Have cables become somewhat of a snake-oil topic.


I've invested many tens of thousands in high end 2-channel home audio gear and cables. I'm also a musician who has recorded and created mixes in many of the top recording studios in LA, NY and Nashville. These studios most often use the highest quality power treatment, tube condenser microphones, pre-amps, EQ modules, AD/DA converters, compressors, monitors, etc. Obviously, the goal in a recording studio is to capture the realism of the live studio performance for both vocals and instruments, and create a final mix-down that highlights the natural subtle nuances of the performances of each musician.

With that said, my 20 years of informal research inside these studios says that virtually NONE invest in high priced specially stranded balanced interconnects or speaker cables. Instead, various models of a particular Japanese cable is considered the studio "gold standard" and is WIDELY used in the top studios across the country. Now any good mixing engineer is at least AS interested as any audiophile, in all the audio characteristics and variables we discuss ad nauseum in these A-gon threads. So if recording pros are willing to spend hundreds of thousands on electronics and speakers, to capture the natural and neutral sound of a musician's studio performance, why is it that expensive cabling is seen as the snake oil equivalent in the recording industry. (Moreover, I could go one step further and ask why some home audio D/A converters far exceed the cost of the most sought after professional studio D/A converters?.......we'll leave that for another discussion.)

I DO NOT disagree that substituting a Nordost, Siltech, Cardas or various other high end brands into my personal studio rig do not make a difference. There are indeed audible differences between the brands in terms of bass extension, smoothness, imaging, graininess, etc. However, these DIFFERENCES are not necessarily equivalent to an IMPROVEMENT in capturing the natural/neutral details of a given performance.

(I intentionally will not address the mastering process since that has everything to do with radio and marketing execs commercial sales expectations, rather than a true to life presentation of the musical performances.)
jymc
I have never chased the last minutia of frequency reponse or detail, especially those that equate statistical prowess with pleasing sound. It can be very expensive.
My neighbor plugs his $4k speaker cables into a $15 rca jack at one end and a $20 5-way at the other. The amps and speakers are expensive and sound great but the amp still has a $15 plated rca and the expensive speakers still have a $20- 5-way. Systems are only as good as the weakest link and engineers are aware of this paradigm. I always notice a difference when I change from the different cables I have but it doesn't mean its better. I, an amateur audiophile, have managed to source cabling that sounds engaging and musical at very reasonable prices.
I bet those Magico or MBL speakers would sound crackin' good with Signal Cable speaker cables and Kimber PBJ rca's.
There just comes a point where the cost for miniscule advancements (changes for changes sake) becomes absurdley expensive.
I want to hear the music, not the fly farting over the cellists shoulder.
I've invested many tens of thousands in ... cables

You are not alone. Your Dealers love you and will invite you to Barbecue ... I also know such a guy, his family don't say "Dad" to him, they call him "Cable" ... :-)

So if recording pros are willing to spend hundreds of thousands on electronics and speakers, to capture the natural and neutral sound of a musician's studio performance, why is it that expensive cabling is seen as the snake oil equivalent in the recording industry.

Professionals have no problem to spend money for something advanced with a serious calculation behind the Product, but they have a problem with the few hundred Percent Mark up in High End cables...
Hey, what is that Japanese cable they consider the gold standard?
I don't think their goals are like ours to be honest. We are even more discerning:-)
Hi Jymc

I assume you mean Mogami gold standard cable? You make a valid point about the cables used in recording studios etc. I've always wondered that myself. If the pros use Mogami XLRs etc in the studios and in live events why use more expensive cable than Mogami in the home environment. Any time I've gone into a pro audio store for XLR cables they just love Mogami cables. They always tell me they are the top of line and sound the best in the instances they have used them. They look at me like I'm crazy if I mention more expensive audiophile brand XLR/speaker cables cables. For me I just stick with the budget audiophile XLRs (Speltz, Morrow, My Audio Cables) One day I may try Mogami XLRs on all my equipment when the time and funds are available.
Average rock, pop, country etc recording has about 10db of dynamic range, average euro classical recording has about 25 db dynamic range.
What punch the midrange thru the car radio studios in Nashville think is irrelevant to me.
Good question and great post, but my observation is that most audiophiles try to know as little as possible about the recording process just because it raises questions such as this.
03-20-13: Hifiharv
Hey, what is that Japanese cable they consider the gold standard?
Mogami.
03-20-13: Onhwy61
Good question and great post ....
I'll second that.

One point I would add is that both technical considerations and a considerable amount of anecdotal evidence that I've seen here and elsewhere support the idea that sensitivity to interconnect cable differences will generally tend to be less in the case of balanced interfaces than in the case of unbalanced interfaces. That is particularly true if the output impedance of the component driving the cable is low. Studios generally use balanced cabling, and I suspect that more often than not those cables are driven by components having low output impedances.

I would also add that in the past I have seen more than a few posts here and elsewhere in which people have expressed surprise about how good the results were after they changed their high priced cabling to vastly less expensive Mogami. Not in every reported case in which that has been tried, but in many and probably most of them.

Regards,
-- Al
What Al said!
Yea, I've picked up some Mogami Gold studio XLR wires not too long ago. ~$50 bucks. Try them, you may well not be dissapointed at all. And even if you are: $50.

Had a similar ephiphany. If most of what you listen to was recorded on these wires, how can using something else to reproduce it make it better? I'm sure there may be answers to that quesiton, but it's a awfully good question.
Schubert's point is why I explained I'd pass over the mastering process, since that is the step where the pop music industry strives to create a commercial mix that is pleasing (and salable) to the "$15 dollar ear bud" crowd. Furthermore, audiophiles are aware there is a huge difference between recording screaming guitars, electronic beat patterns and senthesized sounds from electronic keyboards, versus the recording of real acoustic instruments.

Please understand that I've spent many thousands on cabling for my home components and want to find a reason to justify the expense. Assume an engineer creates a brilliant mix in the studio, for let's say an acoustic guitarist and vocalist duo, capturing the finest details of the performance. What do you as an audiophile expect to hear? Placing silver speaker and interconnect cables into a system may well increase so called "performance characteristics you hear in the system", but the question then truly becomes whether those characteristics have been added to an otherwise perfect studio capture of the performance. This all becomes highly subjective and is contingent upon each audiophile's "learning history" of what different instruments are supposed to sound like I suppose.

Yes the standard in virtually every major studio I've ever stepped foot in is Mogami.
If you can't hear the echo of the fly fart bouncing off the rear wall, then you're system just isn't resolving enough. Even a mid-fi system should be able to tell you the sex of the fly!

Mogami is ubiquitous, but I've read that some engineers will use Cardas or Audioquest for a particular mic. Live sound and even in studio work an emphasis is placed upon a cable's ruggedness and reliability.
I guess none of this matters in my home system when one cable causes
my system to play far better sounding music then another. Pretty simple
stuff really. Just a fact - at least for me.
I am suprised no one sells cables with the braand name of "Snake Oil". They would have tons of free marketing.
""Snake Oil brand cables""
Into level: the 'Junkpile'
A little better "Whoah"
more $$$ "Hah hah"
higher still: "Big spender"
Top of the line: "Gocha Sucker"
I like "Whoah"... the best bang for the buck, hehe
I don't think any of us are suggesting that wires do not sound different -- or that anyone is anything but welcome to, and in fact encouraged, to have and express perfectly legitimate preferences. At any price point, or across them all. Absolutely.

Question is, if virtually all microphones used to record whatever it is that we are listening to are wired with the Mogami Gold Studio Mic XLR cables -- before anything is mixed or mastered or anything else, the purest, rawest most primary source recording that will ever exist of a given event, delivered by this wire -- then what exactly is some other wire plugged into the playback chain changing, or adding, or whatever? I don't profess to have an answer, but worth being precise about the quesiton.
Well stated Mezmo.....you hit the nail square on the head. All this audiophile talk about no coloration, neutral sound, sound staging, etc is an entirely SEPARATE issue from using a cable OR electronic component for the sole purpose of creating a particular sound characteristic that one may personally enjoy, although which MAY OR MAY NOT sound real and natural. This becomes a subjective perception decision for each of us.
A few comments - professional endorsements on the Shunyata website for consideration

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Along with the New York Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is regarded as arguably the finest and most skilled group of musicians in the world. With multiple recordings to their credit and complete sound studios the Vienna Orchestra treat every portion of their performances and recordings with extreme care and attention to detail.

After learning of the reputation of Shunyata Research products throughout Europe and within other top recording studios, executive Peter Poltun sought out samples of Shunyata products for testing. Their results followed those of every other studio that has evaluated Shunyata Research products.

"All of us associated with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra are extremely pleased with the results gained from using the Shunyata Research Hydra and power cords in our reference recording studios. These outstanding, musical products have enhanced our recordings and made it easier for our musicians to hear the detail of their instruments!"
-- Peter Poltun, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Grammy Winning Mastering Engineers James Guthrie and Doug Sax
The reputations of Mastering Engineers Doug Sax and James Guthrie are beyond reproach.

They are two of the most prolific and sought after mastering engineers in the recording industry, and their body of work is legendary.

Doug Sax's work includes recordings by James Taylor, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Alison Kraus, Diana Krall, Linda Ronstadt, Tom Waits, Aaron Neville, Chris Isaak, Ray Charles, Chet Atkins and countless others. James Guthrie's resume is no less impressive, having been credited with work on 6 Pink Floyd albums and dozens of popular recording artists.

James and Doug learned of Shunyata Research's products through David Gilmour's Astoria recording studio in the United Kingdom. After listening and recording with Shunyata Research products, both Guthrie and Sax were so impressed that they installed Shunyata products into their Sonoma digital mastering chain. Shunyata Research products were most recently utilized at Guthrie's Das Boot Studio for the re-master of Dark Side of the Moon on Sony's SACD format.

"As studio owners, we are regularly exposed to numerous 'quality enhancement products' and have naturally become cautious and very selective; you rarely achieve an audible improvement without somehow adversely affecting another element in the audio chain. We have been using Shunyata power cables at my studio for some time now. Careful placement of the cables has resulted in reduced distortion, improved clarity, better low level detail and richer 3-dimensional depth in the soundstage. The Anaconda PowerSnakes, for example, have transformed our Sonoma system, used during the mastering process for the new 5.1 mix of 'The Dark Side of The Moon'. I look forward to trying the Hydra AC distribution next. Highly recommended."
-- James Guthrie, Grammy award winning Producer/Engineer (Pink Floyd)

SkyWalker Sound (Lucas Films)
Easily one of the most complete and lavish film and recording studios in the world, SkyWalker Ranch needs little introduction. SkyWalker Sound is the division of SkyWalker Ranch responsible for all audio, sound-effects, post production audio, IMAX sound and multi-format audio. SkyWalker sound has garnered 14 Academy Awards since its inception, as well as multiple media awards for quality and sound innovation. SkyWalker Sound is also a complete scoring and recording studio that records renowned artists such as Amy Grant, Herbie Hancock, Faith Hill and countless others.

Principal recording and scoring engineers Tim McGovern and Clayton Wood evaluated Shunyata Research's products within their scoring and recording systems, and found them to dramatically reduce noise and buzzing that was obvious prior to the Shunyata application. SkyWalker Sound is now using Shunyata Research products within their scoring stages and playback/testing systems.

“We first put the Hydra to test on a monitor system that had problems with noise and clarity. The result was less noise with an improvement in overall sound quality. We now use the Hydra's on our Model 2 converters, AES router and main monitor system consisting of B&W 802 speakers and Chord Amps.“
-- Clayton Wood, Senior Engineer: SkyWalker Sound

Grammy Winning Record Producer Rick Rubin
As a multiple Grammy winning music producer of recording artists such as Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash, Jay Hawks, Neil Diamond, Public Enemy and many others, Rick Rubin has earned his reputation as the most versatile and gifted producer working in the music and recording industry.

Rick Rubin encountered Shunyata Research products in many rooms at the CES trade exhibits in 2004, and inquired about an evaluation. After extensive testing and comparisons, Rick adopted Shunyata Research's products for use in his home listening, testing and recording systems. Rick remains one of the most outspoken advocates for Shunyata Research products within the studio and recording community.

"Shunyata Research power cables and interconnects made a remarkable difference in my reference system. The PowerSnakes power cables added effortless muscularity, control and wide-open clarity to the amps driving my speakers. These are not subtle tweaks. I would guess the amps sound 15 percent better -- a far bigger difference than any speaker cables have made and in many cases, as unbelievable as it may seem, a greater improvement than changing the whole front end. I could not recommend them highly enough."
-- Rick Rubin, Grammy winning Record Producer

Astoria Studio (Pink Floyd)
Located in the United Kingdom, Astoria Studio is widely recognized as one of the most respected recording studios in the world. Owned by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Astoria has served as recording venue to some of the most renowned recording artists in the music industry. Anyone familiar with the state-of-the-art production values on Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Wall, Momentary Lapse of Reason, The Division Bell, and David Gilmour in Concert 2002 DVD, can appreciate the meticulous nature with which the Pink Floyd albums are put together. Astoria Studio's principles are renowned for reviewing every aspect of their recording chain continually. It was this perfectionist approach that led Astoria to seek out and implement Shunyata Research's Hydra power distribution systems, PowerSnakes power cables and Aeros Series signal cables to their state-of-the-art recording equipment. Astoria's principle engineers actively endorse Shunyata Research products to other studios and mastering engineers and have paved the way for may subsequent Shunyata studio applications.

"We conducted a series of listening test to both the Shunyata cables and the Hydra power conditioner. Our comparison point included both standard mains cables and other esoteric cables. We found that both the Shunyata cables and the Hydra gave the best results by some margin."
-- Phil Taylor, Studio Manager: Astoria Studio, UK

"We were particularly impressed with the sense of phase coherence that Shunyata products delivered, giving noticeably better imaging, depth and clarity. We tried many different areas of our signal path, all benefited. With digital sources it was almost as if we had switched from 44.1k/16 bit to 96k/ 24 bit. We now run all our analogue machines, workstations and the mixing console from the Shunyata equipment."
-- Andy Jackson, Senior Mastering Engineer: Astoria Studio. UK

Sony Music (New York) Mastering
Sony Music in New York is one of the United States most respected recording, mastering and post-production studios. Sony Music's Mastering icons Vlado Meller and Steven Epstein thoroughly tested Shunyata Research products with their Recording and Mastering systems and were immediately impressed with the significant reduction in background noise. Both Vlado Meller and Steven Epstien have since added Shunyata Research products as a part of their mastering and sound check systems.

"I have personally evaluated the Hydra power conditioning system along with your PowerSnakes power cables. I was very impressed with the results. Shunyata Research products are now part of my equipment set up. Especially, with my 2 track tape machines, the sound with your system was definitely more transparent and clear. I would highly recommend Shunyata Research products to any professional audio/video facility."
-- Vlado Meller, Senior Mastering Engineer: Sony Music Studios, New York

DMP Records, President Tom Jung
Since 1983 DMP has been producing the finest quality recordings for jazz lovers and audiophiles alike working with seminally gifted, but under appreciated musicians. In a world of over compressed and over processed recordings, DMP's live-minimalists recording approach captures critical nuances and natural dynamics using the most direct and pristine electronic signal path possible. The result is a refreshing and honest representation of great musicians playing music together in the same room at the same time.

"I have been very skeptical of power related tweaks above and beyond good basic engineering practices like wire sizing, proper grounding and good solid connections. That said I tried to be open to the merits of the Shunyata approach regarding power management. After living with various power cables, outlets and Hydra AC distribution systems for several months while working on my DMP Archive Project, I can honestly say that Shunyata Power Systems do contribute to a more solid, focused and accurate sonic picture."
-- Tom Jung, President: Digital Music Products Inc.

Stephen Epstein: 12 Time Grammy Winning Record Producer
Stephen Epstein is one of the most recognizable names in the professional recording industry. His stellar talents are showcased with Classical recording legends such as Yo Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis, Isaac Stern, Itzhak Perlman, Placido Domingo and countless others. He has earned a near record total of 12 Grammy awards, 6 for Classical Producer Of The Year.

Stephen became aware of Shunyata Research products because of fellow record producers and mastering engineer at Sony music New York, Vlado Meller. Stephen contacted Shunyata Research directly to inquire about an evaluation. The products performed as expected and Stephen purchased an entire power distribution system.

"For many years, I've tried and tested power conditioners by major manufacturers with varying results. I'm pleased to say that I can now put my search for the elusive optimal AC conditioner to rest. The Hydra Model-8 and Hydra Model-2 power conditioners coupled with Shunyata's power cables have provided me with an extremely clean and transparent foundation by which I can check and approve test pressings with full confidence."
-- Steven Epstein, 12 time Grammy winner 6 time Grammy winner: "Classical Producer Of The Year”

Phillips' Crest National Studios
Located in Hollywood California, Crest National is one of the largest music and film industry studio chains in the United States. Crest National consists of motion picture film labs, digital restoration services, DVD authoring and design, editing, sub-mastering and media encoding, among a host of other professional services. They are a partner of Philips International and remain one of the world's top providers of DVD Audio and CD replication. Due to their exceptional reputation and prolific manufacturing capability, Crest National was selected by Philips to be the only United States SACD replication plant.

Crest National's fanatical dedication to quality control led them to construct a state-of-the-art 5.1 channel quality control playback studio. Crest spared no expense to obtain the finest electronics from Halcro (amplifiers), Meitner Labs (switching controls) and Eggleston Works (speakers). Based on the recommendations of top studio executives and mastering engineers, Crest sought out an evaluation of a complete Shunyata Research power and signal cable system. At the conclusion of their testing, Crest purchased Shunyata Research's entire system of power and signal distribution products, and commented on the significant impact Shunyata products had on the resolution of their state of the art system.

"I've run out of words to describe the effect Shunyata Research has had on the SACD experience in our studio. From the mass and quality of the Hydra power distribution center with it's dynamic openness, the clarity gleaned from the Anaconda Alpha/Anaconda VX, and the direct detail obtained from the interconnects and speaker cables. Shunyata Research has put a very positive signature on Crest National's, Hollywood reference listening experience."
-- Jon Truckenmiller, Sr. VP Engineering: Crest National Studios

Look Out Sound Studios
Upon casual inspection, one might wonder whether Look Out Sound Studios was named after its scenic Montana surroundings or its astounding recording facilities. An overview of Lookout's principal mastering and playback systems will make the name far less ambiguous. Look Out owner Brett Allen spared no expense in assembling the finest Direct Stream Digital recording systems and playback equipment in the world. Lookout utilizes the state-of-the-art Genex DSD hard drive systems, as well as the Solid State Logic 9048K XL, the top 5.1 analog mixing console in the world. Look Out sports the finest recording, mastering and playback equipment, including multiple pairs of Wilson Audio's Statement speaker systems, the X2 Alexandrias. Halcro amplification and digital playback systems from Meitner labs complete Look Out's monitor and playback systems. The name Look Out is obviously intended to serve notice that reference-quality recording and mastering is alive and well in Montana.

Lookout's Bret Allen was referred to Shunyata Research power-systems by the principals of Halcro, Wilson Audio and VTL, who use Shunyata products within their own testing and playback systems. After extensive tests and comparisons, Look Out Studios purchased an entire series of Shunyata Research power-system products based on the performance they offered within recording and playback systems.

"We are using various Shunyata products to further our quest for the best signal path in tracking, mixing, and mastering. The Hydra Model-2 and Hydra Model-6 on various vintage guitar amps and vintage analog keyboards have made a world of difference in clarity and punch. We are using the Python line for our 24-track tape machine, DACs, tube preamps, and tube microphone power supplies. On the power amps we have the Taipan line. Again I have noticed more definition in the transients. Overall I think that Shunyata products are an integral part of taking the critical listening system to the next level."
-- Brett Allen, Studio Manager: Look Out Sound Studios

Lacquer Channel Mastering (Canada)
Considered Canada's premier mastering facility, Lacquer Channel works with many of the world's most renowned recording artists, including U2, Bryan Adams, Holly Cole and many others. These top artists sought out Lacquer Channel because of their reputation as Canada's most well-equipped and professional recording and mastering facility.

Lacquer Channel mastering engineer Phil Demetro discovered Shunyata Research products through a local dealer, and discovered that the Hydra and PowerSnakes products significantly improved the resolution of their mastering and playback systems of which they are now a permanent part. Lacquer Channel actively recommends Shunyata products to their contacts in the mastering and recording industries.

"After trying numerous top shelf brands of power distribution and IC's for my mastering facility, only the Shunyata Research Hydra's and PowerSnakes remained as a vital part of my signal path and playback system. It's never been so easy to achieve the great sound that I have been striving for -- I no longer have to reach for my equalizers to find space for the details that I now have in spades. Lower noise levels let me get deeper into a mix without sacrificing power to my equipment. No anemic sounds here! Just music that always sounds right. I want to re-master my whole discography now!"
-- Phil Demetro, Mastering Engineer: The Lacquer Channel, Toronto

Sony Music (Japan) Mastering Facility
The name says it all. At the very top level within Sony Music recording and mastering labs, no one is more exacting, more obsessive about sound and performance than the men in charge of their recording and mastering labs. Everything must be perfect, and cost is no object when it comes to recreating music and sound that is true to life.

The top Japanese executives from Sony Music were exposed to Shunyata Research products during James Guthrie's re-mastering of Dark Side Of The Moon for SACD at Guthrie's Das Boot Studio. Mastering engineers Guthrie and Doug Sax endorsed Shunyata Research products to the principle executives from Sony Music, and facilitated the loan of Shunyata products for testing within Sony's Mastering systems. After lengthy testing, a series of Shunyata Research power-system products were purchased for use in Sony Music's mastering facilities. All music mastered within Sony Music's Japanese facility is now being mastered using Shunyata Research power-system products.

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Memory Technology (Japan)
Memory Technology is the largest CD/DVD manufacturer in Japan and one of the largest in the world, with over $100 million annual sales. Memory Technology is part of the largest trading firm in Japan, and also owns and runs music and video production companies.

Memory Technology became aware of Shunyata Research products through Japanese Music Industry contact Maiko Nagae. After critical evaluations were performed, Memory Technology ordered Shunyata Research power-system products for use in their top testing and production systems.

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Peter McGrath
Peter McGrath is widely recognized as one of the most accomplished recording engineers working in the world today, with a resume of recordings and top recording artists dating back some thirty years. Peter also manages the east coast sales division for premier US speaker manufacturer Wilson Audio.

Peter McGrath thoroughly tested Shunyata Research's Hydra power products and found them to significantly enhance the resolution of his playback and recording test systems. Peter continues to use Shunyata's Hydra products in both his home and with his recording work. He considers them indispensable to achieving the best sound possible

New Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra
"To put this into context, I am a trustee of the Philharmonic Orchestra of New Jersey. I have played several instruments and now frequently listen to live jazz and classical instrumental and vocal performances. My goal in a stereo system is to reproduce the actual performance and its environment as closely as possible. I am a skeptic about power cords (and other wirey stuff) and I rely on my ears to tell me what is real.

So I plugged the Shunyata power cords (Taipans and Copperheads) into my system, put on a choral disk and sat back anticipating the effort that may be required to hear any subtle difference they might make. I was shocked with amazement. It took no more than listening to the first few bars of the opening chorus to hear the dramatic difference in sound quality these power cords allowed within my system. I tried another disk, same impact, then another, same impact... and they were not even broken in yet.

Here is what I heard: The most dramatic effect was an improvement in transduced acoustics. Previously I heard vocal or musical instruments that sounded excellent but were missing something relative to a live performance experience. Now I heard harmonic depth within and between voices and instruments that provide the richness and stage presence of a live performance. Now the individual voices and instruments interact with one another as in real life. Now I easily heard the small echoes, reverberations and other cues (some people call this inner detail) associated with a live performance space that were previously absent. The speed of dynamic changes in percussion instruments (attack) were also improved to better resemble a live performance.

All in all, the system now produces an audio hologram that much more closely approximates a live performance. Thanks for your recommendation of this excellent product."
-- Doug Munch, New Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra

"All of us associated with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra are extremely pleased with the results gained from using the Shunyata Research Hydra and power cords in our reference recording studios."
-- Peter Poltun, Manager: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

"The Anaconda PowerSnakes, have transformed our Sonoma system, used during the mastering process for the new 5.1 SACD mix of 'The Dark Side of The Moon'."
-- James Guthrie, Grammy award winning Producer/Engineer (Pink Floyd)

"We now use the Hydra's on our Model 2 converters, AES router and main monitor system consisting of B&W 802 speakers and Chord Amps."
-- Clayton Wood, Senior Engineer: SkyWalker Sound

"I could not recommend Shunyata Research products highly enough."
-- Rick Rubin, Five-time Grammy nominated Record Producer

"With digital sources it was almost as if we had switched from 44.1k/16 bit to96k/24 bit. We now run all our analogue machines, workstations and the mixing console from the Shunyata equipment."
-- Andy Jackson, Senior Mastering Engineer: Astoria Studio

"I would highly recommend Shunyata Research products to any professional
audio/video facility."
-- Vlado Meller, Senior Mastering Engineer: Sony Music Studios, New York CLICK FOR MORE INFO

"I can honestly say that Shunyata Power Systems do contribute to a more solid, focused and accurate sonic picture."
-- Tom Jung, President: Digital Music Products Inc.

"Shunyata Research's power distribution products have provided me with an extremely clean and transparent foundation by which I can check test pressings with full confidence."
-- Steven Epstein, Producer, 12 time Grammy winner

"I've run out of words to describe the profound effect Shunyata Research products have had on the SACD experience in our studio."
-- Jon Truckenmiller, Sr. VP Engineering: Crest National Studios

"Overall I think that Shunyata products are an integral part of taking the critical listening system to the next level."
-- Brett Allen, Studio Manager: Look Out Sound Studios

"I no longer have to reach for my equalizers to find space for the details that I now have in spades. Lower noise levels let me get deeper into a mix without sacrificing power to my equipment. No anemic sounds here! Just music that always sounds right. I want to re-master my whole discography now!"
-- Phil Demetro, Mastering Engineer: The Lacquer Channel, Toronto

"...the system now produces an audio hologram that much more closely approximates a live performance. Thanks for your recommendation of this excellent product."
-- Doug Munch, New Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra
Jymc, Just the fact no recording studios you're familiar with use expensive cables, it doesn't mean it won't make a difference. Since you're in the recording business, have you ever compared recordings with different cables?

Bottom line is it doesn't matter anyways. Since we/audiophiles all have different systems, taste ... we are going to use whatever sounds best in OUR systems. Believe it or not, there is an agon member that runs his cables, power conditioners ... in a series to archieve the desire effect. Who am I or anyone tell him it's wrong? Maybe his components need a little dampening?

All this audiophile talk about no coloration, neutral sound, sound staging, etc is an entirely SEPARATE issue from using a cable OR electronic component for the sole purpose of creating a particular sound characteristic that one may personally enjoy, although which MAY OR MAY NOT sound real and natural. This becomes a subjective perception decision for each of us.
No audiophile with 1/2 a brain would believe it. Everything has a sonic characteristics ... even a Lightspeed attuenator! LOL!!!

03-20-13: Elizabeth
I am suprised no one sells cables with the braand name of "Snake Oil". They would have tons of free marketing.
Me Me Me ... Great idea! Sick of my career so maybe I should get into the cable business :-)
Snake oil? No. Buyer beware? Yes. I use balanced cables. Can I hear a difference in balanced ICs? Absolutely.

The Mogamis are really good. Each has to decide if spending 20 x what the Mogamis cost for a slight difference is appropriate. Personally, I will bring in other XLR cables for comparison only if there is a trial period with a full refund return policy. Too much of cabling, whether it is power cords, ICs, or speaker cable is so situation dependent that it is nearly impossible to predict an outcome a priori.

I will spend $1K on a replacement for my Mogomis provided I hear an improvement--not just a difference, but an improvement. I will not spend 1K on an IC based on an advertisment or a recommendation that does not permit a trial.
DIFFERENCE is the key word here. If your system is totally neutral and you want to make it sound DIFFERENT according to your hearing preferences, then go for it, and spend as much as you can justify.

Likecap comments above from the Shunyata web site.......well Shunyata is markets their products well. The best studios in the world may experiment "here and there" with different mic cables or even instrument cables, but for the most part (99.99%) the components are wired with Mogami. Very expensive commercial power conditioners are also used as a safeguard in all major studios.
This may sound crazy, but to my experience often enough the termination of the cables, the solder joints and the quality thereof make a tremendous difference to the way the electrons are transported, to wit, the quality of sound. (transparency as well as soundstage) Often, even with the most expensive cables, the termination leaves much to be desired.
Detlof, you are absolutely correct.
Detlof, this is why try before you buy is the way to go. You want to charge 1K for a set of ICs? Fine, I will think about it if you beat my 0.1K Mogamis. Bring your A game, and I will pay the money.

I just spent 2.3K on two power cords. Yes, they are that good, worth every penny, and they won't be going back. Got another Power cord that runs about 700 that is only marginally better than a $60 cord from Signal Cable. Won't be buying any more from that house.

They guys that are hawking the expensive copper better bring their A game.
I just spent 2.3K on two power cords. Yes, they are that good, worth every penny, and they won't be going back. Got another Power cord that runs about 700 that is only marginally better than a $60 cord from Signal Cable

If you had to scale the the $60- Signal Cable vs the cable you bought for 2.3k on a 1-100 scale how would you score them. Is the expensive cable making your system 10% better? 2 or 3 points better? Of course it is all system dependent. Also, is the power cord for amp, pre or other?
Brownsfan - what brand of power cords?
Jymc,
I bought a couple of VH audio AirSines with Furutech FI-50 plugs and IECs. Stunning resolution, and they took a bit of a nasty nasal tone out of my Cary amps that I didn't know was there until I heard the amp with AirSines. There was also just a little bit of what Valin calls "scrim" that the AirSines rectified. Finally, there is a clear improvement in dynamics. I had a chance to use a friends AirSines for a couple of weeks and was very impressed. Based on that audition, I expect the Cary's will also exhibit a bit more warmth with some additional burn in. Having lived with my friend's AirSines for a couple of weeks, there was no way I was going to live without at least getting a couple for the Carys. Yes, they are expensive. But as I said, they are worth every penny.
Hi Mezmo - yr point is well put
what exactly is some other wire plugged into the playback chain changing, or adding, or whatever?
Presumably, the idea is to lose as little as possible of whatever sonic info still remains on the medium (i.e. whatever escapes the compressions, the distortions, the filterings, zips cables, noise, (re-)masterings... etc)...
Hi Brownsfan,
Have these power cords produced similar impressive results with your linestage and other components or just specifically your Cary amolifiers?
Regards,
Charles1dad,
Good question. Let me start by saying that I was able to borrow 4 AirSines from my friend for 2 weeks, which gave me a good bit of time to switch cords around and see what mixture of the AirSines plus my existing cords gave the best overall result. Based on that evaluation, the AirSines made the biggest difference with the Carys, so my initial purchase was for two AirSines for that purpose.

I found that I liked my Voodoo Vector Dragon with my modwright sony power supply about as well as the AirSine, and liked those two cords better than anything else I had at my disposal. I tried a half a dozen power cords going to the ModWright Sony CD player per se, and I couln't hear a shread of difference in any of them. So I left the existing PC in place for that piece, which was a VH Audio flavor 3. The Airsine was also very good (the best of all the cords) going to my Audio Magic power filter, which supplies power to the ModWright gear and the Line Stage.
That gave me an opportunity to try all the cords with the Coincident line stage. Three stood out as being good with the CSL. The AirSine, the Voodoo, and an old PS Audio Statement I had. Keeping in mind that the CSL was not (and is not) fully burned in, I preferred the PS Audio, AirSine, and Voodoo in that order. I thought the PS Audio gave better dynamics, but the AirSine allowed the CSL to exhibit a bit more complexity in the upper harmonics. I would want to reevaluate after I have 300 hours on the CSL before drawing any firm conclusions, and I would love to have access to a Coincident PC as well. But I can say that I heard clear differences with the different cords to the CSL.
I would commend to everyone's attention a highly informative post by Ralph Karsten of Atma-Sphere in this thread, that is relevant to what is being discussed here.

Interconnect cable differences could be completely eliminated if components were designed in accordance with low impedance balanced line principles which date back to the early days of hifi. Unfortunately, components usually are not designed in that manner.

Ralph provides what IMO is persuasive proof of that contention.

Regards,
-- Al
Zenblaster, That is a really good question, and I asked myself that same question as I compared the cords. Read my answer to Charles1dad above, then let me add the following.

I bought the two new cords for my monoblock Cary amps. Rather than put an arbitrary number rating on the difference, let me put it this way. When it came time to return my friends borrowed cords, I took them out of my system one at a time. I took the two away from the amps last, and was just appalled. Pretty much one of those "No, this isn't going to cut it at all" moments. Now, before I borrowed the cords, everything sounded just fine. After hearing what the Cary amps sounded like with the Airsines, then putting the Signals back in, it just sucked all the life out of the Carys. I ordered my two Airsines 3 days later, after I discovered that I was not going to be satisfied until I had recaptured what I had lost. That was a huge step back. If it was 100 with the airlines, it was maybe 65 without them. The Airsines simply turned the Carys into new amps.

The AirSines cost 15 x what I payed for the Signals. Are they 15 x better? Yes, maybe for me they are. Tonight, a used 4' Airsine was offered for sale and I bought it immediately, so once that arrives, I should be in really good shape. It will go into service supplying my Audio Magic MiniRef II.

It is all system dependent. For me, the AirSines distinguished themselves in 3 out of 5 applications. I've got my 3 Airsines now, and life is good!
Brown, think you have captured the essence of this mainia perfectly. You
change to X on a leap of faith, not knowing in advance whether or how it
should make any difference. At all. And at the end of the experiment, you
think to switch back. And at that point, you either find yourself thinking (a)
meh, whatever; or (b) holy shit, I've just unwittingly removed something I'm
no longer willing and/or interested in living without, any capacity to quantify
or explain it be damned. I've found myself in both positions, and am in no
better a position either to explain or predict for the experience. I resort to
Justice Potter Stuart and the "you know it when you see it"
definition of pornography -- principally because I have nothing better to
offer. You never really can know what will make you go all smiley when it
comes to this shit. But I think you owe it to yourself to experiment and find
out. And, in the process, retain the courage of your convictions to tell the
rest of us jackasses to get f-ed when you find it. 'Cause, at the end of the
day, you're the one you're answerable to when it comes to getting all
smiley.... It either makes you happy or it doesn't. Full stop.
Mezmo,
Well stated, personal endeavors are just that, personal. The entire point of
building a system is to obtain the sound you enjoy and prefer for the music
you love to listen to.The pornography analogy fits correctly, when it sounds
right to you, you'll know it.What others think of your choices are totally
irrelevant and shouldn't have any bearing on your decisions.

It's very difficult to place some arbitrary value on things of this nature. If
you find a product that deepens your emotional connection to music and
heightens this involement, buy it and increase your pleasure. Brownsfan
found a power cable that caused a significant improvement in the sound of
the Cary amplifiers and this increased his enjoyment to the extent the cost
was worth it. Nothing more needs to be explained and certainty not
justified. How do you assign a price on contentment? The same immense
fun and happiness I get from my 8 watt tube amp someoone else is
experiencing with their 2000 watt class D amplifier. It doesn't matter how
you get there as long as you arrive.
Regards,
Brownsfan,

Well said! I nominate your last reply as the "Reference Standard explanation":o). I think it is what a lot of people try to convey when making replies, but it is hard to put into words. I agree with it 100%.

Again, very well said.
Brownsfan, in a sense I understand completely what you're saying, but at the same time you're not making much sense. You put together a very high quality system that according to you sounds fine, but after switching power cords in and out the system now has all the life drained from the sound and you're appalled? If for some reason after auditioning the new cables you were not able to purchase them, what would you do? Would you stop listening to music? Would you be forever dissatisfied every time you cue up an album? I cannot imagine that you would respond "yes" to either question. I suggest that you take more time to do your comparison. I realize that as a practical matter this is not always possible. Swapping components in and out without long term listening can be very misleading.

You're very happy with your new power cord, but I'm reminded of the character Don Draper's comment about happiness -- "it's the moment before you need more happiness."
I have had Mogami Gold in my system as well as high end cables from Cardas, Synergistic Research, Bybee, HiDiamond and others. The Mogamis do not even shine a dim light in comparison to the others.
Onhwy61. You are correct in pointing out a seeming dichotomy. I recognized the dichotomy at the time I experienced it. I thought it was important for that dichotomy to be described as a part of my experience.

In answer to your questions, when I returned the borrowed power cords, I actually did reduce the frequency and length of listening sessions until the new cords came. I described the change in the amps without the AirSines as being like someone doing the nails on the chalkboard thing, but at a very low level. The dynamics and fidelity of the amps were clearly at different levels. Once you heard it, it was very distracting and irritating going back to the old cords. It was not going to make me loose my love for music. I will listen on a boom box if that is what I can afford. I could afford these cords, so the decision was easy. I had budgeted for replacing my modwright sony 5400 with a new ModWright Oppo 105 for later this year, and decided the money would be better spent on the power cords.

For the most part, I attempt to avoid auditioning gear I can't afford. What is the point of test driving a Ferrari? I'm going to drive away in my Accord.

You should understand that not long ago in a thread I commented that I didn't put much money into power cords because I had previously purchased a fairly high end cord and it made relatively little difference with the exception of one component. I was in no way prepared for the difference these cords made in my system. I was pretty much in the power cords are snake oil camp. No more. I share my experience here to encourage others in the snake oil camp to reconsider.

If one is dealing with subtle differences, a long audition is excellent advice. In general, I am at the point where purchases are normally made after long study, careful thought, and many times correspond with AG members who own the prospective component. That approach works well, except that it is not likely to allow one to overcome one's prejudices. I can assure you that in this case, there was a clear substantial improvement that anyone on this forum would have immediately recognized. It is unlikely that I would have gone down this road had my friend not said, "I'm going on vacation. Why don't you give these a try in your system."
Finally, I sincerely hope that this is not the last change I make in my system, and I hope that others will continue to challenge my prejudices, which may actually represent larger limitations than the question of affordability.
Brownsfan-
Thank you for the thoughtful response. I feel I know exactly what you're talking about. The cost or name of the new power cord was not important to you. When you changed cords you experienced more of the intended source or, as Raul would say, you removed distortions that were created by the first cord and are now experiencing more of the actual music. Once you heard/experienced this you could no longer enjoy listening to those distortions.
Brownsfan, thanks for the thoughtful reply. Please don't take what I say as criticism, I'm just always a little surprised when people with what I consider to be really good systems comment that they've achieved a dramatic sonic improvement.
Onhwy61, I certainly didn't take your thread as being critical. It was a very good question. Beleive me, no one could have been more suprised than me that these power cords made such a dramatic difference. The third AirSine arrived last night and it really, I think, has put the finishing touches on the system. I do have one IC left I want to consider replacing, and I want to replace some of the internal wiring on the Cary amps as well as the binding posts. The next major project will be dedicated wiring to the room. But at this point, I just don't know how much better I can make this. Wow!
Jymc,

May I inquire what instruments you play?
I was told to take a peek into this thread,to my supprise,everything said here is in order!,cables do make a difference!,congradulations to Brownsfan!,Happy listening!
Browsfan, a couple of dedicated circuits for the Audio equipment improves sonics big time! I say go for it!

Also, I think that you have given the folks here some good advice Brownsfan in your 3.25.13 post regarding long audition time, careful thought, and discussion with AGon members who are owners.

It's true... quality cableing can take ones sound system to the next level. It really is a serious "Bigboy" topic that we are discussing here. The improvements I and many others in these forums have experienced are seriously startling & dramatic improvemants in sound quality.
Waxwaves and Audiolabyrinth, the electrical work is on the agenda as soon as my son gets his stuff out of the basement.
Its just so weird with these power cables. There seemed to be no particular rhyme or reason to which cable worked best with a particular component. It really helped having a friend lend me 3.2K worth of his power cords. Not many people have a chance to run that kind of experiment, and I'm not sure auditioning one cable at a time would have shown such a dramatic difference or allowed me to figure out how many I really needed to buy and where to put them. I already had 3 cords in my system that were doing well for me, so replacing the 3 was all I needed to do.

There are some really savvy golden eared guys around here. Once you figure out who they are, and that you have similar tastes, it would be silly to not seek out their thoughts and advice.

Its kind of neat to see that my experience with this has turned out to be a familiar one. Maybe it doesn't prove that I'm not crazy, but it does prove I have lots of company. Cheers!
It was about 35 years ago that Robert Fulton came out with the Fulton Gold speaker cables and Polk introduced some weird looking exotic speaker cables, not to mention Monster Cable. It was off to the races and audiophiles have been arguing about cables ever since.
Ya dude its snake oil Ho Ho Ho!!
Likecap wrote: 'A few comments - professional endorsements on the Shunyata website for consideration'

Paid endorsements. What has this got to do with reality? You might as well ask these people what brand of non-aspirin pain reliever they use or which airline they frequent?
Go for it Brownsfan! Run that dedicated circuit! If I had to do it over again, the only thing I would have done differently is running 10 gauge wire instead of 12 gauge. Btw, that's a very nice system you have there, I was checking it out earlier. Bet the music sounds great already there at your place!

Browsfan, have you considered trying any of the Tara Labs interconnect cable in your setup? The Tara Labs Air 1 Rev 2 ics made a major improvement in my system, and definitely worth the price paid IMO. Audiolabyrinth and Jmcgrogan2 steered me in Tara Labs direction after finding out I was enjoying Analysis Plus Solo Crystal Oval. The Tara took my setup to the next level. An amazing improvement in sound quality, not subtle. The Tara exhibit a 3D holographic sound stage that is laid back not forward. There is so much air around instruments and voices it's otherworldly. The complete musical presentation is so well defined and coherent. I just had to tell you about them.

As far as power cable goes I have tried a VH Audio Flavor 4 in the system and enjoyed it. I went back to the Lat AC-2 mkII not long ago simply because I had several of them, and I wanted to know what the setup would sound like using all Lat power cable. I'm pretty happy with the Lat AC-2 MkII, but am considering the purchase of a better cable for my DNA-0.5 DLX amplifier. Yes, you are in good company Brownsfan!!
"Have cables become somewhat of a snake-oil topic."

Nearly entirely, yes. Almost all of them talk about science but nearly none of them have any true science on their sites or in their papers. Rather, most of the supposed "technical talk" violates real science. Course, they will tell you they know more than real scientists.