A great cable reference - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

 
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post #1 of 3 Old 07-30-07, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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A great cable reference

Caveat: I'm an engineer by trade, so I am naturally inclined to believe science over psychology. I'm skeptical of snake-oil type claims, and usually don't believe hype.

That being said, I have MIT speaker wire in my theater, a tube amp system with awful distortion measurements (but sounds magical), and have been known to defend A/V "tweakers" on many occasions. In every case, I tried, listened and made my own conclusion.

When something that shouldn't sound better does (like the MIT speaker wire), I chalk it up to the fact that there's so much we don't know about the brain, ear, and sound transmission.


All that aside, Audioholics has written and compiled some great articles on everything you should know about cables, wire, transmission, power . . .

http://www.audioholics.com/education/cables/

Especially read the articles on cable snake oil, shielding, and break-in. They even had a speaker wire face off where extension cord outperformed Monster 12 gauge in resistance, inductance, and capacitance measurements

I'm not saying there's nothing to all the high-end cable claims, but at worst, they are acting as tone controls or filters in your system. For some people that ends up making it sound a lot better, thereby justifying the purchase. Read into it what you will.

And . . . discuss!
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post #2 of 3 Old 07-30-07, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: A great cable reference

yeah I mentioned that. They are probably acting as tone controls. My system sounded bright with regular 12 gauge and sounded very relaxed and unfatiguing with the MITs, that's the only reason I got them. This was a long time ago, by the way.

Nowadays, I'd pay more attention to why the room or speakers were bright than try to fix it with cables, but you can't deny that sometimes with A/B testing the snake oil really does make a difference (just not for the reason you'd expect).
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post #3 of 3 Old 07-31-07, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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Re: A great cable reference

Ah, but DS-21 you are forgetting something very important: I had no idea what to expect back then when first auditioned them. I am a LOT more educated now.

I remember trying them and feeling the whole system just got more relaxed and open. Not fatiguing at all. I actually did hear content I did not before. Turns out it was because the system was overly bright (Kenwood amps and Atlantic Tech speakers), although I did not know it. The speaker cable rolled off the highs, again I didn't know. All I knew was that I got them on clearance for 80% off and they made my system sound spectacular.

Now I would just use some good quality 12 or 14 gauge with a high strand count and put on my own spades or bananas. If the system sounded overly bright, I would start by seeing if it was the room, then speakers, then components. I would probably EQ before resorting to "cable fixes" again.

But my point being, I don't fault people for trying snake oil and being dazzled by it. Be it the psychology, or the fact that all that capacitance or extra resistance might actually make THEIR system sound better since it was deficient in other ways. Not the best solution, but they did hear a difference.

I linked to the Audioholics page so that others may learn before buying, something I never seem to do
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