Jump to content
Black64

High-End Audio Cables

Recommended Posts

I have been into audio for a little bit now. And I constantly upgrade and try out new gear in my personal HT and PC setups. One thing though that I thought was a total gimmick and a total waste of money was upgrading cables. But I recently got to demo the full line of AudioQuest cables. The setup consisted of a small Denon DAC and a cheap pair of Pioneer speakers. I know it wasn't an impressive setup but it was to show that the cables they were going to show could work on any system. The first cable was a power cable, which I think is crazy that a power cable would make a difference. Wouldn't you need to replace the romex in the walls as well and why would the last 2 feet of power need to come over an expensive cable?

 

But they first showed us the song using the stock power cable and then went to the Audioquest one. I found it sounded about 5-10% better and there was better soundstage and depth in the music. I was surprised! Almost like the speakers were being muffled before. They then started to swap out each cable, speaker cable, USB cable and optical cables with each sounding better then the stock cables.

 

And here it where it stopped getting better. Then they started to swap the cables to higher end ones. Where the price got into the thousands for each cable. But then difference was no longer noticeable to be. Even after going to the highest end cable I couldn't hear much of a difference VS the lowest end Audioquest cable. What's crazy is that the Digital cables actually made a difference! Which doesn't make any sense at all, but you just have to hear it to believe it.

 

What I learned from this was that you don't need ultra high end, $50K cables, just well built ones. It doesn't matter what brand just as long as you can tell a difference in sound quality. And that stock cables can be improved upon enough to hear a difference. If you don't believe anything I said above, just try one out yourself. If you don't like it, return it.

 

(I am not trying to advertise for any company, just sharing a experience I had recently)

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always enjoyed making my own cables. I use BlueJeans/RawCable for the cable and connectors and just take my time and make each cable as well as I can.

 

But they can make a difference, not much most of the time though haha a good power cable and power filtering does a lot though.

 

So what are you going to do now Black?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am going to upgrade cables, not just to AudioQuest ones, but I am going to try out a few other brands as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Theres nothing special about 'better quality' and/or 'expensive' cabling.

 

Its just thicker gauge, more shielding and a sturdy connector.

 

 

So yeah, like you said step-up from 'el-cheapo' cabling and move up to sturdy sensible cabling and you're good to go.

Edited by Andrewr05

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

media bridge makes good cables for abou 100th of the price . triple shielded and everything .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

 

 

What I learned from this was that you don't need ultra high end, $50K cables, just well built ones. It doesn't matter what brand just as long as you can tell a difference in sound quality. And that stock cables can be improved upon enough to hear a difference.

 

(I am not trying to advertise for any company, just sharing a experience I had recently)

nice one Black!

your humble experience could help us people who are in search for the best yet easy on the budget solutions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had this argument with my friend who works as a cable installer. Basically after a few hours of arguing , I lost because I did not think it was possible to have different "quality" in digital. This is true to a point because Ones and Zeros are still the same. what is the changing factor is signal degradation. Even a digital signal can degrade and still be usable. It's not all or nothing setup like so many people think.  So straight from a cable perspective you can lose data if it's not triple shielded or bad solder job, etc. The second factor which you have no real control over is the input and output devices. Each device has Female or Male connects that have been soldered to the board. If the connection is weak, you get data corruption and loss. Lastly is the encoding and decoding chips. They play a large role too. It doesn't matter how good your cables are because a walmart Blu-ray player isn't going to look like a OPPA. That goes for sound too.

My solution is to just Media bridge cables for everything. It's cheap and past those I cant tell the difference or have devices that benefit.  I tried different cords for my Klipsch Reference RW-12d 12 sub and getting all the frequencies to play on a test cd was hard. still can't hit 24hz but it's much better than before using cheap generic cables. I guess my point is that is doesn't matter what you are trying to improve, any cable is better than generic ones.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with many of the points of view put forth. I have used less expensive cables for years - at least when it comes to digital. For digital it is very true that bad solder connections can cause information loss and lost quality. Analog is a completely different animal where the cable is the 'thing' and proper shielding is paramount. I used to install a lot of sound systems and very often found that the 110V power from a wall socket was reversed from what it should be - bad grounding. This phenom passes thru the power supply directly into the preamps and amps so that every stage of reproduction is comprimized. There are several excellent cable articles on the Cable Wholesale website which talk about poor cabeling performance. http://cablewholesale.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I ordered a few AudioQuest cables (I got a deal on the low end ones) and they arrive tomorrow so they should be fun to A/B test on my system. They are mostly analog interconnects, which should make the most difference in sound quality. Even still I will never get better HDMI cables though, I don't run audio over HDMI, I always use optical. And from reading reviews and knowing that HDMI works or it doesn't shows that HDMI cables are not worth upgrading. I personally prefer Aurum cables (Amazon) and they look cool and are super cheap. I have tried out a few medialink cables, they seem about the same as Aurum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

optical doesnt have the bandwidth for losses audio or 96khz. I guess it doesn't really matter, but between AC3 and Loseless audio I can tell a difference. HDMI is te only way to go if you want full sound.

 

edit: I guess if you have stright audio jacks from the blu-ray player than that would be better depending on the player.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

optical doesnt have the bandwidth for losses audio or 96khz. I guess it doesn't really matter, but between AC3 and Loseless audio I can tell a difference. HDMI is te only way to go if you want full sound.

 

edit: I guess if you have stright audio jacks from the blu-ray player than that would be better depending on the player.

Well I am using optical for now, I am waiting for the new Anthem receivers to come out and then I will switch over to full HDMI for video and sound.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Spending money on cables to improve sound...I just don't get it. Get decent cables (Monoprice) and put your money where it matters most: speakers and amps, in that order. :cheers:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...