Cables, a case history of an Agnostic

I have been reluctant to post any information regarding cables for two reasons. First, I only became serious about trying various different power, speaker and interconnect wires about nine months ago. I felt that most of you knew so much more, and I did not want to sound stupid. Second, I was hearing very little if any significant differences. After a number of purchases, I realized what had happened! You guys were all on this site for a big scam just to separate ME from my money!
Well that was quite a shock, knowing there were so many of you out there spending all your free time making up stuff just to get me.
But, a mere $30,000 worth of shrink fees took care of that. I now understand we are all Bozos on this bus.
For those of you still with me here, this is what happened. I have an "office" system where I do most of my listening. At the moment it consists of B&W N speakers on stands filled with shot, a Cary SLI80 integrated amp, a Cary CD303, and a Sonic Frontiers CD1 (why? because I can't make myself sell one.) I tried various cables over the past months. Listed below are most of them.
SPEAKER: Audio Quest Granite, Analysis Plus Oval-9, Tara Labs 1800, Nordost Blue Heaven (thanks to the Cable Co. for lending me these 4 sets) Cardas Golden Cross, Canare 11gauge self-terminated with WBT and Monster something....all were biwire configuration.
INTERCONNECTS: Steath (blue), Monster middle of the line something, Homegrown Audio Super Silver and Silver Lace, Cardas Golden Cross, Nordost Red Dawn, and one or two others in the same league.
POWER CABLES: Tried several under $80 and settled on BMI Elite. Can't explain why.... more expensive,need to see the shrink again........
If one or two of you are still reading this drivel, there is a point to all this. Last week I had a long talk with Joe at JC Audio. I was looking for a deal on Audio Tekne speaker cables. He had sold them, so naturally he tried to sell me something else. Uhoh, the conspiracy theory is creeping back......Ok, I'm back. Thank God for prozac.
Anyhow, Joe recommended I try this combination by Ensemble: Megaflux FSF speaker cable and Dynaflux FSF RCA ICs. I demanded a money back guarantee, he decided I was crazy, but took a chance and sent them to me after breaking them in on some special new break-in machine. They arrived on Friday.. Two days later I stand here bleary eyed and can honestly say...
I AM A BELIEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cables can make a difference. No more shrinks. I have seen the light. Thank you Joe and Ensemble.
What in the Ensemble Megaflux FSF made you a believer? Its "film shielded force" construction? Its speed? Its enormous, contoured bass? The homogeneity and neutrality of its mids? The stress-free highs? Enjoy the hours of listening ahead of you. Maybe Joe's "special new break-in machine" helped: what is it exactly (for those of us who are curious)?
I would venture to say that the "break in machine" might have had a lot to do with your experiences. Since you've already tried a pretty wide assortment of cables and never really noticed any major differences, the "break in machine" would be the major variable in this equation.

Like i said before, you've never really heard your cables until they've been "burned" on a "good" burner. Sean
Your results aren't unusual. I've had many cables that made little to no difference in my system at all. There are a few that actually produced positive results and I keep those. The problem is all the marketing hype that leads us to believe that any expensive cable will do magical things to our system. It's just not true. If it was that simple, cables wouldn't be considered as dubious as they are.

Good moral to your story: Always work with a dealer that offers a 30-day trial or some other return policy!!
What are the "good" cable burners and where can you find them for purchase?
I'll post the cable-burner answer on Monday after I talk to Joe. He had a new one in the works when we first talked. And me with a seive for a memory......
I will post my own opinion fo rwhat it is worth.

I also know that many people on this site have way much more experience and knowledge than I have. Still, after doing a fair amount of fiddling and listening I have at least formed a kind of viewpoint.

I think that the cable question is not at all hogwash. But at a certain level the cable that works well for you is the one that mates best with your system and ears. The cable kind of fine tunes the sound to your liking.

I have heard cables with my spectral/avalon system that were many thousands of dollars and some less than a thousand. Happily I happened to like the sound from the cheaper spectral/MIT ultralinear cable rather than far more expensive cables fromMIT and others. The other cables nearly all sounded great but I just happened to like the sound from the UL cable best.

Hey I might even change my mind.


I was worried we might have to cut you in on the scam for a while there. Fortunately you are now hopelessly hooked and your expectations of better sound from a new cable will keep me and the others of "The Cable Family" in CDs for the rest of our lives. I don't mind admitting this to you because you are totally addicted now. It may or may not surprise you to know that those of us in the Family never touch the stuff.

Dekay just told me we had cut you in on the weekend - keep up the good work!
I've tried two burners. One did nothing as far as i could tell and the other made a very noticeable difference. The "good one" was a Mobie. While i know that Music Direct sells them, i think that Bob Bundus was able to find a better deal on the one that he just bought. If he doesn't catch this thread, i'll ask him for the specifics. Sean
Redkiwi: Your responses confused me 'cause I can't remember if I got cut in, or did not get cut in, or just plain had a bad dream, or what. But I'll keep up the good work. I know Joe did mention a Nordost burner, but there was another one too .... More will be revealed tomorrow.
Someone on another recent thread mentioned the difference between being addicted to audio and being addicted to life and death type substances like alcohol, drugs, cigs, etc. I have been in the hell that surrounds both, and I have returned to tell you this. Compared to the hell of the latter, the former is heaven.
Drubin, there is a guy name of Scott, member name 'disco' that has a cable burner that he uses for selling cables. I have seen said burner with my own two eyes. It is very cool looking and he swears it works like a champ. Just email him and he can probably get you one at a real competitive price. If not, he is very cool and will tell you where he got his.
Thanks. Scott uses the Audiodharma Cable Cooker, which costs $649 (!!!). But, unlike the MOBIE, it does everything: RCA and XLR ICs, digital cables (RCA, BNC), speaker cables, and power cords Anybody in the SF Bay Area (a BAAS member would be good) interested in going in together on one of these pups? Just a thought. ---dan
As promised, I talked to Joe and it looks like the new cooker he used may be the same as the one mentioned by Drubin. here is the info he gave me. The Cable Cooker by Audioexcellenceaz in Arizona. Phone 602-277-0799. WEB site is here on A-gon in Manufacturer links. List was about $750 and there is a newer Pro version on the way.... In case anyone is interested.
Snooker14, thank-you for sharing even if you "feel" your not qualified. As you have now learned, your as qualified as any of us Bozos. The moral here is never be afraid of sharing your experience, if you interject your opinion then we'll jump down your throat but an experience is just that, yours. The lesson is that it can be extremely frustrating finding the right cables and a good honest dealer who has experience with your equipment can be a God's send. It would be nice if all dealers and individuals would take cables back within 30 days, it does sometimes take that long to know.
Great post! J.D.
Gentlemen....I thought I would post some information and a couple of corrections to the previous posts regarding the Cable Cooker. Brian Ackerman of Artistic Audio (the U.S. importer for Ensemble) kindly directed me to this site.

Firstly, the Cable Cooker is really a small amplifier with an outboard switching power supply, not "just" an accessory. It contains a mosfet-driven circuit, one for interconnects and another for speaker & power cabling, including a series of 2-ohm power resistors for the higher-level circuit. And there is a cmos circuit controlling the extended frequency sweep. Not only is the pcb hand-soldered with discrete components, but all the wiring to/from the circuit board to the connectors is also done by hand. Beefy, high-grade connectors are used throughout. The power switch is rated at 30 amps. This is *not* a product made overseas using cheap labor. If I were to price the Cooker based on common audio manufacturing practices, the Cooker would have a retail of at least $895, perhaps more, based on parts quality and labor. At $649 "factory-direct" for the standard version, this project is really a labor of love and an attempt to provide a great system enhancement at an affordable price, considering the upward spiral of many components we've all seen over the years.

The Pro version is being built primarily for heavy-duty users (cables, that is....:--)) such as cable manufacturers and dealers. Individuals may purchase this version for $749. As many of these businesses have been using the Cooker for many months 24/7, fully loaded with every connector occupied, I decided to prepare an upgraded unit that would better serve their needs, and increase the useability of the Cooker in a professional environment.

Earlier in the year, a couple of dealers requested that I install heavier-duty binding posts, as some of the speaker cables they sold were very large and bulky....some had rather stiff leads. These leads needed to be tightened down quite a bit, so they felt that a larger, all-metal binding post would work better for them. This led to the initial idea for the Pro version. The Pro Cooker incorporates these heavier-duty all-metal binding posts, a quiet interior fan, and a capacitive "soft-start" circuit to protect the switching power supply and circuit board from current and voltage aberrations. This soft-start circuit also relieves the circuitry from seeing a full-on signal from the power supply, thereby extending the life of the electronics. This is important for continuous duty use.

I again thank Brian Ackerman, and also Joe Cutrufelli of JC Audio for all their good words and support. And Snooker....continue enjoying your fine cabling!!

alan m. kafton
audio excellence az
Alan, since the "Cable Cooker" uses a switching power supply, isn't it possible that this could become a source of both EMI and RFI ??? It is well known that switching supplies are notoriously "dirty" due to the spikes and glitches that they generate when turning off and on continually. Have you taken steps towards filtering and shielding the pollution that this design is capable of ? It would be a shame to spend HUNDREDS of dollars on a product that actually added more intereference into the electrical system of the house.

As to the total cost of such a device, wouldn't it have made MUCH more sense to use common low cost devices such as IC's to get the job done ??? I see NO technical benefits to using discrete devices in a "burner". Since we will not be listening to anything through it, something that can generate and amplify the basic signal with good reliability, ease of production and lowest manufacturing costs would seem to be the best route to take in a device like this. While discrete components might sound good in terms of advertising, the burner is there simply to "pre-condition" the cables, NOT become another active component in our systems.

Also, since we seem to have your attention, what type of signal does the cable cooker produce ? Is it a sine wave, square wave, sawtooth, etc ??? Is it centered on one specific frequency, does it do rolling sweeps or is it simply a broadband "hash" like pink or white noise ? Is the signal constant in amplitude or is it ramped up and down ? What is the amplitude of the signal being used ??? All of these are things that will vary the effectiveness of this device. Needless to say, i'm quite curious about it and i'm sure others are too. Sean
Yeah. What Sean said. And especially say more about aptlimitude. Before you do though, I think it would be good to tell what that even is.
AMPLIMITUDE is what you get when you don't get it. Get it?"
Pull the M and add a T after the P : and you might get it Thunders, my brain was in fart mode again.