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davekoch
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Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

OK, I've out of the HiFi market for many years - since buying a Sansui AU-X901 int and a set of ADS L780 speakers many years ago - if indeed they qualify as HiFi.

Now, I'm acquiring a Rega Mira and a set of NHT THREEs. So what type of speaker cable do I need? One salesman said you need to break them in just like speakers and amps. I asked how much are the cables connected to the NHT THREEs and Mira, he said "three ninety-nine". I though he was kidding. He actually meant three-hundred ninety-nine dollars.

I'd like to hear suggestions for me.

wkhanna
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

I just ordered these CLEARVIEW GOLDEN HELIX CABLE for $85.

Wait a week and I will tell you how they sound compared to my 14 year old Monster 12 gauge wires.

Oh, and by the way, for current PC protocol use the term "the

dbowker
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

You will get as many answers as posters I'm afraid, but here's my 2 cents.

Cables IMO can make a big difference in sound. Some are good, others not so great, and it all depends on the overall system. I feel the best all around value can be had by the mid priced Audioquest cables. Good build quality, balanced and dynamic sound. For instance, with you system you may look at the Type 4 speaker cables (10' pair is $180) which is not so out of line with what you are buying. http://www.musicdirect.com/product/72910 Their Copperhead interconnects are also very good and only $95 for a meter pair. I like Audioquest copper cables because of a slightly warmer sound, as opposed to various silver wires out there (which some people love) that, to me sound lean and thin.

Now, are more expensive wires worth it? Totally subjective and based on your system, ears and wallet. I picked up some $450 Stereovox speaker wires last year and although on one hand crazy expensive, on the other hand worth every penny for what I felt it did for the sound of my system. But I'm not about to say everyone would hear it or need them.

And just to throw one more thing out there, upgrade power cables, also IMO do add significant improvements to a good system. This is one area even a skeptic scientist friend actually had to admit to recently when he borrowed one from me for his system.

Hope that helps! Beware of the avalanche of conflicting answers you are likely to get! If your dealer will let you do a comparison at home or even in store, do it and see (hear) what you think. That way it's YOUR ears and not everyone else's opinion.

wkhanna
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

V good advice, dbowker!
I would add that spending more than $150 on a set of speaker cables for his system would be way too much.

bobedaone
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

I don't think you need to spend that much on wires. I don't disagree with the claim of many that there are indeed audible differences between wires, but whether you will be able to appreciate the differences is another matter. $400 is a big chunk of change, and nearly half what you paid for the amplifier.

A $100-200 investment in speaker wire would be more reasonable, IMHO. I use $40 wire with my Brio and don't feel like I'm missing out.

There are companies that sell high-quality wire at sane prices. I typically buy mine from Impact Acoustics. www.impactacoustics.com

Lots of people are pleased with Blue Jeans Cable. Essentially, they have bulk lengths of various types of wire, available in myriad custom lengths and colors, terminated as you wish. The prices are reasonable, and you won't find any marketing nonsense that seems to populate the sites of other cable peddlers. www.bluejeanscable.com

Others here will be able to recommend additional places to find good wire at down-to-earth prices.

davekoch
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

"$400 is a big chunk of change, and nearly half what you paid for the amplifier."

Actually, it's more than I'm paying for the used Mira. So, $400 is too much. I'd rather put the money toward upgrading the DVD/CD player. I should have included that question also. What DVD/CD players can you recommend? Will $400 get a DVD/CD player worthy of the Mira/NHT 3s? Suggestions? Sorry for the confusing posts. So it looks like have 2 things to obsess about....

So I actually need a new DVD/CD player and speaker cables. What's the new term for speaker cables: interconnects, IC, C, etc.

THANKS a bunch!!!!

andy19191
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

> Actually, it's more than I'm paying for the used Mira. So,
> $400 is too much.

The mark up on cables is large compared to the electronics which is why many salesman will work hard to get people to buy them. Despite the answers above, I think you probably suspect that it is a load of cobblers and just wanted confirmation? Buy the cheapest wire that is reasonably thick.

DVD/CD players vary in build quality and features but the competent ones do not vary noticeably in sound quality. I would suggest having listen to a $100 Pioneer universal player and comparing with whatever else is around. I will be surprised if you can hear the difference but please let us know if you can.

wkhanna
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

My personal opinion........

Do not by a combo DVD/CD player.....Do not pass go.........do not collect $200.
Spend less than $200 on an Oppo DVD player. They work great for video, sound good for movies.Oppo

Now save up and get a dedicated CDp form someone like Cambridge Audio. You can look at some of their offerings here.
link
And as you allready know, go to audio shops with your own CD's, and listen.

dbowker
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

"The mark up on cables is large compared to the electronics which is why many salesman will work hard to get people to buy them."

I was just curious as to how you came by this knowledge? I worked in a high-end audio store and not only did I not make anything extra as a sales person on cables, the markup for the owner was the same for all items. Generally it was about 40% of retail, not high when you calculate staff, inventory, rent, utilities and owner's salary (which I also know was not big). His was a typical smallish audio store. They had all the big names and some very expensive cable, but I would not say that it was what made the business go, it was the normal amp, speakers and other hardware. Cables, while deemed important always came last in the conversation.

Colnmary
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

Cable I believe after counting on my toes... is a Five letter word.

I have also wondered about the 'claimed' effects about various Cables.

I have entry level interconnect Copper Cables on my CDP, Pre and Power amps. For Fathers Day a few weeks ago, my wife decided to buy me a present. I chose a new pair of Cables for my CDP to Pre Amp.

I purchsed a pair of the same manufactures Gold level interconnects, (smelted gold on copper and different cable make up) which were about 5 levels up from the cables I had from the same manufacturer already connected and had been for almost 3 years to my CDP.

To be honest I felt a little guilty, but it was a Fathers Day present.

They arrived were plugged in on my CDP to Pre Amp.

I have a new stereo system. There is THAT much difference in the sound. For the better. My wife arrived home on friday and on saturday morning sat down to have a listen and asked after 20 seconds or so, "have you turned up the Bass?"

I hadn't. I had also noticed more deep bass comming through my speakers. It is almost as though they reach down deeper than before. The midrange detail is mind blowing and the high end so real now.

Had I read this in a post myself, I would have rolled my eyes and muttered "oh sure". I listened to albums I have heard since the 70's, and some CDs I have listened to almost daily for the last 5 years.

The extra bass is astounding, and the the silkiness of the midrange is just unreal.

I was convinced enough to order another pair of Gold Cables after 4 days to go between my pre amp and power amp.

I have already asked my wife to save up and put Christmas and my birthday present into a pair of Gold Speaker Cables.

bobedaone
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

Actually, it's funny you should mention the Oppo. I just hooked up my new DV-980H today, and it struck me immediately as a great-sounding piece. To my ears, it is very noticeably superior to my NAD C525BEE CD-only player. I gave the NAD to my mom for use in our living room system back home.

So, based on my listening experience thus far, you would have to spend more than the $300 price of entry for a dedicated CD player in order to better the Oppo. It's just that good. In fact, I'm having difficulty identifying differences between my Audio Alchemy DAC and the chip in the 980. That is high praise for the challenger from Mountain View, considering that the AA is my reference within this budget. The Oppo would be untouchable at $300. At $170, it's a slam dunk. Until I can afford something really top-shelf like the Rega Apollo, I see no reason to spend more than Oppo charges.

In summary, I fully agree that buying an Oppo is wise choice, but also buying a CD player seems redundant to me.

Good call, though. I was going to post in a bit and throw in a good word for Oppo.

andy19191
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

> I was just curious as to how you came by this knowledge?

Mainly by casually studying the audiophile phenomenon but twice as a potential customer experiencing extraordinary efforts by a hi-fi salesman to sell cables. I also had an interesting conversation with a charming representative of very exotic cables at a trade show. Here is a typical source of my information on the web (first hit in google - New York Times article - there are many more):

"Kerry Moyer, staff director for the Consumer Electronics Association, which represents manufacturers, said accessories were usually the highest markup items, wires included. Sales of high-margin accessories have become critical in the current market, where prices of components like receivers, amplifiers and DVD players, have had profit margins squeezed by competition."

You are the first person I have across that states the markup on cables is the same as the main components. Do you know why? Have things changed recently?

wkhanna
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

Yes....my six month old Oppo 970 works V good for video, much improved over my old JVC. But since I still have a CRT disply, I went with the 970 and got the added bonus of being able to use it for the 20 or so SACD's I have.
While the audio quality is respectable, it still does not compare to my Cambridge Audio 640 v1 on redbook playback.

dbowker
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

Good info Andy- It WAS a while back that I worked at that store and maybe things have changed a bit since then. I would say in any case that the COST of sale is less, in that once someone decides better ICs are worth it, they will probably just buy a whole set. But still, I have to defend the retail end of High End audio (overall- not everyone obviously) in that it's pretty low margin biz. We'd spend many hours demoing equipment and it was often hard to tell if a customer was just there for the ride. I can't speak to the cost or value of equipment vs. what a manufacturer makes on it. Maybe some are really raking it in. But as I recently found when I built some of my own tower speakers, if you use good materials, it's expensive, and take a lot of time. This would be a great topic on it's own actually...

CECE
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

MCM has previously priced wires that where liek $1129, now on closeout for $20. Some $100 now $8.99. Wire and cable is teh big profit maker for these wire companeis. AQ has a reptile of teh month, then it goes to closeout at HCM. Do you know why Philips biggest CE in Euriope recently bought Gemini the local distrib of cheap audio video stuff and some kind of acc for everything, cus' it's high profit items, K MArt Taget and anywhere else they sell audio vidoe. They paid $200 Million for teh company, that was more than they sold anotehr div for that di high tech analytical equipment! There's money in that stuff, so keep buying $100 foot pieces of wire...you know it has to sound better. Don't forget teh magic connectors that are frozen heated and twisted just right. Count teh number of ads for wires, which have now become a component! Years ago Wall Street Journel had an essay on one particular brand, way back when this monster stuff started....lucritvie business profits, so when you buy a $1,000 Cd player, make sure you load up on a $500 piece of wire that costs like $50 from China....It keeps teh stores in business. checkout teh discounts online of stuff, list prices is like any made up number that some dope will pay for WIRE!!! Wires without specs, UL or CE or CSA specs, just a lot of words from teh ad dept.

davekoch
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

Yahoo, I can post again....every couple days I get the following error message:
"We can not proceed.
The form you sumbitted is no longer valid.
Press the Back button to continue."

Anyway, thank you sooooo much for all the responses. All points of view are totally welcome. I think I'm more in line with DUP's opinion for right now anyway, maybe so I can get up and running with the new system. Later on I can re-visit the more expensive options.

OK, I have $100 to spend on cables. What cables do I need to order? Please be specific (cable type, connector type and material, even model number, etc.), because I don't have a clue. (You probably already knew that...

;-)

1. Rega Mira
2. NHT Threes
3. Oppo 980H DVD Player
(Will the 980H play CDs adequately? I just don't have $600 for a CA640 Azur right now.)

bobedaone
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

Hi, Dave!

The error message you've been receiving is a result of taking a long time to compose. I get the same message frequently because I write long responses directly on the form, rather than writing in a word processor and pasting it in (I don't know; Does anyone do that?). When you get that message, just highlight the text of the post, then go back and click "reply" as you did before. Paste the old post in the new reply box and proceed as you normally would. It should work out fine.

I've really been falling for the 980H, and find that its CD playback is very satisfying. It does a better job than my $300 NAD C525BEE. As wkhanna pointed out, it might not have the chops to out-gun a $600 CD-only player, but it's scary-good for the money. Buy with confidence and with the understanding that you may not feel the need to upgrade for awhile (which is good because guys like us don't have the scratch to upgrade on a whim). The Oppo sounds excellent with my Brio, so I don't have any doubts regarding its compatibility with your new Mira.

$100 is reasonable for a first-time cable purchase. One option I didn't mention before that you might find worthwhile is Paul Speltz's Anti-Cables (www.anticables.com)
I've not heard them, but they've garnered quite a lot of praise from customers and reviewers alike. They are reasonably priced at $10/foot/pair (ie A 7-foot stereo pair costs $70), and come standard with spade terminations, which should work fine for you. After you've bought the speaker wires, spend what's left over on one pair of interconnects, which, since you have only one source, will be all you need.
You could also buy the speaker wire now and save the interconnects for later. The key thing to keep in mind is that spreading your money too thin now will only lead to more upgrades later. Get yourself a good set of speaker wires right away and wait on the ICs if you have to. $20-30 cables will suit the Oppo just fine, anyway.

Congrats on the new system!

Buddha
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

Boy, that word "cable" can really get people going.

It's like saying "Niagara Falls" to a Vaudevillian!

I try to look at it this way...

I know cables can be crappy. When I was a young, idealistic audiophile, I tried to make some of my own as an experiment to see what I could hear. (See what I could hear...what kind of grammatical error is that?)

I made one pair using that old fashioned kind of wire that looks like it's wrapped in some sort of dark wool - the kind you used to see on cooking appliances and old fashioned room heaters.

The sound was demonstrably awful. So bad, even a Stereophile reviewer would be willing to try and identify it in a double blind test - it was that bad.

It made me happy, though, because it proved that it is possible to hear a "crappy cable."

Then, the question became...with improvements in my cable constructions - different gauges, different, solder, etc...at what point does the difference stop happening?

If I can hear a crap cable, just where would I stop hearing "improvements" in better made cable?

Next, I listened to those stock cables that come with stuff you buy with cheap components - you probably remember the gray cables with steel terminations that used to come packed in with "mid-fi" gear.

Well, I could hear the sound "dys-improve" with those crappy cables compared to "better" cables.

So, two different cable experiences that seemed, to me, to show cabling can make a difference.

Then, when I had a digital transport and some other digital gear to connect it to, I found I could hear the difference between one digital cable that used and AES/EBU connection vs. coaxial cable. I know this is not a clean example, because the cables followed different paths through the gear, but it was yet another time I could hear a difference. I could also hear the difference between a "powered" coaxial cable made by Audio Alchemy and a "non-powered" cable, but I don't know what the hell that means!

The last part of the equation, for me, is, "Where does the point of diminishing/vanishing return come into play?"

In my experience, it happens at a relatively low price point. I've tried too many to count different interconnects and, at best, the differences are so subtle, if I can hear them at all, as to render the utility of ever more expensive cables to be of dubious value.

Good for me, I get off cheap!

Can I say that someone with golden ears might be able to hear these "dramatic" and "astoundingly large" differences that they claim to hear?

Maybe.

I do start to wonder about people fooling themselves...bias effects, overstating the degree of impact, or even claiming to hear things because of issues of social standing...but if they wanna buy those cables and they are happy, then who would deny a fellow audiophile "happiness?"

(I think the rule of diminishing returns reaches an asymptote, and at the very top end of the chain, improvements become incremental, not epic...so the claims made for some cables strain my credulity.)

So, my bottom line is: Cables can sound different, but once you reach a certain level of product competence, the vanishing point occurs before the big dollars set in.

wkhanna
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

"Step by step....inch by inch, slowly I turned......."

Well done, Buddha!

bjh
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

davekoch,

I would recommend Blue Jeans LC-1.

For speaker cables you could try the Belden 5000 stuff that Blue Jeans offers. There's also the Home Depot HD-14 extention cord wire if you're a little adventurous (likely cheaper as well). The HD-14 craze started with a review in The Absolute Sound but you can find lots of information on in many hobby site (don't know if it was discussed here however).

I'd suggest you live with the system for some time before even considering trying more expensive stuff.

wkhanna
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

Go here http://www.partsexpress.com/home-audio-video.cfm for affordable I/C and speaker cables to start your system, but stay away from Monster brand, you pay for all their advertising and their product is sub-standard vs. price paid.

As always, IMHO

fred333
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

Thanks for the link. Been looking for cheap accessories for my friends stereo setup.

davekoch
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

Thank you sooooo much for all the replies, suggestions, and congratulations on my forthcoming system. My wife ordered the Oppo 980-H DVD player for my birthday present. I called Oppo support today and they recommended monoprice.com cables. Anyone used them?

Elk
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

Monoprice is an excellent source for good quality inexpensive cables. Good selection, great service, excellent bang/buck ratio. I highly recommend them.

dbowker
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

These guys aren't cheap, but they do offer measurements...

No endorsement from me as I have not heard them and I think they are too pricey in any case, but it IS interesting to see a company attempt to back up some of their claims via measured info.

http://www.pearcable.com/sub_products_comice_frequencyresponse.htm

davekoch
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?


Quote:
My personal opinion........

Do not by a combo DVD/CD player.....Do not pass go.........do not collect $200.
Spend less than $200 on an Oppo DVD player. They work great for video, sound good for movies.Oppo

Now save up and get a dedicated CDp form someone like Cambridge Audio. You can look at some of their offerings here.
link
And as you allready know, go to audio shops with your own CD's, and listen.

The Oppo 980H came yesterday. It sounds great, and there's a noticeable difference in the video!! Thanks so much for the GREAT tip!!

Ergonaut
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

Four letters????? Yeah it's "cost"

My response to my wallet being kept safely away from this is to do what we do for professional rigs.

Buy in the Neutrik swiss made connectors and Klotz 30pf per meter cable and with one hot soldering iron, make em up meself.

Surely if its good enuff for the original source -- i.e. recording studio and post production suite - then it's good enuff for hi-fi.

Or have I missed sommat

davekoch
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?


Quote:
Four letters????? Yeah it's "cost"

My response to my wallet being kept safely away from this is to do what we do for professional rigs.

Buy in the Neutrik swiss made connectors and Klotz 30pf per meter cable and with one hot soldering iron, make em up meself.

Surely if its good enuff for the original source -- i.e. recording studio and post production suite - then it's good enuff for hi-fi.

Or have I missed sommat

Tough to argue with that..... I ended up with Straight Wire ICs and 12 gauge speaker wire with banana plugs. I think my Oppo 980H DVDp/Rega Mira sounds just great through my new NHT THREEs. A big improvement for me, anyway. I've read a few speaker wire reviews by the techie/nerdy guys, and they maintain that there is NO difference between a good quality speaker wire and the really expensive stuff. I wish there was a definitive answer on this. One audio reviewer mentioned that the wire used inside of speaker cabinets is 24 gauge. Please, please, please, I'm obviously no expert; this is just my opinion - nothing else.

BTW, where can I get Neutrik swiss made connectors and Klotz 30pf per meter cable? And, being a newbie, what exactly do I order?

Thanks!!

CECE
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

Nuetrik and SwitchCraft are industry standards. Check out www.partsexpress.com or www.mcminone.com Nuetrik is all great stuff. No magic just quality products...in all different price levels http://www.partsexpress.com/connectors.cfm

davekoch
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?


Quote:
Nuetrik and SwitchCraft are industry standards. Check out www.partsexpress.com or www.mcminone.com Nuetrik is all great stuff. No magic just quality products...in all different price levels http://www.partsexpress.com/connectors.cfm

....eyes glazing over in confusion.....

davekoch
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?


Quote:
Buy in the Neutrik swiss made connectors and Klotz 30pf per meter cable and with one hot soldering iron, make em up meself.

I'm very much willing to try to make cables.

But, I've searched the mentioned sites, and Googled and Googled to no avail. I can't find exactly what you're talking about. I need specific answers here, so I can try what you're suggesting. I've gone to the sites mentioned, but I don't know where to start, because I don't know exactly what I'm looking for.

I know I need to buy plugs/connectors and cable, but which ones? There's a million of 'em out there.

1. What are the exact Klotz cable and Neutrik plugs I should buy for making speaker cables that you are referring to?

2. What exactly do I buy for making Interconnect cables? That is, what is the brand/type/model # of the cable, etc. that I need to search for to accomplish what you claim?

Ergonaut
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Re: Is "Cable" a 4-letter word?

OK ! the reason I didnt throw in my source - as I was guessing you are in USA .... and as My source is in UK, I thought it worthless...I said 30pF -- its actually 44pF a& 70pF for the overanalysers here

Neutrik
http://www.neutrik.com/uk/en/neutrik_productline.aspx - they have put the RCA phono's under Video.
Klotz (not the only one but one of the most quality consistant)
http://www.klotz-ais.com/english.htm

A list of their studio products
http://www.klotz-ais.com/lshop,showrub,,e,,proav.steckverbinder,,,,.htm

such as
http://www.klotz-ais.com/quickorder/artikelpdf/OTW203__e.pdf

http://www.klotz-ais.com/cgi-bin/quickor...zeilen=&p8=

The main UK distributors

Studiospares
http://www.studiospares.com/

Leisure Lynx
http://www.leisure-lynx.com/home/home.asp#

Here's a tutorial

http://www.gspaudio.co.uk/set_up/cable_1_hi-fi_interconnect.htm

hope it gives you some idea

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