DO CABLES REALLY MATTER?


Yes they do.  I’m not here to advocate for any particular brand but I’ve heard a lot and they do matter. High Fidelity reveal cables, Kubala Sosna Elation and Clarity Cable Natural. I’m having a listening session where all of them is doing a great job. I’ve had cables that were cheaper in my system but a nicely priced cable that matches your system is a must.  I’m not here to argue what I’m not hearing because I have a pretty good ear.  I’m enjoying these three brands today and each is presenting the music differently but very nicely. Those who say cables don’t matter. Get your ears checked.  I have a system that’s worth about 30 to 35k retail.  Now all of these brands are above 1k and up but they really are performing! What are your thoughts. 
calvinj
 Cables are very impotant to the resolution of a high end system i totally agree.

Yes, I agree as well and have heard improvement in a 1k system. Let the games begin.

Better cables better sound
" Cables are very important to the resolution of a high end system"
+1 
Post removed 
Listening to insanely priced Kubala sosna elation tonight on loan and they deliver beautiful sound for the price of a late model Japanese used car.  Lol.  Honestly, some of the high priced cables are way up there but some of them deliver beautiful sound.  I will be listening to the ct2 high fidelity next week! Can’t wait!

calvinj

which cables/cords are you looking to replace?

Which brand/model(s) are you currently using?

Happy Listening!

All Cables make a big difference, Power, Interconnect & Speaker Cables. There is also the very important matter of Cable Synergy. I have enough Components for 6 Systems, although only 3 Set-Up currently. Some Cables mate beautifully between some Components but not as well between others. Was just swapping out some different Cables for Bass & Mids/High's in one of my Set-up's whe I read this post, the differences are easily heard.
I’m not looking to replace anything. I actually had the opportunity to review the Kubala sosna elation from a dealer I buy from. I compared it to the cables I am now using. I’m happy with the cables I’m using I just wanted to see how something different sounded and the Kubala sosna elation sound really good. But price prohibitive power cords are 2k new Interconnects 7k new and speaker cables are 9k plus. They sound great in my system to tell the truth but I’m not going in that stratosphere. I get great sounds from high fidelity reveal and clarity Cable. The kabala elation is good as advertised though. The whip the butt of the KS emotion. Smooth yet musical and highly transparent. 
Do cables matter?

They certainly do!

I find my system sounds much more engaging with cables!

Yuk, yuk! 🤡
Absolutely, but there are a plethora of really good cables.  You do not have to spend stratosphere money.
Of course cables matter. The argument should never be debated with the premise of "regular vs high priced" cables. That's a fool's errand.
Just a look at what there is to offer in your price range will reveal sonic differences.

Set your parameters and have at it. Trust your ears.

All the best,
Nonoise
Of course cables matter. How else would the signal travel? Bluetooth? Wi-Fi? 

Failing that a straightened coat hanger will do just as well as blind listening tests prove.

Me, I'm happy with decent budget OFC off Amazon. As most of the world's recording studios are.
How else can the signal travel? Has anyone considered Quantum Teleportation?
Anyway to my serious posters. I’m happy with the cables I have now. I just wanted to hear different ones in my system.  There is always costs benefit trade offs. There are those that can afford and are willing to go to the stratosphere. Best sound at all costs.  But for some who have highly resolving systems it’s worth every dime. If you can’t hear the difference clean you ears 
I hate that we have people that make fun of hearing what we actually here instead of being serious. If you don’t like cables take your chicken wire and beat it
I hate that we have people that make fun of hearing what we actually here instead of being serious. If you don’t like cables take your chicken wire and beat it
👍

Chicken wire? Huh? If you’re referring to me, I don’t use cables myself but have no problem with anyone who does. Lighten up, it’s only a hobby. 😀
Not referring to anyone in particular.  Lol
@nonoise I agree trust your ears. 
calvinj,

Your posts are a bit confusing here.

On one hand you started a thread shouting "DO CABLES REALLY MATTER?"
Presumably this question would be posed to all of us, including those who may be skeptical. After all, why would you pose that question only to people who already think they matter?


Then you tell any skeptics to get their ears checked.


And then asked for opinions on what you wrote.

But then, it seems if someone voices a skeptical view you want to say "Go Away!"

So...who are you talking to?

Not confusing at all.  I post quite a bit.  I don’t mind serious conversation at all I just don’t care for all of the goofy talk. It seems like on most threads I been on certain folks come on and start making up words and talking goofy. I don’t mind skepticism but keep the conversation real!
prof, good catch. It appears he’s here to brag about the cost of his system and magnificent hearing.

calvinj,

Ok. Then if you don’t mind some questions:

I see those are some fairly expensive cables.

Do you believe such expense is required to get the type of fidelity and sound quality you are hearing from your sources?

Consider: The vast majority of recordings you likely listen to were made using non-boutique cables, priced nothing like what you would have paid for those. And yet, every detail you are hearing now through your expensive cables was conveyed by those far less expensive, non-audiophile-marketed cables used to make many of the sources you are listening to. If you are swooning to, for instance, any of the older audiophile classic recordings, none of these boutique cables with their new-fangled technology claims were around then. And as someone who works in post sound, and has also been in many music studios as well, I would point out a great many of the cables used (and there is so much involved in microphones, recording/studios/monitoring/mixing/mastering etc) are not going to be Nordost or any of the boutique brands you are listening to. (The last big recording/mixing studio I worked for had someone building Canare and Belden cables all the time - far cheaper than many boutique audiophile brands, yet closer to being the industry standard than any audiophile brand).

What does that suggest to you, as to whether the expensive cables were really necessary to convey the level of fidelity you are hearing?
Take an old photograph made with old technology. Do you think you can accurately reproduce it with better tech? Of course. If you were to take that old photo and took a photo of it with the same old tech it was originally taken with, you'd end up with a degraded facsimile. 

Do it enough times and you'd have an awful looking photo compared to the original. All of that old tech was good enough to arrive at it's present state of existence. Now, the order of the day is to faithfully reproduce what you have with something of an order better than the original so as to not further degrade it. 

In fact, you can pull off of that recording things you wouldn't/couldn't get with the older tech. They do it all the time when remastering.

All the best,
Nonoise
 I just don’t care for all of the goofy talk...making up words and talking goofy.
similar to boutique cable sellers?
To my ears, a good quality cable makes a significant difference. However, I play in the cheap end of the pool, and buy used, close out deals, and cruise flea bay on a regular basis. I recently picked up a pair of zu audio wyld cables in their outlet for $32.  They sound substantially better than the old audioquest evergreen cables ($18 )to my ears, and at the moment a bit worse than my silver wire interconnects ($28).  I’ll give them some time to break in (yeah, I believe in that too) on my secondary system. 
My point?  Cables can make a definitive difference, there are always deals if you’re willing to hunt for them and be patient, and not everyone who talks about cables is trying to impress/brag upon how much their system cost. 
Rhartshon.  Great catch. Lol.  I agree. They make a difference at all levels. As far as all the jibber jabber from some others I put it in and sounds better to me. I don’t need the science or studio talk. If you provide me airy highs open midrange nice soundstage tight deep bass and transparency I’m happy.   Don’t care how u got there. 
I totally agree with you Calvinj. I don’t need an astrophysicist’s level of understanding how a sunset works to enjoy one.
Right On! calvinj
I have always wanted to audition KS cables and power cords. This company used to have many dealers/retailers. Lately, I have noticed a cut-back in their network?  Feel free to give a shout-out for your local establishment.
Happy Listening!
Thanks fellas. They do sound great. Too bad I ain’t got a brinks truck. Honestly though Kubala elation is great but high fidelity reveal and clarity Cable both do a great job for a lot cheaper.  Just in different ways. On another note I’m tired of the space Martian copper talk when it comes to Cables. If it uses iron from zamunda and don’t sound good I could care less! 
nonoise,
I don't think your analogy quite gets around my point.
If you had a richly detailed Ansel Adams photo, and took a picture of it with a newer camera producing a new version,  every bit of detail you swoon about when looking at that photo speaks to the quality of the original equipment used to take it.   The new camera can't introduce any more information than was already there in the original photo.  So long as we are talking about reproducing the original photo with fidelity (as opposed to taking new photos), it's the information on the original photo that is the only thing left to impress us.


Similarly, every time an audiophile with expensive cables swoons over the finger picking on strings, or delicate reverb trails in his system, he is swooning over the information conveyed by the original cables used for the recording. The cables used in creating the source didn't need to be one "better" (and more expensive) than the one preceding it.   If cables used for the creation of the source (again...LOTS are involved along the way) were THAT detrimental to the signal, the sound reaching your system would be crap, whatever cables you used to try and get that information back.  But that's not the case - you will still be amazed at the signal you are listening to because non-audiophile cables - many of them one after the other - are fully capable of preserving the detail you are hearing.  A well constructed cable should continue to reproduce the full signal fed to it, and on to the next (properly chosen) cable. 


Your appeal to mastering eaking out more detail is a red herring here:  that's a function of playing with fequency response/eq/compression to emphasize whatever the mastering engineer wishes to emphasize - or "fix" by re-balancing the signal.  The engineer would still be using only the information available to him that made it through the original cables used for the source.






calvinj,

It seems to me, at least thus far, that you only wanted a one-way conversation: you telling us cables make a difference, asking what we thought, but not really caring and implying critical questions are just jibber jabber.


Did you not think it worth replying to my question to you?
So prof, a question for you then.

Supposing a studio uses a certain grade of cable, and cost had something to do with it. If that same studio went Nordost (or similar) would there then be a higher ceiling for how “good” the sound would be and that ceiling could only be reached by using a Nordost or similar cable?  Or is the studio grade stuff they’re already using as good as you feel a cable has the ability to sound?
One overall observation to this topic - I often find that the things I like about how a tweak makes my music sound are not always the things that are the truest to the music. I’ve heard some vocalists that live will make your ears bleed, but through the magic of mixing in the studio become quite listenable. In that case, aren’t we already giving up the idea of audio purity and chasing what sounds good?  That’s an entirely different conversation than what the most accurate reproduction of sound is. If all we wanted was accuracy we’d all have studio monitors. 
Hey I’m open to if you believe they don’t. I probably won’t agree though. I test things on really well recorded music and I listen to the music mainly based on those to review the cables and the system. I’m at a point to where I’m maximizing the sound of my equipment. 
But any way enjoy your music and opinions. 
rhartshorn,

Just to make it clear (if it wasn’t already): I’m not an engineer myself and therefore no expert on cables. I remain skeptical about many of the claims made by high end cable manufacturers, but open minded to the possibility some cables sound different (or even "better" in terms of transmitting higher fidelity).

What I’m getting at now is a sort of conundrum I have pointed out before when audiophiles swear by high priced boutique audiophile cables: that they are generally listening to sources created by regular-old pro-grade (one hopes!) cables. Lots of it. So it seems inherently odd to say one "needs" to spend the big bucks on the type of cables mentioned in the OP (let alone the stratospheric prices of many other cables) in order to transmit a truly amazing level of fidelity. "Regular" cable used to create the source clearly is already up to that task.

As to your Nordost question: IF the Nordost cables in question could in fact transmit more information than regular cables, then sure it would make sense similar quality Nordost cables would give you the benefit of recovering that higher level of information. It’s like moving from a 1080p TV to a 4K TV. If you are using a 4K tv to watch only sources captured by a 1080p camera feed, then you will only ever be marvelling at what the 1080p camera could have captured. But if it were a 4K camera capturing more information, and now you have 4K res source to replicate, then the upgrade to 4K TV makes sense in order to see that extra detail.

Does studio grade cable the pinnacle of sound quality, not to be exceeded by audiophile boutique cables? I’m not sure - again, I’m not an EE. The best I can do is look at the discussions between EEs and get my read on the general debate. It seems common to read from people with the relevant expertise - who aren’t trying to sell cables - that you don’t need super expensive cables to successfully transmit everything you want through a cable. That’s been pretty much done for decades and decades with professional grade cables. (For instance, Belden etc).And that it’s possible to make cables sound different - but that’s not the same as "higher fidelity" or producing new or more information that a normal, competently designed and much less expensive cable can transmit.

That’s my read on the debates I’ve read. And like others, my own experience also informs my own hunches as well. That said...though many blind cable tests have not shown people can reliably tell expensive cables apart from well designed cheaper cables, there are *some* blind tests that have yielded apparently positive results.And that’s intriguing. I I’m certainly open minded about it. (Though...again...detecting differences doesn’t automatically equate to "higher fidelity" as if one cable couldn’t transmit all the information for the signal. If one cable simply sculpts the frequencies a bit differently, people may detect that, and even prefer it).

(I used to have quite a number of conversations about all this stuff with the cable-makers at my old studio. They were degreed EEs, very experienced with cables, and stuck pretty much to Canare and Belden for the raw materials. Those cable makers have a long history of expertise and reliability, and supply the type of measured specs, with little additional b.s., that often go missing or buried by marketing hype in the Audiophile market. I had a number of my own AV and audio cables made by those folks that have served me well for many years).






Sorry Prof, I might have missed that you weren’t an engineer. I’m still catching up on who’s who. Your statement is actually quite logical. It would seem that one cannot reproduce sound that is objectively more accurate than the source. I think that might bring my observation more into the forefront then...   we’re actually chasing what sounds good to us and not what is necessarily the most accurate.  I think we might be able to agree that different metals or construction techniques might offer a different sound, and that sound might be more or less pleasant to an individual listener in a given system. However, I’m no engineer either, so I could be wrong. 
An EE cannot tell you what you hear.
Very true. I am of the opinion that if you’re enjoying what you hear then you’re doing it right, whether you’re listening through bent coat hanger or million dollar depleted uranium balanced cables. 
It does make conversations like this difficult though, because enjoyment is subjective, so people look for objectivity in measurements. If those don’t exist to support an opinion, then it may be “right” to the person hearing it, and wrong to the data driven types. 
For myself, I’ll keep tweaking my system and hopefully enjoying the results. 
rja,
Someone with the relevant expertise in EE could certainly predict to a significant degree what you hear. People in audio do it all the time. In my work in post production sound, if I couldn’t predict what you hear my job would be impossible (given I am manipulating sound all day long).

Further, the more you know about sound technology, be it the effects of manipulating various frequencies, what speaker measurements mean, what cable measurements mean, etc, the more you can predict what *you* will hear.

(I’ve known some amazing mixers who often blew me away at how accurately they identified frequency deviations - and knew exactly what things would sound like with a tweak of a dial).

And remember that audio equipment manufacturers, for instance speaker designers, clearly have knowledge about what technical parameters relate to which subjective effects. If they didn’t, they’d all be thrashing around in the dark, and experience, knowledge and expertise would count for nothing. Any decent speaker designer, for instance, would know what to tweak in their crossover design/drivers that will predictably produce, say, a more forward or deeper more recessed soundstage, etc.

Yes, the photograph analogy is good. No one as far as I know in music or film claims that they can improve upon the original recording. This is why the provenance of the recording is so important in remastering. The earlier the copy, the better.

What they can do is to manipulate the original so that it looks/ sounds different. And that’s exactly all what some cables do.
There's been a lot of discussion about recording on past threads with recording engineers already weighing in on this topic. Some say it's all bunk and some say otherwise. Some even say that when budget allows, some studios opt for better cables than originally used. 

There was even a link that showed where one studio went with Nordost cables and were impressed with the improvement. But all of that can be discounted as some kind of quid pro quo, couldn't it?

I don't know how many times this topic can come up but it will continue to do so as long as some here have an axe to grind.

All the best,
Nonoise
It will. Some have an axe to grind. There are those of us that know that they make a difference based on the ability of your system to be resolving and transparent 
Pardon me for butting in, prof you are in post production sound?
I didn't mean to infer that it was your axe to grind, @calvinj . 
Threads like these are done in shorthand. 

Just in my price range, I have about half a dozen cables which I try out with every new component. I have two that are my go to cables but I always try out the others to hear how they fare and they seem to have the same qualities and limits that they always do, even when judging a new component.

All the best,
Nonoise
No problem nonoise.  Wasn’t referring to you.  Some just don’t believe in cables.  Some of us do.  We all,spend different amounts. It’s cool 
nonoise
There was even a link that showed where one studio went with Nordost cables and were impressed with the improvement. But all of that can be discounted as some kind of quid pro quo, couldn't it?

>>>>I suppose it could be some kind of quid pro quo. But that seems more like a conclusion drawn by a determined naysayer or pseudo skeptic. If you could find a CD of Indian classical music on the Moment! label that uses audiophile cables in the recording process you would hear the advantage of high end cables in the studio. But these things can be difficult to prove. Someone naysayer could argue, Oh, it’s not the cables, it’s the engineering. Oh, please! That’s why these cable debates have been going on unabated for what, 40 years?