Well perhaps that is true, then again perhaps it isn't sounds as if your mind is made up already, no? Are some cables priced high? yes, does that mean they don't perform better then lesser cables? no, but you are reffering to the all to common law of diminishing returns. You first must have a system of the resolution to hear the differences, the subtle nuances that cables contain. If you are running adcom, paradigm system do you need to get Nordost Vahalla? NO WAY, but a decent kimber kable of some sort would make a huge improvement over radio shack cables. One man's crazy is another's sane, depends how important audio is to the user. I by no means have the best ears out there but I can hear the difference in cables, well most of them any way. Silver has a different more forward sound to it and copper is more relaxed, if you can't hear that your in the wrong hobby.
Here (definitly not HEAR) we go again. The first five words written by the poster are all anyone needs to glean of his "thoughts": "From everything I have read . . ." While audiophiles who aren't afraid to actually use their ears may also sympathize with his complaints about crazy prices and specious science, odds are most of their systems will sound better than his, too. Old, old story, my friend. Gain some listening experience, then come back and tell us something we can use - otherwise sit quietly and read to yourself!
trolling trolling trolling along...
Craig you're clueless
Sorry Craig, you just don't know what your talking about. This is really just wishful thinking on your part. Tireguy is telling it to you as it is. This is such an OLD story by now. I have lost count of how many threads have been over this topic time and time again, and there is almost always a testimonial from some die hard anti-cable guy who thought as you do and then was completely shocked when he found very significant differences when auditioning some good cables. Among those overpriced and hyped up companies are some amazing values and a means to some major improvements in sound reproduction. It takes time and effort to find your way through the cable maze, but it is worth it. That's what Audiogon is all about, audiophiles sharing their experiences.Come back when you've patiently tried 5 or 10 brands of cable and offer some of your impressions of them. Open your mind, and your ears will follow, I promise. Martin
Tim, Bob, Z, Martin; You guys are "right on". Craig ol' buddy, we've only been through this issue about 10,000 times. Is Audiogon no longer moderating thread or post submissions?
A'gon buddies, please don't take your ire out on all us "Craigs". I like good wire:>). Cheers. Craig.
I agree and disagree. While i believe that wires / cables DO make a difference ( so i disagree with the main thrust of the post ), i do agree that most wires / cables are WAY overpriced and a source of great revenue for dealers / manufacturers. Then again, i think everyone knows where most all of the regulars stand on this issue. 100 times over... Sean
Hang in there Craig. Good cables are important, but in spite of the arrogance of the other responders, there is no evidence that dollars spent equates to better sound. The only statement made by megabuck cables like "The Statement" is that someone has too much money (and not enough listening experience).
I didn't see anything in your comments that indicates that you believe that lamp wire is as good as a well designed speaker cable. But cable hits the point of diminishing returns faster then any other part of the system.
Cables do impact "sound" or character to the way a system sounds, and what appeals to me may not appeal to someone else, but having a set of Vahalla's may be a better conversation piece then the guarantee of a breathtaking listening experience.
And for those who will be quick to dismiss my comments (as they did yours) I've spent years and many thousands of dollars to come to the same conclusion as you. The fact is audio is a business and no where is the return on investment bigger then cable. High end component makers like Levinson and Conrad Johnson spend years and make major investments in research and development to develop new products. Most cable makers either re-package someone else's product or take an idea and just keep reselling it with cosmetic changes. Look at a 380S pre-amp and a few meters of high-end interconnect and tell me they should cost the same!
Have a little common sense, buy good cable and leave the megabuck stuff for those who measure their egos on the name brands they own.
And as we classically know, there is absolutely no aeronautical reason why bumble bees can fly....but they do.
If you can hear the difference, like it, have the money, and the kids still eat, buy it. If none of the above, don't. Also, I agree with Tim.
I remember when I discovered the truth about cables. I was at my local dealer just relaxing to some good sound on a set of his SoundLabs when he came in with another customer and said he was going to turn the sound off for just a second. When he turned it back on, I couldn't believe how much better the sound was. I immeadiately asked him what he did, such as different pre, amps or what. He told me no, that he had just put in different cables for this other customer. I don't care if those cables measured the same on paper or not, but no one can tell me that cables don't make a difference in the sound.
Craig(Garfish) don't worry there still moderating posts, I wrote a long one yesterday that some how didn't get up there, not the first time it has happened either.
$ spent have nothing to do with sound Quality,Period.
If the guys who wrote for the MAGS said this the Add Dollors would dry up.
So someone has to propagate this lie.
The typical mark up for a MFG is 10:1. for every dollar they spend on making a cable they need to charge ten times more.
When I put toghter a cable that cost me 75.00 to make A MFG has to selli ti for 750.00 Retail.The Distributor get 50% off list and that leaves 375.00 for the MFG to pay for Salaries Advertising Labour and so on.
The biggest problem with Cable MFG is that they use 50:1 and in some cases a 100:1 ratio.
99% of them buy there wire off the shelf from Belden,Pirelli,Shawflex, you get the jist.
Cables make a big difference.You can buy decent stuff without sheling out 1k.I use a Interconnect that reatils for 300.00 I have not heard anything sound better.
My system retails for 25K so it does have the resolution to distingish.
Just because you cant measure it does not mean it has no validity.
Let your ears decide not from evey thing you have read.
I would agree there is a lot of money to be wasted in this hobby and certainly the area of cables is one of them but no more perhaps than with say Wilson speakers or Krell monoblocks. Take a Radio shack gold cable - set it up on the left side of your system and say a Homegrown silver cable which as cables go is priced reasonably on the right side. If you hear a difference in the sound for the better with the silver than you will not have wasted your money except for the Radio Shacks. If you do not hear a difference than make an appointment to get your hearing checked (seriously).
If you blindfold most audiophobes they couldn't tell the difference between expensive cables and the ones that came with the gear!
Craig, I assume you drive a used Yugo and wear clothes from KMart. Functionally they are no different then a Mercedes and clothes from Macys. The car gets you to where you want to go at legal speeds and the clothes cover your bod. Anymore spent and you are wasting your money.
While I agree to most of the above statements, I have to call Birdieman's statement a ridiculous one. Is HE an audiophile? Did HE the blindfold tests?
I use to listen to music with eyes closed anyway, so I don't care about these "tests" at all.
Of course cables DO affect the system's sound. Simply because they are part of the chain. Since when is a chain's quality NOT dependent on the weakest part of the whole? Hence the quality of a cable is as important as anything else in the whole system. This discovery is relatively new plus the fact that some "experts" think that wire is wire and electricity is electricity and digital is digital makes it difficult for cable to prove their importance. As someone said above: take your time (!) and listen carefully to different brands and different concepts. If your ears are still in good working condition you WILL hear the difference. Now take step #2: What "sound" suits you more in regards on the music you love to listen to. If you listen to some crap the Radio Shack cable sure will do. The more sophisticated your material is the more EVERY part of your reproduction system will be important - so are cable! Then, finally step #3: check your purse and ask your minister of financial affairs (if there is one in the family) if a cable which found your heart and soul is worth the price. Of course there are over expensive cables, but is a Porsche NOT overexpensive? It sure is, but it kicks any other sports car's ass with ease. Now, if after all, listening to reproduction of music in your home is vital for you, you never would get the idea (again) to rate one part of the chain less important than another! Give it a try! It will be Christmas to your ears, heart and soul!
Ho ho ho - and good luck!
For the record, scientists solved the bumblebee mystery years ago. And a Yugo is not functionally identical to a Mercedes. But a Belden cable dressed up to look like Brand X is going to sound the same as a Belden cable dressed up to look like Brand Y. And that's what you're buying, folks.
I have been using the high end Monster cables , & kimbers and they do make a suttle improvement. More noticable with higher end gear. My friend bought a $ 40,000 used Krell system The Seller was a real knowledgable guy and he was using the $ 800.00 Monster 2.4 s with his $ 20,000 speakers and they sounded great ! Good cables do sound better with quieter backgrounds and a cleaner better detailed presentation , and they look cool too.
Sugarbrie, you have actually given comfort to the enemy here. Consumer marketing is all about convincing people that they will feel better about themselves of they buy the right products. The more desirable the car, the more desirable the man. Fashionable clothes, good looking popular guy. Craig K and the wire is wire crowd are saying the same about cables, that people are wasting money on cable in order to feel good about themselves, to feel they are among the cognoscenti, to feel that they are one step ahead of the next guy in getting good sound.
Of course, some of the wire is wire crowd believe that cheap cable is just the same as the expensive stuff because it supports their self image of being smarter than the average audiophile.
I am an agnostic. I hear differences in cables but (1) will never spend a lot knowing that my room and the furniture in it make more of a difference than any cable could, and (2) I may be delusional - the differences I hear may not be real at all.
"Natalie," here are 2 quotes from your post above:
"$ spent have nothing to do with sound Quality, Period"
"My system retails for 25K so it does have the resolution to distingish"
Think about it
My most expensive cable in my main system is the preamp to power amp link (Nordost Quattro Fil). In that position it affects and greatly improves the sound of every component running through my system. Now divide the cost of that cable among all my components in front of it: CD, Phono, Tape, Tuner, Preamp. I did buy it used for $800. So that is $160 per component. I could not have spent $160 more (each) for a better CD, Tuner, etc, etc and gotten such a large improvement. From this perspective it was an incredible bargain. The same would be true if I had paid the $1600 list price ($320 per component).
You can't tell a blind person about the color purple; he/she lacks a point of reference. And, as all good objectivists know, our thought processes are dualistically-based and require a point of reference to have any validity, logically speaking. The best analogy I can think of is to imagine yourself in a plane flying at a certain altitude. You look down and the coast line appears as a jagged line. Then you go higher and the coast appears more smooth. Its still the same coastline, but you are seeing it from different symmetries of perspective. The person traveling higher has seen both views, but any person traveling below, and always staying there, their assumptions about reality bounding them to that altitude, don't believe that a higher, more inclusive and expansive worldview exists. They are conformist to those assumptions ("...from what I've been told.")and that box of assumptions is a comfortable place for them to live without the introspective trauma of examining their world independant of others' formulations ("they be dragons over the horizon..."). Applying this to the issue at hand, we can say that some people hear at a particular symmetry and others at deeper symmetries. Those listening minds attached to the shallower perspective MUST deny the deeper levels as if they don't exist because, otherwise, their assumptions (always in these discussions, scientific materialist biases)would have to be reflected upon. This is why, psychologically, such assertions from such people are so dogmatic and rigid. You can not have a reasoned dialogue with them because, in doing so, you threaten their world. Or rather, what they desperately want the world to be. This was the case when the mediaval world view that resisted the Cartesian, and it is now happening as the Cartesian resists the next paradigm. Its evolution. Its just that in high end audio, because it concentrates opposing worldviews in the experience that neither can escape from (music listening), we see the butting of heads easier, and more often.
Of course, that doesn't mean that to ME - maybe not to a Czar - that a particular piece of technology is not "over-priced", but again, that is a different discussion as to whether differing perceptive symmetries exist (I own a NBS IC and still think its over-priced, even relatively speaking, but the subjective listener in me loves the altitudes).
Paulwp: I don't think I am giving comfort to the enemy. I assumed Craig does not shop at KMart for all his clothes, so using his logic (not mine) he is wasting his money. I did not buy my system to show off to the neighbors. I do not own an expensive car and probably never will. It does not matter to me. I get no buzz out of driving. But if someone gets a lot of enjoyment out of an expensive Hi-Tech sports car, then they have spent their money fine by me. Go for it!!
Paulwp (and others) you are on to something. There are many kinds of people. Some drive a sports car because they love to drive; some just to look cool. I know people who buy expensive audio equipment to look cool. The sound is secondary.
I hate to do this, but lets get straight on this relative price argument that objectivists are always using to bolster, inauthentically, their arguments. In each of these arguments we always see the phrase, "its over-priced" (and then they say, because its over-priced, its irrationally over-priced, so anyone of the opposing position is per se irrational, so, therefore, they don't need to be listened to. You see how the cascade of logic irrationally goes?). Implied in this position, however, is a denial of market forces and the assumptions of our economic system. Capitalism assumes infinite self-interest that translates into "whatever the market will bear". So, what actually is the problem that these people have with "over-priced" cable (that, nonetheless, is supported by the market): that they don't actually believe in the infinite assumption of our capitalist system? Or, is it really what I've been saying: that their reaction actually stems from their assumptions on objective grounds and they only mix in these arguments when its convenient and because they have that right air of political correct-ness that will keep anyone from saying something about it? You see, here's the thing I don't really understand: have you EVER really seen a scientific, materialist attached, yellow ribbon-tying objectivist who is in favor of changing the capitalist assumption of infinite greed?
First, KEEP ON POSTIN'! What's repetitive to some "old timers" on Audiogon is new to others! Second, I use the analogy of building an audio system to that of building a race car/ street rod. The parts should match the level of performance expected. A simple example...old muscle cars from the '60's NEEDED 100+ octane to run properly. If you could find it, this high octane gas would be a total WASTE for today's low compression engines. Cables are a little trickier. I consider that they are the tires of an audio system. And as any change of tires effects the handling of the car, so too will most cables effect the sound of an "audiophile system". The higher the performance of the audio system, the higher the degree of effect by the cables. Think of it! Many people actually use cables as a sort of tone control to correct deficiencies of their systems (whether they'll admit it or not!) Third, with that being said, I finally had a chance to audition Nordost Valhalla speaker cables against their own SPM cable. I don't know which is worse...the obscenely expensive price or the fact that the Valhallas ARE WORTH EVERY PENNY! Auditioning on a preamp/amp/speaker system of UNDER $20K the Valhalla's differences were NOT subtle! As a matter of fact going from the SPM to Valhalla then back to the SPM I just couldn't listen to the SPM any more! It's like playing a guitar with dead strings. As my dealer said, if you think of quality cables as an audio component instead of just wires, the price gets easier to justify. The Valhalla is now the standard AT ANY PRICE, and everyone else is just going to have to play catch up!
Reply from Author
To the "Regulars" and whoever:
Whew! Sorry if I offended anybody.
"Cant we all just get along", Rodney King.
It has been a while since I have been criticized for "reading" about audio (as opposed to listening to it.)
I do not want to go on to long because apparently everybody has had enough of this topic( I am new to this forum- Sorry)
I would like to say two things for the record. 1)My original post concerned spending "mega$$$$" on cables. I did not say that there is no difference in cables or that you cannot hear a difference in cables. Anyone who knows the first thing about current or voltage (much less audio electronics) knows that. 2) My point was simply that they are grossly overpriced and over-hyped. If you are willing to read a little I suggest (in addition to the sites listed in the original post) Allen Wright's book "Supercables Cookbook." (Available at Vacuumstate.com) There is no state secret or propritary information involved and a comparatively cheap and well designed cable will do everything you need. If you are not into DIY a look at Wright's book will at least offer some protection from your local audio salesman. In fact cables are probably the simplist link in the chain. If you have the dexterity to butter toast you can put together your own for a few cents on the dollar. Being a relative newcomer to audiogone I figured that if you are at this site you are interested in stretching your $$$ and like to avoid the pernicious effect of retail pricing, and glossy advertising budgets.
My Best to everyone!
I've sold cables on the amount of $$$ and downgraded to a simple van den hul wires that is being used on highly priced cables.
The result was increadible + I upgraded my cartridge for the difference to Lyra Helikon from Benz M.09
Yea, admittedly we subjectivists have our own little buttons. FYI: CK sent me a gratious message. Now, THAT's the self-esteem that makes dialogue possible and FUN (!). Boy, is it refreshing. Dialogue, while pointed and confident in its given position, should always maintain some sense of play, I think. Maybe I'm wrong. As I told him, he was just a foil here, albeit a necessary one, IMHO now and then (for the reasons I stated above).
I will admit one of my favorite brand cables is home made (not my home). If anyone remembers MAS (Music and Sound) which was once pushed by Wadia, sold by The Cable Company and recommended by Soundstage. The designer Stu Wein now makes them out of his home in Florida and sells them direct for the same price he use to charge dealers which is about 1/3 retail. His various interconnects, speaker cable and power cables are a great value at that price. He sells them on eBay also. Stu can be contacted at Audioparts@aol.com
Yup, Craig and others, I sold my cables and replaced them with tulip bulbs. I find the sound more colorful with better bloom, but, in the winter, much more recessed.
Thanks for playing the straight man... ;-)
Sugarbrie, I drive a sports car for fun. It's almost 30 years old and I havent bothered to restore it, so I'm sure I don't look "cool" in it. But, people do choose their cars for reasons other than transport functionality; comfort, handling, convenience, easy of parking, gas mileage, storage capacity, or the pleasure of shifting through a close ratio gearbox. And people buy clothes for the way they feel and look. That's the purpose of clothing, otherwise we would just go around in burlap.
But what purpose does an audio cable have other than the function of carrying a signal?
So, Asa, I think CK (nice guy) was saying "mega-priced" cables are irrationally overpriced based on their functionality. And you say the price is based on market demand. I wonder if there is a market for a $10,000 interconnect? If they build it, who will come?
Since I cant afford the Valhalla, my world view is happiest if I believe that the Valhalla is no better than a $10 Radio Shack cable. (I would be ecstatic if I believed that I could get the same sound quality out of a $1,000 budget system as someone else's $100,000 system.) In fact, since you and I are both "subjectivists" (in that we make decisions based on our own hearing rather than a set of measurements, I guess), you can't prove to me that the Valhalla is better than The RS Gold. I imagine it probably is, since I think my interconnects are better than the RS Gold, but I'll never know for sure. Irrationally overpriced? I guess it depends on how much money you have.
Well, Craig you seem to have given everyone a lot to talk about.
I guess I agree with you Paul. While that Quattro Fil would have been worth it for me even at $1600, I would not have paid that for a new one. The rest of my interconnects are all under $350 at new prices (Siltech, MAS and Van Den Hul).
As a self-labelled "quasi-objectivist" I would like to say that admitting a difference in cables because of the empirical evidence of your own ears even when measurements don't show differences is not necessarily an non-objectivist act. It merely means we are measuring the wrong things. Our ears may be the only measuring device we have right now that can tell the difference. We may develop other measuring devices that will confirm what our ears tell us or we may decide if we can hear the difference, what else do we need?
BTW, Asa is correct. A cable is not "overpriced" if someone is willing to pay that price for it.
To T southworth and Friends,
What is the resonant frequency of your tulip bulbs and can you e-mail a notch filter to to take care of it.
yeah you gotta get into cables man!!!
i had audioquests on my linn rigg $60 a shot,then a friend told me bout nordost blue heavens and they are $160 a shot and i tell you my system sounded like 5 blankets had been taken off the speakers--i had transparancy,balls,depth,detail-before i had a flat muffled sound---in comparisum what i had before.........
think of it as resistance--like a tap slightly on, slowly(dribbles) then open it up and all the water gushes out.......put that into a sound version......
also different frequencys travel differently on various materials like copper and silver....
it really makes or brakes a system-----
why spend a $1000 on a cd player and cheap out on a cable makes no sense to me--you was prepared to spend that amount in the first place.so do it justice--let all the sound out of it...
Some equipment are more sensitive to cable changes then others and everyone's price point is different. I will not make a general statment of one way or the other. I suggest you try to borrow some cables and listen for youself. If you like the result then look at the price and ask youself if you are willing to pay for it. Some people are willing to pay a lot for small changes and some will not. To me, my equipment are very sensitive to cables and I like the sound and the price of Harmonic Tech cables. I am now looking for a pair of Pro Silway MK II 4M XLR interconnect. Anyone has a pair for sell?
Craig K; I guess there's still a lot of life left in this subject, probably because there are always new people coming into the Forum. So far there have been 36 posts to this thread-- the most in a long time. So, my apologies if my first post was sort of jaded.
My own observations and experience is that the "best value" in wires lies in the middle of a wire companies range of products, eg I use mid-priced Syn. Res. wires with excellent results. These wires (ICs, spkr cables, and power cords) fit my budget, and have proven to make my stereo system sound better.
The mid-range cost wires are not a "cost is no object statement product" where the retail price has to be really high to cover the cost of the relatively few that will be sold. Mid and low priced wires have the advantage of "economy of scale", and IMO they can offer most of the performance of the "top of the line" wires, while still using top quality materials and manufacturing techniques. Cheers. Craig G.
Craig (Garfish, that is), re: mid-range wires. My experience is similar to yours regarding price/performance ratios with "mega" brands. Nordost is a good example: blue-heaven, spm, I have found to be good performers.
On the other hand, Valhalla easily outperforms all their other cables -- and most bank accounts. I heard a small Micromega (minium?) system sing beautifully with Valhalla cables... and no, the system was NOT (IMO) a giant killer by any stretch of the imagination, but euphonic all the same!
Re: cables. I have interacted with cable manufacturers in the past, so I can report the following regarding hi-end cables (audio, or otherwise). Some are standard industrial designs with proprietary matls made to (our well-known brand's) order by one of the large cable producers. Some are more complicated proprietary designs with asymmetric geometries and VERY expensive even in large lengths, again made to order.
Pricing: replacement cost is a factor ofcourse. BUT, a cable geometry that "performs" like $1000 will be invariably priced 900-1100 regardless of production cost. This is the norm, so many exceptions (super kits, smaller audio specialists, even known brands, etc) exist ofcourse and confirm the rule IMO.
DIY cables have been a solution for many of us who are handy -- unfortunately, I'm not handy enough...
Verdict: many (most? all?) giga$ cables perform well. On mega resolution systems. Prices are outrageous; vs. electronics, IMO, the next outrageous price/performance link: no comparison. Electronics are cheapo by comparison.
It's a vicious circle: we have components that can "play" only if they're connected by wire.. what a conundrum!
Pawlup $ spent has nothing to do with sound means you can spend 25K and have a system that sounds better than one that costs 75K which might consist of overpriced Krell-Wilson Speaker and Nordost cable.The point I am trying to make is that you can get a cable for 300.00 that sounds as good as a 3K cable.
The problem is that to many people buy for ego and prestige.
Let your ears make the choice regarless of price.
Sorry my 25K retail system is in Canadian Dollars.Thats about 15K US bought everything on the used market so I have about 7K US invested.
And yes Belden is belden.Nost MFGS stick it inside of a fat tube then they put a fancy jacket on it.Total cost about 2/3 bucks a foot and charge 150.00 a foot for it.Cut it open and you will be sick to find out whats in it/Stuff like belden 19634 in a fancy wrap sold at 449.00 for a 6
foot power cord.Not that there is anything wrong with the Belden just how bad you got screwed.The stuff is less than 1.00 a foot in Bulk.
Do you have the guts to cut in and look at whats inside of your 1500.00cable .You would get the I just got rapped feeeling.
I invite anyone who can expose the imposters who mainly badge stock wire to do so, and support those companies with proprietary technology like Acoustic Zen, Harmonic Technology, Synergistic Research or whatever brand anyone might like to mention.
Let's get something straight here: having worked with test and measurement equipment for 10 years, I can assure you that differences in cables CAN (easily) be measured! Take a variable frequency LCR bridge and measure at 20Hz and 20KHz. Also, just recently someone posted a repeatably measurable difference with a sound meter. You can argue that the measured differences shouldn't have any effect if you'd like, but MY ears say otherwise.
The finest drivers typically use aluminum wire in their voice coils. This wire is small and there is a lot of it. Wire used in the voice coil is solid and sometimes rectangular to pack the most volumn into the available space. The voice coil is in series with the speaker cable. If cheapo wire has an effect there should be a substantial signal degradation from the considerable amount of aluminum voice coil wire. Any higher quality wire in series with it would be wasted (if there were such a thing).
Additionally, there is relatively speaking, substantial inductance (compared to any conceivable speaker wire geometry) in the voice coil/motor assembly of the speaker.
And so, my point is that if you like the sound of your speakers then you like the sound of solid aluminum wire. For those who care, solid aluminum wire is even cheaper than cheap copper zip cord.
If you have electrostatic speakers, well, I suppose you could use this argument to explain why they are inherently better.
Steve, you forgot that E-stat's use step up transformers. Since a transformer is ( typically ) a coil of wire, you've once again got the same type of situation to deal with.
Other than that, your train of thought is completely logical. Even though anybody with reasonable hearing will probably disagree with you, you must be right according to the laws of common sense.
Too bad life ( and audio ) aren't that easy. Sean
i'm not real sure but i believe the purpose of coils is to create and collapse magnetic fields and is not to carry signals per se.
as far as cables, or for that matter, any other hardware go, the whole stereo trip is about looks and hype. you find the look and the hype that jives with your stereo sense and you indulge yourself...then sit back and enjoy the music you like to play. upgrades occur when new looks and new hype create sufficient insecurity in the status quo to prompt change. assuming unlimited funds, how much you wanna spend equals how insecure you have been in your pleasure. the best discovery is yourself. great post craigklomparens!
They 99.9% even the one's you mention badge stock.
Dont let the money they spend on full page adds fool you.Your paying for the adds.
Steve and Sean re Electrostatic Speakers
I have built a dozen or so conventional speakers and make no claim to have expertise with ESLs but from what I understand speaker wire is critical with ESLs.
Generally the load presented to an amplifier is completely different for an ESL. ESLs act more like a capacitor in the line while traditional magnetic speakers act like a resistor/inductor.
All cables have inductance, capacitance and impedance and, of course, the amount can be changed by design of the wire. An ESL is driven by a high voltage step up transformer INSIDE THE SPEAKER and it "leaks" inductance. This interacts with the capacitance of the ESL to form what is called L/C (inductance/capacitance) resonant circuit and this will cause a high frequency peak if it is not controlled(kept out of the hearing frequency). They spend a lot of time trying to build great transformers that do not "leak" much. Because inductance is such a big problem due to the L/C problem it is especially important that cables have low inductance too.
To sum it up: If your ESLs' seem to have an unattractive peak in the highs (are "bright") one thing to look at is the design of the cables.
This may seem to some to contradict my prior posts but it does not because well designed cables for ESL's can be had or made for chump change once you know what you are looking for.
as noted, I'm not a big ESL person and if my understanding is off base please give me an e-mail.
Natalie, as far as Harmonic Technology is concerned, I can assure you they do not get stock cable from anywhere else, the single crystal wire is made in California for them exclusively using a proprietary process. I'm not 100% sure, but I think the same can be said of Acoustic Zen.
Excellent point, Mvwine. Looking to objective evidence does not make you an objectivist; the attachment to the assumption that objective observations are the only way to validly derive truth makes you an objectivist. Interestingly, it are not only his assumptions that the objectivist is attached to (specifically, these assumptions derive from Bacon [knowledge of matter = truth], Galileo [knowledge of matter can be enhanced by seeing reality as a mathematical machine, or linear matix, decribed by quantifiable data, ie size, etc.] and Descartes [reducing matter into progressively smaller parts gives greater truth]. Rather, the objectivist is also attached to his fear of his assumptions absense, or a denial of knowledge that is beyond scientific thinking (labeled with the abstraction "ratio-empiric, hypothetico-deductive formal operational cognition", presently recognized by psychology as the end-point in cognitive development). This is why science categorizes all knowledge that is not "scientific" as irrational; it must be, otherwise, science would be forced to examine its own premises, and why traditional psychology, allied as a rubber stamp for science, denies any level of cognition beyond the abstraction above (even though 5 million years of progressive cognitive development argues, empirically, the opposite future potential...). It is the attachment to the assumptions outlined above, and the recoil from a possibilty beyond them, that makes someone an "objectivist" (which, at its base, is an attachment to matter, or objects).
I would point out to you, however, that your assumption that more quantitative data necessarily will reveal greater truth is based upon the above assumptions. In this century - and something, characteristically, objectivists don't know, or choose to ignore - is that these assumptions have been thoroughly deconstructed. That's another discussion if someone wants to have it.