Can someone/anyone please explain how a five foot pair of cables can cost as much or more than a decent power amp or the speakers they are connected to? I have been involved in this hobby since 1966. I own and use high quality cable and connectors. I have even made cables using WBT connectors and Wonder solder. I still can't fathom $8,000 a pair 6Ft speaker cables.
Value is relative. Something is only worth what someone is willing to pay. The high pricing may just be due to a free market economy and what the market will bear. There could be years of research and development costs that the manufacturer is trying to recoup. The process of making these things might be expensive. Why do 200 dollar Nike sneakers that cost 2 dollars to manufacture sell for so much? The costs of advertising factor into it, and there are people willing to pay. Only an individual can decide if something is a ripoff or not. There are plenty of cable choices out there.
Come on Jeff. I am not a newbie. I have owned good equipment since 1966. I am not uneducated in electronics. I have a BS-EE. I wear Reeboks not Nike's but that's irrelevent. I can't understand how a pair of speaker cables can cost more than a very good amplifier. I am not cheap. I have spent enough on equipment to buy a very nice car. I have knocked down a wall in my house for better sound. I have acoustic treatments and plenty of music on vinyl and CD. I currently use what I think is very good cabling, double runs of 8TC and Hero intercomnnects. None of that explains or justifies the insane cost of some cables.
Joe - I wasn't suggesting you were a newbie or calling into question your "audiophile-ness" or knowledge. I just don't think there's a clear cut answer. I really do think value is relative. Perhaps, you or I can't justify an expenditure like that, but, an $8000 pair of speaker cables might fall within the often prescribed 10-15% of budget for cables based on system cost for someone with WAVAC amps and a Caliburn turntable. In the context of that system, is it unreasonable?
I've put very expensive power cords on something as modest as a Creek integrated amp, and I heard a worthwhile improvement. The price ratio looked stupid, but the sound wasn't. I was able to justify the expense because I gained more pleasure from my system and also knew I could still use the cord when my amp improved.
Some cables use proprietary techniques to fill micro gaps in conductors with other metals. These cables are insanely expensive. Do we have the means to do this home? Unlikely. If these manufacturers can sell the stuff, good for them. Is it worth the expense? I'm sure that would be a personal call.
My point simply was, there's something for everybody at various price points. Trying to justify being reasonable in high-end is probably a waste of time anyway. What we go through (breaking down walls and such) couldn't be justified by anybody outside our hobby.
Jeff - I can't argue with you. I did knock down the wall between my living and dining rooms to make the sound better with my ESL's. I have done extensive room treatments and have precise speaker positioning because my ESL's have a very small sweet spot. I guess I'm just bothered by cables costing as much or more than very good amps.
Incidentally my neighbors think I'm insane for spending what I have spent. They do all say they have never heard anything better. When they hear what I spent for the Hero interconnects they usually laugh. Go figure! I can't wait till they ask about the speaker cable that will soon be replacing the 8TC. The cable lifters I already have should get plenty of strange looks.
Get out the flamethrower. I have given this subject a lot of thought over the last couple of years, and even more so since the review of a $90,000 turntable.
I have talked to the owners of several cable companies, I know the sources will be immediately discredited, as will I, but I got some interesting information.
I don't know much about cable theory or design, but I know if it were that easy more people would be doing it. The charge is often leveled that everyone buys wire from a couple of companies and puts their own wrapper on it. The issue I have with that accussation is that cables measure differently. If everyone truly bought their cables from only a couple of manufacturers that would not happen to the degree it does. Dielectrics affect measurement, but there still should not be the disparity one encounters.
Most of my cable is from one of those companies who charge and get big dollars for their cables. Cable companies employ a number of 'skilled' workers to build their cables. I have been told by sources I know to be reliable that better cables can take an entire day to build, and they use expensive materials. Several of my own cables employ a silver/gold/copper amalgum. I don't know how this is done, but there must be some effort and cost involved in this process.
I own an $8000 cable and I still marvel that it is possible,even though I know this company has cables that cost many times more.
Buildings cost money, equipment, and materials cost money, research costs money, employees want to get paid, take vacations, and visit the doctor. I don't know if that adds up to an $8000 cable, but I have noticed that people have no trouble justifying their own expense, value, or costs, but they are not nearly as cheritable towards the expenses of others.
It still doesn't add up when a person can buy an amp for $5000, or 8000, amps are very complex in comparison to cables, but I have also experienced situations where cable made as much difference as would a new amp, or other piece of electronics.
How's that for a clear, concise answer?
That is way too rational and well said. You can always tell when something is over-priced; people don't buy it.
Your answer is as clear as mud. I have seen a review of a very very expensive cable that has those boxes that look like TRS p-boxes on them. The reviewer actually bought them. When he disassembled the "p-boxes" there was about $2 worth of parts potted in epoxy. The cables in question were of the multi-kilobuck variety. As soon as I can find or remember the URL for the site that published the review I will post it on this thread. I will admit the kilobuck cables are very good looking. However, I will settle for agricultural tractor styling if I get F-1GP performance.
Cus' it's all NONSENSE!!!! Pet rocks also sold remember them. If you look in pro audio catalogs from sweetwater, musicans friend,markertek, ain't got no magic wires. Just heavy duty, meant to last, remain connected, don't fall apart, suited for intended use. CONsumer audio is a playground for marketing BS. These wire marketeers know they are selling to the unknowing, uneducated, basiclly gulliable fools. I particulary love the "audio grade" wiring devices, too bad NEMA has no such listings. Neither does UL, ETL or any other org. CONsumer audio, where the BS is bigger than most speakers. Which bi furcated magic twisted double helix, wrapped cord is in your system today? How come most of these magic wires are not UL listed either? Hmmm, oh, this is CONsumer aduio, we don't need no stinkin' standards of safety, NEC, never heard of that.
I am not saying that we should all go to home depot and buy a roll of 12 gauge zip cord. I can hear differences in different cables and wires. Please don't ask for test reports and DBT. None of those things are able to explain what I hear. jneutron on the audio review forums has a lot to say about cables. It goes a long way to explaining the differences people hear. I didn't hear differences in wires and cables until my gear got good enough for me to hear differences. If your gear does not allow you to hear those differences then continue buying wire from Home Depot.
My complaint is not against better wire and cable. It is about some of the unbelievable prices. I am unable to understand cables that cost more than a very good amp. I don't care what kind of materials are used or if it takes someone 3 days to make it. There is just not enough there to justify $8,000 for a pair of 8ft speaker cables. I am not cheap. I purchased some Kimber Monocle XL today. I haven't even opened the packages yet. It will be replacing some 8TC. The 8TC will be given to my brother for his mid-fi system.
I use speaekr wire 12 gauge SoundKing, $29.99 100 ft....Let's see, and some gold plated RCA, so they don't oxidize over time. no magic twists. some wires could cost as much as $4-$6 for a 6 foot RCA/RCA.... Some XLR from my Rane to a Rane balance buddy XLR may have cost $14 each...from again no magic twists. pro stuff so it don't fall apart. I may not have enough reaveling system since I only use Legacy Whispers and 4 mono Vanalstine/Hafler about 4200W RMS, and a VanAlstine Ultra Hybrid pre, and some Ultra Hybrid phase inverters to get teh VanAlstine OmegaStar eX mono, maybe I need better speakers? Since I can't hear a difference between 12 gauge nice flexible, never turned green in 10 years wire. I tried some magic stuff, got my money back, all nonsense. Is the problem in my speakers, my electronics, or lack of being BS'd?
If you can't hear wire/cable differences the onus is on you to prove that we who say we can are imagining things. The writers for Stereophile believe there is a difference. So do I and lots of others. If you only listen to modern multitracked overdubbed recordings the small differences we hear are absent. I only hear differences with very good recordings that have been recorded with preservation of the sound stage as a primary consideration. Try some of the Living Presence, Chesky or Groove Note recordings.
I listened to a pair of Whispers. Dude, you got ripped off. I can't hear any difference between the Whispers and a the speakers in my Toyota. I only paid $20.00 for my Toyota speakers (got a really good deal at the flea market) and picked up a 200 watt amplifer for $29.99 while I was there.
It's magic, baby. It's the real deal and I don't even have to have a home stereo anymore. I crank that bad boy up and open my house door and the sound envelops me like teh Real Deal .
If your Whispers and Holsteins aren't very old, you might be able to get your money back and not have to settle for mid-fi sound.
Flea Markets! That's where the real Hi-Fi is and you don't have to depend on these half-baked, bad breath retailers trying to sell you the voodoo in a box stuff. Dup, I always hate seeing people get ripped-off like you did. Bummer.
So much for sitting on your hands, hey Monty?
DUP...gives us a break. By now we are all WAY too familiar with your system. I felt surely you would tire of repeatedly listing all that, ummm....stuff and dem der watts, but...and we all know your position on wire and conditioners and outlets. PULEEZE!
Yes, I tried sitting on one hand and typing with the other, but I could hardly contain my new-found enthusiasm for real hi fi.
Perhaps if Dup can recognize absurdity when he reads it, he can recognize it when he writes it.