Do Cable Makers Know Their Own Products?


Like most of you, I have owned cables from many different manufacturers. How many of these cables are truly distinct from similar products put out by competing manufacturers? In my experience, there are some truly distinct cables out there but most fall into a gray area when they meet my system.

I was wondering if manufacturers would be able to recognize their own cables if they were put in a room with a high end system with someone conducting true A/B testing. For the sake of argument, let's say we put 5 top manufacturers in a room to test their top interconnects, speaker cables and power cords -- and their next-to-top interconnects, speaker cables and power cords. That means 5 manufacturers listening to 10 models of each cable. Before the testing begins we give them an hour to get used to the sound of this system. Would they be able to pick out their own cables?
sabai
Interesting question. However, since many folks believe cables are system-dependent, how each cable sounds on given system might be completely different than the factory reference system. Can you imagine being the manufacturer, and, after listening to a couple of good sounding cables you hear a sound that's dark, dull and constricted. You state "those sound like crap" then admit they're yours. For this to work, it would take a level of honesty I don't think exists with cables.
Mt10425,
You state "how each cable sounds on given system might be completely different than the factory reference system." Absolutely correct. Which is why I say "we give them an hour to get used to the sound of this system".

You state "For this to work, it would take a level of honesty I don't think exists with cables." Absolutely correct, in most cases, IMHO. Can you imagine one cable sounding fantastic and only one manufacturer wanting to claim its theirs? Or can you imagine one cable sounding really bad and even one manufacturer stepping up to the plate admitting its theirs?

So, my point is "how honest do you think cable makers are?"
If a manufacturer can identify cables, speakers, amplifier, preamp or anything else it means their product has obvious colorations. The real question is can you identy these products by their sound.
What a great question. I suspect many could not.

Rrog, cables can provide distinct characteristics besides tonal value. There is speed, tempo, dynamics, focus, leading edge definition, soundstage, imaging... it goes on well beyond coloration.
Jadem6, Thank you, I did not know that. And what do you think creates those effects you mentioned? Could it be tonal balance? Please don't tell us it is magic or materials developed by NASA because we have heard all of that crap already. We have enough hokus pokus and snake oil dumped on us already. In reality it is all about just the right tonal balance to suite an individual's taste, nothing more.
Furthermore, if it is true that they cannot identify their own products how can they make their perpetual claims that their cables will improve the sound in everyone's system to everyone's liking?
How is it that their new cable has a black background, the next version has a blacker background, the next version has an ink black background, the next version has a jet back background, the next version has an ultra black background -- and the next version will have a (fill in the blank) black background.

How much blackness can a person take? Does it ever end or does the blackness just keep on getting blacker and blacker? And how can you tell the difference between black, blacker, blackest -- and blacker yet -- in these 10 different cables from 5 different cable makers?
Sabai, how about the description "neutral"? How can a cable (or any component) be "more neutral" than another? More or less neutral? To the right or left of neutral?
Mt10425,
That is a very good question. What the heck does neutral mean?
I don't think you could ever make this experiment happen, but I would love to be there if it did. :)
"Neutral" in the context of audio to me always meant that a stereo system is capable of reproducing the sound of a recording without altering it. How one actually knows the sound of a recording is another story! LOL
Sabai,
Reb1208, Do all of your recordings have a similar character or do they have their own character? Do all of your recordings tend to be on the lean side, the warm side or are they somewhere in between?
it is impossible to know the sound of a component, because, it is part of a stereo system. you can't listen to a component by itself.

you can't know what a recording sounds like.

my assertions can proven by applying number theory. essentially it is about the nature of a diophantine equation.

regarding cables being colored. all components are colored. they are not perfect. they have flaws. listen to a stereo system long enough and you will observe deviations from neutrality.

the problem with experiments designed to have a listener detect differences, is the tendency for listener fatigue to set in and aural acuity will suffer. the differential threshold will increase making it more difficult to detect differences.

one has to be rigorous in the design of an experiment. there are principles of psychophysics that need to be followed.

the idea of trying to hear differences between too many objects is inadvisable.

why not listen to two cables at a time, and carry the experiment over some period of time. keep the exposure to a musical; signal relatively short, so as not to degrade auditory memory.

what has been proposed is a very complex undertaking.
"it is impossible to know the sound of a component, because, it is part of a stereo system. you can't listen to a component by itself."

Mrtennis, Maybe this statement is true for you. However, it is not true for me.
Rrog,
The recordings in my system vary according to the quality of the production. Great recordings sound great -- not lean or warm.

Mrtennis,
IMO what has been proposed is not complex. We are only talking about testing 2 cables from each of 5 manufacturers in each cable class -- interconnects, speaker cables and power cords. I believe this would be fairly simple to do. IMO if there is a complex part it would be be the manufacturers trying to figure out which cables are theirs.
Furthermore, we have all read that the best cables do nothing -- they just allow the music to come through in all its naturalness. Then how come all of these interconnects, speaker cables and power cords from these 5 top manufacturers sound different?

Which one or which ones are those that are supposed to be doing nothing? And how do we know they are doing nothing? One maker might claim their cables are doing nothing and that the cables from all the other manufacturers are doing something but how can any manufacturer prove to us that their cables are doing nothing?
hi rrog:

could you please explain how you can ascertain the sound of a component ?

thanks
Tiltedhalos,
I would also love to be there. But of course it will never happen. Cable makers would never put themselves in such a dangerous situation where it might be revealed that they could not even recognize their own cables. But I truly believe that would be the outcome in many cases.
I have no idea why this innocuous post of mine was disallowed seeing that my earlier post about black background was posted to the thread (above). So I will resubmit. Surely discussing the black background that so many cable makers claim for their cables is not a subject that crosses any line.

Here is my post that was disallowed:

"Furthermore, if these cables are doing nothing, according to the manufacturers, then where is all the blackness coming from? If one cable gives a blacker background than another cable then surely both are doing something. If this is so then how can they say their cables are doing nothing and then talk about blackness?"
Furthermore, when you think about it, what does blackness mean when used by makers to describe the sound of a cable in an audio system? Does it mean the cable produces sonic images that are clear, or clearer than before -- more detailed or transparent or dynamic or more tonally correct? Does it mean the cable produces sonic images that have more of a 3D or holographic presence? If so, what does any of this have to do with the word black? At a concert I have never heard people talking about the blackness of the background during intermission.

Is it assumed by cable makers that, since we know the meaning of the word black, that we must know the meaning of the word blackness when we hear it a sound system with a specific cable that is supposed to produce that blackness? What about those various shades of black? Is it also assumed that we know their meaning, as well?
NO...

not because they do not know the flavor of their cable,
it is that the cross-overs in use and the speaker elements
change - hid what the cable could-should sound like.

Until we stop using cross-overs, the cable confusion will
continue to be an on going problem.
Purist does i dont know about the other dudes,Dude.