I am sick of cables

I have owned cables like Nordost Valhalla, Purist Audio 20th anniversary, Acoustic Zen Silver Reference, Virtual Dynamics Revelation, Argento Serenity. I have also auditioned cables like stealth indra in my system.

All I can say is that I am sick of cables, don't want to talk about them, audition them, not even see them....lol

Right now I have found a great combination of less expensive cables than the above which are perfect with MY equipment.

I was wondering why studios that record the music we are listening are not using super expensive cables...

In my humble opinion IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE AFTER, the most expensive cables are not necessarily better...

I said it, now I feel better...
I think there is a lot of truth in what you are saying. See the following for what I consider to be an exceptionally intelligent and balanced (no pun intended) explanation of why cables can and do sound different, which at the same time puts into perspective the hype, nonsense, and pseudo-science that tends to surround them:


-- Al
Watch your back. The cable police will be looking for you :-)
Yeah I brought up this topic on another audio forum and was almost lynched.
Maybe you should pursue a less stressful endeavor such as tube rolling? ; )
Argyro: Hello. My name is Argyro and I'm an audiophile.

All: Hello Argyro.

seriously, though, I hear ya. in my opinion, you can put every bit of equipment in there with cables. i've spent silly amounts of money trying to find a system i enjoy as much as my old 70's pioneer receiver-advent speaker get up.

hasn't happened yet.

A few years back I used to react the same way with such comments. I though that the most expensive cables were the best.

I suppose that you gain experience through the years and only if you REALLY want to learn.

Im not saying cables are not important. They are.

But their price is ABSOLUTELY irrelevant when it comes to matching with your system.
Argyro just try to replace your Argento interconnect with something inferior and then we can discuss again about the importance of cables...
To Dcrugby

hahahhaha...lol...Actually I am over with that stage...lol
I think ICs and speaker cables should match or not be the weak link in a particular system. If you're spending $30K on a audio system, I don't think 'cheaper' cables will bring out the true potential of the system. If you have a $5K system and spend $3K on ICs and speaker cables, that is plain silly and overkill for the system and will potentially make it sound worse.

Unfortunately, I've had the unlucky pleasure of hearing higher priced but good ICs and cables with my mid to upper mid-fi system and bought them for a good price. They do indeed sound better than the less expensive ICs and speaker cables that were in MY system.
Good post! Couldn't agree with you more! I would venture to say that we are all sick of the marketing BS from the cable manufacturers. It can be very expensive to find the truth, only beginning to find out that high price does not always equal excellence. Unfortunately, we need the cables to run our equipment! I have actually begun to cable down (cost wise) to Anticables and I am happier with their performance than I ever was with Kimber, Nordost, Cardas and a few others!
Save money, buy used.
Here's the Bizarro parallel recent post that you can reference for further input on a similar subject. There are many others in the archives. I'd agree the diminishing returns are staggeringly steep in the world of cables. Not that they do not make a difference, I'd also find it difficult to justify the cost given the difference they do make. Power cords even more so. I've owned both expensive and inexpensive cables and cannot say the differences have compelled me to continue to invest large coin into that aspect of my system. Far more profound in effect as far as investment in non-hardware items would be investing in your room...IMO. That and software (music) yields far more rewards in my experience.

Have had many upper level versions of Purist, MIT, Transparent, and Siltech: guess how much I've spent: sucked in by BS and marketing.

With my current system, I'm now using 24 gauge, solid core, dead annealed silver, cotton wrapped from Chris at VH. $300 from amp all the way to speaker.

Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

Geopolitis if you read my post better you will see that I didn't say cables are not important! :)

I've spent so much money on them (more than 20k), I have a good system that I tested them on and I hope people with less experience won't make the same mistake.

Of course sometimes its inevitable, "if you dont pay, you dont learn"! ;)
"Stick a fork in me, I'm done."

I'll use this quote from now on...:)
The case of diminishing returns...put a fork in my cable..no mas.
Congrats! You have finally achieved enlightenment.
Be careful when putting a fork in your cables. You might short them out ;-)
When Acura NSX first came out, the whole world went wild and I went crazy not to mention many sleepless days and many posters on the walls. Many years later, I test drove one, and I was like, man, how disappoint! I went many sleepless nights and this is all it got? what the fuss was it all about? Ah! maybe because it was Japanese. For exotic cars, I should aim for Italian; who else could out-do the Italian?? My house was then stacked up with car magazines every where. And until many years later, someone was friendly enough to "offer" me a test drive his $180K Ferrari. (I swear he offered it, lol) Wow! this is it. This is every men's dream, right? Well, I went home disapointed with mixed feelings not because I was upset of myself can't afford one. I just tried to put myself in his shoes to see what he can benefits from spending $180K to this "magnifician" car. One biggest brand name and the most talk-about. Time has gone by and my house now is all stacking up with Hi-end Audio magazines and I read/ dream alot about high-end cables and speakers too.....

All cables have diff unique character of each and I agree that, but I think any one of them costs above $500 to $1K is too much. They obviously spent too much on R&D, and/or markupting. Opps, mispelled; it's marketing.
Bottom line, if you can afford them and it helps your psyche then buy the expensive cables. If you can't afford them and think your system is maxed out then stick with Home Depot copper wire. Cars are the same. You can spend $80K on a mercedes or 20K on a Honda. Guess which one has better reliability? Quess which one I feel better driving?
I have relatively inexpensive cables. If you buy them new, I think they're only about $30/meter. I'm happy. I read about many other cables that are very expensive and see the posts with the arguments. But you know what? If I don't spend the money on "better" cables, who cares? I'm happy now. I feel no need to experiment and spend money I can't afford to part with only to get where I am now..i.e. happy. Is there something that may be better. Possibly. But why bother, I'm happy now. I guess you could sum up this logic by saying that ignorance is bliss and I don't know what I'm missing, etc. However, the best way to avoid audiophilia nervosa, whether it's with cables or anything else, is to know when you have a good thing and be strong enough and have the self discipline not to engage in expensive experiments. Not that I'm advocating that the innate human urge to explore and experiment should be ignored. But we're talking cables, not space exploration. If you're unhappy with some aspect of your system, then experiment and change. If you're content, why change?

I sense that many audiphile types will not approve of this philosophy since constant change is part of their enjoyment of the hobby. However, from the posts above, I think many will also agree. Something else to debate.
"most expensive cables are not necessarily better." Which means that sometimes they may be! I do agree.
Nasaman I enjoyed your posting and I agree with you with the many nights I stood up thinking of owning one of those exotics. I would beg to differ with the "They obviously spent too much on R&D". Most wire is purchased in large bulk from companies such as Dow Corning and the like. The amount of wire purchased by all specialty esoterics is so small that a company like Dow would not even waste it's time doing R&D just so some audiophile could have a better sounding system. Most is all hype, with very little if any real science to back up. I just can't justify spending 500.00 or much more for a meter of wire. WEll I know their are some that are getting the rope ready, for my lynching.
"I was wondering why studios that record the music we are listening are not using super expensive cables..."

Because they are businesses that must manage expenses wisely and whose customers are largely not audiophile extremists.
"markupting" - Nasaman. That new audiophile term is worth the whole thread. Threadwise, after much time and money spent on cables the biggest thing I've learned is that you don't need to spend a lot of money on cables.
The more $$$ you spend the better the cable. =8^)
I find most cables to be "different" not so much better or worse. You may or may not like the difference.
I won't mention trade names on this thread but I have replaced my 1500.00 interconnects with 120.00 cables and there is no way you could tell which pair I had in my system in doing a A/B.
I agree with you 110 percent.
Threadwise, after much time and money spent on cables the biggest thing I've learned is that you don't need to spend a lot of money on cables.
Exactly! I'm now using the Acoustic Research ICs recommended by Sam Tellig in Stereophile a few years back. They are well constructed and sound as good as the $300 cables they replaced. I'll probably never use anything different.
I've accepted that I can't afford to change cables anymore, they are just way too expensive. I've finally settled on cables that I'm happy with and they didn't cost big dollars.
After 35 years in the audio hobby, I don't know what to think about cables anymore.

In 1988, I bought an 8' pair of used MIT Music Hose to drive my Spica TC50 standmounts. The Hose cost like $50 ($100 in today's money?). I still have these cables.

In 2002 (when I was making a lot more money), I bought an 8' pair of Audience Au24 w/ custom Cardas silver plated spades to drive my standmount Wilson Cubs. These cables cost $1200. I never even thought to try the Hose w/ the $7000 Cubs.

Times change; the Cubs are gone, but I still have the Au24s.

Currently, I am running a pair of Dali Ikon6 towers in my nearfield PC system. I have spent a lot of time comparing the sound of the Hose w/ the the Au24s. The Dalis sing with the Hose and are just ho hum w/ the Au24. Go figure.

I am similarly hard pressed to find a reason to change cables in my current system. The MIT Terminator line ICs I use absolutely sing and are affordable when you find them second hand.

$$$s do not necessarily determine utility with ICs I have found. There seem to be many very very good not too expensive wires out there.

Of course anything that costs mega-dollars should be expected to excel without fail. IS that always the case? I do not know since I do not swim in those hallowed waters.
I'm there, said the same thing a couple of years ago and was told by 1 audiophool that my comment was "reckless"
I don't think money should be the factor in determining cables but coherence is what to base judgement upon. Some may say a $500 Ic sounds the best in their system while others believe a $.50 piece of copper wire is perfect. Different flavors for different people. All in the quest of "best sound."
My approach is the same with cables as with any other potentially large investment.

I do some reading on what others have experienced with various products then start small (ie not too expensive) + typically used.

If I am not satisfied, I try something else.

If I try various options around a particular price point and am not satisfied with any, then I look to move up to something more costly when needed.

This is the fast track to landing on an overall system configuration that sings to you without necessarily just throwing $$$s at the problem out of the gate and hoping that solves all problems.

Isn't that the way most folks shop for most things?

You really have to resist the natural inclination to believe that price determines results. It may or may not in the end. You need to take things in reasoned steps, one at a time, to really know for sure.
What drives the cost of expensive cables (aside from markups) is the use of exotic materials and construction techniques. I think that the fundamental problem here is that there is little or no established science supporting a correlation between those materials and techniques and better sound.

And muddling the picture further is that many exotic cables are non-neutral by design, incorporating in some cases outlandish values of capacitance or inductance, or "network boxes" whose function is defined primarily by nonsensical techno-hype.

I don't think that one has to be an extreme cynic to feel that the manufacturers and sellers of exotic, expensive cables are taking advantage of our natural instinct to assume that more expensive = better, in selling products where there is little or no valid basis for that to be true. Other than, I should add, euphonic synergy (especially in the case of the non-neutral cables), which could most likely be duplicated at much lower cost if the designers were motivated to try to do so.

A quote from the Bill Whitlock paper I referenced in my earlier post in this thread (a paper which presents several fundamental reasons why cables CAN and DO sound different):

Some audio experts believe audio is too important to be trusted to technology, and consequently, they dismiss all scientific methods, including double-blind tests. This attitude, combined with the widespread notion that more expensive products must be better, has opened the door to a flood of marketing hype and misinformation. Promotional white papers abound with pseudo-science buzz words, theoretical explanations based on absurd and fanciful physics, and new proprietary measurement techniques replete with previously unknown units of measure.

-- Al
I agree that some of the exotic materials and construction involved in some of the high price cables serve as marketing hype. Still, there are extra costs involved here, now, as to whether those extra costs are reflected in the price. This is where I have a problem. The marketing hype and reported superiority creates a buzz which ensures sales at what I believe are greatly inflated prices. I mean, 1m cables that retail for 2500k, 4k and above, that seems crazy to me (doesn't mean I wouldn't buy them if I had the money)! That old saying, "what the market will bear" certainly holds true here. Can you imagine if the wealthy audiophile suddenly stopped buying these cables, I'm sure they would beome much more affordable. Look at the cost of living in NYC.

I would like to see some investigative reports into the lifestyle of some of these cable purveyors. Some of them may be living in a similar style to the 'geniuses' on Wall St. On the other hand, perhaps they're not, in which case it would seem they are charging a reasonable amount. And then, it could also be they make a huge profit on very small margin, not wealthy but living very comfortably with very little effort. I bet there are cable purveyors that fit into each of these categories.

Having said that, I would like to hear the Tara Zeros, vacuum sealed cable, the best dialectec is no dialectic, and shielded as well. I wonder how much profit margin here?
Years ago, it used to be that vendors made their margins on speakers and accessories. There was in comparison little or no margin on electronics.

I don't know if this is still the case or not, but it would surprise me if not.
I would like to see some investigative reports into the lifestyle of some of these cable purveyors. Some of them may be living in a similar style to the 'geniuses' on Wall St. On the other hand, perhaps they're not, in which case it would seem they are charging a reasonable amount. And then, it could also be they make a huge profit on very small margin, not wealthy but living very comfortably with very little effort. I bet there are cable purveyors that fit into each of these categories.

My guess would be that while the markups on many of these cables probably border on the unconscionable, no one is making a fortune on them. While what is charged is what the market will bear, the market is a very small one (essentially a niche market), and they are selling to an extremely small percentage of the population.

-- Al
More $$$ always buys better cables.

Anything less than $2000.00 and you are hearing sludge!

If you can not hear the difference between $300.00 cables and $2000.00 cables than you are going deaf.

The cable and tweak industries in audio are for the most part a sham and a big part of the great audiophile swindle.
The problem I have with "truth about cables" articles is that they bring everything to capacitance and inductance of the cable. They don't believe in any correlation between sound and metal that cable is made of (and its purity). Most of people would agree that silver sounds different than copper but to them it has to be the same.

As for inductance and capacitance - average cable has 30pF/ft and 0.5uH/ft while great cable has 10x less.
To get this you need exotic dielectric like foamed Teflon (not cheap).

Metal purity plays role IMHO and while regular oxygen free copper has couple thousands of crystals per meter 99.9999999% pure copper cooled in hot forms has one crystal. Impurities reside between crystals. Copper oxide is a rectifier (and was used as such in early age before semiconductors). What about dielectric absorption? Are you sure it is not affecting the sound.

All I'm saying is that we don't know enough to judge. As far as I know we're not even sure how electric current flows.

When cable nay-sayers post on cable forum it reminds me a man who responded to an add for music teacher. He could not read music or play instrument and was almost deaf but responded to tell them they should not count on him.
The truth lies somewhere between here.....

"The cable and tweak industries in audio are for the most part a sham and a big part of the great audiophile swindle."


"More $$$ always buys better cables.

Anything less than $2000.00 and you are hearing sludge!

If you can not hear the difference between $300.00 cables and $2000.00 cables than you are going deaf."

I favor the latter by far....There are a few producers that really make magical cables.....I am amazed sometimes....I try the latest and greatest and come away dissapointed.....good detail...lousy bass and dynamics...but the one thing that seperates the big boys from the dreamers....is the amount of veiling or the degree of blackness. I laugh and say wtf...did I just get scammed or what....you can't help to think....there's a awfull lot of shills out there.

You have some serious $$$ in your cables and system.

SE CP 300B tubes (I have) all over the place (12?). I would love to hear those 300B's sing.
Glory...you can't go wong with the 300B....if you ever visit Reno...let me now.
Perhaps the best match between components, speaker, room, and expectations permits the use of ordinary cables.

My secondary system was magic out of the box. The interconnects are stock Sony es with Radio Shack 16 gauge unterminated speaker wire. The power cords are all stock and plugged into a cheapo surge protector strip. Any attempts I ever made to "upgrade" any of the cables resulted in worse sound.

On my main system, cable upgrades have been noticeable and some are better than others. There are also some cables that were obviously just system wrong. The thing that I find strange is the one system that sounds so darn good with only the cheapest, while the other wants the high price spread.
The thing that I find strange is the one system that sounds so darn good with only the cheapest, while the other wants the high price spread.

Several possible explanations come to mind.

Your main system is better able to reproduce the bad as well as the good, and perhaps the expensive cables (which are often designed to be non-neutral) are filtering it out in the main system, while the secondary system can't reproduce it anyway. An example of "the bad" would be what is called "spectral contamination" due to ultrasonic and rf interference, in the paper I linked to in my post early in this thread. A quote from it:

The audio signal degradation caused by ultrasonic and RF interference coupling.... Any non-linearity in the device under test will create complex intermodulation products at new frequencies, collectively called spectral contamination. Because the new frequencies are usually not harmonically related and appear only when audible signals are also present, they behave more like distortions than noise. Generally, listeners describe the audio as "veiled," "grainy" or "lacking detail and ambience."

Also, large diameter cables with thick dielectrics will have greater capacitance than ordinary thinner cables, unless the dielectric material is chosen to have a lower dielectric constant. Although capacitance is often not specified, my impression is that many higher-end cables intentionally have relatively high capacitance, which may have a filtering effect as well.

The inexpensive components, in turn, may have instability problems or other difficulties driving high capacitance cable, or cable which is otherwise unconventional or non-neutral in its parameters.

Different source impedances in the output stages of line-level components will create different sensitivities to cable parameters.

Cable lengths may be different between the two setups; obviously that will affect sensitivity to cable differences.

Just some thoughts that come to mind; there are undoubtedly other reasons that are conceivable as well.

-- Al
Argyro, so what are these "less expensive" cables you are using. If it is not a top secret.
Well let me tell you about my experience. I had bought this 2 way speaker system for my my DIY SET Amp and thought I should pry under the hood and see what cables are being used inside this fast very transparent speaker and to my amazement this small very thin solid core wire almost looked like CAT individual wires. Each wire only looked like 28 to 30 gauge and it got me thinking alot about the utter speed of this speaker and its opened fast quality.Lets try an experiment I thought. Lets continue this downstream and apply this principal to the speaker cable as well. So I happened to have laying around an old Kimber 4 PR Kabel I was not using anymore. I debraded the brown and black wires and used only one black wire on the negative terminal and one brown wire on the positive and HOLY COW BATMAN AND ROBIN what a sound improvement had I just done. The high frequency extension was mind boggling.
I could hear air billowing out from everywhere and I could easily follow the attack and release of a triangle unlike anything I ever heard short of live.
The sound stage became huge and vast. I wish I could write a diagram of what I had heard the before and after affects of this. The last time I EVER HEARD ANYTHING REMOTELY TO THIS IS when I listened to a Goldmund Reference 80K Turntable several years ago.
Well I hope this gets posted and give u all something to think about.
So IMHO Less IS more.
Happy Listening
Don C.
Build it and they will come...
I enjoy your experiment and I love to discover new thing myself. I have "popped the hood" many DVDs, CDs, and Pre/pro, and some mid-fi speakers (x-over) and I've always wondered same thing; what can I DO to those conservative OEM cables to improve the sound? Good experiment.

Hey Undertow,
"Build it and they will come..."
* With current economy, that term .... hehehe, j/k. We are doing pretty bad guys. This is the time I hate/scare to see boses approaching to me the most.
Alright, back to our cables discusions.