Do all good interconnects sound the same?


Before you get angry with me this is not my personal point of view. I have noticed differences in each of my interconnects. But I came across an article by highly acclaimed audio designer Rodger Sanders of Sanders Sound Systems. Formally of Innersound Speakers. His new model 10c won the Golden Ear award for 2010. I've never heard his new system but I like the Innersound stuff I heard. Here is a comment from the white papers on cables cut from his website. What do you guys think?

"There is no doubt that speaker cables can exert a small influence on the sound of your audio system. But interestingly, all well-designed interconnects sound identical". Rodger Sanders

His IC's are fairly inexpensive made from Belden Cable of some form. Has anyone tried them and what did you think?
detredwings
This will be a never ending argument. The answer to your thread is NO. First of all, he's trying to do what? sell his products, of course he'll say that. His products may won the award, but hey , the prettiest girl almost never won Miss USA Pageant. Going back to IC sound, if you're going from silver IC to cooper to gold, that my friend is a huge different already regardless of the price. The make up of the rest of your system will have the final say on what kind of IC should be use.
Nguyen-Great answer!
of coarse they will sound different. i went from ps audio copper, to dh labs silver. both well designed, both similar in price, two completely different sounding cables.
Actually I'm with you guys on this. I was doing research on buying some new IC's and I came across his white technical papers and found them to be an interesting read. I've spent more than a few dollars on wire.
He says he uses these IC's with his $13,000 speaker system and I was just really curious if anyone has heard them? His white papers are worth a look if nothing else.
My intent was not to start a debate. Just curious as I'm looking at trying some new IC's. I don't think his main goal is to sell interconnects. He seems to think they are mostly a waste of money. I found his view strange for someone in this industry.
There will always be an argument to be made about which interconnect sounds best, and in the end, it depends on the system that it is being used in. I don't think that there can be any argument that they all sound different. That is just a fact.
Do all good interconnects sound the same?

Of course not.Everyone knows you must spend at least $2500.00 on a set of ic's,anything cheaper will be a waste of time!!!!!!! :)
WHAT? all interconnects do not sound the same? heresy!
WHAT? all interconnects sound the same? heresy!
Pick one. start arguing.
Of all arguements in audiophilia, this has to be the most beaten.
BORING.

I would love to see if someone can do a "Pepsi Challenge" on an ultra-expensive system, switching out cheap interconnects with four-figure versions.
I think it would be informative to have a dozen audiophiles listen to a half dozen sets of different interconnects in Roger Sanders' system and report back on what they hear.

Blind. Double blind. Whatever.
...the point to my above post being that perhaps in Roger's system, the effects of interconnects are mitigated.

Ralph Karsten also is of the opinion that in a balanced system that adheres to the 600ohm impedance standard, one will not hear a difference among interconnects.

So, perhaps the answer depends on the specific system.
Maybe his system isn't revealing enough to hear a difference? :P
since sanders makes and sells inexpensive interconnects, one might conclude that his white paper is self-serving, but from my own admittedly skewed experience, i think his conclusions are correct--i really believe that in truly blind testing very few listeners will be able to discern differences in ics. people who have invested alot in their cables obviously want to believe that their investment was worthwhile, but, again, the proof's in the laboratory.
For several easily explainable technical reasons, in many systems interconnect cables certainly can and do sound different, at least to a minor degree. That does not necessarily mean that the systems in which those differences appear are "more revealing."

In general, the higher the output impedance of the component driving the cable, the greater the significance that will be assumed by cable capacitance, and perhaps by other cable effects as well.

Also, balanced cables and interfaces are inherently much less prone to interaction between signal return currents and inter-chassis noise currents, ground loops, etc., than single-ended (unbalanced) cables. The significance of those kinds of effects will be dependent on various technical happenstances in the component designs, in the ac power quality and distribution scheme, and in the emi/rfi environment. In the case of unbalanced cables, lower resistance in the shield or other return conductor of the cable will lessen those effects.

Of course, cable length is also an important variable in all of this.

As Tvad mentioned, Atmasphere has made the point that in the case of components having balanced interfaces, and where the driving component can drive 600 ohms without adverse effects (the majority of audiophile-oriented components with balanced interfaces cannot do that), cable effects can be expected to be negligible or non-existent.

Besides these technical factors, there also would seem to be ample anecdotal evidence that cable differences may exist that are not technically explainable.

HOWEVER, THE FACT THAT DIFFERENCES EXIST DOES NOT BY ANY MEANS NECESSARILY MEAN THAT A MORE EXPENSIVE CABLE WILL OUTPERFORM A LESS EXPENSIVE CABLE IN ANY GIVEN SYSTEM.

As I have said in some other cable threads in the past, the real question is not if differences exist, but how strong is the correlation between performance and price. The correlation is obviously not 0 (no correlation), and it is obviously not 1 (perfect correlation). It lies somewhere in between, and my feeling, based on the technical factors that are involved and on my reading of the anecdotal evidence that has been reported, is that it is toward the loose end of that range (i.e., closer to 0 than to 1).

In other words, while differences certainly exist, given the known technical factors which result in some of those differences, given the system dependency that is typically involved, given the whole area of system synergy, and given that some cables have unconventional parameters that make them non-neutral by design, in many cases I would expect a well made but inexpensive cable to outperform one that costs far more.

Regards,
-- Al
Not only do all interconnects sound different, but the same interconnect can sound different depending what it is attached to. Price also does not mean one cable is better than another. That is why you must listen, and find the cable that works for you and your system. Recommendations from others mean little for your ultimate "best"
The answer is clearly no based on what I have heard.

True that in some scenarios, some or even many may sound the same or similar, but definitely not all sound the same. In each case, it will depend. The only way to know is to listen and determine for yourself.
Al...as usual very helpful and thoughtful response. Thk u sir.

"Sound different" and there being an actual audible difference aren't one and the same. According to some, placing photographs of yourself in your freezer will result in your system "sounding" different and provides an excellent example of how are perceptions can be rather trivially influenced.

Suffice to say that to date, no one has yet demonstrated actual audible differences between cables beyond what can be easily measured and is within known thresholds.
the key phrase is "well designed". this term has not been described.

what are the criteria for the designation "well designed".

in a "blind" test, i will wager that i can identify which cable is "in" a stereo system, provided i select the cables and stereo system.

it would seem obvious that, depending on the stereo sytem, it would be very easy to distinguish between interconnect cables.
So ics Have a sound to them? I would suspect the best a "Well designed" cable could do is let what is downstream hear exactly what upstream is playing nothing more nothing less.
Here we go again...down the cable discussion abyss.

Never fails.

Groundhog Day.
His products may won the award, but hey , the prettiest girl almost never won Miss USA Pageant.

In defense of Sanders products, which I've heard twice, they are certainly worthy of recognition at that level IMHO.

On interconnects; compare them yourself and use what works for you at the price you are willing to spend.

I am always amazed that some of the people that design some of the best audio components use some of the crappiest components to drive them with or listen to them from. My belief is a good amplifier designer should have experience with a good range of speakers. A speaker designer should have a number of amplifiers/preamplifiers to listen to. More to the point a cable designer should have both tube and solid state amps/preamps and a verity of speakers to design with.
No surprise that Rodger does not.
My opinion you don't need to respect it, my wife doesn't either.

Jim
Interconnect arguments.

The Third Rail of audio.
I am always amazed that some of the people that design some of the best audio components use some of the crappiest components to drive them with or listen to them from.

This has not been my experience at all. From the shows I've attended, and the hand full of manufacturers I know, I've found that by far the vast majority are very selective about which components they build their show systems from, and about which companion gear/manufacturers they choose to show with. It would not be in their best interests to do anything less, and their livelihood depends upon it. Can you give us a few examples of manufacturers who you've observed using "crappy" components to showcase their own products?

More to the point a cable designer should have both tube and solid state amps/preamps and a verity of speakers to design with.
No surprise that Rodger does not.

What makes you think Roger Sanders has not tried a variety of components in order to form the opinion he has? This implies you know a whole lot about Roger Sanders, except how to spell his name.

My opinion you don't need to respect it, my wife doesn't either.

I'm with your wife.
Do all well designed cars get you from point A to point B?

The question then becomes "how was the trip"?
The Third Rail of audio.
Magfan (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
The Third Rails of Audio:
1) Analog vs. Digital
2) Tubes vs. Solid State
3) Power Cords
4) Interconnects
5) Why Does it Cost So Much When the Parts Only Cost...?

To be continued...
The Third Rail of audio.
Magfan (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

The Third Rails of Audio:
1) Analog vs. Digital
2) Tubes vs. Solid State
3) Power Cords
4) Interconnects
5) Why Does it Cost So Much When the Parts Only Cost...?

It's a wonder any of us are still alive if that is the case!

Those two don't look dangerous to me.

I wonder what they were paid back then to look out for the third rail.
Yes, all good interconnects cost the same excepting the very good interconnects which are overpriced but underrated.

Bad interconnects cost less and are generally underpriced but overrated.

Really bad interconnects cost much less but are more or less overpriced but under appreciated.
all amps sound the same
all cables sound the same
all Doubting Thomas's sound the same
Do all good interconnects sound the same?

No, they sound different. Note however that different doesn't mean better or worse, only you can determine that.

Cheers,
John
Oops. I misread the OP's question.

Sound the same and cost the same are certainly different.

My previous post makes absolutely no sense but then again that was the intention.

But the answer is yes, all good interconnects sound the same. As do all good speakers and good amplifiers.
But the answer is yes, all good interconnects sound the same. As do all good speakers and good amplifiers.

Welcome to another episode of "Fishing with Bill!"
Sanders is right. If your goal is to pass the signal encoded in the software, well designed wires will pass it (nearly) unscathed. All you need are components, speakers and room/set up, as well as well trained ears, to realize the perfect replication when you hear it.

But, I suspect, nothing in the chain has the potential for passing a signal unscathed, so the purpose in buying specific designs/brands of wire is to correct for other deficiencies in the components, i.e. creating synergy between less than perfect components so that the end result is a sound that meets your expectations.

Wires certainly can make a difference, for better or worse, depending on what you are trying you to do with them. Or not, for a lot of reasons.

BTW, in response to your last question, I think you could do far worse than using Belden Cables, including Canare 4s11, or Blue Jeans IC's, until you gained the sophistication to understand your components needs for something more specific to get you to where you want to end up. You may justifiably never feel the need to change, or you may acquire a component which will benefit by using a different wire. But, IMHO, it is not about design or cost so much as synergy.

"Be careful, it's a jungle out there".............
(1) If all interconnects were "perfect" then they would sound exactly the same. This is an indisputable truth and is what the Sanders quote means.

(2) The degree to which the interconnect deviates the signal is the degree to which it is FLAWED. Thus, interconnects only sound "different" because they are FLAWED. The notion that good interconnects sound different is simply bogus. It is all about which FLAWED interconnect suits your system the best.
hi nicotico:

since no components are perfect does it follow that no components sound the same ?
No, they sound different to the degrees to which they are flawed, where "flawed" is defined as alteration of the signal.