I agree. I mix'n'match my cords/spk. wire and IC's. When my toes start atapping and I have a smile on my face I know I hit the mark. Happy Holidays, Bill.
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If all your equipment is from the same manufacturer and model type, then I would think keeping with one brand of cables through out the system would make sense.
But, we mix and match our components .
Each componenet will have different cable perfomance needs.
This usually means mix and matching cables.
P.S. Dont forget Power cords !!!
("you'll shoot your eye out")
As i've mentioned before, many cable companies / cable manufacturers grab hold of one design approach and use that cable design / geometry through-out their entire product line. Since there are different electrical considerations to be taken into account between the various mating components that cabling terminate, there really is no "one size fits all" cable geometry. Some may be more universal than others, but "universal" and "optimal" are rarely the same things.
With that in mind, one is usually forced to use multiple different brands at various junctures of the system. That is, if one is truly interested in achieving optimal results. Going the route of one brand surely makes things easier, and so long as one is happy with the results, i guess convenience with pleasant sonics is more than good enough for many folks. Then again, some of us do like to tinker, hence the reason you'll find us here on forums like this : ) Sean
I think there is a misnomer that if a company makes a good ___ then they also make good ___. If we look at this philosophy from afar it makes no sense. Speaker cables are closest in design to power cords, as far as current needs. Interconnects are carrying a very small signal a short distance. These two are completely different animals, but most companies making cables simply make a few modifications to what ever cable they started with, and sell it as a complete line.
The time and money required to design from scratch a good and unique cable is staggering, and to think all companies are doing this for every cable line and type of cable is naive at best.
Now consider how many cable companies also offer cable enhancing products, power conditioning, fuses, outlets, followed closely by the newest line of components. REALY?? Are they really that smart that they offer cutting edge design and material usage in every category of audio?
So the answer to your question is, for the best possible sonic characteristics from your system, you need to find the cables that represent the best possible design. This will inevitably lead you to different cables for your interconnects, speaker cable and power cords. In fact, one good design for a power cord may work flawlessly on the amp, but sound bright and edgy on the CD player. The manufacturer will try to develop a CD player cord by elimination gauge or change the wire material, but this becomes backwards design.
I have found every application is different, including the locations of interconnects, meaning between which components. This means we must find the design that started the chain of products, and look to it for a potential cable in our systems.
Now having said all that, I do believe some companies are actually designing for each application, and therefor it is possible to find one company to serve your entire system needs. I have not personally discovered that company, but it could exist.
As Clio stated, part of the fun of our hobby is trying different cables, power products, isolation products... Audiogon extends the fun by allowing us the opportunity to share our personal findings with other enthusiast, but not just in our city, we can share with friends all over the world.
I believe this is the success of the Internet, bringing common interest people together to enjoy a common love. From this I have personally developed a friendship base on five contents. I have very dear friends who share my interest and we share our hobby. We have grown beyond that to share our families and our lives. To all the members of Audiogon, have a happy holiday and I pray for peace and love.
Great points JD. Obviously, the amount of time and money that you've spent with your own endeavors has been a great lesson in this area. It is hard to beat first hand experience, especially when that experience has been well documented and thoroughly disected : )
That's was a great analogy by Tvad too. With that in mind, having the science behind why certain elements act and respond to each other as they do reduces the amount of "alchemy" or "magic" required to make a great product or achieve system synergy. The end result is a predictable outcome, greater consistency and a more universal product.
Having said that, there's always a bit of magic / guesswork involved with audio, as there are just too many variables to take into account of in certain situations and installations. This is why trial and error still exists, and probably always will. That is, for the people that just aren't willing to settle for sheer convenience. We really are a "nit-picking" bunch when it comes down to it : ) Sean
Always use the same interconnects and speaker wire.
No that's not right, it's power cords and speaker wire.
Hold on, I think it's digital cable and interconnects.
No no, it must be power cords, speaker wire, and digital.
Unless of course it's digital and speaker wire. No, that can't be right.
Perhaps it's speaker wire, interconnects, and power cords.
The hell with it. Use what sounds best to you.
I am always thinking that thereis no relation between chords and price.But I do believe that one can mix and match (you have different elements makling up different components right).But a rule of themb I have followed,not knopwing if it's valid,is that if you use same chords because they have characteristics you like (say Cardas which has sofetened up equipment that is meattlic or "etched" like Krell) but that one should use the better (i.e. more expensive in the line if using the same products) closer to the source component.Wonder if i have any "Amens" to this approach.My ultimate wiosh given there are so many choices is to have an objective and subjective lsiting of of products in overall performance and like Consumer Reports does an overall point rating that factors in price to it's final score.It's so much easier to put together a list of compoinets that have been reviewed and have multiple reviews ("professional" and consumer) where the same name comes up.A good expample of this would be the new Parasound JC1 amp.Enough reviewers gave it thumbs up that one could put it on a short list to audition.But cables still have too much hype and mystery associated with them forouir own good.I know this digresses but I come down that you feel some satisfaction knowing you have a one brand sound but tis is not a logical way to look at issue.The question I have is aboiut better wire being closer to source than downstream (????????).And my my shootout is proably a pipedream.Even Stereophile which lists too many componenst asnd thus does not sepreate the what from the chaffe won't even list cables innterms of quality.But one can hope that some cream will rise to the top and thast we can find values in such a list to boot.
Chazzbo - your idea has very little merit. Cable shootouts only produce valuable results IF:
- you happen to have the same components as the reviewer(s)
- you happen to share the same listening preferences (acoustical presentation) as the reviewer(s)
- you happen to have the same room acoustics as the reviewer(s)
- you happen to share the same taste in music as the reviewer(s)
Otherwise what you "wish" would happen is a waste of time for all concerned. I would rather wish that someone would come up with a set of measurements/electrical characteristics that might HELP in determining how a particular cable might sound, BUT - this has yet to happen with components, so I am not holding my breath.
Back to the thread at hand - I have the luxury of being able to test an almost endless array of cables in my system in a controlled manner, so my cables are matched to the system rather than each other. This works great for ME, but is probably not the best approach for everyone else ( that doesn't have the access to so many cables to test). SOME cables are best when used throughout like Virtual Dynamics, JPS Labs, MIT, Transparent, and a few others that slip my mind at the moment. The basic rule of thumb is to stay with cables that have the same relative transfer speed, ie - do not mix silver and copper signal cables in the same system. Use your ears as the guideline, and try as many cables as you can before making any purchase decisions. Have FUN!
Jwp, you suggested not to mix silver and copper signal cables in the same system as a rule of thumb. According to this rule I'm doing wrong by mixing Cardas Golden Reference(copper) ls cable with Wireworld Gold Eclipse (pure silver) interconnects? Anyone else who is using silver and copper cables in one system?
Hey guys - ease UP a bit on the critique! I said BASIC RULE OF THUMB it's best not to mix silver and copper conductors in the same system. Of course there are exceptions - I use Siltech (silver and gold) along with Nirvana interconnects and PAD speaker cables,in my own system BUT - I have the luxury of being able to try virtually anything that I want to whenever I want to. How many audiophiles can do that? That's why this is a guideline (which is what a basic rule of thumb is) and not a rule.
Sean - transfer speed of an analog audio cable has to do with ALL of the factors in the cable- overall design, conductor materials( and size, shape, and number of conductors, etc), dielectic material and location of same relative to conductors. Transfer speed is the rate at which a signal in the audio frequency domain travels from one end to another end of a cable ( or some could argue, between two components). I was trying to keeping my comments more on the general vein for those people sincerely interested in getting good, useful, practical, EXPERIENCED advice on this subject.
There is no BASIC RULE OF THUMB. Perhaps you believe this but cable design, geometry, construction, and dielectric are just as important, maybe more, than copper or silver.
There are mushy sounding silver cables and bright sounding copper cables.
Your "rule" cannot be supported by anything but opinion.
It's that simple.
Sean - transfer speed of an analog audio cable has to do with ALL of the factors in the cable- overall design, conductor materials( and size, shape, and number of conductors, etc), dielectic materialYes, many factors do inluence signal transfer. But, you know that the propagation speed is very high in electrical signals...
Frequency dependent transfer ("speed" if you like) is usually more important.
Cheers & happy hols!
Happy to find this very old thread on exactly th point I was looking for, and even happier to find your conclusions support my observations. I have always bought into the primarily British idea of the cable loom, and throughout the last 30+ years, I have tried to keep my ic’s ans speaker cables from the same manufacturer, even when phono cable and power cords were from different manufacturers. It was easy to get decent sound that way, convenience and expense made it simpler and, frankly, the ocd portion of my brain, which often gets involved in audiophile decisions, likes the idea. More recently, some system reconfiguring and a whole boatload of quick cable left me with multiple options in each spot. Much to my surprise, I ended up getting the overall most musically engaging results with one brand of ic for my sources, and another brand for speaker cable, even though I was able to do matching full looms to compare. I long agobdecided that power cords did not need to match signal carrying cable, so I’m leaving that aside for this discussion.
Anyway, I popped on here to see if anyone else was “breaking the rules” like this and, lo and behold, I am gratified to see that there is a whole thread, (mostly) thoughtfully devoted to the very subject and drawing the same conclusion. While it is easier, perhaps, the get an acceptable result sticking with one manufacturer, and perhaps just as easy to get a very bad result by haphazardly mixing different brands/types/materials, I do believe the BEST results can only be achieved by carefully selecting each cable for each position as a part of the overall system into which it is being placed. Maybe I’ve just gotten lucky, but by being patient and paying close attention, I believe I’ve been able to put together an overal cable loom which allows each piece of equipment to perform at its best, specifically because each cable was selected for each spot both with respect to its effect on the components to which it was connected on either end AND it’s overall effect on the system and, while I probably would have been very content sticking with one manufacturer had I not been given the rare opportunity to do the experimenting, now that I have, the difference is stunning - and not just “hmmmm, maybe it’s a little better this way” but more like “Wow, I had no idea how great my system could sound!”
So, although I came here looking for an answer, and found one, I’m joining the “no rules” crowd with the caveat that mixing and matching is riskier than going full loom, but if you are patient the results can be stunning.