The Science of Cables


It seems to me that there is too little scientific, objective evidence for why cables sound the way they do. When I see discussions on cables, physical attributes are discussed; things like shielding, gauge, material, geometry, etc. and rarely are things like resistance, impedance, inductance, capacitance, etc. Why is this? Why aren’t cables discussed in terms of physical measurements very often?

Seems to me like that would increase the customer base. I know several “objectivist” that won’t accept any of your claims unless you have measurements and blind tests. If there were measurements that correlated to what you hear, I think more people would be interested in cables. 

I know cables are often system dependent but there are still many generalizations that can be made.
mkgus

geoffkait
"Can we please have a little consensus here? What’s the hold up?"

I am pleased to respond but I ask you’re indulgence for my response. I have been threatened within the Audiogon messaging system (I have reported this to the Audiogon authorities) and this person has also had almost all of my recent posts deleted with immunity so I must be cautious in how I "frame" my response to this fair, legitimate, and thoughtful question.

There are certain people who believe that they have invented, devised, and implemented a method, technique, and protocol for specifying, designing, and building Music Reproduction Systems. They believe that this "technique" that they give a impressive sounding name two is infallible, unequalled, and beyond reproach. They then state that a specific cable or type of cable or few select manufacturers of cable, are the only one’s capable of valid, verified, authentic high end performance because of special "properties" that they have identified and only this person knows how this is done.

But most users, audiophiles, and dealers know that not only audio but most things in life are not that simple, basic, and certain so they also know that there is no one cable or amplifier or speaker or anything else that is guaranteed and assured to invariably deliver the "best" result because of course there is no "best" even though this person may claim that there is. so there can be no concensus.

I wish I could provide more specific detail but the rules of this forum and my personal safety forbid it.  
clearthink, I was going to make a post addressed to you but deleted it, wish I hadn’t. I don’t think you were here when bo1972 was in his glory several years ago. He made a massive number of extremely long post which all said the same thing, nothing. He never gave any detail of anything when asked multiple times by multiple persons. Finally, everyone was completely tired of him.

Please don’t waste your valuable or even not valuable time.
Dear Dave;

I don't sell a lot of silver and this is for a good reason. In far, most systems copper will work better than silver. Based on the limitations I mentioned regarding diversity in sound. And also in a less coherent sound in most situations. But there are a few exceptions I use silver. 

The great thing about audio is that each situation is totally different and it is is always a challenge to find the best tools and products to imply. But in the end, we want each system to be able to reveal all the aspects of sound. This is a necessity what is needed for success with each individual system. 
Just curious, anyone try lead as a conductor? I understand through a back channel lead sounds very good. I know what you’re thinking, it’s not as conductive as copper or silver. Well, duh, If conductivity was the issue then why doesn’t Silver always sound better than copper? Git ya there! Why lead? Probably because it’s an amorphous Metal, meaning no crystal structure.
clearthink
Audioquest is not a bad...cable but it is not an exceptional... cable either.  just look at how many different cables this company ...distributes they make dozens...what they are doing is making cables of different "flavors" because none of them are truly neutral, accurate, and faithful. This allows every user, dealer, audiophile to proclaim for himself that one or more of them are the "best" when in fact each of them has their own shortcomings because the company does not know how to make a truly accurate cable.


Yes all too true. And neither does anyone else. Some here and there though do get a whole lot closer.

Audioquest Dragon speaker cable was actually my first high end wire. Way back then it was near impossible getting anything to audition so I bought it used. Then within a year I got my ears opened by a dealer who was way ahead of the curve in recognizing the importance of wire. There really is no substitute for trying lots of different components in your own system in your own home. 

Stewart was at the time in the process of moving from the east to the west coast. He stayed with me for two weeks while looking for a home out here. He was traveling in his van chock full of inventory. Stewart was an incredibly rare thing in a dealer- a guy who just loved audio, had already earned enough to not have to make any money, who basically was only doing this to be able to fly all over the world listening and having the best of everything. Two full weeks of bringing his treasure trove in, trying everything out, keeping only the best. Well, that I could afford. But to show the value of a really good dealer, when we were done my system not only sounded massively better than before (my wife literally- literally!- was startled out of the chair) but.... I had money left over. That's right. Everything I replaced was sold for MORE than what his much better stuff cost.

The problem is exactly what clearthink said- only not just AudioQuest but very nearly all of them, and including a lot of what even the good ones make, its more flavors than across the board nutrition.

There is no science. Not really. There is only guys just like us, only hopefully with better ideas and (again, hopefully) ears, trying out everything they can think of guess at and imagine to make something just a little bit better. Which almost always its different, but not necessarily better. Which cannot even be determined any way other than by listening. Which no one can do, there's simply too many. So we wind up using what are in effect band-aids, never really finding the answer just happy if one covers up the mistakes of the other.

This of course suits the industry just fine.