The controversy surrounding the claim to audible improvements due to cabling are widely known and the effects of wire are generally reported as insignificant by many sources outside of subjectivist audiophile circles. Numerous engineering experts in various fields of electrical, audio, and loudspeaker engineering have also stated this opinion. Such experts include Dr. Howard Johnson of Signal Consulting Inc., John Dunlavy most recently of Dunlay Audio Labs, and Roger Russell formerly Director of Acoustic Research for McIntosh Laboratory. Each of these gentlemen has spoken out against exaggerated claims of cable effects on audio reproduction in various venues; Mr. Russell, the man behind the McIntosh Loudspeaker Division from its inception in 1967 until 1992, goes as far as actively criticize exotic cable performance claims on the web site he maintains.
Several important questions must be answered when evaluating marketing claims for scientific validity about the effects of cable design on audio performance:
What established scientific knowledge supports the purported design issues?
How is established science applied to provide an engineering solution to these issues?
Do these issues produce significant audible effects that warrant design effort and cost?
We will take an extensive look into just these questions.
I will start by referring readers to Audioholics’ extensive library of documentation debunking nonsense cable design based on published research, mathematical calculations, and well known engineering principles that are supported with opinions from academics, practitioners, and other cable manufacturers who do not push over priced, high profit margin exotic cables. Several overview articles are linked here and many others are linked with specific topics:
Audioholics: Top Ten Signs an Audio Cable Vendor is selling you Snake Oil
Audioholics: The Truth About Interconnects and Cables
Audioholics: Audio Cables Science or Religion?
Audioholics: Calculating Cable Inductance of Zip Cord
Audioholics: Interview with Dr Howard Johnson about Skin Effect
We will find that every topic claimed important to cable design has been debunked as nonexistent, inaudible, or insignificant at audio frequencies. Coupled with the fact that exotic cable designs are not used by the professional broadcast and recording studios that produce the recordings in the first place, this non-issue of cables is further diminished in significance.