Are audiophiles still out of their minds?


I've been in this hobby for 30 years and owned many gears throughout the years, but never that many cables.  I know cables can make a difference in sound quality of your system, but never dramatic like changing speakers, amplifiers, or even more importantly room treatment. Yes, I've evaluated many vaunted cables at dealers and at home over the years, but never heard dramatic effect that I would plunk $5000 for a cable. The most I've ever spent was $2700 for pair of speaker cables, and I kinda regret it to this day.  So when I see cable manufacturers charging 5 figures for their latest and "greatest" speaker cables, PC, and ICs, I have to ask myself who buys this stuff. Why would you buy a $10k+ cable, when there are so many great speakers, amplifiers, DACs for that kind of money, or room treatment that would have greater effect on your systems sound?  May be I'm getting ornery with age, like the water boy says in Adam Sandler's movie.
dracule1
Hah The most I've spent for speaker cable is $50. 
It's bulk unterminated Kimber 4tc that I've purchased as left-over from dealer. That Kimber made very positive difference vs. 14awg Monster wire.
Home audio business is "inflated" industry to pack fulish audiophile with bowl-full of wrong ideas to "invest". 
$10k cable is just the same as $10K jeans or $5k shoes. Ones devoted to fashion or celebrities should get dressed accordingly. Factually $10k cable isn't any different from $100 cable just like $50 jeans to $5k jeans, except perhaps looks, but functionality does not change with price. You can walk into restaurant in $50 jeans same way as you walk into restaurant with $5k jeans.
Here we go again.
Throw some more troll bait in the water, and let's go fishing.
Been there, done that.


Oh wait, yes its been at least a week I think since expensive audio toys last came up.

Did prices go up again since then?  Inflation is a bugger!  if only wages could keep up...


Czarivey, I've owned Kimber 4TC, excellent cable at reasonable price. The high priced Kimber cables, not so much.
jmcgrogan2, yea here we go again, but I'm still amazed people are still buying these high priced voodoo cables.  Just want to know what people here in the cables forum think.
The only guys spending 10k on speaker cables have already spent far more than that on amps and speakers. Hey, I'd love a pair of 8' Kimber KS 6068's, but they retail for more than my entire system!

DNM Reson ICs still my personal favorites. Minimalist design sounds great and can only cost so much. As long as lack of shielding is not an issue for any particular case.

Pangea AC14 power cords for source devices are built like a tank and do quite well for the price.

Still not feeling it for anything more than a basic good quality digital cable of suitable length like one might get from Amazon Basics for $10 or so.

I find I  can also live with most any decent quality speaker wire once all the rest is good.  Not that they all sound the same by any means, I just prefer to tweak elsewhere when needed.

In general I agree start with good stuff that works well together and tweaks naturally assume a lesser role.

Mapman, if only I won the lottery.  I would start my own cable company and make stupendously awesome world class Donald Trump cables that would drive these other cable manufacturers to China where they belong!
People are still buying Lamborghinis too I understand. Actually more than ever. The most Lamborghinis sold in a single year in 2015 with 3245. 
Geoffkait, well ya.  Lamborghinis can get you some hot chicks!  Has a hot chick ever come up to you and asked to stroke your cables (your audiophile cables. Get your mind out of the gutter!)?

Business models of companies selling products with appeal to only a small market of the wealthiest individuals (there will always be some) have to charge more and make a larger profit per unit. Its basic math, pretty irrefutable.

But there still has to be a value proposition. Bling factor is usually a big part of it. Performance need not necessarily be that much greater than most things, if at all. Its all in the perception of value. Sticking that wire in a really nice case built to withstand a nuclear blast helps. Unfortunately the wires won’t be in the case when the bomb goes off. :^)

Also its been pretty well established I think that bling factor of audio gear does not work on "hot chicks" nearly as well as cars, jewelry, you know things that they actually care about.   So choose your bling wisely.

Has a hot chick ever come up to you and asked to stroke your cables (your audiophile cables. Get your mind out of the gutter!)?

My wife just asked to hold my new Purist Audio power cord two nights ago.
Sure, I let her. The girth and heft amazed her.
Now get your mind out of the gutter!

When I was dating my wife back circa late 80’s, her cassette player broke so I gave her my Aiwa AD6550 cassette player, which in fact was quite nice looking and had some bling. We were married shortly after and she always remembers the Aiwa, though I think she appreciated the gesture and its nice appearance more than the sound.


http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=aiwa+ad6550&view=detailv2&&id=FD48646470144E7AAED89DA5A691BE099394DDB8&selectedIndex=5&ccid=QZiDKa%2fB&simid=608020198781028788&thid=OIP.M41988329afc1f39c2268e1d3d0488a17o0&ajaxhist=0
jmcgrogan2, you must have some powerful cord...
If I had the money and after listening to them thought 10K speaker cables made a difference I would happily purchase them. I think we are to critical of individuals that have the resources to purchase ultra expensive cables. If someone has a system worth 250K, how much should they spend on cables? 
My wife just asked to hold my new Purist Audio power cord two nights ago.
Sure, I let her. The girth and heft amazed her.
Now get your mind out of the gutter!
Purist is bit SOFT so I guess about right.  Say hi to the wife for me.  It's BIG Joe!

FWIW I just picked up used a high end cable I lusted after for years for just under 1/4 the price, $375 for a $2K cable. And it sounds amazing! So I guess as with all things it depends on the product and the system synergy, some things are worth the money and some are not.
My opinion was stated in my post dated 3-15-2016 near the bottom of page 9 of this thread.

Regards,
-- Al
 
Ricred1, I have auditioned cables in the $10k+ range.  They make a difference in sound, but not necessarily for the better.  Having speakers that are $40k+, I thought expensive cables should make a whole lot of improvement for that kind of money.  Even if it did make a improvement in sound, I rather go buy better room treatment or amplifier, which I know have made much bigger difference IME.  What I'm opposed to is the tremendous mark up in price and very little engineering involved, as compared to producing a speaker, amplifier, DAC, etc.  And cable manufacturers having the balls to ask ridiculous price and us audiophiles believing these cables are worth the asking price.  Of course, there are very credible cable manufacturers out there who ask reasonable prices, not rivaling price of an entry level car or more.  But you're right, there are people who can crap money and not care about how much they spend on cables.
Dracule1 wrote,

"Ricred1, I have auditioned cables in the $10k+ range. They make a difference in sound, but not necessarily for the better. Having speakers that are $40k+, I thought expensive cables should make a whole lot of improvement for that kind of money."

It’s not too difficult to imagine a scenario where someone auditions fresh new expensive cables without giving them the customary break in period of what at least 100 hours and having them lose out to cheaper cables that have been broken in. That wouldn’t surprise me at all. Any cable that's new or nearly new can sound miserable. Like anything else. $100K speakers can sound thin, lifeless and objectionable if they, the cables and/or the electronics are not broken in. Geez, cut me some slack.

Even if the really expensive wires really do sound the best by far and the buyer has peace of mind as a result, that does not mean the audiophile who bought it is still not out of their mind in the minds of others.

Most might think that of anyone spending 5 or 6 figures total happily on most any audio gear, much less just expensive wires.

Its all mostly whatever people think. Life is but a dream.

Jond, almost everything is subjective in high end, including the price of cables.  $375 for cables is IMO reasonable.  Now is your cable really worth the original asking price of $2000?  May be or may be not, given you never saved up to buy them for the original price. Now, if the cable manufacturer decided to charge $10k for them, what would you say even with the improvement it made to your system?
Geoffkit, the auditioned cables were supposed to be fully broken in at more than 600 hours of play.  I mean arguing about break in is almost meaningless because some will argue you will need more than 1000 hrs or some will say not more than 24 hrs. 
Almarg, points well taken.  But not sure how much logic or reason is involved in purchasing mega expensive cables.
I totally understand both sides of the cable argument. For years I was very judicious with regard to how much I spent on cables and power cords. As the quality of my system improved the more noticeable the changes in cabling became.

One year at the RMAF I went to a workshop on cables. The point of the workshop was based on the benefits and synergies of having "consistent" cabling throughout one’s system. The demonstration was eye opening. From that point on, I made it a goal to work towards that end game. The next step was to find a cable/ cord manufacturer that I liked, trusted, and most importantly felt was a reasonable "value". I’m sure that the big name cable manufacturers make solid products but I wasn’t convinced there wasn’t too much mark up for marketing and dealer profit built in to the cost of their products.

Through research, a little luck, and maybe a little divine intervention I was fortunate enough to meet Frank Dickens. Frank owns Silent Source Cables. After many, many hours of discussions and research I began the process of switching my cables over to Silent Source. My system is now completely Silent Source along with a couple Silent Source PC’s as well. All I can say is the results are absolutely incredible. I have absolutely zero regrets for "investing" the money in his products. And, I have made a trusted friend who is the best resource I’ve ever had for audio advice. The likelihood of me changing my gear around his cables is far greater than me changing his cables out around my gear. I feel like his cables give me the ability to fairly evaluate literally any change I make to my system.

So, in my opinion, there is good stuff and bad stuff out there. Good values and not so good values. I don’t disagree with the premise that there is some snake oil being peddled out there. But, I don’t think it’s fair to paint the whole segment with the same brush.

A few years back at Capital Audiofest, the DIY guys had one of the best sounding systems in the whole show using a slightly tweaked but modest cost amp, DIY speakers assembled from a few hundred dollars worth of parts, run of the mill wires, and some ingenuity in the setup.

That’s just my opinion but I saw a lot of others in there listening as well stunned at what could be done for such modest cost compared to most all the rest there. I wonder if they’ll let those guys back in again this year?

If I owned a Lamborghini or other exotic sports car, I wouldn't be putting floor mats in it from Pep Boys. If I felt mats were needed, they would be appropriate and I expect the cost to be as exotic as the car.

The same goes for cables, IMO. If my system costs $ 250K, then I would budget an appropriate amount - say 15-25% of the system cost for cables. If the seller of these cables has to claim the cables will enhance the sound AND my love life AND lead to world peace, then so be it. It will be up to me to do the due diligence to ensure such expensive cables were transparent. Would a set of $500 interconnects work just as fine? Probably, but if I'm spending that much money what's another $50K?

So ridiculously expensive cables is in the eye of the beholder. Besides, cable marketers have mortgages and kids in college and retirement plans just like anybody else. I can't fault them for asking and getting their price. (Heck, I admire them for it.)

What's most important to me is that the cables all be the same color. It may not sound good, but it better look good, damnit. ;)

jmcgrogan +1

This is like the movie Groundhog Day, except no one here can do it like Bill Murray.

All the best,
Nonoise


Damn, Ive been going about this all wrong......you mean my wife should be asking to handle my cords? If only! :)

Im sure if I had a six figure system I wouldn't think twice about spending big bucks on cables. I will say I've been very happy with NOS Western Electric 14 ga wire for speaker cables and Belden 8402 microphone cable for interconnects. I replaced Kimber 12tc and Kimber silver interconnects and prefer the WE/Belden cables......crazy as it sounds. Jim Smith (author of "Getting Better Sound") replaced megabuck cables with the WE/Belden combo and preferred them also ( as did Jeff Day).....so I'm not the only crazy one! It's a sound preference that I, and they, prefer but I'm sure it's not for everyone. I say go with whatever makes you happy. I'm glad I was happy with something cheap for once!

Oh, and to answer your question.......of course us audiophiles are out of our minds, and I wouldn't have it any other way :)
I did own a Lamborghini (a 6.0 Diablo in Rosso Vik over snow corn with exposed carbon fibre wing) and can tell you:
1. The kind of women that wanted you to take them away were not very appealing to me (I'm married, so it is a moot point anyway);
2. The parts game was a gouge- a door gasket was something like a grand; my mechanic, who specialized in the marque, fabricated one for less than 200 U.S. installed; the shocks for the rear--two on each wheel, failed regularly- those cost about $1,900 a piece, only to fail again. Some owners gave up and put a completely different shock/modified suspension in the car at considerable cost to avoid the constant replacement of the factory shock system.
3. The car was largely undriveable- a big, heavy, grand touring type autobahn monster, not a nimble, carve canyon corners kind of drive.
4. All that said, it was a huge bang for the buck exotic when others cost even more for the some level of "exoticness." The interior was gorgeous, and the view of the rear--with those insanely fat tires and twin exhaust pipes sticking up above the rear bumper-which could melt due to the heat if you drove the car in traffic--was a statement of pure aggression. But the car, which began in some ways as the original Countach, had lost its purity of line.  By this time, Audi had purchased the company, which had always had a rocky ownership history. Audi rationalized the manufacture and ultimately improved the car but when it transitioned to the Murciélago, it also lost some of its Italianatte  flair. The 6.0 was in some ways the last gasp of the Gandini design. 
5. Cables- no comment. :) Buy what makes you happy. Life is too short to do otherwise. 
The higher end my gear, the more of a benefit I've seen from cables.

Just raising my cables off the floor made a significant enough difference, my roommate was angry.
The power of numbers and an all-too-obvious human nature that is preferably obscured; clothing stores aimed at younger women (and I'm sure age, gender nor type of product is hardly the deciding factor here) have seen significant rise in sales just by raising the price of the same(!) items. More expensive must be better, right? That is, more desirable to own by virtue of higher status and self contentment. Actual perceived sonic differences aside (with emphasis on "differences") in regards to audio gear, the importance of before mentioned is not irrelevant, to say the least. 

The classic example of upside-down demand and supply logic (used in some basic economics classes) is that of Perfume: the higher the price the more demand. I cannot comment on cables per se, I really do not know enough, but the last comment by whart is about right: if it makes you happy ...
However, the more exaggerated performance claims sometimes do go a little "over-the-top".
Ahem... As the saying goes: "...because they can!"
I use 14ga. magnet wire. $10.
I guess we're at least at our mid 30's or even 40's now. Whenever you have the money, just buy whatever that makes you happy. Life is really short to spend on grumbling why people do what they do. Before we need hearing aid, satisfy our ears with anything we 'think' best regardless of its cost.
Such decisions are based on individual value systems, free markets, and free will. An individual's failure to understand another's decision paradigm or share his resources doesn't justify criticism.

People have the money to spend or the markets wouldn't be there to serve the consumer. One man's dollar is another's $10,000. 


Audiophiles ,,..There were no marketing genius at work here .


Two people above wrote about belden and Western Electric cable. I have removed some Sablon Pantella adn Crystal cable interconnects and replaced with a Beldin and Western electric interconnect. Replaced a High Diamond 8 speaker cable with a 14 Gauge Western electric speaker cable. My system has never sounded better. Replaced $3200 worth of cables with $250 worth of cables for real improvements in sound
Alan
BJC for me , don't think I would be able to hear a difference in cables anyway 
id rather spend some $ on music and find the better sounding LPs or CDs   I can hear the difference in  music source 
but that's my take on it.  
  Spend your money on what pleases you 
hello ,
whenever some audiophiles or reviewer suggest spending about 15-20% of the cost on cables base on your total audio system cost. Do they mean per cable or the total cabling cost in the system? if a hifi system cost $10k, do i spend about $2000 on all cables combine? or per piece of cable about $2000?
any answer? pardon please if it sounded dumb question! Thanks!
Philipwu, not a dumb question at all. What is dumb is the person who came up with the idea that 15-20% of your system should be spent on cables.  It was probably cable manufacturers who brain washed gullible audiophiles to spend that much on cables. I've been in this hobby for 30 years, and you hear all kinds of BS based on no credible evidence. Like some have said, you can replace $2000 worth of cables with another for $250 and get better results because of system synergy.

Unfortunately, there are audiofools who will not consider a component worthy unless it costs above a certain price point. So to accommodate these fools, manufactures will purposely make components expensive by adding bling to the chassis but doing nothing to the all important circuitry.  A friend, who is a manufacturer of audio gear, once told me you won't get press or attention unless you make the chassis huge and substantial and charge a hefty sum. It is not unusual for some high end gear with 30-40% of its cost just in the chassis work.  So that $50k amp you're drooling over is largely made up of bling that doesn't improve the sound. Clever marketing will claim the substantial chassis is for resonance control,

I know of another famous audio designer who came up with a very efficient component with small footprint, but his customers complained it wasn't big enough. So he just put the same circuit in a bigger macho looking chassis which drove up the cost.  We audiophiles often shoot ourselves in the foot with our own stupidity.
Which is worse?

1. $24K interconnects

2. $102K turntable

3. $15K cartridge

4. $1.2M speakers

5. $12K power cord

6. $250K amplifier

7. $36K tonearm

8. None of the above

editor’s note: by contrast my entire system not including tweaks costs $20

$100-$150 fuses ;-).
"We audiophiles often shoot ourselves in the foot with our own stupidity."
I certainly understand how that appears to be true but it is a value statement that only the buyer can resolve based on their own system, tastes and wallet.

I had a manufacturer once tell me about a new component they had released,
"I made the mistake of not pricing it high enough."
Thus raises the often debated question of whether the price of audio gear should be based on manufacturing costs (as many like to point out when arguing against high priced gear) or sound quality relative to other gear in a similar price range (which is an argument for purchasing high priced gear).

At the end of the day, manufacturers decide which niche of the market they are after and manufacture and price their gear accordingly.  The market decides whether they chose wisely or poorly.  

I jumped out of the cable game a long time ago and have found the WE wire to sound excellent as speaker cables and power cables in my system.  I was less impressed by the Belden wire used as ICs, instead choosing to use a high quality/purity copper-in-cotton wire that I have found to sound very good.
The fuses are most attainable financially for the most so by that metric they would be the worse.  


For sale on Audiogon as we speak SR Black Fuse $120 and Audio Magic Beeswax Fuse $175. If I used fuses I image I’d probably get the Beeswax figuring it would probably get me in the ball park. ;-)

Acme Audio Silver Ceramic Fuse Cryogenic Treated with Special Sauce $16. Without Special Sauce $12. Cannot beat with stick.

From The Cable Company’s fuse page,

Showing Results for Fuses Records: 1 Through 27 of 27 Sort by Category, Brand or Retail Price

Category Brand Model Retail Price
Fuses Audio Magic Nano-Liquid Premium $69.00
Fuses Audio Magic Premier Bees Wax Super Fuse $175.00
Fuses Audio Magic Premier Super Fuse $135.00
Fuses Audio Magic The Super Fuse $105.00
Fuses Furutech T-13A (R) Fuse for UK 13A Connector $85.54
Fuses Furutech TF (5x20mm) $58.00
Fuses Furutech TF (6x32mm) $65.00
Fuses HIFi-Tuning 38mm Special (10.3x38mm) Fuses $49.95
Fuses HIFi-Tuning Supreme Large (6.3x32mm) Fast Blow (F) Type $89.95
Fuses HIFi-Tuning Supreme Large (6.3x32mm) Slow Blow (T) Type $89.95
Fuses HIFi-Tuning Supreme Small (20mm/.75) Fast Blow (F) Type $69.95
Fuses HIFi-Tuning Supreme Small (20mm/.75) Slow Blow (T) Type $69.95
Fuses HIFi-Tuning UK (25.4mm/ 1") Fuses $59.95
Fuses Isoclean Power Large (6 x 31.8mm) $49.00
Fuses Isoclean Power Small (5 x 20mm) $49.00
Fuses Synergistic Research Black Quantum Fuse Large (6.3x32mm) 500v Fast-Blo $129.95
Fuses Synergistic Research Black Quantum Fuse Large (6.3x32mm) 500v Slo-Blo $129.95
Fuses Synergistic Research Black Quantum Fuse Small (5x20mm) 250v Fast-Blow $119.95
Fuses Synergistic Research Black Quantum Fuse Small (5x20mm) 250v Slo-Blo $119.95
Fuses Synergistic Research Quantum Fuse Large (6.3x32mm) 500v Fast-Blo $69.95
Fuses Synergistic Research Quantum Fuse Large (6.3x32mm) 500v Slow-Blo $69.95
Fuses Synergistic Research Quantum Fuse Small (5x20mm) 250v Fast-Blo $59.95
Fuses Synergistic Research Quantum Fuse Small (5x20mm) 250v Slow-Blo $59.95
Fuses Synergistic Research Red Quantum Fuse Large (6.3x32mm) 500v Fast-Blo $99.95
Fuses Synergistic Research Red Quantum Fuse Large (6.3x32mm) 500v Slow-Blo $99.95
Fuses Synergistic Research Red Quantum Fuse Small (5x20mm) 250v Fast-Blow $89.95
Fuses Synergistic Research Red Quantum Fuse Small (5x20mm) 250v Slow-Blow $89.95

Save your money , a fuse is a fuse unless its blown . Spend your money on music !
Audiophile fairy dust fuses?  Sorry, I must reFuse.
Geoff said,
"For sale on Audiogon as we speak SR Black Fuse...(lots of stuff edited)....250v Slow-Blow $89.95"
Sorry for my sluggishness today but was there a point buried somewhere in the quoted post?