Dont laugh


I have a respectable system and have been using several different balanced IC's in the $500+ range, but I was getting a small bit of noise, so I borrowed a 10 foot Stagg mic cable from the local guitar store, just to see if the the issue was in the cable or in my equipment. With the mic cable the noise went completely away. But I could not believe the improvement in sound. The highs more natural and the low and mid bass more weighty and articulate. So I ordered Stagg's one meter mic cable XMC1XX which they list as their audiophile grade with Neutrik connectors at a cost of $30 a piece. I put them in and crossed my fingers. What I heard was wonderful. I listened at high volume for three hours last night with no fatigue, yet all the detail and sparkle was there. Best I can tell from the diagram on the package the IC uses OFCopper, surrounded by air tubes, wrapped in a copper shielding. Give them a try against your best and see what you think. By coincidence this week Jim Smith of Get Better Sound mentioned using mic cable that he liked better than a $10,000 IC that he had.
gammajo
Hi Gammajo, I'm not laughing. I have a minimalist CD-only system that costs around 5 grand. My analog IC's are balanced Mapleshades Excalibur ribbons (VERY happy with them), but tried a 3' pair of Dayton balanced mic cables for a temporary fix once. I got them from Parts Express for what? $30?? I can't quite say they were any BETTER than the Mapleshades, but I was slackjawed at just how freakin CLOSE they came to equalling them...! $30 vs $360...hmmm. In the end I chose the Mapleshade, but just BARELY.
The cable industry is full of salesmanship, smoke/mirrors, and snake oil.

The positive correlation between price and performance is minimal.

The fat teds of the world don't want you to believe this and develop gimmick after gimmick such as quantum tunneling and tuning bullets to convince the gullible otherwise.
Anybody that would laugh at getting better sound for less money is a snobbish audio-fool. Kudos to you for experimenting and saving yourself some cash.
I've used Mogami balanced mic cables in the past and they are decent, have a good reputation among philes, but were eventually replaced by other aftermarket cables. I'm wondering how the performance of Mogami cables compare to Stagg? I'll have to give them a try.

Gammajo, where in your system are you using the Stagg IC's?
I have only one pair of IC in my system that goes from Ayon CD5s to my amps.
I am crying!
I am not surprised at all. After spending a fortune over 30 some years in this hobby, one thing I learn is that I don't have to spend a lot of money to get great sound and more expensive doesn't mean better.
Sounds like your original cable was broken. I never laugh at passionate audiophiles, but I do laugh every time I pickup Jim's book.
Yes, looks like the cable which produced noise is in need of better shielding at minimum and perhaps this was over-saturating the mids and lows. But I also have had other balanced IC's in the system that sounded no better than the Stagg at much higher prices. My plan now is to give the Stagg another few weeks, then pull them out and see if anything is undesirable about them compared to other cables that I have. So in effect they will be my new reference with which to compare pricier cables before purchase. This should keep me grounded about wire.
I know that there are some here who believe that the brand of cable does not matter much when you are dealing with balanced cables, as long as they are well-made. Your experience seems to support that view.
Just to be clear, in the past I have heard minor but significant (when you are going for the best sound) differences in good Balanced cables. So I am not of the cable make no difference school. Though usually I can hear greater difference between speaker cables and single ended IC.
I know cables can make a fair difference in a system, but I have to agree with Audiofeil's comment. I feel that about sums up my feelings based on my own intuition, and also my limited experience .
It wouldnt surprise me to find out those $500+ cables weren't actually a balanced design, but single-ended cable with XLR terminations.
BTW - A title like "Dont Laugh" in the cables forum had me laughing before i even opened the thread. This is the place in Audiogon you want to be for entertainment!
Well based on these comments I made a set of Mogami 2534 xlr cables. I compared these to two other cables in my system. One that costs $1100 new and the other $400 new. I paid about $40 to build the Mogami cables.

Don't laugh, but the Mogami sounds best thus far. The other two cables are very well respected and I have had great luck with them single ended in the past. I keep going back and forth as I can't believe this is the case, but it is!

Goodness, I am most surprised and a bit taken back.
Grannyring, in my opinion and experience, it is listening over an extended period of time after making a cable change that reveals the true differences in performance. I feel that cables need time to be connected, settle in, and go untouched, for a period of time (weeks). Not to say you are mistaken, just that exchanging cables in and out of a system in a short period of time and making comparisons may not reveal the true end of changes in a system's performance. (the end result) I would advise that you not fall prey to a rush to judgement as a result of short term trials.
My Stagg cables have been in my system for a month a just got better over that time. Grannyring I know you have good ears from the AH and other threads - trust them. But it was indeed for me to believe compared to more expensive cables that the mic cables at least hold their own and may be better
Ya, I have had extending listening with all three cables. I would keep one in For several days and then another, plus I would a/b on certain songs etc...

This has been a revelation to say the least.
02-26-12: Grannyring
Well based on these comments I made a set of Mogami 2534 xlr cables. I compared these to two other cables in my system. One that costs $1100 new and the other $400 new. I paid about $40 to build the Mogami cables.

Don't laugh, but the Mogami sounds best thus far. The other two cables are very well respected and I have had great luck with them single ended in the past. I keep going back and forth as I can't believe this is the case, but it is!
I for one am not surprised.

Although in fairness it should be pointed out that comparing RCA cables to XLR cables is apples vs. oranges. In changing cable types you are also changing the interface circuits that are being used in the components, as well as the design principles upon which the operation of the interface is based. And based upon technical considerations as well as many experiences that have been reported here and elsewhere, balanced interfaces will in general (although certainly not always) tend be less sensitive to cable differences than unbalanced interfaces.

Best regards,
-- Al
Al, all three are xlr cables. These are being used from the Jenson input transformer into my Aesthetex Atlas amp.
Al, as usual good catch. I too thought in his post Grannyring was comparing xlr to rca, I just wasn't sure. I felt that if that was accurate, it would skew the results.
Guys I have been around and at this hobby long enough to know better. Yes they were all xlr cables. I have a bit more knowledge then some
think :-)

I also know good sound and systems. My comments about the $40 cable besting a well regarded $1100 cable are based on reality and a reasoned and well seasoned Aphile. Sorry.
Almarg, one other thing about the xlr cable shootout. These cables are going from my newly acquired Jensen input transformer into my Aesthetex Atlas amp. All were about the same length of at or just under 3 feet long.

All three were very good sounding and I could live with them all. The Mogami just was more open and smooth. It only cost me $40 to build!
The last xlr cable is a Neotech 3001 cable of the same general capacitance as the Mogami. The Neotech was built with $70 top of the line Furutech connectors. The retail cost of this cable is around $400. It is very nice sounding and compares nicely to the $40 Mogami.

The point of my post is how well the Mogami 2534 cable compares for so little money. I realize this is only in my system and in that position. I have tried other low price cables in the past and have never liked them as much as expensive higher end cables. So this is a first for me and thus my post.

All past cables have been single ended however. It may be that RCA cables are much easier to detect sound differences. I suppose I may also need the wax cleared out of my 50 year old ears.
My apologies, Grannyring. I had misinterpreted the statement that "the other two cables are very well respected and I have had great luck with them single ended in the past," in part because I was aware from our other discussions that the change from RCA to XLR + transformer was very recent.

Thanks for the clarification, and also for mentioning the similarity of the capacitances of the two cables (that being an important variable with the Jensen input transformers, as you realize).

Best regards,
-- Al
No problem Al. I should have been more clear. I love that Jensen input transformer. My system sounds the best it has ever sounded. I think my amp sounds better through the balanced inputs. Not a subtle, but pretty big improvement.