Can we objectively rate speaker cables?

I'd like to generate discussion to compile some sort of chart that compares cable attributes. I realize that cable attributes will vary by system, but I would think that in the same system, certain generalizations can be made. For example, I think many would agree that copper is generally warmer than silver. That said, I propose the following categories. Feel free to add categories to make this a mutually-exclusive, collectively-exhaustive list and/or offer ratings for cables you've auditioned.

A. analytical/detailed (1) - warm (10)
B. closed soundstage (1) - open soundstage (10)
C. slow (1) - fast (10)
Hi Jenny,

I like your idea, but I think someone will have to put a lot of discriptive text in place to make everything clear.

For example what does "warm" mean? Does everyone view that the same way?

Another example of how confusing subjective observations can get; doesn't "slow" also relate to "warm" and doesn't "fast" also get somewhat into the same space as "detailed"?

If someone can give some very detailed and precise definitions to the end points of the scales then perhaps this will work. I certainly agree that it would be nice to have some sort of scale to allow one person to review a cable and have everyone else know where that fits in with other cables.

Applauding your idea to bring some coherency to the confusing subject of choosing cables, we will be stomped by the variability of our systems. OTOH, your attributes, presented as opposites (warm-analytical) may help simplify things.

I would suggest we stick to characterising "objective" attributes: construction, materials used, shielded/non-shielded etc. For example, single core flat IC cable, copper, has a reasonably neutral-warmish sound (06) and good tonal balance, etc.

BTW, closed sound-stage & slow, both, are often due to restricted upper frequencies.

Since the way a cable behaves has an awful lot to do with the equipment at both ends it seems to be a pointless endeavor to try to attribute individual sonic properties to the cables themselves. Arthur Salvatore has a lot to say about cables and reviewers that proclaim wonderful sonic qualities about higher priced cables.
I like the reviews of cables in HIFICRITIC. They have been quite helpful to me. But cables are very system specific. That said, my system is quite fluid and the same ones usually sound better when I change amps, speakers, sources. My experience has been, unfortunately, that the best sounding cables are expensive. But not all expensive cables produce sound constant with their cost. On the other hand I have tried some of the GIANT KILLER wires and found MIDGET DISCOMFORTERS a more apt description. You pays your money and you takes your choice, if you go in believing there is no difference you are unlikely to hear any. The advance of audio has mainly consisted in discovering that things we thought made no difference in fact do. Remember "all amps sound the same"?" All turntables sound the same"? Wire is not magic but it performs a complex function that is still not perfectly understood. If a low powered , high distortion SET tube amp can be regarded as the acme of performance by respected listeners then the fact that wire can make a difference should be no surprise. I will not even go into the difficulty of sorting out preferences for one kind of sound or another. A friend of mine and I can usually agree on the characteristics of a cable but often disagree on which is the "better" one. Arthur Salvatore has a lot to say about almost everything, most of it interesting but also mostly around the bend and narrow in focus. He mostly focuses on extremely exotic items but when he descends to the level of things that you might actually have heard I find his judgement somewhat strange. I also like and use the Denon 103 but find it strange that he never mentions the Denon 304, which has far greater detail resolution and is a better cartridge.
No, you cannot rate speaker cable this way. Speaker cable has no "sound" of its own. A speaker cable can "sound" warm and slow in one system but detailed and open in another. Amp, speaker cable, and speaker must be viewed as a whole.
>>For example, I think many would agree that copper is generally warmer than silver.<<

And they would all be wrong.

The purity of the conductor, its' geometry, and the dielectric influence the sonics far more than the choice of metal(s).

06-18-09: Sidssp
No, you cannot rate speaker cable this way. Speaker cable has no "sound" of its own. A speaker cable can "sound" warm and slow in one system but detailed and open in another. Amp, speaker cable, and speaker must be viewed as a whole.

Hmmmm....gets complicated doesn't it?

OK, no wire or cable has a sound of its own, but because it is an imperfect transmitter of signals, a wire or cable can change the sound of a system. So, you are correct that the system is important to the discussion. This also means that the change for one system will not be exactly the same for another system. However, all designers of cables should be trying to eliminate the imperfections of the transmission medium to give the best reproducted sound. From this perspective cables that get closer to this ideal goal should have similar characteristics and hence be less sensitive to system parameters. We should be able to identify and quantify these characteristics.

However, I suspect part of the problem with this line of ththougt is the flaws in other parts of the system. To explain, I beleive many owners may be using one component of a system (cables for example) to compensate for flaws in other components in the system. Perhaps your speakers have a tendancy to sound a little "hot" so when you use speaker cable "X" the sound is somewhat tamed and much more neutral. In fact you could be using a small flaw of the speaker cable as a filter in your system. For someone else this flaw in the speaker cable shows up as a terrible hindrance to the overall sound. Hence different opinions for same cable. I don't know how we can get away from this problem until will learn how to properly "measure" all the important characteristics of a component (not simple to do at all).

I will agree that because the speaker side of the system is fairly low in impedance and the wire characteristics and flaws likely have much less impact because of this. However, for interconnects the wire flaws and characteristics play a much bigger role due to the higher impedances involved.

Shadorne -- Very interesting article you linked to. I was particularly struck by the last sentence under paragraph number 4. I see no reason to doubt that sentence is factual.

Rova said: I will agree that because the speaker side of the system is fairly low in impedance and the wire characteristics and flaws likely have much less impact because of this. However, for interconnects the wire flaws and characteristics play a much bigger role due to the higher impedances involved.

I disagree. The "wire flaws and characteristics" which are significant for speaker cables simply are different than the ones which are significant for interconnects. Inductance and gauge (resistance) clearly can be significant for speaker cables, depending on length and on the impedances of the amplifier and speakers. For interconnects, those parameters are almost always insignificant, while capacitance and shielding are important.

Stan said: The advance of audio has mainly consisted in discovering that things we thought made no difference in fact do.

Stan -- I agree in principle with your comments, but only up to a point. If the concept behind a product is sufficiently unconventional, or the price seemingly absurd, I will want to see some rationale which is at least half-way plausible before I will spend my time and/or money investigating it. Besides their apparently outlandish markups, what I find to be the biggest turn-off about super-expensive cables is the design rationale which is typically offered in their "white papers" and other literature. Which, as a technically trained person, I KNOW to be largely nonsense in many or most cases, designed to sound good to the majority of audiophiles who are not technically trained.

I am not saying that the products will not be good performers in many systems, just that I find the design rationale (as well as the price) to be a turn-off. Even though I know it will never happen, I would much rather see cable purveyors simply say something like "we used the following very expensive materials and construction techniques, we voiced it all on very high resolution systems, and we don't know why those materials and techniques make it sound so good but they do." Which is what it all amounts to, at best.

-- Al
Since the cable interacts with the speaker at one end and the amp at the other - and it is these interactions which largely determine how it "sounds" - how is it even theoretically possible to make an "objective" evaluation apart from the devices it is connected to? Aren't the only "objective" things you can measure about cables inductance, capacitance, and so on? Things that may help predict how they will interact with other devices (or may not; too many variables.)
No, since it was been proven in blind test after blind test people cannot. Remember, those tests always use the same 'chain' of electronic/speaker equipment and the sound level is always dead on. So, much for interaction of equipment. What is another and much misunderstood difference is how different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds affect the way they hear. Years ago a great article appeared in FI magazine, long gone, that explored how British and American people 'hear'. Professional in depth, hearing tests have confirmed that people do 'hear' diffently. Maybe that is why all the confusion goes on.
Rove wrote: " I beleive many owners may be using one component of a system (cables for example) to compensate for flaws in other components in the system."
The implies that there is a single standard to which any particular component should be designed.

That's simply not the way engineering works, whether one is building airplanes or stereo equipment. Every choice one makes when designing a product has advantages and disadvantages and the accumulation of those choices represent an overall compromise the designer is willing to live with.

For example, in an airplane you can add bigger fuel tanks that allows the plane to fly farther. However, this increases weight and has implications that ripple through the rest of the plane's design.

Same thing with the design of audio products. One amp's designer may choose circuit topology that offers superb performance in one area but leaves the unit more sensitive to cable parameters.

Your comment would suggest this design is simply wrong, regardless of the other benefits the designer believes it offers.

However, it is not uncommon for a designer to choose performance with restrictive requirements over options that offer more benign compatibility.

That is why it is important to treat the amp, cable and speaker as a lumped circuit. In order for music to come out of the speakers, they must all interact. Take a speaker wire out of one circuit where it works fine and it may not work as well in another.

I don't think there is anything particularly magic or mysterious going on, other than the fact that most home users have to discover the best combo by trial and error. That easily leads to the incorrect assumption that what ever works for them should be the same for everyone else.

Finally, just for the record, I'm not in the camp that finds "massive" differences between wires (unless there is just something horridly wrong, such as unshielded telephone wire being used for a turntable interconnect.) Pay a bit of attention to resistance, look at capacitance and inductance parameters, consider shielding issues, have good connections and I'm fine to leave the obsessive/compulsive mental gyrations to others. ;-)
It has been proved in blind test after blind test that amps sound the same. These tests "prove" nothing except that the people involved did not hear a difference, not that others wouldn't. I guarantee you that I would not have bought the expensive cable I did [used at one third new cost] if listening to a lot of wires over the years had not convinced me that it makes a difference. My experience is somewhat different than most as I have dealt in audio equipment most of my life and this involves constantly assembling and disassembling a system, I never set up more than one at a time. So I hear many combinations of components and wires and get some idea of their relative contributions. I see many cables that offer a totally excessive mark up, I never carry these. Very good ones do cost a lot of money to make and stay on the market for years.
These tests "prove" nothing except that the people involved did not hear a difference, not that others wouldn't.

Agreed. It proves absolutely nothing at all.

I think we can also all agree that there must be some (even if ever so small) difference and that the output of some gear may be a great deal more sensitive than others to a very small difference of this type (a speaker with a low impedance point of 4 ohms, for example, on the end of a 50 foot cable).

However, before we jump to conclusions, where are the blind tests that "prove" that there are "some others" who can indeed hear the difference on those high quality very expensive cables? (...and then logically what type gear specifically requires careful attention to cables?)

And I am not referring to the Misleading Monster cable in store demo which you can read about on Roger Russel's website and where a difference is very obvious.
Little if anything in audio related to cables can be objectively rated. What is good in one system/combination with "X" is horrible in "Y" and thus cannot be independently analyzed except for measuring capacitance, resistance, inductance, etc. Thus, cables can be only rated relative to the system they are inserted into. And, unfortuntely, they do make things sound "different" but not always better or worse. This is what keeps "audio" interesting. Moving\bending cables changes the sound and when comparing them, movement introduces another variable, so blind testing is worth little in this situation. The sound changes especially for the solid core stuff with movement. A good idea for a standard, but...Jallen
First off, what type of music people listen to and their frame of reference relative to live music events will inevitably influence how they hear and judge any audio product. What is possible can only be appreciated if you have a physical ear/brain experience or memory of live events/instruments and how they can sound in any given environment. Those with limited exposure to great music performed in great venues need not apply if they are conditioned to listening to electronicaly reproduced, poorly recorded, mass marketed material. If you have been around live music and frequented some of the best venues around for mucial events as I have, then it takes little imagination or effort to hear the differences in cables or gear. The realm of difficult discrimination becomes less of an obstacle you see because it is a physical sonic memory. Going to a few rock concerts and listening to mismatched/conventional components all your life affords one an extremely limited sonic imagination.
Oh geez, Stereophile Mag will never hire you guys to write reviews for them. Lol. Yes, I must agree that we all see and hear things differently. O.P did not mention that this is for IC’s or Speaker Cables (SC) but here’s how I “see” them and here’s how I rate them in MY systems.

A/ (Detailed) 1 ------------------------------10 (Warm)
- Nordost Blue Heaven (SC) ---- 4.5

- Nordost Red Dawn (SC) -------- 5

- Nordost SPM (SC) ------------- 6

- Gurtz MI-2 (SC) -----------------6

- Nordost Valhalla (IC) ------------3

- Nordost QuatroFil (IC) -------5.5

- Transparent REF (IC) -----------7

- Kinber SilverStreak (IC)-------4.5

- BlueJean LC1 (IC) ----------- 5.5
B/ (Focus Soundstage) 1 --------- 10 (Open Soundstage /airy)
- Nordost Blue Heaven (SC) ------ 5

- Nordost Red Dawn (SC) ------- 4.5

- Nordost SPM (SC) ---------------4

- Gurtz MI-2(SC) ----------------- 4

- Nordost Valhalla (IC) ----------- 8

- Nordost QuatroFil (IC) ---------4

- Transparent REF (IC) ---------- 4

- Kinber SilverStreak (IC)---------6

- BlueJean LC1 (IC) ------------4.5


C. (Slow) 1 ---------------------------------- 10 (Fast)

- Nordost Blue Heaven (SC) --------- 6.5

- Nordost Red Dawn (SC) ------------- 6

- Nordost SPM (SC) ------------------5.5

- Gurtz MI-2(SC) -------------------- 5.5

- Nordost Valhalla (IC) --------------9.7

- Nordost QuatroFil (IC) -------------6.5

- Transparent REF (IC) -------------- 4.5

- Kinber SilverStreak (IC)------------6.5

- BlueJean LC1 (IC) -------------------5
Sorry I mispelled. Please correct the "Goertz" MI-2.
It can not possibly be that "frame of reference relative to live music events" or exposure to " great music in great venues" has anything to do with hearing/judging differences amongst cables as plenty of people with both are on each side of the debate. There is no way that you or anyone else has enough information at hand to conclude that hours logged at great venues listening to great music is directly proportional to accurately detecting/judging/evaluating cable differences. Personally I think that there are indeed instances when changing cables makes a meaningful difference and that there are instances when it does not. That said there is a LOT of snake oil in cable advertising. I actually think that some people have too much " sonic imagination". - Jim
Nasaman -- you've got a point about us:)
BUT: What's da system???

Almarg aptly notes
Besides their apparently outlandish markups, what I find to be the biggest turn-off about super-expensive cables is the design rationale which is typically offered in their "white papers" and other literature.
"White-papers" for audiophile consumption are a powerful emetic!
They are up there (but do not quite reach),
"PROPRIETARY design slip-knot, direct-coupled, parallel-serial time /phase/ solar aligned crossover" and, the piece de resistance,
"DISSATISFIED with what the market had to offer, David set about to design his own .... (speakers, amplifiers, tiddly-winks, ball-gags, etc). A friend, musician of world-renown who happened to hear/ use / ? them, instantly ordered (a bundle, 69 containers...)"
Aldavis, it does matter if you understand what actual instruments sound like. It also matters that you are able to discern some basic qualities of instruments so you can listen for accurate music reproduction.
Dave, Agreed. That is necessary for comparisons. Unfortunately in this case it's not sufficient as there are plenty of people on both sides of this issue with a good working knowledge of live instruments. The problem is that there are so many other variables in play. Well designed cables will sound better than poorly designed cables in some instances. How much depends upon a ton of other factors including both the system and the listener. Listeners even those with good "aural memories" may actually remember differently from each other and you can never discount the active placebo effect of spending big bucks. My general feeling is that if YOU hear a positve effect from the cable then go for it. For ME personally above a certain price point money is better spent somewhere else.
given some deifinition of say, "warmth", there may be a consistent relationship between two speaker cable across all stereo systems.

that is, cable A may be deemed warmer than cable B regardless of the stereo system. however the degree of difference may vary from stereo system to stereo system.

would there be agreement that some Cardas cable is warmer than some Nordost cable, independent of stereo system ?
I realize that cables react have different effects on different systems, but within the same system and in general, wouldn't most people agree that an equally pure copper cable of 22AWG would sound warmer than a silver 22AWG (of identical construction)? My argument is that this is true within almost any system. So if we define the parameters, we should be able to roughly agree on "this cable is warmer than that one," unless you're in some camp that believes cables make no difference. The idea is that with such a knowledge base, we would be able to narrow our cable choices based on our own system. I know that for mine changing the LP cables to all silver has drastically improved detail and resolution while putting the copper into the digital part has made sound less analytical. I'd like to get beyond the copper vs. silver issue and be able to compare within cable type.
Also, thank you Nasaman, for being the only person (so far) to actually reply to the question at hand with ratings.
EEGAds Nasaman.....I get totally different perceptions of the cables. I don't have all of them that you tested, but have a few. I let them burn in again, and listened. For instance..the Kimber sounded warmer than Blue, and slower than Blue. I have an all Ayre system with Vandersteen 5A's. EVERYONE I have spoken to recommended Cardas cable to me - I tried them, and they were the poorest sounding cables of all that I tried. Something is going on but I don't know what.
The problem Mr. Tennis is the definition of " warmth". It could be rolled off highs, exagerated mids/bass etc. Certain cables like Cardas do seem to emphasize mid/bass ( or are they rolling off highs ? ) but no one has experience across " ALL stereo systems". Jenny Jones - I would not agree that ALL silver is uniformly " cooler" than copper. It does have a little less resistance than copper which may or may not be a useful thing.
Aint it fun :O ) Lash them cables up and enjoy the ride! I would call Robert Stein at the Cable Company if I wanted to try a bunch of cables without making a large investment.
I'm not trying to dictate absolutes... as mentioned earlier, higher purity copper may sound cooler than low purity copper and then there's the whole extruded silver over copper thing. My objective is to get into specific cables and the community's impressions of these cables. Not everyone will agree, but if you have some experience auditioning different cables in your own system, why not share your impressions. It's all relative but I think we could all benefit.
Some people (mostly young or energetic) love to drive 2-door sport cars. They want to “feel” the roads; they want to cut corners hard and neck snapping acceleration. They want to “see” every little thing that the roads have to offer. Normally, they like the excitement and pay great attention surround them. In audio world, this type of people /cables /speakers /gears is called Hi-fi audio. People in this group like to hear and indentify every single note of the music /instruments. Thus, the more detail of sound, the better. Silver conductors and American products such Krell, Ayre, Esoteric, Nordost, seem to fit well in this category.

On the other side of the table are folks that rather choose luxury family sedan like Lexus for an example. They want their ride as smooth as possible; relaxation and extreme comfort are their priority. They want to avoid feeling every pumps, every rocks on the roads. They want to get lost in the transition. In audio world, this type of people is called music listeners, and their systems mostly sound musical, warm, and romantic. People in this category seem to lay back and enjoy the music and let the music takes them where ever it wants them to be rather than going back and forth analyzing their cables, speakers, or gears. Copper conductors and European products fit best in this category such Arcam, Triangle, Burmester, ProAc, Spendor, KEF.

Now, here’s a fun part that you guys have been contributing the most. IMO, not all things, especially in electronics, are definite but exceptions and possibilities. With today technology, there are some luxury cars that can out perform 2-door sport cars and can be fun just as much. There are some silver cables that sound more natural and less grainy than copper as well. Or American products, known as fast, accurate, and detail that could sound just as warm as the European’s such Vandersteen or Cardas …and other way around.

If someone ask you how’s your Corvette’s ride? What they’d probably want to know is how’d you compare your Corvette with (many) other cars that you owned or experienced? Because not everyone is projecting the same, so they are probably pin-pointing your perspective right now. Unless stated, they wouldn’t want to hear from you if you just gained few pounds because you just had a BigMac meal which could hurt the Corvette’s performance or degrease its gas mileage. Or should you wax the car to result less air drag or should you increase tire’s air pressure a few PSI, or should you drive your Corvette around only in cool weather cond for better performance… I know you guys know /understand a lot of technicality and me too but just give the man a simple answer. Now, if he had neck and back injuries and didn’t ask but went out and bought a Ferrari, that wouldn’t be our problem either, right? He should have asked.
Sorry my post may not related to any of yours mainly because I felt the heat right from the beginning and did not actually read any of them after that… except mine, of course. See? There goes an exception.

Have fun and enjoy listening guys. It’s a great hobby.
Nasaman say what?
Hi Jenny,

As you said in one of your posts, the ideas in your original post were not exactly discussed as much as other things, so I thought I would take a stab at it and throw out some ideas for thought.

Here are my suggestions for some scales that, taken together, might help pin down the characteristics of an audio component. I beleive the scales could be used for any type of component including speakers, amplifiers, wires and cables ....etc. It could be argued that for a given component some of the scales wouldn't apply. That is a reasonable arguement, I made the scales up independent of focusing on a particular component.

Anyway here goes nothing.....

1. Low Frequency Extension – describes how low the frequency response goes, as well as how well the bass balances with the rest of the frequency response.
(Lacking / Anemic……………………………………………………Deep / Full)

2. Low Frequency Character – describes the accuracy or clarity of the low frequency reproduction.
(Boomy / Indistinct………………………………………………Tight / Defined)

3. High Frequency Extension – describes how high the high frequency response goes, as well as how well the treble balances with the rest of the frequency response.
(Muffled / Dull…………………………………………………Sparkling / Extended)

4. High Frequency Character – describes the accuracy or clarity of the high frequency reproduction.
(Harsh / Metallic……………………………………………………Open / Airy)

5. Instrument Timbre – describes how accurately the instrument’s sound or voice is reproduced. How real do the instruments sound?
(Indistinct / Muddled…………………………………………Accurate / Palpable)

6. Timing – describes how clearly all elements of the music are kept in time.
(Dead / Unemotional……………………………………Toe Tapping / Engaging)

7. Ambience Reproduction – describes how clearly the performance venue sound cues are reproduced (reverberation, echo, background noise etc.)
(Flat / One Dimensional………………………………………3D / You Are There)

8. Transient Response – describes how well explosive / transient elements are presented (such as snare drum hits).
(Slow / Muted / Rounded………………………………………Fast / Pop / Snap)

9. Sound Stage Width – describes the over all perception of the width of the sound stage.
(Narrow / Compressed…………………………………………Wide / Expansive)

10. Sound Stage Depth - describes the over all perception of the depth of the sound stage.
(Flat / One Dimensional………………………3D / Walk Around The Instruments)

11. Sound Stage Height - describes the over all perception of the height of the sound stage.
(Single Line / Limited…………………………………Front Row / Bigger Than Life)

12. Resolution – describes how well minute sounds and details are reproduced, especially when they occur at the same time as louder sounds.
(Veiled / Muddy…………………………………………………Detailed / Precise)

From the other discussion that has gone on before, it would be fair to say that any rating will have to be a realitivistic one, specifically relative to the rest of the system the given component is in. However, as was suggested once before, hopefully some common patterns would arrise that helps define certain products.

At the very least it would be nice to have a common ground, common understanding that could be provided by a such a rating system.

Rova, your list is much more comprehensive and if people would be willing to rate cables at that level it'd be very informative. But it seems this thread is somewhat of a bust. If someone here knows someone in the review business, they should suggest that professional reviewers provide such metrics. I know some reviewers rate some of these qualities on an scale of 0-100, with 100 being "best." What I'd rather know is what the thing itself is without value judgments of what is desirable.
Sounds very liberal. Let's not tell anyone why something is good when we can avoid the issue completely and describe a bunch of random characteristics. Let's not call a baby a baby, we'll just call it a fetus...and don't even get me started on the whole, not calling a terrorist a terrorist idea! Call the freakin Cable Company and try as many as you reality, not someone else's take on it:O) Unless of course you like avoiding reality.
I don't buy that the characteristics of cables varies depend on the components they are connecting. Cable is a passive component. It can't sound rich in one system and thin in another. Rova's explanation is more plausible. People's perception to their cable is set based on what kind of flaws their system had, and how the cable covered them up..
Jyle: ???? You lost me completely.
Cable is a passive component
Yup. So is a resistor, capacitor, etc.
The problem with this approach is that any attemp to provide a semi quantitative evalution of cable performance will be ENTIRELY system dependent. Cables cannot be evaluted out of the system context and I have yet to read where bench measurements are predictive of system performance.
Interesting discussion, however, not much movement towards a consensus. I suppose this is to be expected as we don't live my a hive social structure.

Why not use Rova's criteria/definitions, mash it up with the scaling Nasaman employed. We all know it's all going to be quite subjective. But, if we first state the cables being evaluated, include a list of the components/brands in each rig, throw in a little something about our listening spaces, whether a glass cube, anechoic chamber, or somewhere in between, we'd at least get off the starting blocks. Of course initially there'll be lots of noise in the stats, but after a while, patterns will emerge, perhaps provding some useful insight...or not. What we take away from this excersize will be at the discretion of the reader.

There are no absolutes, and as long as we can accept that, then this can be informative, fun, and encourage further spirited debate..

That being said, i'll take the cowardly route, and opt out of participating initially, as I don't yet trust my instincts. But from what i've read from others over the past few months, there are more than a few, whose opinions I would trust.
I rated cables thru my system. They will SOUND diff in yours, but I can bet my life that the Nordost Valhalla will sound more DETAIL and forward than the (modified) extension cord from Home Depot IF YOU COMPARE THEM in YOUR system. And this is all the O.P's intension, I hope.
If few of us (and myself) are so much into technical and accuracy, it'd take alot of time to test them out and that I'd understand why you woulnd't want to constribute. But, C'mon, life isn't all that complicated...
What Dave b said (X2)!
What Rodman99999 said (X4)! I love this game, let's keep playing...Huh huh huh huh (said with childlike abandonment in my best Patrick Star voice) =:O )

That would require quantitative measurements that I do not think exist.

We can offer subjective opinions though.
"...I love this game, let's keep playing...Huh huh huh huh "

OMG, me so dummy! Thought y'all were serious the whole time, huh huh huh?

MapMan, "...We can offer subjective opinions though."
And that's all we can offer.
I was channeling my inner Patrick...couldn't figure out how to convey his primal laugh/grunt however, so sorry:( Are you channeling Sandy, Nasaman?
I can hardly believe there is still so little understanding from so very many.

ROVA, thank you for attempting to bring a good concept further along. I think the idea is great, and would feel very comfortable using it. I do wish those who do not know what they are talking about would stop talking and listen every now and then. They just might learn something if they stopped nay saying and started listening.

Oh well, that is too much to ask. I will put together my experiences with both speaker cables and Interconnects per ROVA's suggested format and post it later.

Jade Audio
Rova and Jadem6, despite my love of Spongebob and a good laugh once in a while (even a not so good laugh), my experience with cabling has been vast and with a ton of varying gear. That said, I hesitate to pontificate because I know the fallacy of trying to pin down a moving target. The list of attributes you are listing heavily overlap the domains of the ancillary equipment /speakers involved, let alone the room/environment and accessories. The adult thing to do more Robert Stein at the Cable Company and ask for advice, then try as many cables as you want before you then buy what works for YOU!! No variables, no hyperbole, no bad jokes, nothing but real cables in your system with your ears. End of story =:- )
Well Dave I of course agree, nothing is better than trying real cables in ones real system. Of course equipment matters, more than anything. Of course a room will change how each piece of equipment works, but we all should know this. I do not think the idea here is to have absolute results, and I would hope people would not buy simply from reading some persons opinions on Audiogon.

It seems to me there are more than enough Audiogon police telling us to use our ears, and cables do not matter. I appreciate your insight, and for ten years have respected your views, I do however think this would be a useful idea.

That being said, I can not believe you have ever found Nordost Valhalla to be soft, warm and rolled off. I doubt with the slowest amp in the world you would conclude anything other than Valhalla is more detailed, faster and has a finer leading edge on a bass note than most cables. The opinion will still be a comparative one, and on any equipment, Nordost will be...

I can not believe you have ever heard a Purest Dominus sound like a Nordost Valhalla, one any system it will have similar comparative values to each other. If you disagree, and you have found Dominus to be thin, etched and more detailed than Valhalla, I bow to your amazing wisdom.

In my opinion, cables are relative to each other, and the relativity is a near constant. Of course each system sounds different, thus the need to have an understanding of how some popular cables will behave it their system. The point of a guide is to narrow the field, then yes, go to Cable Company and try cables that might match your needs, but trying every cable is crazy. The last guy who did that was institutionalized for two years. Poor guy...

Oh yea, that was me.
Jadem6 just put the post script on my thoughts and I do concur with his opinions regarding the aforementioned cables and their characteristics. I was just trying to be UN-characteristicaly Dave b in an attempt to not pontificate or have anyone waste to much of their time and money out in the naked cable jungle:O )
06-24-09: Dave_b
Rova and Jadem6, despite my love of Spongebob and a good laugh once in a while (even a not so good laugh), my experience with cabling has been vast and with a ton of varying gear. That said, I hesitate to pontificate because I know the fallacy of trying to pin down a moving target. The list of attributes you are listing heavily overlap the domains of the ancillary equipment /speakers involved, let alone the room/environment and accessories.

Absolutely, all parts of the system affect the end sound; some to a greater degree than another. If you read my post closely I readily addmitted the attributes I chose were not cable specific but generic. Do other components have a greater influence than cables, sure.

The adult thing to do more Robert Stein at the Cable Company and ask for advice, then try as many cables as you want before you then buy what works for YOU!! No variables, no hyperbole, no bad jokes, nothing but real cables in your system with your ears. End of story =:- )

Really? So the only opinion that counts is Robert Stein's? {No disrespect to Mr. Stein who I don't know personally.) I do agree that the only opinion that really counts is your own, after hearing the cable in your own system. However, if I follow your reasoning then we could just eliminate the discussion forums altogether. After all there is no point discussing cables as there can be no common point of reference. The discussion would be totally pointless so just get cables from Robert Stein and don't bother talking about it.


I'm not naive enough to think we can absolutely pin down any component, never mind cables, using a subjective system regardless of how precise we make the words. However, I can see the benefits of hobbyists sharing their experiences with each other. I was only proposing we come up with some common languages and / or common scales with which we have these discussions. I find that when many users have positive things to say about a component then there is probably something good up with that component. If most of those users mention a common characteristic then there's a pretty good chance that I would find the same thing in my system (certainly not a guarantee though).

Is there a problem with sharing our experiences with each other?

Anyway, for my choice I prefer Zero-va speaker cables and Zero-va interconnects. Why? Because I designed them and I built them and they work fantastic. 'nough said!

"Is there a problem with sharing our experiences with each other?"
Maybe they only have 1 set.
Rova, sharing is good. I appreciate your opinion and concede, that when there is overwhelming support for a product, it may be worth looking into. My previous post, which I think you missed, states what I was trying not to do. I do have some pretty good insights into alot of things audio and I do pontificate and share readily when asked to do so on an individual basis by E-mail. This is all good stuff and should be taken as great fun. The product placement part of your post was probably not the best way to end your sincere kinda blows your 'Cred a little? Maybe not...I'll check out your stuff for fun if I can assuming you market them on the web. Robert Stein, owner of the Cable Company, who is a great human being and business man, is a neutral party with records of individual audiophiles systems and cable success's. It can be a an invaluable place to start or end up, depending on your level of patience.