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Best speaker cables 2020: budget and premium audio cables

Mike Hunt

Well-known member
Jan 22, 2020
154
83
170
And you can provide independent verifiable proof of this?

Bill
Of course they can't. None of these cables work any better than a length of twin and earth cable you'd find in a skip. They might look nicer but they perform no better, and when you see that suppliers are offering a burn-in service, you just know that they're selling snake oil.
 

alantb

Active member
Feb 12, 2020
5
4
25
And you can provide independent verifiable proof of this?

Bill
Hi Bill
Having just spent a week reviewing three cables at home (Chord Epic X, Chord XL and Tellurium Q silver 2) I can say a firm 'yes'. There were substantial differences in the sound, and the enjoyment of the music they offered. I even involved two intelligent sceptics - my wife and an old friend; they were both surprised that they had a definite preference for one (luckily the same I liked!) and used words to describe their reasons that were similar to each other's and to mine.
Give it another go, maybe?
 

Mike Hunt

Well-known member
Jan 22, 2020
154
83
170
Hi Bill
Having just spent a week reviewing three cables at home (Chord Epic X, Chord XL and Tellurium Q silver 2) I can say a firm 'yes'. There were substantial differences in the sound, and the enjoyment of the music they offered. I even involved two intelligent sceptics - my wife and an old friend; they were both surprised that they had a definite preference for one (luckily the same I liked!) and used words to describe their reasons that were similar to each other's and to mine.
Give it another go, maybe?
Utter nonsense! If someone could hear a difference then there was something drastically wrong with some of the cables. Send them back for a refund!
Speaker cables sound different... LOL!
 

alantb

Active member
Feb 12, 2020
5
4
25
Utter nonsense! If someone could hear a difference then there was something drastically wrong with some of the cables. Send them back for a refund!
Speaker cables sound different... LOL!
But the perceived differences were in the degree of rightness, not wrongness.
 

Ian Betts

Member
Feb 23, 2020
5
1
20
But the perceived differences were in the degree of rightness, not wrongness.
Utter nonsense! If someone could hear a difference then there was something drastically wrong with some of the cables. Send them back for a refund!
Speaker cables sound different... LOL!
Mike Hunt..... If you say your name quickly enough, says it all really! 🤣🤣
Perhaps you are confusing the conductance and resistance of an electrical cable when used for DC current or that of a 50Hz mains cable with the inductance and impedance of a cable when used to conduct an AC current with frequencies from 20Hz to 20kHz. The impedance of a cable can be quite different at different frequencies and this can clearly affect the voltage/current which arrives at the speaker terminals. It's not rocket science!
 

Mike Hunt

Well-known member
Jan 22, 2020
154
83
170
Mike Hunt..... If you say your name quickly enough, says it all really! 🤣🤣
Perhaps you are confusing the conductance and resistance of an electrical cable when used for DC current or that of a 50Hz mains cable with the inductance and impedance of a cable when used to conduct an AC current with frequencies from 20Hz to 20kHz. The impedance of a cable can be quite different at different frequencies and this can clearly affect the voltage/current which arrives at the speaker terminals. It's not rocket science!
There are only one group of confused people here, and it's the audiophools.
I posted a reply earlier, with a link to all the information necessary to disprove this cable nonsense, but you either can't understand it or chose to ignore it, but if you do understand it, please feel free to offer a rebuttal, explaining why and where the information is incorrect.
 

Ian Betts

Member
Feb 23, 2020
5
1
20
There are only one group of confused people here, and it's the audiophools.
I posted a reply earlier, with a link to all the information necessary to disprove this cable nonsense, but you either can't understand it or chose to ignore it, but if you do understand it, please feel free to offer a rebuttal, explaining why and where the information is incorrect.
Hello Mike. I would be more than happy to read your supporting information but I cannot find the link in your previous post that you refer to. I see a link to a publication on Sound Engineering. Is that what you referred to? If not, could you be so kind as to repost your link?
Thank you.
 

Riri

Member
Feb 16, 2020
7
0
20
Hi Bill
Having just spent a week reviewing three cables at home (Chord Epic X, Chord XL and Tellurium Q silver 2) I can say a firm 'yes'. There were substantial differences in the sound, and the enjoyment of the music they offered. I even involved two intelligent sceptics - my wife and an old friend; they were both surprised that they had a definite preference for one (luckily the same I liked!) and used words to describe their reasons that were similar to each other's and to mine.
Give it another go, maybe?

Which one did you all like? :)
 

alantb

Active member
Feb 12, 2020
5
4
25
I went for the Chord Epix X. X stands for ‘expensive’ - but they were clearly the best in my system to everyone who listened.
The discussion in this forum reminds me of Brecht’s Life of Galileo where G can’t persuade the judges at his trial to simply look down the telescope and see for themselves. They ‘know’ he’s wrong without having to do anything as empirical as that.
 

Riri

Member
Feb 16, 2020
7
0
20
I went for the Chord Epix X. X stands for ‘expensive’ - but they were clearly the best in my system to everyone who listened.
The discussion in this forum reminds me of Brecht’s Life of Galileo where G can’t persuade the judges at his trial to simply look down the telescope and see for themselves. They ‘know’ he’s wrong without having to do anything as empirical as that.
Ha. Indeed re G’s trial.... I have the Chord EpicX speaker cable and Chord Epic interconnects. I too listened to a few diff brands. I went with Chord. There are differences in the varying cables, whether its down to shielding ? I neither know or care for the science. I just like what i hear and i can afford them, so i have them. 💃🏼🔊
 

Mike Hunt

Well-known member
Jan 22, 2020
154
83
170
I went for the Chord Epix X. X stands for ‘expensive’ - but they were clearly the best in my system to everyone who listened.
The discussion in this forum reminds me of Brecht’s Life of Galileo where G can’t persuade the judges at his trial to simply look down the telescope and see for themselves. They ‘know’ he’s wrong without having to do anything as empirical as that.
If the cables sounded different, then they were 'colouring' the sound, either adding or subtracting something to or from the signal. This may indeed result in a 'better' sound from the speakers, but all it means is that either your really expensive cable is really bad, or the ones you compared it to were... Or all of them were.
 

Riri

Member
Feb 16, 2020
7
0
20
If the cables sounded different, then they were 'colouring' the sound, either adding or subtracting something to or from the signal. This may indeed result in a 'better' sound from the speakers, but all it means is that either your really expensive cable is really bad, or the ones you compared it to were... Or all of them were.
Yes that makes perfect sense that every single speaker cable manufacturer sets out to make really bad cables no matter what cost. Back to the lamp cable it is then.
 

Mike Hunt

Well-known member
Jan 22, 2020
154
83
170
Yes that makes perfect sense that every single speaker cable manufacturer sets out to make really bad cables no matter what cost. Back to the lamp cable it is then.
Do you agree that if different cables result in different sounds, then the cables must somehow be altering the signal?
 

Riri

Member
Feb 16, 2020
7
0
20
Make sure you watch all the way through as it includes the science and the subjective from a true audiophile.

It’s not likely to change anyone’s opinion, but then it was never designed to.

Bill

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nx4CAwSLXkY
Yep have seen this before. I like his reviews. I also note that he has interconnects ranging from £10 to £800 ea... Monster's to Chord Signature! ... I have a £15k set up and have £2750 of that on interconnects, cabling and power cords. Love my system.. Pretty much at end game, just about to add the new PMC 25/23is and I'm done.
 

Mike Hunt

Well-known member
Jan 22, 2020
154
83
170
Yep they must. But not so they sound really bad as you say...
So let's assume these cables make tiny differences to the sound, and finding the right one for your amp/speaker/room setup is nothing more than an expensive lucky dip... Why not just buy some copper wire and an EQ, and play with it until it sounds right, to you? Surely that makes more sense than throwing money at wires that may or may not sound right (to you)?
 

5av10ur

Active member
May 15, 2020
2
2
25
Of course they can't. None of these cables work any better than a length of twin and earth cable you'd find in a skip. They might look nicer but they perform no better, and when you see that suppliers are offering a burn-in service, you just know that they're selling snake oil.
Actually that's not true. I totally get the snake-oil salesmanship that goes with digital connects (especially when the standard has error correction like HDMI or is completely impervious to interference like optical) but with analogue, unshielded cables like speaker cables there is a discernible difference between types and brands. There is, as always, a case of diminishing returns as you spend more per m, but if you go from a piece of solid T&E electrical cable to a near-100% OFC cable you will hear a definite difference.
 
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Mike Hunt

Well-known member
Jan 22, 2020
154
83
170
There is, as always, a case of diminishing returns as you spend more per m, but if you go from a piece of solid T&E electrical cable to a near-100% OFC cable you will hear a definite difference.
Could you point me to any double blind tests that back up your assertion?
 
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5av10ur

Active member
May 15, 2020
2
2
25
Could you point me to any double blind tests that back up your assertion?
There are several tests (here, for example) that have looked at how speaker cables physical properties relate to signal quality. I've not had chance to look into all published research papers and dissertations, mainly because I've got better things to do. It is fairly straightforward to investigate the amount of distortion that a cable produces by using a signal generator and an oscilloscope and then analysing the results using spectral/Fourier analysis. This can easily show the differnce between input signal and output signal and therefore show the effect that the cable has on the applied signal. It's a very similar concept to the room correction facility on an AV receiver, especially if you've ever used Anthem's ARC technology which shows the frequency analysis curves of measured vs. expected results.

The fundamental difference between a solid cable like T&E and a stranded speaker cable with low oxygen content is that at the current and frequencies common in speaker cables the electrons flow on the surface of the conductor. This is because the highly-regular internal lattice structure of the copper is quite resistive to current flow relative to the surface. Therefore a stranded cable provides a greater surface area for electrons to flow (although this comes at the cost of greater capacitance which has its own issues) which improves the frequency response of the cable. In addition the presence of oxygen/oxide impurities in the cable disrupts the flow of electrons and also affects frequency response. When your cable is designed to carry electrical power this isn't a concern but where the cable is designed for fidelity and transparency it is.

However, I think that you are after a subjective "double blind" test which would be almost impossible to carry out with any degree of accuracy or reproducibility. This is because it depends entirely on your perception, motivation, hearing and experience and the pyschological design of the experiment would be as important as the physical. You personally may not be able to tell the difference between T&E and stranded OFC copper cable, in which case don't buy it and save yourself some money (although I do wonder about your motivation for being on this forum if you don't think that increased quality in equipment can be gained by improved manufacturing and design techniques). That doesn't mean that for many people it isn't a worthwhile purchase.
 
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