Belden. Heck, they probably make most of it.
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A much more interesting question is how many high-end companies make $10M revenue from cable sales ONLY ?!
I think if you want to define a "big" company then you'll have to ask more about how they run the daily business, i.e. do they have an HR dept and how many different facilities, how much invested in R&D and how much in promo. You know, "standard" company stuff...
I doubt that there are more than 2 or 3 companies that make thier own cables. Thats the fact. Like VCR's there are only 3 MFG's in the whole world.
They all go to someone like Pirelli Beldan and buy thier stock cables or have them make one to thier specs.
The cable businees has the largest mark ups in the world. They make drug dealers look honest.
I've noticed Maybeleft3 is sounding more and more like another A'goNer who used to post here more often....Knows little of what he's talking about and nothing of any value or constructive to say, just the same ol' bla bla bla. Very tiring.
As evidenced by THIS image from, I'm told, a competitor who's still trying to get it right, research and product development can certainly take it's toll on final product costs.
What I don't think some folks consider is that with the many or most larger companies, you're buying marketing that also comes with product...in this case, cables. I don't lay any blame on these manufacturers for what they charge for their product. It costs a LOT of money to support product so that enough people buy it to make the business worth the venture. Of course you have to have a decent product too.
As I look at the marketing campaigns of different companies, it seems to me these campaigns are more about image over substance. Again, I'm not sure I blame the manufacturers. I'm more inclined to blame the enthusiast community if there's any blame to be had. Too many folks seem to be more inclined to make their buying decisions based on image...what looks the coolest. This isn't an indictment, just my observation through my lens. We're all at liberty to exercise whatever motives trigger our buying habits. But, what amuses me then is, not all but enough, enthusiasts cry and complain about the cost of "stupid" wire. Cut it out...LOL! At least until you've walked in another manufacturers shoes to know what you're talking about.
Then you have other manufacturers, of whom I'll include RSAD, who endeavor to run a small but no less professional business without much in the way of marketing expenses. I'll assume most of these companies, at least it's true for RSAD, rely on the slower but (what I consider) more sure growth of word of mouth. In other words, we rely on the (hopefully) superior performance of our product to sell itself rather than a high profile or glitzy ad campaign. If the product is good enough, people will talk about it to others which I think is a better testimony.
So, why do some of these smaller companies cables cost so much if they're not investing in advertising. Not all of them do cost that much. These are usually hobbyists with integrity who use Belden or other wire product from manufacturing houses to build their offerings. But then you have others, and RSAD falls into this camp, where we manufacture our cables from the ground up...i.e., we start with a proprietary spec'd and processed bare wire, apply a chosen insulator and have developed a topology and build process that fits the design criteria. Trust me, it's involved and, in my view, everything matters...even stuff other people aren't aware of. Further, and this doesn't mean others who see it differently have a bad consience but, my consience dictates that I would rather have folks spend their money with us to buy actual product rather than product support (read "marketing" ). I think that's a worthy and valid approach for anyone.
EXAMPLE: I know of at least one manufacturer who has no more than $300.00 invested in the their I/Cs. They consistently retail from a retailer for over $3000.00. Is the company ripping people off? NO! Their ads are all over the place, the ads are beautiful, people like the ads and it's a good product...better than many but I'm betting they have an annual advertising budget of at least $200,000.00. Someone is paying for that.
In the case of RSAD, there is no larger manufacturing house that can accommodate everything we do to make our cables the way we want them so, we had to develop and tool up "in house" to make our cables the way we wanted them made. I'm sure there are a few other cable designers in a similar boat. I'm guessing, true for us anyway and by choice, these type manufacturers do not desire to become corporate "BIG". Too many compromises.
While I'm thinking of it....to those who proclaim $10.00 in materials to produce snake oil that fetches a Gabillion dollars for a given cable, shame on you! You speak with great ignorance to make such a broad brush stroke statement.
So, in my view and experience, the most successful, visible and even reputable cable product is not necessarily the "best" performing cable or, as Thorman said, the best value available.
My thoughts anyway. Hope I hit a few nails.
Charlie 101- Do you have any history with Albert or Robert at all? I have to wonder why you are so critical of these two gentlemen.
I've interacted with both in the past and found them to be outstanding guys. Please, enlighten me as to what the problem is here.....Or are you just a negative guy in general?
Bargain?Blue Jean Cables.Just because you get a "different" sound it is not necessarily better.But having set up systems I have found Cardas to have resolutiion but tame some "etched" sound like that of Krell.I can go nuts just deciding on speakers to buy but cables man you need to be retired with a private jet or RV to get around to here all that's out there.I tell freinds to look for compamies that will allow for 30 day in home and to get as many as possible at once because m,ost of the time I find the results so subtle it really will be depenmd on your rig,in your home,and yopu ears.Cynaclly I say Belden as well.As a matter of fact a tech at Krell said that what he would use though many amp manufacturers say in their lit thatdiffereing cables can make a big difference in sound.Perhapos it's the amps design that makes one sensive to impedance,etc and such while others are less affected.
Thanks for the feedback. Let me add some comments. The reason I initiated the discussion is just this - 3 manufacturers of most cable. 1,000's of different flavors - Baskin Robbins has a long way to go!! Impossible to listen to all. Just the management of a couple 30 day listening test - lot of work. Impossible to remember one cable sound from another if the tests are not done at the same time. No scientific parameters to pick by. Not even a simple chart. Such as "Electrostatic wants - silver strand etc etc, versus Bass reflex wants - heavy copper". Cables are extremely systems dependent making this the hardest component to pick. They also lose value faster than anything else. Coming back to the original question. A big company should be able to support more research, better scientific method for picking a cable without listening to every cable in their line. By the way, it seems people in the cable business think everything gets better in a product line when it gets more expensive. I know many examples of other high end audio products where the top end product is not necessarily better that everything else in the product range, and for sure never the best price value. Any thoughts to a more scientific approach for picking companies and design. How much worse is 99.9999 % pure copper versus 99.999999 % copper. Thanks
Impossible to remember one cable sound from another if the tests are not done at the same time.
Perhaps this is a useful thought: Listen with your heart. You are absolutely correct when you say it's impossible (for most) to remember one cable sound from another when not done at the same time. That's an analytical process and is really quite sterile if not useful in certain situations.
Listening with the heart is different in that it demands an emotional response where analyzation or reason has little value. It is what it is regardless what the intellect says. Fairly easy to remember your strongest emotional reaction when comparing the different responses. Choose cabling that elicits the strongest favorable emotional response.
Music appeals to the heart...the emotions, not the intellect. I think for a lot of us guys, we have to train ourselves to be sensitive to this. I think it's easier for us to get caught up in the analytical, figure out the whys and come up with "the answer"...ask your wife! Not a very useful process to enjoy music by or for calming your wife when she's had a stressful day. Music never came up with Einstein's theory of relativity but it certainly can inspire.
Hmmm....maybe if we're not successfully relating to our wives, it may be the same reason many of us are constantly and forever buying audio toys but never quite happy.
Anyway, my little (and probably slippery) soapbox. Hope that helps a bit.
Before 1980 cables cost max $100 or so.
Now one can find several that top $15,000.
The hype about cables is that they make a difference.
I say spending that same cash on better equipment in the first place is a far better investment. (and using modest cables in the $100 to $200 range)
The modest cables give you 99% of what the expensive ones do, and in relation to what that extra few thousand total can do for your basic equipment, I find the cable 'problem' to be a hinderance to fine audio reproduction rather than an enhancement.
Beginners are bamboozled into thinking they "need" expensive cables. That is a bad thing IMO.
In 1980, equipment didn't have the kind of resolution it has today, so that's a moot point. True, one's money is best spent first on acquiring the best components; if the equipment isn't up to it, the extra resolution provided by top notch cables won't be heard anyway.
I agree (sort of) with Elizabeth that it's a better approach to work up to great electronics and speakers, and hold off on cable expenditure until last. But when you can go that last financial mile, do it!
"Music appeals to the heart...the emotions, not the intellect."
It appeals to both. There is no qualitative distinction. Sensual experience in the hearing produces thought, no less than an idea.
I was originally in the same camp as those who say "what can an expensive wire do where a cheap one cannot?" I've used cheap copper speaker cables. I've used standard RCA connectors that one would find at an Ace hardware. I've dropped 200-300 bucks on active cables made by an up and coming small operation. And I've recently dropped two grand on a pair of speaker cables and interconnects made by Purist Audio Design--the Aqueous Anniversary line. I'm completely floored at how these cables have transformed my system. They completely destroyed the otherwise admirable active cables. They've totally opened up the sound of my system, particularly in the bass. And they're not yet broken in. So for those who think it's all snake oil, that's a pile of garbage. Go listen to some of these in your system or any of the other high quality brands and see for yourself.
And I'm not in any way affiliated with Purist. I'm just a teacher with an open mind.
Washline, I wish more people would just take a minute to describe their experiences when they've discovered the "real deal." Other people have had the same kind of epiphany (not just a pleasant improvement) with "top" or "near top" of the line products from Transparent, Siltech, Virtual Dynamics, MIT, and Aural Symphonics -- as opposed to the high priced stuff from Nordost, Kimber, Audioquest, XLO, Cardas, etc., etc., ad nauseum.
I'm a Purist owner myself, but that's neither here nor there. I'm just saying that it takes a certain courage and willingness to risk taking a loss on what you already own, to venture into that realm. Getting feedback like yours more often helps others to realize it's not ALL snake oil ;~))
"They've totally opened up the sound of my system, particularly in the bass. And they're not yet broken in. So for those who think it's all snake oil, that's a pile of garbage. Go listen to some of these in your system or any of the other high quality brands and see for yourself.Thanks for posting some useful information. Pabelson also.