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
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.

You first need to understand the DNA of each individual part within your system. Or you will make your choice on pure random order. You cannot do audio by only focusing on the end result. It will make it impossible to look back what the influence is of each part within your system.

I have done thousands of tests in over 20 years of time. And most I have done was with cables. The improvements which are made in the last couple of years are so much greater than what the improvements are regarding digital sources.

Audio need to be more focused on real music. Due to the unknown people have no real foundation of how to make the right and best choices. I will not name any brand, it is very easy to prove by sound that different brands in cables cannot reveal all aspects of sound. The sound and stage will prove which aspects are missing.

There are some similarities between some brands regarding how the aspects of sound are being formed. But........ in the end, they still differ from each other. Diversity (layering) in sound is by far the most important aspect/property of sound due to the fact that it has the biggest influence on human emotion. Silver often limits the level in the diversity of sound. Copper sounds in most situations not only more pleasant and more coherent. It reveals often more clearly the differences of the harmonics. Still, there are some exceptions.

Because......I auditioned systems that the silver cables sounded surprisingly more coherent. It really depends, but still in far most situations copper will work better. I see this as a fact. I never liked cheap silver cables. I tested many and always they didn’t make sense. The new Audioquest loudspeaker cables have proven that copper can be more open than silver with the older loudspeaker cables of AudioQuest.

When the audio industry has no real parameters, it is just one big Wild West. The word High-End is used and abused a lot. People have no idea when a product or system is really high-end or just hi-fi. People who buy cables have no idea if a cable can reveal all the aspects of sound. Trial&Error will never make this clear for them.
Of late, I have come to the conclusion that certain threads have gone into that editorial abyss from which no true meaning or truth may emerge. I fear that this is where this thread now stands..
Shirley you must be mistaken. Not a thread on the science of cables. Say it isn’t so.