As you say, there are indeed 2 schools of thought of this.
I'm 61 years old and have lost a substantial measurable amount of my hearing. I've called myself more of a tin-eared audiofool than a golden-eared audiofile. But allow me to digress...
In one long listening session last fall, my friend and I auditioned interconnect. Based on our testing methodology (single-blind, BTW), if I could hear that a cable had been inserted into the system, I rejected it as 'audible'. I ended up rejecting one current and several old AudioQuest cables plus Monster's expensive M1000i. I then could not distinguish among Audioquest's Diamondback x 2 (this is one generation old, as the current D-back is x 3), Jaguar (a DBS cable), and old Topaz ( w/PSC conductors and a dark-green jacket). This was a good thing for me and my bank balance, as I had a bunch of this Topaz, and I made about a dozen cables by adding Cardas silver connectors. (My friend could reliably distinguish among EACH of these cables and bought a bunch of Jaguar.)
I share this with you because I subsequently could indeed hear the differences among some 20-year-old AQ 1-1/4"-diameter blue stuff, a one-generation-old AQ cable that is a hybrid of silver and copper, current CV-6 (the DBS type), and a double-biwire of KE-4 and KE-6. I REALLY didn't WANT to hear how good the KE- cable was, because it retails for $285 per foot. However, I did, and I bought it. (I used the 2-pairs-of-conductors KE-4 on the treble and the 4-pairs KE-6 on the bass/MR of my 2-way Kindel PLS-As.) In my case, high-purity silver conductors do indeed make an audible improvement in the sound I hear.
Based on AQ's 2004 prices, MontBlanc retails for $75 per individual foot, Volcano for $125/i.f., and KE-6, $185/i.f. Both the first two cables use the same Perfect-Surface Copper as CV-6.
Are your speakers biwirable? Powerhungry? or more sensitive than average? (Help us help you.)
Thanks Jeffrey my speakers are Coincident Super Eclipse which are 92db sensitive and they are not biwirable. I appreciate you taking the time to let me in on your experience. Thanks again.
Welcome to the club. I suggest you read this Forum to learn. Many folks here can give you their opinion but that is just a "ballpark". My theory is the better the system, the more cables make a difference. You don't need to spend mega-dollars on cable, however. Buy direct with a 30 day trial (some of the smaller outfits offer better cables than the big guys). Trial many brands and decide.
I suggest the KE-6; it has plenty of material in it for a relatively-high-sensitivity speaker.
Do try to listen to some before you have to buy it. Good luck and pls share with us what you end up with.
BTW where are you?
Talk to Kirk at Olympus Audio for a free trial of some of the best looking and sounding speaker cables around. www.olympusaudio.com
I am located in the metro Detroit area. Thanks for the ideas. I will be sure to keep this information in mind.
I'm curious as to why you suspect your cables. If you're happy with your
system, I wouldn't upgrade anything. But, if you're unhappy with your
system, I think it is a real leap to automatically suspect your cables of
"cheating" you of performance the rest of your system is
"trying" to give you. How do you know it isn't your speakers?
Speakers have a far more complicated, far more difficult job to do than any
speaker cable. A cable only has to carry signal, a speaker has to try to
recreate musical instruments -- yet you say you're committed to your
speakers, will never change them, but are ready to change your cables. How
about room treatments? The room itself is likely adding measurable
distortion. Do you have distortion measurements on your cables? Any other
measurements? What, specifically, do you expect to solve with new cables?
Any hard evidence that your cables are causing any problems? Someone said
that the more you spend on your system, the more cables make a difference,
but that sounds more like the repetition of a sales pitch to me. In my
encounters with owners of mega-buck [$100,000+] systems, the common
theme seems to be that even in such systems the differences between cables
is extremely subtle. I'd be willing to bet that the same amount of money
spent on an hour or two with an acoustical consultant and some changes in
your room, speaker placement, etc. would give you ten times the bang for
your buck as changing speaker cables or interconnects. Upon solving an
acoustical problem, I've never heard anyone say that the difference was
subtle. Finally, on what information will you base your buying decision?
Impedence matching? Do you want cables with high capacitance or
inductance? Low? Based on what others recommend? Price?
Just offering another perspective.
Rsbeck, you must like pushing on a rope. :) Do you realize where you are? You're trying to make a sound, objective argument in a forum where people *want* to believe there are easily audible differences between two speaker cables.
Nicksgem10s, you should listen to Rsbeck anyway.
Regarding actual product, try www.bluejeanscable.com. These guys are just using Belden and Canare wire with decent quality terminations at reasonable prices. Their service is pretty good too. Of course, I like 10ga zip cord with WBT spades and bananas, but that's a do-it-yourself project, and the WBTs just look and feel nice.
There are, incidentally, measurable differences between cables, but almost nothing will be measurably or audibly better than 10ga zip cord. Silver is about 5% more conductive than copper. 5%. And there's no measurable difference between a silver conductor and a copper one that's 105% of the size of the silver one. Well, at least not at audio frequencies. (A smaller conductor will have less skin effect in the MHz range, but compared to MHz audio is like DC.) Resistance, capacitance, inductance. That's all there is. No one can reasonably explain why two conductors with similar specifications will sound different. There's just the assertion that they do. Would you spend $280/ft on an unsupported assertion? Not me. And as Rsbeck implies, cables don't have complex side-effects that active electronics do, like intermodulation distortion, even and odd harmonic distortions, or added noise, or the myriad of other things active circuits have to worry about. Since our ears & brains can be so easily and provably fooled, why would anyone believe someone's assertion that are differences that can't be measured or explained?
Try some of Paul Speltz' Anti-Cables. They run $10 per foot, per pair, terminated with spades. That is, a 10-ft pair will cost you $100.
Nick, I think I read the same review you read. (Absolut Sound review on Home Depot cables 14-gauge powercord extension - you get rid of the plug and insert decent bananas - this are made of pure copper). I haven't tried but this weekend I am going to buy the cable and I will try it next week. I heard copper gives you warmer sound, whereas silver is brighter. I just bought a pair of Triangle Antal XS so I think I will go for copper.
I wonder if you can do the same thing with the interconnects. Any idea anyone?
Of your list, the only cable that I have passing acquaintance with is the Audio Magic Sorceror. As far as I can tell, it is the only ribbon-conductor cable on your list.
Regardless of your other choices, I'd definitely recommend trying at least one ribbon-based speaker cable set- in my evaluations, the difference between a ribbon-based cable and everything else was dramatic.
There has been a lot of substantial discussion about why ribbon-based speaker cables are different, both here and on AA- Unfortunately, the relevant threads tend to get trolled pretty badly, so a little patience is needed to dig out the good stuff.
A (non-comprehensive) list of manufacturers of ribbon-based speaker cables:
I'll point you toward a recent thread where a lot of cable design issues got addressed- it should get you started in backtracking to other discussions, should you be so inclined:cable thread
Also, the most authoritative article on signal propagation theory I've found is here (.pdf format):Hawksford Essex Echo
The article explains Malcolm Hawksford's theory of how cable design and signal propagation interact. It turns out that a ribbon geometry is one good solution to the signal distortion issues he discusses.
All FYI and FWIW only,
For whatever reason, the Audiogon formatting system messes with the Hawksford Essex Echo paper url in the previous post. Here it is for cutting and pasting:
If you don't want to go crazy with spending thousands of dollars on speaker cables you might want to look at some of the lower cost Nordost cables. I use the gold (copper) superflats in a shotgun formation and they match my maggies very well. You should check out some of the audiogon listings. You can't go wrong with a 2-3M pair running around $100-150. You can always move up to the red dawn & blue heaven models and if you win the lottery you can get Valhallas!!!
Does anyone know if I can make interconnects using regular copper wire? I tried the Home Depot HD-14G for the speakers and they sound awesome. Josep
I have just upgraded my speaker cables to high end cables and they have an arrow for direction, the cables are about 1.5 ,inch arround ,and locking pin connectors. I am not shure how to lock them in or what direction I should go ,from amp or from speakers.
Are your electronics solid state or tubes?
I have a denon 5803 new and polk audio lsi 25 ,and the whole lsi system, all new out the box, and the cobolt cables and interconectors, I have been reading about amp - cable burn in , not shure what that is and wanted some info.
If you can help me with this that would be great. I am new to all of this ....
I can help you, Cables are not directional and cables do not "burn in." Amazing Randi has a standing one million dollar challenge to anyone who can tell the difference between a cable that has been "burned in" versus the same cable without the "burn in." It remains unclaimed. Don't buy the hype surrounding cables. Ask questions. Hook up your cables in both directions and see if it sounds different to you. If it does, put them in the direction that sounds best to you. If they do not, then you've discovered something about the myths surrounding cables.