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Old 07-23-2015, 01:03 PM   #21
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Ethernet cable for audio purity? Bah.

The real improvements come from proper power connections, using properly 'baked' power cables and outlets. These avoid unpleasant distortions from power 'sag' while playing demanding pieces with high dynamic range. I recommend the Furutech GTX-D Rhodium outlets, vastly superior to that Hubell or Leviton your home builder installed. Don't forget the GTX outlet frame to minimize sonomagnetic flux deformation. If you like a slightly warmer, more laid-back presentation, go with the Furutech GTX-D Gold outlets. I consider both to be superior to the Oyaide R1 outlets.

Either Furutech outlet is a superb match for The Essence Reference-II power cords with Furutech plugs.

If nothing else, make sure all your cables have been cryoed to -300 degrees F or lower. Make sure all exposed screws in all wall plates have their slots properly oriented. When properly aligned, the effect is truly wonderful, as though the veils have been lifted from your ears.

* All language and advice cribbed from actual audiophile web sites
Thank you for the information. I'll have to try it. I'm a believer in the immense effect of cryogenicating. I put my home made radio shack 18 gauge solid core hook up wire that I use for my speakers in the freezer overnite and I could not believe the difference . I've been thinking of putting my Conrad Johnson amp in the freezer too but I'm afraid my back is not as strong as it used to be and I don't know what effect that might have on the flux capacitors.
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Old 07-23-2015, 01:08 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by M Paquette View Post
Ethernet cable for audio purity? Bah.

The real improvements come from proper power connections, using properly 'baked' power cables and outlets. These avoid unpleasant distortions from power 'sag' while playing demanding pieces with high dynamic range. I recommend the Furutech GTX-D Rhodium outlets, vastly superior to that Hubell or Leviton your home builder installed. Don't forget the GTX outlet frame to minimize sonomagnetic flux deformation. If you like a slightly warmer, more laid-back presentation, go with the Furutech GTX-D Gold outlets. I consider both to be superior to the Oyaide R1 outlets.

Either Furutech outlet is a superb match for The Essence Reference-II power cords with Furutech plugs.

If nothing else, make sure all your cables have been cryoed to -300 degrees F or lower. Make sure all exposed screws in all wall plates have their slots properly oriented. When properly aligned, the effect is truly wonderful, as though the veils have been lifted from your ears.

* All language and advice cribbed from actual audiophile web sites
None of this is of any use unless you are using oxygen free copper (preferably refined south of the equator so the molecules have the proper right handed orientation) in your cables!

I did audio systems for corporate and VIP aircraft some years back. Big $$$.

Cables, unless they are extremely poorly made or sized make no difference that is discernible in the range of human hearing for the lengths used in a normal installation.

Connectors/connections can make a big difference as can switches and any other item in the electrical circuit.

Placing cables near something that has electrical noise in the audio range can affect the output. Rare but it happens. Shielded cable and/or twisted cable can make a difference there but honestly most home installs have little need of this.

Distortion vs enhancement is in the ear of the listener. Tube listeners like certain distortion and I admit that I like the sound of some tube amps better than the more accurate reproduction of the recording. But accept that for what it is--you are changing the sound from what was recorded.

If you want proof of how little accurate representation matters, look at the settings on many equalizers and the built in modes in many audio amps. They distort the sound. They just distort it in a way the listener likes.

Cables on the other hand, have very little affect either way. Double blind and ABX testing consistently shows this. This is why cable manufactures hate them and don't do them. If you can't hear the difference, you can't hear the difference. So then you get articles about how double blind testing isn't adequate.
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Old 07-23-2015, 01:18 PM   #23
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Thank you for the information. I'll have to try it. I'm a believer in the immense effect of cryogenicating. I put my home made radio shack 18 gauge solid core hook up wire that I use for my speakers in the freezer overnite and I could not believe the difference . I've been thinking of putting my Conrad Johnson amp in the freezer too but I'm afraid my back is not as strong as it used to be and I don't know what effect that might have on the flux capacitors.
Flux capacitors can't be undersized. I use this automotive part in all my applications--

EB Enterprises 121G - Flux Capacitor | O'Reilly Auto Parts
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Old 07-23-2015, 01:34 PM   #24
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Could be. Here is what I know-and all that matters to me. I like it.
The fact that you like it is the most important result.

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Most people listening to my system say it is the best sound they have ever heard. I built the amplification and speaker chain for about $1k. Musical. Engaging. Dynamic. Enjoyable.

Had a professional musician over. Multiple albums, and has toured extensively in US and Europe. He planned to stay for a few minutes. Got the stereo going. Pretty soon he was asking "Can you play this... Ooooh nice. How about playing this..." He lost track of time, and stayed playing various songs for 1.5 hours.

If that is the result of distortion-I say BRING IT ON, BABY!
You can design and build a good audio amplifier using tubes. It just costs more money than using solid-state components for a given design target.
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Old 07-23-2015, 01:44 PM   #25
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I am a fairly knowledgeable consumer. I built (from a kit) my own 2a3 tube based amps, 12au7 (tube) based pre, and speakers. I definitely understand how changing various components can impact sound.

I think change and improve can both be accurate statements.

I've heard cables that basically served as a tone control. Add or subtract a little treble or bass. To me that is a simple change.

The first time I bought "audiophile" cables it was a definite improvement. I tried Dark Side of the Moon. Suddenly I was making out the subtlest whispers and details. Marked improvement. ....
Yes, change and 'improve' can both be accurate statements. I meant that if it didn't come across.

I won't 'argue' about what someone says they hear. That is perception, and I can't get in their head.

I'm an amateur musician, and I have been amazed at what I can hear in an instrument that I didn't hear at first, and I'm certain the vast majority of people would not hear. Perception can be amazingly sensitive.

That said, I'm also an engineer, and a cable is made up of R,L, and C. You could talk about coupling as well, but with the low impedance and low efficiency of speakers, I don't expect reasonable differences would make a difference. And for there to be a real difference to hear, there has to be a real difference (that is, if the perception has an actual physical basis)! The engineer in me, who is also listening to the musician in me says, most of these difference don't qualify as being great enough to expect someone to actually perceive. Color me skeptical.



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Very few double blind test are done by audio companies concerning cable audio effects. ...

Although blind listening test would seem to settle the issue, I think it can be difficult. I have a hard time picking out a low bit rate mp3 from a higher bit rate in a side-side test. However, it seems to me that I 'tire' and get bored with the low bit rate after 10 minutes or so. I suspect that the stuff that is missing, while not immediately obvious, does take a toll over some time.

I compare it to a car seat - two different seats might seem fine for a 5 minute test drive, but maybe one becomes unbearable to sit in for five hours. But hey, you tested them side-by-side!


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Distortion vs enhancement is in the ear of the listener. Tube listeners like certain distortion and I admit that I like the sound of some tube amps better than the more accurate reproduction of the recording. But accept that for what it is--you are changing the sound from what was recorded. ...
Yep. I have no doubt that his system sounds fantastic. But that can be because of the distortion. Heck, it's all an illusion anyway, it's ALL distortion in a sense. Nothing wrong in picking the distortion you like. But I agree, it is best to recognize it for what it is.

-ERD50
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Old 07-23-2015, 01:44 PM   #26
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Great! Always wanted one of these. Now to find some plutonium...
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Old 07-23-2015, 01:46 PM   #27
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You can design and build a good audio amplifier using tubes. It just costs more money than using solid-state components for a given design target.
Unless you are trying to get a 'tube sound'! That is most easily done with... tubes!

And I do think some music in some systems can sound 'better' through a tube amp.

-ERD50
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Old 07-23-2015, 03:44 PM   #28
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I buy the cheapest "thick" gauges I can at monoprice.com.

For digital connection, cables all identical, they work or they dont [some anal forum member will quote this and refute technical reasons no one can actually hear or see]

For analog, if you are really worried, go with XLR balanced connections and be done with it.

Next 1st world problem, Please.


FWIW - I run an Onkyo Pro PR-SC885P on top of a Emotiva LMA-1 Amp
Speakers - 7.1 - Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1's with SVS PB-13 Ultra (both piano Black)
...and my new Sammy UN65HU9000 4k set.
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Old 07-23-2015, 03:58 PM   #29
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Unless you are trying to get a 'tube sound'! That is most easily done with... tubes!

And I do think some music in some systems can sound 'better' through a tube amp.

-ERD50
I see your smiley. A tube sound (distortion) can make sense for something like a guitar amplifier (sound production). It doesn't make as much sense for sound reproduction.

Sounding 'better' is subjective, and some people do prefer the distortion provided by tubes. I think proper sound system design means the amplifier is audibly transparent as possible, within design, operational, and cost limits. The sound is preferably modified via equalization, speaker positioning and room acoustics. Not everyone agrees...
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Old 07-23-2015, 06:19 PM   #30
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I buy the cheapest "thick" gauges I can at monoprice.com.

For digital connection, cables all identical, they work or they dont [some anal forum member will quote this and refute technical reasons no one can actually hear or see]

For analog, if you are really worried, go with XLR balanced connections and be done with it.

Next 1st world problem, Please.


FWIW - I run an Onkyo Pro PR-SC885P on top of a Emotiva LMA-1 Amp
Speakers - 7.1 - Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1's with SVS PB-13 Ultra (both piano Black)
...and my new Sammy UN65HU9000 4k set.
Monprice for the win. The only thing that expensive cables do better than cheaper good quality cables is empy your wallet faster. It's all snake oil.
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Old 07-23-2015, 10:00 PM   #31
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I've got a particular burr up my nether regions regarding "audiophile" Ethernet cables. A bit is a bit, and the difference between 0 and 1 signals on a LAN is significant enough to punch through a lot of interference. Now, if your LAN cable is ratty enough to cause dropped Ethernet frames, what you'll hear in an audio stream are actual interruptions, not some subtle variation in tone. So, you do want decent, complete, and propery shielded copper (Cat 5, 6) between all connections, but you don't have to pay thousands of dollars to get it.
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Old 07-23-2015, 10:16 PM   #32
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Aren't high end audio cables akin to designer product in other sectors? I am talking about the wire itself (I can see value in premium connectors).

The designer product functions the same as a nominal product but it is all about conveying prestige to either yourself or others? You are paying for an intangible.

-gauss
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Old 07-24-2015, 10:52 AM   #33
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Aren't high end audio cables akin to designer product in other sectors? I am talking about the wire itself (I can see value in premium connectors).

The designer product functions the same as a nominal product but it is all about conveying prestige to either yourself or others? You are paying for an intangible.

-gauss
There are some where you do get tangible benefits. There are flat cables so thin you can stick them to the walls, add a layer of joint compound or texture paint and the cable is invisible. Some of the heavy cables really do look cool. Others have heavier/better insulator jackets that will take some abuse. There are outdoor rated cables, mainly intended for pros, that take lots of abuse and stay flexible even at low temperatures--just the thing for that outdoor concert in winter!
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Old 07-25-2015, 01:12 AM   #34
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I used to be a skeptic, however you might not notice a difference if your system is not up to it. My first receiver was a Kenwood, which wasn't that great. Followed it up with a NAD receiver and then an Arcam integrated amp.

My first cassette deck that sounded any good was a Nakamichi 480, which had a great transport & heads. First CD player was a Yamaha, which wasn't bad. Ended up with an Arcam 7 CD player that had an upgraded D/A converter from an Arcam 8.

Used Monster speaker cables which made an improvement. Later, got some Monster 500 interconnects ($50/pr) which sounded better than the generics. Finally got some Kimber PBJ interconnects ($75/pr). My CD player has two sets of RCA outputs, so I could connect the Monster and Kimber interconnects simultaneously

The Monsters are darker, with a lot more bass (almost like someone turned up the bass control) - the Kimbers have a much more open and airy sound with much more detail.
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Old 07-25-2015, 02:06 AM   #35
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I love music but claim no "super powers" when it comes to sound. What I have noticed is that the right speaker (aka the one that sounds best to me) is the single most important part of any component system. Having said that, I'm sure there are those here who can indeed tell subtle differences in sound based on "quality" of such things as cables. I am not one of those folks so YMMV.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:09 AM   #36
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There are some where you do get tangible benefits. There are flat cables so thin you can stick them to the walls, add a layer of joint compound or texture paint and the cable is invisible. Some of the heavy cables really do look cool. Others have heavier/better insulator jackets that will take some abuse. There are outdoor rated cables, mainly intended for pros, that take lots of abuse and stay flexible even at low temperatures--just the thing for that outdoor concert in winter!
Good point - there may be many other product attributes of value beside the ability to pass the electrons faithfully.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:25 AM   #37
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People who buy expensive speaker cables are starting with a predetermined position that they are "better", so of course they will claim to hear an improvement. Yet, that claim has never been proven in a blind A/B test. Speaker cables move electrons from point A to point B...nothing more and nothing less. A decent quality cable of sufficient gauge with good connectors is all that is required.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:53 AM   #38
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Ethernet, TOSLINK and HDMI all transmit a digital signal. These cables are all rated to a specific spec - in the case of ethernet it's Category 5, 5e, 6, etc. Assuming the cables are all terminated properly during manufacture - there no difference about their performance, all should work perfectly. Save your money and buy inexpensive cables. I like monoprice.com and Amazon's house brand cables.

Speaker cables transfer an analog signal, so wire gauge, insulation and termination will have an affect on the signal. How much is debated, and is affected by how much power is going thru the cables. I use 18 gauge lamp cord for all of my currently connected systems.
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Old 07-25-2015, 08:26 AM   #39
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Seems to me that line-level signal cables would be more sensitive to whatever mysterious gremlins are lurking about, since a small "distortion" or interference will make up a larger portion of a 1v signal.
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Old 07-25-2015, 02:46 PM   #40
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Ethernet, TOSLINK and HDMI all transmit a digital signal. These cables are all rated to a specific spec - in the case of ethernet it's Category 5, 5e, 6, etc. Assuming the cables are all terminated properly during manufacture - there no difference about their performance, all should work perfectly. Save your money and buy inexpensive cables. I like monoprice.com and Amazon's house brand cables.

Speaker cables transfer an analog signal, so wire gauge, insulation and termination will have an affect on the signal. How much is debated, and is affected by how much power is going thru the cables. I use 18 gauge lamp cord for all of my currently connected systems.
Jitter was always a problem with digital audio signals. The clock at the receiving end was regenerated from the digital transitions. Crappy analog performance, with slow digital transitions, would create a big jitter problem with the regenerated clock. Measurable and audible. Eventually, at least most of the audiophile gear got pretty good at regenerating the clock without objectionable jitter. Audio over HDMI was still climbing this learning curve and was a step backward. Cable could have some effect on that, but i don't know of any specific testing. It's always way more complicated than it seems.

I was happy to listen for cable differences and pay if it made an improvement for me. I did have some favorite (reasonably priced) RCA line interconnects, but never heard a big difference in the speaker cables I tried. Now that I have tinnitus I can be really cheap!
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