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Cables It's all about connections. Discuss everything about audio cables ranging from balanced to unbalanced, speaker cables to interconnects and beyond.

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Old 05-16-2008   #25
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Default Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie

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Originally Posted by pocketman View Post
Please do not misquote me. I do not believe in exotic cables such as "Jade audio Vermeil gold speaker cable New Retail $2900.00"

Any speaker wire over $20.00/linear ft (not including ends) is getting into "silly money" territory. I personally have been involved in a double blind test and could not hear the difference between the cables I have and cables costing up to 150% more. My ears are perfectly fine; I can hear better than most people I know, with the exception of a friend of mine that is a concert pianist with perfect pitch.

If you are willing to spend $2900 on a set of cables, like I said go for it; I never will. I would much rather spend that money on better speakers.

By the way have you ever popped the top off some of your electronics and looked inside? Most of the wiring is not even copper (unless you are paying big dollars).
I don't now nor never would spend $2900.00 for cables. I was just kidding you about the comment "$120.00 for high quality cables.
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Old 05-16-2008   #26
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Default Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie

Excellent posts by dndrussi and starvinmarvin...use your ears.

PHD's, engineers, 1's and 0's...whatever. The proof is in the listening itself. Why does a 14w SET amp have the ability to sound better than a 600w solid state behemoth? Why does vinyl still sound better than CD/SACD/Blu Ray after all these years? Do these numbers "spec" out better?

Listen...can you hear it?
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Old 05-16-2008   #27
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Default Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie

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Originally Posted by nedrudrelyt View Post
Excellent posts by dndrussi and starvinmarvin...use your ears.

PHD's, engineers, 1's and 0's...whatever. The proof is in the listening itself. Why does a 14w SET amp have the ability to sound better than a 600w solid state behemoth? Why does vinyl still sound better than CD/SACD/Blu Ray after all these years? Do these numbers "spec" out better?

Listen...can you hear it?
No, I can't hear that vinyl is better than hi-rez digital (SACD or DVD-a) at all, particularly in multichannel as opposed to 2-channel. I am not throwing away my very large record collection built myself since the 1950's, but my experience with the hi-rez formats over the last 6 months is that they are most definitely far, far better than vinyl or Redbook CD. It's not even close. My system could be better(cost around $50K before multichannel) but it is no slouch, believe me.

As between Redbook CD and vinyl, to be honest, I have some LP's that sound great and many that do not. I also have many CD's that are not so hot. For me it's a close call between vinyl and Redbook. I do believe that the typical CD in my also very large collection is of greater realism than the typical LP, while the best LP's sound fantastic.

Sorry, but this is what my ears tell me. Have you tried multichannel SACD or DVD-A in your own system?

My bottom line on wires: they do make a difference, but that difference is greatly exagerated, especially as to price. And we still do not know whether that difference is just L-R-C at work or some other magic, because most manufacturers and all the high end magazines do not publish the measured electrical values. So, it's more or less a random system matching game.

I recently had a fabulous experience in my system in trying to find a bargain in 10 meter balanced interconnects for my side/rear channels. I chose bettercables.com' s interconnect with great results. In fact when I tried it on my front amp/preamp connection in place of my 2 meter Cardas Golden Cross (top of the line pre-Golden Reference), I thought the $270/pair for 10 meters stuff sounded better. I thought I would try the bettercables wire because it has a phenominally low capacitance spec, and it turn out it sounds great, too.
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Old 05-16-2008   #28
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Wink Re: I came across this interesting post about HDMI cables

[QUOTE=rex;14952]Since this question gets asked like 15 times a day, and I usually end up responding to them, I'll make a general post... Sure would be nice to be stickied, but since that won't happen, at least highlight it and keep the URL so you yourself will have an easy time "replying" to the onslaught of questions...

I originally wrote this as a reply to a post, but thought it made more sense standing on it's own... So here goes...

"Question: Is there any difference between a cheap (i.e. $10 HDMI cable) and an expensive (i.e. $150 HDMI cable)???"

I have an EE degree. I work as a broadcast engineer. I live and breath digital and analog signals every day. So yes, you could say I'm qualified to give the answer to this question...

That answer is, "No, an expensive HDMI cable will make NO difference in the quality of your picture OR sound"

I'll give you the more complex reason first, then an analogy... Hopefully one will make sense... If you don't want all the real technical stuff, just skip down to B for a real simple explaination...

A) Wires send electrical signals... Plain and simple. Anything sent over a wire is ultimately just a voltage/current applied to that cable. Let's say we're talking about an analog video signal that's 1 volt peak to peak... In other words, measuring from the LOWEST voltage to the HIGHEST voltage will give a result of 1 volt... With an analog signal you have "slices" of time that are "lines" of signal... It's too complex to go into here, but basically you have a "front porch" which is known as the "setup"... This is what helps your tv "lock onto" and sets the "black level" for the signal. After that you've got each line of the image (455 half cycles per line). Again I won't go into how chromanance (color information) and luminance (picture or brightness information) is combined, seperated, etc.. It's too complex for this discussion, but irregardless, just know that following that porch you've got all the lines of the picture (and some that don't show up on the picture... these carry closed captioning, test signals, etc...). All of these "lines" of information when you look at them on a scope look like this...


That waveform is all of that information in analog form... In other words, if you look at one VERY SMALL timeslice of that waveform, the EXACT position of the form (i.e. what voltage is present) represents what information is at that position...

Because of this, it's VERY EASY for other radiated signals to get "mixed in" with that information. When this happens, the more "noise" you get mixed into the signal, the more degraded the picture will be... You'll start to get snow, lines, weird colors, etc... Because "information" is getting into the waveform that doesn't belong there...

With digital however, (i.e. the signal sent over an HDMI cable), the information is encoded differently... At it's lowest level, it's nothing but a string of bits... In other words, each signal is either ON or OFF... It doesn't care if a particular timeslice is 4.323 volts or 4.927 volts... It's just ON... See on the right side here, the "square wave" pattern?


That's what a digital signal looks like... For each "slice" of the signal, the "bit" is either on (if the signal is high) or off (if it's low)...

Because of that, even if you mix some noise, or even a LOT of noise into the signal, the bit will STILL be on or off... It doesn't matter...


Now, for a slightly easier to understand analogy...

B) Think of it this way... Let's say you have a ladder with 200 steps on it... An "analog" signal represent information by WHICH step the person is on at a certain time. As you move further and further away (get "noise or interference in the signal), it's very easy to start making mistakes... For example, if the person is on the 101st step, you might say he's on 102nd, or as you get further away, you might start making more and more mistakes... At some point you won't know if the person is on the 13th step or the 50th step....

NOW... In a digital signal, we don't care if he's on the 13th or 14th or 15th step... All we care about is rather he's at the TOP or the BOTTOM... So now, as we back you up further and further (introduce more noise), you might have no idea what STEP he's on, but you'll STILL be able to tell if he's a "1" or a "0"...

THIS is why digital signals aren't affected by cheaper cables, etc... Now eventually if you keep moving further and further back, there may come a point where you can no longer tell if he's up or down... But the good news is, digital signals don't "guess"... If they SEE the signal, they work... If they DON'T, they DON'T.. LOL

So if anyone ever tells you they can "see the difference" between HDMI cables, etc... You can knowingly laugh to yourself and think about how much money the poor sole wasted on something that was pointless.


Now, I've seen others say that they make a difference in audio... ALL audio carried over HDMI is STILL in digital format... So again, since it's a digital signal, it will not make ANY difference at all....

I've also seen various posts in regards to things like "Make sure you get a v1.3 cable"... The various HDMI versions determine the capabilities of the DEVICES on either end of that cable (most of the HDMI versions (other then 1.0 to 1.1) have to do with AUDIO and how many channels / type of audio are carried...) Because of this, the cable itself is NO DIFFERENT... It's just marketing that some companies charge more for a "v1.3" cable then a "v1.1" cable, etc... The cables themselves will work now and WELL into the future for any other HDMI versions that come along the way....

AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! Finally someone with the credentials and knowledge to add some much needed light unto the murky mists of "Audio Shmanism!" Just get ready for the "Don't confuse me with the facts..my minds already made up" crowd! I've posted alot of responses to these type of "Audio Elitism aka. Golden Ears" B.S. before on these boards! Here we go again! Looks like anytime these boards need a boost, someone starts this old theme up again..knowing this will go on forever! I think I'm better qualified than even the electronics experts on these boards as I am an Eye/Ear/Nose/Throat Doctor.._wth_ a PHD thrown in! I can't wait to chime in (as I did the last time this old chesnut was resurrected!) Bring it guys!!!!!! LOL!
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Old 05-16-2008   #29
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Default Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie

Well, fitzcaraldo215...I guess we'll have to "kind of" agree to disagree. But this is what I love about audio or even home theater for that matter...no matter how good the equipment, we all hear something different.

As long as there is a conversion process from digital back to analog, vinyl will always have the upper hand regardless of format. SACD and DVD-A made great strides to capturing that full analog experience but fell fairly short I'm afraid. That's what my ears tell me anyway. Actually, I'm going to throw DVD-A right out of the conversation as it doesn't even really belong there. Never sounded as good as SACD. Sure, one needs a pretty decent analog rig to get the best of what the format has to offer and yes, alot of LP's don't sound better than their "redbook" counterparts but alot of that is in the mastering. All I'm saying is that properly mastered and recorded...the best I have heard SACD offer multichannel or otherwise, just doesn't capture the full experience that vinyl has to offer. My ears tell me that.

I have a two-channel system approaching $40,000 and yes, I have heard the best multichannel SACD on rigs as much as $340,000 and I hate to say it...good vinyl wins every time. The simplicity is all there. Even as resolute as SACD can be there is still a conversion process of digital to analog and that is where information is lost. Vinyl rigs and good analog just don't need to deal with that. Am I saying that vinyl is as good as the pure source in 30ips master tape and such? Well, no, but I am saying (to my ears) that it is still the closest available.

I also have been attending the symphony about 12 times a year since 1995 and I do know how acoustic instruments need to sound in any given acoustic space. SACD to me has never achieved (very close though) that and even vinyl falls short of the source of the live event but the classical vinyl audiophile repressings I have purchased sound noticeably better than their SACD counterparts. Proof is in the pudding for me. Vinyl, for the most part, puts me in the seat of that concert hall. SACD, while real close...does not.

Multichannel SACD is a pretty big disappointment actually, especially on the classical labels that have "embraced" the format. So much potential and they just can't agree on a standard of recording and I believe the SACD recordings are starting to suffer for it. Don't even get me started on rock SACD recordings but the classical labels have basically just turned the format into a marketing ploy. I'm just saying that all those engineers doing SACD recordings today, multichannel or otherwise can't agree an how to record properly and I believe the consumer has suffered for it. Man, I have JVC XRCD's that sound WAY better than some of the same recordings on SACD and that just isn't right. And XRCD is "redbook". And now with the advent of Blu Ray winning the war and all they'll want to sell us all the music catalog all over again and pick up where SACD failed monumentally. No thanks...not for this kid. No more double-dipping. SACD had the full potential to give us all vinyl did and more and they brilliantly screwed that up. The only advantage BR would have over SACD is data storage. I highly doubt there will be an increase in fidelity at all.

But weren't we talking about cables? Yipes...

Bettercables wire better than Cardas Golden Cross? THAT... I would have to hear with my own ears.

I'd like to say something about Cardas that is going to be construed as bias (I have it throughout my own system) but it is the honest truth. I recently chatted with a rep from one of the "big 5" North American audio manufacturers at an RSVP night I was attending at a high end shop. I asked him outright what kid of cables they used for their in-house R&D and he told me flat out...Cardas Neutral Ref. He had said they use some "wow" cable at CES and stuff to impress the crowd and all but when it comes right down to allowing the components to "speak"...Cardas. I thought to myself, here is a top 5 manufacturer which has access to any cable at any price...interesting. I tried Cardas NR in my own system and at first I thought, hmmmm, not sure. Maybe "too" neutral?? But after a month of break-in man...I have never heard a better cable. And I have had Nordost, Van Den Hul, MIT, Monster, Shunyata, Gutwire, pass through this system. I'm not sure I could ever replace it...

Actually, the rep wen't on to boldly say that he knows of close to 12 out of the top 20 North American manufacturers that use Cardas for their in-house R&D. THAT, to me anyway, says something. Is what you need to spend on cable relative? Well...sure. But that is for the end user to decide. I have had cable in my own system that has costed 3-4 times as much as the Cardas but I made a decision on what my ears had told me...regardless of price.
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Old 05-16-2008   #30
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Default Re: Dispelling audio myths, the cable lie

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Originally Posted by nedrudrelyt View Post

As long as there is a conversion process from digital back to analog, vinyl will always have the upper hand regardless of format.
I do not mean to be crude or argumentative, but you seem to be saying that digital audio is not now and can never be can never be as good as analog, regardless of what future digital developments may come down the pike. Similar logic to yours could be used, and actually was used at one time in the late teens and early 1920's, to justify the "inherent" superiority of acoustic recordings over the newfangled electrically miked recordings. Acoustic recording (horn directly connected to cutting stylus) was purer, simpler and more direct, and, therefore, must sound more like the real thing. Well, the world quickly perceived that that was not the case.

The logic could also be used to justify the superiority of the older analog broadcast standard for television over the current hi-def digital broadcast standard. Vision is, after all, an analog, not a digital thing. Well, I hope you do not think analog is superior in this case.

Are you also aware that transmission of the human voice over short or long distances by telephone companies all over the world is made demonstrably much, much clearer, more noise free, and better defined via digital transmission lines than was ever possible with analog lines. The digital lines are much, much cheaper and more reliable, too.

The Redbook CD era was an early stage filled with mistakes and growing pains in the ongoing development process of digital audio. Many audiophiles compared CD's to the, by then, mature, fully developed analog LP and concluded that digital was seriuosly lacking. They were not entirely wrong, but, since then, all things digital have been eternally demonized by many audiophiles. Apparently, you are one of them.

The analog era is fully mature approaching a limiting asymptote of what further progress it can make. Yes further progress can be made but the steps have been and are going to be extremely small and expensive. Judging by the prices of improved, better sounding analog gear or even new record pressings, it is getting a whole lot more expensive.

Digital audio is only in its adolescence. We are almost ready to shift gears into the post-SACD era of Blu-Ray music disks using 7.1 lossles codecs with even greater resolution than now. Several of these have actually been released already.

Well, my interest in 2 channel analog or CD has waned considerably. There is simply more recorded information conveyed into my listening room from even 5.1 discrete, hi-rez channels than from 2. To me the resolution, dynamic headroom, freedom from noise(not just ticks and pops) and distortion, etc. of SACD is also considerably greater than vinyl (or Redback CD). I became convinced when I heard some of the Ondine SACD's of live concerts of the Philadelphia Orchestra which I had actually attended. For me, hi-rez multichannel rules in terms of recreating a much more realistic sense of actually being there spatially, dynamically and tonally. No 2-channel system I have ever heard, analog or digital, including some extremely costly and exotic ones comes nearly as close for me. (Note that part of this judgement is also due to the utterly fantastic Audyssey "room equalizer" - another digital breakthrough - built into my Integra DTC 9.8 multichannel controller.)

Back to cables. We agree that Cardas is good stuff. I have not thrown mine away. I was simply not going to spend $4,000 or so for two 10-meter XLR paired runs of Neutral Reference, as good as it might be. I thought about it, but it's roughly 8 times as expensive as what I got from bettercables.com. Is it 8 times as good? No way! Well, we really do not know if, in my system, it is even as good as the stuff I bought. Wecome back to the real world of the cable conumdrum.
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