Exotic Interconnects

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WishTree

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May 18, 2010
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Thanks every one for all the inputs and I thought I will share my final observations.

I took my wife's help to do some tests but they are not close to blind test as it is not just as simple. The analogue i/c test yesterday (Exotic RCA vs QED XLR vs Chord RCA) they all sounded same with the exception that QED XLR connection was some how very slightly louder but otherwise I found no differnce.

Speaker wire - Belkin Speaker Cables vs Chord Silver screen -> There is a definite improvement of clarity and soundstage

Chord Silver Screen vs Exotic Speaker Cable -> Just by switching the cables there is not much of a difference but if I let the cables on, then after few songs there is a positively improvement in SQ. The sound feels better. I am not too sure whether it is just me feeling or really the cables are doing some work here. I will keep listening to the exotic speaker cables and see if I can make more tangible observations.

Pleasant Surprise - This is still amazing me that how great the overall sound has improved. I have toed-out the speakers (normally they were always toed in towards the listening position. Speakers are around 40 cm from the back wall. The distance between the speakers and main listening position is about 3m and there is about 2.5m behind the listening position to the back wall. The speakers are about 3.5m apart.)

This changed the sound as if there is a wall of speakers upfront and not just two speakers and this wall of speakers is beyond the physical walls! I have never experienced such a soundstage at home! Thanks again for this brilliant tip.
 

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
107
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18,595
WishTree said:
Chord Silver Screen vs Exotic Speaker Cable -> Just by switching the cables there is not much of a difference but if I let the cables on, then after few songs there is a positively improvement in SQ. The sound feels better. I am not too sure whether it is just me feeling or really the cables are doing some work here. I will keep listening to the exotic speaker cables and see if I can make more tangible observations.
Got it! I have been focussing on the treble frequencies when I switch the cables. Though the harshness is removed by the exotic speaker cable, it seems minimal compared to chord silver screen - only in the harshness area.

The reason why I am seeing improvement is the Exotic Speaker cable is making the entire sound very tight and controlled. I have turned off the sub to make more accurate observation and the expensive cable is subtly but definetly transferring the bass control from amplifier to the Speakers with out any loss, I guess. That is why it is becoming more enjoyable with the expensive speaker cable.

it is like the difference between the PV1 bass tightness / speed / control when compared to other subs. There is no dispersion and is tight, clear and defined.

The big question is, should I spend that kind of money just on Speaker cable (I guess just the speaker cable will cost me 450 pounds) :help: Also these look like home brewn I getting nothing back in case if I change my system :cry:
 

BenLaw

Well-known member
Nov 21, 2010
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WishTree said:
Thanks every one for all the inputs and I thought I will share my final observations.

I took my wife's help to do some tests but they are not close to blind test as it is not just as simple. The analogue i/c test yesterday (Exotic RCA vs QED XLR vs Chord RCA) they all sounded same with the exception that QED XLR connection was some how very slightly louder but otherwise I found no differnce.
An interesting, but not surprising (!) conclusion. The XLR is louder because it has double the output. Your conclusion is that when you don't know which cable you're listening to, they sound the same.

Speaker wire - Belkin Speaker Cables vs Chord Silver screen -> There is a definite improvement of clarity and soundstage

Chord Silver Screen vs Exotic Speaker Cable -> Just by switching the cables there is not much of a difference but if I let the cables on, then after few songs there is a positively improvement in SQ. The sound feels better. I am not too sure whether it is just me feeling or really the cables are doing some work here. I will keep listening to the exotic speaker cables and see if I can make more tangible observations.
I'm surprised given your findings on interconnects you don't think it is the same with speaker cable. The difficulty is you're unable to do a blind test on this. Isn't it revealing that it's only after a few songs, and you forget the earlier sound, that you think there are differences?

Pleasant Surprise - This is still amazing me that how great the overall sound has improved. I have toed-out the speakers (normally they were always toed in towards the listening position. Speakers are around 40 cm from the back wall. The distance between the speakers and main listening position is about 3m and there is about 2.5m behind the listening position to the back wall. The speakers are about 3.5m apart.)

This changed the sound as if there is a wall of speakers upfront and not just two speakers and this wall of speakers is beyond the physical walls! I have never experienced such a soundstage at home! Thanks again for this brilliant tip.
Yes, speaker positioning and room acoustics makes far more of a difference than any cable changes :)
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
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WishTree said:
Got it! I have been focussing on the treble frequencies when I switch the cables. Though the harshness is removed by the exotic speaker cable, it seems minimal compared to chord silver screen - only in the harshness area.

The reason why I am seeing improvement is the Exotic Speaker cable is making the entire sound very tight and controlled. I have turned off the sub to make more accurate observation and the expensive cable is subtly but definetly transferring the bass control from amplifier to the Speakers with out any loss, I guess. That is why it is becoming more enjoyable with the expensive speaker cable.

it is like the difference between the PV1 bass tightness / speed / control when compared to other subs. There is no dispersion and is tight, clear and defined.

The big question is, should I spend that kind of money just on Speaker cable (I guess just the speaker cable will cost me 450 pounds) :help: Also these look like home brewn I getting nothing back in case if I change my system :cry:
I see you are having "fun" while learning and driving yourself mad....all at the same time.

IMO What you are discovering, is that cables maximize what you have.....but I still think the Kefs will sound better with the cheaper cable (though I would still avoid anything silver coated).

I think you should get the balance right with different speakers (and it can then be maximized with cables at a later date).....if the dealer will lend you some, it should help you sort out this conundrum.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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BenLaw said:
Cno, 'maximised with cables', are you referring to interconnects and speaker cables or just speaker cables?
I deliberately left it open, as there is no firm rules as to which will bring the biggest gains. Ideally, I prefer to use the i/c and s/c from the same company, as it compounds the benefit.

The main thing is not to take anyones' word for it and try it out for oneself. There are enough people on here who have heard improvements, that it's worth a trial (as long as you don't spend any money until convinced).

I have found P/Cc can have a very worthwhile effect....but again trial and error. I found the biggest improvement with amp, skybox and Sub. It had no effect on the DS.
 

BenLaw

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Nov 21, 2010
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But on blind test he found no difference with interconnects. Prior to doing a blind test he was about to pull the trigger on £750 of cables, which in fact had no effect at all.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I have found both the Tellerium Black I/C and Tellerium Black S/Cs have made a definite change to the sound of my system which I and my girlfriend consider to be an improvement to the way my system sounds.

My only consideration now, following this 2 week loan period, is whether the outlay (say on new speakers) would give me the same or better improvement or whether the extra enjoyment I get from the clearer presentation is worth the money. I'm inclined to think it is, particularly as I consider my system is well balanced (for the price bracket). I consider that these cables will enable the system to perform at its best. However, I will audition some speakers which I could get for the trade in price of my own plus the cable cost and if they make more of a difference I will buy the new speakers instead.

I have not blind tested the cables but have taken account of comments from my girlfriend who has no vested interest in encouraging me to spend money on cables, or otherwise for that matter. There is a big debate about "improvements" from speaker cable and, in particular, Interconnect cables (I am not referring to digital as I think most people are sceptical about benefits of expensive digital ones and I am also) and clearly a lot of scepticism as to whether it is possible to obtain significant improvements from analogue cables. As a result of the scepticism surrounding cables if people haven't blind tested them it tends to be seen as a reason to suggest that what the listener considers to be an improvement in the way their system sounds is somehow imagined by them to justify the price, even when they are on loan and not paid for so what is having to be justified?

I don't hear the same said about blind testing of speakers and it seems to be accepted that if somebody spends more money on speakers and says they consider the sound to be better nobody questions that.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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BenLaw said:
But on blind test he found no difference with interconnects. Prior to doing a blind test he was about to pull the trigger on £750 of cables, which in fact had no effect at all.
Precisely my point...ie. Test them thoroughly and only part with money if you hear a definite improvement.

It is also why I'm suggesting the speaker route, as the difference is more profound.
 

BenLaw

Well-known member
Nov 21, 2010
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SteveD said:
I have not blind tested the cables but have taken account of comments from my girlfriend who has no vested interest in encouraging me to spend money on cables, or otherwise for that matter. There is a big debate about "improvements" from speaker cable and, in particular, Interconnect cables (I am not referring to digital as I think most people are sceptical about benefits of expensive digital ones and I am also) and clearly a lot of scepticism as to whether it is possible to obtain significant improvements from analogue cables. As a result of the scepticism surrounding cables if people haven't blind tested them it tends to be seen as a reason to suggest that what the listener considers to be an improvement in the way their system sounds is somehow imagined by them to justify the price, even when they are on loan and not paid for so what is having to be justified?
Does the OP's experience not make you think about doing a blind test yourself? He's just saved himself £750 because he in fact couldn't hear a difference that he initially thought he could (like you do at the moment).

I don't hear the same said about blind testing of speakers and it seems to be accepted that if somebody spends more money on speakers and says they consider the sound to be better nobody questions that.
There are measurable differences between speakers and people can tell (and have told) the difference between them in blind and ABX tests. Speakers do sound different. Expensive ones do not necessarily sound better than cheaper ones.
 

BenLaw

Well-known member
Nov 21, 2010
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18,895
CnoEvil said:
BenLaw said:
But on blind test he found no difference with interconnects. Prior to doing a blind test he was about to pull the trigger on £750 of cables, which in fact had no effect at all.
Precisely my point...ie. Test them thoroughly and only part with money if you hear a definite improvement.

It is also why I'm suggesting the speaker route, as the difference is more profound.
Sorry if I misunderstood. It sounded from your earlier post like you might still be suggesting the OP should be considering interconnect upgrades, although when blind testing he found no difference. In the circumstances, I remain skeptical as to whether he's really hearing a difference with the speaker cables. I would encourage him to try some generic multi-strand copper cable (which should not degrade the sound in any way) and then do a bit better at blind testing (should be possible with a willing partner), before parting with £00s.

I wholeheartedly agree that speakers would be a more worthwhile component to spend money on. Given the OP's success with positioning, looking at acoustic treatment may also be worthwhile (but probably after any speaker upgrade).
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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BenLaw said:
Sorry if I misunderstood. It sounded from your earlier post like you might still be suggesting the OP should be considering interconnect upgrades, although when blind testing he found no difference. In the circumstances, I remain skeptical as to whether he's really hearing a difference with the speaker cables. I would encourage him to try some generic multi-strand copper cable (which should not degrade the sound in any way) and then do a bit better at blind testing (should be possible with a willing partner), before parting with £00s.

I wholeheartedly agree that speakers would be a more worthwhile component to spend money on. Given the OP's success with positioning, looking at acoustic treatment may also be worthwhile (but probably after any speaker upgrade).
I try not to come across as dictatorial, and gently try to nudge people in the direction that I believe is best, by giving alternative suggestions.....after all it is their money, their ears and their decision.

My stance through this whole thread (and others), is to spend the money where it will give the most benefit....but you certainly have nothing to apologize for, as I may not have been clear enough.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
BenLaw said:
Does the OP's experience not make you think about doing a blind test yourself? He's just saved himself £750 because he in fact couldn't hear a difference that he initially thought he could (like you do at the moment).
I agree logically there is merit in doing so. Not sure it's actually going to result in a saving of £750 though, depends how much more a pair of R700s are on top of the trade-in value of the Tannoys :grin:

BenLaw said:
There are measurable differences between speakers and people can tell (and have told) the difference between them in blind and ABX tests. Speakers do sound different. Expensive ones do not necessarily sound better than cheaper ones.
At this point in time I believe that cables can sound different. Expensive ones do not necessarily sound better than cheaper ones. Differences between different brands of the same broad cable type (either copper or silver coated etc), even in signficantly different price ranges, will almost certainly vary less than the difference between two cables of the same cost but different types.

In this case I also believe the more expensive ones do sound better than my existing ones (I encourage you to blind test a set of Tellerium black s/cs and I/Cs).

I trust my judgment and I have no reason to have tricked my mind into thinking they are better when all the logic in the world says that I should be conversely convincing myself that they make no significant difference to the sound and numerous posters on here tell me they probably wont. The cables are on loan so I am not justifying the outlay in my mind, in fact to buy them will cost money I could spend on something else I would like. The improvement was so noticeable that I will probably buy the cables instead.

I'm not sure I want to reduce the pure enjoyment of music (which I still remember) to scrutinising and blind testing although I appreciate what is no doubt good advice. I am more persuaded by the logic of working out what the extra money in cables added to the trade-in price of the existing speakers comes to and then auditioning speakers at that price though. If the speakers sound as good or better than the improvement brought about by the cables then I'll buy the speakers. But unless I blind test how would I know if the speakers sound better then my current ones because apparently I can't tell the difference in the sound anyway, except that because it's accepted by everybody that the difference in sound between speakers is noticeable whereas it's not the case with cables.

If I blind test these cables and find that I cannot tell the difference then I'll have to blind test every hi-fi component thereafter because the difference is as noticeable to me as it was between makes when I did auditions prior to purchasing my DAC, amp and speakers (in relation to soundstage, bass control, separation and treble - not tone), possibly moreso because I know my system sound now and the difference is probably therefore more identifiable. The difference then was I heard something I liked and bought what gave me the most enjoyment in my affordability without any doubt being cast over the decision, no such simplicity with cables.

Thanks for the food for thought.
 

shooter

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May 4, 2008
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WishTree said:
The reason why I am seeing improvement is the Exotic Speaker cable is making the entire sound very tight and controlled. I have turned off the sub to make more accurate observation and the expensive cable is subtly but definetly transferring the bass control from amplifier to the Speakers with out any loss, I guess. That is why it is becoming more enjoyable with the expensive speaker cable.

it is like the difference between the PV1 bass tightness / speed / control when compared to other subs. There is no dispersion and is tight, clear and defined.

The big question is, should I spend that kind of money just on Speaker cable (I guess just the speaker cable will cost me 450 pounds) :help: Also these look like home brewn I getting nothing back in case if I change my system :cry:
This is what you pay for! There is only so much you can do in a system, the trick is maximising it without busting the bank and finding the balance, you've heard a differnce in the home brews compared to your own, thats good enough, now its about diciding if you want said cable over branded :doh: Like you say, resale value will be low and these homebrew cables may only serve this system if you decide to change.
 

Craig M.

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Mar 20, 2008
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fwiw, i agree with everything Ben has posted. blind testing can be a real eye opener (groan :) ). i only tried it because i was curious after reading posts saying cables were all the same, when i was sure they weren't. now, after my own experience, and the fact that no-one to my knowledge has ever passed a blind test on cables, i'm happy to say they are all the same and the difference is in the listeners mind. just having the knowledge that various biases can effect what we hear, is no guard against these things affecting anyone. it certainly changed my thinking about pretty much everything hifi related. i once saw a signature on a hifi forum that said 'in the presence of evidence, opinion is worthless'. i think i'm happy to agree with that.
 

AlmaataKZ

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Jan 7, 2009
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Craig M. said:
fwiw, i agree with everything Ben has posted. blind testing can be a real eye opener (groan :) ). i only tried it because i was curious after reading posts saying cables were all the same, when i was sure they weren't. now, after my own experience, and the fact that no-one to my knowledge has ever passed a blind test on cables, i'm happy to say they are all the same and the difference is in the listeners mind. just having the knowledge that various biases can effect what we hear, is no guard against these things affecting anyone. it certainly changed my thinking about pretty much everything hifi related. i once saw a signature on a hifi forum that said 'in the presence of evidence, opinion is worthless'. i think i'm happy to agree with that.
exactly. in other words - be honest with yourself. when not sure - check yourself. for hifi, a blind test is a good check of yourself. once you've checked yourself, check all the gear you want!
 

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
107
1
18,595
Thanks again to everyone. Today, I returned back the Exotic Cables as the cable upgrade seemed to be too little returns of my money. I will pursue the Speaker upgrade route.

I did a mini audition of KEF R700 and they seem to match my requirements (though I did not get to try with my amp - so proper audition ahead). Unfortunately, I also tried the B&W 804D which was truly a different league :( Now I do not know whether I am getting carried away or just spend once and enjoy the music for atleast few years to come. I will keep us posted.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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Rather than re-route the other thread, I will continue here.

The treble has a subtly different tone to that of the Refs (Blade tech), with the bass not as good, but the overall quality of the sound is higher than the price would suggest.

If you are ever looking to spend more money, the Refs should be tried as they just get better and better as the other components improve. I've a feeling that you will, at some stage in the future, be looking at a highend system.....where I suggest you audition: Linn DS + Classe + 205/2
 

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
107
1
18,595
shooter said:
If you find that usful but want more control Apple has a 31 band EQ that is bundled with Xcode4, you will also need Soundflower to hijack to audio.

Not purist audio but i found it transformed my listening from good to excellent, adding depth to the bottom which transfornmed the mid and in turn sound overall.

Later when i'm back from work (not sure when that will be) i'll add the Xcode/Soundflower set up to the EQ thread.
Hi Shooter - I have downloaded the Xcode as well as Soundflower but I am unable to figure out how / where to get the EQ :(

Pls help.. a small write up or a url pointer will be of great help!
 

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