Kimber PBJ interconnect Specifications

Sidebar: Specifications

Description: Unshielded, twisted-pair interconnect. Series inductance: 0.77µH. DC loop resistance: 0.053 ohm/m. Parallel capacitance: 55pF/m.
Price: $62/m pair ($14/additional meter pair plus $48/pair termination) (1993); $108/m pair (2020). Approximate number of dealers: 450.
Manufacturer: Kimber Kable, 2752 South 1900 West, Ogden, UT 84401. Tel: (801) 621-5530. Fax: (801) 627-6980. Web: www.kimber.com.

ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
invaderzim's picture

I've never heard the phrase "separate the wheat from the chapped" it has always been "wheat from the chaff" The chaff being the husk that is of no use and is removed from the wheat.

oh, and let the "cables don't change anything!" and "cables change everything" yelling begin.

otaku's picture

I noticed that about the 'chapped' and I think he did it deliberately and cleverly.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Separate wheat from tares? ......... Separate wheat from weed? :-) .......

Strat56's picture

I do cables signal cables for audiophile friends, asking them 10€ per pair, and letting them astonished.
I use exactly the same interweaving technique shown in the pic. Wire wrap cable 0.2mm conductor diameter. The result is 40pF/m circa including RCA connectors. I do not thing it is possible to get better results. Total tranparency. Everybody could do it.

spanovical's picture

An excellent discovery and article! Everybody should read the AudioQuest Boombox Demo at https://www.audioquest.com/resource/1140/BoomBox.pdf . When I first heard the AudioQuest Type 4s with my $500 AV receiver a decade+ ago, I could not control my ear-to-ear grin. I was afraid that some of my family might come into the room thinking I was nuts … of happiness :-)

jmeyersnv's picture

Once upon a time, a person could only be certain of two things: death and taxes. Now, there is a third: higher prices. Back in 1993, Corey cited two Kimber "open weave/unshielded" analog cables (KCAG and PBJ); today, Kimber also offers a third alternative, the Silver Streak. When Corey first wrote his review, the PBJ was $68 and the KCAG was $300. Interestingly, the price of the PBJ in a 1 meter length and with the lowest priced connectors is currently $132 (approximately 2x) and the KCAG is $1,200 (exactly 4x). I guess that Kimber's business strategy is to exploit to the hilt those able to pay to more because the KCAG's material costs certainly haven't quadrupled.

I intentionally am mentioning the Silver Streak cable, which is the one I use between my music streamer/DAC and my preamplifier. I have a special version of a single-ended Silver Streak, with two silver strands and one copper strand (rather than the converse), and I have found it to be a truly wonderful interconnect. Moreover, its current price in 1 meter length with the lowest price connector is $484. While that is hardly cheap (and mine was actually a fair bit more costly due to its using twice the silver as well as WBT silver connectors), I suspect the Silver Streak goes most of the way towards achieving a level of performance commensurate with the KCAG for less than half of its price.

joelv's picture

" Kimber's business strategy is to exploit to the hilt those able to pay to more because the KCAG's material costs certainly haven't quadrupled."

The price of silver has gone up more than 5x since 1993.

JHL's picture

But we must leap to outlandish conclusions because surely all audio companies are ripoff artists out to burn down the rain forest and push old ladies off cliffs. They are unique in the world in this way because because.

CG's picture

Based on an online calculator (https://westegg.com/inflation/), basic inflation alone would scale the price of that $62 PBJ cable to $111 today.

This proves without any doubt that the pricing of audiophile cables is what drives the basic economy. What other conclusion can you draw?

Glotz's picture

is precisely what his original post described. The subjective value has decreased.

I Used to buy Silver Streak, PBJ and other Kimber Kable products, and I do Not now.

prof's picture

It is notable that Stereophile reviews of every other type of component are accompanied by measurements. Reviews of cables never are.

Why is that?

JHL's picture

...would you expect they be *measured*?

PAR's picture

I seem to recall that Stereophile's sister magazine HiFi News used to offer cable measurements with reviews but , if so, I haven't seem any for a number of years.

I have certainly seen cable measurements in a German magazine. This was interesting as they had a panel listening blind to a selection of cables. They also measured each cable for R,L and C as well as impulse response ( as far as I recall). The panel members came up with broadly similar opinions on the subjective sound of the cables. However one thing learned was that there appeared to be no correlation at all between the sound and measurements.

That may be one reason not to measure. At least unless other measurement methods can be devised. I am sure that one day there may be but there currently seems to be little properly conducted research into this subject. Bells Labs were doing it back in the early 20th century but the experiments were really in the context of telephone intelligibility.

I do not believe in magic and as I am also sure that cables do change sound I am also sure that there is a PhD waiting for someone out there. of course they are probably going to have difficulty in persuading the assessor that it is a real subject :-(.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

HI-Fi News still does cable measurements ....... You can find them on their website :-) .........

prof's picture

In addition to the measurements PAR suggested, I would add "susceptibility to noise and EMI": send a 1kHz sine tone through the cable, in the presence of various potential EMI sources and measure the output in a spectrum analyzer.

It would be interesting to know whether these unshielded twisted pair cables are more or less susceptible to EMI than your "stock" shielded cable.

John Atkinson's picture
prof wrote:
In addition to the measurements PAR suggested, I would add "susceptibility to noise and EMI". . .

A while back, there was a series of measurements by Martin Colloms in HiFi Critic magazine (Vol.4 No.1), that looked at the effect of RF on power cords. An amplifier has three inputs. It has its input port, which we label "input." But the power supply is also an input, so anything riding on the power supply gets fed into the circuit. And the loudspeaker terminals, which we call an “output”, are also an input to the negative feedback loop, so anything that’s happening with the speaker and the cables will get fed back into the loop.

At the RF frequencies that Martin was describing, the amplifier isn’t going to be linear. So if you look at the implications of Martin’s measurements, every cable will behave differently in every system. If there’s a mechanism for RF getting into the amplifier via the output terminals, then every system will live in a different bath of radio frequency radiation, from WiFi networks and portable phones and whatever. Every amplifier, every speaker, and every cable will act as a different kind of antenna.

You can’t, therefore, actually predict what would be the best cable for any one particular system.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

prof's picture

Even granting your premise, that all systems are different and "You can’t, therefore, actually predict what would be the best cable for any one particular system." I am hard-pressed to understand why you would think that the subjective impressions of a reviewer on the operation of the cable in his system would be a better predictor of the cable's behaviour than measurements of the cable's performance characteristics would be.

To take that logic a little further, every room's acoustic characteristics are different, so you can't actually predict how a given speaker will sound in a particular room.

Ergo, speaker measurements are useless ...

Decades of your speaker measurements put the lie to that conclusion. And cables are vastly simpler than speakers. There are many fewer variables to control for. So it should be much easier to reach useful conclusions from a decent set of measurements.

CG's picture

Simpler? Really?

Ever measure cables? I have. Not for audio applications, but for RF use. It's not as simple as you represent. In a lot of ways, cables used at "audio frequencies" are even more complicated than those used for high frequency RF.

Rather than have me bleat away about the subject, there's a whole raft of technical papers on the subject that can be found through online search engines for your reading pleasure. Be sure to include the terms "skin depth" in your search.

One of the key take-aways you might get is that there's a lot more going on with audio cabling than just L, C, and R. That's because the cable geometry matters. A lot.

In addition, the materials used also can store energy in a way that might affect the final sonic performance.

More reading: http://yawp.com/ref-library/subjects/construction%20techniques/an348.pdf

Finally, there's all sorts of noise in and around audio systems, unless your listening room happens to be buried 20 feet below ground level, each component is individually powered by ideal batteries, and there's otherwise close to ideal electrical isolation between the components. This noise wanders around and can have all sorts of unpredictable effects.

The late Pete Goudreau published this article specific to audio applications a while back: http://www.soundstagenetwork.com/articles/pete01.htm

For more discussion of the noise problems, I suggest you use the search terms "Henry Ott noise" or "Ralph Morrison noise".

This is why virtually every system is different. Unfortunately.

To your point, cables can be measured for a number of parameters. Not so few as you might think, just as with loudspeakers. How this all applies in a system depends entirely on the system set-up and constituent components, as is true with room acoustics and loudspeakers.

So, in lots of ways, all these measurements are pretty much out of context, if not useless.

My own view, for what it's worth, is that audio equipment reviews are like restaurant reviews. They are (usually) one person's commentary on their experience at that restaurant. If that doesn't suit you, then look for information and reading satisfaction elsewhere.

One more thing, since somebody will probably bring it up: I don't pretend to understand the economics or pricing models of the audio cable biz. So, I'm not offering an opinion on that.

John Atkinson's picture
CG wrote:
I don't pretend to understand the economics or pricing models of the audio cable biz. So, I'm not offering an opinion on that.

I will. From my 2011 Richard Heyser Memorial lecture to the Audio Engineering Society:

"I will pass over the thorny topic of signal cables having an effect on sound quality that is due to anything other than the usual electrical parameters of resistance, inductance, and capacitance . . . except to point out that, as with light beer, gasoline, and tobacco, the brand differentiation of cables is achieved primarily through advertising. That doesn't mean that there aren't also differences in sound quality, only that, as with mass-market beer, those differences can be relatively small. But does 'small' necessarily equate with 'inaudible' or 'unimportant'?

"Incidentally, this is why judging a cable's value for money by comparing its retail price with its bill of materials is misleading, as the large cost of advertising needs to be factored in. And what if there were no advertising? Decades ago . . . a cigarette brand decided that they could make a lot more money if they drastically cut back on their ad budget. (This was at a time when cigarette advertising was ubiquitous.) Without ad support, their market share collapsed!"

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

CG's picture

Fair enough.

As I said, I'm not qualified to judge the value for money of cables. I have a pretty good idea of what cables cost to make (a late buddy of mine used to own a small cable company - mostly industrial cables, but some audio as an OEM), but that hardly defines the end purchaser price.

But, I would disagree whether the technical part is a thorny subject. At least, thorny as in dubious.

Most engineers who work in instrumentation systems can tell you all sorts of stories and technical details that really parallel the problems encountered in a home audio system. The first order effects caused by the basic distributed electrical parameters of resistance, inductance, and capacitance are inadequate to describe the overall system performance of an audio system carrying very low level signals.

I'd also argue that "improved" cabling, however you might define that, is really only a partial solution to the problem. Many of the approaches that could be used to improve performance have been understood for decades. They just are passed over because of a lack of engineering understanding or just basic opposition to simple principles.

A lot of basic audio system performance was described and analyzed before the halfway point of the last century by engineers at Bell Labs and at the BBC. All seemingly ignored now.

And, more contemporary research that has been performed by various industries also point out problems that audiophiles and audiophile critics have been arguing about for years. (Example search terms: connector distortion)

I don't get it. A sure sign of getting old.

prof's picture

Ever measure cables? I have. Not for audio applications, but for RF use.

"Finally!" I thought, "Someone who knows what they're talking about."

You had me going until you said:

Be sure to include the terms "skin depth" in your search.

Sorry, but no. The skin effect is irrelevant at audio frequencies.

At 20kHz, the skin depth in copper is greater the radius of 19AWG wire -- considerably larger than the radius of the conductors in these interconnect cables. (At 20 Hz, it's greater than the radius of 000AWG wire.)

One of the key take-aways you might get is that there's a lot more going on with audio cabling than just L, C, and R.

No one (least of all I) said that the complex impedance Z(ω) over the whole audio band can be summarized in just 3 real numbers (R,L,C). That's why JA, when he measures speaker impedance, plots both the magnitude and phase of Z(ω).

That's because the cable geometry matters. A lot.

For things like susceptibility to EMI? Sure. That's the whole reason measurements would be useful. How else would we ever know whether these unshielded twisted-pair cables are better or worse at rejecting EMI than your standard shielded cables?

CG's picture

Sorry, but yes.

Just how much shielding effect do you think a copper, silver, or aluminum outer conductor has at audio frequencies?

The basic definition for skin depth is where the current density reaches about 37% of the density at the surface. 37% is hardly zero, or close to it. For a shield, 37% isn't that great, in fact.

So, for a worthwhile shield at 20 KHz, you'd need a copper shield several "skin depths" thick to be really effective - thicker than #19 equivalent. At lower frequencies, of course it would need to be physically thicker. (At a few MHz, a practical copper shield is possible and common. But, even there, a copper layer on a printed circuit board has limited shielding attributes between parallel conductors at, say, 5 MHz)

Or, you could use some other material that might be better at low frequencies. No free lunch there, I'm afraid.

For the record, I am *not* suggesting that measurements are not useful. But, in the context of an entire system, where the common mode signal and noise currents are not characterized, the common mode current loops are not defined, and dozens of other factors are not determined, having that information is interesting, at most. It's like determining a person's health entirely based on their blood pressure, height, and temperature. All those can point toward things to investigate, but they hardly are complete. Taken out of context they can lead to all sorts of false conclusions.

prof's picture

So, for a worthwhile shield at 20 KHz, you'd need a copper shield several "skin depths" thick to be really effective...

The shielding is supposed to eliminate RFI, and at radio frequencies, the skin depth is tiny (so the shielding is effective).

In those rare instances where audio-band EMI might be a problem, it (for obvious physics reasons) manifests itself as common mode noise. You need balanced cables to reject it.

misterc59's picture

Since it seems "generally" agreed upon that cables affect measurements and sound, would not slightly more complex audio equipment such as pre-pros, streaming equipment, iphone, ipad, various brands of computers, etc., etc., affect what is heard as the final product even more? I would think these audio system parts affect the sound one hears more than a cable would, so just wondering why cables and their effects would be harder to quantify and measure? Obviously, the sound one hears from their system is the ultimate evaluation, but do cable measurements have less impact with that final sound and be less worthy of measurement that a Microsoft computer or Focal speaker?

Just wondering as there seems to be more unmeasured pieces of audio Equipment than ones that are, when a person considers all of the variables that go into recreating recorded music... (I won't even get into the individual parts that make up any "individual" part of a music system.

Cheers,
Terry

JHL's picture

...to see you mention Bell Labs and the early 20th Century. Advanced electrical research from all the way back near the beginning found scores of related cable phenomena besides standard LRC. (About forty years ago Marsh and Jung published a study on capacitors that should have dispelled objectivist assumptions they all sound identical. They certainly don't measure it)

prof's picture

I would disagree with your characterization of Marsh and Jung. Their work is objectivist as they come. (For those unfamiliar with it, here's a link: http://www.reliablecapacitors.com/oldRC/www.reliablecapacitors.com/pickcap.html to a summary of their work.) There are a variety of performance characteristics beyond the single number ("capacitance", measured in farads). These are measurable, and they clearly affect how the capacitor will perform is an (audio) circuit.

JHL's picture

How did I characterize Marsh and Jung and how did you draw from my remark that I wasn't aware of capacitance per M&J?

davip's picture

...and poorly-written make-believe at that. If this 'reviewer' is hearing a difference between one cable and another then he's hearing a difference in resistance or some other physical property (e.g., due to the soldering or terminations). A passive piece-of-wire cannot affect "soundstaging", "imaging", "focus", "tightness" of that image, or any of the other audio characteristics in this piece of hyperbole. By declaring that adding 1-m of a different wire made Greenberg's system "...dramatically better across the board" the reviewer stamps his opinion as nonsense because that same 'dramatic' "across the board" improvement would have to follow each time every component in that system was rewired with this stuff-- how many superposed dramatic, across-the-board improvements are possible in an ostensibly "...pretty boss Real World system" before both writer and reader realise this is simply bullshit dressed-up as experienced assessment. The only time it gets more ludicrous than this is when reviewers opine on the subjective merits of gold-plated $1000 ethernet cables that don't even carry audio frequencies and whose inputs and outputs can be shown to be hashably identical. Little wonder Mejias took the cable-shilling and was off, at these profit-margins.

This stuff IS measurable -- resistance, ?impedance, noise-rejection, etc. Get bits of wire that measure the same and they will sound the same. This statement might seem to leave one open to the all-properly-designed-amplifiers-should-sound-alike charge, but let's not forget that this is just a passive piece of wire -- the perceived differences are not justifiable, and JA should provide measurements to sustain such reviewer statements or Jim Austin should stop allowing them to be published (historical or otherwise).

I love this magazine, I really do, but just sometimes it reads like What Hi-Fi at its worst.

JHL's picture

...if you recognize all the fallacies in that comment. Start with the assertion that want of evidence is ipso facto evidence of a want of phenomena.

I've never seen greater bias and subjectivity than in the audio objectivist.

CG's picture

I agree.

Personally, I am all for objectivity.

Some aspects of the listening experience are too difficult to measure at present, such as the brain's response to the nature of various sounds. It's not an entirely well understood field and each person is different. Scientists are working on it, but this area of science doesn't exactly fall into the categories of either having big commercial potential or as a defense project. Thus, progress is slow.

So, leave those out for now. (Various forms of blind testing are statistical by nature and not real substitutes for actual understanding.)

But, for the rest, in order to really get the full measure of a system's performance, you need to measure and analyze the full system and all its aspects. This is true whether it's an audio system or some nuclear physics experiment.

Just assuming or, maybe worse, insisting that a simplified model is complete and accurate is hardly objective thinking. Or, good engineering.

JHL's picture

Personally, I'll all for subjectivity. I'm all for the experience but so far I've found that armchair Objectivity has almost no useful place in audio. It's typically far too subjective. Its toolkit has a hundred examples of gatekeeping that are isolated from actual recreated sound. Audio Objectivity may not even know good sound, but it knows how to make sound follow a measurement and then declare it the sound of nature just on that basis.

I don't care if we can measure any of our experience, although measuring aspects of it are both possible and useful. I don't care if we can dissect the ear or brain where this hearing and experiencing goes because nine times out of ten it becomes rhetorical and practically counter-productive to fine audio. There is no unified audio science, just snippets of it, and that's fine too, because here again the purported *science* of audio frequently gets used like an instrument of bias and control by the amateur, distinct from what the experience is telling us.

A score of top audio engineers and thinkers have openly or tacitly warned us how much there is to their fields, including in ways that actually conflict armchair audio Objectivism. These top minds are objective, just not in the way armchair audio Objectivism is, with its gatekeeping, preconceptions, assumptions, and biases. Therefore insisting that audibility be measurable is not a valid notion, and insisting it be *rhetorically* measured in a simple biased assertion - "cables are all LRC!" - is a whimsy. It is a biased expectation asserted by a foregone conclusion.

I don't think you have to measure a high fidelity system as a conveyor of authentic sound to enjoy it, and frankly, given the failure of theoretical physics to identify the unified workings of nature in your example - or in cosmology where we've created an entire class of invisible matter to explain simple rotation - even there we see the limits of assuming that reality must flow from any present understanding of it.

Bona fide audio science is just as much a pattern of simple experiential listener evidence that, in cases like high end audio cables, leave us with a body of confirmed knowledge we just haven't found the mechanisms behind yet, at least in our popular vernacular. Or don't care to try, or aren't listening to the serious technical minds about. And absence of such evidence is not evidence of its absence.

Therefore the problem is indeed the simplified model, and audio is working from a simplified model. In places it's working from an even more simplified set of assumptions about it and that's a problem. It's the conclusions we wrongly insist comport with reality when they are neither testable or present in the *subjective* patterns of evidence, where subjective means only objective enough to go use the stuff and hear it, revolutionary as that concept is for some.

Frequently reality has something else to say about this and a lot of other things we *assume* are established and settled in our literature, and we accomplish nothing useful or civil forcing one another's experiences to comport with what we wrongly think is in the latter when it clearly conflicts with the former.

CG's picture

I *think* we're saying the same thing, but I don't want to make that assumption...

It would be nice to have a genuine understanding of how an amplifier really generates IMD and how it manifests itself based on actual music signals, which have a pattern but have constantly changing content and peak to average levels that vary over the spectrum. That way we might do a better job of accurately reproducing the original signal.

That's just one example.

Instead we have a very incomplete model because of the limits of the test gear and how it's used.

As you allude to, much "objectivist" thought is based around the notion that a simple model, which was created more than 70 years ago around the best test technology of the day, is the complete solution. Even back then, it was known that the actual signal spectrum is more complex than simple tones repeatedly applied to the device under test. Papers describing the math behind that were published and well received. The engineers and thinkers of the day just couldn't do much with that because of the limits of the available technology. Fast forward a couple decades and the basic test regime has become the dogma, mostly ignoring the mathematics. Ironically, the test gear guys like Audio Precision keep trying to advance test technology to provide more insight, but their efforts haven't been widely accepted as valuable.

I guess that's all I'd have to say. I'm fairly certain that the sides have been drawn on this a long time ago and there won't be much movement in thinking. In a way, it doesn't matter much since, as a whole, the hobby of sitting down and focusing on listening to music is a dying activity. Largely, people listen to music as background noise to drown out the external background noise they don't want to hear. You do not need whatever the listener thinks might be realism to do that.

JHL's picture

You're right: much had been learned by other fields that for whatever reason doesn't get passed around much in casual audio electronics circles. I guess that makes them *ostensible* audio circles more than the serious scientific inquiry purported of them. But that research and those findings abound; they certainly do in my library.

Meanwhile science is commonly a word bandied about by those who do not know what it says, or that it has no voice at all. They've given it the personality they themselves projected into it so to make claims upon it that it cannot fulfill...

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Are you saying ignore the science involved in audio?....... Stop doing any measurements? ........ Abandon the Audio Engineering Society (AES)? ....... Designers/manufacturers of audio equipment abandon doing any measurements and design equipment just by listening? ........ What are you saying, exactly? :-) .......

JHL's picture

I said just what I said. Why resort to strawmen and a transparent appeal to ignorance?

Don't prove me right. Stop projecting.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

May be you should present a paper about your opinions, during the next AES meeting? :-) .......

JHL's picture

...Audio Engineering Society, of whose work I have scores and scores of papers to before the dawn of stereophonic sound, have a philosophy-of-the-incomplete-applied-sciences division? A simple-listening-for-pleasure department? A how-to-diminish-noisome-pedantry library?

A pamphlet on leading the interlocutor?

Bogolu Haranath's picture

If you are a member of the AES, you could ask the opinions of some of your fellow members, have a discussion ....... Work on some of those sub-divisions in the AES :-) ........

David Harper's picture

right you are. but you're talking to a bunch of walls here. If wires make an s.q. difference it wasn't because the new wire is "better". It was that something else happened when you switched wires. I had some expensive($299.00 for 10 feet) speaker wires my son-in-law ( who works at best buy) got for me for free. After using them for a couple months I accidently destroyed one of them with my vacuum cleaner which ate one of them. So I replaced them with common 16 gauge rocketfish speaker wire which($24.99 for 30 ft.). And the sound was (drum roll please).....better!!! More detailed and (insert silly hyperbole here). Why? because something else (something having nothing to do with wire quality) took place. I don't know what it was. Or maybe my brain changed the s.q. like happens with audiophiles A LOT. Especially high-end audio reviewers.

timc166293's picture

We really don't know how gravity works but we can measure and model it. Cables, no measurments just blind trust. Crazy.

CG's picture

The inductance, capacitance, and resistance are shown on the "specifications" page. Just a click away.

Now, it's certainly possible that the actual product doesn't meet those numbers. And, most reviewed cables don't provide that information. Not that's there's many cables formally reviewed in Stereophile these days.

Measuring these parameters is not especially difficult today. Devices that are good enough for home and very serious amateur use run from maybe $100-$300 or so. If you're off by a pF or two, who cares? Lab quality instruments, that also perform more functions, are a few thousand dollars. (New prices - eBay has good deals.)

But, armed with this information, what does that now tell you?

Do you (generic you...) have an accurate model of your source, preamp, or power amp so that you can simulate what effect the cable has on the performance of the source?

In the case of speaker cables, do you have adequate impedance information over frequency so that, combined with speaker cable characteristics, you can predict the effects of the load on the amplifier?

Since there almost certainly are common mode noise sources within your audio system, can you predict the effect of the cables on transmitting this noise or how much gets converted into normal mode noise? Do you have information about the various system components to be able to characterize their performance with regard to this noise?

How about coupling effects of the cable to other external noise and signal sources? How does that change with the geometry of how your cables run? How does the gear itself react?

Yeah, this all can be measured. You can parametrically measure each system component. If everything is designed right and is impervious to the conditions presented by the other system components, there's a good chance you can predict system performance, though obviously not the emotional response a listener gets when listening.

My point is that this is all really hard and involved. It's not a simple system when you want the noise and distortion to be really low. It's especially hard at audio frequencies where the AC power frequency is smack dab in the lower bass. It's also hard because shielding is hard at audio frequencies. It's also hard because signals outside the audio band really do affect signals inside the audio spectrum. It's also hard because of the economics of the products.

The same could and probably should be said about real distortion performance.

I'm not criticizing you, but I wonder just what people want and expect. And, are willing to pay for.

I'll also offer that the very same problems exist in buying tires for your car or truck. And probably a zillion other consumer items.

(Again, I'm not in the audio business. But, a lot of what I work on at my day job has frequency components in and near the audio range - power supplies of various kinds, for example. My only horse in this race is as an audio enthusiast.)

prof's picture

All of the issues you raise are well-taken. But it's unclear (to put it mildly) how a boutique audiophile interconnect cable would address them.

But, surely, whichever issue we choose to focus on, there are quantifiable characteristics of the cable which will tell us whether it will effectively address said issue.

I don't think some quantitative information in that regard is too much to ask for.

invaderzim's picture

If only gravity were just a little side part of a hobby that could be completely ignored.

JHL's picture

...as analogies tend to be flawed, but gravity on the cosmic scale is so misunderstood that they created a whole new class of invisible matter to make the equation work. And nobody on earth knows what gravity is either, at least if our failure to establish it in the quantum end of the scale is an indicator.

To know what a cable really does requires data we just don't have. That doesn't make related phenomena vanish, it just means we haven't got the hang of it. Like gravity beyond Newton. (We actually do know fairly well how it works locally, by the way, but we can't actually measure or model it either; just its effects. In general we find it hard to measure what we can't understand.)

The good thing is that as rigorous as we are, we won't jump to any conclusions about audio until we've rectified these problems.

Anton's picture

Someday, the blind listening messiah will arrive and end this plague of deafness that afflicts audiophiles/reviewers and renders them unable to describe a cable experience without knowing in advance the brand name of the cable.

Measuring would be cool...I would also suggest measurements done "backwards" to compare directionality!

invaderzim's picture

It would be interesting to test a 'directional' cable in a known electronically noisy area to see if grounding the shielding to only the source side does reduce noise over grounding it on both sides or just on the 'destination' side. I'm actually a bit surprised that I haven't seen one yet that used an external ground for the shield or some sort of noise harvester setup. I want a royalty when someone reads this and makes that $10,000 interconnect.

Glotz's picture

is that CG was a great, fun writer with real chops. He had an value-based agenda that pissed off many, but I do miss his irreverent writing and humor.

I will read 'Sheer Whimsy" when it Finally comes out!

samjewel's picture

You are right

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