Cable Snake Oil Antidote


Some might find this Cable Snake Oil Antidote interesting with respect to LRC, the signal and the system.

Cables affect the sound and the effect is system dependent.

Another's opinion on a cable in a vastly different system may not be valid.
0899b98f 2bdb 4d32 8a57 57d7646e10d5ieales
That was an interesting read....
Yup. Poorly designed and poorly matched gear will be affected audibly by the slight impedance of a cable. High fidelity gear will not.
shadorne
Yup. Poorly designed and poorly matched gear will be affected audibly by the slight impedance of a cable. High fidelity gear will not.

Yup. Poorly designed like Lamm, Tenor, McIntosh, Parasound, DartZeel, Marantz, Classe, Pass Labs, Atmasphere, Berning. That’s why you always see them with very expensive high end cables. They have to be propped up with super expensive audiophile jewelry. A real shame. 😥
+1 geoffkait! Sarcastic irony! Or ironic sarcasm! Flip a coin!
Snake oil its getting real OLD!!!!!!
The conclusion of the article on Cable Snake Oil that the OP linked is fatally flawed.

to whit,

”Conclusion
Some claim all cables sound the same. Some claim two cables with the same R will sound the same. Cable manufacturers make all kinds of wild claims, provide no engineering insight as to problems solved and charge ever increasing prices for something that may not be any better than, or even different from, what the customer is currently using as cables interact with the system! Caveat emptor.”

>>>>>It’s strictly an old pseudo skeptic argument to claim “cable manufacturers make all kinds of wild claims.” Especially when no examples of such wild claims are presented by thecpseudo skeptic. And it’s that same case to claim cable manufacturers provide no engineering insight. That’s patently absurd. Obviously they do. Besides there are no (rpt no) laws against making ANY claims, wild or not. The World’s Best Coffee is an example. One man’s wild claim is another man’s reasonable claim. In a hobby such as audio it’s not at all unusual to run into REALLY WILD CLAIMS. Haven’t you been paying attention? I mean the fuses, the graphene, the Quantum Chips, the tiny little singing bowls, the Rainbow Foil. Hel-loo!

Lastly, the conclusion actually offers no conclusions. Just a lot of huffing and puffing.

Well, that pretty much sums up the 40 year old cable debate in a nutshell. Here’s some advice for anyone with such extreme angst and heartburn - get Better Business Bureau or Consumer Report on the case and see how far you get.
@geoffkait 

Exactly! 
" Well, that pretty much sums up the 40 year old cable debate in a nutshell. Here’s some advice for anyone with such extreme angst and heartburn - get Better Business Bureau or Consumer Report on the case and see how far you get. "

Better idea - do some research on the people who own/run high end cable "manufacturing" businesses and find out what their professional qualifications are. You are likely to find a lot of people with sales, marketing, and business administration backgrounds and very few professionally trained engineers willing to stake their reputations on audible improvements that can't somehow be measured but can easily be heard.

We have microphones that can detect sound pressure signals that are much weaker than humans can hear at frequencies much higher and much lower than humans can hear. We have essentially free software that can run on laptops that can reliably record everything these microphones pick up - phase, amplitude, and frequency. If it can't be measured, it can't be heard. Any claims to the contrary are bupkiss and easily debunked if the claimant has the guts to submit to double blind testing - WHICH THEY NEVER DO!
It is counter intuitive that electrical energy in a series of electronics and cables could be immune from changes in LCR. Given loudspeakers with sufficient resolution, the changes should be apparent. However, just as some are colorblind and others tone deaf, some will not have the ability to discern subtle differences.
They could have stopped right there, at the 3rd paragraph, and then you wouldn't have something like this:
Yup. Poorly designed and poorly matched gear will be affected audibly by the slight impedance of a cable. High fidelity gear will not.
being a take away from the article. The article is littered with statements like:
A cable's performance is system dependent. An arguably better cable could make a system less pleasant if it exposes existing flaws. 
Note "could" and "if". It's not an absolute.

Whether these changes enhance or detract is completely system dependent! What works well in one system may not in another.

The only true way to know if a cable is better is to try it in YOUR system.

These examples are for illustration ONLY and are not intended for any other purpose.
(Note the illustrations were meant to show that carefully chosen wire construction can be made to sound closely the same)

Some claim all cables sound the same. Some claim two cables with the same R will sound the same. Some cable manufacturers make all kinds of wild claims, provide no engineering insight as to problems solved and charge ever increasing prices for something that may not be any better than, or even different from, what the customer is currently using as cables interact with the system!

Caveat emptor.


So in the end, two well made cables can sound different, taking the price gouging out of the equation, which was a needless caveat.

With apologies to Thomas Dolby: "They blinded me with science...."

All the best,
Nonoise
Whoa! What?! Double Blind Testing! I did not see that coming! 👀 Run away! Run away! 

🐑 🐑 🐑 🐑 🐑
@shadorne  
Poorly designed and poorly matched gear will be affected audibly by the slight impedance of a cable. High fidelity gear will not.
Only AFTER they repeal the laws of physics. The better the gear, the easier it is to 'hear' cables as masking defects have been removed.

@geoffkait 
It’s strictly an old pseudo skeptic
I'm not a skeptic. I've been able to reliably detect cable & component differences for almost half a century. I built electronics for the recording industry. In doing so, we evaluated transistors, ICs, resistors, capacitors, wire, PCB fabs, connectors, circuit symmetry, SMT vs PTH, ground schemes, signal routing, etc. Some had measureable differences with the equipment we possessed, some only audible.

argument to claim “cable manufacturers make all kinds of wild claims.” Especially when no examples of such wild claims are presented by the pseudo skeptic
It would be unfair to single out some manufacturers as their cables could be very good in some systems in spite of their pseudo-science double-speak. The intent is for people to do their homework and listen for themselves, ignoring internet blowhards without an iota of technical expertise or any test data to back up their claims.

Justifying wild claims because HiFi is a hobby is ludicrous. HiFi is a business and some manufacturers are charlatans.

Amended to "Some cable manufacturers make all kinds of wild claims" My apologies.

Coffee is a bad analogy as it is an organic product. It varies from day to day, degrading from the instant it dropped from the roaster. HiFi also varies from day to day, but the trajectory is not always downward.

Coffee Rule of Fifteens:
Green coffee is good for 15 months.
Roast coffee is good for 15 days.
Ground coffee is good for 15 minutes.


@ieales 

Sorry but the laws of physics are very clear. You are just making stuff up.

Only badly designed and badly matched gear are going to make audible differences with a normal short run of wire to the speakers.

There is no masking effect - you are thinking perhaps of MPEG audio compression codecs? 

There is such a thing as a skin effect but it is really not worth even the time of day to discuss this at audio frequencies - negligible.
“It would be unfair to single out some manufacturers as their cables could be very good in some systems in spite of their pseudo-science double-speak.“

Listen Mr. Smarty Pants, you don’t have to mention any names. Just cut and paste this pseudo scientific mumbo jumbo you’re referring to. If you can’t post any examples I will certainly understand. 🙄

If you couldn’t measure differences maybe you didn’t look hard enough. Differences in resistance according to direction of ANY cable or wire are there, though small. But I wouldn’t say the differences are insignificant. I’d say that’s the smoking gun, the clue that all wire and cables are directional. Of course one can also reverse the fuse or the cable and listen. In addition, we already know that capacitors that measure the same can sound quite different, or resistors, or connectors, what have you.
" Listen Mr. Smarty Pants, you don’t have to mention any names. Just cut and paste this pseudo scientific mumbo jumbo you’re referring to. " - geoffkait


Seriously??? Where does one begin....How about a full Youtube video presentation with rambling mumbo jumbo about improving current delivery of an amplifier by using a power conditioner AHEAD of the amplifier in the signal chain?? Would that be a good place to start "Mr. Smarty Pants"?  Did you just crawl out from under a rock or were you just joking with an insinuation that bogus mumbo jumbo isn't a huge part of Audiophiledum?

Check out the Audioquest "presentation" at this year's CES.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGX3MbSnNKY&t=1951s

The BS, ahem, I mean "technical presentation" starts at the twenty minute mark.
So, what is it specifically you object to? Be specific and brief, if possible. Be advised I would tend - as an objective observer - to believe what an established, well-known and respected cable manufacturer has to say. 

pop quiz - If a pseudo skeptic says a manufacturer claims are pseudo science do they cancel each other out?
The fact that you had to ask for specifics confirms that you are in fact (shockingly...) clueless from a technical standpoint.  But don't despair. If you stop yabbering for a minute and actually read/listen, you might actually learn something today.
Every amplifier  has inherent current delivery limits - usually associated with the limited amount of magnetic flux that can induce voltage, and thus current, in the secondary windings of its transformer. Pulsed power supplies, while the details are a little different, suffer from the same limitations. It doesn't matter what you put in front of the amplifier (super duper "power conditioner"), you are stuck with this limitation. You can think of it as a big resistor connected between the mains supply and the load (speakers). You can boost input voltage all you want (not that any "power conditioner" does this anyway) and you won't get any more current any faster through the system to the load.  With excessive voltage drive on the primary, your transformer will ultimately reach saturation, overheat, draw excessive current, and melt if it doesn't have rail and mains fuses to protect it. It's a simple law of physics - specifically attributed to a person named Kirchhoff - perhaps you've heard of him? In the video, Powell claims increased  current delivery under transient loads but current delivery is limited not only by the transformer's magnet circuit, but also by accumulation of resistance in various factors like the power supply capacitors, output stage emitter resistors (if so equipped) and output transistor saturation. If you'd actually built a high fidelity amplifier, you'd already know this. I'm guessing you haven't.
Post removed 
They aren't "courses". They are called "majors". And it generally takes more than one "major" to have an adequate foundation to build/design good loudspeakers.
Electrical Engineering
Acoustical Science
Mechanical Engineering

This is why it's more than a little insulting when a fast talking marketing fake gets up on a stage and starts preaching about things he knows nothing about - current delivery, damping factor, slew rate, rise time, group delay, voltage regulation, psrr, cmrr....etc..etc...

It takes years of study to master these subjects. When people listen more to slimey salesmen than professional engineers/designers, it's not hard to see why industry professionals are somewhat miffed. Why would anyone work hard to educate themselves about the science if they could simply take some marketing "courses" and BS their way through to the next paycheck? Why insist on seeing a doctor to diagnose a challenging illness when there are so many nurse practitioners who can generate a faster diagnosis at 20% less cost?
@cj1965  Wow! For someone who accuses me of yammering, that’s a lot of yammering. A whole lot. Must be tough being so uh, technical.
blah blah blah....care to offer anything with insight or new knowledge to the conversation or are you just here to shoot fish in a barrel whenever they roll into town??
Yes, that’s about it. I’m here to shoot fish in a barrel whenever they roll into town. 🤡
People will generally... always buy from salesmen. They would not be there if they were not good at their job. That's the next part of the equation. Some people can be multifaceted and handle it all, but they are few and far between.
Geniuses like the guy at Audioquest are frequently not very good salesmen or may not wish to perform in that capacity. Audioquest must be doing something right as they are very very successful. Nothing succeeds like successs. My hat’s off to anyone who controls directionality for all of their cables as well as power cords. Bravo!
Don't we ALREADY have this thread within a few lines of this one?
I guess too much 'wire whine' is NEVER enough.
PLEASE feel free to continue...
Galen Gareis of Belden Cable is writing some articles for Copper, PS Audio's free online magazine. I'm finding them well worth the time it takes to read them.
The articles, from what I can tell, are nothing more than a Belden Cable marketing ploy. And PS Audio is part of the uh, ploy. From what I can tell just scanning one of the articles, it doesn’t address ANY of the really debatable cable issues. One can’t help wondering why the articles were written. I mean, except that they’re supposed to prop up the idea that since there are no technical advantages to expensive high end cables you’d be better off buying Belden Cables.

If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance baffle them with horse feathers. - WC Fields.
@bdp24
+1 for Galen Gareis articles @ Copper.
Can’t wait for the speaker cable article.
His papers are what prompted me to do the simulations.
For the interested, Cable articles are available @ https://www.psaudio.com/copper-magazine/
Issues 48-50, 54
Time Part 1 https://www.psaudio.com/article/cables-time-is-of-the-essence-part-1/
Time Part 2 https://www.psaudio.com/article/cables-time-is-of-the-essence-part-2/
RCA https://www.psaudio.com/article/cables-time-is-of-the-essence-part-3/
XLR https://www.psaudio.com/article/cables-xlr-interconnect-design/

@geoffkait
The articles, from what I can tell, are nothing more than a Belden Cable marketing ploy.
Then Belden has to be the most inept company as there is nothing on their system except this link http://info.belden.com/iconoclast
Decades of experience using Belden products would indicate otherwise.

From what I can tell just scanning
is what?
Scanning ≠ comprehension.
No need to reiterate.

Decades of experience? Well, geez, nobody said Belden don’t work or aren’t very good cables. Not me anyway. Try to keep up with the discussion. I’m simply contending the articles are a marketing ploy, you know, making it appear Belden is super smart technically so Belden must the choice of champions or whatever. Kind of like why Harmon Kardon advertises blind testing of their products, it’s a marketing ploy. Anybody at all can cut and paste the entire article I saw from Wikipedia. So give me a break.
Copper Issue 55 has the Garen Galeis Speaker article
https://www.psaudio.com/issue/issue-55/

PS Audio part of a Belden Cable ploy? If Paul McGowen was going to push any cable, it would be those he has in the PS Audio sound room system, those made by his buddy William Low---Audioquest.

While Bill Low, Ray Kimber, George Cardas, and other HI-Fi cable designers may proselytise that the principles laid out in the Belden articles don't include all the design elements that contribute to the sound of cables, they don't dispute the truth of what the article DOES cover.

I wasn’t suggesting Mr. McGowan was pushing Belden Cables. I was suggesting that it was published on PS Audio because it supposedly makes everybody look smart, including Paul McGowan. As I said, anyone could have cut and pasted the articles from Wikipedia. Everything is on the internet. No biggie. And my point is that all that technical jargon doesn’t really settle the Great Cable Debate. It’s like saying the sky is blue. I assume it impresses people who aren’t technical.

One man’s technical jargon is another’s facts about the magnetic behavior of wire, as explained by an electrical engineer. No harm in that knowing the basics, unless one harbors an irrational fear of commonly-agreed-upon facts, or a distrust of anything coming from any member of the professionally-recognized electrical engineering fraternity.

Paul McGowan has never displayed any proclivity of appearing to try to look smart; that’s about the opposite of his personality. There ARE those who do, however. Paul, allow me to apologize, as it is unlikely to come from the source of the unearned and undeserved insult. Man, what a sick joke.

Good Lord,
Just invest bout $300 for material and make ur own?
Mine sound better than anything I have auditioned from Audioquest, Kimber.
First post for me.  I have been lurking for a while.
There is some real passion on this forum.  Definitely some north and south magnetic fields here.
Regards

bdp24
One man’s technical jargon is another’s facts about the magnetic behavior of wire, as explained by an electrical engineer. No harm in that knowing the basics, unless one harbors an irrational fear of commonly-agreed-upon facts, or a distrust of anything coming from any member of the professionally-recognized electrical engineering fraternity.

>>>>Geez, calm down. Commonly agreed on facts? Professionally recognized electrical engineering fraternity? Oh, please! The description of the magnetic behavior of wire and even the complete mathematical explanation of Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetism do not necessarily help the curious audiophile decide which cable will sound best or which cable has the optimum geometry, gauge, dielectric or necessarily explain why one cable sounds better than another in a blind test.

Besides, even though practically everybody and his brother knows that current traveling through a wire induces a magnetic field nobody does anything about it. Well, almost nobody. There is only one person I know of who has addressed the induced magnetic field in cables. Let’s see if you can guess who that person is. 😛 All this technical fireworks does not advance the Great Cable Debate. I’m afraid the mystery remains. Oh, well. Anyone who wishes to get smart on electricity or electromagnetism or anything can Google it up on Wikipedia, for crying out loud.
@geoffkait
Great Cable Debate
¿Que? There is no debate. Cables are system dependent.

Quoting Gareis "Speakers vary by design so their “back EMF” load into amplifiers varies. Amplifiers of differing design react to the back-EMF differently, and the overall performance can be hard to predict." [emphasis added]

Google it up on Wikipedia

Use a biased search provider to search a biased informational site that can be edited by anyone with no credentials what so ever?

BTW, I tried several Wikipedia searches for wire directionality and found nothing. Might be a worthwhile use of certain individuals' time...
A clever fellow can find a decent discussion of Cable directionality over on Audioquest’s web site and perhaps others. Controlling directionality of all their cables AND power cords seems to something Audioquest excels at. 
Yup. Controlling marketing spin and nonsense hype of all their cables and power cords seem to be what they excel at. It works too. Lots of gullible folks around. Of course only a clever fellow can see what beautiful clothes are worn by the emperor.
Post removed 
No argument. Audio signals and power are alternating but I thought you knew that. This means no directionality in wire or nothing electrical would work properly as everything arrives alternating on wires.
Post removed 
What happens when the conducting medium goes from a frozen lattice to a conducting fluid at the molecular level?

The answer is that all your formulas go out the window, as those formulas are based on simplistic models that have static conditions in their origins. When those static conditions turn into dynamic variables, you are left with magnitudes less predictability. It gets so bad that dynamic kinetics (heck, we don’t even really have a stable nomenclature as of yet, in this area) enters the game and is tied to everything... and much more.

So the Belden engineer would have to retrench and tackle a mathematical complexity that he and no one else can actually reach. Supercomputer: fail.

Best guesses and approximations are the only thing that works, here. Simply as it is all that is available.

The same, to some degree... is the issue with ’frozen lattice’, ie, wire audio cables .

Eg, one is calculating the capacitance of the cable, and this is comprised of models for the dielectric, the 3d space occupying characteristics and the fundamental characteristics of the ’wire’. all are considered to be static and unchanging, thus leaving people, still... with what is actually quite complex mathematics to solve.

Which does little to nothing for predicting the ’sound’ of cables..which means the problem being solved is missing some parts. If the answer and the question do not equal one another than one component or both (question and Answer) are flawed, re the nature of your query.

The fluid metal, with "all variables all the time", which are situational dynamically load dependent and more... leaves the mathematics as being unsolvable. Predictable, to some degree, but basically..unsolvable.

Unsolvable, is a good thing, for one great reason. When formulations come along and are available to be used, the ’to a hammer everything is a nail’ mentality starts to enter the picture and people get complacent and blind. The problem is not unlike the second, third, and nth pressing of a button.... when it is known that a single press is all that is required for actuation.

The idea of how humans repeat solutions, re their application... in the face of things that seem to fit patterns of known quantities. The danger of engineering solutions being applied to scenarios that are not solved and are not exactly the same. It is part of our wiring to do such things. So we can’t have clarity in the instance of an unclear mind. Realization at these fundamentals.. of ’the questioner being part of the issue’ -are glossed over. The intellectual and thought pattern limitations that sit unrealized. The dangers of unrealized projection.

Here's what I've found in over 40 years of listening...

1.  Cables (and AC cords) DEFINITELY make a difference.

2. Interconnects cannot 'improve' sound.  All they can do is degrade it.  The best ones degrade the sound the least (i.e. they transmit it with the least 'damage' and 'loss' of the signal).

3.  Generally, these differences are MORE pronounced w/ better (i.e. more highly resolving) components.   If the signal is distorted to start with, a great cable will only give a more accurate presentation of that distorted signal.  It cannot 'clean it up'.

4.  Lastly, to those who say 'if you can't measure it, you can't hear it'... You're assuming that we can measure everything that matters; that our knowledge of electronics, physics, and psycho-acoustics are all perfect.  Absurd!  If you think there's nothing left to learn... well, that's extremely foolish, isn't it? 

Oh, one thing I forgot...

5.  Pay no attention to the manufacturer's claims or explanations of their technology.  It doesn't matter what they say about WHY their cables work well.  JUST LISTEN & EVALUATE.

Eve should have taken another bite from the apple.
If you cannot convince them, confuse them.
- Harry S Truman
Interesting article. My takeaway is that cables can sound different, but not very much (fractions of a dB). And if a cable sounds very different, it is probably doing something fairly radical to the signal, which personally, is not my thing. 
aalenik said

 " Here's what I've found in over 40 years of listening...

1. Cables (and AC cords) DEFINITELY make a difference.

2. Interconnects cannot 'improve' sound. All they can do is degrade it. The best ones degrade the sound the least (i.e. they transmit it with the least 'damage' and 'loss' of the signal).

3. Generally, these differences are MORE pronounced w/ better (i.e. more highly resolving) components.  If the signal is distorted to start with, a great cable will only give a more accurate presentation of that distorted signal. It cannot 'clean it up'.

4. Lastly, to those who say 'if you can't measure it, you can't hear it'... You're assuming that we can measure everything that matters; that our knowledge of electronics, physics, and psycho-acoustics are all perfect.  Absurd! If you think there's nothing left to learn... well, that's extremely foolish, isn't it?"


If you've been listening and evaluating for 40 years and didn't know that one of the primary problems with interconnects is common mode noise, then pretty much everything else you have to say on this subject is useless. It took the "audiophile community" about 25 years to acknowledge what the "objectivists" in the pro sound community have been saying all along - BALANCED LINE LEVEL CABLES ARE REQUIRED FOR HIGH FIDELITY. Finally, after many, many years - "high end" components are more often than not using balanced inputs. The problem with interconnects isn't signal loss as aalenik proclaims above - it has always been picking up stray low level interence from adjacent power cords and rf - the longer the run the more chance for very low level electromagnetic radiation to get picked up in the interconnect and passed along to the input stage of an amp where it is magnified greatly.

As for aalenik, there are very good reasons not to put your faith totally in the subjective camp or objective camp. Principal among them would be that the person inclined to do either is likely clueless. An open mind and intelligence requires that we respect both our direct audible senses and all the evidence our other senses can bring to bear to help us learn about that which we do not know. We measure. We listen. And we never stop trying to draw correlations between the two. When we do - we have disavowed the pursuit of "truth" in favor of "belief" and all scientific progress comes to a grinding halt.


“As for aalenik, there are very good reasons not to put your faith totally in the subjective camp or objective camp. Principal among them would be that the person inclined to do either is likely clueless. An open mind and intelligence requires that we respect both our direct audible senses and all the evidence our other senses can bring to bear to help us learn about that which we do not know. We measure. We listen. And we never stop trying to draw correlations between the two. When we do - we have disavowed the pursuit of "truth" in favor of "belief" and all scientific progress comes to a grinding halt.”

Thanks for the excellent (though a teeny bit snarky) manifesto we see from several corners expressing the notion that Science today, failing to be open minded itself, is hell bent on eclipsing Religion as the Uber Truth Purpeyor extant. Heaven help us!


geoffkait"Thanks for the excellent (though a teeny bit snarky) manifesto we see from several corners expressing the notion that Science today, failing to be open minded itself, is hell bent on eclipsing Religion"

"Science" as it is practiced lately hear by those who claim everything sounds the same is the same as religion there is no difference these selfproclaimed "scientists" even come in hear with they're fundamentalist beliefs and proselytize in the hope of "saving" the "gullible" from the "snakeoil" foisted on them by others these methods are well established and have been highly refined by those who use it to promote popularize and pontificate a particular religious faith! They have wisely chosen methods techniques and practices that have been refined through the centuries by those seeking to make their dogma that subscribed to by all!
Science re enforces religion on a daily basis - ask any astronomer for his/her views as to whether expansion of the universe is speeding up or slowing down. Ask a particle physicist about the challenges associated with measuring subatomic particles that seem to be able to travel faster than the speed of light - breaking one of Einstein's "golden rules". They all (probably most) inevitably wind up talking about the "Creator" and what all this stuff means to them on a personal basis. I think the clueless ones who just accept or believe what they are told have less "religion" than those who constantly push themselves to discover.  To me, the drive to use every sense/skill to learn more about the universe around us represents the utmost expression of love and respect for the "Creative Force" that produced us and everything we see, touch, smell, and hear.