How do you define different, not better? It is a matter of taste after all.
The Toyota Avalon and one of the Lexus 300 series are basically the same car. The Lexus justs cost more and folks feel better owning one, and being able to say they can afford one.
Compared to less costly cables? In most legitimate situations, no. Quality comes at a premium. There are certainly instances, however, where a more costly cable is less probable of being 'better' (as in better i am refering to 'more of nothing'.) in a given system.
For the most part you get what you pay for...The market takes care of those that are ripoffs in short order.....It is nonsense to think that component/cable voicing is a conspiracy.....We all do the best we can and some do it better than others.....Find a designer whose gear you like and buy into a systems approach as they all have their favorite wires and associated gear that will magnify the parameters they feel are important to the experience....
It's highly unlikely that the manufacturers COULD do anything to power cords or power conditioners that would reliably change the sound. It is possible for cables, although the only tools available to them would make the cables less accurate (in a technical sense) than 12 AWG zipcord. It's possible that someone with overly bright speakers might like a cable that rolled off the highs (though that strikes me as an odd way of going about things--why not just buy more accurate speakers in the first place?).
Frankly, I think the manufacturers rely more on expectation effects than real engineering.
I won't bother to comment on Bomarc's "less accurate than 12 gauge zip cord" comment as we've been there a million times before. I ask others to refrain from going there also as nobody needs to re-read or re-post all of the same comments over and over again.
As to cables in general, buy and use what you think works best within the confines of your system. After all, you are the one using it and gaining the pleasure from it. Why try to please someone else ?
There is no reason to spend money on something that offers you no benefit. That is, nothing other than the "prestige factor" of being able to say "I own Brand X cables". Believe me, there are times that i've tried "Brand X" cables and thought that they were a BIG let-down from some much cheaper cables. As such, out the door they went. I let someone else pay for the prestige factor. Then again, the differences in component design and system synergy varies from system to system. It is quite possible that what was a "dog" of a cable in my system worked quite well in theirs.
If you can't hear ( and enjoy ) the difference's, spend your money on what you think gives you the maximum return for your investment. This is not only true for cables, but for all components. Sean
PS... I'm really beginning to hate cable threads.
"Frankly, I think the manufacturers rely more on expectation effects than real engineering".
bomarc .. you took the words out of my mouth. And I think this applies to all audio components, not just cables (though they are probably the worst offenders).
In some cases I think this is definitely true. That's why one of my criteria is that EVERYTHING improves, not just one or two or three things. In some cases the improvement is so remarkable and across the board that I have no doubt at all that the change is better.
I agree and disagree with darylhifi. I don't feel the "tone control" effect pertains to only the ultra-expensive cables. They are inherent in all cables of every price point.
Whether the "tone control" effect is done because cable companies are trying to justify their cost, that is another story.
... the quantity of threads like yours over crowding audiogon and you're not starting it It's been already started.
There are cables that worth every penny for the job done and there are cables that are just hide under precious design and suck a buck from your wallet.
Whenever the interconnect cable jumps over $300/m or speaker cable jumps over $100/foot per pair I consider it a ripoff that can sound different but not any better.
On the other side in most cases whenever you wish to downgrade your cables from $300/m to $50/m and than on the saved buck to upgrade a source you will win.
As a mathematician and engineer I can work on designing quantums of improvement that can bring any upgrade. I want to design totally relative physical measure which is points per buck :)
For real it's very simple: for every buck you spend to upgrade your source you get 60 "points" and with the cables you get only 15.
Marakanetz...Couldn't we just break it down to the lowest common denominator with your "point" system and call it 4 points for source and 1 point for cables.
Just asking...I'm no "mathematician", but I did study fractions in 4th grade. :)
All in good fun.
what if I say that if you upgrade your power-amp will be 43 points/buck?:)
Not sure what that means, nor how many "points" are on your scale, but if I understand correctly, I'd just round up to 3. (2.866)
Not to detract from this particular thread, but now I'm interested in understanding the point system that you've developed, Marakanetz. Would you mind telling us a bit more about it?
Dan, I've got just an idea about "sampling" of relative improvements that could be possible to make to upgrade meaning statistics. As it figures out it has a quite large finite number of variables to consider for the proper and precise definition. The numbers given are just a dummy-like demo example that needs to be worked out with different measuring devices(not only ears) to prove and to define a sampling scale. The common denominator can be found only if you capture ALL variables and than adjust a proper relative value after everything is done. In today's technology I will probably have to capture every variable into the database and do the computer processing according to the market prices that can be grouped onto the different classes of performance.
Another scientific experiment that I've done so far was to test the phase and freequency responces of low-priced and sky-rocketing priced audio cables as well as ability to accept induced currents from the near-by output transformers and AC outlets to make for myself a number of conclusions about today's high end market and one of them is very similar as Sugar pointed out. Lots of rich folks would say that there is no point using AudioQuest Midnight speaker cable with JM Lab Utopia speakers -- it has to be at least Nirvana or Nordost Valhalla.
To my thorough research of wiring in general(I won't argue it certainly does make a difference) I've found out that most of VanDenHul cables are genuie, honestly built, not overpriced and suitable for almost any budget audiofile system. They're not cheap(to me still) that's why I was ordering only kits and terminated them all myself, but the job they do with them is increadible and you know always what you're paing for.
I think that system balance is a key factor that affects
all choices made in a system. A person has to determine
with various recordings of his or her collection, a standard
for tonal balance. By listening to recordings of various
qualities to hopefully achieve a musical balance that
enables the listener to enjoy more of their collection.
For me thats a priority. Once you know that you have
established these parameters, I think its easier to
enjoy cables and the like.
Regardless of price or your orientation of it, there
are some very interesting aspects to cable design,
regardless of type. There are for instance with Interconnects different camps, from Mapleshade/Omega
Micro, and Silversmith for instance that use ultrathin
conductors. Which are solid core but not like
Tara and Purist which have more mass. Which are
different from multi-stranded litz designs like
Cardas. And then there are combinations and even
more designs to discuss. The point being that
each of these designs sound different and can be
enjoyed, and the beauty of it is that none are
perfect, so its leaves us to ponder yet other
Granted, there are in life many different people
out there making products and also media to amplify
it with it's own slant, so buyer must beware. However,
you have to be lucky enough to know when you have made
a mistake, and also to have the vision to know
whats a musical step forward. For me the ones that
simply make music easier to enjoy are the ones I
gravitate towards. More transparent, better soundstage,
more open, will mean little to me if they are robbing
the musicality from my system. What good is it if it
only works for the better recordings? Of course you
must determine for yourself where it needs to be for you.
In regards to power products, remember there was a day
when all cable upgrades were considered with contempt.
My final thought is to say that I've been enjoying the
new Wayne Horvitz CD, if you enjoy a somewhat new jazz/ensemble sound that once in a while gets a little
close to the Frisell sound, but not too and not often,
try this new sound from Mr. Horvitz and I wish you all