As long as cable manufactures employ marketing and PR firms, there always will be advancements.
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Any cable will have a different on your equipment, so anything they put out can sound different than the cable they produced before no matter the brand. Never was a ceiling just impendence effects between 2 pieces of gear and then the wire connecting them. This why you have to try before you buy, it a crap shoot on the sound out come. Yes every year a new name to keep the product fresh and us buying them, now a new cable weekly comes out, a very money making business as a side line for many.
I was under the impression that the glass ceiling was reached decades ago by Monster Cable.
Of course you could just leave out the word "cable" and ask if there is a glass ceiling for audio technology in general. Since so many seem to enjoy analog and vacuum tube technologies over digital and solid state technologies, one could ask if technology in general is even moving in the right direction, let alone hit a glass ceiling.
Glass Ceilings are an interesting topic in general in this hobby.
Just how good can anything sound in given room? Its a fair question.
My suspicion is that what determines the absolute sound in home playback at this point is 98% subjective and 2% technical/objective.
Absolute sounds abound elsewhere all around us, but the biggest technical limit for home playback is probably the quality and nature of the recording.
Plus nothing stays exactly the same over time, including us and our perceptions day to day, so what sounds like the glass ceiling one day may very well not the next.
IF you are enjoying most all of your music most all of the time, then I would say you are practically in a very good place.
If you've been at it for awhile and not the case, then maybe try some digital audio streaming off even a half decent computer and some good headphones or earbuds (not the cheap stuff that comes with most devices). There is a lot less that can go wrong there as a start!
Perhaps in the future. As for now, I recently bought some new Cardas cables. They are miles ahead of the former Cardas offerings. But not at long lengths!
Also some wire from Kimber. The clarity of the new wires is better than other wires from Kimber I have had. (though at 6 meters they are not perfect either..)
Part of the current situation is geometry. No one has really totally explored all the kinds of geometry possible. Still room for breakthroughs there.
For wire purity, we may be near the peak. With single crystal wire, 99,99999 purity. That particular point is near perfection. The only breakthroughs may be lower costs to produce.
Alloys may be a whole new area few cable makers have explored, and the few who have are only scratching the surface of it. Alloys may be a very fertile area of cable research in the future. And not neccessarily gold and silver with copper. there may be others no one has even had an inkling of. Mostly because no one has bothered to look.
Alloys in aerospace are a million miles ahead of audio cables, because there is money and a demand to do research to solve problems. the only cable companies which could afford to do some are not at this time.. probably because no need to.
So thirty years from now some accidental discovery of an alloy composition which makes all other cables seem made by cave men may appear.. Who knows. Maybe next week.
One point is plenty of current mid to low priced cables available now are great.
Audioquest ICs - polyethylene or polyethylene foam, or polyethylene foam in oversized tubes, Teflon, Teflon foam, Teflon foam in oversized tubes. Metal can be very pure but standard oxygen free copper has still thousands of crystals per foot(impurities reside between crystals) while the best metals have one crystal being made in hot forms that allow to cool metal slowly preventing crystalization (Ohno Continuous Cast).
My interconnects are 0.5m XLR Acoustic Zen Absolute (silver in oversized foam Teflon). While typical cable capacitance is about 30pF/ft - Absolute is 6.1pF/ft
How does it sound? It is more refined than previous 10x cheaper 0.5m XLR AQ King Cobra. Everything is a little bit better. Sound is slightly smoother, faster, cleaner with the same neutral balance. Is it worth paying 10x more? Perhaps not (for my system), but I got very good deal (and it is going to stay forever). It is for me point of diminishing returns. Even with better system and better room my ears are still the same. This point of diminishing returns is different for different people. Some are satisfied with lamp cord and it is great - saves a lot of money.
Even determining the ceiling at present in any quantitative versus qualitative way with wires may be an impossible task.
Each will have their own opinions based on what they hear. That's about it. I do not foresee any large government funded research projects in the foreseeable future that might put these kind of audio twilight zone questions to rest.
My opinion is that if teh system is good and working to user expectations overall otherwise, finding wires that fit in properly should not be that hard with a little trial and error along the way. Need not cost a fortune, unless teh final frontier of wire technology is something that truly peaks ones interest.
one would think that there exists a glass ceiling for all things cables/cords.
Remember, there is a ton of over-priced junk being produced by boutique operations. The better cables/cords are not mass-produced (Kimber, Cardas, Transparent...etc.).
The best cables/cords are being made by hand and to-order.
Also, there is a strong metallurgy component to be factored in as well. Examples of this practice are the newest Audience, Stage III Concepts and Silent Source offerings.
Disclaimer: I am a cable/cord guy at heart, yes, they do make a difference!
Another thing which 'matters' in cables is the insulation. Curiously Kimber sells the same 19g wire with four variations of Teflon.Each at a different price point.. (plus two other insulating materials avaialble)
So all four copper wires are the same wire, with different formulations of Teflon insulation. And yet a fifth style for the actual production Hero IC.
Amazing to think one company has so many variables just in insulation and all of it still 'Teflon' type.
So plenty of variations possible which change the sound just from the type of Teflon used...
Skoczylas, Here is the link for the speaker cables I use:
I also posted a review about them here under product reviews, for what it's worth. :-)
All the best,
Skoczylas, I have been using Tempo SC's for two years and also the same wire Tempo IC's (Pre to SET Amps) for two years, although have not compared to any others.
Nonoise is using SC's un-terminated, as I am.
Member Islandmandan recently went to the same SC's as well and then added a second pair, at that. His report is on his system page. We are all very happy and they are a very good value. Joseph Levy the maker is also a great guy to deal with.