resolving audio system. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle but the important thing is to not get distracted by all of the hype surrounding the ongoing debate.

I think you'll discover that when it comes to cabling, system synergy is crucial because a given interconnect/speaker cable/power cord in one system may yield wildly different dividends/results in another system. Just try not to get caught up in the "money-invested-equals-performance" game. There are many fine affordable cable designs on the market so take the time that's necesssary to research what kind of cables work well with the specific components you have in your system. Unfortunately, to learn what you need to know will require you to explore the forums on other websites such as Canuck Audio Mart, AudiogoN, Audio Karma, Audio Asylum and the like.

If you're determined to take the full measure of your friends' Tara Labs cables, I would suggest that you borrow them from him if possible, perhaps when he's out of town on business or vacationing etc. If you like what you hear, then search for those same cables on the used market unless you're financially secure enough and have no problem paying full-retail. Most new high-end cables from the well established manufacturers, no matter how well they might perform, have an outrageously ridiculous MSRP that often times does not reflect the actual performance that they're capable of delivering. So if you always buy pre-owned cables, you'll generally recoup your investment if and when you decide to sell them in order to upgrade and/or audition other cables.

Have fun and remember: It's all about the music - not the gear. 8)

_________________
I think, therefore I am not sure.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:25 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:02 am
Posts: 1
Location: Winnipeg, MB, CA
I like Analysis Plus cables and for the price, they are hard to beat. I have used this place (see my link below) many times. Their prices are quite good, service is top notch and you don't have to worry about any of their cables being knock offs! And they have cables for all types of budgets. Cheers

http://www.thecableco.com/


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:24 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:23 am
Posts: 2
Location: Lodi, OH, US
Oh boy,cable shopping can be costly. First thing you should do is figure out what type and gauge you want. I would look at 12 and 10 gauge speaker cables. High quality copper,silverplated copper or pure silver types. Then there's termination,gold,rhodium,silverplated or raw connections. I enjoy the Morrow cables myself.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:54 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2015 8:17 pm
Posts: 4
Location: San Francisco, CA, US
How do you define "high-end cable"? What makes sense for your system? If you use lamp cord for speaker wire on a $10K system, you might find some improvement by spending more. And the converse is true also. Or, if you're using some Monster speaker cables that cost a couple hundred bucks, you might find improvement by spending double that -- it's hard to know until you try. At a certain point, this whole hobby has an element of "black magic"; buying, selling, and trading until you find the right combination of components that sound right for your ears. Yes, it gets expensive, but if you're buying used cables of good reputation, you'll generally only spend more as you trade up. I recently swapped out a $300 VPI phono cable for a $1000 phono cable (from a very reputable manufacturer) on my Pro-Ject 10.2 Evo with Sumiko LOMC Blackbird and was blown away by the overall improvement in sound. How did that happen? I don't know, but you can bet I'll be selling the other cable and maybe putting it towards trying some new speaker cables.

Keep experimenting and sharing your findings. It's what makes this hobby so fun (and maddening at times).

Cheers!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 11:27 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 11:09 am
Posts: 16
Location: Sault Ste. Marie, ON, CA
I always demo in my system,it's the only way you are going to know for sure.Some reputable cable manufacturers offer a limited home trial.Audio Horizons and Morrow come to mind.Most importantly always believe what your ears say not hearsay.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 6:45 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:34 pm
Posts: 23
Location: Santa Ana, CA, US
Now, now, hifijones, it’s not ALL about the music. The gear matters, too! Why is it when we “collect” music it’s perfectly acceptable to maintain a growing library, yet when we “collect” gear it’s considered an addiction and we relate it to a perpetual “merry-go-round?” I love the gear (ha!).

Hifijones left some very good advice, here. Not unlike good wines, with cables higher price does not necessarily equate to higher performance. I would stick with companies that have been around a while and have proven history. Stick with designs that are basically simple—no batteries, or magic boxes. Just cable. This is one philosophy I use to narrow my cable choices.

Two brands I like that offer nice mid-priced (a relative term, there!) cables are Kimber and DH Labs. I personally avoid ultra-high-end cable that are extraordinarily expensive. I am not saying you won’t realize a “tiny” improvement, but I am not convinced the expense is “worth” it and you may very well not realize any improvement. (We’re back to that relative determination as to what is expensive?)

The problem with cables is that you have to buy multiple cables to wire up your system, so it all adds up.

Seek out some Audioholics videos regarding cables. They make some interesting comments about cable marketing “wizard-like” claims.

Finally, I’ll say this. It seems that when equipment manufacturers (Bryston, McIntosh, SVS, etc.) venture into the cable business, their cables are usually reasonably priced. Maybe that says something.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:39 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 9:55 pm
Posts: 1
Location: North Haven, CT, US
I have found that cables make a significant difference in the sonics, this after 33 years of having used them. I could fairly easily hear the sound of the cables in my system, but I do want to say that I started out with WATTs in 1986, so hearing speaker cables/interconnects was very easy with WATTS/Goldmund/Jadis/Convergent gear.
The tricky thing is determining if the cable is exposing flaws in the preceding components, or masking previously unheard flaws. That's the part that - after the burn in period, which for Nordost and Shunyata cables, is around 3 weeks of non-stop playing (and that's a pain if it's the speaker cable, because unless you have a cable cooker, you are going to have to play music. And it's not my imagination: I was an editor for the late, lamented Fi Magazine, and I'd have to help set up equipment and listen, and given what my boss had (Grand Slams, Rockport, Jadis, Transparent cables), I could hear any change, such as removing the cables from touching an AC cord when he had a demonstration of his system at his home in Marin County (where the rich don't itch!) in front of **** Bel of Bel amps, and the Managing Editor - at the time - of The Absolute Sound, Sallie Reynolds and my mentor, Tom Miller. And the difference between removing an ac cord from the vicinity of the cable was heard instantly by all (the upper midrange edginess disappeared). So, if you've got cables touching each other at home, you're not even going to hear the differences in cables, and I suspect that this is, in large part, why so many people disparage high end cables. I've been to stores in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Hartford and it was appalling how many retailers paid ZERO attention to how their cords touched each other. It made me angry that they were actually causing the equipment to operate at sub-optimal levels. And I see it in a store here whenever I go in (which is why I don't go in much any more: I can barely keep my fingers off the cables to re-arrange them, but I can tell you this: I have free run of that store, so one day, I re-arranged the Nordost Odin ac cables to be as far away from the signal cables as possible. The difference was very obvious to me - AND them. But they said it was 'too much trouble' to keep components set up correctly. Now, THERE'S a good 'sales attitude' for ya.)
For non top-of-the-world cost cables: Alpha Core Goertz Divinity and MI-3 cables are excellent. They image well, have a very good tonal balance and extremely low noise floor. TAS, back in 1998, tested them both, and Harry found them so close to Nordost, he wasn't sure he could reliably tell which was which (except, he said, the Goertz had better mid-bass). After he switched to vinyl, he was more able to hear the differences reliably. Also, Nordost Heimdall is very good (not saying this is cheap. The Goertz was what I'd call 'reasonable' after having purchased Valhalla back then (2004) and found the Goertz indistinguishable from the Valhalla. And I had it for months, as I was writing a review on it for Ultra Audio.
Expensive cable does make a difference, but others are right: you must hear them in your own system (and keep your bloody hands off of them once you have them optimally positioned. Even moving them around will cause the sound to blur a little (use a vocalist, and female works the best, and you'll hear Streisand, Garland, Fitzgerald lose a modicum of expressiveness. Not heard to hear on unprocessed vocals, unlike anything after 1973). And allow them to "settle" for 2 hours before playing music. (Try not to argue with this point until you've actually done it, okay?) Or maybe one hour, but Shunyata and Nordost cables? It'll be two hours before the optimum sound emerges.
And yes, the synergy counts, but more many, it's compensating for other things they bought before trying out cables.
And don't even ask about power cords, because yes, regardless of what you hear, they change the sonics. Shunyata's current Alpha line is wonderful, but slightly less perfect in the upper bass/lower midrange, although they will just say, 'if you want a warmer sound, the CX is good..." The problem with that is that the CX line casts ITS coloration over the entire spectrum, so everything sounds warmer. Don't expect to listen to Janis Joplin and Big Brother and hear the guitars scream and growl: they'll sound warmer with a CX cord, and more true with an Alpha, but the Alpha will still leach out some of the natural color of a guitar or cello.
OY!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 5:36 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:34 pm
Posts: 23
Location: Santa Ana, CA, US
gbmcleod,

I am glad to see you mention the Alpha Core cables. I have also used their cables and found them quite nice. I agree that the bulk of their cables (copper) are reasonably priced and offer darn good performance and value. I’ve used a run of their speaker cable and some of their interconnects with pleasing results.

It is always interesting to hear from someone who has extensive experience with lots of different equipment (reviewers; dealers). As hobbyists, most of us don’t get to experience a plethora of different gear (on that same level), or it takes us years to gain exposure to an abundance of different gear—and then the process is slow, so one can’t always make “direct” comparisons.

I find it most intriguing that you compared the Goertz to Valhalla (definitely expensive cable!!!) with excellent results! That’s the kind of value we “centsible” audiophiles are looking for.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:44 am 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 2:06 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Montreal, QC, CA
@gbmcloud, fascinating post. Thanks for taking the time, I would never have paid enough attention to cable dressing without such help.

You state "the CX line casts ITS coloration over the entire spectrum". Pardon my ignorance, what is ITS coloration ?


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:53 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:14 pm
Posts: 16
Location: Gainesville, FL, US
You got some great advice from others. I'm a big fan of cables, and have some Tara Labs in system (Air 1 RCA ICs) and on the shelf (RSC Master Gen2, so neutral I'm too attached to let them go). At the higher end Cardas Clear is quite good and can give you a little extra omph and bass if that's what you need. Don't forget power cords, they make a large difference as well. I've also just bought my first Cerious Technology cable, a Graphene Extreme Red, and for $350 it's giant killer. Big informative thread on audiogon about them. Similar sound to my $3000 list Synergistics Research Atmosphere Level 3 Digital, but the SR is a little better. Diminishing returms applies to cables too. I think the rule of thumb to spend about 10-15% of total system cost on cables is about right. If you can't demo many brands locally, you can buy used and then sell what you don't want for a little time and money. That's also an easy way to up your reputation.

Now I need to find that other agon thread on homemade cable spacers with vibration reduction! I learned something too. :D


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 9:09 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:08 am
Posts: 1
Location: burlington, ON, CA
Paul MaGowan of PS audio has a web based free subscription newsletter. There are several to choose from.
http://www.psaudio.com/community/pauls-posts/

Currently he is all about burn in of the complete system after running music through it. It takes a while.

He says everything changes the sound. Mylar, PVC, Teflon, etc. I believe it. He said next time they attend a show they will properly burn the system in especially the wires before anyone hears the system. Paul said it took him a long time to finally realize this recently in 2017.

The first step is to do all the research and make sure everything is as Balanced or Synergystic as possible meaning the chain has no weak links. This includes good power from the transformer feeding your home to balancing your electrical panel to using heavy duty breakers or regular fuses along with lotions and potions that stop any microarcing everywhere. Grounding is SUPER IMPORTANT. Do lots of homework how to ground for HIFI use. Dont forget to check each and every switch and receptacle and light outlet in your home to make certain the polarity is correct and the grounding is correct. Yes it is a lot of work and only worth it if you find problems. Then make sure your source is the best it can be and immediately after that your speakers need to be resolving enough to hear any differences you make. Everything in between has to be of equal value but source first then speakers next. It can be any reasonable money amount low or high. We all know it takes around X dollars to enter the realm of resolving HIFI.

I believe the connectors make a big difference meaning is the body of the connector silver or copper or brass and nickel? You would be surprised. The best are high quality conductive materials throughout that have tarnish/corrosion prevention. Solder also adds or takes away from the conductivity process if solder is used. Otherwise what type of clamping/contact system is used for each connector to attach the wire /cable to? Next the plating of which gold seems the most common. The plating is used to prevent tarnish/corrosion and that is the big clue right there. Here is the part missed:

1-tarnishing or corrosion. I believe copper tarnishes and tarnished copper is dead to conductivity or conducts far less with real high resistance. I have seen Old Bryston Van Damme speaker leads green from tarnish. Siver tarnish is supposed to conduct as well as untarnished silver. If the signal travels mostly on the surface of the wire then tarnish/corrosion is not to be ignored because the surface is where the tarnish happens. Just put some plumbing flux on some wire you want to use and soon it will turn green if its copper. Tinned copper is something that may be different and likely more products are different.

2-Improper sealing meaning air can get into the wire past the connector or through its covering carrying moisture and chemicals along with the air that speed up the tarnishing process. Most just use heat shrink tube and this does little to stop moisture or chemicals. Maybe some manufacturers inject a silicone or some sort of sealant gunk around the cuts before they put on the looks good heat shrink tube. Van Den Hul use a heavier duty silver plating and casing for high humidity or salt water if you live near an ocean or in Florida in the summer. There must be a reason why.

3-proper or improper grounding. Ground loops might make frequencies so high you cant hear them but may affect the noise floor. XLR sheathing is known to often affect high frequencies. Things happen and just because you cant measure them or hear them does not mean they will or will not affect the sound for better or worse some how in some way up or down the chain. Vague but I think true. Rane have a good read on grounding.
http://www.rane.com/note151.html

I believe human memory cannot remember what the system sounded like as long as nothing changed and everything remains the same. I am trying to say a clean speaker or interconnect or spade or bananna or RCA or XLR, etc., maybe super in the beginning but the owner is not generally going to hear what the tarnishing/corrosion process does to the sound long term, down the road. We just get used to it. Likely, when we try a new wire/cable and it is untarnished and new it will sound different. If it is old and little tarnished it will sound different. If it is really tarnished it will sound different.

Conductivity and tarnish and grounding.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 1:27 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat May 30, 2015 8:38 am
Posts: 5
Location: Alameda, CA, US
If you buy anything more than 12 gauge zip cord, you're wasting your money. But it's a free country and you're free to waste your money. I run 14 gauze zip cord I bought from Parts-Express and NOBODY leaves my home without envy for what my system does.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 3:24 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:56 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Milton, ON, CA
rustybutt wrote:
If you buy anything more than 12 gauge zip cord, you're wasting your money. But it's a free country and you're free to waste your money. I run 14 gauze zip cord I bought from Parts-Express and NOBODY leaves my home without envy for what my system does.

The only smart answer.
Read up on confirmation bias. It explains the differences people hear.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 3:48 am 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 2:06 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Montreal, QC, CA
Yes, it does.

analogluvr wrote:
Read up on confirmation bias. It explains the differences people hear.


The trouble with confirmation bias as an explanation is that in explaining, it denies any validity to all the other explanations. Whereas the opposite is not true.

In other words, confirmation bias is a sledge hammer with no subtlety to it, no accounting for individual circumstances or setups, no openings for further research and exploration.

All the other explanations actually allow confirmation bias, though. Interesting.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 21 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group