Do you find yourself increasingly dubious about cable manufacturers' performance claims? Has this affected your spending habits?

Do you find yourself increasingly dubious about cable manufacturers' performance claims? Has this affected your spending habits?
Yes I study the claims closely
41% (106 votes)
I take a brief look
30% (78 votes)
I never look at the claims
29% (74 votes)
Total votes: 258

There are an increasing number of articles on the Web regarding cables/speaker wire and their sonic properties. Combine this with some "blind" listening sessions (like the one substituting a coat hanger) and any sensible person has reason to pause. Do you find yourself more dubious about manufacturers' performance claims? Has this affected your spending habits?

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COMMENTS
Joe's picture

Anything more than $10k/pair is just silly. *wink*

Johannes Turunen, Sweden's picture

The only way to find out about performance is to try the cable in your own system. The manufacturer can then claim whatever it wants. Your own ears decide what works in your system.

kim Bye's picture

Manufacturers' performance claims are a constant source of amusement. The claims seem to be getting more and more outlandish. Sure good conectors, a decent cross section, shield, and termination are prerequisites for good connection, but the claims of added octaves, lightspeed, and what-not are just plain funny. Some companies are more gung-ho in their marketing than others. I tend to stay away from the manufacturers that make the biggest claims.

Stephen Curling's picture

I have yet to be convinced of different cable affecting sound quality. I'm more interested in build quality.

Dismord's picture

Most such claims are snake oil or exaggeration. Recently though, I made up interconnects for my pre-power amp link with Eichmann RCA plugs and thin solid core teflon coated copper wire. WOW! I'm no longer a skeptic about wire and connectors making a difference but I still think most cable/interconnect manufacturers are selling us pipe dreams.

dvaid Hrabstock's picture

Cable mfgers claims are like a woman's bikini: What they reveal is seductive, but what they conceal is vital.

Sven's picture

Every dollar I spend on wire is a dollar less I can spend on music.

Krautrock2's picture

The proof Is In the listening—only. Do you like what you hear? Do you feel your cables are letting you enjoy the music? I think in the end it all comes down to this. Thank you.

kyle's picture

Most of the loss you get is because of the gap between the wires. Use good connectors, with decent wire. Don't buy the $6000 believe-the-hype cables.

Hoser Rob's picture

It's a joke. Proof there are many with far more money than sense.

KC's picture

Like any audio nut, I read and discuss cables with friends. I am also aware that most are extremely overpriced using any rational equivalent. A 9.9 four stroke Yamaha outboard costs less brand-new than many cables. Personally, I refuse to spend high dollars on cables. I have heard differences, believe in experimenting, and trying to find system synergy using cables. I would love to have the high-dollar ones to compare but will probably never have that opportunity. I refuse to spend the amount of entry. The mark-up has to be incredible.

Andy's picture

I was using Crystal Connect on my Quad 2905s, bought 20 metres of 12 guage armature winding wire, cut it into four to make 2 x 5 metres speaker cables, had it cryogenically treated. The whole exercise cost me in the region of $30. The cables are far more suited to my system in particular and have far more warmth, detail and musicality then the more expensive Crystal. Sold them for $1500. IMHO, speaker cables are snake oil in its finest form.

Ken's picture

Get some good quality cables and forget about them.

Rob Auld's picture

After listening to a single step upgrade of Tribuataries wires on my Cambridge 840Av1 and the changes it made, softer more laid-back sound, only to change to the 840aV2 with it's different input impedences and have the sound back to being slightly bright and forward again I have come to the conclusion that somewhere down the line, "natural sound" or the sound that the group, singers, engineers have intended the music to sound like has been forgotten and we have been given more and more choice in how we "want" our music to sound. Not sure which is the better choice, but it's difficult to listen to a song you know as being natural, only to hear it on someone elses system and the sound is totally different. Shouldn't "natural sound" no matter what equipment, wires included, is being used, sound the same with the only difference really being the inner details? I think that has been forgotten by most manufacturers that are seeking to sell their version of "natural sound"?

Aden's picture

I never look and don't care. I don't even care about the sound. I firmly believe the money spent on normal upgrades such as speakers/sources/amplification is money better spent.

stephen lewis's picture

Many of them are clearly ridiculous. If there was validity to all the claims made, only high-end cable manufacturers would win the Nobel Prize in physics.

William, UK's picture

Cable companies routinely make superfluous claims about the sonic qualities of their cables. People should be careful and question these claims. If there are gains to be had from using more expensive cables, the gains are nearly always negligible and only show up in lab measurements, in test conditions unlikely to be repeated in a domestic application.

Bert Cattoor's picture

Talk is cheap. I skip the reading. I tend to listen to audio gear.

Tim Simpson's picture

I never look at the claims. I can hear and see the improvements good cables make. I wish I couldn't,I'd save a fortune. Initially when I got involved in audio I was very skeptical, as after all wire is wire. My engineering background told me there should not be much difference. However, when faced with listening tests, I found that there are quite significant differences.

jamesanubis's picture

I have enjoyed many different high-end cables and some have delivered on their promises. Higher quality is higher quality, but sometimes different is just different—not better.

Phineas Barnum's picture

The claims of the manufacturer are for amusement purposes only. Good cables do make a difference, but the claims made about some of the cables tend to be rather fantastic. If I had less scruples, I would open a cable business and make some fantastic claims of my own. There is another one born every minute. Next up, those $485 wooden volume knobs which purport to enhance the sound. My knobs will cost a cool grand but they will have a special lacquer finish which will more effectively reduce micro vibrations created by the volume pots that would otherwise find their way into the delicate signal path.

Thomas Martens's picture

As an avid hi-fi audio enthusiast, I design and construct all my own vacuum tube gear. I obsess over small sonic dfferences between various tubes, transformers, circuit parameters etc. I can often hear very subtle but meaningful differences between even certain single circuit component variations such as between different types of coupling capacitors. I spent over $1300 just on raw parts for my latest amp project in successful pursuit of certain desired audio reproduction qualities. I'm presently using decent $25 interconnects and cat-5 speaker wire exclusively, as cables/interconnects almost universally make so little contribution to system sonics as to be worthy of much bother. Indeed, my money is more effectively spent elsewhere in the system where it can potentially net substantial sonic improvement. The toxic grape Koolaid that is expensive cable obsession I have zero desire to imbibe—sorry.

djl's picture

I don't take manufacturers' claims as seriously as listening tests. I remember reading some when all the super size speaker wire started to come of age. There are differences in cables for sure. Not as much as the electronics though. I've just bought some good Monster Cable and its respectable sounding. Vampire wire is also decent. I remember when as a teenager I cranked my lil' 35Wpc amp with some little 24 guage wire, it started smoking! That's when I really started considering larger cable! I haven't bought any new stuff for years. It lasts a long time!

Iqbal Mustafa's picture

Cables do make a significant difference! They are the final equalization components in a high quality system. Every cable has a sonic signature. Its up to you to choose the one that appeals to you and matches your system. Putting together a mid-to-hghi level system without attending to the cables is a waste of money.

Dan Morgan's picture

I suspect that spending an incremental $500 on either the speakers or the receiver will yield better sound than spending it on high-end speaker wire.

Jim M's picture

If something interests me, I try it. If I like it and the price is within reason I buy it, but not because of the performance claims.

Kevin L.'s picture

However, generally I think it's a lot of marketing blah-blah. Also, there is a lot of snake-oil in cableland and there are exorbitant prices. Nevertheless I bought Siltech as well as MIT cables (and all cables sound different).

EiNhCBnlQpBsuZoYaJ's picture
Chris K.'s picture

Cables are so system dependent that type of wire, gauge, connectors, capacitance, inductance and insulation are all critical. Greater expense on these does not always equal greater performance. A manufacturer's claim may or may not be relevant to your system depending upon components.

Timothy Bailey's picture

Wire does make a difference but not mega $$$$$ worth. It's kind of like treating symptoms, too! 'kay?

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