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Is it worth investing in decent coax cables

Philim

New member
Jan 16, 2013
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Tonight i was somwhat astounded at the difference my analogue cables make to my system.

I played around with chord cobra plus vee, chord chameleon silver and atlas titan. So ranging in the 80 - 300 quid bracket.

The cobra was very warm but lacked clarity. Chameleon was very good but the atlas was on another level revealing detail and clarity that just wasnt there before.

My quesion is will investing in a coax of similar quality bring similar benefits or is digital just 1s and 0s no matter what? I am currently using an ixos 105.

System is nait xs, ae radiance 3, squeezebox via rlink. Teddy or hicap dr maybe next.......
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
402
160
19,070
Do a blind test with your analogue cables and you will find no difference between them, (The only reason they appear to sound different is because you were expecting a difference, it’s just one of the many failings of the human body) and the same applies to digital.

Hope this helps

Bill
 

lpv

New member
Mar 14, 2013
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Changed my free printer cable connecting MacBook with DAC to £120 Wireworld Starlight and can't hear ANY difference :rofl: :wall:

Hope this helps :?
 

Cypher

New member
Jun 8, 2007
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abacus said:
Do a blind test with your analogue cables and you will find no difference between them, (The only reason they appear to sound different is because you were expecting a difference, it’s just one of the many failings of the human body) and the same applies to digital.

Hope this helps

Bill
I agree 100%.
 

ID.

New member
Feb 22, 2010
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My silver digital coax matches the colour of my kit and makes for a more stylish overall presentation. I've not compared it to the free cable I got, but the free cable is black and looks like rubbish.
 

lpv

New member
Mar 14, 2013
47
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0
My Starlight is red and looks good.. free printer cable is white and looks white:)
 

Philim

New member
Jan 16, 2013
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abacus said:
Do a blind test with your analogue cables and you will find no difference between them, (The only reason they appear to sound different is because you were expecting a difference, it’s just one of the many failings of the human body) and the same applies to digital.

Hope this helps

Bill
Sorry i just dont agree for two reasons. Firstly i had bought the cobra plus vee and was excited to hear them last night. Secondly i did a blind test with my wife (thats how we roll) and she came to the same conclusion.
 

andyjm

New member
Jul 20, 2012
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Philim said:
abacus said:
Do a blind test with your analogue cables and you will find no difference between them, (The only reason they appear to sound different is because you were expecting a difference, it’s just one of the many failings of the human body) and the same applies to digital.

Hope this helps

Bill
Sorry i just dont agree for two reasons. Firstly i had bought the cobra plus vee and was excited to hear them last night. Secondly i did a blind test with my wife (thats how we roll) and she came to the same conclusion.
First of all, depending on the DAC, digital cables CAN sound different, though it is unlikely that two well made 75ohm coax cables would sound different. S/PDIF isn't just 0s and 1s, there is a clock embedded in there as well, and the clock is fragile.

If the DAC is sensitive to input jitter, then a badly matched cable can distort the pulse shape and compromise the clock recovery system introducing audible jitter. If the DAC has jitter limitation circuitry, then the effect is unlikely. This is one of the reasons that async USB DACs should have a head start over S/PDIF.

So sensitive DAC + poor S/PDIF cable MAY be audible.

On the subject of a blind test with the Wife, in drug company research it was found that if the administering clinician knew which was the real drug and which was placebo, the unconcious cues that were given to the patient as the drug was administered were sufficient to skew the results. Hence 'double blind' tests. So I wouldn't put too much store on getting the Wife's opinion. To do a real test (which is tough in a domestic situation) google ABX testing.

Good luck.
 

john dolan

New member
Dec 20, 2008
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ive compared coax to optical from my CDXTSE into dacX both with psxr and to my ears the coax was a little better but it must be said the difference is much smaller than that of say between different analogue interconnects.

Ive aslo compared the same coax v optical v usb from my SBT into a M-dac and usb is the best of the 3.

The usb out from the SBT goes through a powered usb2 hub to enable high res files to be played then the hub goes into a ifi i usb so when using usb the M-dac becomes the master clock and gives lower jitter and the sound although sounds much the same is firmer in the bass and well just sounds a little better than coax and optical.

Again i must stress the differences are small.
 

Kevin Stephens

New member
Apr 16, 2009
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It's amazing (or maybe not) that whenever someone posts a cable question the amateur psychologists come on to claim that youi must be deluded. FWIW I've been through a similar comparison as you on interconnects, and was rather anoyed to find that better interconnects (Chord Chorus 2) did make a massive difference to my system. I put this down to the way interconnects effect the electrical characterisics of the source output and amplifier input stages; not surprising when equipment designers spend so much effort optimising their circuit board layouts. I agree with andyjm's comments on coax cables.
 

BMFDrums

New member
Dec 15, 2012
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0
Cypher said:
abacus said:
Do a blind test with your analogue cables and you will find no difference between them, (The only reason they appear to sound different is because you were expecting a difference, it’s just one of the many failings of the human body) and the same applies to digital.

Hope this helps

Bill
I agree 100%.
Whereas I completely DISAGREE, and have a personal experience of a perfect blind test to share. Here goes:

We have recently completed a house refurb and it allows for a new dedicated listening area, which I equipped with:

1) Audiolab 8200CDQ + wired airplay and iTunes;

2) Audiolab 8000M (x2);

3) PMC DB1i wall-mounted, connected using Chord Rumour cable.

Having spent quite a bit of money on new and second-hand kit, the sound being produced was not what I was expecting (Mainly a lack of bass and clarity), and so I began to experiment to determine the weak link. Given my experience with Audiolab kit (I have a separate 8000S and 8000P elsewhere), I started with the speakers, thinking that their diminutive size was the problem. Having auditioned a number of speakers up to £1000, I settled on the Monitor Audio Silver RX6 and arranged a home audition with the very helpful and knowledeable chaps at Audio-T in Basingstoke. At the second of my visits to their shop, it was suggested that I might want to try some new interconnects, as the ones I was using were quite old and quite cheap (I think I paid about £15 for them 10+ years ago). I was unconvinced, but tried two others in the shop - Chord Chameleon Plus and Chord Anthem. I was blown away by the step up, and whilst there was a difference between the new Chord cables, I felt that the more expensive Anthem didn't justify the extra money. I settled on the the Chameleon Plus, and took them home wih the borrowed RX6s.

When I got home, I plugged in the new cables with the new speakers, and spent a long time listening. However, the bass was just too big for the room - exactly the opposite to the problem I had been having, but I was no closer to obtaining the 'perfect sound; I had been hoping for. I unplugged the RX6s (leaving them in place under the DB1is) and plugged the DB1is back in, now with the new interconnect in place. The difference was startling, but I knew that the new interconnects were in place, so no blind test here.

My wife then returned, having been out since I had unplugged the RX6s and reintroduced the DB1is. I was listening to the live acoustic version of "Hotel California" off the Eagles' "Hell Freezes Over" at the time. She sat down next to me and asked, "Which speakers are we listening to?". I responded "The little ones" (i.e. the DB1is). She asked, "What have you done?". I said, "Nothing". She said, "But it sounds much better." I said, "What's different?" She said "There is a LOT more bass, and it sounds clearer, too. I can hear sounds that I hadn't noticed before - the crowd sounds like they're in the room with us". I said, "Ah, that might be the new interconnects." She said, "The what?" I said, "I bought some new cables that run from the amp CD player to the amps". She said, "You didn't tell me that you'd bought new cables. How much were they?" I said "£100". She said "£100! ONE HUNDRED POUNDS for some bits of copper cable?!. [Pause] Still, it sounds brilliant, and it's a lot cheaper than £700 for new speakers...".

So, my wife was completely unaware that I had bought new cable (this was no accident - I deliberately hadn't told her, as we still have lots to do on the house!) , and yet was immediately able to distinguish that:

a) there was a considerable difference in the sound from the speakers;

b) the differences perfectly matched my (possibly pre-conceived) perceptions.

So, I put that forward as a near-perfect example of of someone who was expecting to hear a system exactly as before, and yet immediately identifying that a component had changed. Not only that, but I had previously been a (gentle) skeptic regarding the difference that a cable could make.

So, whilst you are perfectly entitled to your opinion on the matter, I would encourage all on this (and other forums) to respect the difference between fact and opinion Your opening statement (highlighted in bold) implies a fact, where I believe that none exists. The fact is that my wife heard a distinct difference when she was expecting not to, without any prompting or any suggestion of a test in progress. It seems that it doesn't get much clearer than that.

Toodle-pip!
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
97
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0
BMFDrums said:
Cypher said:
abacus said:
Do a blind test with your analogue cables and you will find no difference between them, (The only reason they appear to sound different is because you were expecting a difference, it’s just one of the many failings of the human body) and the same applies to digital.

Hope this helps

Bill
I agree 100%.
Whereas I completely DISAGREE, and have a personal experience of a perfect blind test to share. Here goes:

We have recently completed a house refurb and it allows for a new dedicated listening area, which I equipped with:

1) Audiolab 8200CDQ + wired airplay and iTunes;

2) Audiolab 8000M (x2);

3) PMC DB1i wall-mounted, connected using Chord Rumour cable.

Having spent quite a bit of money on new and second-hand kit, the sound being produced was not what I was expecting (Mainly a lack of bass and clarity), and so I began to experiment to determine the weak link. Given my experience with Audiolab kit (I have a separate 8000S and 8000P elsewhere), I started with the speakers, thinking that their diminutive size was the problem. Having auditioned a number of speakers up to £1000, I settled on the Monitor Audio Silver RX6 and arranged a home audition with the very helpful and knowledeable chaps at Audio-T in Basingstoke. At the second of my visits to their shop, it was suggested that I might want to try some new interconnects, as the ones I was using were quite old and quite cheap (I think I paid about £15 for them 10+ years ago). I was unconvinced, but tried two others in the shop - Chord Chameleon Plus and Chord Anthem. I was blown away by the step up, and whilst there was a difference between the new Chord cables, I felt that the more expensive Anthem didn't justify the extra money. I settled on the the Chameleon Plus, and took them home wih the borrowed RX6s.

When I got home, I plugged in the new cables with the new speakers, and spent a long time listening. However, the bass was just too big for the room - exactly the opposite to the problem I had been having, but I was no closer to obtaining the 'perfect sound; I had been hoping for. I unplugged the RX6s (leaving them in place under the DB1is) and plugged the DB1is back in, now with the new interconnect in place. The difference was startling, but I knew that the new interconnects were in place, so no blind test here.

My wife then returned, having been out since I had unplugged the RX6s and reintroduced the DB1is. I was listening to the live acoustic version of "Hotel California" off the Eagles' "Hell Freezes Over" at the time. She sat down next to me and asked, "Which speakers are we listening to?". I responded "The little ones" (i.e. the DB1is). She asked, "What have you done?". I said, "Nothing". She said, "But it sounds much better." I said, "What's different?" She said "There is a LOT more bass, and it sounds clearer, too. I can hear sounds that I hadn't noticed before - the crowd sounds like they're in the room with us". I said, "Ah, that might be the new interconnects." She said, "The what?" I said, "I bought some new cables that run from the amp CD player to the amps". She said, "You didn't tell me that you'd bought new cables. How much were they?" I said "£100". She said "£100! ONE HUNDRED POUNDS for some bits of copper cable?!. [Pause] Still, it sounds brilliant, and it's a lot cheaper than £700 for new speakers...".

So, my wife was completely unaware that I had bought new cable (this was no accident - I deliberately hadn't told her, as we still have lots to do on the house!) , and yet was immediately able to distinguish that:

a) there was a considerable difference in the sound from the speakers;

b) the differences perfectly matched my (possibly pre-conceived) perceptions.

So, I put that forward as a near-perfect example of of someone who was expecting to hear a system exactly as before, and yet immediately identifying that a component had changed. Not only that, but I had previously been a (gentle) skeptic regarding the difference that a cable could make.

So, whilst you are perfectly entitled to your opinion on the matter, I would encourage all on this (and other forums) to respect the difference between fact and opinion Your opening statement (highlighted in bold) implies a fact, where I believe that none exists. The fact is that my wife heard a distinct difference when she was expecting not to, without any prompting or any suggestion of a test in progress. It seems that it doesn't get much clearer than that.

Toodle-pip!



So you had the Db1s on top of the RX6s?

Where did you have the DB1s before you got the RX6s?
 

ID.

New member
Feb 22, 2010
207
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0
BigH said:
So you had the Db1s on top of the RX6s?

Where did you have the DB1s before you got the RX6s?
If I read the thread correctly the PMCs remained wall mounted the whole time. I think he had the RX6s below them rather than using the RX6s as stands for the PMCs.
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
97
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0
ID. said:
BigH said:
So you had the Db1s on top of the RX6s?

Where did you have the DB1s before you got the RX6s?
If I read the thread correctly the PMCs remained wall mounted the whole time. I think he had the RX6s below them rather than using the RX6s as stands for the PMCs.
Even so it could affect the sound, some believe you should not have any other speakers in the room when demoing.
 

BMFDrums

New member
Dec 15, 2012
8
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0
DB1is were wall-mounted directly above RX6s during testing - the RX6s were not used as a 'stand' for the DB1is. This was to enable as close to an A-B comparison as possible, but I never really needed to do that. I didn't notice a significant difference when using the DB1is with the RX6s just below them and with them removed. I did notice a BIG difference between the (analogue) interconnects. I should have added that I don't have any experience with coax cables.

Apologies if my previous post takes us off track, but I just thought I would share my personal recent experience in light of the contradictory advice received previously.

If you buy new cables from a decent (physical or on-line) shop and they don't make a noticeable difference, return them. That way, it will only have cost you the price of postage.

Good luck!
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
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0
Ok Thanks. You have the Chord Chameleon plus not the Chord Chameleon silver plus?
 

Cypher

New member
Jun 8, 2007
156
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0
Kevin Stephens said:
It's amazing (or maybe not) that whenever someone posts a cable question the amateur psychologists come on to claim that youi must be deluded. FWIW I've been through a similar comparison as you on interconnects, and was rather anoyed to find that better interconnects (Chord Chorus 2) did make a massive difference to my system. I put this down to the way interconnects effect the electrical characterisics of the source output and amplifier input stages; not surprising when equipment designers spend so much effort optimising their circuit board layouts. I agree with andyjm's comments on coax cables.
It's also amazing that every time someone bought a new cable the wife comes in and says ; Hey, the music sounds much better now.

Are wives cable experts ? :grin:
 

GMK

New member
Jan 23, 2009
27
0
0
What's the theory with not having another pair of speakers in the room at the same time?
 

MrDavid

New member
Aug 2, 2009
0
0
0
abacus said:
Do a blind test with your analogue cables and you will find no difference between them, (The only reason they appear to sound different is because you were expecting a difference, it’s just one of the many failings of the human body) and the same applies to digital.

Hope this helps

Bill
Dead right, couldn't agree more.
 

MrDavid

New member
Aug 2, 2009
0
0
0
Cypher said:
It's also amazing that every time someone bought a new cable the wife comes in and says ; Hey, the music sounds much better now.
Errr...really? Interesting piece of research. Can't say it applies to me or anyone I know. It would be fascinating to know your sources.
 

MrDavid

New member
Aug 2, 2009
0
0
0
ID. said:
My silver digital coax matches the colour of my kit and makes for a more stylish overall presentation. I've not compared it to the free cable I got, but the free cable is black and looks like rubbish.
"Stylish overall presentation"? I thought this was about TELEVISIONS and CABLES. Good grief.
 

relocated

New member
Jan 20, 2012
74
0
0
Gibs_MK said:
What's the theory with not having another pair of speakers in the room at the same time?
Many moons ago, as a result of some piece in some mag, almost all hifi demos of speakers were done in single pair demo rooms so that the different speakers didn't alter the sound of each speaker. So an extra couple of box volumes maybe acting like an ABR and messing with the sound.
 

relocated

New member
Jan 20, 2012
74
0
0
MrDavid said:
Cypher said:
It's also amazing that every time someone bought a new cable the wife comes in and says ; Hey, the music sounds much better now.
Errr...really? Interesting piece of research. Can't say it applies to me or anyone I know. It would be fascinating to know your sources.
That 'research' is based on the number of times in forum threads where; 'the wife' or 'the girlfriend' comes into a room and notices a difference in the sound without any prompting at all. That is then held up as 'proof-positive' that whatever piece of kit is the best thing since sliced etc. It is a very common phenomena in hifi/av circles.

Edit: Also Mr David, you have to get used to the --ahem-- sense of humour of many participants on here.
 

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