I prefer cable brands that are tuned to convey the music in most natural way without emphasizing any elements of a recording.
The Tuneful cables are a Belden cable. Similar to what Bluejeans cable do, , They buy the bulk Belden cables and terminate them. Not meant as a slur on BJ, just a fact. I suspect the same from SVS & the other co. on Amazon. IF one is not inclined to DIY, then I suspect BJ or the others are a good buy. I am considering a set of speaker cables from Canare which I have been told that were better than some $1K+ cables. Sincce I have silver, I'm considering the Canare (Blueejeans) or DIY if I don't do the Silversmith Fideliums which get great reviews
Thanks to posters. I suppose I’m still interested in your answer to the question in the OP.
Let me rephrase it:
When you hear cables described in a certain way -- but not specific to your system -- how accurately do you find those descriptions matching up to what you eventually here, if you try the cables?
I’d give it some credence. But it often comes down to a matter of scale. IOW, the bass may be 90% for one and 10% for another. It also depends upon which speaker cable you went from to the new one. What happens when your your existing cables naturally have more/better bass than the ones in question? Maybe your existing cables are giving 100% of what they are getting from the amp. The ones in questions can do no better than 100%. So in essence, there are a lot of variables which can rear their head when you speak in generalities. But generally speaking, Id give credence to the posters opinion. Hows that for circling around? 😀
@hilde45 - the answer to your question really is - you get what you pay for !
$100 cables are generally mediocre performers because
If the budget allows look at Zavfino cables - for a little more money you will get
Take a look at the Zavfino thread for more information about them
These are very good cables to start out with
As for your question
I do not pay any attention to cable reviews because...
This hobby is very subjective
Also, we tend to review any component/cable using our favourite tracks, which may not bring out the best in their performance
The secret to reviewing anything is to find tracks that cover a wide selection of sounds and not just favourite tracks
Hope that helps - Steve
If you get 10 guys saying what a cable sounds like and they all agree, or the majority agree you can bet that the description is a good evaluation. Now in your system they may or may not be as dramatic or more dramatic because it's the interaction with the gear it's hooked up to that makes a bigger difference.
And any cables improvement is minor , save if you own bad cables, compared to electrical noise floor control, vibrations control, and acoustical control...
Discussing cables is a plague among audiophiles, not because they dont made a difference but because they made one, a minor one... This focus our attention in a secondary factor among other secondary factors...The main factors are the three i just mentionned...
Cables and price tag of gear are only some blinders...If someone want to see clearly he must experiment with the three working dimensions of any audio system...At any price...
Thank you for taking the time to post here. I was going to respond to OP after my initial post but your post sums it up very nicely. IMO, cables are just as important as your components and room acoustics. And you gotta hear them in your system rather than relying on reviewers and manufacturers description. For me, If I am interested in a cable or component, my ultimate test is to hear them in my system. The reviews and manufacturer description serves as reference point only. I trust my ears and years of experience above anything else. Let me reiterate what you said before this thread get derailed by cable naysayers :-)
This hobby is very subjective
When i say that cable are secondary, i means when you own great one it is over... And there exist great one at all prices like the gear...
Saying that cables is important as acoustic and are on the same level is pure ignorance of acoustic...
I am not a "cable naysayers" i am an acoustic experimenters...You are not...Buying gear and cables is not buying knowledge sorry....
This hobby is very objective too:
mechanical control and electrical noise floor control and acoustical control are OBJECTIVE factors...
And forget audiophile gear inspired engineering marketing vocabulary, read about acoustic and psycho-acoustic vocabulary...
We learn to listen by acoustic listening experiments not by buying the gear and plugging it and hearing the difference and merely ascertain a difference with our past gear...This is fetichism not steps in the way of learning to listen...
What we listen to in a room is defined by rigorous already existing concept in acoustic...
“Saying that cables is important as acoustic and are on the same level is pure ignorance of acoustic...”
I usually avoid engaging folks who have a tunnel vision. Your singular purpose (evident from your 8K+ posts) here is to advocate and promote room acoustics. That’s your belief and I am A-ok with that! I do not wish to engage with you or anyone who clearly focuses on one aspect of system building and downplay everything else. That’s your prerogative and let’s leave at that, I respectfully request that you keep me out of your other worldly acoustics fetish fest!
Sorry to correct you. but i am an advocate of the THREE main working embeddings control: mechanical, electrical and acoustical...
Then i will let you alone if you dont accuse people of being "cables naysayers" which is the most ridiculous acusation possible in an audio thread, not because cables dont matter, they matter, but it is secondary matter completely...
Only ignorance put cables difference on the same level that these 3 main important dimensions i just spoke about, and this is this cables obsession or fuses obsession , and fuse may matter yes, that makes audiophiles look like ridiculous...
Cables matter yes you are right but it is secondary...
It is not necessary to answer, you will not refute evidence by repeating that cables matter...They matter but not so much than you think...
Looking for costly cables BEFORE turning our attention on vibrations control, hight electrical noise flor, and acoustic , is reflecting ignorance... Upgrading an already basic good system BEFORE turning our attention to these three dimensions is also ignorance...Sorry...Money for costly cables and costly upgrade dont replace thinking...
I have read interconnect and cable reviews in The Absolute Sound and Stereophile for decades. You must understand the nomenclature to read and understand The reviews… but I have found them to be very accurate. But you must understand your own system as well.
I have spent many hundreds of hours comparing and contrasting different interconnects and cables. And one sideline… in general, Belkin and Blue Jeans are most similar to the free interconnects you get with a component. These are not an upgrade. I have tried them.
Well now, is it even possible to tune a speaker cable? Surely it's not the job of a cable to emphasise or supress frequencies and a good cable will transmit all frequencies without timing issues or transient degradation.
artemus_5 - I had the Silversmiths and they didn’t do much in the way of improving the sound of my integrated NAD M33, but they didn’t do anything bad either. Very tough to connect if you have tight/close together speaker connection points. The best thing is the owner is a great guy and refunded the full price without issue.
The only way I have found to approach it is to trial certain cables in my system.
Sure, there could be a "wrong" cable for a particular system, given how the components, as a system are voiced- that is, you are combining attributes and to some degree using the cables to fine tune the system. Before you go crazy on wire, I’d want to know that the system is optimized for the room, some room treatment or other things may prove to be important too, but placement and positioning, which may require some experimentation and heavy lifting, might also be in order first.
Sometimes, differences in cables in my experience are subtle- not imaginary, but the system has to be capable of revealing, and benefit by, the match up. Some synergies are well known for particular amp-speaker sets. I know one person whose tastes are in the stratosphere and he largely avoids audiophile cable in favor of very basic wire.
Hearing an entire system "loom" of one cable type or brand can let you hear the "house sound" or character of the cable a little more easily, but there could be differences within a brand, from the lowest priced to the upper tier.
And that is where you can waste money until you trial them in your system. It is work. I did it first, meaningfully, in the late ’80s, and after a weekend listening to 4 or 5 cables, I came up with one I preferred. I can’t remember where it ranked in terms of price.
There’s a lot of stuff written, but given the wide range of variables between your system and someone else’s (the room alone, as well as set up will have a considerable influence over sonic outcomes even if the gear comprising the system is identical--not something likely), I’d say that the views of others may gave you some insight into the sonic signature of a cable. But it is in your system, using your ears, that you will make determinations, not the words of someone else using a different system and room. That’s all I got. Good luck. The more time you spend on listening and evaluating, the better your outcome will be. You also will learn to improve your analytical listening in the process of making such comparisons for yourself.
I hate to say it but those cables for $100 and $79 are going to be junk, the best cables for audio and this has been proven for 50 years now is OCC single crystal wire and it's not cheap but if you hear it compared to all the other ofc stuff on the market including the real expensive stuff that's a rip-off the OCC is the clear winner, the ofc stuff is not even in the same league.
QUESTION: To what degree can his descriptions be taken as "likely true" for any given (sufficiently resolving) system
ANSWER TO HOW “LIKELY TRUE?”
For all the good and valid reasons already laid out, it is a minimal to nil assurance that a blind purchase will also work in YOUR bespoke system in absence of a hands-on audition and experimentation in your bespoke system.
Simply put, it is a purely calculated risk purchase
I don’t trust anything said by a seller about subjective aspects of their audio equipment; they have motive to stretch the truth, and no reason to be especially truthful because there are no consequences.
I do have a measure of trust in the forums and reviews, but not in any single forum comment or single review.
The more sources the better, but if I read the same thing repeatedly stated the same way - ie, ’It’s a ’musical’ amp' - I ignore it.
If the descriptions are made by persons with experience of the equipment, and in their own words those various persons are found to be saying essentially the same thing, then I have found that it is true.
Sorry for the correction havocman but occ has been with us a little shorter (1991) and yes is a considerable upgrade compared to ofc. Trple C is a more advanced manufacturing process and for me the better sounding too. You cannot go wrong with either though.
Unfortunately with cables you pay you get, overpriced maybe but what isn't.
So many times i have found out, searching for the century deal, that low budget cables called "giant killers" are nothing but very ordinary in disguise. Better save up for something better. Different systems different results, different ears, but house sound is real and easier to hear when a complete set of cabling is introduced in ones system.
Cables should remain in a system for a long period to show what they are capable of, swapping more than often is a waste of time.
I have never listened to SVS Ultra or Tuneful cables so i cannot comment on reviewers findings but i found reviews for Kondo, Acoustic Revive, Furutech to be very close to my findings.
Would you like to have your music sound more natural and dynamic? Craving the low level details and acoustic information in your favorite music that could bring you closer to the music and make it sound more alive and fresh? Want to get lost in the soundscape? Transparent will do that like no other…enjoy!
I don’t know if this answers the question specifically but, in my system I am initially sense (hear) the “general or house sound” of the cable. Whether that be lean, more bass, midrange, muddled, shrill, etc etc. Then as you go up the line on a cable it’s all about the resolution, micro details, sound stage. This is particularly true with a couple of the brands I have ie: analysis plus, and nordost. In particular, Nordost has a great general sound that treats the highs in a very appealing way (without any edge), and bass that is authoritative and not bloated. This rings true throughout the line where Heimdall is the sweet spot for me. Now when you move up to Valhalla, the details, micro details and balance is amazing. The bass is clean and punch that’s not bloated in any way. My favorite, Valhalla use from my preamp to amp.
So, before I get way off tangent I look for these descriptors and how the reviewer uses them to get a general feel for what the cable might sound like. Then it’s all about how they sound to. Hope I came close on this question.
When I bought my Odyssey Stratos+ years ago, I was a Bass Nut and Klause assured me it was on the Bassie side. I also bought a pair of Groneberg ICs also described on the bass side. They were the same cable that the Stratos was internally wired with.
Years later I put together a system that was on the Bright side and when I put the Gronebergs between CDP and Integrated the Bass did improve and the Brightness was lowered a good deal.
Keep in mind this was not a Ultra Resolving system but the JM Labs speakers have a titanium tweeter than can get fatiguing.
My takeaway is you can tune a system some with cables.
Great point. Another variable not factored in by most reviewers or commenters. This whole hobby careens between art, pseudo-science, and science without a whole lot of clues.
Well put. The video I was referencing above has, today, 23,256 views. If what folks here have said is true, then the video is quite the bit of puffery. I wouldn't make such assertions to such a wide following but then again, I care about my reputation for saying reasonably true things.
Great post and I like your order of priority. I totally agree. One should not "sweat the small stuff" if the big stuff isn't already dealt with. That's why I spent over a year and half mostly on room acoustics.
If cabling is next on your pursuit to system building, I highly recommend Zavfino’s and Combak’s High performance to Cost Line. There are folks here who had direct experience with both brands and eventually end up with Combak HCL. PM me if you’re interested in learning more about these brands.
The only worthwhile piece of advice anyone can give you is only buy returnable cables. Try them out and compare.
There are far too many variables in audio to say anything with certainty with regard to someone else’s system.
In my experience, the skill of the recording engineer swamps everything else!
@hilde45 after comparing a cable in my own system, when fortunate to do so, I like to try and take the same cable to a few different friend’s places and compare again with a completely different system and room setup. While it can seem to be a bit of a swag, it can be interesting to listen for characteristics that do carry over with the cable. It can be much more interesting and valuable when comparing on another transparent system.
I often read folks stating a cable should not have a sound. My thought is all cables can impact sound, and which ones impact the sound the least and let the music through is what I enjoy listening for. Some hear differences, while others don’t. Finding the "giant killers" at a lower cost has been another reason to evaluate different cable designs.
i use the tuneful belden cables from the fellas in brooklyn... very happy with them - excellent sound irrespective of their modest price - very balanced presentation, very good detail and ambience retrieval with some midrange warmth - i also very much like the spring loaded bananas they use - i like them especially with my dynamic speakers (harbeth, spendor, fritz)... for maggies which pull alot more current from the amps, i move to heavier gauge wire, shorter runs
kimber xlo nordost mapleshade/clearview and zu are zippier sounding, cardas duller/warmer - for less money, i find the tuneful ic's and speaker cables sonically equivalent to most good copper cables (from straightwire, ww, audioquest, et al)
I appreciate the advice but I should probably state it plainly -- I’m not shopping for cables, I’m not really interested in upgrades at this point, etc.
My question arises out of interest in the phenomenological, epistemic elements involved -- and also in the way in which people interpret online (or other) advice.
There is a tremendous amount of conceptual looseness in this hobby, and one way I’ve been able to create what I think is a very decent system is by figuring out who to listen to, who to ignore, what control factors matter, etc. If you look back at a lot of my posts, they’re often (not always) driven by my wider project of establishing linguistic, sensory, and psycho-acoustic metrics. Otherwise, acquisition becomes a Sisyphusean guessing game.
’conceptual looseness’ is a nice, respectful term for what happens way too often in the cable business, with is pure b-s to suck $ out of wallets, playing on frailties of the audiophile mind and ego...
i am not quite as nice as you... :)
@jjss49 Good point. I was thinking that, overall, there is a lot of that in audio. Someone says the sound is "bright" or "tubby" or... "musical," etc. and it is often hard to really get a definite or semi-definite sense of what is designated in sensory experience.
As with the sense modalities of taste and smell, we have a vocabulary for aural phenomenon that is comparatively vague -- compared to vision-vocabulary. Still, we do try and often it can take a while. But when something is being sold, well, caution to the wind!
So cable believers only, deniers not allowed. If a difference is never heard possibly your acute face-saving imagination sets in…that’s grounds for acceptable opinions. Sounds like more boring cable conversation can’t prove it 90% of the time so let’s spend the money, make up a special language then carry the BS pass the cash register. Wonder how long any of this stuff actually sits in the same household working a system, now there’s a study.
A vocabulary based on subjective impressions is not enough...
But we must correlate our impressions about sound with an objective background, which is acoustic and psycho-acoustic vocabulary...
If not, "tasting" cables is, unlike tasting wine which is some form of a learned art, is an arbitrary description which no one could related to...Because of all the difference between room/system and hearing history and experiences between us...
But if i say this "cable" improve the " listener envelopment" / "source width ratio", LV/ASW ratio, without unbalancing the relation between high frequencies and bass but increasing timbre perception, i will buy it ...
If not, keep it....
By the way the worst thing to do is calling people cables believers or cables naysayers.... The two groups are wrong...Like the few objective zealots versus some subjective fetichists...
We must learn to listen before speaking.... Acoustic is the only encompassing objective background here, not mere electrical measures...
By the way if a cable change a too " tubby" sound in a more brightier one in one system , or vice versa, it is not enough to be proof that this cable is good in general , because his impact is related to a precise system unbalance problem which this cable help to forgot about but do not really solve, then a change here will not be a proof of an improvement at all for all system and for everyone...
It will only be a change which will seems for the better for someone...An improvement must be based on objective general solution and device control...An improvement is not a change...A improvement increase the way you relate to all aspect of sound, it is not a different "color"...
This is why we need to use acoustic vocabulary not an audiophile vocabulary inherited from gear engineering tasting marketing...
Word descriptions can subjectively define the quality of any suitable cable, though to arrive at a universally accepted consensus on a clear definition of what makes any well-constructed cable channel music the way it does without coloration is a matter of degree and is often irrelevant to the source music and the preferred sound the listener finds contentment.
The following link is how cable discussions/reviews by users went down 20 years ago here @ A'Gon.
I still use the 47 Labs OTA cable in my main tube based setup and also as speaker cable for our living room CD based "mini system" setup.
I installed a duplicate "mini system" in our spare bed/computer room 3 months ago, or so, and am trying Canare 4S11 as speaker cable.
Mini system = Sharp SD-EX111/Polk RT15i.
I used to obtain my most valuable cable info/feedback here, but unfortunately times have changed.
@dekay Thanks for the link.
Right, because I'm asking people who hear a difference whether it corresponds to how they have heard the supposed difference described.
If someone does not hear a difference, then it is already obvious that they would not hear a difference from the supposed difference described.
I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.
I look at it as just another opinion.
For a lot of components there are multiple reviews and when an opinion is asked on this forum, everybody and his dog has a different recommendation as what is the "best".
Add them all together and if you don't have the ability to listen to everything, then it comes down to just making your best guess.
Actually, when you think about it, it's very similar to buying wine.
When you say "Just another opinion" does that mean that "all opinions are equal"?
It is the most obvious truism to say that one has to "listen for themself" -- so we certainly agree on that.
Above and beyond that, some people with opinions have those opinions grounded upon:
As a result of their efforts, they develop what Hume called:
"Strong sense, united to delicate sentiment, improved by practice, perfected by comparison, and cleared of all prejudice."
And that's why THEIR opinion is worth MORE.
@hilde45 good thread and has made me stop and ponder. I struggle in this area a bit and my guess is it has more to do with me being able to properly interpret some of the terms and then combine all the terms together to capture what they sound like together in playback. Sort of like reading a wine review - I'm exaggerating for humor here - with earthy undertones, a hint of tobacco with a velvety vanilla finish that resonates on the back of the tongue. I sort of understand each standalone reference but what do all the references add up to on the finished taste and if the hint of tobacco is really important for a nonsmoker.
But what a do know is how my system sounds and can quickly discern the differences I hear when I listen to a different cable. Am I getting something more or less than the incumbent cable and if the difference I'm hearing worth the investment of changing them out
I installed the Silversmith Fideliums a few weeks ago
My current cables were very lively, energetic and a joy to behold
But within three songs with the Silversmith's there was no turning back
In summary, I was hearing the best version of playback on my system of each song that I played
That's the pinnacle of any upgrade for me and allows me to rediscover my entire music catalog again
While certainly not the first time I've heard the song but indeed the BEST I've EVER heard said song playback on my system in my room
At the end of the day, for me the reviews are simply guidelines and the results of our mileage will vary depending our personal tastes, combination of components and room specifics
Buy something because you like it based on your experience, not because of a reviewers experience
Enjoy the journey
I like the wine metaphor. I think we all struggle. Not only because these terms are very very vague (in terms of designating a precise sensory correlate event in our own situated experiences) but there are many acoustical factors which make the comparison laughable if it's meant to be serious or scientific. (That pretense to scientific accuracy is probably what gets under most people's skins.)
We might consider the wide range of factors that comprise a certain sonic event:
So, when someone says "this cable sounds like X" then I need to know something reasonably precise about the other factors involved -- and how they compare to my own space and taste. Otherwise, what they say about the cable is fairly opaque. A.K.A. nearly "useless." Unless one is just looking for something to try. And I have no beef with that. We all need to get our hints from somewhere.
Silversmith Fideliums -- thanks for mentioning.
Headphones can be useful when you need to be silent for the sake of someone else...
None of my 8 headphones compared to me acousticallt controlled room...
I will never go back to headphones...
Most people anyway listen their speakers in a living room or in a room not acoustically controlled...
Headphones sound is artificial....
But room acoustic is so complex to experiment with, i advise headphones over living room speakers...