You are here

Log in or register to post comments
Mark Heide
Mark Heide's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Apr 1 2006 - 4:24pm
Cable Myths and Headaches

My dealer told me I should spend 10 to 15% of the cost of my system on cables. So, that would make it approximately $1300.00 for cable. Anyway, I need some answers to questions.

1) Does silver plating color the sound and at what frequencies.
2) Why don't cable manufactures put there cables on the bench and print how they react in db levels at 20Hz to 20 Khz?
3) Are solid conductors better than stranded and can anyone prove this on the bench by testing them.
4) Why do companies put filers in their cables like Transparent?
5) Why do some companies ground cables at both ends and other just ground one end?

Any good answers appreciated that include technical information. Thanks

CECE
CECE's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 17 2005 - 8:16am
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches

Which one has the best sounding ADS, or colorful nonsense in magazines? Checkout some mortal stuff at www.partsexpress.com somehow I put my money in electronics and speakers, connected with just regular WIRE. SoundKing speaker wire by the roll was 100ft/ $30....ain't turned green, insulation ain't lost it's plasizers like other stuff, in particular a pair of AudioQuest overpriced RCA cords is all gummy and sticky, never again will I buy that junk...RCA interconnects from Parts Express all different ones, anything ya need. And the stuff lasts and lasts, and is priced right. NEVER had a problem. And the interconnects ain't self destructing like the AudioQuest junk.

Monty
Monty's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 6:55pm
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches

1) Silver is a slightly superior conductor. I'm not sold on plating copper as a way to keep costs down and still achieve the benefits of silver. Plating can introduce problems of its own. The size of the conductor in a cable is responsible for the most significant sonic signature of a cable.

2) Cable companies do publish their white papers regarding the measurements and testing data...at least the big boys do.

3) There are competing theories on solid vs stranded cables. Each offers benefits as well as problems in transfering a signal with faithfullness. Again, the differences have been measured and documented by the better manufacturers.

4) Fillers are sometimes used to help maintain the cable geometry and durability. Sometimes fillers are used to simply comply with install regulations.

5) This is done to avoid having inferior material serving as an inferior counductor.

6-100) Try cables in your system as dealer demos and if you can't hear any difference then don't buy them. They can make huge differences in the sound, but different and better shouldn't be assumed based on the price.

Most better cables are designed to transfer the signal as unaltered as possible. If your components aren't up to the challenge of better cables, you may not like everything you hear. Still, just about any system can benefit from optimum cables. Whether optimum is an inexpensive cable or a pricey neutral cable or something resting in the broad middle ground depends on the characteristics of your components and your listening environment.

JoeE SP9
JoeE SP9's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 6 days ago
Joined: Oct 31 2005 - 6:02pm
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches

I have asked the almost same question on another thread in the wire/cable forum. If I go into any business it would be the cable business. The profit structure has to be unbelievable. I believe that good cable is a must. I can hear differences between wires and cables. However, none of that justifies some of the insane pricing of some wires and cables.

Monty
Monty's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 6:55pm
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches

I finally found the article Matthew Bond of Tara Labs wrote regarding cable design. I think it's the most concise and informative that I've read. Link

Monty
Monty's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 6:55pm
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches

Ewwwwww, that green cable looked just plain nasty! I did like the cable elevators.

I do agree with the author of the study in that if a person can't hear any difference in cables, they shouldn't spend any extra money on better ones.

For those who can hear the differences, it's just another component to balance with your system.

There are really two issues involved in the cable debate. The first is whether or not there are audible differences in cable designs. The second is purely a value debate.

I think most people think the top shelf cables are ridiculously priced from a value perspective. This doesn't seem to invite much vitrial between either group. Clearly, 10K cables are far beyond the value comprehension of most people.

This leaves differences in sound as the primary point of debate. Despite numerous reviews by Stereophile contributors and other respected audio professionals who make note of very audible differences, we still have those who had rather saddle-up with the minority and claim a vast conspiracy that involves every level of high end audio manufacturing out to pull the wool over the lemmings dedicated to better sound.

There is little to be gained in arguing value judgements, but finding out whether or not cables can make a difference in sound is not only easy, it is in many cases free or at least very inexpensive to see for yourself.

The interesting question is "why" cables sound different.

eagle
eagle's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 12 2005 - 3:28am
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches

Silver is a better conductor, but if only the connector is plated I don't think it would help. If the whole cable is it might help a bit.

Gold plating is used on connectors because it has less capacitance than copper or silver.

Acoustic Research cables are pretty good, and are alot less expensive than Monster cables.

eagle
eagle's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 12 2005 - 3:28am
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches


Quote:
Silver is a better conductor, but if only the connector is plated I don't think it would help. If the whole cable is it might help a bit.

Gold plating is used on connectors because it has less capacitance than copper or silver.

Acoustic Research cables are pretty good, and are alot less expensive than Monster cables.

I agree. AR cables are fine cables.

Amp_Nut
Amp_Nut's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Mar 11 2006 - 11:03pm
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches


Quote:

I need some answers to questions.

1) Does silver plating color the sound and at what frequencies.

Any good answers appreciated that include technical information. Thanks

Let me give it a try and put together some conventional wisdom...

Silver has the highest electrical conductivity of all elements.

Unfortunately, silver tarnishes readily, both due to the oxygen in the air and the Sulphur Dioxide pollutants in most urban environs. Siler Oxide and silver sulphide are Poor conductors, and are also porus, so the degradation of silver keeps increasing ( goes deeper) with exposure.

Gold is a poorer conductor, but is a 'noble' metal - it does not tarnish. Hence Gold plated connectors, though not the lowest resistance, maintain their performance and reliable contacts ( with slightly higher resistance than silver ) over extended periods of time. Rhodium and other plating fall into a similar category / function, and are often chosen over gold for their sound quality, harder surface finish etc.

Nickel is supposed to be an absolute No-No when used to coat copper or silver, for audiophile applications.

Silver Plating, usually electroplating is only a few microns think, and therefore too thin to carry even 20 KHz signals.

Skin Effect is an effect where current flows increasingly on the outer surface of the conductor, as the freq increases. The skin effect is also more pronounced for smaller radii of curvature, ie thinner wires. The thinner the wire diameter, the more the current crowds on the outside surface.

( there is a precise formula for predicting the depth of current penetration )

It is difficult to electroplate thick layers, unless the current is kept low, and maintained for Very long.

Dipping the conductor in silver will create a thicker, but very uneven coat.

For audio freq, electroplated Silver will barely provide a deep enough conduction path. For 100 MHz + .... maybe of some use.... :-(


Quote:

2) Why don't cable manufactures put there cables on the bench and print how they react in db levels at 20Hz to 20 KHz?

The dB changes will be far too small, and will depend greatly on the measurement method, as well as the equipment.

This is like the fact that most amps ( atleast Solid State Amps ) measure flat frequency responses, but have perceptible differences.


Quote:

3) Are solid conductors better than stranded and can anyone prove this on the bench by testing them.

A tight bunch of fine gauge wires will actually have rather sharp external curvatures, leading to a lot of uneven current crowding.

A single strand of equivalent diameter wire has a very uniform curvature, and current distribution along its surface.

That is why Single core RF cables have lower loss than multi-core RF cables. Most RF Cables use a single core cable.


Quote:

5) Why do some companies ground cables at both ends and other just ground one end?

Generally, a ground connection should be made at the lowest signal level point

However, prevention of system ground loops is often an over-riding consideration....

And, as the late J.L.Hood commented : Rules Are For The Guidance Of The Wise & The Blind Following Of Fools !

Cheers

tandy
tandy's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: May 24 2006 - 3:57pm
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches

I wish there were just a post button rather than having to "reply" to someone. I am not specifically replying to any individual.

See my post "power cord experiment" page 7. There is some material one may wish to purchase and read. There is alot more to conduction than simply resistance, inductance, capacitance, skin effect, plating etc. The book will dig deeper into what occurs, although there have been some updates, or new info available since the publication of the book.

louballoo
louballoo's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Aug 24 2006 - 5:03pm
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches

Some of my friends and I believe that the entire "cable industry" is a scam and that many audio forums are inhabited by shills for the audio industry. Does anyone else share this belief ?

Uncle Louballoo

CECE
CECE's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 17 2005 - 8:16am
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches

60Hz AC or AUDIO freqs No mystical items to deal with...you ain't dealing with microwave,giga Hz or MegaHz....IMPEDANCE is the total opposition to current involving 3 items Xc, Xl R....Check out the Impedance formula one of these days.....Pathogoris had it figured out..It's the BIG Z dude. O', the opposite of IMPEDANCE is.....ADMITTANCE, not conductance...Just like the opposite of OHM in MHO.....measured in Siemens...there is no constant for teh effects of magic wire in audio is there?

CECE
CECE's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 17 2005 - 8:16am
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches

No certainly you must know a $5,000 speaker wire HAS to sound better than just plain old 12ga....come on......How can 12ga 100 ft/$35. Sound any good? It doesn't even have the correct labeling on it, no arrows to indicate the direction of audio electrons....

louballoo
louballoo's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Aug 24 2006 - 5:03pm
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches


Quote:
No certainly you must know a $5,000 speaker wire HAS to sound better than just plain old 12ga....come on......How can 12ga 100 ft/$35. Sound any good? It doesn't even have the correct labeling on it, no arrows to indicate the direction of audio electrons....

Hey DUP you almost had me , well ... DUP'd.

Not to long ago a bunch of us "audio skeptics" up in Canada were thrown out of an audio forum for refusing to be "Stereophile Compliant". So we started our own forum. Please visit. www.cdnav.com. We recieve no funding what so ever and are completely independant !

Your Pal

Uncle Louballoo

Monty
Monty's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 6:55pm
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches

Are you guys going to invite us to the wedding?

louballoo
louballoo's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Aug 24 2006 - 5:03pm
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches


Quote:

3) There are competing theories on solid vs stranded cables. Each offers benefits as well as problems in transfering a signal with faithfullness. Again, the differences have been measured and documented by the better manufacturers.

Monty, psuedo science or marketing to the gullable ?

Your Pal

Uncle Louballoo

Monty
Monty's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 6:55pm
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches

I'm guilty of having very gullable ears. They must be connected to my ass because whenever they hear something they like, money starts falling out of my ass.

Jeff Wong
Jeff Wong's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 8 months ago
Joined: Sep 6 2005 - 3:28am
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches

Monty - I'd expect no less to get kick ass sound.

tandy
tandy's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: May 24 2006 - 3:57pm
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches

It is interesting when visiting different forums how the so called scientific/objectionists will never check out basic scientific info when it is suggested to read, and been in print, and used at colleges/universities, for decades.

Instead they seem to sneak past such suggestions and continue with their babble.

So the so called scientific/objectionists won't even believe what their scientists believe, who they claim to support.

Makes one wonder what their adgenda really is?

On the other hand, some cable techniques are extremely difficult to manufacture, and does it really make a difference? Testing seems to indicate several hundred dollar cables are right at the top of fidelity, or nearly there.

By the way, listening tests have shown that even a simple component can mask whispering during a musical selection. So yes, one's system may not be transparent enough to hear differences between ICs.

CECE
CECE's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 17 2005 - 8:16am
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches

Or teh electrical design of teh products are made so well that the effects of too much or too little cappactiance, inductantances in a piece of wire is dealt with, and say the pre amp can drive almost anything without getting messed up with some piece of magic wire, that has designed in flaws, on purpose to create it's ability to affect poorly designed high priced electronics. How many watts does a Halcro do versus it's advertised ratings? Hmmm, what term describes that poorly designed? Another is a Chord producing way under what is claimed, poor design or what? Aany property in a piece of wire is measurable and controlled when making a wire for a specific function. Belden, Carol, etc. Even the insulation made for a specific use, enviorment, non make insulation parameters based on how it makes the wire sound, cus' it has no effect. Properly made electronics use wire to connect, not magic nonsense.

tandy
tandy's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: May 24 2006 - 3:57pm
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches

Again skirting some simple reading and learning are we? Why are you so scared to read the mainstream basic engineering text book suggested, and learn? And why don't you believe what the scientists have known, for decades? You claim to be scientific, but your deeds say something different.

"Or teh electrical design of teh products are made so well that the effects of too much or too little cappactiance, inductantances in a piece of wire is dealt with, and say the pre amp can drive almost anything without getting messed up with some piece of magic wire, that has designed in flaws, on purpose to create it's ability to affect poorly designed high priced electronics."

Again, if you had read the book suggested, you would have known there is more to it than what you lead us to believe.

"How many watts does a Halcro do versus it's advertised ratings? Hmmm, what term describes that poorly designed? Another is a Chord producing way under what is claimed, poor design or what? Aany property in a piece of wire is measurable and controlled when making a wire for a specific function. Belden, Carol, etc."

First, you have mentioned only one or two manufacturers.

Second we are not talking about watts.

Thirdly, in your context, you don't seem to know, or want to learn, what those other factors are. And you claim to be an authority and scientific?

"Even the insulation made for a specific use, enviorment, non make insulation parameters based on how it makes the wire sound, cus' it has no effect. Properly made electronics use wire to connect, not magic nonsense."

Again had you known anything about engineering, and been an authority, you would have known that a wire produces a magnetic field with current flow. Insulation properties can easily be measured, so again you misinform the public.

You remind me of PR guys in the past representing different entities. In every case, no substance, just steer people to your/bosses view, even if it means misinformation.

CECE
CECE's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 17 2005 - 8:16am
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches

Would that be the left hand or right hand rule for current flow, and showing in which direction the magnetic flux lines appear to be going? And you can possibly hear them affecting anything audible? Yeah yeah, of course my system is not transparent enough, yah yeah yeah. But is yours?

louballoo
louballoo's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Aug 24 2006 - 5:03pm
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches


Quote:
I'm guilty of having very gullable ears. They must be connected to my ass because whenever they hear something they like, money starts falling out of my ass.

Monty, sad but clearly true, humans are gullable. I use Blue Jeans interconnects, well designed, well constructed and usually under 50 bucks. They have a published bandwidth of 3 Giga Hertz.

For those that are not technical the specs for these surpass audibility and cannot be bettered.

Uncle Louballoo

Monty
Monty's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 6:55pm
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches

I'll bet there are even people who think spending 50 bucks on an interconnect is silly, considering you can buy them at Walmart for 6 or 7 dollars and they do the trick quite well. In fact, you could buy a half dozen pairs of interconnects and still come out ahead.

I would even bet that there are people who think that spending more than a couple of hundred dollars on a stereo is silly.

Those marketing guys are something else.

tandy
tandy's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: May 24 2006 - 3:57pm
Re: Cable Myths and Headaches

I see you totally ignored the suggestion yet again. I would think if you were truly trying to help other audiophiles that you would want to learn as much as possible so as to give a correct answer. Partial info leads to wrong conclusions just the same a lying does. So what is the difference?

It seems you seem more interested in not knowing or leaving out information so your point of view appears correct. Read the book.

"Would that be the left hand or right hand rule for current flow, and showing in which direction the magnetic flux lines appear to be going?"

Trying to change the subject, sidestepping won't help. As suggested reading, "Electrical Fundamentals and Circuit Analysis" by Romanowitz, 1966. It is another basic college text book.

"And you can possibly hear them affecting anything audible? Yeah yeah, of course my system is not transparent enough, yah yeah yeah. But is yours?"

The spot light is still on you. "New" info (to you) is available, and if you refuse to read it and learn, then you are willingly propagating half truth. As such, you are basically admitting that you are not scientific or objective as you claim, and would like us to believe.

  • X
    Enter your Stereophile.com username.
    Enter the password that accompanies your username.
    Loading