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Yiangos
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Re: I think cables are over priced

Before i continue,MOST cables ARE overpriced,period !
A poster below mentioned something about a certain brand of cheap cables being "flat" (in sound,that is) lol compared to some $400 per-meter cables he eventually bought. fair enough.A $400 per meter is expensive but not overpriced compared to some well-over-four-figure per meter ones.
Manufactures say that there is research involved,materials,etc ( can't help imagining some guy playing around with his soldering iron in his basement after midnight) ummm that is probably the "research involved" rotfl
Seriously now,personaly,i don't believe certain cables should be priced the way they are. I believe manufacturers have the price way up as a status symbol.I mean,hey,look,we've got $15,000 per meter cables.We're the best !

jkalman
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Re: I think cables are over priced

It has been scientifically verified that when a person is deprived of one sense their other senses become more acute. It stands to reason, that your claim of "long term" makes no sense, no pun intended, since any change would be persistent and not sudden at some later date during deprivation. In the situation of a sense being deprived, even if the other senses "learn" (as you claim) acuity, they would begin to do so right away, not down the road, with larger results verifiable after longer periods of time. This only proves my point that, yes, depriving one sense, makes the others more acute. Sure, the deprived person may not be as acute with his/her other senses as a blind person of ten years, or even one year, but he/she is more acute in those senses than before his/her deprivation. People do not just magically become acute at some later date. They become more acute starting the moment they deprive one sense. Without the distraction of sight, it is easier to focus on something you hear, try it out for yourself.

The other issue to consider is that we have been using our senses since day one (and earlier

Reed
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Re: I think cables are over priced

I have tried many, many different kinds of interconnects. I'm way more skeptical of radical designs that have tiny nuclear reactors (or whatever the heck they are) strapped to them than a basic cable.

It may interest you to know that there is at least one brand on the Stereophile recommended components list that is designed, assembled and shipped in a "one man shop". I personally know the owner (and he is not the guy that has the interconnects). It doesn't mean that his products are junk. He has been in business for a long time and produces a superior quality product. He also takes pride in making sure that every product that leaves his shop has been personally designed, crafted and tested to his exacting standards. He takes pride in his workmanship.

Yes, I do picture him "sitting there with soldering iron in hand", and I'm comforted in the fact I'm in good hands. When you buy a pair of mainstream cables, do you picture inexpensive laborers in a third world country assembling your cables?

I could care less who assembles them. How they sound is all that matters to me.

Yiangos
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Re: I think cables are over priced

I believe you got me all wrong here. I was refering to "ultra silly expensive cables" especially when they come out from a "one-man-factory". I respect your opinion but when a guy playing around with a soldering iron decides to market his cables as "$6000 per meter" interconects or speaker cables , no matter how good they sound , to me , he is a crook,unless,research etc is involved,something i doubt.

Yiangos
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Re: I think cables are over priced

I feel i need to add something to my previous post.just remember guys,my English is not that good.
A well established cable manufacturer,has certain expenses.
R&D , salaries , rents ,advertizing , marketing etc etc
A guy who sits at home with a soldering iron,has none of the above. So, if this guy sells his cable (hypothetically the equivalent cable to the well established manufacturer)at the same price , something is wrong. i hope this time i made myself clear. I too have cables from small manufacturers (nirvana) but the price i paid for 1 6 meter,balanced,stereo pair,was very reasonable.

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Re: I think cables are over priced (banana)

I agree that a good wire ( 16 gauge lamp cord ) should connect your amp to your speaker to maximize the transfer of power .This of course translates into better low frequency response .All of this only matters because of the greater distance that the signal must travel from the output device to the speakers voice coil .This is where a lower gauge wire is desirable for long runs to reduce the loss of power due to the resistance of the wire.If the speaker was seperated from the amp by a very short distance ,it would probably transfer the energy just as well with a thin printed circuit board .One more point once the the cable is attached to your speakers binding post ,it's run to your crossover network which most are made with printed circuits.

swagger
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Re: I think cables are over priced

I don't think cables are overpriced, any company can ask as much or as little as they want, its a free world.
The problem is with the consumers, they are undereducated.

Drag0n
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Re: I think cables are over priced

Ive heard differences in cables,and even recognize a sonic signature of some companys cables vs another. Like i find MIT cables to be too dark sounding. Synergistic Research to be tinny and thin,etc. But thats to my ears.

But there is a point where youre getting rediculous in price. Once you have a thick enough cable with the right metal type,whether it be a certain type of copper,silver or a blend,then you have to decide on stranded,or solid,helical wound,what type of shielding etc.

I can see where the science can cost money in research.

But really,you shouldnt have to buy the most expensive cable to do this.

You can just look at different cables in the $100 or so range lets say,and borrow them and try them to get the right balance. Why start with company A's $100 cable,and realize you need more highs,so you buy company A's $1000 cable to do it? Maybe if you used company B's $100 cable,it would give you those highs you wanted?

You can equalize without spending a rediculous $5000 and more for a piece of cable thats 3 feet long.

Cables do change the sound of a system,but just because its a $10,000 cable,doesnt mean it will sound better than your $100 cable on ALL systems!

If system/cable matching matters,doesnt it tell you that some $100 cables might sound better than some $10,000 cables on YOUR system???

I believe there are definately better cables than the $2 cables that come with your componants,and if you spend $2000 or so on your componants,you should have better than $2 cables,but that doesnt mean you need to spend crazy money. Just get some decent reasonable priced,good-quality cables that are reliable and in your budget. I have $169 interconnects,and my speaker cable is about $100. Thats because i tried some different ones in a reasonable price range and found some that works for my system,which may not be as magical in yours. I did find some cables i want that are a bit more money,but not rediculous money.

I cant see an expensive powercord between the wall and a power conditioner. You need a heavy one maybe,so all the juice that you want to condition gets to the conditioner in the first place,but then let the conditioner do its job. Now after the conditioner i can see a decent power cord,but again it doesnt have to be unreasonable. Theres plenty of decent cords for about $100 ,and you dont have to go crazy spending $1000 and more for one that works.

Most of the expensive cables are WAY over-priced! Its wire dammit. How could a piece of copper thats maybe braided or something,cost more than a componant with a case that had to be manufactured,knobs,lights,meters,resisters soldered in,capacitors,transformers wound and mounted,switches,and that weighs 40 pounds and has an owners manual written for it too??? Theres less science done to that wire,less involvment in making it,etc. Its a rip-off after a certain price-point obviously. Its not like youre buying solid gold wire. Its copper,or silver.

Monty
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Re: I think cables are over priced

There is a reason Radio Shack 18 gauge, solid hook-up wire remains in the recommended components section of Stereophile.

The size of the conductor contributes greatly to the sonic signature of a cable and 18 just so happens to be very near the magic number for many systems. In fact, Matthew Bond of Tara Labs says that if you tell him what size conductor is in a cable, he can tell you what it sounds like.

Still, there are some sonic differences and sound engineering going into cable construction that can certainly aid in fine tuning a system to reach its potential. However, as is often the case with any audio component, especially budget components, you have to spend big money to get transparency and neautrality so you are faced with finding a cable consistent with your most important attributes of reproduction.

Audioquest King Cobra and Kimber PBJ interconnects seem to offer the least objectionable compromises in my budget system and aren't crazy expensive. Audioquest Type 4 speaker cable is another inexpensive, system friendly cable that just so happens to be of 18.5 gauge combined.

I've tried numerous more expensive cables that are far superior in some areas, but are also compromised in other areas of the audible bandwidth. Expensive cables are probably worth every penny if you have top notch gear that can benefit even further from hyper cabling.

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Re: I think cables are over priced

Good Post DragOn.

The $10K to $40K cables are there for people who have spent $150K on their speakers, and $80K or their amps. They aren't going to be very happy wiring that lot up with a few grands worth of cords, now are they?

If it makes them happy to spend that kind of money then why should we begrudge them.

I personally do use relatively expensive cables (Wireworld Eclipse). But then I use them for my living, and I didn't have to pay retail!

Dave

dcrowe
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Re: I think cables are over priced


Quote:

Ive heard differences in cables...

I have heard very dramatic differences after changing cables. But I have noticed something very interesting: I have noticed large changes after disconnecting, and then reconnecting the same cables! I suspect that a combination of making better contact (perhaps scratching off part of an oxide layer) along with re-positioning may be responsible.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: I think cables are over priced

You must have an overall playback system with great resolving power to hear the small, but "significant" differences that some cable can make. Price is not an important factor in whether a cable floats your boat. He who pays decided!

I do believe that owning "good" (subjective) cables is a must and finding a good buy is important as that same expenditure on better source or amp components can yield more immeidate improvements.

Cables can last a lifetime so buy it right, buy it once can apply as John Marks reminds us. Here you should definately audition in YOUR system and if you don't hear an improvement, don't spend the money. It is pretty simple. I would never buy a cable based on a review as it was not reviewed on YOUR system. I might put it on my check-it-out list. Your system is the only system that matters. Good luck.

dcrowe
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Re: I think cables are over priced


Quote:
You must have an overall playback system with great resolving power to hear the small, but "significant" differences that some cable can make. Price is not an important factor in whether a cable floats your boat. He who pays decided!

I do believe that owning "good" (subjective) cables is a must and finding a good buy is important as that same expenditure on better source or amp components can yield more immeidate improvements.

Cables can last a lifetime so buy it right, buy it once can apply as John Marks reminds us. Here you should definately audition in YOUR system and if you don't hear an improvement, don't spend the money. It is pretty simple. I would never buy a cable based on a review as it was not reviewed on YOUR system. I might put it on my check-it-out list. Your system is the only system that matters. Good luck.

I agree with everything, Jim, except that it does not take an exceptionally high resolution system to detect the difference between good connections to the cables and bad ones. Differences between the cables themselves are generally small. Differences in the resistance of the connections and the cable layout (e.g., coiled versus random) can be large. What I have experienced is that even very good cable installations tend to degrade over time at the connectors. Periodically re-connecting (and cleaning the connecting parts) is a low-cost tweak that works! I also prefer to change the length of my cables when I change the span they must cover. By minimizing cable length, layout issues are also minimized.

I have seen amplifiers with claimed damping at 8 Ohms of 4,000. Even if yours only claims 400, that would be degraded to 200 if you add an additional 0.02 Ohms of connection plus cable resistance. If you do buy an amplifier rated at 4,000 and want to believe you have a system damping factor approaching 4,000, then the cable plus connection resistance should be well below 2 milliOhms.

dcrowe
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Re: I think cables are over priced

Clearly (I hope!) the above comments are related only to speaker cables.

Jim Tavegia
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Good connections

The connection issue is obvious and easily dicernable. The issue of connection corrorsion is two fold. It can be as hard to find as a cold solder joint ( I have had this on expensive cable), to broken strands that finally gave up the ghost after repeated insertions, and the surface corrosions.

I think this issue is due to dissimilar metals and their contact over time. When I was an electrical manufacturer's rep I sold Killark explosion-proof cast aluminum enclosures for use in paper mill (ignitiable dust) and plants where vapros and gases were combustable. I would find various conduit metal being used to connect our boxes. I always left our white papers on the increased corrosion that took place when dissimilar metals made contact. It was not an immediate issue, but over time, could become significant in trying to contain high temp explosion gases from entering the plant atmosphere. Even though the fittings were to be "potted" care must be taken always.

In our little "hobby" where no danger lerks most connectors and jacks are probably not of the same metal or plating and, over time, can ever so slightly corrode and change the contact perameters just enough to change the sound. Higher humidity climates can also speed up this process. Even along the ocean coasts where I have used stainless steel and aluminum exclusively there are issues of metal fatigue and degradation. Salt air is a killer.

dcrowe
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Re: Good connections


Quote:

The connection issue is obvious and easily dicernable.

Actually, it tends to develop slowly over time, and our ears tend to accomodate to it. I now check my contacts often, after recently seeing a large improvement when I moved my amplifier, but didn't move anything else, re-using the same cables.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Good connections

I think I said that in my last paragraph.

eagle
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Re: I think cables are over priced

I think some good 24 gauge wire and some $3/meter interconnects from Radio Shack is the way to go..IF you think "it doesn't matter".

gdunbar1
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Re: overpriced or overestimated?

the efficiency of a conductor is a function of its area (cross section) and its composition.

silver is good, copper is good, the human body not so good (but be careful, still).

in the theatre business, with which i am familiar, audio cables do not come in pretty, woven insulating sleeves. they come in heavy duty 'rubber' outer wraps, with normal, 'rubber' inner wraps, woven copper strands (for flexibility) and are selected partly because they withstand very rough handling. i am talking about shows such as a rolling stones tour.

high current installations use solid copper 'bus bars', with large cross sectional areas.

shielded cables are another matter.

large diameter cables (measured in zeroes: 0, 00, 000, 0000) are the norm, 'four aught' being the largest and heaviest.

consider users whose livelihoods depend on such matters. does anybody think welders would not use the most efficient cables that can be found?

i do not know why home audio cables must be special and expensive but i am willing to be educated.

my guess is that consumers 'asked for something special' and are getting it (and giving it right back to the manufacturers). don't let a sales person convince you that solid copper bus bars will sound even better!

geoff

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Re: I think cables are over priced

My friend and I found that the more expensive cables generally sounded better to us. We also thought they were over priced. We decided we could make our own and save money.

If you spend some time on the internet, look hard and read carefully pretty much the "secrets" to good cable design are revealed. There are many details but a summary is:

1. Use very high purity metals
2. For interconnects extremely low capacitance is important
3. For speaker cable large gauge and low inductance is important.
4. Use high grade connectors with high purity metals.

Now the problem. The high volume wire manufacturers just don't make wire of that purity. Worse, if very high purity metals are exposed to air, theyt start to oxidize almost instantly, hence not high purity any longer.

So you buy the metals from speciallty houses (such as Cardas). The wires these places sell are either cast or drawn in such a way as to minimize crystal formation often annealed in an oxygen free atmosphere. Cardas seals his before they are exposed to oxygen.

Now you buy some first class connectors, made by several manufacturesr, none are cheap.

For insulation very low dielectric constant usually sounds best, maybe a foamed teflon.

For speaker cables it turns out that a large gauge of wire made with ultra pure metals is anything but cheap.

For either interconnects or speaker cables a large number of smaller conductors tend to sound better that a single large conductor, even in interconnects the better ones commonly have more than 100 wires.

So the point I'm trying to make is, yes there is a high mark up on cables, but the materials and manufacturing cost difference between the very best cables and a piece of Belden wire with tin plated brass connectors is stunning.

We found that yes you can save some money making your own interconnects, but very little making your own speaker cables. IMHO the better cables certainly are expensive, but with the materials being used, not a rip off.

Measurements: All well made cables simply will not measure the same, I'm tired of hearing this. Dielectic absorbtion, group delay, capacitance, inductance and resistance will all be different between cables made in different ways. I'm not saying that these differences of and by themselves account for the cable sound phenomna. The whole you can't measure it so it doesn't exist crowd is uninformed. They are distracting people from a search for understanding the reasons that cables do sound different to most of us with high quality systems.

CECE
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Re: I think cables are over priced

100 ft SoundKing 12 Ga...was lik e$30 some years ago, super flible, never oxidizes, at partsexpress.com NEVER gets green or funky after some years of use. There is no magic sound in any wire, there is some incredible ads, that fool the gulliable though. Got some www.procosound.com XLR cables, pretty heavy duty, Nuetrik connectors, what pro use, or SwitchCraft..Nuetriks are king....inductance and capacitance are not improtant in speaker wire, DC resistance is, thus longer distance, heavier cord, DUH, it affects control and damping factor. Control baby, audio freqs, are not in teh realm of being affected by cap XC or XL in apiece of wire for speakers, just get teh current to the driver, which means bigger guage, current needs copper. No magic blends on nonses either, ehckout some live events, look at teh cords all over teh stages, heavy SO, SOOW types hard use, to be walked on and connectors that last, Nuetrik, Switchcraft....no magic blends of BS metalurgy, your magic conenctors would last about 5 minutes before being replaced with real connectors, same for the magic blends of nonsense wires, with space aliens bending it just right, all BS. Guitar cords may be affected by capaitances, they are very low level signals off teh pickups going to the amp, and cords need to be nosie free, etc, and Robust, they get yanked and walked on....and not pickup noise, mic cables too, low levels, noise free, strong insulations etc, they get beat up pretty good at live events

Jeff Wong
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Re: I think cables are over priced

hermanv - Welcome to the forums. It was nice to read a reasoned, polite post, given the vibe here lately.

DUP - It's a shame your power cords were not detachable. I would've loved to hear your system with the two PS Audio xStream Statement cables I brought along with me. It would've been interesting to hear if a difference would be detectable. Your system had clean dynamics galore (and then some), but, was lacking in many, many of the qualities I cherish in audio reproduction. Like John, I do hope you get to hear a more refined system (perhaps, in our presence) at some point.

CECE
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Re: I think cables are over priced

Okie dokie, I'm game. Maybe it was the non "audiophile" grade extension cord, for one section of the stuff. Plugged into a non "audiophile" outlet? OR, I may need to change out the 2 900W amps to the 1200W ones. Mabe some....HELIX action (not in this lifetime, ain't enough hours in the day to work to save that kind of money)

JoeE SP9
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Re: I think cables are over priced

Hi Jeff,
Did I miss the writeup on the visit to DUP's? Were there any posted notes? If so where? I would have expected DUP's rig to have lots of dynamics. He has enough wattage to run a small town. Come on give up the skinny.

JoeE SP9
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Re: I think cables are over priced

Hey DUP,
What, no writeup about Jeff, JA and the gang visiting your digs. I am curious Audio. What happened? What kind of comments were passed back and forth? What kinds of beverages were consumed?

smejias
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Re: I think cables are over priced

Some photos and comments were posted in the Gallery.

CECE
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Re: I think cables are over priced

It was a lot of FUN, interesting, JA and Jeff are 2 cool dudes. Great experience, I was honored by their visit!!!!

Yiangos
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Re: I think cables are over priced

Dup,i'll have to admit you have an excellent setup there.
Congratulations. Not that i went wrong with my current system (ProAc Response Fours) but i still regret i didn't get any Legacy Audio speakers.Back then,i had 50% off and maybe more from retail.That would make a Whisper less than $6000 ! I got myself a Legacy Pacemaker subwoofer though and even if i can't put my hand on the fire,i'd go as far as to say it is better than a Velodyne HGS-18.Haven't tried it against a pair but definately more "musical" and "effortless" than a single one.

CECE
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Re: I think cables are over priced

That woulda' been a bargain for sure, they approach $18K now after tax..I met Bill D. at the local distributor a few weeks ago, cool dude, interesting guy to talk to about anything and speakers, to listen to him describe how stuff works, and why. The Whispers are magnificent indeed, fit and finish and teh SOUND!!!!! them HELIX sure do look impressive, seen em up close, they weren't hooked up though at the former place in Pa...wood work is stunning

tandy
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Re: I think cables are over priced

I have it on good authority that Legacy is back in business again. I believe they again have setup in Springfield Illinois.

CECE
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Re: I think cables are over priced

They where never "out" of business..they merely moved it all back to Ill...bill d. is now back in full control. Under Allen Organ it wasn/t going where he wanted it to go. I went to the Allen facility, some years ago, when they had an open house, there where a few dozen people there, got to hear everything but HELIX....I seen and touched HELIX, but they knew no one in the crowd where up to Helix price area....I also had the pleasure to meet Mr. d...at a local distribuotr a while ago. cool dude, interesting....makes the best loudspeakers around....priced for mortals. Fit and finish are beyond superb....then there is the SOUND!!!!!!

tandy
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Re: I think cables are over priced

I mean Allen organ is completely out of the picture again, and I believe Bill Dudleston is again at the helm, in Springfield Illinois. I guess the speaker was never actually out of production.
Thanks for the correction DUP.

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