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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 04-15-2009   #25
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Exclamation Re: What cables do you use?

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Originally Posted by Robinson_A View Post
It occurred to me after reading an earlier thread about cable disasters that cables are the unsung heroes of the AV world. Now, I know there are two trains of thought when it comes to cables, those who think they're snake oil marketing ploys and those who believe they are the single most crucial part of any audio system. Well, this thread is about those of us in the middle. Having owned a myriad of cables from the ultra high end to the super budget (including some DIY CAT-5 speaker cable) I've come to the conclusion that cables do make a difference however, I don't feel you have to spend an arm and a leg and maybe a kidney to buy them.

For instance, for years my reference two channel rig consisting of NAD gear and a pair of Paradigm Mini Monitors were connected via Mapleshade interconnects and speaker cables. While a bit on the esoteric side, the Mapleshade cables provided true high-end performance at sub Mega Store prices. It was the Mapleshade products that opened my eyes to cheaper (relatively speaking) but high performing cables such as the UltraLink and XLO cables I use today. Like most of today's manufacturers UltraLink and XLO have product ranges and prices that run the gamut, however, even their most inexpensive wire has proven solid in both sound improvement as well as investment. I use them both almost exclusively in my reference HT system.

Now here is where I break with my previous sentiments a bit because I do use Transparent Reference speaker cables and interconnects in my two-channel setup. I do this because I feel when talking about absolutes in terms of performance Transparent is the way to go. However, more often than not, I listen to music via my whole home audio system, which is wired with Monster Cable. Like an exotic car my Transparent cables come out to play when the mood is just right.

Cables are like after market parts on a car. Sure you can put a supercharger on a tin can and make it do tricks but that doesn't change the fact that it's still a tin can. However, if you have a balls out testament of engineering you're not going to slap on that Wal-Mart brand spoiler on the back of it either. Like all things, AV cables are and should be looked at relative to the system and the budget. All to often I hear of folks dropping serious coin on something like Transparent cable only to hook 'em up to sub par electronics that aren't really going benefit the gear or the user either way.

That being said, I'd love to hear what others out there are using to "hook up" their systems. What have you learned along the way? What is fact and better still, what is fiction? Or if nothing else post a list of what you have. Give us a mini review if you'd like.

It's all good.
Here is your mini review:
Your theory that cable cost should have any connection to cost of system is a promulgation of the same sales pitch of audio salespeople and the cable manufacturers who want to profit from you and no other reason - simply because all the arguments justifying expensive cables are entirely based on subjective opinions and the power of suggestion. Even Home Theater Magazine, after actually doing a true "double blind" test, admitted no one could tell any difference between cables. Belden also did "double blind" testing, with the same results.
The greatest fear of the proponents of these cables is a true "double blind" test, which they avoid like the plague, some because they have a profit motive, others because they have managed to fool themselves but simply will not admit it.
The thinking is the same as was prevalent during the dark ages, where opinions were accepted without rigorous examination and actual testing, not testing where the subjects knew which tested item was which, but one where they could not know and so the biases, opinions, testimonials, sales pitches, were rendered harmless to seeking the factual truth.
I had occasion to speak to an owner of Blue Jeans Cable in Seattle, WA, who is well aware of this and who does not spread or support the hype, they simply sell good cables for sane prices, and do not attach Greek names to imply some esthetic to what is a very simple electrical component which, at the frequencies involved, has no trouble whatever the brand or price as long as they are not actually defective.
I dare anyone to properly run a true double blind test on their own. Without cheating.
So, please don't spread the ignorance, keep it to yourself, because all you are doing is spreading Dark Age style ignorance and thereby helping the profiteers obtain more victims.

Dave Ladely
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Old 04-15-2009   #26
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Default Re: What cables do you use?

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Originally Posted by DaveLadely View Post
Here is your mini review:
Your theory that cable cost should have any connection to cost of system is a promulgation of the same sales pitch of audio salespeople and the cable manufacturers who want to profit from you and no other reason - simply because all the arguments justifying expensive cables are entirely based on subjective opinions and the power of suggestion. Even Home Theater Magazine, after actually doing a true "double blind" test, admitted no one could tell any difference between cables. Belden also did "double blind" testing, with the same results.
The greatest fear of the proponents of these cables is a true "double blind" test, which they avoid like the plague, some because they have a profit motive, others because they have managed to fool themselves but simply will not admit it.
The thinking is the same as was prevalent during the dark ages, where opinions were accepted without rigorous examination and actual testing, not testing where the subjects knew which tested item was which, but one where they could not know and so the biases, opinions, testimonials, sales pitches, were rendered harmless to seeking the factual truth.
I had occasion to speak to an owner of Blue Jeans Cable in Seattle, WA, who is well aware of this and who does not spread or support the hype, they simply sell good cables for sane prices, and do not attach Greek names to imply some esthetic to what is a very simple electrical component which, at the frequencies involved, has no trouble whatever the brand or price as long as they are not actually defective.
I dare anyone to properly run a true double blind test on their own. Without cheating.
So, please don't spread the ignorance, keep it to yourself, because all you are doing is spreading Dark Age style ignorance and thereby helping the profiteers obtain more victims.

Dave Ladely
Well said, my friend, well said.
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Old 04-15-2009   #27
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Exclamation Re: What cables do you use?

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Well said, my friend, well said.
I use the aforementioned Blue Jeans cables, a company in Seattle; first, because they will cheerfully provide me with custom length cables with the connectors I want (90 degree or straight, on both ends or a 90 at one end, straight at the other), and can also provide me with several cable colors, all of which allows me to perform a much neater, organized installation where I can actually follow a cable.
Also, they use high quality cables and connectors for sane prices. And they are honest and truthful, no subjective opinions or arguments, profit motivated hype, no Grecian names to imply etherial qualities, but instead, contrary to most in the industry, actually make an honorable effort to make objective observations and to provide customers with an honest product at an honest price.
Cables are subject to the laws of physics, a science based on actual rigorous examination and honest testing, not the Dark Ages characteristic opinions based upon hopes and anxieties and prejudices of the ignorant and those who cynically manipulate those customers who lack knowledge in physics and chemistry for a gross profit. For those prices, I would expect cables made of pure silver conductors, and even then the sole benefit is slightly lower resistance at a higher cost than that warrants and the profiteers know this. I wonder why I have never heard of anyone checking to see what cables NASA uses? Or the military? I saw that some poor, deluded fool tried to sell his 8' pair of speaker cables for about $8,000.00 on Ebay. Lord only knows what price he had paid for them. His description had a religiosity that betrayed his lack of scientific logic, relying instead on Dark Ages methods of forming opinions. My old friend Bob Carver, founder of Phase Linear, the first amp with sufficient power (which i had impelled him to help me build back in the late 60s), and of Sunfire, and I joked about how the the public can still be led astray by opinions based on absolutely nothing factual but believe in a religious-like fervor.
I still recall how much static I got from people who insisted that 150 watts RMS was more power than anyone needed and that my quest for an amplifier that was far more powerful, at least 700 watts RMS amounted to HERESY! Ah, a word that harkens to Dark Ages reaction to logic and science! But who of these opinionated, self appointed "authorities" ever considered even the 3 db "rule", where incremental increases in perceptive loudness has been shown to require approximately a doubling of power for each increment? That is a daunting consideration no one wanted to think about! And who says 150 watts RMS is the ceiling for power and "more than enough" power for any application?
There is a reason for the Dark Ages being called such, and why the Enlightenment describes the inroads of scientific thinking over subjective, biased opinions of self-appointed 'authorities" who perpetuated ignorance during that sad era. Why go backwards simply because its much easier and, to some, more enjoyable , to form opinions from nothing factual than it is to enlighten with the more difficult to obtain facts based on truth obtained by effective analysis and EFFECTIVE, UNBIASED testing. Who wants to go back to the ways of the Dark Ages? Ah, certain cable manufacturers, their purveyors, and their dupes!!
My name is David Ladely and I approve of this message.

PS
Recently, I read of a double blind test where they not only had a number of speaker cables for testing, they also welded together steel coat hangers. The results: proof that, not only could the listeners not determine any difference between the speaker cables, they couldn't hear the difference between the cables and the coat hangers!! Needless to say, the cable industry and their dupes don't want to think about the implications of that scientific test!

Last edited by DaveLadely; 04-15-2009 at 10:19 AM..
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Old 04-16-2009   #28
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Default Re: What cables do you use?

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Originally Posted by Loves2Watch View Post
Anyone who spends more for cables than you can get from www.monoprice.com is simply fooling themselves.
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Originally Posted by DaveLadely View Post
Here is your mini review:
Your theory that cable cost should have any connection to cost of system is a promulgation of the same sales pitch of audio salespeople and the cable manufacturers who want to profit from you and no other reason
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Originally Posted by Loves2Watch View Post
Well said, my friend, well said.
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Originally Posted by DaveLadely View Post
I use the aforementioned Blue Jeans cables, a company in Seattle; first, because they will cheerfully provide me with custom length cables with the connectors I want (90 degree or straight, on both ends or a 90 at one end, straight at the other), and can also provide me with several cable colors, all of which allows me to perform a much neater, organized installation where I can actually follow a cable. Also, they use high quality cables and connectors for sane prices.
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I'm glad the placebo effect of pricey cables satisfies you.
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Old 04-16-2009   #29
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Default Re: What cables do you use?

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Thank you! I expect to enjoy my stay and learn from the experiences of others.
I don't think this will be the case. Thank you for the welcome and I wish you all well.
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Old 04-16-2009   #30
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Thumbs up Re: What cables do you use?

I'm not sure what you mean by the placebo effect in my case; it certainly is fully operational and irrationally and hotly supported and defended by those who do pay insane prices for cables. Did you see the double blind testing on vodka; the guy who says he hates Schmirnoff and that Grey Goose is his favorite for certain wound up choosing Schmirnoff and listed Grey Goose at the bottom in the test. Pretty embarrassing for him, but illustrative of the syndrome of justifying snootiness and paying for the most expensive version of a product.
I have always purchased well made, but economical cables as I have always known about the hype, from the time it began as a marketing ploy. I majored in physics in college, as did Bob Carver, and I worked in the high end audio/video field for 40 years, since college.
I use a lot of cables because I have an extensive audio/video system, including a 12[ front projection HDTV, an LCD HDTV, 7.2 system with biamped speakers, two big subwoofers ( I have speakers for a 10.2 system which Tomlinson Holman has developed ), using a Rane electronic crossover, several separate Sunfire Signature amplifiers, a Sunfire Theater Grand V preamp signed by Bob, a Sony PS3, a Wii, latest blue ray separate player, three Denon multi disk professional CD changers, Tivo HD XL, a DVD recorder with component inputs, a Sony Hi 8 recorder/player for my old Hi 8 travel tapes, a Sony SHVS recorder/player for my old SVHS tapes, a straight line tracking turntable, provision for my Mac computer, etc, so you can imagine what my system looked like from the back when I was using the economical cables!

And maybe you can see why I was daunted whenever I had to move things around or troubleshoot something and you may see why I finally decided on the colored, custom length cables, some with 90 degree connectors even if I had to pay a bit more for them than for good, but economical cables. Since I bought so many and have worked in the audio video industry, Blue Jeans gave me a substantial discount. Now, when I look behind my system, it looks very neat and organized, and I can trace each cable very easily, almost a pleasure rather than a hair pulling event! That is worth something to me. Otherwise I would still be buying economical cables, as you mention.

For the record, since I owned a audio/video business and purchased a lot of cables, I get a significant discount from Blue Jeans Cables. Furthermore, they offer various colors. Ever try to troubleshoot or follow all black cables? As I am a person with little patience I am willing to pay a bit more for cables of different colors. How about custom lengths? I don't like drooping cables, I like a very neat, organized cable installation. I am willing to pay a bit more for custom length cables for no extra cost of labor. How about 90 degree connectors at one end, straight at the other, again, for neater installation. I am willing to pay a bit more than I would for bargain cables when I can get those connectors for no extra charge for the cost of the cables. Otherwise, I would be a fool not to continue to buy economical, but well made cables.
So far, no one has taken my up on my dare to do an honest double blind test on a collection of various cables, maybe even include the coat hangers.
Cheers
Dave Ladely in Snohomish, WA
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