Best audio cables 2022: best budget to premium interconnects

MetAlbertR

Well-known member
Nov 15, 2019
3
3
525
Some of the reasons to buy are hilarious:

"Helps tie instruments together", "Helps with detail and timing" and "Spacious, clean soundstage".

I notice you seem to no longer review digital cables. Why is that?
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
842
533
19,770
Before purchase always do a blind AB test between basic cable and any exotic cable, as I have yet to come across any of these special cables that make any difference to the sound. (A good quality cable should neither add or take anything away, so be wary of anybody that says their cable alters the sound)
If you are really worried, get your cable from a Pro Music Store, (They will be a fraction of the price of these so called super cables) as then you will have the same quality as used in professional film & music production studios, whose equipment makes even Hi-End Hi-Fi sound mundane.

Bill
 
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iMark

Well-known member
May 16, 2008
454
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They still write the same audio waffle.

MetAlbertR's remark about digital cables is interesting. Have they finally worked out that there is no difference in digital cables?
 
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F8lee

Well-known member
Dec 20, 2019
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I get the sense that "exotic cables" are analogous to "UV filters to protect your front lens element" that camera stores often try to sell to unsuspecting customers.

Basically, it's about the profit margins. Having worked in the photo retail industry years ago, I know that in order to keep competitive with the mail-order houses the profit we would make on a high end camera might amount to being $40. However, if we sold the customer on the idea that "you need a UV filter to protect that precious front element!" we would garner $20 profit out of the $40 sale of the filter.

THe cable thing seems much the same - perhaps retailers cannot get much margin on the big gear that is always comparison shopped by potential customers; but once they decide they like that amp or speaker setup then pushing the "special" cables for "better sound" sounds like much the same strategy.
 

DELBOY14

Well-known member
May 6, 2017
49
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10,545
I see the doubters are on here with there " all cable's are the same". I think if you have a fairly good system you will be able to tell the difference, I did that by going to the HIFI show a couple of years back and Chord had a demonstration room set up where they would play a track with there cheapest RCA cables (C-LINE) then they swapped them out the Clearway, a clear step up in detail retrieval, then in went Shawline RCAs and again a clear step up in depth with a warmer tone, after that I had trouble hearing the difference or at least enough of a difference for the amount of money that these more expensive cable's cost.

For me It was proof enough that spending £90 on RCA cables on a connection between a £600 CD and £500 AMP would pay dividend's and it proved so, I already had £40 C-LINE RCAs and when replacing with the £90 Clearway RCA cables I was very pleased with the gain in detail and midrange clarity, there where instruments not detected before that where now present.
I have now upgraded the AMP to a MF M3i and run a M-DAC+ and have tried a couple of cables Digital Chord Clearway and Tellurium blue Q digital and the Tellurium is better although cost a fair bit more.

Of course if you have mismatched amps, decks, CD players, Dacs, or there poor quality HiFi then your not going to here the difference are you.
For all those doubters out there stop bleating about a multi million pound industry being a load of old cobblers, if it was then by now those that spend vast amounts of money would have just fitted bell wire because if they don't here an improvement then they would look else where, that's because they can afford to.

Anyone out there in doubt go to a good dealers, ask for a demo of a £1000 amp, £1000 CD player and dealer chosen speakers to match that are all run in, tell them to put say Chord C-LINE RCA cables between amp and CD, then listen to a good CD that is not load head banging rock and roll but say Fleetwood Mac, Tusk, Brown Eyes. listen a few times and listen to that fabulous guitar work, then ask for the cables to be changed to Clearway RC's, you will hear a resounding difference in the detail and space around the instruments.

Simple really a child could tell you the difference.
 

MetAlbertR

Well-known member
Nov 15, 2019
3
3
525
I see the doubters are on here with there " all cable's are the same". I think if you have a fairly good system you will be able to tell the difference, I did that by going to the HIFI show a couple of years back and Chord had a demonstration room set up where they would play a track with there cheapest RCA cables (C-LINE) then they swapped them out the Clearway, a clear step up in detail retrieval, then in went Shawline RCAs and again a clear step up in depth with a warmer tone, after that I had trouble hearing the difference or at least enough of a difference for the amount of money that these more expensive cable's cost.

For me It was proof enough that spending £90 on RCA cables on a connection between a £600 CD and £500 AMP would pay dividend's and it proved so, I already had £40 C-LINE RCAs and when replacing with the £90 Clearway RCA cables I was very pleased with the gain in detail and midrange clarity, there where instruments not detected before that where now present.
I have now upgraded the AMP to a MF M3i and run a M-DAC+ and have tried a couple of cables Digital Chord Clearway and Tellurium blue Q digital and the Tellurium is better although cost a fair bit more.

Of course if you have mismatched amps, decks, CD players, Dacs, or there poor quality HiFi then your not going to here the difference are you.
For all those doubters out there stop bleating about a multi million pound industry being a load of old cobblers, if it was then by now those that spend vast amounts of money would have just fitted bell wire because if they don't here an improvement then they would look else where, that's because they can afford to.

Anyone out there in doubt go to a good dealers, ask for a demo of a £1000 amp, £1000 CD player and dealer chosen speakers to match that are all run in, tell them to put say Chord C-LINE RCA cables between amp and CD, then listen to a good CD that is not load head banging rock and roll but say Fleetwood Mac, Tusk, Brown Eyes. listen a few times and listen to that fabulous guitar work, then ask for the cables to be changed to Clearway RC's, you will hear a resounding difference in the detail and space around the instruments.

Simple really a child could tell you the difference.
A child will also believe anything you tell them.
 
D

Deleted member 108165

Guest
I see the doubters are on here with there " all cable's are the same". I think if you have a fairly good system you will be able to tell the difference, I did that by going to the HIFI show a couple of years back and Chord had a demonstration room set up where they would play a track with there cheapest RCA cables (C-LINE) then they swapped them out the Clearway, a clear step up in detail retrieval, then in went Shawline RCAs and again a clear step up in depth with a warmer tone, after that I had trouble hearing the difference or at least enough of a difference for the amount of money that these more expensive cable's cost.

For me It was proof enough that spending £90 on RCA cables on a connection between a £600 CD and £500 AMP would pay dividend's and it proved so, I already had £40 C-LINE RCAs and when replacing with the £90 Clearway RCA cables I was very pleased with the gain in detail and midrange clarity, there where instruments not detected before that where now present.
I have now upgraded the AMP to a MF M3i and run a M-DAC+ and have tried a couple of cables Digital Chord Clearway and Tellurium blue Q digital and the Tellurium is better although cost a fair bit more.

Of course if you have mismatched amps, decks, CD players, Dacs, or there poor quality HiFi then your not going to here the difference are you.
For all those doubters out there stop bleating about a multi million pound industry being a load of old cobblers, if it was then by now those that spend vast amounts of money would have just fitted bell wire because if they don't here an improvement then they would look else where, that's because they can afford to.

Anyone out there in doubt go to a good dealers, ask for a demo of a £1000 amp, £1000 CD player and dealer chosen speakers to match that are all run in, tell them to put say Chord C-LINE RCA cables between amp and CD, then listen to a good CD that is not load head banging rock and roll but say Fleetwood Mac, Tusk, Brown Eyes. listen a few times and listen to that fabulous guitar work, then ask for the cables to be changed to Clearway RC's, you will hear a resounding difference in the detail and space around the instruments.

Simple really a child could tell you the difference.
As per my signature - £4K amp, £4K CD player, Van Damme Blue vs QED... no difference heard. I have my opinion and you have yours, I'm not a child so I'll leave it there. I would rather spend my money on more music.
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
842
533
19,770
I see the doubters are on here with there " all cable's are the same". I think if you have a fairly good system you will be able to tell the difference, I did that by going to the HIFI show a couple of years back and Chord had a demonstration room set up where they would play a track with there cheapest RCA cables (C-LINE) then they swapped them out the Clearway, a clear step up in detail retrieval, then in went Shawline RCAs and again a clear step up in depth with a warmer tone, after that I had trouble hearing the difference or at least enough of a difference for the amount of money that these more expensive cable's cost.

For me It was proof enough that spending £90 on RCA cables on a connection between a £600 CD and £500 AMP would pay dividend's and it proved so, I already had £40 C-LINE RCAs and when replacing with the £90 Clearway RCA cables I was very pleased with the gain in detail and midrange clarity, there where instruments not detected before that where now present.
I have now upgraded the AMP to a MF M3i and run a M-DAC+ and have tried a couple of cables Digital Chord Clearway and Tellurium blue Q digital and the Tellurium is better although cost a fair bit more.

Of course if you have mismatched amps, decks, CD players, Dacs, or there poor quality HiFi then your not going to here the difference are you.
For all those doubters out there stop bleating about a multi million pound industry being a load of old cobblers, if it was then by now those that spend vast amounts of money would have just fitted bell wire because if they don't here an improvement then they would look else where, that's because they can afford to.

Anyone out there in doubt go to a good dealers, ask for a demo of a £1000 amp, £1000 CD player and dealer chosen speakers to match that are all run in, tell them to put say Chord C-LINE RCA cables between amp and CD, then listen to a good CD that is not load head banging rock and roll but say Fleetwood Mac, Tusk, Brown Eyes. listen a few times and listen to that fabulous guitar work, then ask for the cables to be changed to Clearway RC's, you will hear a resounding difference in the detail and space around the instruments.

Simple really a child could tell you the difference.
Did you do a double blind test on the cables with everything level matched so as to rule out inconsistences and placebo effect, if not then your claims are just opinions and not facts, so your assertion that a child could hear a difference is totally nonsensical.

I realise this post will not change your mind or belief (Just like a flat earthier will always ignore the truth and keep posting easily debunked claims) but hopefully it will help others to not fall into the same trap and have an open mind so that they realise that just because you believe you hear a difference doesn’t mean there actually is a difference. (Hence the level matched double blind test)

In the final analysis always try before you buy and if you are happy with something (Whether it actually makes a difference of not) and you can afford it, then go for it, as happiness cannot be measured.

Bill
 

DELBOY14

Well-known member
May 6, 2017
49
14
10,545
Did you do a double blind test on the cables with everything level matched so as to rule out inconsistences and placebo effect, if not then your claims are just opinions and not facts, so your assertion that a child could hear a difference is totally nonsensical.

I realise this post will not change your mind or belief (Just like a flat earthier will always ignore the truth and keep posting easily debunked claims) but hopefully it will help others to not fall into the same trap and have an open mind so that they realise that just because you believe you hear a difference doesn’t mean there actually is a difference. (Hence the level matched double blind test)

In the final analysis always try before you buy and if you are happy with something (Whether it actually makes a difference of not) and you can afford it, then go for it, as happiness cannot be measured.

Bill
Actually I took 4 tables and smoked a tree so as to make sure I was self opinionated and knew everything and would be guided by some myth blind testing an inconsistent placebo effect, but thanks all the same I know what happiness is, as do all those millions that have walked the cable path. cheers mate. 🙏
 

MetAlbertR

Well-known member
Nov 15, 2019
3
3
525
Actually I took 4 tables and smoked a tree so as to make sure I was self opinionated and knew everything and would be guided by some myth blind testing an inconsistent placebo effect, but thanks all the same I know what happiness is, as do all those millions that have walked the cable path. cheers mate. 🙏
That’s a no, then.

“myth blind testing”, deary me.
 
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Prospero

Member
Mar 30, 2021
2
0
20
When I bought my Linn Majek and pair of Exposure S2 amplifiers to go with it, the HiFi man came up with quite expensive cables from AudioQuest. I was absolutely convinced he lost his mind or smoked something illegal! Cables are just a means to transport a bit of electricity or light from one point to another, are they not? I'm working in a technical area so the concept that there is a noticable sound difference between a very expensive cable and a good one at a reasonable price tag is obscure to me. Better: I think it is impossible.

So I got the HiFi man to agree me borrowing a few of his cables to test them at home. I set my wife in front of the KEF Reference speakers to test two different cables: a normal one which I got from the MediaMarkt and the in my view absurd priced AudioQuest. I played 50 tracks in different music styles for her randomly switching cables and took notes of her comments. To my suprise she significantly (more then 90% score!) picked out the more expensive cable with comments like 'a little more clarity in the sound', 'a bit more dynamic'. I couldn't believe what was happening. This was absolutely impossible! Still she picked them out and I bought the expensive connection. With her credit card offcourse :)

When I told about this experience to some experts in electro technical solutions we thought a difference in isolation materials could prevent something to enter the cable from the outside as we couldn't think up something else that could influence the difference in sound experience between the cables.

Bottomline to this story: don't just buy a cable thinking it is the best for you and pay a lot of money. Get some cables and test them in a blind test situation on your equipment at home. If you experience no real sound difference, buy the cheaper one. It is suitable for your audio equipment, ears and environment. If you can hear a difference and think it is significantly making the sound experience better, and you have a lot of money to spend: buy the expensive one. In the end it is all about what you hear and enjoying music at a reasonably price tag that suits your banking account.
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
842
533
19,770
Did you level match and make sure your wife could not see what cable you were using, as even the slightest increase in volume (A lower resistance cable will allow more power to the speakers giving a higher volume) will manifest as giving a more open clearer sound. (Just like increasing the volume improves the sound as you get to more realistic levels)

BTW: Increasing the volume even slightly will give you a more open clearer sound (And is way cheaper than buying expensive rubbish cable marketed as something special when it is not) due to the way the ear works.

Bill
 

Prospero

Member
Mar 30, 2021
2
0
20
She couldn't see what I was doing and I just switched one cable at a time randomly choosing between the two cables playing every song twice, I didn't change volume or other settings. Might be that there is interference around the cables and that the more expensive one was better equipt to deal with that interference? Don't know.
 

Alispeak

Member
Mar 30, 2021
1
0
20
Here's the thing I've noticed about cables: For me, they actually do sound different. Sometimes the difference is subtle and sometimes it's obvious. HOWEVER...I think it has very little to do with price. In fact, I first realized this many years ago when I tried to upgrade my speaker cable from basic Monster cables to a garden hose-sized cable that cost about 10 times as much and the sound was far worse than those basic Monsters. (I mean, the expensive ones made my Maggies sound muddy.) Since then I have tried many, many different cables, all recommended by "credible" magazines or sites. Most of them sound about the same. But some deliver a bit more bass heft or treble sheen, some do sound more lively with no change in volume. But I think this is all "system-dependent" as opposed to any correlation to the cost of the cables. So I'm with those who have advised us to try out as many cables as we can and keep the ones that sound best to your ears. (BTW, I'm aware that mostly this thread has been about interconnects, where I think the differences are less obvious, but still there. And, still not a function of cost once you get above the poorly made giveaway stuff.)
 

Julian Stevens

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2014
12
7
18,525
Yes, different cables, including digital ones, do sound different and, in my experience, their effects are more system than price dependent. With cables, the law of (savagely) diminishing returns applies so , before buying, it's wise always check anything new against a good low cost benchmark such as Van Damme. I have, for example, about a dozen digital i/c's and, of all of them, I always seem to come back to the true 110 ohm XLR Van Damme one, which doesn't cost much at all.
 

Dom Tych

Well-known member
Dec 16, 2003
1
1
18,525
I see the doubters are on here with there " all cable's are the same". I think if you have a fairly good system you will be able to tell the difference, I did that by going to the HIFI show a couple of years back and Chord had a demonstration room set up where they would play a track with there cheapest RCA cables (C-LINE) then they swapped them out the Clearway, a clear step up in detail retrieval, then in went Shawline RCAs and again a clear step up in depth with a warmer tone, after that I had trouble hearing the difference or at least enough of a difference for the amount of money that these more expensive cable's cost.

For me It was proof enough that spending £90 on RCA cables on a connection between a £600 CD and £500 AMP would pay dividend's and it proved so, I already had £40 C-LINE RCAs and when replacing with the £90 Clearway RCA cables I was very pleased with the gain in detail and midrange clarity, there where instruments not detected before that where now present.
I have now upgraded the AMP to a MF M3i and run a M-DAC+ and have tried a couple of cables Digital Chord Clearway and Tellurium blue Q digital and the Tellurium is better although cost a fair bit more.

Of course if you have mismatched amps, decks, CD players, Dacs, or there poor quality HiFi then your not going to here the difference are you.
For all those doubters out there stop bleating about a multi million pound industry being a load of old cobblers, if it was then by now those that spend vast amounts of money would have just fitted bell wire because if they don't here an improvement then they would look else where, that's because they can afford to.

Anyone out there in doubt go to a good dealers, ask for a demo of a £1000 amp, £1000 CD player and dealer chosen speakers to match that are all run in, tell them to put say Chord C-LINE RCA cables between amp and CD, then listen to a good CD that is not load head banging rock and roll but say Fleetwood Mac, Tusk, Brown Eyes. listen a few times and listen to that fabulous guitar work, then ask for the cables to be changed to Clearway RC's, you will hear a resounding difference in the detail and space around the instruments.

Simple really a child could tell you the difference.


Oh Del Boy,

Just read this thread.

I once believed the hype about cables. Even bought a few (fortunately not too expensive). Not any more.

It's an industry built on faux science, jargonny (PROFANITY EDITED BY MODERATION) and salesmanship. Just like the multivitamin, superfood and fad diet industries, the reality (measured using scientific methodology) doesn't back the hype at all.

What would it take for you to open you open your mind to the science of testing?

As an aside, I've spent a lot of time in audio studios in my career - working with audio engineers. Always had an interest in the tech used. The only ones that use expensive cables are the ones that are paid a lot of money by cable manufacturers to say they use them. The rest use basic cables.
 
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