Re: How much difference do you think cables makes in the audio quality of your system
I believe that if you cannot measure a difference, then there either is not one or the experiment is flawed. I also believe that there is a lot of snake oil and snake oil salespeople out there.
I have observed measurable, and audible differences between analog component interconnect cables that are most likely due to the poor quality and construction of the dielectric used. These affected the high frequency response, as well as noise generation when the cables were moved. This last phenomena is probably due to triboelelectric effect. I have not done the same for digital connections, due to the price of the equipment required. I believe that digital connections either work or fail miserably - there is not much room for fuzz between those two extremes. I do know that the higher the frequency of digital signals, the harder it is to get copper connections to behave. I wish the industry would quit that practice and move on to proven optical links for that reason.
For analog interconnects, I believe that as long as the interconnect provides adequate low-impedance shielding coverage to prevent noise injection due to either electrostatic or magnetic induction, are built from parts that are mechanically sound enough to preclude immediate failure upon installation, and do not chemically break down due to exposure to air, they should be expected to work. Note that the total length of the interconnect is a tiny fraction of the electrical wavelength of the even the highest audio frequency signal, so most of the transmission line theory does not apply very well. it DOES apply for high speed digitally switching circuits, however.
I believe that speaker cables are different story - I believe in the simple application of ohms law and sound mechicanical and chemical engineering here.
The relatively high currents produced by the amplifier and the low source and load impedances make ohmic losses dominate. Usually this is due to insufficient total conductive area for the given length of the round trip run. Other potential problems may include weak physical structure that provides insufficient protection from both penetration and crushing forces, and poorly constructed terminations that exhibit high electrical loss and eventual chemical or mechanical failure.
My comments are my own - Your milage may vary.
- Kloneman --