CABLING and ACCESSORIES - Let the flames begin.

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I would like to start a debate on a subject that I believe will promote some very different opinions being aired. I request that the forum stay as civil as possible because I would really like to hear both sides of the story. I do have my own opinions, but they are mainly unsubstantiated so I will stay balanced on the fence for now. Speaker Cable - I have come from a background of Competition Car Audio systems and appreciate the need for cable able to carry high current rather than the "bell wire" used many years ago. I have always selected the cable from the current (Ampere) requirements, ie 1.5mm, 2.5mm, 4mm or 6mm, but someone please justify directional and cable costing over £25/m? I have on occasion needed to replace speaker drivers on speakers, and recently on a £1000 pair of floorstanders from a very well known and respected manufacturer, I replaced a 10" bass driver that was internally wired with..........bell wire!!! Interconnects - I appreciate tight fitting, gold plated terminalisation and well screened cable, in larger core sizes for slightly longer runs, but who can tell the difference between a £50 RCA digital lead and a £200 one? It's a digital signal, whats the benefit? Mains Processors - Did your equipment manufacturer cut so many corners in the production of the power supply for your unit that you really need to use a £100 mains lead to plug it into anything other than a portable generator? Equipment Feet - Is the circuit isolation so poor on an AMPLIFIER costing £2500 that a "noticeable improvement" can be heard sticking £25 worth of rubber feet under it? Also, one minute we are advised to fit spikes under the equipment and the next minute rubber feet! What's the ruling here? Are we at a point in our hobby where unless you have a purpose built studio environment in your house, then pulling the curtains, having a thinner pile carpet, removing the scatter cushions on the sofa or even opening/closing the door will make substantially more difference than a £250 interconnect? Is it a sad tribute to our hobby that many have spent thousands on quality audio equipment, SACD, DVD-A etc, and compressed MP3 has wiped the floor with it in popularity? Is there even a place for MP3 in the Hi-Fi world? Geez, it's like using a walkman as a CD deck or FM Tuner! FIRE EXTINGUISHER AT THE READY, He he he.
 
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Anonymous

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thats a lot of questions.i will try to answer some of them.

speaker cable- there is one way to justify the price.just listen to it.I have heard many types of cable and pretty much without exception the more expensive is it the better a system will sound.

Digital cables- again, just do a pepsi challenge and listen to the £50 cable and then the £200 one.i would defy anyone not to notice a substantial difference in a decent system.there is also a school of thought (used by chord) that you should terminate interconnects in silver if the cable inside is silver. Basically why change the metal for the plug to sometging that is different from the metal used to make the cable? keep it the same.

mains systems- it has nothing to do with the manufacture of equipment and everything to do with the electricity coming into your house.Fridges, tvs, washing machines etc all add noise into your electricity which can be heard through your hi fi.i have a tacima mains board that was only £40 and it made a noticeable difference.

MP3- It is a sad fact that hi fi enthusiasts are in a significant minority.The vast majority of people buy mini or midi all one make systems, often plastic rubbish that has so many lights it looks like a fruit machine. Shops like currys and comet have convinced most people that is hi fi. Most people are unaware of the joy and benefits of a good separates system so using mp3, and getting the resultant poor sound quality is not even an issue for them as they have no idea what they are missing out on in the first place. i work in a large office and of all the people i know there only one has a separates system.sad but true.

As for sofa cushions, thinner pile carpet etc, yes the carpet can make a difference as can having wallpaper or just painted plaster but i dont know anyone who would change it specifically for their hi fi, unless you had a dedicated listening/movie room.In which case it would be perfectly justified.
 

Alec

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forgive me for going OT and, indeed, slightly huff-ish, but i must defend mp3 users. if you use mp3 you seem to be excluded by some from the hfi world. but you can actually achieve substantial increases in mp3 performance with decent kit. you can also re-encode to wave, and get an even bigger improvement. sometimes lack of room means pc based music is a necessity in fact. lastly, there is a reason why whfs&v take mp3 (wave, etc) users seriously, unlike many other mags.
 

Thaiman

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You look like Phil Mitchell of EastEnders! and if you think I can't pick my VD interconnects from a £50 ones then I will have a bet with you....any day :)
 
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Anonymous

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several years back when i started to get interested in my equipment my first upgrade was the QED scart 2110 Sky box to tv and was amazed by the difference in quality.I do believe there is price/quality ladder,even now with my ps3 hooked up with QED hdmi lead there was a very noticeable difference over tech+link i was using and well worth the money.Guess this all comes down to your own eyes and ears
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="Fraziel"]i will try to answer some of them.

speaker cable- there is one way to justify the price.just listen to it.I have heard many types of cable and pretty much without exception the more expensive is it the better a system will sound.[/quote]

An audio signal isn't able to detect the price of a cable. The best sounding cable on the market could very well also be one of the cheapest if the recipe is right. The thicker the conductors on a speaker cable the better to give the amplifier firm control over the speaker.

[quote user="Fraziel"]here is also a school of thought (used by chord) that you should terminate interconnects in silver.if the cable inside is silver then why change the metal for the plug?[/quote]

Because silver is prone to tarnishing when in contact with the air.

[quote user="Fraziel"]Fridges, tvs, washing machines etc all add noise into your electricity which can be heard through your hi fi[/quote]

I have no interference on mine at all and have no filtering.
 

Anton90125

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The baby is my favourite character from Family Guy !

I pretty well agree with Fraziel' s assessment.

There are people that stick to scientific theory forgetting that by definition theory itself is a moving target evolving as new discoveries are made.

When they hear a sound which sounds good but according to their version of theory-shouldn't , they will claim that its all in the head - imagined. If a difference is heard but can not be measured then it the placebo effect.

Taking this attitude is not scientific because taking a default standpoint automatically without investigating it means we remove the motivation to discover.

We would still be in the dark ages!

The problem with this placebo effect is too many people hear the same difference despite what their theory says.

If you hear a difference (blind test it if possible) and you like it, and you can afford it, then thats all that counts
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="al7478"]forgive me for going OT and, indeed, slightly huff-ish, but i must defend mp3 users. if you use mp3 you seem to be excluded by some from the hfi world. but you can actually achieve substantial increases in mp3 performance with decent kit. you can also re-encode to wave, and get an even bigger improvement. sometimes lack of room means pc based music is a necessity in fact. lastly, there is a reason why whfs&v take mp3 (wave, etc) users seriously, unlike many other mags.[/quote]

fair enough, but it still isn't going to sound a patch on a dedicated quality cd player.
 

Alec

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Fraziel - depending on your files, system, and ears, yes. notwithstanding those factors, id agree.

Anton90125 - mine too, obviously. "you're drunk"..."you're sexy"!
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="Nigel Proctor"][quote user="Fraziel"]i will try to answer some of them. speaker cable- there is one way to justify the price.just listen to it.I have heard many types of cable and pretty much without exception the more expensive is it the better a system will sound.[/quote] An audio signal isn't able to detect the price of a cable. The best sounding cable on the market could very well also be one of the cheapest if the recipe is right. The thicker the conductors on a speaker cable the better to give the amplifier firm control over the speaker. [quote user="Fraziel"]here is also a school of thought (used by chord) that you should terminate interconnects in silver.if the cable inside is silver then why change the metal for the plug?[/quote] Because silver is prone to tarnishing when in contact with the air. [quote user="Fraziel"]Fridges, tvs, washing machines etc all add noise into your electricity which can be heard through your hi fi[/quote] I have no interference on mine at all and have no filtering.[/quote]

I clean the silver connectors, its not exactly a chore and the potential for better quality sound is well worth having to polish 4 phono plugs only twice a year.i suppose tarnishing could be an issue if you are incredibly lazy.

Not everyone has mains interference but many people do. The fact that you dont does not mean mains filters do not work.Have you ever tried a filter on your system? if not, how do you know you have no interference? Putting in a filter could make a difference that you did not even know was possible.

As for cable, your reply was pedantic to say the least. Yes i am sure if the recipe was right it would be good but quite simply the ingredients and design required to make a good recipe are expensive ,and so can't be used in cheap cables, therefore you will not get a cheap cable that will challenge an expensive one. The best 30 quid interconnect cable in the world is going to get killed by an average 200 quid one.
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="Fraziel"]I clean the silver connectors, its not exactly a chore and the potential for better quality sound is well worth having to polish 4 phono plugs only twice a year.i suppose tarnishing could be an issue if you are incredibly lazy.[/quote]

I am incredibly lazy. Plus I can't hear a difference between interconnects.

[quote user="Fraziel"]Have you ever tried a filter on your system?[/quote]

No, because I don't have any interference. If I did I might try one.

[quote user="Fraziel"]The best 30 quid interconnect cable in the world is going to get killed by an average 200 quid one.[/quote]

If it comes to the crunch I doubt if anyone can really tell the difference.
 

matthewpiano

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In my opinion cables and connections make a significant difference on the sonic signature of a system. After all, the communication between source and amp, and amp with speakers is entirely dependent on all of the information and sonic character making it through without any detrimental effects. I've heard potentially superb systems ruined by bad cable choice and the amazing effect of rectifying those choices. Yes, its a bit of a dark art, but then that is what makes hi-fi so much fun and when it helps your system to get the most of your music, it is all very worthwhile.
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="Nigel Proctor"][quote user="Fraziel"]I clean the silver connectors, its not exactly a chore and the potential for better quality sound is well worth having to polish 4 phono plugs only twice a year.i suppose tarnishing could be an issue if you are incredibly lazy.[/quote] I am incredibly lazy. Plus I can't hear a difference between interconnects. [quote user="Fraziel"]Have you ever tried a filter on your system?[/quote] No, because I don't have any interference. If I did I might try one. [quote user="Fraziel"]The best 30 quid interconnect cable in the world is going to get killed by an average 200 quid one.[/quote] If it comes to the crunch I doubt if anyone can really tell the difference.[/quote]

Assuming this post is not a wind up, why bother buying separates? To not be able to tell the difference between interconnects.... oh dear. You still didnt say how you know you have no mains pollution.
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="Fraziel"]To not be able to tell the difference between interconnects.... oh dear.[/quote]

I can tell the difference if I look at them first, obviously. They just don't sound any different to me. I can hear the differences in speaker leads so my hearing can't be that bad.

[quote user="Fraziel"]why bother buying separates?[/quote]

Because the quality is usually better and one component can be replaced without changing the rest.

[quote user="Fraziel"]You still didnt say how you know you have no mains pollution.[/quote]

What is mains pollution exactly? Are we talking interference or distorted waveform? If I had interference I would hear it and TMS on long wave would be unbearable.
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="Thaiman"]You look like Phil Mitchell of EastEnders! and if you think I can't pick my VD interconnects from a £50 ones then I will have a bet with you....any day :)[/quote]

Hi Thaiman,

Yes, I have been told that before AND I am a Professional Motor Vehicle Technician! (Car mechanic!) also. I presume VD stands for Van Den Hul? So if these are so good, could one tell the difference between these and some £1000 ones? I think one needs to know when one has reached the point where the cabling has either become better than the products it is connecting, or at what point is no further improvement made/detectable.

I have used the term "one" in the previous para, not because I am royalty but using "you" sounded confrontational Thaiman and I appreciate your input.

Hi Fraziel and Nigel! Civil now guys. This is just the type of disagreement and variety of views I was hoping for, ....in a civil manner.

Coming off the fence a little now, I have found that I can most certainly detect a sonic improvement when using an appropriately sized core speaker cable over bell wire, but in all honesty, I have just replaced my 6mm conductor core Monitor Audio speaker cable to my B&W 803D's for some QED Silver Anniversary Bi-Wire, (1.5mm conductor?) with professionally terminated airtight banana plugs, (£40 v's £200) and I cannot tell the difference.

As for interconnects, i believe the horrid plastic ones supplied with a lot of equipment can be improved upon with the use of silver/gold plated connectors and well shielded cable, and longer lengths may well require more robust conductors, but I am still dubious over the benefit of a £300 connect over a £30 connect if both are just 0.5m long.

I definately appreciate the mains suppression if there are other appliances in the house affecting the supply, but unless you have a house substantially bigger than mine, you cannot sit and listen to the music properly with the washing machine/dishwasher sloshing away, the misses hoovering around you or the son mowing the garden! Mains noise is the least of your worries. So, mains suppression blocks....yes possibly, but mains cable? I don't think so.

There is always the premise that an audio system is only as good as it's worst component, and as a visitor to the Hi-Fi forum from the Home Cinema forum, I may well be attempting to improve my system with components that are not my "weakest link", if this is so then I apologise in advance, but I am here on your forum to get the opinions from the knowledgeable.

Any replies or views to my questions on Isolation and Insulation of speakers/components?

Keep it coming
 

Thaiman

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Hay Phil...I don't do VDH buddy, most of them sound the same. However I am hearing the difference that well-engineered cables can make. My cable is the similar version of the link below and I truly believe that any non-believer need to hear this pair and they will shut up forever.

http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/virtualdynamics_david_cables.htm
 
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Anonymous

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i realise that hi fi is subjective to an extent but some things are not up for debate.Saying you cant hear the difference between interconnects is as crazy as saying you cant taste the difference between a tomato and an onion. i have a few different interconnects, my mates have others and the guys i know in sevenoaks and loud and clear have let me try others. They all sound different and some of them are so different its like chalk and cheese.The difference in sound is SO dramatic that you genuinely would have to have hearing problems or be tone deaf not to hear the difference. You might as well say you believe the earth is flat. Its that WRONG a thing to say.

i demo'd my new chord chorus against my mates van den hul integration last night. Both cables cost approx £200 when they first appeared.Very noticeable difference between the two and i am 100% confident that virtually anyone, after hearing the 2, could tell which was which in a blind test.

As for mains pollution, often you dont even know its there until you clear it. i didnt until i got a loan of a mains filter ( isotek cleanline). It made a significant difference.More detail, sound was clearer, and silent pieces in music sounded absolutely quiet unike before. So ok, lets debate stuff but some things just are and are not up for debate, unless you are just after an argument for the sake of it.
 
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Anonymous

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I changed my speaker cable and noticed no difference once it had worn in. The only advantage is it looks cooler. Bi-wiring also made no difference.
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="Fraziel"]i realise that hi fi is subjective to an extent but some things are not up for debate.Saying you cant hear the difference between interconnects is as crazy as saying you cant taste the difference between a tomato and an onion. i have a few different interconnects, my mates have others and the guys i know in sevenoaks and loud and clear have let me try others. They all sound different and some of them are so different its like chalk and cheese.The difference in sound is SO dramatic that you genuinely would have to have hearing problems or be tone deaf not to hear the difference. You might as well say you believe the earth is flat. Its that WRONG a thing to say.

[/quote]

So what can I do? Do I need treatment? Is it my ears?
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="alexrider"]
I changed my speaker cable and noticed no difference once it had worn in. The only advantage is it looks cooler. Bi-wiring also made no difference.

[/quote]

Probably because your existing wires were up to the job.
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="Thaiman"]I truly believe that any non-believer need to hear this pair and they will shut up forever.[/quote]

Are they expensive?
 
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Anonymous

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Er, yes:

https://www.virtualdynamics.ca/content.php?id=200&secondary_id=39

Half price interconnect at $3000 lol.

I think there is no real difference - and I've been up to Chord Anthem and back down again with many makes along the way - it is snake oil or for rich playboys to say "guess how much that interconnect was".

Monitor Audio make their own speaker cable - Pureflow - at around £5.00 a metre - that says it all really IMHO.
 

Anton90125

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[quote user="Graham_Thomas"]I think there is no real difference [/quote]

It your opinion and you are entitled to it!

[quote user="Graham_Thomas"]t is snake oil or for rich playboys to say "guess how much that interceonnect was[/quote]

I don't think its black a white. There are no doubt some dodgy manufactures out there selling "Snake oil" type stuff.

However, in my experience there are some cables that do sound different, not unnecessarily better but different. I remember buying the first interconnect that QED did in 1987. There was a slight improvement in the sound when compared with the stuff that came free with the hifi equipment.

My friend got an amazing cable free with his £1000 sony cdp 555esd in the late 80's. This cable was miles better then any thing we had. On investigation, this cable cost £50/meter which put it out my price range.

We did a bit of experimenting and used some Litz speaker cable as interconnect. This came within 95% of that Sony cable.

I now use some home made interconnect which is made from broadcast standard coax cable. IMO it superseded that Sony cable but at a fraction of the price (cut of a reel as required).

I have never tried the really expensive stuff but I wouldn't automatically rule out that they may better then my current stuff.

Cables IMO do make a difference but the correlation with price may be less then 100%

[quote user="Graham_Thomas"]Monitor Audio make their own speaker cable - Pureflow - at around £5.00 a metre - that says it all really IMHO. [/quote]

Yes it says that MA make their own cable at £5 a meter called Pureflow . It doesn't say that the speaker cables don't vary.
 
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Anonymous

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I honestly cant undestand how anyone cant hear the difference. In saying that, my mates girlfriend is tone deaf. We watched the x factor auditions one night for a laugh and she genuinely could not tell the difference between the awful singers and the good ones. I thought she was at the wind up but she honestly could not hear the difference. She is an extreme example though but if you genuinely cant hear any difference between interconnects then yes, i hate to say it but i suspect its a degree of being tone deaf. Cant see how it could be anything else.

I dislike the way big business try and rip us off but i dont believe that there is a huge conspiracy between all the hi fi manufacturers to con us into buying expensive cables that sound no different to cheap ones. I could hear HUGE differences between , for example, the qed xtube speaker cable range of xtube 300, 350 and 400. Those cables have identical design and the only differences between them is the diameter of the strands and the quantity of silver in each cable. Individual manufacturers often have a house sound that if you were a real cable geek could possibly be identified by ear alone, the differences are that big.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
[quote user="Graham_Thomas"]
Er, yes:

https://www.virtualdynamics.ca/content.php?id=200&secondary_id=39

Half price interconnect at $3000 lol.

I think there is no real difference - and I've been up to Chrod Anthem and back down again with many makes along the way - it is snake oil or for rich playboys to say "guess how much that interceonnect was".

Monitor Audio make their own speaker cable - Pureflow - at around £5.00 a metre - that says it all really IMHO.

[/quote]

Thats fine, and I'm sure its very decent, but Monitor Audio are just one manufacturer and certainly don't write the last word on hi-fi, or even speakers for that matter. The fact that they make Pureflow doesn't make it the best or only way. Alongside the great speakers there are the horrid ipod docks that they put their name to for a start.
 

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