Does the quality of an older interconnect degrade the sound over time?


I've got some cables that are as old as 25 years old.  My newest cables are probably 12-15 years old. I'm curious as to whether it is time to replace them with current offerings.   Thanks!


shtinkydog
I don't really think so.

How are your room acoustics?? :) That's a place to invest in.

Otherwise if your DAC is older than 8-10 years, then that is definitely a place to invest.

Best,
E
No they do not degrade over time. Not unless they were really poorly made, which is always a risk with these things. Don't get me going on all the crap cables out there giving a bad rep to the whole market.

What definitely does degrade over time though is the condition of the connector at the end of the cable. All of them- power cords, interconnects, speaker cables - should be pulled at least once a year and thoroughly cleaned. Both the cables and the terminals/sockets they go into. 

Two other things that will degrade over time: magnetism and static electricity.

How do you magnetize something? Expose it to a strong magnetic field. What goes through your cables? Strong magnetic fields. Over time they become magnetized. Not the whole cable, but regions within. Smearing, grain result. 

There are two ways to demagnetize cables. The best/most effective is the Radio Shack bulk tape eraser. (No longer made but available on Amazon) Next best the demagnetizing tracks on the XLO Test and Burn-In CD. If you can't find the Shack there's an overpriced option called the Talisman.

The fix for static electricity is regular anti-static laundry spray sold for about $5 all over the place.

Most people haven't done any of these things in years. If ever. If that's the case, boy do you have a surprise in store when you do!
The contacts will most likely be oxidized, but you can clean them.  I highly recommend cleaning the contacts periodically on cables and jacks.  It does not take very long for it to build up.  If never cleaned, all of your cables are probably pretty oxidized.
Really great advice.  I haven't cleaned them in at least 10 yrs, if not more.  Miller:  I've never done any of what you suggested!! No bueno.   I will be in for a surprise.
Thanks!
$275 for the Talisman?? Overpriced option indeed.
Yeah, clean the connectors every year and you should be fine. No deterioration in sound quality, I use at least 20 years old speaker cables. Not sure about 50 years old cables, it probably depends.
Agree with everything above. If it sounds good leave it alone. More than likely after 25 years your hearing isn’t what it used to be. My hearing isnt bad and actually I think it’s fine but I’m sure it’s not what it was 25 years ago.
I have upgraded cables, but would agree old cables are just fine. I made some interconnect cables back in the early 1980's. Around 2010 I replaced the old Radio Shack Gold plated RCA on them with Vampire "Tiffany" style RCA. They are still good. Though the Mark Levinson wire is 36 years old.