Pro Cables vs. Audio Cables....Are We Being Duped?

Like probably most of you audiophiles out there, I have a few friends who are musicians. I told one of these friends that I was looking for a long (25+ ft.) pair of balanced interconnect cables. He suggested that I consider looking into some nice studio/mike cables, as all studio cables are of balanced design.

He further stated that most audio interconnects are a ripoff when compared to similar studio cables. To illustrate his point, we looked at comprable lengths of balanced cables from Monster Cable and the Studio versions were a couple of hundred dollars less. While it was hard to tell if the cables were truly apples vs. apples; the construction and description of each cable appeared to be extraordinarly similar.

While the thought of using "mike cables" in my home audio system makes me shudder, I certainly would not be opposed to saving a few hundred bucks either.

Do any of you have any experience comparing studio vs. balanced audio cables? Is there anything in the construction or design of home cables that makes them superior to studio cables in a home system (and therefore worth paying more for)? If any of you can shed some light on this, I would truly appreciate it.
Sometimes (not a helpful answer I know). And it is not just between Pro and Audio/HT products. A friend of mine and I took apart and compared a video cable and a digital cable made by the same company. We could see no difference in the cable construction, only the RCA plugs were a different color (same kind of plugs). The Digital cable was 40% less than the video cable. We also did a listening test and they sounded the same. One of their brands of interconnects also looked and sounded the same (again different color RCAs); and a pair sold for the same price as one of the video cables. It is all he wanted as far as quality, so he bought two pairs of the interconnects and use one pair for video and digital in his HT setup.

As a side note: I use regular black 75 ohm RG6 satellite coax cable for all my video applications, whether using F plugs or RCAs. It is very cheap and I have found none better. Never have tried the cables that cost 10 times as much. I do use expensive audio cables in critical places like between the preamp and power amp.

I have been using RC Audio cables for years. They are as good as (or better than) most high-end cables. They cost much less. I've got top of the line 1 meter interconnects for about $200 a pair. Compare that with the $$$Thousand+ interconnects. I have a friend who spent more on his speaker cables than on his speakers, amp, and preamp combined. Old P.T. was right.
There are differences...plenty in some cases. Do the differences make them sound better?? In some cases some cases, probably not. We all know that cables are ridiculously overpriced, but regular balanced mic cables could use some improvement too.

I suppose there's no way to know until someone compares a 6ft length of ProCo balanced mic cable with a pair of $2000 balanced interconnects.
the pro cables compared to monster are probaly better. they are made to run very long distances without problems. until you get into very good cables i would think the pro would be better.
That's why I love Phoenix Gold by Carver Pro interconnects. High quality pro audio cabling and mil-spec connectors at reasonable prices.
Some of the posts seem to assume that there is only one level of pro cable which is not really true. However, it is very clear that studios needing tons of cables cannot afford to spend $500 per meter. Generally a cable like the Canare StarQuad is regarded as a high-end studio cable. One of the biggest differences with consumer cables is the plating of the contacts. Pro studios plug and unplug so much that they need contacts without soft metals like gold or silver. These connectors are often noticably inferior to high-end home audio cables.
For the cable runs themselves one must remember that the whole point to balance audio is that cable quality and length is less important. The biggest differences are in RF/EMI rejection. I think in a fully balanced setup a good pro cable like StarQuad mated with high-end connectors would be very similar to mega-bucks cables. In a certain sense this is the whole poit of going balanced.
It seems to me that the studio recording engineers would use the best available cabling for recording purposes. Why do we spend 10x as much for playback cables?
Most "Pro" cables are more concerned with longevity and standing up to abuse rather than the actual materials used. Copper is copper, shielding is shielding, etc... to MOST people in the Pro Sound industry. As such, the dielectrics on most "Pro" cables are VERY different from "audiophile grade" cables, wire geometry may be different, the grade of copper or silver may be different, etc... As such, the "audiophile" cables SHOULD cost more but not THAT much more.

Please don't take this the wrong way. I am NOT defending the "wire bandits" in ANY way, shape or form. Most "wire companies" take off the shelf components from REAL wire & cable manufacturers, have their names put on them and then use some "fancy" connectors on them. That is why i am a BIG proponent of DIY cable designs. Unless a design uses a LOT of very precise configuring or braiding, you can probably build better cables than what you can buy for 10 times the price. Sean
Except for the run from a mic or di to mic preamp (where an exceptional cable might be worthwhile), everything else in a recording studio is running at +4dbM (pro level) rather than -10dbV (home level). -- Quite a difference.
I'm one of those people who went out and bought or demo'd
Transparent and MIT cables. They can make a difference.
My experience; I owned at the time of "the great experiment"
Threshold T2 preamp, T400 amp, Krell KPS20i cd player. MOST
IMPORTANT, THE ROOM!! 7.5' ceiling,13'x 21' The floor is con
crete as were the walls. The wall behind the speakers was
block covered over with fake stone. This worked GREAT! With the Snell Type B's six feet apart and two feet out from the wall, they were perfect. I used Transparent reference balanced between preamp and cd player and between amp & preamp. I used Reference speaker cables. The sound was as good as I've ever heard from a set of speakers. I tried stepping down one set of interconnects to "Ultra". A heard
less tight bass and the sound stage was not as open. When I tried stepping down to Super bal interconnects, the level
of soundstage, imaging, focus and bass also decreased. I didn't care for any of the MIT at the time and I'm soory as I can't remember which models whey were. Moster Cable etc.
were ALL a joke in this test. I couldn't hear a difference between ANY of their cables. My friend borrowed all of these
Transparent cables to try in his system. We could not hear a difference in ANY of the cables in his system or room.
He had Infinity IRS beta's, VTL 300MB's, My Krell 20i and Adcom monoblocks. The Krell 20i also had no significant improvment in his system. His gear was on a third floor attic maybe 7.5 x 16 x 24. My conclusion is that the room
is paramount in importance. If your setup doesn't sound good
already and you try changing out cables and experience
a minimal effect, your room is probably the problem.
Well maybe I should offer my two cents worth - as I have
owned and operated a video editing and media duplication
company for the past twelve years.
First and foremost it should be understood that there
is a wide range of "professional" audio and video cables
out there. Some cables are manufactured and sold to pro-
fessional audio dealers. More often than not, most of these
items are available only in certain lengths; and are
typically of lesser quality.
Other cables - usually the decent stuff - is custom
built using the higher end connectors (such as Neutrik or
Canare) and high end wire from companies such as Belden
and Mogami.
Also, cost figures into all of this. It's one thing to
put together a higher end audio system with possibly four
or five sets of interconnects and a set of speaker cables.
It's an entirely different matter when say you are wiring
up five or six sets of balanced audio cables in each of
several rooms. Not to mention running a couple dozen sets
of RCA cables to duplication machines.
In my own operation, I tend to use lower end RCA cables
from XLO and MIT to our duplication equipment. THERE IS A
DIFFERENCE vs. some of the lower end "pro grade" stuff. I
can hear the difference! And keep in mind I do this five
or six days every week!
In my own set up at home, I use the Transparent Musicwave
interconnects and love it vs. some of the "pro" stuff I've
used in the past. My Thiel speakers tell me I'm getting
much better dynamics with the Transparents; so I'm happy
with what I'm using.