Do different speaker cables or interconnects sound different?

It's one of leading audio controversies: Do different audio cables

Do different speaker cables or interconnects sound different?
Yes, quite a bit
57% (157 votes)
Yes, but only a little
20% (56 votes)
Yes, but ever so slightly
10% (29 votes)
No, they all sound the same
13% (35 votes)
Total votes: 277

Davet's picture

Varying topologies alter the sound. Most, if not all, cable topologies electronic capabilities can be measured and quantified. These measurements, to date, for all the discreet components that make up a cable can not be used to predict the sound that will be yielded in any specific setup. Cumalitive measurements of an entire cable may yield similar measuremnets, bust vastly different sound. The discreet measurements all contribute factors toi the sound and the cummalitive measurements can be and are misleading. The complete cable and all the various fcomponents make the sound. Altering the conductor, sheathing, connectors, dielectric used for sheathing, etc. are all factors that add to the resultant sound. The final measurement is the sound perceived by the ears of a human being. Therefore, in the final analysis it is what the indiviual hears and likes.

Smartguy's picture

Price vs Performance = smart shopping. Anyone paying $100/ft for speaker cable is a complete moron with waaay too much money. And people say we shouldn't tax the rich so much...

Brian's picture

There is indeed a difference in sound after extended listening, but in general the differences reported by reviewers are exaggerated and are mostly audible in only the highest resolution systems (not necessarily the same as the best sounding systems, whatever those are). Very expensive cable is almost always a bad investment and a better return on one's money can be had by upgrading other components. Nevertheless, I have sometimes used cable to slightly tweak the sound of a good system.

Bob M, Virginia's picture

Actually, when I put some of the new Analysis Plus Oval 9s on my big rig I could notice a difference in everything coming together more cohesively. And, for my mini/micro Denon system in the kitchen, I could really notice a difference when I went from some cheap Monster cable to some solid core copper cable I had left over from when the house was built. The solid core stuff always seems to sound more cohesive and cleaner to my ears. And the small details of the music seem to be more readily apparent with the solid-core wire! I guess you could say I'm a solid-core man! The music sounds less harsh to me when using the solid core wires. I don't know why but it does.

jasper's picture

If you have hi-end gear then yes but for mid-fi very subtle.The PCB in amps and sources probably uses the cheapest wires and parts so it's very subjective.

Erik Leideman's picture

Anyone who answers no to this question has either bad hearing or a severe bottleneck in his/her system. Of course there are similar sounding cables, but most of them differ quite a bit.

William Contreras's picture

Cables certainly do have the potential to alter the sonic qualities of an audio system. This potential may or may not be realized, depending on the sonic attributes of the rest of the system

Norm Strong's picture

I certainly wouldn't know if someone changed one of my interconnects or my speaker cables. Indeed, I doubt that anyone could, even on his own system.

ren's picture

Going to different cables made a difference for me both for interconnect and speaker cables but I found some inexpensive cables that sounded better than their pricey counterparts.

A.  Carter's picture

Now that the Internet boom has gone bust, I think I shall start a new business purveying multi-thousand dollar interconnects. What was it that P.T. Barnum said about another one being born every minute?

Tip Johnson's picture

While it may not be possible to make a cable better than zip cord, it certainly is possible to make one that's worse.

Joe - Allentown's picture

You must have a tin ear not to notice the differences made to the timbre by various brands and compositions of cables

Tony P., NY's picture

First let me say they do not make as much difference as speakers, speakers make more difference than anything in your system. It also depends on you ears and your system. If you are a critical listener and have a good system you will notice the difference in cables, if you are not and have a so-so system, you may not notice the difference in cables. For better or worse I have noticed the difference every time I have changed cables.

Duke Berry's picture

But cable performance varies from one application ( or, should I say brand of component ) to another. Tat's why trial listening periods ( 30 day money back, etc. ) are essential!

Joe Hartmann's picture

I believe that choosing the correct speaker wire or interconnect is a matching game. The wire is a relationship beween compontents. If you have a special requireemnt juding the relationship may not be possible. Would like to choose a interconnect but I need a 30" run, just try to get samples for listening tests. Even a purchase of several thousand dollars can not get you the opportunity. Now this is where the high end dissappoints the customer

C.  Healthgut, M.D., FACS's picture

I vividly remember when it was stipulated that one's turntable would sound appreciably better if quarters were placed beneath each of the 'table's feet. I can draw a direct parallel from that line of thinking to saying that cables make all the difference in the world in the overall sound of a given system. Be smart. Spend that extra cash on components or on new software.

Tim's picture

Have used cables from Audioquest, Canare, Kimber, MIT, Monster, and Transparent Audio. I can't say there was a discernable difference.

PKF2's picture

They can make only a slight difference, but if you get the right ones, oh man—it's like getting a new system. It's magic.

Joe Evans's picture

Not only do they sound different, they need to be broken in. I would not have believed it if I hadn't heard it for myself. My speaker cables changed their sound in the middle of a selection on a CD. I have also heard the same sort of changes on amps and CD players.

Willie's picture

When I got involved in the audio hobby 20 years ago, I did not believe that money spent on good, quality cables made a difference in the sound. Now, it is 20 years later and I am of the opinion that different audio cables really make a difference. However, not all cables are made the same because they are designed to reveal different qualities and sonics from your equipment that are preferred by you (the listener)

Serpieri's picture

The fact that different cables can and do make your system sound different, and thus can be attributed to the cables, it in know way goes hand-in-hand in saying that it makes your system sound better. As usual, such conditons are always sytem and user dependent. What may taste like wine to one person may very well taste like vinegar to another.

Reginald Boyd, SF CA's picture

yes thay do different. The best sounding cables do not change the sound thay let the it out!

Duane C.'s picture

The best audio cables should all be completely transparent and accurate. Therefore, the best audio cables should all sound the same.

Dexter M.  Price's picture

This is an interesting question to be asked in 2004. I first heard this question when I "discoverd" High-End Audio in 1983. I thought the controversy had been settled. Does anyone still believe that cables do not have a significant impact in a high resolution system?

Chin's picture

yes it does sound different on different types of cables.At frist I don;t believe.After changing those normal rca cables to better ones and yes it sound good .

david Carter's picture

Well constructed (durrable), OFC, of propper length, under $100/meter pair is all most people need. A very telling speaker (Martin Logan Prodigy, Wilson Watt Puppy, etc.) can bennifit slightly from interconnects more precicely tailored to the system (inductance, cappacitance, etc.). Every time you consider buying a new tweek or interconnect or whatever just put that money in the savings account for more telling speakers or a vacation... you'll get more enjoyment from that.

Mike Lloyd's picture

You're kidding, right? (I'm A/B'ing some new speaker cables at the moment. Any doubters should just come over and listen.)

Johnn Faulkner's picture

If you have been collecting these bits of hardware over the last 25 years as I have then you can do back to back tests as I have. They do influence the sound but it is the end result you want and may be the most expensive items do not give the best sound when incorporated in to the system and often fall short of advertisers or the reviews of others.

kijimuta's picture

if you can hear the difference, you'll be willing to pay the price.

A.  Leyland's picture

AC power cords also sound different!