Cables - one of the most taboo subjects in audio

displayname

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Let's talk cables! But first, I want to suggest a few ground rules. I know cables can be a touchy topic, so I don't want to create hundreds of pages discussion measurements, theories, or the like. That information can be found flooding several other audio forums around the web. Let's try to stick to discussion your opinions of cables you have used. Ideally, in your own system or in A/B comparisons.

Feel free to share which models you felt have made the biggest difference, and honestly which ones have been a bit of a let down.
 

displayname

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I'll kick this off with some of my findings from the past year.

Blue Jeans Cable (BJC) - The RCAs are really a bang for the buck king. Yes, they can be beat, but it takes some cash. Excellent build quality, great sound, custom lengths, reasonable prices.

BJC Speaker cable - If you're just buying the wire and adding your own connections, this is a good value. I went with the welded terminations using locking bananas. The locking bananas are easy to work with, and well built, but I did have them come loose a couple times. Gave me quite a scare I had larger issues with other gear. It's something I wouldn't risk on my high end tube amp.

The Zu Cables going for very affordable prices on ebay are highly recommended. At those prices, a real bang for your buck. I love the RCAs, and I intend to buy a few more. Currently comparing Libtecs to Wireworld cables in my system.

And speaking of Wireworld, these are cables I've heard in several systems, and just put into my own system. These can start to stack up very quickly in price as you move up the lines, but I can honestly say these are the first cables that REALLY made me comfortable with the idea of dropping more money on cables. The Mini Eclipse 8 speaker cables I am currently using really bring out some extra detail. If that's what you're looking for, these are a great solution. All the audiophile words come to mind right away. Space, air, cymbal decay, a little quicker on the bass. Only downside so far is they do seem to trade off some bass slam. I'm going to live with them for a little while and see how I feel about it. Very different presentation from the Zu's. Both are excellent, but On the used market they cost a little more than the Libtecs, but the original retail of the Libtec's was technically close to double of the ME8. The ME8 might be the more "audiophile" solution, but the Libtecs might be a better long term fit for my system. TBD.

One other line of speaker cables I have heard in some higher end systems doing a few A/B's was Analysis Plus cables. I don't remember the exact model, but I know they were very high up the line. Those were really well balanced in the system I heard them in. Probably worth considering if anyone wanted to check them out.
 

HiFi Guy

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I'll kick this off with some of my findings from the past year.

Blue Jeans Cable (BJC) - The RCAs are really a bang for the buck king. Yes, they can be beat, but it takes some cash. Excellent build quality, great sound, custom lengths, reasonable prices.

BJC Speaker cable - If you're just buying the wire and adding your own connections, this is a good value. I went with the welded terminations using locking bananas. The locking bananas are easy to work with, and well built, but I did have them come loose a couple times. Gave me quite a scare I had larger issues with other gear. It's something I wouldn't risk on my high end tube amp.

The Zu Cables going for very affordable prices on ebay are highly recommended. At those prices, a real bang for your buck. I love the RCAs, and I intend to buy a few more. Currently comparing Libtecs to Wireworld cables in my system.

And speaking of Wireworld, these are cables I've heard in several systems, and just put into my own system. These can start to stack up very quickly in price as you move up the lines, but I can honestly say these are the first cables that REALLY made me comfortable with the idea of dropping more money on cables. The Mini Eclipse 8 speaker cables I am currently using really bring out some extra detail. If that's what you're looking for, these are a great solution. All the audiophile words come to mind right away. Space, air, cymbal decay, a little quicker on the bass. Only downside so far is they do seem to trade off some bass slam. I'm going to live with them for a little while and see how I feel about it. Very different presentation from the Zu's. Both are excellent, but On the used market they cost a little more than the Libtecs, but the original retail of the Libtec's was technically close to double of the ME8. The ME8 might be the more "audiophile" solution, but the Libtecs might be a better long term fit for my system. TBD.

One other line of speaker cables I have heard in some higher end systems doing a few A/B's was Analysis Plus cables. I don't remember the exact model, but I know they were very high up the line. Those were really well balanced in the system I heard them in. Probably worth considering if anyone wanted to check them out.

I've got Analysis Plus Oval 9 speaker cables that I've had for over a decade. They do make a small difference/improvement in my system. But I got them when they were under $300 a pair- they are double that now. I'm not sure I'd recommend them at today's prices.

The Pangea AC-14SE power cables made a bigger difference and are reasonably priced. These I will recommend. Those who don't believe that power cables matter can try them at home for themselves with a money back guarantee from Audio Advisor.
 

Mather

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Welp, I was always someone who looked down on the idea that cables could make much of a difference in a high end system... and hoo boy was I ever stupidly stupidly ignorantly wrong about that one.

I'm running a ProJect 2Xperience SB with the 2M Black cart, Rega Aria Stage and Arcam 550 AVR, speakers are Revel F35 and Revel B10 Sub. So my system is very neutral, to a fault... not a lot of "warmth" going on and due to space limitations I was forced to go with a full system solution AVR as opposed to a dedicated 2 channel system that would have the benefit of avoiding any digital circuitry. Originally I was running some Monoprice RCAs along with Audioquest Evergreens so they weren't the worst RadioShack specials but still were pretty lousy. Earlier this year I got the chance to test out a line of interconnect cables and AC cables by a Quebec brand by the name of BIS. Small company who do everything in house and have been getting more press recently and are starting to get noticed for their ability to put out very high end sounding cables at a price point that comes in significantly lower than other ultra high end brands that they're seen to compete with in terms of sound and build quality.
I went the whole nine and tested out a full set of RCAs and speaker cables as well as a full set of AC cables for my amp, stage and sub. I went with the top of the line models which are the Vivat RCA and speaker cables as well as the Maestro and AC20 power cables. It was not really my intention to test out their top models but it's what the rep sent me because he is the devil and knew what would happen the second I plugged these into my system. It literally sounded like someone has replaced my entire system, every single part of it, every component of it instantly sounded cleaner, bigger, heavier but everything had room to breath... Honestly I was blown away, I wrote this on the previous forum but the way I've described my new system sound is that it's almost as if the air in the room is heavier now. The music gets up there and sticks around, there's more presence, more sustain, more punch... everything has weight and it's suspended in front of and around me. It's wonderful.

Needless to say I mortgaged my house and bought every cable he'd leant me. (Not really, but it was certainly far more than I'd intended to spend) The amusing thing about all this is that every cable he leant me had been burned in, and the new cables I purchased are all completely virgin and need close to 600 hours of burn in so now I get to listen to my system improve until it reaches its zenith some 600 hours from now. Which is going to be very very fun.

Now the caveat here is I jumped from basically nothing to end game quality cables. Would my system have lit up like this with something half the cost? Perhaps? But I did test out a second type of speaker cables before these and there was no comparison whatsoever, the Vivats crushed them. So who knows, the bottom line is you don't have to spend what I did but cables 1000% can make a massive difference in the quality and timbre of your system sound.
 

debianlinux

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My only experience was in replacing the interconnects on my SL-1900. I got it with stock cables that were absolutely beat to hell with pins so bent I was surprised they still plugged in. I didn't go all out or anything since in the end I was going to cut and solder the new cable in. I did shorten the run substantially (roughly 1' shorter). I noticed absolutely zero difference in SQ but I was still okay with the fix. It's possible the rest of my system isn't up to snuff possibly even including the TT. It's also possible my ears are shit. It's also possible the replacement cable was just not good enough.

At any rate it defintely settled for me that cables would be the very last thing I concerned myself with in any given system.
 

Tanqueray

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Ahhhhhhh Yes......cables......cables......cables....:devilish:...........I use a complete ELECTRA™ 7 and ECLIPSE 7 (EBI) Wireworld Loom of XLR's and Wireworld Power Cords as well.

DkU8JAg.jpg




My speaker wire is Acosutic Zen's Flafship Absolute bi-wire double barrel configuration

6uGZe5L.jpg




What did I notice?....what changed when I hooked all this up from my previous Van den Hul wire ?............

Well ................I started listening to Pink Floyd back to back for 6 hours
smile.gif
.............i was very impressed with the cables/power cords build/grip and snug fit......after 6 hours of listening the first thing i have noticed is that background nuances in the recording seem to be more front and center now......an example would be on The Division Bell Pink Floyd LP the actual "Bell" is more open now....where as before it was much more subdued. On "The Wall" LP ......Roger Waters voice seems to take on a three-dimensional aura on the song "Is there anybody out there" more so now then before ..........I could go on and on, but I think you get the point..................for me cables/wires can make a HUGE diff...............as anything in this hobby...YMMV(y)


ON a side note just for fun.................Tonight I had my Mac easily hitting over 600 Watts(Real watts) and there was still so much room to push her..............the sound ? Crystal clear LOUD with NO distortion..........took a quick pic of the wattage meter needles ................................ the needles danced between 600-800 Watts playing a very very heavy deep bass intense Dubstep/Trance CD "Skrillex-Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" ....just hit 1K on the needles.....so hard to get a good pic with my iphone when the needles are hitting 600 Watts lol ....cleaning out the carbon in the pipes
biggrin.gif


Ohhh Yeah........Still something to be said for MADE IN THE USA!!!!!!!!!! Rock on!


FAwwaSh.jpg
 

HiFi Guy

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Ahhhhhhh Yes......cables......cables......cables....:devilish:...........I use a complete ELECTRA™ 7 and ECLIPSE 7 (EBI) Wireworld Loom of XLR's and Wireworld Power Cords as well.

DkU8JAg.jpg




My speaker wire is Acosutic Zen's Flafship Absolute bi-wire double barrel configuration

6uGZe5L.jpg




What did I notice?....what changed when I hooked all this up from my previous Van den Hul wire ?............

Well ................I started listening to Pink Floyd back to back for 6 hours
smile.gif
.............i was very impressed with the cables/power cords build/grip and snug fit......after 6 hours of listening the first thing i have noticed is that background nuances in the recording seem to be more front and center now......an example would be on The Division Bell Pink Floyd LP the actual "Bell" is more open now....where as before it was much more subdued. On "The Wall" LP ......Roger Waters voice seems to take on a three-dimensional aura on the song "Is there anybody out there" more so now then before ..........I could go on and on, but I think you get the point..................for me cables/wires can make a HUGE diff...............as anything in this hobby...YMMV(y)


ON a side note just for fun.................Tonight I had my Mac easily hitting over 600 Watts(Real watts) and there was still so much room to push her..............the sound ? Crystal clear LOUD with NO distortion..........took a quick pic of the wattage meter needles ................................ the needles danced between 600-800 Watts playing a very very heavy deep bass intense Dubstep/Trance CD "Skrillex-Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" ....just hit 1K on the needles.....so hard to get a good pic with my iphone when the needles are hitting 600 Watts lol ....cleaning out the carbon in the pipes
biggrin.gif


Ohhh Yeah........Still something to be said for MADE IN THE USA!!!!!!!!!! Rock on!


FAwwaSh.jpg

Regarding your side note- I'm sure your neighbors love you. ;)
 

Tanqueray

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Regarding your side note- I'm sure your neighbors love you. ;)


Haha no complaints yet..............I bribe them with free foods lol:) .................I actually had the Macs pushing 1200 Watts, before the Mcintosh Power Guard kicked in and auto-reduced the power..............

POWER GUARD®

McIntosh designed and patented circuit that prevents speaker clipping. Photo-optics react in 1/1000th of a second to regulate power levels to speaker, protecting the speakers and the amplifier. A waveform comparison circuit continuously monitors both input and output signals. Power Guard dynamically adjusts the input level to avoid clipping while preventing harsh sounding distortion.
 

Haimez40

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I'm now starting to look into this and some new furniture. Right now I got BluJeans LC1 for my interconnects and their 10 White for speaker cable. Only power cable I hot is the original Pangea AC14 on my Pho8 (which made a difference).
I guess my questions are:
1) Power Cords worth considering over Pangea? Are the Zu Power Cords much different?
2) Zu Speaker Wire has so many different names anybody have a favorite? Libtek looks like what I want and originally more expensive than Mission, but Mission seem to have replaced them?
3) Anybody A/B the BluJeans vs Zu Speaker cables or interconnects?
4) Pangea AC14 vs AC14SE a noticable difference?

Part of me thinks the interconnects work for me and might just stick LC1. Go with Pangea Power Cords just because of shielding and cost. Speaker wire being main debate in my head. Curious feedback.

Pioneer PLX1000/Vincent Pho 8/Marantz PM8006. B&W 606 with SVS SB12-NSD
 

Sturgus

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Well my first foray into cables making a difference was by accident. My 2 audio buddies that I hung out with were also musicians so they convinced me to just use a quality cable. We all used 12ga Soundking speaker wire. Everything is fine, wire as long as it's proper gauge can't make a difference. I then bought a pair of Maggie MG-3a's and decide to bi-amp. I bought a second amp just like the one I had. The seller threw in a 6ft pair of AQ-Midnight cable, to short for my system. I give them to my friend since his amp is in between his speakers (Infinity Renaissance 90's). We put them in not expecting a difference. WTF! this can't be, better bass, better midrange, smoother treble. Long story short down the rabbit hole I go. I end up buying Midnight also. That was late 80's and lots of wire and gear later. I use JPS-Labs speaker wire, and DIY Canare GS-6 for interconnects and Canare digital. Power cords is another story.
 

displayname

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Well my first foray into cables making a difference was by accident. My 2 audio buddies that I hung out with were also musicians so they convinced me to just use a quality cable. We all used 12ga Soundking speaker wire. Everything is fine, wire as long as it's proper gauge can't make a difference. I then bought a pair of Maggie MG-3a's and decide to bi-amp. I bought a second amp just like the one I had. The seller threw in a 6ft pair of AQ-Midnight cable, to short for my system. I give them to my friend since his amp is in between his speakers (Infinity Renaissance 90's). We put them in not expecting a difference. WTF! this can't be, better bass, better midrange, smoother treble. Long story short down the rabbit hole I go. I end up buying Midnight also. That was late 80's and lots of wire and gear later. I use JPS-Labs speaker wire, and DIY Canare GS-6 for interconnects and Canare digital. Power cords is another story.

giphy.gif
 

Mather

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I mean, I actually want to write more about my cables but I'm not gunna because it would be excessive.
Suffice to say I want to marry them and bear their offspring.

That may have been excessive.

I stand by it.
 
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displayname

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Had the privilege of testing a few different coax cables in a high end system yesterday. The standouts to me where Black Cat Silverstar, and Geistnote. I came home with a Kimber DV30 that I'll be using in my system once I get a new CD Transport (coming soon).

Associated equipment we used: Jays Audio CDT2 mk2, Mastersound Compact 845, Rosso Fiorentino Volterra V2, DACs - Musical Paradise MP-D2 & North Star USB dac32.

Many of us here are obviously convinced of the difference analog and speaker cables can make, but don't write off digital cables. They can have just as big of an impact on the sound.
 

displayname

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Which do people prefer? I currently have LC1 in my main system but starting to throw something together in my basement. Might move LC1 down there and try Zu Mission if people like them better.
I do like the Zu’s a little better. All of my interconnect cables are now Zu Mission with the exception of my digital cable going from my CD player into the DAC.
I told @Tyr in a PM something like this:
Is the Zu Mission the best cable in the world? No, I’ve heard several that beat it. But those cables go for a LOT more money. I do think the Zu’s are one of the best bang for the buck at their normal auction prices.
 

AnthonyI

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I do like the Zu’s a little better. All of my interconnect cables are now Zu Mission with the exception of my digital cable going from my CD player into the DAC.
I told @Tyr in a PM something like this:
Is the Zu Mission the best cable in the world? No, I’ve heard several that beat it. But those cables go for a LOT more money. I do think the Zu’s are one of the best bang for the buck at their normal auction prices.
If I hadn't already started down the Pangea path I probably would have gone the eBay Zu auction route. I do believe there is something to be said for consistency in the cables though. Having the same construction, materials and "Logic" from point A (Cart) to point Z (Amp) not only makes sense, but in my opinion/usage, has produced positive results.

That being said, I think the "Like $ Pool" formula comes into play as well, meaning a system who's components are in the $300-800 pool may not notice/produce the same results as a system in the $1500 + component pool. Just my math of course ;)
 
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