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Thread: Cables

  1. #1
    Junior Member Stunt21's Avatar
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    Question Cables

    Hi.

    I've always heard and seen about HiFi specific cables, those expensive beauties with golden ends.

    But I'd like to know, which are the REAL, measurable specs that one of those offers, which one of the cheap would not?
    For power use, of course, I need a thick cable which can handle those beautiful amperes without getting hot, and connectors which won't show any reactance, whether inductive or capacitive...

    But I don't get the rest of it
    The money difference is astonishing...

    Could anyone tell me about the measurable non-suggested advantages of these?

    Greetings!
    There's no wind against who doesn't know which is his harbour.

  2. #2
    Junior Member Ut Pictura's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I think you are looking for technical information regarding audiophile cables. Best you go to websites of cable companies, like Ecosse, or QED who go into elaborate detail regarding the makeup of each of their designer cables
    Last edited by Ut Pictura; Feb-25-2010 at 08:37. Reason: typo

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    Junior Member Stunt21's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for the info

    "Using a biwiring configuration the net effect is a reduction in impedance seen by the amplifier"
    (Source: Ecosse web)

    Unfortunately, I don't need to read more... =S

    Greetings.
    Last edited by Stunt21; Feb-26-2010 at 23:10. Reason: Source
    There's no wind against who doesn't know which is his harbour.

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    There are two advantages to upgrading from "standard" cables, those commonly tossed in the box with hardware: Longevity/reliability, and performance. In regards to the former, once you upgrade to something with real copper conductors and gold plated connectors, you're probably getting as reliable a product for $30 or $50 as you would with one many times that. In regards to the latter IMO there is a strict law of diminishing returns. Each upgrade requires an exponential increase in cash outlay for a minimal improvement in sound quality. Unless your cables are the weak link, you will more than likely get a bigger increase in performance putting the money into better speakers or electronics than into super expensive cables.

    That all said I find that it takes me a long time to discern a difference from one cable to the next, and the only way for me to do that is to live with a new cable for a while then switch back to whatever I had before. Any difference should be immediately noticeable at that point, and you can then decide whether to keep the new one or take it back.

    One other point, I don't buy into the notion that one can hear any difference from one cable to the next when it's carrying digital signals, and I buy the cheapest cables I can find for this purpose. As long as they don't fall apart they will work perfectly. The same holds true for digital disk transports, btw, and those special Sharpies they talked us into buying to "paint" around the rim of our CD's was snake oil of the highest quality. Anyone who knows anything about computers knows better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by qualityaudio View Post
    There are two advantages to upgrading from "standard" cables, those commonly tossed in the box with hardware: Longevity/reliability, and performance. In regards to the former, once you upgrade to something with real copper conductors and gold plated connectors, you're probably getting as reliable a product for $30 or $50 as you would with one many times that. In regards to the latter IMO there is a strict law of diminishing returns. Each upgrade requires an exponential increase in cash outlay for a minimal improvement in sound quality. Unless your cables are the weak link, you will more than likely get a bigger increase in performance putting the money into better speakers or electronics than into super expensive cables.

    That all said I find that it takes me a long time to discern a difference from one cable to the next, and the only way for me to do that is to live with a new cable for a while then switch back to whatever I had before. Any difference should be immediately noticeable at that point, and you can then decide whether to keep the new one or take it back.

    One other point, I don't buy into the notion that one can hear any difference from one cable to the next when it's carrying digital signals, and I buy the cheapest cables I can find for this purpose. As long as they don't fall apart they will work perfectly. The same holds true for digital disk transports, btw, and those special Sharpies they talked us into buying to "paint" around the rim of our CD's was snake oil of the highest quality. Anyone who knows anything about computers knows better.
    Al very interesting but I don't think that the OP was seriously seeking advice on this topic. I may be wrong but it smacks to me of someone who came on here to make a point that he can't see any justification at all for spending anything more than a few $ for cables/interconnects. If anyone had attempted to answer him (he's now gone by the look of things) all they would have got in return was a deluge of derisory comment. It sticks out a mile. The same kind of thing happens elsewhere. It's easy to spot them.

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    Junior Member Stunt21's Avatar
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    Hello qualityaudio.

    Thank you for your response, I think I agree with you in all you said, except for one thing I don't get (probably my language's fault...), that about digital signals, could you tell me what do you mean?


    Hi Opal.

    In my humble opinion, the only derisory (and bad-mannered) thing here is your post.
    As I just said, what I was looking was not advice, not because of what you think, but because (hope this doesn't sound bad) I think I don't need it.

    What I was looking for is someone who had tried those expensive cables, and telling me what the difference was, or (even harder) someone telling me some sources where to find REAL properties of them. Indeed, our forum friend Ut Pictura gave us a couple of them (Thank you! ), and I posted an extract of one of the webs which doesn't need exactly a lot of knowledge to tell it's just nonsense.

    I work almost daily with things for which cables choosing is just crucial (radar/microwave (Not the ovens... -_- ) technology, up to the hundred of GHz), and I just have to make a measurement with a spectrum/vetor-network analyzer to tell its effects.
    As you could imagine, with that magnificent instrumentation (rohde & schwarz equipment etc...), I went there with an extremely cheap set of audio cables with their m-f connectors, and the one I cheaply but carefully built for my home-made amp (which I also measured and which results beat many expensive commercial ones ), and the results were just as I expected, if someone is interested I'll post them one day.

    I'm sorry, I was just pissed about you telling those things about me, someone you don't know at all...

    Greetings.
    There's no wind against who doesn't know which is his harbour.

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    Hi Stunt21

    I was referring to cables which connect to the coaxial digital input of a D/A converter, such as connecting a DVD player to a surround-sound receiver. As long as the digital signals are getting from point A to point B, there can be no audible difference from one cable to the next. If the digital signal is being "changed" somehow by the cable, there would be a huge difference in what you hear to the point where it would not be recognizable. There is an expression that applies here: Garbage in, garbage out.

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    Junior Member Stunt21's Avatar
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    Oh, now I get

    Well, I just asked because some people call "digital audio" to the output of a D/A converter, which strictly could be called a digital signal, but for real in any equipment at all the output is low pass filtered after the output of the DAC to get only the fundamental frequency of that signal, which results, for example, in a pure, absolutely perfect sine wave (yeah, even from a square wave!).
    S/PDIF is another story...That's really "Garbage in, garbage out" (liked that expression!), can be shortened into GIGO.

    Greetings!
    There's no wind against who doesn't know which is his harbour.

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    Thanks for all that techie jargon. For the less bright that might be lurking and searching, I've always done well getting something in the middle. Not the cheapest, not the most expensive.

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    Senior Member Mark Harwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaneyes View Post
    Thanks for all that techie jargon. For the less bright that might be lurking and searching, I've always done well getting something in the middle. Not the cheapest, not the most expensive.
    That's along the right lines. Cheap speaker wire really does spoil the sound. QED & the like make the ones worth having. An interconnect (between source & amp) is short & has less effect, but up to £20 is worth spending on this. Measurable factors include the % of copper in the wires: 99.99% is known as "four nines", for example. But never mind technicalities unless they're your thing. And on a CD/amp/speakers system worth about £1,000 I heard very little difference when I bi-wired the speakers.
    "Music is a social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is."
    - Malcolm Arnold.

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    My cable guy came by the other day to try to solve a sound issue with one TV channel. Every minute or two the sound would cut out for a split second, often two in a row...then repeat approximately in that pattern.

    This did not occur on any other channel. However, the same issue occurred on another TV channel maybe two weeks ago, then went away...only to appear on the aforementioned. Both these channels are on the same frequency.

    No issues on the other two TVs.

    Long story short after a lengthy troubleshoot, it was the HDMI cable. A new one the cable company had connected some months ago.

    Twas my first experience with a faulty HDMI cable. I thought the quality control on these things was pretty good. Cable guy said it happens occasionally.

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