@jmeyers - WRT:
I tend to think that the "nay-sayers" probably fall into two categories. There are those people who simply don’t own systems good enough to enable the differentiation that is there
An interesting thought, but in my experience over the past 5-6 years, any system is quite capable of achieving a noticeable improvement in sound quality by implementing "better cables"
- I have a mini-system in my garage that sounded so much better after I replaced the power cable and the speaker cables
- I have a Bluesound Node 2 that sounded much better with a good power cable - so much so, even the sales person in the store where I purchased it from, could not believe a power cable could make that much of an improvement
- Similarly, my neighbors remote Bose Speaker sounded much better after the power cable was replaced.
- My brothers very affordable audio system improved beyond his expectations when I replaced his speaker and interconnect cables.
Having said that - you DO have to have the right cables to make such an audible improvement :-)
Most cables can make some difference - not necessarily for the better
However, many people are just not "educated" in what to listen for.
That education can take many 100’s of hours of very intent listening on a vast variety of albims/tracks
For example, over the years I have collected over 60 very specific audition tracks that I have come to rely on to highlight some of the specific metrics we tend to use to gauge a cables performance...
- very dynamic tracks - mostly drums and piecing guitar work
- tracks with excellent acoustic and electric bass work
- tracks with extremely large image with lots of space between performers
- tracks with exquisitely fine details - acoustic guitar can be very revealing
- tracks with excellent venue acoustics i.e. the reverberations and echoes
- tracks that have excellent sound engineering - i.e. electronic music
All of these help me in assess how well a cable performs (or not)
If you go into an audition with a random selection of "nice sounding" music, you are probably not going to get the most out of that audition, but if you take the time to "educate" your hearing and use very specific tracks then you will be more successful.
The other thing is to take those tracks and audition them on other systems, be it a friends or a stores system, to see how they sound in comparison to your own system.
I was fortunate in that I had some excellent stores in my area that did not mind me listening to their systems and chatting about the advantages of one system versus another.
And don’t be frightened of sale people - they seldom know what they are listening for.
But once in a while one will surprise you, so become buddies with them, because they can save you a lot of money.
A "real audition" should take at least a couple of days, because it takes time for the cables to seat into the sockets and to "settle down" - a bit like a mini-burn-in. I generally wait at least 24 hours.
If the cables are new - they should be burned in before assessing
- I’ve had new cables that continue to improve after 400 hours
So, getting a new pair of cables and expecting to hear a difference immediately might be a little ambitious, but sometimes a cable will surprise you.
The world of cables is vast and complex and is far more than just relying on a specific brand.
Factors that affect cable performance include
- Cable geometry
- wire metallurgy
- wire gauge
- wire insulation type
- impact of high capacitance speaker cables on some solid state amps
So take the time to educate yourself - that is - if you really want to KNOW whether a cable is going to perform well in YOUR system
Just my two cents worth :-)
Regards - Steve