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Lets talk cables

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#1
Howdy, recent conversation i had with a friend triggered some itching regarding cabling and lack of any evidence/testing that would prove him wrong or right. Im 35 years old with some experience in "listening" devices tho these days im focused more on listening music, still since i had the opportunity to listen different setups and ABX cable switching (VDH revolution, goertz, mogami, diy stuff) i can confirm that there are sonic differences between them. The part that triggered me the most in the conversation with my friend (oracle employee with substantial background in audio) was the following (ill translate / quote him).


"There is no reason to make cable braids, its not a differential signal, it creates a load on transistors and slows down the signal"
"Additives in copper only create more resistance"
"There is no directional cable"
"Isolation is irrelevant since you are pushing 20khz through the cable with several volts"
"Both LAN and Coax cables create higher load/strain on the amplifier without benefits and slow down the transition"
"HS cables are bad for LS"
"Use electrician cable for speakers 4mm non solid core its the best cable for the job"

Since he is more of a tech person (sits in a data lab with instruments and tests chips everyday) im inclined to give weight to his opinion, i did hear the difference in sound with cable changes but what are those changes and is it shifting the sound from "no influence from source to destination" or is it acting as a EQ of a sort, what part of it makes the change we perceive.

TLDR: Can we test cables, are there any measurements that would provide data on how well a cable does its job.
 

RayDunzl

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#2

dc655321

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#3
TLDR: Can we test cables, are there any measurements that would provide data on how well a cable does its job.
Impedance and noise-immunity (coupling, transmission) spring to mind.
I guess you're talking specifically about loudspeaker cabling?
As opposed to headphone cables (a particular pet peeve of mine)...
 
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#4
What did you hear?
Well, here goes. Setup was pass aleph 3 biamp, sonus faber amator 2, audio alchemy dac with custom built psu and micromega transport.
Goertz: accentuated higher frequency, tighter bass, overall clear and detailed sound
VDH: Slightly muddier lower freq but more volume, warmer highs and less space on the stage
LAN braids: Well balanced overall a bit less clarity and details
Coax: Very close to goertz on high freq range but muddier on low range, overall worst of all.

In the same session regular Cordial 4mm was the best cable and it remained in the system Flex Cordial 4mm, cheapo cable had good lower freq clarity while still providing good strenght, less clarity in highs but better than VDH.
 
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#5
Impedance and noise-immunity (coupling, transmission) spring to mind.
I guess you're talking specifically about loudspeaker cabling?
As opposed to headphone cables (a particular pet peeve of mine)...
Yea, speaker cabling, im fresh in the headphones with experience based on cheapo sony mdr25, akg 66, akg 99 and akg 701 (pre Q redesigned drivers, sold since they gave no benefits compared to my old akg 66, had no amp at the time, got them cheap, sold them cheap, wish i didnt but no use crying over spilled milk)
 

watchnerd

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#6
I used to think cables don't really matter much if they're well-built and professional grade (Canare, Belden, etc), and when it comes to speaker cables, line level cables (especially balanced), and especially digital cables, I still do think that.

But when it comes to tonearm cables I'm developing a different of point of view.

Voltages in the mV range and cartridge sensitivity to capacitance loading is making me believe that cables do really matter in the specific scenario of tonearms.
 

Wombat

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#7
I used to think cables don't really matter much if they're well-built and professional grade (Canare, Belden, etc), and when it comes to speaker cables, line level cables (especially balanced), and especially digital cables, I still do think that.

But when it comes to tonearm cables I'm developing a different of point of view.

Voltages in the mV range and cartridge sensitivity to capacitance loading is making me believe that cables do really matter in the specific scenario of tonearms.

Tonearm wires: Cartridge mfrs provide loading specs- what more do you need?

Aftermarket tone-arm wire may weigh more or less than than original thus changing the inertia of the tone-arm. Stick to mfr spec.

Why ignorant 'philes want to go against design parameters is beyond me.

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=S4nBNZ_EJwwC&pg=PA1033&lpg=PA1033&dq=cartridge+tonearm+wiring&source=bl&ots=eMLL1uf1Az&sig=-1pM2q-NIhssTCJmzsAoF15iYX4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiArayhs8XbAhXKFZQKHU5IDeg4FBDoAQhgMAk#v=onepage&q=cartridge tonearm wiring&f=false

Low voltage - make sure your connections are sound.

Get the loading right - see link above.

No magic.
 

Sal1950

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#8
I'll only pause to quote my friend Peter Aczel.
Little more needs to be said.

"Cables—that’s one subject I can’t discuss calmly. Even after all these years, I still fly into a rage when I read “$900 per foot” or “$5200 the pair.” That’s an obscenity, a despicable extortion exploiting the inability of moneyed audiophiles to deal with the laws of physics. The transmission of electrical signals through a wire is governed by resistance, inductance, and capacitance (R, L, and C). That’s all, folks! (At least that’s all at audio frequencies. At radio frequencies the geometry of the cable begins to have certain effects.) An audio signal has no idea whether it is passing through expensive or inexpensive RLC. It retains its purity or impurity regardless. There may be some expensive cables that sound “different” because they have crazy RLC characteristics that cause significant changes in frequency response. That’s what you hear, not the $900 per foot. And what about the wiring inside your loudspeakers, inside your amplifiers, inside your other components? What you don’t see doesn’t count, doesn’t have to be upgraded for megabucks? What about the miles of AC wiring from the power station to your house and inside your walls? Only the six-foot length of the thousand-dollar power cord counts? The lack of common sense in the high-end audio market drives me to despair."
 
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#9
Fun tear down.... snake oil, eq in form of a cable, dangerous for bad designed or "sensitive" amps (looking at you naim). "But it plays better in my system"

 

Frank Dernie

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#12
An aquaintance of mine was absolutely convinced of the superiority of some particular expensive wiring after having a demo at the dealer.
He was so convinced he let somebody he knew doing a controlled test at a University borrow his cable to show them how big a difference it made.
He went to the test convinced he was going to show everybody how important cables are, but in fact he himself was unable to tell any difference when all the sighted suggestiveness was removed.
He recouped as much money as he could by selling them and continued wiser and poorer.
He says nothing about this to most audiophiles since he knows they absolutely believe cables sound different and he doesn't want an argument.
 

Speedskater

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#14
We cannot speak about:
  • RCA unbalanced analog interconnect cables.
  • tone-arm cables
  • XLR balanced interconnect cables
  • portable microphone cables
  • musical instrument ( guitar ) cables
  • the many different types of digital interconnect cables
  • loudspeaker cables
  • AC power cords
  • AC in-wall power cables
All in the same breath.

* * * * * * * * *
But not all cables are good cables and some of the audiophile & boutique cables are the worst offenders.
 

RayDunzl

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#16
Re-post:

My 2AWG THHN Speaker Cables

1528566285175.png


Bi-wired, no less.

Why?

Had the parts, they fit.
 

DonH56

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Sal1950

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#18
We cannot speak about:
All in the same breath.

* * * * * * * * *
But not all cables are good cables and some of the audiophile & boutique cables are the worst offenders.
Of course you can, once you add in the calculations of R,L, &C and it's effect on the intended application.
The math the same everywhere.
 

watchnerd

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#19
Tonearm wires: Cartridge mfrs provide loading specs- what more do you need?

Aftermarket tone-arm wire may weigh more or less than than original thus changing the inertia of the tone-arm. Stick to mfr spec.

Why ignorant 'philes want to go against design parameters is beyond me.

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=S4nBNZ_EJwwC&pg=PA1033&lpg=PA1033&dq=cartridge+tonearm+wiring&source=bl&ots=eMLL1uf1Az&sig=-1pM2q-NIhssTCJmzsAoF15iYX4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiArayhs8XbAhXKFZQKHU5IDeg4FBDoAQhgMAk#v=onepage&q=cartridge tonearm wiring&f=false

Low voltage - make sure your connections are sound.

Get the loading right - see link above.

No magic.
Yes, my cart specifies 100 pF in capacitance, but this is the whole chain -- cable + what the phono stage is set to.

No, it's not magic, of course.

Just more variables and more finnicky.
 

Blumlein 88

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#20
Yes, tonearm cables load the cartridge. Again just RLC effects.

Speaker cables can have audible effects. Usually interactions between amp output impedance, and speaker reactance. All explained by RLC effects.

Other cables shouldn't have an effect unless connecting odd gear or perhaps if made to have an effect like some expensive brands that add a ton of capacitance on purpose.

You are using Aleph 3's. I had one of those way back when. It could sound very nice. But I never found it to handle any ported speaker (not that I could try them all). On ported speakers the lack of current output capability caused sound quality to fall apart. Using two bi-wired would help of course. On Quads it was a nice amp. On sealed speakers if efficient enough it was a nice amp. On reactive loads of ported speakers it wasn't equal to the task most of the time. If my memory is any good it has a max current output of 8 amps.

So its possible some of what you are hearing is because the amp is effected a little bit one way or the other by the cable and its effect on current, and damping of the load of the speaker. The amp has a slightly high output impedance.

EDIT to add:
https://www.passlabs.com/sites/default/files/a3man.pdf

Yes, the last page says output 23 volts, 8 amps. In this design if you exceed 8 amps, it clips. Says so in the manual.
 
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