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Old 2nd December 2005, 07:38 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Interconnect cables! Lies and myths!

I am sick of seeing high-end catalogues selling 1 meter of IC cable for prices soaring up to and above $500... and not only that; all of their designs are different, yet they all claim to have some kind of edge that makes their cables better(not to mention "worth" those aforementioned outrageous prices)... Most of the reasons given sound about as solidly founded in physics as voodoo; in fact, I'm surprised I haven't seen any cables that claim to have a "voodoo curse that makes them sound mysteriously better!"

Look, I am in no way an electronics engineer; I do, however, work in the electromechanical industry, and as such I do have a close familiarity with ohm's law. And for me this is the bottom line; these are the only factors that I can perceive having an effect on IC performance:

1) Impedence- less resistance=less signal lost(obviously)

2)Capacitance- People say this is an important IC factor- I am not 100% sure why; someone please tell me(I'm guessing capacitance can have an effect on RF intereference reception?)

3)Cable sheilding

4)Placement- you obviously would not want your cables around an AC transformer.

Am I off base? If so- reply; I am willing to listen(by my own admission I am not an engineer). But if you think that I am completely wrong and want to tell me off, please, give me a scientific explantion(and more importantly...will I be able to hear the difference?) and I will humiliate myself and step off my soapbox.

I only ask, for I would like to experiment with making my own cables to see if I really can get better sound out of my system; and if capacitance does matter, then what would the ideal capacitance be? for a line output? for a phono output?

Thank you,

Trevor
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Old 2nd December 2005, 07:49 AM   #2
quasi is offline quasi  Australia
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Default Uh Oh! ....here we go again!

I better get in before it degenerates.

I guess we need to set some limits for consideration i.e. the cable will be less than a metre long and only carry audio signals (up to 20khz or so).

The first thing I look for in an inter-connect is the quality of the shield. This in my view is the most important thing. My general rule of thumb = more is better, but up to a point. A dual layer shield is preferable.

Next I look for build quality and flexibility. This includes the quality of connectors at each end.

That's about it for me.

I consider impedance, capacitance, directionality plus any claims about soundstage, transperancy, tight bass, accurate highs etc to be nonsense.

My opinion.

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Old 2nd December 2005, 07:51 AM   #3
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http://www.sound.westhost.com/articles.htm

find here cables.
read all three to dispel all misconceptions bout so called audio grade cables.
very very informative.
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Old 2nd December 2005, 07:54 AM   #4
Jay is offline Jay  Indonesia
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Where's the factor for material types (related to electrons movement MAYBE)? There's no difference in impedance or capacitance between silver or copper or gold-plated whatever. Anybody want the RCA socket from zero impedance aluminium?

Honestly, my favourite brand is QED. It's not expensive, but is good in many situation.
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Old 2nd December 2005, 08:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by sagarverma
http://www.sound.westhost.com/articles.htm

find here cables.
read all three to dispel all misconceptions bout so called audio grade cables.
very very informative.
The information on that site is by far THE most helpful information on IC I have ever found; none of my audiophile friends believe me when I make claims like those found on the site, thank you very much

Trevor
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Old 2nd December 2005, 08:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
I am sick of seeing high-end catalogues selling 1 meter of IC cable for prices soaring up to and above $500... and not only that; all of their designs are different, yet they all claim to have some kind of edge that makes their cables better
Quote:
I only ask, for I would like to experiment with making my own cables to see if I really can get better sound out of my system
If 'they' can't do it, how can you make your cable sound better in your system?

If one were to study the crystaline structure of hi-end cables, the purity of the metal, dielectric absorbtion, skin effect etc., apart from the obvious parameters of Ohms law, Cable Science does make sense.

When you have gained a bit of experience and knowledge constructing your own cables from scratch, you can control the characteristics of the cable through geometry and material used. Those who have not tried these things and therefore, have not experienced success or failure, will also not know about industry manufactured products.

Finally, your system should resolve and your hearing mechanism perceive the change in the character of sound before you begin to move from unbelief to belief.

All the best for your cable making attempt!!
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Old 2nd December 2005, 08:51 AM   #7
quasi is offline quasi  Australia
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"If one were to study the crystaline structure of hi-end cables, the purity of the metal, dielectric absorbtion, skin effect etc., apart from the obvious parameters of Ohms law, Cable Science does make sense."

No one has been able to demonstrate the "crystaline structure, metal purity, dielectric absorbtion and skin effect" of metallic cables and the effect it has on an audio signal in terms of attenuation (dB) distortion (%) or any other meaningful dimension in a scientific and logical way without artistic claims.

Remember we are talking about a 1 to 2 metre length of interconnect with capacitance of a few hundred picofarads max. very low inductance and irrelevant resistance.

Many people get frustrated when their claims of cables are ignored, yet are unable to provide explanations within terms of reference that include scientific and measurable results.

On AA I read someones claim that they could audibly detect the difference a one foot length of speaker cable can make.......and at the same time try to retain credibility on cable expertise.
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Old 2nd December 2005, 09:18 AM   #8
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Hmm. A few views. These are my views BTW, and I don't attempt to dictate to anyone -not my way. They are however, supported by a good deal of scientific evidence.

Dielectric absorption is indeed a measurable factor in a cable. However, it's so minuscule it might as well not exist in audio runs -it's only really relevant going to a run 1/2 a mile long +. Crystalline structure and the purity of the conductors in electrical terms are irrelevant in that no cable introduces non-linear distortion. In fact, no metallic conductor introduces non-linear distortion. So, not a problem. Skin effect does not become measureable until circa 100KHZ minimum in most speaker cables, and this doesn't change much for interconnects either. Have a look at the measurements and articles on Audioholics too (Rod Eliot has contributed a couple there too I believe.)

Cables to be fair can indeed make differences to the sound of a system -it depends on their electrical characteristics, and the nature of the rest of the system. For example, I use 24AWG magnet wire as speaker cable in one of my systems, because it provides the additional series resistance my Fostex FF165K full-range units require when TQWT loaded. It raises the electrical Q, and thus lifts the bass when powered from a high-damping factor solid-state amp. That's measureable, not subjective by the way, and the reason I use it. It would not be appropriate for most other setups. I could just as easily have used 12AWG zip cable with a resistor, but why bother? Interconnects in my experience all sound the same, providing they're fit for the job. I see far too many unshielded cables being used in this application. Not good in an RFI rich environment, and less-easy to route.
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Old 2nd December 2005, 10:49 AM   #9
reins is offline reins  Germany
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I was able to change the frequency response of my system by exchanging the interconnect of my turntable. Ok, this is not difficult. I tried CAT5 and satalite cable and others.

I think with you could influence the frequency response of the audio chain with cables. And you will find people who tell you that the one sounds better or worse than the other. If that effect meets with some shortcomings of the system or the room, then you get better sound in the end, otherwise ...

But to spend big money on something like that? It would be cheaper to by a DSP.

stephan
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Old 2nd December 2005, 11:34 AM   #10
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Default Sorry But!

I agree that there are a lot of manufacturers of 'Snake Oil' but there are some really excellent sounding cables out there and the best sound like an amplifier upgrade theres that much improvement! I am an Electronics engineer and I have access to some very expensive state of the art test equipment, it is possible to test cables in a way that does show differences, but measurments do not indicate how it will sound. I have to smirk at some manufacturers with a large range of cables using diverse techniques this certainly shows they dont have a clue what they are doing.
If you have not tried really good cable you'll never know, as to the screen being the most important part, words fail me. The best cables I have tried are un-screened Audio Research had un-screened and screened cables (might still do) and claimed (rightly) the un-screened version was better.
I wish audio cables did not make a difference being a canny Scot I dont want to spend money I dont need to but the better cables really are much better, I've demonstrated this to both Audiophiles and non-audio types (normal people?) and every time its simply better and easily audible, to claim otherwise is just an untruth.
There may be people who cannot hear the difference (I'm very envious of these folk) but thats down to their 'on board instrumentation' (Ears and Brain).
In closing I would urge you all to try a decent interconnect as soon as you can you really have not heard what your equipment is capable of yet!

RC
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