I was just thinking about the fact that the cost of cables in my system is now a very small percentage of the total value. I have found expensive cables to offer no significant advantage in numerous tests, and am still happy with both Anti-Cables, Clear Day stuff, and White Zombie.
But these budget cables do not reside in a budget system. It currently consists of an Acoustic Solid TT, Shindo Monbrison pre, Yamamoto or Art Audio amps, and Lamhorn speakers.
I do run VH Audio Flavor 4 PCs, the most expensive cables in the system, but need only two of them.
Who else out there is using the budget cabling in a relatively high-end system? The current audiophile mentality tells me these cables should be holding the system back but they do not. Unless I can't hear.
I don't know if you'd call my present components a 'high end system' but I'm still using IC's I purchased 10 years ago which cost about $100 a meter/pair, and I backed into some budget speaker cable to experiment with long cable lengths and I haven't bothered to put back my Cardas. I also have kept my PC's at Belden heavy guage stuff. I've had some other wires come and go, but right now I'd rather invest my disposable income in investigating different sources, tubes, and especially new software/music. Maybe another day I'll do some wire changes, soon as I can figure out what I want to accomplish by doing so.
We all have out priorities - you're intitled to yours no matter what they might be. Just so long as it brings happiness, not just more angst......... :-)
I am also running semi low rate cables with my krell system. I went thru the mega-buck cables and for my taste the Monster IR ref. II interconnects & M2.4s bi-wires work. Bought the hi ends here on Agon & ended up selling and back to the Monster version. System; Krell KCT, Krell FPB300cx; Krell KPE Ref phono, Infinity Rennaisance 90 speakers. I do swap out the CAST to an XLR Cardas Quadlink once in a while just to mix it up. Hey it works and work extremely well. -John
Your ear's must rule, not the price tag. Is that not the first rule of this hobby?
I have and use interconnect cables that are rather inexpensive, some are 25 year old Discwasher and some are newer Sonic Link. The Disc cables have separate ground wires and were purchased directly from Disc. Most of them did not cost more then $15 a pair. They still sound great. I have had many different ss and tube units in my system over the years. The most expensive unit I owned was a $15K pre amp. Different cables did not improve its sound.
Over the years I have had dealers loan me many different cables (interconnects and speaker) to try, never measured up to the Discwasher and 12 gauge copper. Some of the loaner cables were in the $1K meter class, most were well broken in. Most dealers do not loan any more, and I think you know why.
I advise anybody who is thinking of getting more expensive cables then they have not to do so unless the dealer gives you a loan pair to first try. Otherwise you are just chasing air.
The one part of my system that I cannot change is the speaker cable. My speaker cable runs through the concrete floor from one side of my living room to the other. When my house was built, I had wanted the electrician to install conduit so that the speaker cables could be exchanged, but he did not. Instead, he used Radioshack 12G speakerwire trapping it in the concrete. On the positive side, this prevents me from expensive experimenting since the the current run is 40-45' in length.
Hey Paul, I want to hear the difference, but just plain can't. I'm an early adopter of the Volex $8 power cables and I've been using VH Audio Pulsar ICs for over 5 years now. Paul Speltz Anti Cable speaker wires are as good as any I've tried. So, I'm with you, luck I suppose to have this stuff work for me. I'm always surfing looking for that next best thing. I'd love to find a cable (any) that gets me there, but for now I'm content.
The money I've saved by buying relatively inexpensive interconnects and speaker cables has allowed me to buy better components/speakers...a far better way to allocate your budget.
For example, I'm using speaker cables that cost me $300 for an 8-foot pair, hooked to speakers that cost me $15K. Only an idiot would split that budget $5K/$10K for cables/speakers and expect to have something that sounds 'better'.
The same goes for my interconnects...about $100/pair (and I think that's maybe a little overboard).
Speaker cables/interconnects must have the greatest diminishing returns of any component in a system, with speakers the least.
If using zip cord allows you to buy better speakers, then I think that's the way to go.
03-09-08: Mijknarf Hey Paul, I want to hear the difference, but just plain can't.
I have the opposite problem. I don't want to hear a difference, but I do. I could certainly save a whole bunch of dough with some plain jane i/c's. I've heard 'good value' cables and cords, but I find that to acquire the best results my cables cost more than I care to admit. The law of diminishing returns certainly kicks in hard and early in audio in general.
03-10-08: Newbee John, If you don't want to hear the differences, just don't listen for them. Just run with the same set of cables/IC's and you can be blissfully ignorant (or really smart). :-)
Good advice Newbee, but it's too late now. I'll go back to 'normal' cables when I go back to 'normal' gear. If I could turn back time and just be happy with my Rotel integrated amp and cheap cables, I'd have a whole lot more disposable income right now. Which I could probably lose by flying around the world and beating up some beautiful golf courses, or maybe buying a nice boat..... :)
Hey John- I've often felt the same way: If I could ONLY turn back the clock! If I had only been born without an innate love for live music! If I only had not become a sound tech, perhaps I could be happy with Cryin'Ear Hi-Fi equipment and would have saved mega-bucks over the years. BUT ALAS: I can't turn back time, and I can recognize/appreciate the differences. Gotta bite the bullet and spend a few bucks for the satisfaction!
That first jump from the cables that came with to component to almost any quality, albeit not expensive cable is such an improvement that I can see why we get hooked. Early on, even when I was using Bose 901 Speakers I was really amazed in the qualitative jump when I went from Radio Shack's 'gold series' to my first custom cable. Of course, I also used that opportunity to untangle all of my interconnects/power/speaker cables, having been told hereabouts that is a good thing to do....
This first improvement is most certainly the single best and greatest jump in quality. After that, there are incremental improvements but I don't know about investing $2,000.00 in a one meter cable.
John, I tried, believe me. I went through Virtual Dynamics, Audience, Shunyata, Audioquest and others over many years. I have had systems costing almost twice as much. Eqipment by Pass Labs, Manley, Totem, Resolution Audio. I have tried quick A/B changes to try to pick up a difference. I have gone long term with months before swapping out for A/B comparisons. Today, I'm getting the best sound of my life with what I have now, go figure. My comments are not meant to denounce the worth of cables or those who hear differences, rather, just to state my experience. I will try other cables in the future, but right now, I don't want to mess with what works for me.
After years of ultimate DIY speakerdesigning I`ve come upon a few discoverys, cables included. It`s years since I concidered replacing anything in my system now, even if I know the digital-trafo could be uppgraded by a custom built one. Socalled high-end stores can offer me nothing except making me shake my head and smile. And what kind of cables do I use? DIY all over off course, no fancy junk;P Speakercables are thick solid copper, not flat,twisted or anything else that would influence sound quality. One separate cable to each element, all shielded. 10awg gives a good dynamic midrange;) Unlike most others I don`t see the negative conductor as a "retur" but as the other half of a AC-signal so I treat it just as carefully as the positive half. I stumbeled over a TV-coax years ago (while I was re-building my CD-player) that showed to have unseen audio-qualitys, first in double configuration as an IC and later it showed up to be the only coax to definitively outplay a AT&T optic by beeing cleaner in both ends. No other coax even came close. The secret is called Vivanco KX-710 and looks like just an ordinary coax. Off corse; only inner thread fore signal, fully shielded. Now I`ve come to realise that signal- & sdpeakercables has to be solid to keep the signal clean, but still my jaw dropped (my friends too) when I first started experimenting with solid powercables.(shielded;) My intension was to use them on his Jadis monoblocs, but since my rebuilt Electrocompaniet outplayed the tubes they were put on his CD-combination during a CD versus vinyl duel. And the dynamic gain was jawdropping on a system like this. I`ve seen grown, sober audiophiles cry over my Vivanco-IC`s..
I was in Montreal, a few years back, and visited the Tenor Audio factory. Robert Lamarre gave me a demo on both his Lamhorn 1.8c, and a Kharma version ($60,000.00). The speaker wire he used in his demo room was a thin, unshielded, teflon coated 6n copper wire, simple. Robert, being at the manufacturing end, only smiled when I asked why he didn't use 'proper' speaker cables. Does he know something the rest of us don't.
I spoke with Mr. Gilmore, of Gilmore audio, ex. Atma-Sphere employee/owner. He suggested I get a few lengths of Transformer wire. Varying guages, and seperate the + and - as much as possible. This was to diminish capacitance?, inductance?. This worked, I sold my Cardas and Acoustic Zen. This is what I have been useing.
Your Lamhorns, being very efficient, would probably work best with a thinner speaker wire. Look at tonearm wire as an example. Because the signal is small, a thinner wire maintains purer harmonics, I think. Goertz recommends smaller guages of their wire for smaller amps, and only recommends their larger guages for hich powered amps.
Am I rambling?.
I too am looking at the Lamhorn 1.8c, likely with the MDB3 driver.
Cables are about 3% of my total system MSRP. I hear the difference but I'm never sure if I hear the truth and throwing money at an illusion doesn't appeal to me. Bigger bass, higher highs, etc. does not mean accuracy to the origional recording. Components are easier to judge.