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Old 9th February 2006, 01:59 PM   #21
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The point I was trying to make (probably not very well) was that the transistor amps that I've used seemed very dependent on the type of speaker cable used. The Super-T seems far less so.

So long as there isn't some specific cable I should be using, then I'll carry on as I am.
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Old 9th February 2006, 07:56 PM   #22
Trebla is offline Trebla  United Kingdom
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I'm surprised this thread hasn't provoked a livelier response. But then again, cables have been discussed so many times that I suppose the novelty has worn off.

It has been said that some amps don't work well with certain cables, Naim being one of them. Some valve amps and Gainclones alledgedly can be fussy as well.
I think the problem is too much or too little capacitance in some cables.

The Class-d amps do seem to cope with thin solid core or thick
multistrand. I've tried versions of both, and agree that the differences were less obvious than with other amps.
This may be partly due to the slightly bass light output of these cheaper class d amps. In my experience cable differences are often easier to spot in the bass octaves.
The other possibility is that these amps major on detail and should, I suppose, make it easy to judge cables and partnering equipment. However loads of detail can sometimes be distracting and could possibly make the job harder. All this is just an opinion of course.
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Old 9th February 2006, 10:43 PM   #23
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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OK, my turn to play.

I'm generally of the cheap, thick cable school - however:

My buddy who designs my speakers and crossovers says that the T-Amp I sent him is very forgiving of crossover errors. That might have some bearing on cable errors too. (He's a maniac and uses 8 GA. inductors on his Altecs! Would use bigger if he could find them).

A T-Amp modder in Atlanta wrote me telling me how well the T-amp works with Hammer Dynamic speakers. But, he said, the Hammers wanted thin, thin, cable. Other speakers he tried did not, but the Hammers seemed to work better with thin cable. So - speaker dependant?

Many years ago I was privileged to host an extreme hi-fi demo at my theater in Paris. We set up a giant 4 way horn system. Glorious! We used multi-metal braided cables brought in by tiny little Mr. Isoda, audiophile, metallurgist and former Buddhist monk. Seemed like great cables, but that to compare them too?

At the end of the 1st day Mr. Isoda swapped out his crazy braided cables for similar models, but the new ones had a magnetic core. Strange... But I thought they sounded better, smoother and with more detail. Subtle difference, but better. Could have been my imagination.

However, the next day a few repeat attendees asked what had changed in the system. They said it sounded better, smoother and more detailed! Only change, the cables. Was this a double blind test?

So I have heard the difference between different models of the same cable, but I'm still a strong skeptic about most cable voodoo. Call me undecided.
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Old 9th February 2006, 11:50 PM   #24
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OK, a more lively discussion was asked......

I have done some cable measurements for an article for a local magazine I write for, after some rediculous claims by manufacturers came up regarding the importance of inductance and capacitance.

The highest capacitance I measured (out of some 12 samples. low cost to exotic) was 243 pF for a 4m length. Even if this goes to 40m (which I cannot imagine anybody will have under domestic circumstances), one is still at only 2,5 nF. The attenuating effect of that with 8 ohm is negligible to way above audio frequencies. But I accept what SY mentioned on another thread some time ago, that some amplifiers can get unstable there. I am glad I do not remember the make; no further comment.

Regarding general audible effects with different cables (excluding bell-wire) I respect the experience of others. I cannot contradict them; I was not there, and one cannot go poking in the brain with a probe to verify their experiences. But please, acousto-medical literature abound with evidence that the ear is simply not a good measuring instrument. We must not confuse sensitivity with repeatability. I am not one for snake oil; I have experienced too many tests where folks swore to the audible differences between cables, only to loose that ability in a proper blind test. Proper statistical results can only be obtained by repeating a change-over many times in random order. (It has been shown that with several people in a room, an audible difference can occur when even one person only shifted his position, etc.)

I am encouraged by the absence on this site of wild claims re exotic cables. But Douglas Self once wrote an article: "Why I buy my Cables at Woolworths", saying that claims of "I tied a knot in my speaker cable and it sounded better" does not constitute proof of anything.
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Old 10th February 2006, 12:04 AM   #25
Gorilla is offline Gorilla  United Kingdom
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Quote:
The highest capacitance I measured (out of some 12 samples. low cost to exotic) was 243 pF for a 4m length.
Just out of interest, was this a cheap or expensive cable? (or something that resembled two ribbons?)
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Old 10th February 2006, 12:35 AM   #26
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Gorilla,

Let me try to list a few of the tested samples (if the list will work here), stating length, capacitance and cost. The latter will have only relative value; if it means anything the present exchange rate is 1 US $ = R6.8 (RSA).

..3m ...... 220pF...... R400
..2m....... 45pF...... R 90
2,5m....... 94pF...... R 35
..4m...... 243pF...... R 25
1,8m...... 123pF...... R 35
..4m...... 406pF...... R 7

The last one was ordinary ripcord (twin flex) which actually had the highest capacitance but which I only added originally for comparison sake, not serious use. The price was in all cases for 2 sets. The 243pF one was then actually middle-priced. The first one was clearly exotic. (Don't ask me to state brands!)

I notice in the preview that the table does not come out right, but you should be able to make it out.

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Old 10th February 2006, 01:12 AM   #27
cotdt is offline cotdt  United States
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cables are very interesting things. when i buy cables, i just look for 16 gauge (or 12 gauge at times) cables that have good shielding, since my amp emits a lot of noise.

that said, there might be some subtle difference between cables that no one could find an explanation for. they call it placebo and it's hard to deny since the difference is so small, but there may be a difference after all. who knows. it's arrogant and unscientific to deny the experience of others. The R, C, and L differences measure very small btw, so it couldn't be that.

People who posted above have mentioned that the ear is a poor instrument, but this isn't true based on what I know. It's inconsistent, but far more capable than the best microphones+current software is capable of. Has a far greater dynamic range and ability to pick out tones as compared to mic+computer analysis. Not very good at picking out IM distortion, but the ears are great at picking out nonlinear distortion with the right tests. Also can pinpoint sound sources very well. Basically the ears/brain is better at anything a mic can do except test for distortion.

Also, speakers may be the weakest link in a setup, but that doesn't mean improving other audio components in the chain is worthless. Anything you improve in the chain should improve the overall accuracy of the sound system.
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Old 10th February 2006, 01:35 AM   #28
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When Nelson Pass did his cable article for speaker builder in Feb 1980 (26 years!!!), he had these measurements (use of dots to keep the columns in line):

Cable type ............... ohm/ft ...... pF/ft ...... uH/ft
24 ga. Zip ............... 0.05 ......... 16 ........ 0.24
18 ga. Zip ............... 0.014 ........ 28 ........ 0.21
Lucas .................... 0.0055 ....... 20 ........ 0.25
Monster .................. 0.0034 ....... 24 ........ 0.21
Fulton ................... 0.001 ........ 28 ........ 0.19
Polk ..................... 0.0075 ...... 500 ........ 0.026
Mogami ................... 0.0042 ...... 170 ........ 0.023
Audio Source Hi Def. ..... 0.013 ....... 280 ........ 0.037
Audio Source Ultra-Hi Def. 0.013 ....... 600 ........ 0.029


Details would be in the article on PassDIY (I think).
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Old 10th February 2006, 02:32 AM   #29
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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That N. Pass table is interesting. The very low inductance cables are the highest capacitance, by far. Wonder if it makes any difference?
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Old 10th February 2006, 02:54 AM   #30
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Link: http://www.passlabs.com/downloads/articles/spkrcabl.pdf
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