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  1. #1
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    James Randi enters the cable debate..

    Finally a little attention is being shown to the snake oil world of speaker cables:

    http://tinyurl.com/2ncuhd

    It probably won't make a difference but at least those of us that are disgusted by the unethical, untruthful and scurrilous cable industry now have a little hope. Thanks James Randi.

  2. #2
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Not the first time a cash prize has been offered - but this is the biggest I'm aware of. Good for him.

    I bet he gets as many challengers as the rest. Zero.

  3. #3
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    High-priced cables

    Quote Originally Posted by bubbagump
    Finally a little attention is being shown to the snake oil world of speaker cables:

    http://tinyurl.com/2ncuhd

    It probably won't make a difference but at least those of us that are disgusted by the unethical, untruthful and scurrilous cable industry now have a little hope. Thanks James Randi.
    They are an egregious scam perpetrated on the owners of entry and midde range systems at least. I respect the opinion of E-Stat, (for example), who insists that cables can make that final, small improvement to a very fine system. But then he has a very fine, very high-end system indeed, the likes of which few of us can aspire to.

    It is ridiculous to spend more on wires than components, yet many people do this, encourage by the ignorant and/or malicious jackass salesmen at all levels of equipment sellers.

    For interconnects, I recommend Blue Jeans Cable -- professional grade cable assembled to you specification. In my midrange system I hear no difference from audiophile cables costing 3x-4x as much.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Here I go again. First I have never spent more than $150 on a pair of speaker cables. For my modest system that is as much as I can justify. I have three cables that I like to show that they do make a difference in sound. Of the cables two are stranded and one is solid core. The Ultralink cables retail for about $60 and what most people notice about them is they tilt the balance to favor the high frequencies. On extended listening they became irritating with my speakers. The other stranded cable is the Dayton speaker cable from Parts Express. If memory serves they were about $35 a pair. They are a better balanced cable in my sytem. I sometimes tire of the more diffuse soundstage of stranded cables but on some recordings this can be preferable. Also this cable has very good imaging. Next is the AlphaCore MI1 which is a solid core ribbon and when purchased was about $130. This cable gives you very focused individual images but is a little more two dimensional.

    Currently I am listening to the Daytons. With the music I am currently interested in they are the most satisfying. The AlphaCores have been in the system the longest and used the most. I may be back to them. I have yet to find the all purpose speaker cable. Maybe a little more money will buy that cable. All I can say is there is a difference. Subtle sometimes and obvious at others. The last time I had the Ustralink in the system a non audiophile friend was over and asked "What happened to the bass?". The bass was still there but as I said the balance was tilted to the highs and he equated the excess highs with less bass.

    If a cable is not right for my system I find it irritating within a week. Could I tell much about a cable in an AB comparison? Probably not. I do not know the science to explain the differences but I can demonstrate them with my system. Two channel, tone controls bypassed and listening in the nearfield. I do not know if they would make as much a difference in a multichannel system where the signal is processed.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
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  5. #5
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    here's a deal: give me the speaker cables, and I'll prove that they're better than a $10 zipcord.
    (and I'll take the $1 million too, thanks )

    no seriously, I'd do it

    btw, I just spent €100 on a 1m powercord, all furutech, and it was worth every penny!

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
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    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
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    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  6. #6
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Take the challenge, Basite.

    In TAS's cable shootout a few years ago, Paul Seydor made a point to note that during the listening tests of the IC's and speaker cables, even he would have a heckuva time telling the difference between the cables in A/B testing. In fact, he noted that the level of concentration required goes against everything music is about: enjoyment. It was an exhausting exercise and remember, they were using reference systems to do the test. It's fair to say that the resolution of these rigs surpass any of our rigs (E-stat and Flo excluded). As an aside, one of his favorites in the shootout was Home Depot 12ga outdoor extension cord with the ends clipped off and spades installed.

  7. #7
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    I'm a lowes fan myself.
    I found speaker cable of high q selling in of all places, wall mart automotive, 12g oxy free copper, I bought 4 rolls (13$ for 50ft)
    And I REALLY DID HEAR A DIFFERENCE WITH MY MONSTER speaker cables,
    don't know if better speaker cables would sound better.
    I also have monster IC's of varying quality level, they are gold plate, oxy free with good insulation, and they all match, and my system sounds great.
    The rest is hooey as far as I'm concerned
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
    sub asw2500
    Panny DVDA player
    sharp Aquos BLU player
    pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
    Samsung SACD/DVDA player
    emotiva upa-2 two channel amp

  8. #8
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bubbagump
    Finally a little attention is being shown to the snake oil world of speaker cables:
    Actually, he did this several years ago. If you want to learn all the lies and damned lies spoken by Mr. Zwinge and his facilitator, then you can find them on AA. The original thread goes back to 2005 and there is a current thread started by a noobie over there who likewise thinks this is "news". For some reason, Zwinge doesn't mind fabricating statements he alleges John Atkinson, editor of Stereophile, has said or printed. Nor that of one person who accepted the challenge, but was not given the chance to carry through following the addition of some small print and further lies from the facilitator.

    Apparently, you have made up your mind that aftermarket cables offer no benefits and my guess is that you have never tried any in your own system. That's fine with me. Unfortunately, there are indeed some flaky companies out there which makes it more difficult to navigate. My experience and that of quite a few respected ears suggests otherwise. Frankly, I tire of having this discussion. The differences are system specific and subtle. The reason is that while the cable itself may not "change" the signal, it can cause the amplifier to respond differently to the real world load of an actual speaker. Imagine that concept.

    Cable Article

    Make sure you read all the parts. While some are still debating if such differences exist, others are making progress understanding the mechanisms behind the differences. Just like was done when jitter was first "discovered" to affect the sound of digital players.

    As for me, better cables lower the system noise floor. That's it. As a computer professional, I have two wireless routers, three computers, four wireless phones, three digital cable boxes, five CD/DVD players, a computer controlled microwave oven, computer controlled washer and dryer, etc. ALL of which radiate RFI and spew hash back into the AC line. If you're like Resident Loser, then none of this matters since he has none of that newfangled stuff. When one lowers the noise floor through aftermarket power cords using active or passive filtering, shielded interconnects and speaker cables, then a layer of grunge is removed. Initially, everything sounds darker. Not bright. When you get accustomed to the removal of that random hash, you hear more of the musical detail previously covered up or rendered hard sounding.

    Thirty plus years of exposure to some of the highest fidelity audio equipment has taught me that the better the system gets, the quieter it can be and still mimic the live event (live, unamplified music that is). Wide dynamic range can be found at either end of the loudness spectrum. My ears prefer exploiting the one at the bottom. I rarely listen with peaks above the 90 db range. Mid 80s is more typical. To each his own.

    rw

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat

    As for me, better cables lower the system noise floor. That's it. As a computer professional, I have two wireless routers, three computers, four wireless phones, three digital cable boxes, five CD/DVD players, a computer controlled microwave oven, computer controlled washer and dryer, etc. ALL of which radiate RFI and spew hash back into the AC line. If you're like Resident Loser, then none of this matters since he has none of that newfangled stuff. When one lowers the noise floor through aftermarket power cords using active or passive filtering, shielded interconnects and speaker cables, then a layer of grunge is removed. Initially, everything sounds darker. Not bright. When you get accustomed to the removal of that random hash, you hear more of the musical detail previously covered up or rendered hard sounding.

    rw
    I agree completely with the need to lower the noise floor. One of the best improvements to my system was removing the ground plug from my PS Audio power cord used with my int. amp. Living in an apartment building it was surprising the amount of grunge I was receiving through the ground. Now none of my equipment is grounded. E-Stat is correct that the initial effect is an apparent darkening of the sound but once the hash is removed so is much of the listener fatigue.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  10. #10
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    It's fair to say that the resolution of these rigs surpass any of our rigs...
    Your system is definitely good enough to benefit from some modestly priced aftermarket cabling. I was quite frankly surprised how good a double pair of Advents can sound when fed a really clean signal. While I wouldn't begin by purchasing the gear I use with them (mostly hand-me-downs from the main system), they are capable of resolving the subtle kinds of differences I hear on good musical content.

    I'm trying to find the time to schedule a visit to hear (not hear) the new Nordost Odins at Seacliff. Talk about obscene pricing!

    rw

  11. #11
    Mutant from table 9
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    No! Here is the "danceable" cable I use. It's the sh!tI



    Seriously though. I was and still am a cable skeptic. I used that 12 guage Home Depot outdoor extension cord on my outdoor speakers. But, some cracks are showing in my skeptisism armour.

    Two things happened.

    First thing was I got new carpeting in my listening room. System came apart and then had to be put back together. When I put it back together, the mains were out of phase. Took me three weaks to realize why everything sounded goofy. I new something was wrong, but was missing the obvious. The lesson here is how fallible my hearing is.

    Second thing that happened was I started playing around with different phono carts. While I'm not a big believer in the differences in cables, I do believe that the stylus and cart are the single most important piece of chain, even more than speakers (assuming you're not using SounDesign speakers). If the stylus isn't pulling it off the wax, it doesn't matter how good your speakers are.

    So anyway, with carts it takes me a good week or two to wrap my brain around its sound, break-in not withstanding. The lesson there for me is that A/B comparison is not necessarily all it's cracked up to be. It can take some time to get to the nuance of a piece of equipment.

    So between my bad hearing and questionabilty of A/B comparison, I'm not so sure about cables anymore. As long as there is system synergy and as long as the buyer goes in with both eyes open, then who cares.

    Finally, Randi's not a badaszz for going after Pear. Pear preys on relatively sophisticated audiophiles who know what they are doing. The real culprit is Monster and AR for hawking overpriced cables to soccer dads who don't know any better and are just trying to get their Journey Greatest Hits CD to rock and their copy of Finding Nemo to shut the kids up.
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  12. #12
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    Your system is definitely good enough to benefit from some modestly priced aftermarket cabling. I was quite frankly surprised how good a double pair of Advents can sound when fed a really clean signal. While I wouldn't begin by purchasing the gear I use with them (mostly hand-me-downs from the main system), they are capable of resolving the subtle kinds of differences I hear on good musical content.

    I'm trying to find the time to schedule a visit to hear (not hear) the new Nordost Odins at Seacliff. Talk about obscene pricing!

    rw
    Don't get me wrong, I don't have zip cord in the rig. I use Harmonic Tech and Monster IC's, PS Audio power cord and Ultimate Outlet on my amp, Marsh Lab's speaker cable and a Monster power conditioner for the sources. The thing is, almost all of that stuff was negotiated in as a bonus with something else! Whether or not they make a difference, I haven't taken the time, nor do I have the inclination, to find out.

    I do think that your assertation that good cables can lower the noise floor makes logical sense. A power conditioner can make a readily verifiable difference on most video displays. The hash is gone, simple as that. Therefore, it would follow that audio would also benefit from deeper, cleaner blacks. Whether or not you can hear it, as opposed to see it, is left to the individual.

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