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The cable debate (Oh NO!!) SORRY

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Joined: 27 May 2009
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Mains cables, interconnects, speaker cables - so many debate their effects whilst others suggest it is less than voodoo. I cant believe i am even contributing to this debate. But !
Will WHF do a blind test with cables? How many cable adverts are there in WHF? Without suggesting any non-independance would it make sense to tell readers that many of their advertisers are voodoo? But anyway, WHF believe in cables since they frequently compare them and analyse their qualities and recommend particular cables. Hence WHF believe in the importance of cables and their effect on a system.
Personally I am unconvinced. I have 'decent' cables and they may have an overall effect on the SQ but replacing individual cables have never been significant IMO. I do think that the position of speakers, careful setup and room treatment is very significant and pound for pound these areas can produce the best improvements. Biwire/Biamp the jury is still out but I have not found any benefit in my room. Its been said a thousand times - audition cables if possible and try careful A/B testing. Otherwise buy decent but not OTT cables and look for improvements in other (often cheaper but more effective) areas.
I wonder why there are so many contentious issues in this world of HiFi. Maybe its because we all have different ears? After all, we all have different taste buds and noses and ... Time for my pills - must go - nursey calling.
Where did this rant come from? Oct Issue P68. Speaker cables. Each cable is defined in precise detail. I wonder how these conclusions were made. How many people were involved with the comments? What equipment was used? Was any testing equipment used or just personal listening? Who knows?

Cheers

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RE: The cable debate (Oh NO!!) SORRY

Robin, this is such a polemic debate, that you won't get a definitive answer on here.

My advice (as a mains cable believer), is to give Darren at Clearer Audio a ring, get a couple of Copper-Line Alpha+, and try for yourself. If they are a waste of time, they can be returned after a decent trial period for a full refund.

This is the only surefire way to know.....I can tell you that they definitely make a difference, but then the non-believers will be queuing up to tell you it's impossible and I'm a victim of expectation bias and a snakeoil salesman.

S/Cs and I/Cs are slightly less controversial. The big difference can often be heard between construction types of the conductor ie. Silver coated copper vs Pure copper vs Pure Silver. I don't get on with silver coated copper, as I find it has an artificial brightness. 

Solid Silver can sound well, but to stop them having a lean bass, they need a reasonable thickness of Silver, which leaves them out of range for all but the most expensive systems (see Atlas Asimi).

If you want further insight look at the info pages on the Atlas and Cardas websites.

FWIW I like Cardas, Atlas, Telurium Q, Linn and Audioquest. IMO. Odd as it may seem, I think different brands have their own "house sound".....you just need to compare Nordost vs Cardas, to get an idea of what opposide extremes sound like.

Now that's the view of a cable advocate, whereas the other side will tell you Copper is Copper, and the only thing that makes a difference is the thickness......again, this is one to decide for youself by borrowing a fistful of cables, at different prices, from your dealer, and then making up your own mind.

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RE: The cable debate (Oh NO!!) SORRY

Hi Cno. I found Clearer audio good re. my subw mains cable. Needed longer cable so no A/B but 60 day trial suggests they are confident in their own product as were Mordaunt Short with speakers. 

Cheers

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RE: The cable debate (Oh NO!!) SORRY

Been there, got fooled into the "trial at home" con. I bought some fairly expensive(for me) speaker cables a few years ago. They could be sent back if I wasn't satisfied. When I got them they looked great all wrapped in a nice black fabric and nicely terminated. I even did AB tests in my system...I was convinced. While the difference wasn't huge, it was "definite".

 

Scroll forward to a few years later and a bit wiser I decided to blind test them against some cables costing a tenth the price (basic AWG14 OFC cable.)

Not a chance could I tell them apart.

 

The "trial at home" trick relies on peoples expectation bias. You want the new cables to sound better, and they will.

 

Not that I am 100% anti-cable upgrades. I do believe different electrical cables can have a (very minor) effect on the sound, but IMO it isn't worth spending more than a few pounds on some pro cable from the likes of Van Damme, but even Maplins or similar speaker cable is perfectly good. But I guess if you have reached audio nirvana with a passive based system, fiddling with wires may yield that extra 0.01% of perfection...even if it is only all in your head.

 

As for HDMI, optical digital...all working cables perform exactly the same imo. Extra cost may buy you more reliability, not better sound or picture.

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RE: The cable debate (Oh NO!!) SORRY

fr0g wrote:

The "trial at home" trick relies on peoples expectation bias. You want the new cables to sound better, and they will.

IMO. If you are aware of expectation bias, and are armed with a healthy dose of scepticism, 60 days is plenty of time to decide if you are fooling yourself, or not......provided you use the time wisely.

There are a number of people on here, that were very healthy cable sceptics, but heard the benefit on a dem......this was despite their "expectation bias" pushing them in the opposide direction....it works both ways.

I would argue that it is your own ears that you use to listen with, and your own brain that you interpret it with, so trust it, as it's all you've got.

I know you won't agree, but that's what makes the world interesting

Cno

 

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RE: The cable debate (Oh NO!!) SORRY

But howmany ears are we trusting when we read any review of anything? Ere ere.

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RE: The cable debate (Oh NO!!) SORRY

RobinKidderminster wrote:

But howmany ears are we trusting when we read any review of anything? Ere ere.

....and when your hifi is on, and there is no-one there to hear it, does it actually make a noise? shifty

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RE: The cable debate (Oh NO!!) SORRY

I feel a whole new thread coming on ...

Certainly when I leave my PC for a few minutes I am aware that the screen goes blank and only has an image when I look at it woohoo!

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RE: The cable debate (Oh NO!!) SORRY

bob.g wrote:

I feel a whole new thread coming on ...

Certainly when I leave my PC for a few minutes I am aware that the screen goes blank and only has an image when I look at it woohoo!

It's just metaphysics at work!
Now, what about a brief discussion on quantum tunneling?

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RE: The cable debate (Oh NO!!) SORRY

+1 for quasar turning discussion forum thingie

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RE: The cable debate (Oh NO!!) SORRY

RobinKidderminster wrote:

+1 for quasar turning discussion forum thingie

You start, and I'll chip in (as and when)! Cool

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RE: The cable debate (Oh NO!!) SORRY

CnoEvil wrote:

fr0g wrote:

The "trial at home" trick relies on peoples expectation bias. You want the new cables to sound better, and they will.

IMO. If you are aware of expectation bias, and are armed with a healthy dose of scepticism, 60 days is plenty of time to decide if you are fooling yourself, or not......provided you use the time wisely.

There are a number of people on here, that were very healthy cable sceptics, but heard the benefit on a dem......this was despite their "expectation bias" pushing them in the opposide direction....it works both ways.

I would argue that it is your own ears that you use to listen with, and your own brain that you interpret it with, so trust it, as it's all you've got.

I know you won't agree, but that's what makes the world interesting

Cno

 

 

The problem is, that after 60 days, so long as something isn't wrong, you are likely to be more convinced. You are likely NOT to keep swapping back either...I did my trial and far as I was concerned there was a positive difference. Only later when I decided to blind test it did I realise there wasn't.

 

As I said, I do think there *can* be a difference with electrical cables, but I personally think it's insignificant and not worth worrying about.

I don't mind manufacturers making slightly more pricey cables where they are well shielded and obviously higher build quality etc, but looking at the price of some of them I can only conclude that some manufacturers are taking the P, and feeding off the gullible, just like a con man selling a pensioner a top end security system.

 

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RE: The cable debate (Oh NO!!) SORRY

fr0g wrote:

The problem is, that after 60 days, so long as something isn't wrong, you are likely to be more convinced. You are likely NOT to keep swapping back either...I did my trial and far as I was concerned there was a positive difference.

That's not the way I go about it.

I have often brought stuff home to demo, and the vast majority of it goes back to where it came from. I set out with a clear objective, which is, that what ever I'm testing has to justify its cost. It has to deliver a clear advantage, that can be easily identified, not only by me, but any friends and family that are about (especially the leader of the opposition!).

I do endless swapping about over a couple of weeks, and don't take the plunge unless all doubt is assuaged...but that's me (maybe even more than me).

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RE: The cable debate (Oh NO!!) SORRY

RobinKidderminster wrote:
Will WHF do a blind test with cables?

+1

If WHF are willing to promote certain brands of cables by saying that they work better than other cables then their reviewers should be willing to back up these claims by doing some bilnd tests in public. But of course they won't ever do this. In fact they probably won't even bother to reply to this thread.

It's a shame because most of the stuff in WHF is good but this sort of thing has ruined their credibility.

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RE: The cable debate (Oh NO!!) SORRY

CnoEvil wrote:

fr0g wrote:

The problem is, that after 60 days, so long as something isn't wrong, you are likely to be more convinced. You are likely NOT to keep swapping back either...I did my trial and far as I was concerned there was a positive difference.

That's not the way I go about it.

I have often brought stuff home to demo, and the vast majority of it goes back to where it came from. I set out with a clear objective, which is, that what ever I'm testing has to justify its cost. It has to deliver a clear advantage, that can be easily identified, not only by me, but any friends and family that are about (especially the leader of the opposition!).

I do endless swapping about over a couple of weeks, and don't take the plunge unless all doubt is assuaged...but that's me (maybe even more than me).

+1 for CnoEvil's remarks, its what I do.

Do not just try to convince yourself get friends and 'the leader of the oppositon' (especially her in my case as I'm sure her hearing is slightly better than mine) in and get them to have a listen as well.

If you can hear something that you think is a improvement worthy of the extra outlay, and they concur, then go ahead and make the purchase.

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RE: The cable debate (Oh NO!!) SORRY

Can I return my squash balls? I could glue them back  Smile

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