Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Cables matter?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Cables matter?

    Couldn't believe with all those crazy audiophiles on AurioNirvana, there was no thread started on the topic of cables.

    So I will start one -

    Due to my background in EE, I still haven't embraced the "fact" that cables make differences. I do own some fancy cables and do agree there are bad cables and wires that don't meet specification required to work properly in certain frequencies (we deal with it at my day job often - having engineering department full of EEs working with probes and cables). But for our audiophile use one can't improve the sound with cables beyond what we can already get from properly engineered and manufactured cables. Only way to improve perhaps is to not have the cables.

    Let the flames start to fly!

  • #2
    I think the proof in the Cables Matter department is actually trying different cables in your own system. There is so much to do with synergy with the cables you choose and your own equipment. So many varying output and input impedances that I would never buy a high end cable without trying it first. With that being said the correct cables can make a tremendous difference in your sonics, at least they have for mine.
    Marty

    Comment


    • #3
      In audiophilia it has always been the purported belief that the more you separate various functions of a component to more dedicated devices you will get improved and better sound. The more you do this the more cables you'll need and I wonder if at times that is not an interference or hindrance. I say that as connectivity becomes more complex and the chance of mismatching increases. A case can thereby be made for looking at high-quality integrated components that reduces this potential mismatching as cables play less of a role. I know this might come across as somewhat simplistic by heavy audio hitters, but I think it's food for thought nonetheless.

      And yes...let the flames start to fly!
      Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

      Comment


      • #4
        John I couldn't agree more. I think this has something to do with all the great sounding integrated components being introduced lately. Manufacturers take out the crap shoot of us flaky audiophiles mucking up the sound with the cable of the month club.
        Marty

        Comment


        • #5
          If I could interchange various high quality cables and not hear a noticeable difference in the sound presentation of the stereo, I might agree with you Ki from an engineering standpoint. Wires shouldn't really matter.....but to these ears, in my system, they most definitely do. Picking the best one's is another matter...mostly subjective.
          Christian
          System Gear

          Comment


          • #6
            With Christian on this. I can definitely hear a difference in cables (some changes are not subtle either), I just wish some of the good ones weren't so damn expensive!
            Kronos Sparta -> Trinity Phono -> Trinity Pre -> CH Precision A1 -> Magico S7s

            Comment


            • #7
              Subjective is putting it lightly Christian. Once you find out the difference cables can make it makes for an interesting journey.
              Marty

              Comment


              • #8
                I can hear differences with various cables, but I'm not prepared to say that one cable is better than another.......it's more about hearing preference.
                Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

                Comment


                • #9
                  Curiously from an engineer point of view cables matter a lot. There are many technical and scientific reasons for that. The only issue is the psycho acoustics - at what level these electrical differences are audible?

                  The best endorsement I have read to cable sound differences comes from an engineer and studio designer with an extensive CV (Philip Newell) who loves active systems - he wrote something like : who can expect a speaker cable to carry a ten octave signal unchanged?

                  He published a book with a chapter 6.10 Some provable characteristics of cable performance that is filled with measurements about speaker cables showing differences. See the conclusion:

                  As the evidence presented in this chapter has shown, loudspeaker cables seem to be sensitive to the
                  equipment to which they are connected, and vice versa. What is more, the entire systems seem to be
                  sensitive to their environment, at least in electromagnetic terms.
                  Nevertheless, the concept of minimising loudspeaker cable lengths seems to be well founded, but
                  the practice of separating the frequency range into narrower bandwidths also seems to reduce the
                  demands made of the amplifiers and cables, alike. This is a concept which it is now worth looking at
                  in a little more detail, before expanding the concept to polyamplification and multiamplificaiton.
                  My opinions rely on listening mainly to acoustical, non amplified music. I do not care about electronic music or listening to rock at stadium levels, but I enjoy Mahler and Shostakovitch.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl View Post
                    In audiophilia it has always been the purported belief that the more you separate various functions of a component to more dedicated devices you will get improved and better sound. The more you do this the more cables you'll need and I wonder if at times that is not an interference or hindrance. I say that as connectivity becomes more complex and the chance of mismatching increases. A case can thereby be made for looking at high-quality integrated components that reduces this potential mismatching as cables play less of a role. I know this might come across as somewhat simplistic by heavy audio hitters, but I think it's food for thought nonetheless.

                    And yes...let the flames start to fly! :)
                    John, as you know, flaming, trolling and pxxssing contests will not be tolerated here!!! Not for one microsecond. There are plenty of other audio sites for those people.

                    So now that we've settled that, let's talk more about cables. I've had enough talks with extremely knowledgeable engineers such as Dick Sequerra to know that common electrical measurements do not describe the sound of a cable.

                    I also think that we can't lump all cables together. For example, there's good reasons why a phono cable makes a sonic difference. I'm going to reprint something written (hopefully excerpted so makes sense) by Jonathan Carr of Lyra on the issue though you can also see something similar in my Audience phono cable review (see: http://www.positive-feedback.com/Iss...nce_au24.htm)/ I also think that speaker cables play a big role in the the amplifier <---> speaker interface.

                    If the phono stage does not have high overload margin at ultrasonic frequencies, or not-so-favorable linearity at ultrasonic frequencies, the ultrasonic spike resulting from high-value resistive loads (the spike can be in excess of 30dB at 5-7MHz if the phono stage input termination is 10 kohm or higher) can easily result in ringing and intermodulation distortion which will obscure real information, which is undoubtedly what Nick is referring to.

                    But if the designer does give his phono stage high overload margin and good linearity at ultrasonic frequencies, the phono stage will treat the ultrasonic spike as simply another signal, and no intermodulation distortion products will be generated that could otherwise be low enough in frequency for the ear to hear. IOW, there will no longer be any distortion products to conceal real information with.

                    The reactive ultrasonic spike between cartridge inductance and cable capacitance (or phono stage input capacitance) is a real problem that the phono designer should take into consideration during the design process.

                    One countermeasure would be to design a phono stage input network that efficiently damps out the ultrasonic spike without needing to resort to heavy-handed resistive damping. Way back in 1936, Alan Blumlein published a patent that discusses how to make reactive loads behave like purely resistive ones. The US patent number is 2035457, for anyone who is interested in reading it.

                    A second countermeasure would be to design the phono stage for high overload margin and good linearity at ultrasonic frequencies, so that even when ultrasonic spikes do occur, the phono stage isn't flummoxed by this.

                    A third countermeasure would be to reduce the capacitance between cartridge and phono stage to the smallest value possible, since the resulting ultrasonic spike can be damped out with higher-value resistive loads than if greater capacitances were involved.

                    I hear what he's talking about with the Atlas and other cartridges - but I attribute that to his phono section being very neutral and resolving without the need for extra kick.
                    As most phono stages are designed are right now, the input resistor needs to serve two functions. The sonically dominating function is to make sure that the resonant ultrasonic spike isn't so large that it affects the behaviour of the phono stage. The sonically lesser function is to load the cartridge. I would like to see these two functions separated so that we can start discussing cartridge loading in terms of what it does for the cartridge, rather than as a phono stage band-aid in disguise.

                    Here are some pictures that Jonathan also provides on the effect of the phono cable:
                    Click image for larger version

Name:	Carr 1.png
Views:	85
Size:	313.0 KB
ID:	1347
                    Click image for larger version

Name:	carr 2.png
Views:	69
Size:	307.8 KB
ID:	1348
                    Click image for larger version

Name:	carr 3.png
Views:	78
Size:	305.6 KB
ID:	1349




                    What these tell me (among other things) is that, all else being equal, changing just the interconnecting cable (each of which has a different capacitance characteristic), changes the optimal resistive load; and if you can afford to bring up that peak in the MHz to something <10dB then you can bring up resistive loading to about 500-1K ohms even with a highly-capacitive cable; and finally, you are not really affecting the audible high frequencies with any resistive load shown. Finally, Jonathan's cable has really low capacitance and inductance (compare with Nordost's Odin, for example - Jonathan's much better, wrt capacitance, but much higher inductance).

                    To claim that the loading affects the measurable frequency response of the cartridge is bogus. However, if inappropriate loading bathes the phono stage in copius amounts of high-frequency noise, it may start to distort (unless the designer implemented various techniques to make sure that this won't happen), and the result will likely be intermodulation distortion. IMD products can go low enough to fall within the audible band (even when the stimuli are ultrasonic), and IMD nearly always is not harmonically related to the signal, making it particularly grating to the ear.

                    Tonearm cable inductance is typically dwarfed by the inductance of the cartridge signal coils (Lyra PhonoPipe cable inductance 0.75uH, Lyra Kleos coil inductance 9uH), so it makes no sense to reduce the cable inductance if the price to be paid is greater capacitance (which is usually what happens).

                    When authoring the documentation for our post-2009 cartridges, I went up as high as 600pF cable capacitance (to cover audiophiles who may keep their turntable in a separate room / closet). The official loading recommendations for the Delos, Kleos, Atlas, and Etna reflect this wide range of cable capacitances, and the inclusion of highly capacitive cables for special circumstances is why you may see loading values as low as 95 ohms suggested in our literature. Normally there should be no reason to make the loading so heavy unless your phono stage is particularly non-linear or touchy in the ultrasonic region.



                    Ack may want to add his comments as he was involved in this conversation too.

                    You can also go to Jim Hagerman's site and he also explains what is going on. http://www.hagtech.com/loading.html
                    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                    ________________________________________

                    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by nc42acc View Post
                      Subjective is putting it lightly Christian. Once you find out the difference cables can make it makes for an interesting journey.

                      Perhaps the biggest difference among cables is quietness closely followed by low end response, spatial resolution, low level information, etc.
                      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                      ________________________________________

                      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                      -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                      -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by allenh View Post
                        With Christian on this. I can definitely hear a difference in cables (some changes are not subtle either), I just wish some of the good ones weren't so damn expensive!

                        Now that's another thing altogether.
                        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                        ________________________________________

                        -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                        -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                        -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                        -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I pretty much sum up my views on audio cables in this article. I understand most people here won't be interested in the entry level cables being written about, but I think I bring up some valid points.
                          Last edited by Steve Lefkowicz; 02-06-2016, 01:10 PM.
                          Steve Lefkowicz
                          Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
                          -
                          Analog: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 19a, iPhono2; Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Sumiko Pearl, iFi iPhono.
                          Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 26, Tidal HiFi and Qobuz Studio), iFi iDAC2, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2.
                          Electronics: Burson Conductor Virtuoso, DIY switch-box with TKD 10K pot, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso, Jolida JD1000P, B&K ST140.
                          Speakers: Tekton Double Impact, Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7, ELAC Debut2 B6.2, Debut F5 and Debut B6, Emotiva Airmotiv B1, Sound Dynamics 300ti.
                          Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Nordost Solar Wind, Audioquest Evergreen
                          Speaker cables: Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Nordost Solar Wind, Nordost Flatline, Audioquest Q2.
                          Digital cables: Straightwire USB Link, Aural Symphonics Digital Standard xxv USB, Belkin PureAV.
                          Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan racks, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Sound Organization speaker stands, Pangea Audio speaker stands, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
                          Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More MK801, 1More Triple Driver IEM

                          http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...ounding-system

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Steve Lefkowicz View Post
                            I pretty much sum up my views on audio cables in this article. I understand most people here won't be interested in the entry cables being written about, but I think I bring up some valid points.
                            Quoted from your PF article:

                            "On another point, I do generally consider cables from a total system approach. Rather than trade off the characteristics of one cable at one point in the system with the characteristics of another cable in a different part of the system, I prefer to hook up as much of my system as possible with one brand, and even one product line. I feel I get the full measure of the design that way, and either it works well in my system or it doesn't."

                            end of quote.

                            I have expressed similar views several times. Good cable brands have a characteristic sound signature and mixing usually kills it. If a complete product line complements our system, perfect. Otherwise I feel I should try something else. And yes, if we have lots of time, experience and access to many, many cables we can sometimes find very interesting solution for little money. The best point of most expensive single product line solutions is that with them you spend little time listening to cables and have much more free time to listen to music!

                            Last edited by microstrip; 02-06-2016, 05:13 AM.
                            My opinions rely on listening mainly to acoustical, non amplified music. I do not care about electronic music or listening to rock at stadium levels, but I enjoy Mahler and Shostakovitch.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I know from listening that, to my ears, different cables sound different. The particular electrical characteristics of cables combined with the particular impedance of electronic components result in different sonic characteristics.

                              But I think the whole expensive cable thing is an unfortunate morass. I resent extremely expensive cables. I resent a company up-charging for molding its network boxes in the smooth, curved shape of an exotic car.

                              I believe that a network which contains a resistor, an inductor and a capacitor (a basic R-L-C circuit, which is also known as a tuned circuit) is a simple tone control.

                              However, pursuant to my view that I go only by the sound, I have used for many years Transparent XL-V speaker cables and Opus MM5 interconnects.
                              Last edited by RonR; 02-06-2016, 08:26 AM.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X