Listening #164: Luna Cables

I should have seen this coming: Less than a year after the last time I railed against the darkness of cable reviewing—the indignity of crawling around behind my equipment rack, the tedium of comparing one wire to another, the frustration of trying to wring from the experience some fresh and hopefully entertaining observations, the horror of dealing with manufacturers whose hunger for good publicity borders on the vampiric—I have once again invited into my home a cable manufacturer and his wares.

I did so for the best possible reason: The manufacturer is someone I've known for five or so years, during which time I've learned that his audio sensibilities, his tastes in playback equipment, and his attitudes toward the industry in general and matters of value in particular, are all so close to mine that time spent listening to his cables promised to be time well spent. And I was right.

That person is Danny Labrecque, formerly a member of the sales staff at the Montreal retailer Coup de Foudre. Along with his business partner, Erik Fortier—also a CdF alum—Labrecque operates Luna Cables (footnote 1) from his home in southeastern Quebec. His four cable lines—in order of ascending cost, Orange, Mauve, Red, and Black, each named for the color of its fabric sheath—made their public debuts at this year's Montreal Salon Audio/Audio Fest (formerly Salon Son et Image), where they impressed me by not only contributing to an excellent-sounding system of only moderate expense, but also by simply looking right: no silly logos, no elephant-dick diameters, no ridiculously massive or complex connectors, and lots of cotton, in some very nice colors.

And by the standards of high-end audio, some of Luna's cables can be considered affordable. For example, the company's entry-level interconnect, the Orange, costs $600 Canadian for a 1m pair ($478 US in spring 2016), while a 2m Orange power cord goes for $900 CAD) ($717 US): not chump change, but those prices aren't unreasonable for handmade cables—assuming, of course, that they work . . .

Vintage Advantage
Danny Labrecque explained to me that he's long been interested in cable design, beginning with his first job in retail some 14 years ago, when he occasionally made and sold to his customers his own interconnects and speaker cables. Throughout that time, he says, "I had a number of ideas, but I didn't know how to make them workable. Then, about a year ago, I had a breakthrough." As it turns out, that breakthrough was made possible in part by time spent listening to a number of different vintage audio-frequency cables.

One of Labrecque's long-standing design goals has been to make a cable that conducts music signals without conducting high-frequency noise. This led him to embrace as his conductor of choice tinned copper—ie, stranded copper wiring in which each strand is coated with tin (footnote 2). Throughout the 20th century, electrical cables made of tinned copper were hugely popular for their ability to resist oxidation, the ravages of which require the user to regularly replace them—something of a bother when the user is a public utility and the cables are hundreds of miles long and installed underground or underwater. But as time went on and as audio-signal cables were required to conduct AC of ever-higher frequency, tinned copper fell out of favor. Because tin is nearly seven times as resistive as copper—it ranks an unimpressive 15th among conductive metals, just one notch above bronze—and because metal wires behave in accordance with the skin effect, whereby the highest frequencies travel nearest the conductor's surface, tinned copper is seen by some as insufficient for the demands of, say, digital video.

Is tinned copper sufficient for analog audio? Danny Labrecque thinks so: "It [exhibits] a slight limiting of bandwidth, but tinning keeps it quieter and, I think, cleaner." He also suggests that tinning reduces interference between strands, without the difficulties involved in manufacturing and, especially, terminating varnished wires. In this regard, one might regard tinned copper as Litz Jr.

Also key to the Luna designs is the avoidance of plastic dielectrics in favor of natural materials, particularly cotton. (In the Luna cables I've used, the only polymers I've detected are the thermoplastics for the Wattgate plugs on the AC cords and a few short bits of heatshrink tubing.) As Labrecque explains, "I noticed that, for the first 150 years or so of manufacturing cables, it was done the same way, until the discoveries of various plastics allowed the industry to branch out—but not necessarily make things better." Old-fashioned hand-building is also the order of the day, with Labrecque doing everything from hand-winding his more complex designs and hand-soldering all connectors (he uses what he calls "a fairly classic" lead-content solder, with lead-free stuff for EU markets) to hand-dyeing all the outer sleeves himself.

A quick breakdown of the Luna lines:

Luna Orange: For the interconnects, speaker cables, and AC cords in the Orange line, conductors are multistrand tinned copper of new manufacture. All interconnects are shielded, and all are terminated with Switchcraft RCA plugs. Power cords incorporate a tinned-copper shielding—this is usually connected to ground at both ends, though it can be lifted at the component end at the customer's request—and Wattgate plugs. Except in those cases where the customer insists on spades, speaker-cable connectors are gold-plated banana plugs, which, like the Wattgates, are cryogenically treated.

Luna Mauve: Beginning with the Mauve series, all Luna interconnects are made using new-old stock (NOS) tinned-copper conductors made in the US in the 1940s. Luna says they've purchased a considerable amount of this wire, which is of slightly larger gauge than the conductors used in the Orange line and which, according to Danny Labrecque, sounds remarkably good. These interconnects are all shielded, with the shield lifted at the "destination" end, and thus are directional. The speaker cables use new-production wire, with more conductors than in the Orange cables, wound with a different geometry. The Mauve AC cords, which also use more conductors, are presently Luna's top power cables. Sample prices include $1200 CAD for a 1m interconnect pair and $1500 CAD/2m power cord.

Luna Red: Luna Red interconnects are built the same way as the Mauves, but use a rarer, more expensive conductor of NOS tinned copper. According to Labrecque, Red speaker cables—presently Luna's top speaker cable—are "scaled-up in comparison to the Mauves" and thus are more difficult to build. Red interconnects cost $2400 CAD/1m pair, Red speaker cables $4200 CAD/3m pair.

Luna Black: Luna Black interconnects have some conductors in common with Luna Red interconnects, and add a number of finer conductors in a different, more complex design. According to Labrecque, Black is all about having the most quiet cable possible. Luna Black interconnects are $4800 CAD/1m pair terminated with RCA plugs; XLRs cost slightly more.

The Coolest Month
Danny Labrecque drove down from Quebec on the nicest day of an April that otherwise staggered drunkenly between sun and snow. He brought with him a selection of Luna cables: two pairs of Red interconnects (one 0.5m, one 1m), one pair of Mauve speaker cables (3m), four Orange AC cords (all 2m), and one Mauve AC cord (2.5m)—just enough to get an idea of how the Lunas would perform in my system, but not so exhaustive a selection that I'd be forced to listen to the same song multiple times as we worked our way up through the ranks. I took this as proof that God exists, and that He wants me to be happy.

We began by using the two Red interconnect pairs to replace the 1m Shindo Laboratory interconnect ($1495) that I use between my Hommage T2 step-up transformer and my Shindo Masseto preamp, and the 0.5m Shindo interconnect between the Hommage and my EMT 997 tonearm. We listened to a few selections—including "Bad Fog of Loneliness," from Neil Young's Live at Massey Hall 1971 (2 LPs, Reprise 43328-1)— through the Shindos, then listened again through the Lunas. Although the differences were very subtle, I was encouraged by what I heard with the Reds in place: The Lunas gave up nothing to the Shindos, maintaining the same overall tonal balance while reproducing instrumental and vocal sounds with a slightly greater sense of detail, and with a similarly subtle improvement in the suggestion of substance and heft.

Leaving the Red interconnects in place, we moved a half-link down the audio chain and replaced my Shindo Masseto preamp's stock power cord with one of the Luna Orange cords. The Masseto, like all Shindo electronics, is designed not to be grounded to an AC receptacle, and Danny Labrecque—who also sells Shindo gear through his and Erik Fortier's consulting firm, Phonographe—accommodated this by supplying Luna cords in which the ground connection had been lifted at the component end. I heard modest improvements with the Orange cord in place: In particular, the soundfield seemed a little cleaner, making it easier to pick out such details as picks on guitar strings. Though the change was slight, it was astonishing in one sense: This was the first time I'd heard a non-stock AC cord improve the sound of any Shindo component.

Footnote 1: Luna Cables Austin, Quebec, Canada. Tel: (514) 266-8810. Web:

Footnote 2: In electronics, tinning can also refer to the practice of stripping a relatively small amount of insulation from a copper wire and coating with solder only the exposed portion of the conductor.

jeffdyer's picture

It is utterly shameful that this sort of ridiculous nonsense can be peddled in such an illustrious forum.

"time spent listening to his cables promised to be time well spent" Total guff.

And as for the product?

Sample prices include $1200 CAD for a 1m interconnect pair and $1500 CAD/2m power cord.

Legalized robbery.

Milesian's picture

In the grand picture It's not that outrageous. You would better spend your time venting your anger on such absurdities as why a piece of cardboard with Wayne Gretzky's picture on it just sold for almost a half million dollars. Stuff like that is the real obscenity.

allhifi's picture

Attn: jeffdyer. What is it with such insecurities ..." illegal robbery" or something to that effect !

And to suggest Stereophile as an "illustrious forum" was even funnier.

Move on young man ...


dalethorn's picture

I am awed by the amount of time, effort and patience required to test these items when the differences are usually pretty subtle. Then how to proceed? Trips to a dealer to listen? Dealer consultant comes to house to demo the cables? That can't be easy, but then if you're considering expensive cables it's probably the only viable option.

David Harper's picture

It's not that the differences are pretty subtle. It's that the differences are nonexistent. A perfect wire is one which doesn't "sound like" anything at all. It is audibly not there. Audiophools imagine sonic differences where none exist.Forget wires and get better speakers.The difference will be a thousand times greater,and it wont be imaginary,it will be real.

dalethorn's picture

I've heard astounding differences in speakers cables, and I think any reasonable person would understand that and why - capacitance, inductance etc. can make a huge difference in speaker cables. Now getting past that to interconnects, how big a difference is obviously controversial, but to say nonexistent is to deny physics and the electromagnetic spectrum. I would hope that audiophiles could be respectful to other audiophiles and at least be precise about what can or cannot be heard or detected, in their opinions. I'm aware that a lot of audiophiles live in a simple world where frequency response is everything...

Archimago's picture

So if we just want a transparent speaker cable, just how much difference in LRC are you saying there is comparing a decent 12G zip cord using OFC copper for a few bucks compared to a megabuck cable at a reasonable length like 15 feet using typical amp and speaker.

There's no controlled evidence at all as far as I can tell that under *unsighted* listening conditions this is any less transparent than anything else.

dalethorn's picture

I wouldn't make that comparison since I'm not the reviewer. The comparison I do make is between 12g zip cord and a quality but inexpensive speaker cable. In most cases the difference will be obvious. Whether the difference is positive or not, you decide. My contention is that anyone, non-audiophiles included, can hear the difference with most speaker cables. The claim that there is no difference is ludicrous - differences are often astonishing, even to someone who has never made the comparison before. I know that one, and so do several witnesses who've heard it on my system. But that's speaker cables, and much if not most of the controversy is around interconnects and digital cables, not to mention power cords.

jeffdyer's picture

No reasonable person would deny that using bell cord, mains lead, or 79-strand cable, especially on longer runs, would potentially make a difference to the sound of the speakers, however once a certain point is reached, and the resistance of the cable is down well below the resistance of the speakers themselves, any further gains will be negligible.

Note that in the audio frequency domain, it is improbable that any frequency limiting effects will be down to the speaker cables.

dalethorn's picture

So, frequency response and resistance, end of story? I wouldn't want to live in such a simple world, as comforting as it sounds.

jeffdyer's picture

Well, you do.

dalethorn's picture

No, I meant that you do, by over-simplifying. Electronics live in a quantum world, but many of the posters here believe it's a 2-dimensional phenomenon.

Long-time listener's picture

David Harper's comment that 'A perfect wire is one which doesn't "sound like" anything at all' is true. But it doesn't logically follow that all wires are perfect, and that there's no difference between any of them. There's a good reason, for example, why most audio cables are copper, for instance--it's *almost* the best-conducting metal there is, and it's less expensive and more easily workable than silver, the best conductor. But many cable makers who want the absolute best prefer to use the absolute best conductor there is, which is the most directly logical and effective thing you could do to improve the performance of a cable. There are in fact clear, if subtle, differences between copper, silver, and silver-gold alloys, or silver-coated copper cables.

The cable maker in this case had a clear and accurate theory and put it logically into practice, with results that a perceptive listener found, in some cases, to be very effective. Mr. Harper may object to cable pricing--as do I--and he may not be interested in subtle sonic differences, preferring to spend money on speakers instead. Fine. But subtle differences add up, and if you care about those differences, cables absolutely make a difference.

Archimago's picture

Let's go beyond logic, let's try a little empirical science. Suppose we're thinking about a length of speaker cable.

Resistivity at 20C for copper is 1.68x10-8 ohm*m. For silver it's 1.59x10-8. Therefore, a 15-feet or ~4.5m length of copper cable, 12AWG (or 3.31x10-6m-square) would be approximately 0.0228 ohms. The same length of silver cable would be 0.0216 ohms.

The difference is +0.0012 ohms between the copper and silver. That's a 5% difference in resistance when you spend the extra $$$ on the silver cable.

Does this "sound" like it'll make a huge audible difference between the materials? Is there any mechanism to explain the common idea that silver sounds "brighter"? Of course not!

Look folks, bottom line is that if we're *being logical*, there is no good evidence of course when you start looking at the numbers and the implications. Every test that I'm aware of where variables are controlled have FAILED to show audible difference between cables with reasonable inductance/resistance/capacitance parameters. Look up some of Tom Nousaine's results from back in the day with wire comparators among other articles of the sort.

The only "evidence" we have are comments, articles like this one, and claims by manufacturers. Typically sighted listening with claims of audibility or people who claim they know of someone who heard a difference. It all is built on a foundation of faith in the listener (and supposed ability to hear these "subtle" differences) and the testimony of such individuals.

Needless to say, I can just as well testify that I have heard no such thing with cables of reasonable build, length and gauge, nor ever found measurable differences in frequency, time domain performance, and distortion characteristics.

Of course this is not to say that a guy can't spend a bit more money for nice looking cables. But IMO there's just no need to go touting about differences in audible sound quality!

dalethorn's picture

Construct a simple enough test and find a negligible difference. Nothing ventured nothing gained. The proof is not in the pudding, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Archimago's picture

Of course it's in the eating. And the exact same pudding tastes different to each person each time it's eaten with lots of effect from company one might be with, presentation, place it's being consumed, mood, etc...

But that doesn't necessarily mean the molecular properties of the pudding was any different!

If some folks experience a better sound with knowing the cables cost more or the visual appeal is better, so be it. Enjoy.

dalethorn's picture

I'm sorry to have to say, but I would much rather get my pudding from someone who has a track record as a pudding maker, not as a molecular scientist. The scientist I rely on to analyze the ingredients and processes to warn me about certain things: hazardous ingredients, excess sugar or bad fats, etc. I don't need the scientist to warn me about the value of the pudding, or its taste.

adrianIII's picture

Are you sure you wouldn't be influenced if one pudding was $1000 and the other was $10. I would prefer that differences heard between cables are reproducible in statistically significant double blind trials. However, we know that no one is willing to go to this much trouble, so we end up reading a lot of 'subjective' conclusions. Miracle of miracles, the more expensive cable usually sounds best.

dalethorn's picture

Here's just one of the problems, and I hope you read the Stereophile article linked below. I have a number of headphones and several amps. The difference in amps, once levels and etc. are accounted for, are much less than headphones, and sometimes so subtle I can't be sure which is better, if better is even the right word. But, late at night when I'm completely relaxed and the ambient noise is extremely low, I hear musical details far better than during the day, and degrees of magnitude better than in an audio store.

Now I'm not saying that it's impossible to set up a blind test that evaluates differences in a totally quiet place where the persons are completely relaxed (but it's usually impossible in cooperative blind tests), so if you're able to do that with absolutely no inner emotional disturbance, no matter how slight, then give it a shot. But I'll wager that if I can visit each place a publicly reported blind test takes place, the circumstances would not be anywhere near quiet enough to hear down to the detail level I hear at home at night.

ChrisS's picture

Even when the pudding is eaten under the exact same circumstances, the taste and eating experience will always be different for different people.

dalethorn's picture

That's like saying we all hear differently. Not relevant. When we sit together at the concert, we hear what we hear, and if our home systems reproduce the sound with equal accuracy, then we hear what we heard at the live concert. And that's perfect. For both of us.

ChrisS's picture

There are actually no properly designed tests done with "good" science with conclusive results that back up what Archimago says.

Almost all tests cited throughout these forums are so poorly designed that the results are meaningless.

ChrisS's picture

Since his death in 2014, unless you have his articles and test papers in print form, there is little material from Tom Nousaine that can be referenced on the internet.

ChrisS's picture

"The CAT5 sounds muffled & no dynamics. The lamp cord brought the sound close to my Sennheiser HD600..."

"I won't do another test, as my amp got fried somewhere in the middle of the process... 3/6 output transistors gone (literally blew up), one driver transistor gone, two diode rectifiers, one trannie from the feedback circuit, two resistors that controlled the bias current and now I'm to emitter resistors which went gaga. Hope I pull it through somehow..."

"I'll try to redo the test with amp side recordings next weekend. Ugh... I'd also use my smaller 3-way bookshelf speakers to provide data on 'speaker load/cables/amplifier matching'. Until then I'll keep kicking myself in the nuts for staying three months with CAT5 cable... as the difference while listening is humongous (at least that's what I'm hearing on the other side of the speaker)..."

In other words, there's very little that can pass as "empirical science" on the internet.

dalethorn's picture

Empirical science? Where is that found? Try to get a list of ingredients for the vaccine you're asked to approve for your children. Try to determine whether the 89 octane selector on the petrol pump is *really* 89 octane. Try to challenge any presidential candidate, or their media reporters, on any facts that they allude to. Try to get a bug list for your favorite computer O/S. Futile, all of these. That doesn't make life unliveable, it just means you have to work your way through the maze of subtleties that everyone has to deal with.

Archimago's picture

Yeah, it is unfortunate that Nousaine's article are not available online since closed. I guess one would need scanned copies of his articles.

Archimago's picture

Whether "good" or "bad", is there ANY science that backs up the notion that silver cables "sound bright"? Or expensive cables can sound any "more transparent"? Surely if these were facts, then places with expensive measurement equipment and anechoic chambers like the Canadian National Research Council, or Harman... Or folks like Sean Olive or Floyd Toole would be on it and publishing material academically.

Rather, it appears any time a person attempts to control variables for listening tests or attempts at objective measurements, the oft-reported significant differences amazingly disappear!

I've posted many of my own measurements and experiments (including blind tests over the internet) on my blog. "Good" or "bad" I will leave to the reader but I have tried my best to put assertions to the test...

ChrisS's picture

"Rather, it appears any time a person attempts to control variables for listening tests or attempts at objective measurements, the oft-reported significant differences amazingly disappear!..."

There are no significant, well designed studies where this actually happens.

Long-time listener's picture

According to Archimago, "I ... have heard no such thing with cables of reasonable build, length and gauge, nor ever found measurable differences in frequency, time domain performance, and distortion characteristics."

Not sure what is meant by "reasonable," but anyway: I'll need to search for the exact quote, but a physicist on one of the audio forums made the following point about the changes in the human voice that occur when people are placed in an environment where they breathe helium instead of our usual atmosphere. They end up sounding like cartoon characters with high-pitched voices. He pointed out that there isn't much measurable difference in frequency response there, either. But the medium of transmission nevertheless results in a very different sound. Same with cables. The medium affects the transmission, and to deny that it does goes against physics. If that were not the case, then we could use any metal for our cables. But oddly, we always seem to use the best conductors, since there are differences, and those give the best results. Try steel or some other low-conductivity metal sometime. Yes, the differences in sound between copper and silver are subtle, as I think I said earlier.

Archimago's picture

I define reasonable as "decent" quality like a good shielded Radio Shack interconnect or good 12AWG copper zip cord... Not the flimsy "throw away" stuff you might find packed in a $50 CD player at Walmart.

Here are some measurements on the effect of gases and sound / voice transmission:

Both with a microphone suspended over SF6 and his own voice exposed to SF6. Doesn't look hard to replicate if one desired...

Long-time listener's picture

I'm going to try a slightly different tack here, since I know you won't convince me and I won't convince you--and I don't want to get into the same endless argument again. Of course you can claim that ANY person who hears ANY difference--even the slightest, most subtle difference--between ANY interconnects belongs to a group of people who are suffering from some king of mass delusion, and that only you are sane (based on experience, I imagine you believe something close to that). But the people on the Stereophile staff are a pretty sane group, who believe in scientifically performed measurements, but who also believe that subjective, non-controlled listening over time can be a valid basis for judgments about sound--because they can--and who all have their favorite cables. My father was an electrical engineer, and I have had a strong, lifelong interest in science. But our search for objective knowledge should never be taken as a repudiation of the value of subjective perceptions--to do so is a repudiation of the very possibility of personal integrity and fails to recognize the crucial role that such perception must, absolutely, play in our daily lives. Too strong a reliance on science, or the mistaken notion that all experience of any kind is capable of being subjected to scientific examination and quantification, is a threat to us as humans just as much as is the failure to recognize the value of objective findings. So I'm not saying, for example, that climate-change deniers should give free reign to their subjective ideas. I'm saying that if there are large groups of intelligent, self-aware people of integrity--who like me believe in science--who claim, and continue to claim over decades of continued experience and against continued arguments from your camp, that they hear differences, that it has to be given some credence. I'm always told that there are secret psychological factors at work--secret even from me, apparently--that are influencing my judgment. The price of a cable, its looks, its marketing hype--any number of things MUST be influencing my judgment. If any of those were true, then my Siltech interconnect would absolutely be may favorite. It's the most expensive, looks the best, and many claims, proven or not, surround the superior conductivity of its exotic gold-silver alloy. But I have collected several different sets of interconnects over the years, and the one that suits my system and my ears best at this point (despite not performing the best in every single respect) is actually a modest-looking, mid-priced (by cable standards) run of Furutech PCOCC wire terminated for me by a local stereo shop. The fact is that each of my cables has its own sound signature, and every few months I switch different ones back into my system, hoping, I guess, that my investment in the Siltech cables wasn't wasted, or that I'll hear something different--and I wouldn't do this unless I had the expectation that I MIGHT in fact hear something different than what my previous subjective impressions told me, or that they suddenly might all sound exactly the same. But despite the various psychological factors that are supposed to be influencing me (and I'm sure you'll come up with even more possibilities that you'll say I wasn't aware of, but in fact am, that MUST be influencing me), the results are consistent--because the SOUND of the cables is consistent. Yes, cables have their own SOUNDS. Science is a limited, human endeavor, like all other human endeavors, and measurements, whether of speakers, headphones, or anything else, don't capture everything. Brain scans don't capture thoughts (don't take me to task for this analogy, please), and cable measurements don't capture SOUND. Sorry, I'll never agree that science can define all aspects of our experience for us. It can't. Not to recognize that is to unscientifically claim for science a broader scope than it actually has.

hb72's picture

I very much agree with what you have written. Measurement is an extremely valuable tool, but both measurement and interpretation often need to be developed around our understanding of the phenomenon we try to capture. Therefore, denying a phenomenon doesn't exactly help understanding it or develop a measurement that relate to the various impressions listeners get with different hardware e.g. cables.

And critical listening without much of an expectation is a good starting point.

Long-time listener's picture

I actually follow very closely the measurements sections--here, and on Inner Fidelity (I'm actually more into headphones now). They are a useful guide, but somehow they still miss something. For example, Tyll Hertzens claims that the new Focal Elear headphone represents a radical and ground-breaking improvement in quality over anything else in its $1000 price range--but comparing graphs, other headphones seem to have better measurements in several areas or even in most areas. Go figure.

hb72's picture

I very much agree with what you have written. Measurement is an extremely valuable tool, but both measurement and interpretation often need to be developed around our understanding of the phenomenon we try to capture. Therefore, denying a phenomenon doesn't exactly help understanding it or develop a measurement that relate to the various impressions listeners get with different hardware e.g. cables.

And critical listening without much of an expectation is a good starting point.

Johnny2Bad's picture

There are dozens of tests; many involve no listening at all but only use 'Scopes, Spectrum Analyzers, etc., while others involve Lab tests plus subjective listening. The most interesting results ... without exception ... is that no two cables test the same. If someone is unaware of them in an Internet Age, it simply means they are not looking.

sonoflawrence's picture

Archimago is concerned that the resistance of cables is low enough that it should be ignorable as having a negligible effect on sound purity. But those who are concerned about transient end-to-end voltages on power and speaker cables should recall, or learn if they didn't pick up an EE degree or two, that wires have a certain amount of self-inductance. This will add measurable amounts of inductance to the overall impedance and in some frequency ranges be the dominant cause of end-to-end voltage.

I Refer you to an old paper, a letter really, in "IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ELECTROMAGNETIC COMPATIBILITY, FEBRUARY 1976", "RF Impedance of United States and European Power Lines", JOHN A. MALACK, MEMBER, IEEE, AND JOHN R. ENGSTROM.

I will quote a couple of examples: (Note that this is home wiring they studied, and the measurement points were wall outlets, so no length data was given. Results were averaged.

At 20 Khz the real part (resistance) ranged from 0 to 12.2 ohms and the imaginary part (inductance), maxed at 10.5 ohms. There was a capacitive component that maxed at 7.0 ohms.

At 10 Mhz the values are, respectively, 319, 186, and 104 ohms. The reason for the dramatic rise in resistance is the so-called akin effect. Magnetic forces squeeze the current carrying part of the wire to the outer edge, so there is less copper to carry the current. This effect is best countered using the multi-stranded Litz wire, which uses separately insulated strands, so each strand undergoes less of a skin effect because it is carrying much less current than the whole wire.

Litz wire may be best for speaker wires, once you figure out how to add the terminations, but AC power isn't so easily treated. You can add pricy Litz wire from power amp to the wall outlet, but then you have the run to the entrance panel, and then to the distribution transformer. There not much you can do about that "final mile". There seems to be a lot of opportunity here.

ishis's picture

Oh, a 'speakers are more important guy' (roll of eyes here) You are not intelligent enough, qualified enough or knowledgeable enough to comment here. Go away!

avanti1960's picture

subtle differences with interconnects and speaker cables. never tried a power cable.
does the application of an upgraded power cable require a direct connection to the wall outlet- as in a basic power strip might degrade the power feed? if so, what technical rationale can be given as to why the wiring in your home does not degrade it in similar manner?

hb72's picture

in a first place its about differences of el. potential between components, not so much about getting more/better current from the wall outlet (or the powerstation). This is why powercables can lead to not at all subtle differences in sound, contrary to expectations. so, yes the distributor counts as well.

Of course there are reports on improved transmission to the distributor, cabling (which I can confirm), wall outlet (furutech, HMS), in-wall cabling, and fuse box, all of which I have never tried, but after some yrs of playing around, I can only say everything has an influence.

BTW: Powercords & Interconnects (analog or non-optical digial) seem to have a real (partly bad!) influence particularly if your amp's inputstages all have a common ground (non switched).

jeffdyer's picture

In the first place, since your wall socket provides AC current, and your amplifier requires two DC supplies, all the current used by the amplifier has to be converted from one AC to two DC sources (positive and negative) and comes from the capacitors after the rectifier in the PSU.

In a home made amp or a very basic one, it's often possible to unplug the amp from the wall and still have it running perfectly for several seconds. It is only generally speaker protection that shuts off the sound to the speakers when you turn off at the wall.

The power lead from the wall to the amp has NO EFFECT on the sound of a properly specced amp whatsoever and anyone saying otherwise is full of B.S.

hb72's picture

to some extent I agree with yr last paragraph: regardless of the type of powercable (as long as properly specced!) a song from the Stones will always be recognisable as a song from the Stones and will never sound like a Beatles song (and v.v.). --> No effect.

jeffdyer's picture

Very droll, but a better analogy would be to compare the mains lead to the type of pipe that carries the gas from the pump to your car.

No matter whether you drive a Prius or a Mustang, the pipe does it's job perfectly well.

It's the gas tank and fuel delivery system (read capacitor and internal cabling) that powers the actual engine of the car. Not the gas station pump.

hb72's picture

have you actually tried different powercables?

I am asking because, clearly, the analogon with fuel pump is not really useful here (or useful only to explain the prime function but not how it does what it shouldn't do). hifi is a system (source & amp & speakers, connected via all sorts of cables) with system interaction issues, sometimes resulting in harsh treble, or over pronounced sibliants.. I am courious to understand origin & reason, have noticed cabling affects level & form of audible distortion, perhaps not in its prime function (signal or power transmission) but in other attributes of SQ.

jeffdyer's picture


I have tried different cables. I've even tried NO cables. With my home made amplifier, I cannot tell whether the AC is on or off, at least for the 10 seconds or so that the capacitors contain enough charge.

Any properly designed amplifier circuit will be completely separated from the AC supply.

If you like to put some filtering/conditioning in your AC line to remove potential noise then fair enough, but there is NO WAY that having extra conducting cable will affect the sound, because most amplifiers will work perfectly as designed with NO AC cable at all.

You can tell this because if there was *any* link between the AC current/voltage coming out of the wall socket and the power getting to your amplifier's circuit board you would hear mains hum, and I guess you don't with any decent amplifier like you guys would use.

Herb Reichert's picture

that all sources of negative ions are equal?

jeffdyer's picture

Electrons aren't negative ions, but all electrons are equal.

All electrons powering your amp are sourced from the capacitors, not the AC wall socket. The AC wall sockets just tops up the capacitors. Which is why changing the AC lead cannot effect the sound.

Herb Reichert's picture

Please forgive me. I chose the wrong word. Let me rephrase my 'yes or no' question: Are all sources of free electrons equal?

hb72's picture

*how* caps are 'topped up' has no influence? Are they always full along the cycle? Hint: Can't possibly be with 60 or 50 hz AC.

jeffdyer's picture

The voltage on the capacitor obviously has a small ripple. However that is smoothed out by the voltage regulator which sits between the caps and the amp. As long as the ripple on the capacitor does not drop the voltage below the required voltage regulator input voltage there will be no effect.

Another reason why changing the power cord cannot change the sound of a properly designed amplifier. Now interconnects, just possibly slightly.

johnmalik's picture

Got some Luna cables for my Spectral and I was amazed. Just like Dudley I could not believe how much the power cord improved the listening experience:

, I heard a difference so startlingly apparent that I laughed aloud—as did Danny Labrecque, whom I then chided for committing the unpardonable sin of messing with my head (though the verb I used was not messing).

Same exact reaction, just try it, Luna is a game changer for me

rzr's picture

There are many cable manufacturers out there and many of them are better than the Luna's that are never evaluated. Now I know how products are picked to be evaluated. You have to be a friend of the reviewer. Art went out of his way to indicate that he knew Danny for 5 years. Normally, if you are friends with a manufacturer, you shouldn't be evaluating their products because the review can show favoritism, which I think it shows.
This is very similar to the old Sam's corner. Sam seemed to always review Musical Fidelity and Roy Hall's products since he was friends with them.
I'm assuming this happens all of the time inside of Stereophile but we will never know unless a reviewer states it, which they won't anymore.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Many of us have spent decades either reviewing equipment or going room-to-room at audio shows. We have been known to smile at designers, manufacturers, retail store owners, and reps. In fact, we do far more that that. We chat with them, meet them for lunch, listen to music with them, and visit their factories. (I'll be visiting the Boulder factory after RMAF.) They, in turn, often visit us to ensure the equipment of theirs we review is optimally set-up so it will perform at its best.

The notion that audio reviewers "should" live in a bubble, without relationship to those who make and rep the equipment they review, or should remain neutral, without affect, in every social and business interaction, is both impractical and absurd.

That we have relationships with manufacturers, however, does not mean that we cannot speak critically about their products. Our reviews give the lie to this accusation.

What is practical, and a policy that Stereophile's reviewers adhere to, is not reporting back to manufacturers once the equipment is in place. If we don't like how something sounds, we don't tell them. And we absolutely do not abort a review simply because we end up unhappy or less than totally happy with what we hear.

You write:

"Now I know how products are picked to be evaluated. You have to be a friend of the reviewer... I'm assuming this happens all of the time inside of Stereophile but we will never know unless a reviewer states it, which they won't anymore."

Didn't Art do exactly what you say we don't do?

josefelixb's picture

Been an audio fan for over 50 years, started with Heath and Dynaco equipment, AR speakers and went up to some of the most expensive and respected equipment at the time, about 25 years ago, including all types of highly hyped cables. Except for a pair of well known British electrostatic speakers which eventually failed due to the constant high humidity here, what a waste of time and money! Now have much more pedestrian equipment and enjoying music much more. Can't understand the BS in this industry, touted by otherwise intelligent people! Remember when even this publication as well as others was peddling the the "idea" that painting the edges of CDs with a particular green marker improved the sound? That there are real audible differences in cables is beyond the comprehension of many seasoned audiophiles and the fact that a Stereophile keeps this fantasy alive reaches the limits of rational thinking and damages its credibility as a serious publication.

dalethorn's picture

We can say "Is not", "Is too", "Is not" .... all week long, but it doesn't give anyone information that they can use in their own research.

orgillian's picture

So basically some of you trust Art's opinions of metal boxes full of parts and wires and his comparisons and descriptions of them even though you have seen no direct empirical scientific proof that these metal boxes can do what he says they do but if he states that he hears a difference in changing some of the wires plugged into said boxes you deny he hears any such differences because your understanding of science tells you Art's experience is impossible? Do you also argue with hovering bumblebees as they clearly are aerodynamically incapable of flight? A closed mind will almost always hear nothing new while a open one just might learn something. And what does his relationship with the wires' purveyors have to do with whether or not he heard any differences? His job is to report on such things and share his experiences with like minded persons-would you be happier if he heard these differences and didn't share his findings with you? Funny, for some it seems their inabilities to hear differences in cables, components, etc lead them to the conclusion that their experiences are the only valid ones and they use the fact that not everything audible is easily measurable as "proof" that their views must be correct...much like a totally blind man denying the existence of sunlight or the color blue...

jeffdyer's picture

"the fact that not everything audible is easily measurable"

Actually it is. In low frequency, low voltage analogue electronics, everything is very easily measurable.

The fact that certain vendors persist in stating that things are hard to measure is fair evidence that they can't prove that their stuff actually does what they say.

orgillian's picture

You can measure soundstage? The air/space between instruments in a recording? The measurements for Magnapan speakers scarcely reflect any of what people find attractive about them, etc etc. Some things are measurable-distortions, power, etc but not everything audible is easily measurable - look at what precipitated this discussion-measuring cables clearly doesn't reflect the differences heard by different users in different systems...and even if they did, it appears there would be some who would argue about the results.

jeffdyer's picture

This debate is nothing about soundstage, it's about audible effects of changing an AC lead in a quality hi fi system.

If you play the same source and record it using even WinAmp and then change the AC lead and do the same, you *will find no difference* in the output.

Because the power to the amplifier stages comes from the capacitors in the amp, not the AC supply

orgillian's picture

Perhaps technically true but I've heard differences in some systems by changing ac cords, some by changing power bars, and also in having a receptacle directly wired from the fuse box at 20 amps. Not every system that I've known these type of changes were made in had audible differences but several did.

jeffdyer's picture

Unless you can physically measure a change in the output signal from the amp when you change AC cords, there is no change to hear.

And since low voltage, low frequency analogue signals are amazingly easy to measure, it would be simple for the cable vendors to do this.

But they don't. I wonder why?

ChrisS's picture

A change in the sound is heard, but no change in signal is measured.

Plug and play. More convincing than a measure.

What placebo are you talking about?

jeffdyer's picture

"A change in the sound is heard, but no change in signal is measured" Not possible.

Do you really think that electronic audio works by some kind of magic "woo"?

The placebo is a new $1500 AC lead.

ChrisS's picture

These types of studies have never been done.

Plus, your statement "The placebo is a new $1500 AC lead" is not a hypothesis, but an inaccurately-stated bias.

Look up "research methodology" and figure out how to re-state your claim as a testable hypothesis.

Have you actually tried a $1500 AC power cord? Or even a $500 or $200 power cord on your stereo system?

And again, note the title of Art's column.

jeffdyer's picture

and see why changing the AC lead in a properly designed piece of hi-fi equipment will make no difference.

ChrisS's picture

...explain what many people hear.

Once again, note the title of Art's column.

sa122's picture

No, the frailties of human perception do though.

billyb's picture


A. Hourst's picture

There’s only one way to know if Art Dudley really heard what he heard: do an ABX on both power cord.
But it’s probably too conclusive for the kind of cultists that buy 1000$/m audio cables. Many insecure audiophiles share the same fear of empirical science than alternative medicine sellers. C’mon Art, does this thousand dollar cable performs better than the placebo?

ChrisS's picture

Doing an ABX won't tell me anything about how these audio cables might work in my system. Testing Art's ears and system has nothing to do with me.

jeffdyer's picture

Just play a CD into some digital recorder, then change the AC lead and do the same.

Do a difference on the recordings. There won't be any.

ChrisS's picture

Put a product into my system. And then listen.

Take the product out and replace with the original piece. Listen again.

Do that several times, if needed.

I can usually tell in less than an hour what difference a new product might have on my system. Then I have to decide if I like the difference and if I can afford to buy the product.

Pretty easy.

jeffdyer's picture

It is simple to record some signals with one AC cord and then replace the AC cord with another and record the same signal again.

Process through a signal comparator and there is the difference between the two AC leads.

There will be none.

ChrisS's picture

However, listening tells me how a product might affect the sound of my system.

Note the title of Art's column.

A. Hourst's picture

It will sound as it measure. Audio cables are pretty much the simplest electric devices.

ChrisS's picture

"...sound as it measure(s)..."

Put another way...

What does a measurement sound like?

Is a measure a measure a measure?

A. Hourst's picture

A 3 db roll off at 10kHz will sound rolled off. A neutral cable will sound neutral.
Measurements aren't just numbers on a sheet of paper, they mean something. If you tell me that you measure 6' I can figure how tall you are without having to look at you...

ChrisS's picture

...Would you know you'll have a 3 db roll off at 10kHz by measuring a cable?

And, how does a "neutral" cable measure? How does that "sound"?

Or, what if my speakers or my hearing rolls off in the same way?

Then, for all intents and purposes, that cable may be "neutral" for me in my system, but not for someone else or in another system.

So, how useful would it be for you to know that I am 6 feet tall?

A. Hourst's picture

Wait, are you 6 feet tall?
Are you my uncle Kevin?!

ChrisS's picture

You were always the short, nerdy one in the family...

Get out of the basement and get some sunlight!

A. Hourst's picture

You measure its RLC values and derive a frequency response based on the load they face. A cable with reasonable RLC values will be neutral and have no sound of its own (try Radio Shack or home depot).

But changing your power cord won't change your sound. The only thing you have to measure is its capacity to pass current.

ChrisS's picture

Opinion? Supposition? Hypothesis?

Many have heard otherwise, and have shown this to be just an opinion or the effect of hearing/cognitive limitations or a poorly resolving audio system.

A. Hourst's picture

Those listening session were not controlled. Every time you go blind those differences vanish.

ChrisS's picture

Where are these tests?

A. Hourst's picture

You have some nerve. Show me one blind test with a positive result and I will comply to your request. I'm not the one promoting science-fiction...

ChrisS's picture

Nobody in the entire audio industry does blind studies the way you think they should be done.

There are no studies.

A. Hourst's picture

Then I guess our discussion is done.

ChrisS's picture

The discussion of "studies" and "tests" is done.

John Atkinson's picture
A. Hourst wrote:
Show me one blind test with a positive result and I will comply to your request.

See this 2008 article in the Wall Street Journal: A blind test and the money quote: "I was struck by how the best-informed people at the show -- like John Atkinson and Michael Fremer of Stereophile Magazine -- easily picked the expensive cable. Its sound was described as 'richer,' 'crisper' and 'more coherent.'"

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

A. Hourst's picture

We were speaking about power cord btw.

Speaker cables that produce frequency response variations are not against the laws of physic, unlike the insanities about power cords (or digital cables).
It is very possible that what you heard was caused by the cable inductance. If you want to have an idea of what an inductive cable can do to a frequency response, I invite you to read the article "The wire and cable scene: Facts, Fictions, and Frauds” by Peter Aczel, backed up by Richard A. Greiner, PhD., (ex) professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university of Wisconsin.
“The relatively cheap Monster Cable Standard is next in line. It’s almost four times as inductive as the Audio-Quest and the response, as shown in Figure 5, is beginning to look like that of a mild lowpass filter. If a critical listener reported a slight softening of the top end with this cable, I wouldn’t be the least surprised (…)”.

Isn’t that what you would call “richer”?...
You probably didn't hear a better cable, but a more inductive and less faithful one.

ChrisS's picture

He didn't listen to anything.

Again, note the title of Art's column.

jeffdyer's picture

Thank you

jeffdyer's picture

Quite. Where are all these cable manufacturers' frequency response tests showing just how their cables perform.

Oh I remember, differences in sound can't be measured.

Alain61's picture

For people looking for a comment from someone who actually listen to these cables: Yes they improved greatly the sound of my system (Leben CS300/RS30EQ, Wilson Sophia2). You should trust your own ears to make final judgement and then decide if you can afford them. For me the answer was YES. They replaced much more expensive cables from Siltech and Transparent and brought so more much musicality into my system. At the end of the day, listening to music is now even more enjoyable. Is it not the reason why we buy all this stuff?

A. Hourst's picture

I've found out that shark oil can cure cancer. You shouldn't trust the medicine academy about this but a guy who's really tried it! In my system (1983 white caucasian), it have made wonders. Trust your own cells to make final judgement. For me the answer was ABSOLUTELY! Forget all about chemotherapy and other "scientific" methods. Every one is different so each treatment should be different. My pancreas is much more musical today than it ever was!

dalethorn's picture

Chemo can cure cancer? That's amazing. Lots of people would disagree.

Anton's picture

Sorry I am late.

Who won the argument?

michaelavorgna's picture


danhebert64's picture

Am also trusting my ears and of course my wallet but the Luna Cables were a great addition to my system. they have created in my system a much larger soundstage with much more detail and a sense that the music is more "live" which i particularly affection... there also seems to have a cumulative effect as i started with the purple speaker cables (replacing AU24se) and rigth away it was a great improvement. then i had 2 power cables (pre-amp/amp) and i could see even more improvements. i have changed a couple of interconnects and that with all the other made it sound really really good. been buying cables for years (Siltech, Audience, Shindo) and i must admit i now like the way my system sounds. I like that the Luna are about rendering the music neutrally which is something ilook for. but this is personal, so try them out to see if you like them or not if you are in for it! i did and i dont regret it one second

jeffdyer's picture

"then i had 2 power cables (pre-amp/amp) and i could see even more improvements"

Said the naked emperor.

ChrisS's picture

Were you there to verify what someone else plainly heard.

jeffdyer's picture

Thought they heard.

ChrisS's picture

...for them, what they should hear?

jeffdyer's picture

decided what they heard

ChrisS's picture

So with "positive bias" I should be able to make a table radio sound like a nice stereo system.

jeffdyer's picture

Because a table radio is not a nice stereo system.

The positive bias is in hearing a difference between two things that actually sound exactly the same, not in judging two totally different things to be the same.

I know you think this is some kind of "sport", but you're not very good at it, are you.

ChrisS's picture

And how would anyone know?

Shouldn't I be able to make an AC cord made from lamp wire sound "better" than a $1500 "high end" power cord with "positive bias"?

Then again, shouldn't I be able to make a sound system sound "better" without changing a thing with just "positive bias"?

jeffdyer's picture

Exactly. Now you're getting it.

If you think something sounds better, but the difference cannot actually be measured, then it's just in your head. Just like the difference between the sound of a $1500 AC cable and the one that came with the equipment.

ChrisS's picture

...A very powerful effect if I was able to pick, as best sounding for my system, the Wireworld Aurora power cord over the lower priced Stratus and the higher priced Elecktra. So powerful an effect that everyone who has heard my system has noted the improvement in the sound of my system, and that the effect can still be heard for nearly a dozen years since I first changed all my power cords (for 3 amps, 1 pre-amp and a cd player) to the Auroras.

If only "Positive Bias" could work for politics!

ChrisS's picture

...when two things sound exactly the same?

Who has done any studies that shows that a "stock" power cord sounds the same as a "high end" one?

jeffdyer's picture

I rather think it is for those making ludicrous claims to provide evidence that high end ac leads are not just an amusing way to part a fool from his money.


ChrisS's picture

Many people hear differences all the time. Some write about what they hear in varied journals and magazines, and especially at Stereophile, that job is particularly well done.

You are the one claiming that one will not hear a difference, but you have no evidence at all to show that, while many have experiences that strongly beg to differ. Read all those publications, but better still, see if you can hear for yourself what many others can hear.

I am lucky enough to have frequented a bricks-and-mortar stereo shop since my early undergraduate days in university many decades ago. To this day, the guys in that shop who know me well enough, allow me to take home various bits and pieces of stereo equipment, that include amps, speakers, tuners, cd players, speaker cables, interconnects. power cords, power conditioners, and various accessories, to try out at home over the weekend. If I liked anything (and made a significant sonic difference!), I bought it. If not, I just brought it all back.

That's how I was able to try out all three models of the Wireworld ac power cords. And I confirmed with others, who knew nothing about how the power cords differed, to see what difference they could hear with these cords. If you claim "positive bias" influences what people hear, then what bias would compel me and others to choose the "middle" model of Wireworld ac power cords for my system?

Try listening (note again the title of Art's column). If you can experiment on yourself with different power cords in your own stereo system, that's how most people get to "know" if these components make a difference, or not. If you don't hear any or enough of a difference, fine. Everybody's situations (hearing, stereo systems, rooms, taste in music, etc.) are different. Most people are happy to find that something can significantly improve their listening pleasure that can be had within their budget.

If you can do an experiment like this for yourself, and you find an ac power cord that makes a significant difference in your listening experience, that's really all the "proof" one needs. If you feel compelled to find a correlation between the "sound" you hear and some measurement of the ac cord, then go right ahead.

But, most people don't shop that way.

ChrisS's picture

If you don't want to spend $1500 on an AC power cord, then don't.

Wasn't that easy?

What is ludicrous is believing that everything at the 99 cent store is actually worth 99 cents!!

Every single one of those items will end up in the landfill or polluting our oceans and air!

Way more millions of dollar will be spent on those items than all the "high end" wire that you can imagine!

Why aren't you mad at that?

jeffdyer's picture

So, you have no physical evidence that using a $1500 AC cord changes the performance of your amplifier.

You pretty much define the fool from whom money is easily parted.

ChrisS's picture

Does not appear to understand the title of Art's column.

Appears to do no listening.

For himself.


Do you have some type of central auditory processing disorder?

ChrisS's picture

To whom are you asking?

What exactly are you asking for?

Bottom line:

Why would anyone be obliged or compelled to answer your query when no one in the entire industry has done studies or the type of testing you are asking for?

And lastly...

Don't you think 5 Wireworld Aurora power cords at $140 each is a bargain?

Anton's picture

Hey, I am all in favor of cable joy, but I am dismayed over the lack of curiosity displayed by the 'anti-objectivists.'

Pretty much every 'formal' review in Stereophile has a great section by JA looking at how to measure things and how that relates to the sound.

We can see digital data from 90 dB down, we see vertical and lateral dispersion from speakers, square wave response from amps...why is there an apparent lack of curiosity when it comes to measuring parameters of cables and power cords? One minute, Stereophile is saying how an amp clips at a 2% different point than the specs state, and the next, we get "Well, there ARE differences in cable, so quit it."

I say, turn loose the hounds and play with some cable/interconnect measurements and trying to relate them to sonics!

It may play into looking at how a cable might enhance or degrade an interface between the AC source and a component, between two components, and between amp and speakers!

It would be way cool to see a JA measurement section on these 'devices.'

I could even see something like, "The capacitance and impedance on this interconnect may make a good match for amplifier A and Art's speakers, while his original interconnect showed...."

Same goes for break-in!

Lots of opportunity for exploring the measurement side of things!

ChrisS's picture

...Knowing the measurement of a cable?

No one shops that way.

I know of no one who shops for audio products to declare themselves to be an "objectivist" nor a "subjectivist".

Anton's picture

You would not be curious to see what the differences were, what the magnitude was, and whether or not that translated into anything predictable about performance?

I don't want you to strain anything, but you don't think it would be cool to see what could be figured out about cable/interconnect performance?

I know not to expect a flea powered amp to run my Apogee speakers. I can glean that from data before wasting a shopping trip. I like knowing the impedance curve of my speakers to think about how the things will interact with an amplifier.

I like knowing the gain on a phono pre, or the compliance on a cartridge - as a consumer, it is interesting to see this data and it can help with my shopping direction.

"What difference does it make?" You sound like you are an upset person in front of a Congressional panel.

Nothing in the hobby "matters," but I am surprised by your rather belligerent lack of interest.

Regarding the "objectivist" "subjectivist" thing, look upthread and you will see both types well represented!

ChrisS's picture

Hi Anton,

Stereophile already does a great job doing what they do!! They already point out interesting measurements, but ultimately they provide excellent information about what everything "does" and how each item contributes to or diminishes the enjoyment of what each writer listens to.

For me, adding more measurements makes for dry, uninteresting reading- I've read more than my share of textbooks in my lifetime and I don't need more for my leisure reading.

As for my own "attitude", I take on for "sport" those few who are rude and belligerent about demanding that Stereophile become more "scientific", especially those who bear the "ABX/Double Blind" banner! It's really, really annoying.

I do appreciate you asking and for sharing your own interests.

Happy listening!

JennMartin's picture


David Harper's picture

It is an empirical fact that all properly constructed speaker wires,(a relatively simple thing to accomplish), of sufficient gauge,(>18ga),in a length of less than twenty feet will produce sound that is identical at the speaker. There are no "astounding differences" in the sound of such wires. It's nonsense. Just buy 16 gauge rocketfish speaker wire.It will perform it's job perfectly.

Anton's picture

That's awesome!

Can you post a link to those empirical facts, please?

Do the facts include RFI effects, etc?

jeffdyer's picture

RF is inaudible.

John Atkinson's picture
David Harper wrote:
It is an empirical fact that all properly constructed speaker wires,(a relatively simple thing to accomplish), of sufficient gauge,(>18ga),in a length of less than twenty feet will produce sound that is identical at the speaker.

For a possible reason your statement is too simplistic, scroll down the page at this link to read my discussion of speaker cables:

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

dalethorn's picture

I see that we're specifying 1) the gauge, 2) the length, and 3) "properly constructed". I wonder if I can get such cables at Best Buy that are labeled "properly constructed"? And if 18 gauge isn't 100 percent reliable, how can we be 100 percent sure of 16 gauge? Seems kinda iffy to me.

Mattias Alm's picture

I assumed that performing the same read on the next cable article would produce even less interest, if any. Yet when I clicked the link and began reading, I read a formulation so startlingly ridiculous that I laughed aloud—as did my wife, whom I then chided for committing the unpardonable sin of fucking my head (though the noun I used was not head).

es347's picture

..dropping the F-bomb for added emphasis...not here pls

Mattias Alm's picture

Better late than never, I guess.

Anyway, my response was actually a (somewhat spoofy) quote from the original article.


microgroovy's picture

I recently acquired the Luna Red interconnects and put them on my system. At first, I wondered if I would hear more hype than music. But as soon as the needle connected with Cannonball Adderley’s “Something Else” I stopped seeing red, or as I like to call it, all the negative preconceptions I have regarding cables and their promise. With the Luna interconnects, I heard a fuller, more lifelike spectrum in each groove. Luna cables image without artifice or pretentiousness. So much so that the intent behind each breath and note was present. The tones are true and authentic - they don't get in the way of the art. I’m certain that when paired with any system, you’ll stop seeing red. And start seeing the complete pallet of every recording painted before you.

JunkyJan's picture

...Always invoke both the best and worst in Mankind. Apparently it is impossible to have a sober, non-emotional discussion when it comes to this subject!

I'm in a real dilemma, my rather pedestrian "analogue sub-system" (Thorens TD 160 + Rega RB200 + Denon 103r + Hagerman Bugle) have developed an intermittent RCA cable connection issue... So I swiped the RCA cable from a SME 3009r that I've been keeping as a backup (never used due to the overhang at the rear) & that turned out to NOT work at all (completely open-circuit)... So I honestly was hoping to gain some insight from Mr. Dudley's observations in regards to a replacement cable.

If it wasn't for concerns about capacitive loading I would have just bought a Monster Cable interconnect, judging from some of the comments here I may as well do that.

I had a friend about 15 years ago who paid more for a single interconnect cable than the value of my entire system (his system cost more than my house at the time. A very good financial investment consultant, but zero technical background!).

jeffdyer's picture

Absolutely agree. I think this fact arises from the almost deliberate lack of technical specifications in the cable industry as opposed to the plethora of detailed measurements and technical specs that will come with any decent amplifier or speakers for example.

Any rational person can only deduce that this lack of information is due to the fact that there is very little (if anything) to be gained from playing around with cables (since the best cable is entirely neutral) which leaves those who have managed to convince themselves that playing with cables really does make a difference with nothing to back their arguments up except bluster. And because these people are by their very nature the least technically aware, their efforts at self justification are never any good, but resort to pseudo-science or worse.

ChrisS's picture

...Along by just listening.

What Jeff says exists only in his head.

There is nothing to back up anything he says.

jeffdyer's picture

You should really seek some psychiatric help.

Stressing yourself this way, policing the interwebs, about something that doesn't even exist, is really not good for you.

I will not respond again because I suspect that it is not helping you with your problem.

ChrisS's picture

Just listen.

Everyone does it.

es347's picture

..resort to calling those who hear differences liars. So which is worse?

ChrisS's picture

to have a discussion, if you enjoy your music and share it with others.