the cable that made the most difference in my system was the Auditorim 23 cable ... NEVER had a speaker or IC make such a large improvement in the sound.
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Cables always make a difference. I don't think one can predict what specific cable you would prefer in your particular SET/horn system. I have such a setup and I ended up with NBS cables, but, this was hardly after any kind of exhaustive search. At the time, NBS had several distinct series of cables with quite different kinds of sound (one series warmer, the other leaner and more dynamic). I went with the warmer series after auditioning cables from my dealer.
That particular dealer sells only low-powered tube gear, both pushpull and SET. As an Audionote dealer, he sells their cables. I have heard the Audionote cables and like them very much. Another brand that he likes is Snake River (I have not tried this in my system). This same dealer said that he tried the cables with a liquid slurry conductor (T.E.O., I believe) and like the sound of those a lot. He did not pick up the line only because he surveyed his current crop of customers and none were particularly keen on replacing what they have.
I also got to hear in my system the speaker cables from the turntable manufacturer Basis. These are very interesting cables -- the sound when I replaced my NBS cables sounded considerably louder (given the low resistance of either cable, it is hard to account for this subjective difference). The sound was, for my system, a bit too hard edged, so I kept my NBS cables, but, if one is looking to perk up the sound of a sleepy system, the Basis cables are a contender.
I have heard, at shows, SET/horn systems using Crystal Cables and the systems sounded quite good. I don't know what the cables contributed, but, it does appear that exhibitors with such systems are willing to use their product (a form of endorsement). My local tube system dealer has also endorsed these cables (he does not sell them, but likes them anyway).
I have heard a tube driven system (not horn-based) where Purist Audio Design cables replaced something else (sorry, I cannot recall what they replaced), and I was quite impressed with the result -- the sound was full and rich (harmonically saturated), without the downside that usually accompanies such qualities (i.e., the sound did not become overly murky and sluggish).
I would be interested in peoples views. You occasionally see manufacturers producing cables, say specifically for tube amps. I have thought cables are either well made and designed or not, have synergy to ones components or not.
Do other people think there can be any substance to making cables for particular types of components, or is it just a marketing gimic?
I think cables can make a slight difference especially if those low powered amps are SET's. Also seems like the thinner the dielectric, the better.
Cardas makes/made a special cable for this type of amp called the SE-X (X depending on gauge).
They were copper and one thing they all had in common was a very thin dielectric. I used them and liked them. I now use silver wire with a teflon coating.
The theory is: the lower the soakage (absorption) of the coating (dielectric) the less smear will end up at the speaker.
Theories are nice but let your ears decide.
DNM is the way to go with low powered SET and efficient speakers seemed the thinner cable i tried the better everything sounded, better than overhyped overpriced,snake oil, garden hose cables.save them for the boatowners to tie up their boats to the dock ..also tried mapleshade but gave DMN solid core precision 2 the nod.again everything is system dependent
Quote *** Do other people think there can be any substance to making cables for particular types of components, or is it just a marketing gimic? ***
Cable design can affect the performance of the amp e.g. Naim require low capacitance cable and I believe they suggest a minimum length for best performance also.
I've read on other forums that with the wrong cable a Naim amp can sound quite bad.
I doubt however that the cables designed for tube amps work well for all tube amps and may even work extremely well for some ss amps.
Contact the amp manufacturer and ask them if you amp works better with high/medium/low capacitance/inductance cables
Good cable makers post these details on their web site, or will provide it freely, those selling snake oil do not - citing the need to protect their designs - bull#### !
BTW Naim makes one of the lowest capacitance cables I have found, in case that's what your amp needs