Saturday, 11 April 2020

MEASUREMENTS: NB Cables "The Vigilante", Raymond Cables, Canare 4S11, Slinkylinks Silver Speaker Cables. (And related thoughts on audiophile "snake oil".)


Continuing on from the investigations into LCR parameters for speaker cables started a few weeks ago, today, let's have a look at a few more cables with the REED Instruments R5001 (remember there are limitations of course but comparisons can still be made across cables). As you can see in the previous article, the cables I measured were zip-cord types compared to my DIY "Colorful Speaker Cable". Today, let's look at commercial speaker cable offerings and check out some numbers for each.

Among the cables in the montage above, notice that I do have a more "exotic" cable, the silver conductor, Slinkylinks Biwire with gold banana plugs (asking price back in the early 2010 for 4m/13' was NZ$1840 = ~US$1100 today). As with last time, let's go through the measurements one by one, ending off with those Slinklinks.

I. NB Speaker Cables - "The Vigilante" (~AUD$160 = ~US$100 for 4m pair currently)

First, let's start with something you can get easily today! Remember I mentioned last time that NB Speaker Cables specifically aims at making "no BS" products? Well, they read the blog post and sent a pair of 4m/13-feet "The Vigilante" cables (AUD$80 per cable) to try out. That's nice of them...

Here they are just out of the package:


The inconspicuous black meshed sleeve evokes a Dark Knight theme. They're made in Australia with twin parallel 11AWG OFC copper conductors, PVC insulation, of moderate flexibility. They have robust gold banana plugs that make excellent contact with speakers and amp. Non-biwirable - not an issue of course (they have the new "Dr. Octopus" if you need this). "NB Speaker Cables" brand labeled on the adhesive shrink wrap on each end of the cable. For the same price and performance, you can get their colorful alternatives like "The Superhero" and "The Villain".

Cable measurements off the meter:


Insertion Loss (10' NB Speaker Cable to 4Ω load) = -0.065dB

As usual, I calculated the insertion loss using the 10kHz resistance result. These are very small numbers as one would expect from good quality 11AWG cables. Most importantly, resistance is very low. Similar to my "Colorful Speaker Cable", notice the resistance jump from 10kHz to 100kHz related to skin effect with the thick 11AWG cables - interesting phenomenon to measure but it's not going to have an effect at audible frequencies.

The "filtering effect" of this cable is nice and low (average of 10kHz and 100kHz inductance and capacitance - 1.26μH, 239pF for 10' length used):


So for a 10' length with 4Ω load, the 20kHz roll-off would be around -0.0065dB or so with -2.2° phase shift. No issue whatsoever; speaker cables should not have a significant "filter" effect of course.

Subjectively these cables sound great. I connected them to my setup between the Hypex NC252MP amp and my Paradigm Signature Reference S8 v.3 speakers. Excellent detail with beautiful microdynamics on Bernard Labadie & Les Violons du Roy's Bach: Goldberg Variations. Sounds great with louder pop/rock/R&B recordings as well - I quite like Alicia Key's recent single Underdog and The Weeknd's "Blinding Lights" off After Hours (2020, DR6 - clearly no need for 24-bit version!).

They measure very well with low resistance, inductance and capacitance. No-nonsense, no snake oil, well made product at a good price that surprisingly shipped quickly from Australia to Canada in the midst of the current pandemic (took about 2 weeks to arrive)! Thanks NB Cables for the opportunity to give these a listen and for measurement comparisons.

II. Raymond Cables (~US$125 for 4.5m pair 12 years ago)


I bought these cables about 12 years ago when I was still in my previous house. These are 15'/4.5m long 10AWG cables, non-biwirable, with very nice angled locking banana plugs. These are also very well made cables IMO. I paid around US$125 for them back in the day.

I don't know if the company is still making these and I can't find a website for the company so perhaps not any more. The sound is excellent. My dad has been using these to connect to his Klipsch Forté I speakers for years.


Insertion Loss (10' Raymond Cable to 4Ω load) = -0.035dB

As expected, with a 10AWG cable, resistance is very low. Down at levels comparable to my "Archimago's Colorful Speaker Cable" from last time with 9AWG combined gauge. Inductance is a little higher than both the Colorful Cable and "The Vigilante" above with lower capacitance. The "filtering effect" of this cable is as expected, essentially nothing (average of 10kHz and 100kHz inductance and capacitance - 1.91μH, 218.5pF for 10'):


Into 4Ω load, the 20kHz roll-off would be  -0.015dB or so with -3.3° phase shift. Absolutely nothing of concern. Well made cables, recommended.

III. Canare 4S11 "Star Quad" DIY Speaker Cables


Years ago, I made my DIY speaker cables with these. As you may recall, these cables are from Japan, they can be had for DIY construction at a good price, usually <$2/ft (so 2 x 15' cables will need 30' = <$60). Internally, there are 4 conductors, each one 14AWG so a pair combined for each polarity would be 11AWG, similar to "The Vigilantes" above. Blue Jeans will make these with welded connectors for <US$75 per 15' cable ($140-150 for a pair).

Note that I made rather short lengths of this cable back in 2014 - each one <5' - so the measurements are definitely hitting the limits of the REED R5001 meter. Nonetheless, here are the results I got:


Insertion Loss (10' Canare 4S11 to 4Ω load) = -0.056dB

Excellent resistance results as one would expect from 11AWG cable, lower inductance than both "The Vigilante" and Raymond Cables with marginally higher capacitance than both as one might expect from the "star quad" twisting. For 10' length, using inductance of 1.01μH, capacitance 294.5pF:


Into 4Ω load, the 20kHz roll-off would be a mere -0.0041dB or so with -1.75° phase shift thanks to that low inductance value.

Remember that the "star quad" configuration can be good to reduce EMI emission from these cables; great to reduce interference if you're running low-voltage wires like interconnects, phono, or microphone lines nearby. The downside to this cable to be honest is that it's not particularly pretty with that satin black (or gray) plastic outer sheath :-|. Certain "Golden Ear" Audiophile friends might not be particularly impressed even though it'll sound as good as any other high quality speaker cable regardless of price.

IV. Slinkylinks Biwired (when new, MSRP 4m length ~US$1100/pr)



Finally, I wanted to measure a pair of biwirable Slinkylinks speaker cables with gold banana plugs. This is the most "exotic" speaker cable I have within easy access among friends (alas, over the years fewer of my friends have hung on to their Synergistic, Cardas, Nordost, or AudioQuest wires...). As you can see in their advertising material, we are reminded that:
     - these are made of silver conductors ("ultra-pure" 99.9999%)
     - silver oxide conducts better than copper oxide
     - air is the best dielectric therefore they are constructed in hollow tubes
     - supposedly good 4mm connectors on each end, compatible with banana plugs
     - made in New Zealand

Each run of cable (+ and -) is separate (eg. not parallel zip cord).


You can see the price list as of 2010 on the link above in New Zealand dollars. This gold-plated banana connector version is less expensive than gold/silver-plated banana and pure silver pin versions. Still not cheap when new with an asking price above US$1000.

Check out this page for some testimonials including from Tone Magazine. And here's a "beautiful" example of a typical audiophile cable review from 6moons dated June 2007. Notice the highly company-inspired content in reviews like this reflective of the advertised claims. They claim that air has the lowest "phase shift". Notice the claim that these cables took "a solid 300 hours to reach their peak", "slow and continuous" improvement apparently peaking at 12.5 days continuously of music playback! Also, there's quite a bit of fear being perpetuated that "capacitance is the ultimate evil" for cables. No, it's not - if it were, Arthur Salvatore would not be recommending Polk Cobras as "Class A" :-). These audiophile testimonial writers and manufacturers cannot even get their claims consistent for something as straight forward as this.

Read the 6moons article for more gory details about how the subjective reviewer felt this was "the most natural" sound he heard. That "a few veils that were obscuring the music" were lifted. That the "micro-detail reproduction, soundstaging also was of the highest quality". While it looks like most of the descriptions were for interconnects, these "observations applied word for word to the speaker cables as well". Sure. And it's good that "these cables are not your stereotypically bright and aggressive silver cables" - what a relief!!!

Whether one accepts the claims above (IMO, not recommended), when it comes to better sound quality, let's note that the silver wire gauge in this cable is very small. Based on the 6moons review, it looks like the speaker cables use 8 strands of 30AWG conductors per cable which means an effective gauge of 21AWG per run between speaker and amplifier (even smaller effective gauge for the non-biwirable cable!). Even though silver is more conductive than copper, remember that it's only about 6% better which means electrical conductance is not as good as pure 20AWG copper even. We should be able to see this in the resistance measurements.

For the record, the owner of these cables has had them for about 10 years so would have logged >300 hours of music playback with them, thus they should be thoroughly "broken in".

The numbers:


Insertion Loss (10' Slinkylinks Biwire to 4Ω load) = -0.44dB

As you can see, the effective gauge from these thin silver conductors leaves much to be desired when it comes to keeping series resistance low! The only wires I've measured with worse per foot resistance are the generic 20AWG Cu/Al freebies. For my test, I ran the individual cables as a pair like I would in close proximity when connected to speakers. As you can see inductance for individual cables like this is high. Parallel capacitance is low but that's the least important factor what it comes to having a sonic effect (again, capacitance isn't an issue for speaker cables unless very high). With inductance higher than the other cables, this means that the roll-off is a wee bit more (for 10' length, average of 10kHz and 100kHz inductance 2.54μH, capacitance 60.5pF):


Into a 4Ω load, at 20kHz, the frequency response would be about -0.026dB, and -4.5° phase shift. Sure, this is higher than the other cables, but I don't think human ears would notice ;-).

Overall, these cables sound "fine" if I don't have anything else to compare them to. The higher resistance and insertion loss is subtly audible if I connect one speaker with the Slinkylinks and the other side with something like the NB Cables "The Vigilante" to my Hypex amplifier; at times one can detect a slight shift of the soundstage towards the side of the NB Cables. This is a result of the difference in resistance. (In retrospect, I should have taken my measurement mic to see if I can quantify this impression; maybe the next time I borrow the Slinkylinks.)

As for subtle details and stuff like "micro-dynamics", I honest cannot tell a difference. Certainly no audible frequency response difference like better bass or more extended treble with the more expensive cable. People talk about silver having special effects compared to copper; typically something like a "brighter" top end. Can't say I've experienced any of that here (or in the past with silver interconnects). Objectively, if anything, the higher inductance of this silver cable would ever-so-slightly reduce the extreme high frequencies in comparison to the other copper cables in this roundup.

V. Conclusions

Seriously folks, as you can see, there's not much difference to find when measuring speaker cables unless we're looking at something with exotic construction (like the Slinkylinks). I honestly cannot be excited by hype about special geometries, materials like silver vs. copper, audible differences with dielectrics, etc. (remember the comment about this in Vincent Verdult's book I mentioned last week). Ultimately, as a "component", speaker cable performance is governed by the basic LCR electrical values connecting amplifier and speaker - electrons don't care if you spent $10 or $10,000. As usual, the ideal is to have "no speaker cable", so aim for lowest resistance, inductance, and capacitance in that order as discussed a few weeks back. Each parameter is already typically very low with reasonable cables. If you're starting out and want to get some cheap cables of normal length (like <25 feet), go for some inexpensive 12AWG OFC zip-cord like the KnuKonceptz Kord measured last time or some AmazonBasics 12AWG OFC probably would be great (I only measured the 14AWG version which was fine).

If you want to spend a few more dollars for higher quality and professionally made cables, by all means grab the very reasonably-priced cables I measured in this post like the NB Cables "The Vigilantes", Raymond Cables if you can find them, or make some Canare 4S11 cables with good connectors (or get the Blue Jeans 4S11 pre-made). Make some Archimago's Colorful Cables if you want :-). These all sound as good as anything out there, can look beautiful, and IMO there's no way you can improve on the sound unless you purposely want speaker cables with LCR values high enough to affect insertion loss, alter frequency response or ultra-high capacitance to risk high frequency oscillation!

The only situations I can think of where there might be a need for special types of speaker cables are if you need shielded wires in noisy environments to reduce picking up interference (check out some coaxial Mogami 3082's, 14AWG, like these), or if you need SpeakOn connector cables used primarily in the pro audio world.

As for more expensive wires like the Slinkylinks, here's an example of why IMO there's really no point. Seriously folks, I certainly do not hear a difference in my testing other than the measurable increased signal loss, and there's no science to tell us that the claimed benefits would result in better sound whatsoever. If anything, this cable performed significantly poorer than one would expect from inexpensive 16AWG copper cords. As usual, be cautious around the hype. I would classify "high end" speaker cables as a type of  "Class C" Snake Oil, a form of audio jewelry that some audiophiles feel will make their system "special" with no objective reason to believe that ultimately the sound waves have been affected in any beneficial way by the presence of these cables compared to inexpensive generic products.

Needless to say, I think if magazines are going to review speaker cables and publish something of value, please include measurements. Knowledge about the LCR values would be especially important with more expensive and exotic cables with claimed benefits like silver conductors and fancy dielectrics - remember, "the best cable is no cable" - let's see how great expensive cables can be in approaching that concept!

As you can see, despite all the claims about 99.9999% silver, air dielectric, and positive subjective spin, the Slinkylinks were actually nothing special objectively nor subjectively. Unsurprisingly, such is often the nature of the "high end" where performance can actually be poor but subjective reviewers will actually not be able to hear it. Considering how little it must take to construct cables like the Slinkylinks, asking for US$1000 is a huge markup! No wonder snake oil companies love making audiophile cables (including USB and ethernet digital cables of course, then having so-called journalists ruminate about nonsense).

I know "high-end" audio magazines won't be publishing measurements for cables any time soon because it's more "fun" to spend paragraphs upon paragraphs waxing poetic about hearing this and that subjective Golden Ear phenomenon which may or may not be true / meaningful / honest. Purchases of "high-end" cables as high margin items recycle through as advertising revenue to help keep the magazines afloat; part of the "grease" that keeps this niche running. Also, notice that cable manufacturers probably contribute quite a bit to audiophile shows by sponsoring the various rooms so even reputable technology-based audio companies won't talk bad about them.

One of George Santayana's aphorisms: "Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer." seems appropriate when we're assessing audiophile products in general - but especially high-priced cables.

--------------------

Another reminder! Get your listening results in for the "Is high Harmonic Distortion in music audible?" blind test. I already have >40 results from around the world. I'd love to get this up to at least 50 samples by the time I close the survey at the end of April. I know, blind testing isn't easy but that makes it even more important in a world where truth often seems to be conflated with strongly expressed opinions. Still a few weeks to send me your results, everyone.

Enjoying All Time Low's upbeat pop/punk album Wake Up, Sunshine (2020, DR5 - seriously, forget "hi-res" here!) as I finish off this blog post... Turn up the volume! :-)

Stay safe and I hope you're all enjoying the music. Happy Easter 2020...

23 comments:

  1. Perhaps you installed the Slinkylinks in your system backwards. Everyone knows electrons flow better when the conductor is directionally correct.

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  2. You have to have your electrons flowing in the right direction. If the cables are reversed, it's like someone trying to go down an up escalator in a Tokyo train station during rush hour.

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    1. Greetings Joe,
      Must be the problem :-) indeed. Alas, I'm going to have to blame the company because they did not clearly label the cables to show me the correct direction of electron flow!!!

      Delete
  3. The upside of the Covid crisis and the pending economic depression is that it might get rid of these overpriced accessories. I continue to marvel at the price of high end cables vs electronics. I can see the sense in electronics prices as there is real stuff and engineering going on inside whereas the cable is a very non labour intensive item. The fact that so many elite cables are priced as high if not higher than stuff that requires an exponentially higher amount of parts and labour boggles my mind.

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    1. Will be interesting to see Frank...

      On the flip side, we can also look at the model of the 1918-1919 pandemic which came after WWI. What we got after that for the next 10 years was the "roaring 20's" however with even more flagrant conspicuous consumption! I wouldn't bet on that model however, just sayin'!

      I am wondering what is happening to the high-end industry in the face of what's happening though. Given that so much of the magazines and online places are funded by advertising dollars, things must be rather difficult already if not in the next month or so...

      I know that even good, reputable companies are having difficulties with getting their supply chain in order.

      Delete
  4. Hi Archimago,

    I’m not so versed in electricity so I’d like some further explanations. Your graph shows that the RLC values could have a filtering effect (inaudible) increasingly for high frequencies. I’m trying to understand the following regarding rather the bass frequencies:

    Years ago, in the seventies as a beginner audiophile I used basic lamp cord (18 AWG I guess) as most naive people did at the time. Even with good but inexpensive Dynaco A25 (8 ohms nominally) along with my self-built Heatkit AR-1500 I found I had ample bass.

    Fast-forward to the nineties and I’m buying better speakers, B&W CM2 a 3-way system that has more of a nominal 4 ohm impedance. Along with that, the dealer suggests two 6’ length of inexpensive but thick Pro-Audio 10 AWG (that I still have along with the B&W but now with a Bryston amp).

    Out of curiosity I tried using the basic lamp cord with one speaker only and playing a CD with a lot of low bass (Holt’s Planets with the OSM and Charles Dutoit) and I was amazed how much bass output was reduced in the speaker with the cheap wires!

    What does it mean? Is it only that the higher resistance of the cheap lamp cord reduces the current from the amp? Some interaction with the damping factor at low impedance? Bad interaction between this specific amp and these speakers? Or something more basic…

    Here is a front and back image I found of those speakers with two small but high-excursion vented woofers in the back (they still sound great and now I also have a 15’ Velodyne sub so those small woofers don’t work very much…):

    https://www.google.ca/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.canuckaudiomart.com%2Fdetails%2F648976115-bw_concept_90_cm1cm2%2Fimages%2F396390%2F&psig=AOvVaw1Sxw8Sbk7A0x6SC1biN_qM&ust=1586785673628000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCOC7lrmD4-gCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAQ

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    1. Hi there Gilles,
      Yeah, for the bass, it's really all about the current that the amplifier is able to provide for those speakers through that length of wire... At 85dB/2.8V/m, they're certainly not very sensitive speakers and will need a bit of power, plus rated as "not less than 4Ω", I'm assuming that the impedance curve must dip down to that range, typically in the bass frequencies. I looked around and on this page:
      https://www.soundandvision.com/content/bw-cm-series-surround-speaker-system-specifications

      Suggested that those CM2's actually dip down to 3.5Ω. Not sure if the same box. Regardless, it'll be good to have a look at both the speaker impedance curve, plus the amplifier's output impedance / damping curve and from those parameters along with the wire's characteristics (resistance differences between the cheap 18AWG vs. 10AWG or better) we can get a sense of whether and how much the bass frequencies might be impaired!

      Certainly some work involved in measuring these things but could be very much worthwhile to understand the effects we hear. Alas, these days manufacturers don't publish much of this and without most magazines bothering to measure and publish as well, it's hard to mix-and-match as hobbyists.

      Delete
  5. Made a mistake in the previous post: the cable name is Pro-Flex Audio 10 AWG

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  6. 'Believers' will tell you you need to measure cables 'in situ'. The magic is in the interaction with the other components. All kinds of radiation and ground effects going on. Even ethernet cables will get viels lifted ;-)

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    1. Ah yes, the veils were lifted. It always amazes me that these reviewers usually have over $10,000 worth of equipment in fancy 32bit/384kHz DACs, mono-block amplifiers, crazy expensive streamers/preamps and a turntable with a $6,000 cartridge, and somehow their is a "veil" in front of their music until they installed some wire between their equipment and their speakers. I think maybe they misspent their money on the equipment. Veiled?

      Delete
    2. Ha ha, good point ! Reminds me soap advertising : the new "improved" formula is much better than the previous one ...!! So, now with these cables, your high end system will now be much "cleaner" !

      Well, when the selling price of a "piece of wire" is higher than the one of an amplifier and there is a market for that, to me, something got really wrong...

      Question: could a software such as DiffMaker could compare the whole audio spectrum and be able to detect differences (if there is) between two cables ?

      Delete
    3. Alas, I think the "believers" are immune to logic :-).

      I agree, spending thousands on pieces of wire when you can easily get high quality oxygen-free copper of 99.9+% purity for really not much money makes no sense and is an example of terrible misallocation of resources. No piece of wiring is worth more than a major component in the audio system.

      An industry that cannot see this, magazines that cannot acknowledge the issue, is IMO "robbing" from the reputable companies. If one wanted to spend thousands of dollars on audio equipment, the money should at least be going to folks who are actually spending time on real R&D rather than finding fancy new ways to repackage wires, funding elaborate advertising, and claiming that they're "special".

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    4. Oh yes DColby,
      One can certainly capture the signal like what I do with my amplifier measurements off say the speaker end of the cable and use DiffMaker or DeltaWave to compare actual music being played through the system...

      Time permitting, that could be a fun thing to try I suppose as a way to "tap" into the system. Of course, people could still say that this is not necessarily representative of what you hear coming from the speakers even though at least we can capture the output from the source to preamp to amplifier to speaker cables.

      Delete
  7. What do you think of the Monoprice Monolith speaker cables with solid core. I've always liked monoprice for their no non-sense cables, but they kinda go down that "fancy words" audiophile thing with these cables. Thoughts?

    https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=33839

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    1. Hi Ishm,
      25' for 12AWG OFC at $35 looks good and the price certainly isn't bad! At least they didn't go down the path of the Blue Jeans Iconoclast cables:
      https://www.bluejeanscable.com/articles/iconoclastintro.htm

      I'm sure they're very well made and satisfies all kinds of fantastic objective parameters. But clearly "over-engineered" for audio purposes and the price of $1,600 per pair of speaker cables with spades is IMO simply unnecessary!

      Delete
  8. I don't really remember if I have mentioned it before, but even in my advanced age of 67, I am stll able to hear differences in some speaker cables, although not always.

    When I purchased my current speakers, I used the old cables (Chord Shawline, 327 USD for 2x2,5 meters)

    When the speakers were burnt in, I decided they were so good, that they deserved better cables, and I went for Chord Epic XL, a much pricier choice at almost 1700 USD for 2x3 meters.

    Both are silver plated copper as far as I know, and both are very well shielded, the more expensive cable of course having more advanced materials. I am not aware of any differences in measurements between the two cables. There may be none as far as that goes.

    Now, many would say that I have wasted my money, that there could be absolutely no advantages from one cable to the other, and that whatever improvements I am experiencing, is purely in my imagination, that I am a victim of the snake oil business.

    But it is a fact, that after the new cables had been burnt in, they were more smooth sounding, with more "body" to voices and instruments, and less sibilants in voices. I have to admit, that I did expect more improvement than I got, but I am satisfied with my purchase after all.

    Do you, Arch, have any experience with Chord's cables?

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    1. Hi Duck,
      Interesting and thanks for the note. No, I don't have any experience with the Chord cables but recently was a little surprised by their ChordOhmic Transmission Fluid announcement/claims:
      https://www.whathifi.com/us/news/chord-companys-chordohmic-fluid-promises-improved-cable-signal-transfer

      From what I can see, the Shawline is a silver plated copper of 16AWG gauge:
      https://theaudiophileman.com/shawline/

      And the Epic XL is a more substantial 12AWG cable:
      https://www.thecableco.com/epic-xl-speaker-cable-pair.html

      Of course differential braiding and dielectrics could change the inductance between the cables.

      Wondering, maybe what you can try is get an inexpensive 12AWG OFC zip cord of similar length to the Epic XL, terminate the zip cord with decent banana plugs and try using the Epic XL on one speaker and the zip cord with the other... Try this "blinded" even - have wife/kid/friend hook it up and hide cable from sight if possible so you don't know which speaker was the more expensive cable.

      If you did the above, would you be able to hear a difference in the sound from the speakers? Try a mono album - is there a difference with the sound shifted one side or the other? Any audible change in timbre of instruments? Differences in bass/treble quality?

      IMO, if cables make a huge difference and various levels of "veils" can be removed, we should hear significant changes. Over the years I have tried this and for the most part, wires of different sorts within reasonable construction and electrical properties perform the same to me...

      Delete
  9. You said "But it is a fact, that after the new cables had been burnt in, they were more smooth sounding, with more "body" to voices and instruments, and less sibilants in voices."

    That is not a "fact" by any definition of that term; it is yet another example of a purely subjective impression. I have no opinion regarding whether you wasted your money - if you feel it was worth it, then you are correct by definition. You can spend anything you like on whatever you like. But there is no information in your subjective claims that is in any way useful to me.

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  10. All of this blather about the supposed importance of (generally hugely expensive) cables are part of the reason audiophiles as a group are laughingstocks to outsiders. Obviously anyone works in a "zero-tolerance", human life-dependant business like medical technology would spend anything on wires if they measurably improved the performance of fNMR machines, those that generate EKGs or EEGs, etc. Does the self-trained "golden ear" audio magazine columnist know something they don't? Of course not.

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    1. Hey Tomsyl,
      Your comment reminded me of Shunyata's advertising talking about their power products and use in medical applications :-).

      https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/shunyata-power-products-tested-in-medical-applications/

      Yeah, overall I agree. All the claims, articles, forum comments about this and that audio cable, for the most part with ZERO objective evaluation of performance of these things, yet priced in the thousands of dollars amounts to some kind of "mental masturbation". Considering that many will actually describe photos of expensive audio products as "audio porn", I'm guessing this idea isn't lost on many audiophiles.

      For sure, if these cables represent innovative breakthroughs that provided special rejection of interference, perform like superconductors at room temperature, etc... they should really market the products for use in EEG / EKG / neuroimaging / supercomputing / quantum computing applications! I'm sure they'll make more money than within this niche audiophile market.

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    2. I admit, I got my degree in electronics a long while ago, I may be a little bit off in digital since it has changed a lot since then, but not for analog. I still can't figure out how a wire can act as a such elaborate filter so it can changes the harmonic structure of voices or instruments so they get more "body", or be able to remove sibilance while not degrading cymbals which are in the same spectrum park...That's why I would be curious to see a DiffMaker analysis of the same piece of music via two different cables. My guess is this possibly more "musical" test would confirm what the electrical measurement says: no audio signal difference...

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    3. Hello Archimago. Yes I've seen many of those Shunyata ads and I think their very carefully constructed, lavishly photographed two page ad spreads are actually more damaging than those ads that simply use a Photoshopped chambered nautilus/"golden mean" sand drawing, or those that simply say "the more you pay,the better they sound." In large part that is because of their air of "real" scientific information, which is intended to lend an air of seemingly objective information to entirely subjective claims.
      Manufacturers charge in the mid-six figures for an NMR machine complete with liquid helium cooled superconductors, magnets so powerful that they can make pacemakers malfunction, etc., all without using a single Shunyata cable, noise traps containing powdered unobtanium, cable risers,kilobuck power cords, 72 volt "insulation-polarizing" batteries or similar nonsense. Again, do the high-priced audio cable companies know something that GE and Philips don't?

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete