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Is it worth investing in decent coax cables

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relocated

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Jan 20, 2012
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BMF,

I am afraid that, " 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.", is not a near-perfect test at all. Sadly, if it is not double-blind then it will never be accepted as a true test with a meaningful result.

People may agree with you, but any scientist type person in this field will not.
 

Cypher

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Jun 8, 2007
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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.
Read the forum. 'The Wife notices the better sound' argument is used many times here. A very convincing argument.

If people want to buy expensive cables because of the better sound, please do. Not a problem. I just think it's a load of crap.

It's a free world.........I can have that opinion if I want ;)
 

BMFDrums

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Dec 15, 2012
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Rlocated, I suggest that this is better experiment, as in a double-blind experiment, the subject knows that they are involved in an experiment. There was no known experiment taking place.

Cypher, you are perfectly entitles to your opinion - I believe that's what I said previously. All I ask is that we separate opinion and fact.

And with that, I shall bow out, hoping that someone provised useful input to the OP...
 

hammill

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Mar 20, 2008
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BMFDrums said:
Rlocated, I suggest that this is better experiment, as in a double-blind experiment, the subject knows that they are involved in an experiment. There was no known experiment taking place.

Cypher, you are perfectly entitles to your opinion - I believe that's what I said previously. All I ask is that we separate opinion and fact.

And with that, I shall bow out, hoping that someone provised useful input to the OP...
Just one question, have you tried cleaning the old cable and putting it back? If the cables are 10 years old and you havn't cleaned them up (you may have done of course), I would expect any new cable to sound better.
 

BMFDrums

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Dec 15, 2012
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I don't know whether that's a wind-up, but I would suggest that the system sounds better now than it did when I first put the new cables on. However, that may well be due to other effects - speakers were still new-ish (run for maybe 150 hours) and my 'getting used to' the sound.

Old cable connectors were cleaned prior to use.

Now that really is it from me.

Any advice for the OP on coax cables?
 

wbarr

New member
Aug 17, 2007
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Here we go again. This sort of topic comes up every so often on different forums. Thought, for once, I'd comment. Life's too short and all, eh?

If I were a cable manufacturer, I think I'd resent the clear implication that the stuff I was producing at different price bands varied only in the cost of materials used to make it and the level of mark up I decided to charge on it. The implication is that such manufacturers are selling snake oil, and that the whole business model is to rip the consumer off with something that makes no appreciable difference in the sound, safe in the knowledge that the business will continue as purchasers will unknowingly condition themselves to accept that the cost of the cable means it must sound better in their set-up.

Happily, I'm not a cable manufacturer, but nor am I cynical enough to believe that the above is true. Perhaps that makes me gullible/misinformed, whatever, but there you go.

From personal experience, and from purchases, I do think cables can make a difference. I have noticed differences in the sound between cables. Now, whether this is perceived or actual, the impact from my perspective is the same, as I'm the one listening to the music through my system after all. I've sent cables back, mind you, and I've not gone mad - my most expensive interconnect cost £70 for 1m, and I've purchased considerably more expensive cables that I've sent back as I have not noticed any improvement in the sound.

Like all things hifi, in my experience, listening at home in your own system is the way to go. Demos at retailers are useful (in fact, sensible), but nothing beats listening at home over a protracted period of time. Hence, as advised by some posters on here, I only ever order cables from somewhere that has a clear and sensible returns policy. My suggestion to the OP is give it a try - scratch the itch, and then you can see what side of the fence you sit on in 'the great cable debate'. :)

I should fess up and say that only this week I purchased a .75m coax interconnect from Mark Grant Cables to try it out, following a recent DAC upgrade. It replaces a considerably more expensive award winning QED cable. It is early days, but my intial impressions favour the MG cable, and by some margin. I have a 30 day period in which to make a decision, given the standard money back guarantee operated by that company. I don't think I'll be troubling MG to take his cable back.
 

hammill

New member
Mar 20, 2008
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wbarr said:
Here we go again. This sort of topic comes up every so often on different forums. Thought, for once, I'd comment. Life's too short and all, eh?

If I were a cable manufacturer, I think I'd resent the clear implication that the stuff I was producing at different price bands varied only in the cost of materials used to make it and the level of mark up I decided to charge on it. The implication is that such manufacturers are selling snake oil, and that the whole business model is to rip the consumer off with something that makes no appreciable difference in the sound, safe in the knowledge that the business will continue as purchasers will unknowingly condition themselves to accept that the cost of the cable means it must sound better in their set-up.

Happily, I'm not a cable manufacturer, but nor am I cynical enough to believe that the above is true. Perhaps that makes me gullible/misinformed, whatever, but there you go.

quote] When I found that QED was selling a HiFI ethernet cable, I was convinced that at least some manafacturers at least are only concerned with selling snake oil to people who are simply ignorant of how the technology works. The problem is that a large number of systems now only require cheap digital interconnects that are massed produced and widely available. Those manafacturers who sold expensive analogue cables (where there is some difference) wanted to maintain their business so they started to produce ludicrously over priced digital cables (where there isn't, once you pass the "is it propely made barrier - about £5") because they thought (correctly) that many punters would fall for it.
 

Philim

New member
Jan 16, 2013
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Cypher said:
When you bought a cable for 300 quid you just don't want to admit that it made no difference to the sound. That's the problem in my opinion.

Read this ; (very interesting)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychoacoustics
Lol

So let me understand that to justify my expenditure i imagined a better quality product gave out a better sound and then came on WHF for reassurance.....

Ps i may appreciate quality but i am also not silly. i paid nothing for the cable. All i quoted was the rrp to give a reference.

Nice try though.
 

Philim

New member
Jan 16, 2013
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Cypher said:
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:
Yes she is Head of Quality at Atlas Cables.
 

Thompsonuxb

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Feb 19, 2012
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Lol......

Yes interconnects do make a difference, some noticeble some subtle, but even the subtle difference made can impact on the musical experience in terms of detail, decay, seperation, imaging. ( not a big fan of the Crimson plus myself although I have found for 5.1 sound reproduction - from DVD to reciever - its better than my QED quenex 1 and delivers more detail - it fails to deliver with music for me though)

I honestly would love to see and hear these nay sayers systems, some of them I'm sure need a good ear cleaning/syringing or have such dull sounding speakers/amps that no difference can be heard..

Digital cables I have found do sound different - equal to anolog interconnects as someone already pointed out any loss to your DAC will be heard if your ears are up to it. (I use a reciever for stereo playback and prefer the digital coax out on my CD player and have compared many cables even single legs of anolog pairs....lol... I love this stuff.

Like your misses (the op's) said better £100 than £700+
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
402
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19,070
Why is it that only Hi Fi Nuts can hear differences in cables, when nobody else can? (And that includes those that make and produce the music you listen to)

Curious

Bill
 

pauln

New member
Feb 26, 2008
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Thompsonuxb said:
Lol......

Yes interconnects do make a difference, some noticeble some subtle, but even the subtle difference made can impact on the musical experience in terms of detail, decay, seperation, imaging. ( not a big fan of the Crimson plus myself although I have found for 5.1 sound reproduction - from DVD to reciever - its better than my QED quenex 1 and delivers more detail - it fails to deliver with music for me though)

I honestly would love to see and hear these nay sayers systems, some of them I'm sure need a good ear cleaning/syringing or have such dull sounding speakers/amps that no difference can be heard..

Digital cables I have found do sound different - equal to anolog interconnects as someone already pointed out any loss to your DAC will be heard if your ears are up to it. (I use a reciever for stereo playback and prefer the digital coax out on my CD player and have compared many cables even single legs of anolog pairs....lol... I love this stuff.

Like your misses (the op's) said better £100 than £700+
What comes out of your hifi can never be better than what is recorded in the studio. Have you seen what sort of cables they use?

Regarding digital cables; exactly, or even vaguely, how do you think those ones and zeroes get modified by a cable?

Its just so ridiculous.
 

Thompsonuxb

New member
Feb 19, 2012
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abacus said:
Why is it that only Hi Fi Nuts can hear differences in cables, when nobody else can? (And that includes those that make and produce the music you listen to)

Curious

Bill
Thats not true, every body can hear differences some will deny it though even if their bare arms were placed in fire.

I know one of the assistance at Superfi became a believer after I politely asked him to replace the cheapo cables for some Crimson plus to audition some amps for me then asking him to try said amp with some old Cambridge Pacific I had just in case - he was genuinly suprised at the difference the cables made.

I have also challenged the non belivers on this board to all link up with me and decend on a hifi dealer and see if we could test some cable....all made excuses and declined......doknowwhy.
 

BMFDrums

New member
Dec 15, 2012
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In answer to your question, BigH, they are these:

http://www.whathifi.com/review/chameleon-plus
 

Thompsonuxb

New member
Feb 19, 2012
129
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pauln said:
Thompsonuxb said:
Lol......

Yes interconnects do make a difference, some noticeble some subtle, but even the subtle difference made can impact on the musical experience in terms of detail, decay, seperation, imaging. ( not a big fan of the Crimson plus myself although I have found for 5.1 sound reproduction - from DVD to reciever - its better than my QED quenex 1 and delivers more detail - it fails to deliver with music for me though)

I honestly would love to see and hear these nay sayers systems, some of them I'm sure need a good ear cleaning/syringing or have such dull sounding speakers/amps that no difference can be heard..

Digital cables I have found do sound different - equal to anolog interconnects as someone already pointed out any loss to your DAC will be heard if your ears are up to it. (I use a reciever for stereo playback and prefer the digital coax out on my CD player and have compared many cables even single legs of anolog pairs....lol... I love this stuff.

Like your misses (the op's) said better £100 than £700+
What comes out of your hifi can never be better than what is recorded in the studio. Have you seen what sort of cables they use?

Regarding digital cables; exactly, or even vaguely, how do you think those ones and zeroes get modified by a cable?

Its just so ridiculous.
That is so wrong what you get in a studio is mixed , remixed and then mixed again and mixed one more time just in case. by the time it is pressed and in your stereo it sounds far far superior to what you would have heard in a studio. and trust me those little changes do make a big difference to the music.

its like a note that last 5secs from front edge to final decay, now say the final bit of said note went down 5hz (for argument) now say one cable isn't as 'pure' as another and for that reason it' does not deliver 5hz only goes down to 4hz so said note last 4.6secs

your brain will notice that loss of 0.4sec, those small differences is what you brain hears, and what makes the difference. the better the interconnect (not just cost) the more/better signal is recieved and amplified the better/different these things sound.

You don't believe try this - set your fav track on repeat play when you set A and B points miss the first second of the recording and tell me how jarring it becomes - just one second.

when you hear a full signal - trust me you'll notice when stuff is missing and thats me trying to explain why we can hear differences between cables...... maybe we actually listen.
 

pauln

New member
Feb 26, 2008
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Thompsonuxb said:
its like a note that last 5secs from front edge to final decay, now say the final bit of said note went down 5hz (for argument) now say one cable isn't as 'pure' as another and for that reason it' does not deliver 5hz only goes down to 4hz so said note last 4.6secs
You are joking, right?
 

Thompsonuxb

New member
Feb 19, 2012
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No, I'm being dead serious, Subtle difference affect what is heard in a huge way - frankly I'm suprised you cannot accept how the different properties of cables will not have an effect on an electrical signal and that can be detected by the human brain - try that repeat play test and then think about what I said.
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
402
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19,070
Thompsonuxb said:
No, I'm being dead serious, Subtle difference affect what is heard in a huge way - frankly I'm suprised you cannot accept how the different properties of cables will not have an effect on an electrical signal and that can be detected by the human brain - try that repeat play test and then think about what I said.
You have obviously never done any music mix or production or you wouldn’t come out with such a ridiculous statement as that. (Can’t wait to show the comment to the studios guys next week, they will be rolling all over the floor)

As to denying that cables sound different, you are denying that they don’t, hence it has no relevance to the post.

Enjoy whatever instrument you play

Bill
 

andyjm

New member
Jul 20, 2012
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pauln said:
What comes out of your hifi can never be better than what is recorded in the studio. Have you seen what sort of cables they use?

Regarding digital cables; exactly, or even vaguely, how do you think those ones and zeroes get modified by a cable?

Its just so ridiculous.
Pauln,

If you have studio experience, you will know that it is common practice to have a studio 'master clock' which is used to keep all digital devices in sync. This helps to avoid jitter being introduced by daisy chains of devices, each introducing a little more jitter as the clock goes along the chain.

In a domestic situation the clock is embedded into the datastream in the S/PDIF link. So it isn't just 1s on 0s going down the link, there is also a clock signal. While the data is robust, the clock signal is fragile and can be subject to phase errors caused by mismatched cable / termination effects. This in turn can introduce jitter which MAY effect DACs that are sensitive.

So while you are right that is is unlikely that a cable will be so poor as to cause data errors (wrong 1s and 0s) it is quite possible for a cable to cause clock issues.

As explained above, this is generally avoided in studios by using a master clock, distributed separately from the audio data.
 

pauln

New member
Feb 26, 2008
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Thompsonuxb said:
No, I'm being dead serious, Subtle difference affect what is heard in a huge way - frankly I'm suprised you cannot accept how the different properties of cables will not have an effect on an electrical signal and that can be detected by the human brain - try that repeat play test and then think about what I said.
What "properties" are you referring to?

If there was any effect on the electrical signal it would be measurable. Measuring instruments far more sensitive than the human ear can't seem to find any differences.

There have been many blind tests carried out that show conclusively that even the most revered audiophiles can't tell the difference between cables.

The effect of expectation bias and the extremely transitory nature of human audio memory are accepted scientific facts.

By all means keep spending your money, just don't advise others to do the same. Let them spend it on what really does make a big difference - speakers.
 

Cypher

New member
Jun 8, 2007
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abacus said:
Why is it that only Hi Fi Nuts can hear differences in cables, when nobody else can? (And that includes those that make and produce the music you listen to)

Curious

Bill
Answer is simple ; hi fi nuts want to hear differences.

I also agree with pauln...........buying new speakers will make a difference. Cables will not.
 

Pete68

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Nov 15, 2012
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buying after market cables won't enhance the system electronics but poor / mismatched cables can certainly hold a system back
 

busb

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Jun 14, 2011
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What worries me is that nearly everyone believes that ABX testing works. FWIW, I'm far from convinced for two reasons. Firstly, the reliance on short-term memory. It seems to be little more than an assumption that we can remember anything worthwhile - auditory memory is UNRELIABLE in the short term! Someone please direct me to some scientific prove that states otherwise. Secondly, the lack of symmetry in the test method. Surely any scientific test method should not favour one outcome over the other?

Lets assume an ABX test of two amplifiers using the same technology with similar measured results. The tests are conducted in winter where many of the subjects are suffering from colds that effects their hearing acuity. Surely any proper scientific method would need to exclude those subjects from the test results? Would not the test method need to determine whether or not any subject can hear & report on repeatable and measureable differences BEFORE they can report on differences that are subtle or non-existent according to some? Without some sort of means of determining what subjects CAN hear, the results will not show up false negatives to the same extent they will show false positives! Surely any bias MUST be designed out of the test for the results to be considered valid? Hence symmetry.

As for expectation bias, anyone saying that they are immune to it, should not be taken seriously. Once you know it exists, you can help to lessen its effects. A simple example would be to reverse a change - does it reverse the perceived difference? If not, question the conclusions. Do the original conclusions stand up to repetition?

My own experience of informal and uncontrolled testing is that many of the perceived differences were often only imagined. Many of the differences i'm happy to admit to were only noticed after weeks or months not seconds!
 

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