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    Interesting discussion on speaker cable snake-oil

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    Gregg R.

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    Interesting discussion on speaker cable snake-oil

    Post by Gregg R. on Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:45 am

    I've had my eye on these wires made in a mountain workshop in Norway:

    Skogrand Cables

    They have received excellent reviews!

    I was listening to this box set while writing this post:

    Spirales

    Danish music for Norwegian cables!!

    ramon68

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    Re: Interesting discussion on speaker cable snake-oil

    Post by ramon68 on Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:31 am

    There are two hobbies here that get conflated, music listening and equipment collecting. The equipment collectors are into the "mine is bigger than yours" game.
    Hence, the astonishing prices of some equipment.

    Peter W.

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    Location : Melrose Park, PA

    Re: Interesting discussion on speaker cable snake-oil

    Post by Peter W. on Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:03 am

    corndog71 wrote:I'm a little surprised that some of you guys are so quick to write off cable differences but can gush endlessly about the sonic differences of a tube or a cap which has a much shorter signal path.

    I tried responding at length yesterday, but it black-holed for some reason.

    So, here goes, only shorter:

    Tubes are active components. They affect the signal directly.
    Capacitors are passive components that affect active components. By their nature, they may be 'tuned' for specific purposes. One example: Filter caps are called "Filter" for a reason.
    Cables are pathway with nothing to add or remove.

    Does this help?

    Peter W.

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    Re: Interesting discussion on speaker cable snake-oil

    Post by Peter W. on Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:16 am

    ramon68 wrote:There are two hobbies here that get conflated, music listening and equipment collecting. The equipment collectors are into the "mine is bigger than yours" game.
    Hence, the astonishing prices of some equipment.


    Sure. There is but so much that can be crammed into any given box - after which there is only eyewash.

    Consider: This year's perfection is next year's amateur trash.

    Opinion:

    a) Electronics are done, and pretty much have been done since about 1960 in tubes and perhaps as late as 1980 for solid-state. Sure, there are bigger tubes and faster diodes, but the topology and basic circuitry has not changed.
    b) Tuners are done. Sure, between HD and satellite, there are other other options, but as a concept, done.
    c) Turntables are done. There are but so many ways to turn things around.
    and so on.

    Where there are and will be opportunities for improvement are in transducers. Phono cartridges, speakers, microphones, pick-ups and so forth. Materials Science is the key here.

    Meaning, guys and gals, that your well-made, well-designed, well-maintained tube amp from 1975 or so will, largely, be as good as it gets for sound and performance within its design parameters. Yes, there is a LOT of garbage out there, the Chinese see to that, at least. But a good unit then remains a good unit now.

    corndog71

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    Re: Interesting discussion on speaker cable snake-oil

    Post by corndog71 on Wed Aug 17, 2016 11:52 am

    Peter W. wrote:
    corndog71 wrote:I'm a little surprised that some of you guys are so quick to write off cable differences but can gush endlessly about the sonic differences of a tube or a cap which has a much shorter signal path.

    I tried responding at length yesterday, but it black-holed for some reason.

    So, here goes, only shorter:

    Tubes are active components. They affect the signal directly.
    Capacitors are passive components that affect active components. By their nature, they may be 'tuned' for specific purposes. One example: Filter caps are called "Filter" for a reason.
    Cables are pathway with nothing to add or remove.

    Does this help?

    Except that we know resistance can affect sound quality otherwise we'd all be using 30awg wire for everything. Why bother using something thicker?

    We also know RFI and EMI can be picked up by wires and potentially be amplified by our amplifiers. These can be "filtered out" by simple cable geometry such as twisting or braiding.

    So I would disagree with your claim that they have nothing to add or remove.

    deepee99

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    Re: Interesting discussion on speaker cable snake-oil

    Post by deepee99 on Wed Aug 17, 2016 1:19 pm

    corndog71 wrote:
    Peter W. wrote:
    corndog71 wrote:I'm a little surprised that some of you guys are so quick to write off cable differences but can gush endlessly about the sonic differences of a tube or a cap which has a much shorter signal path.

    I tried responding at length yesterday, but it black-holed for some reason.

    So, here goes, only shorter:

    Tubes are active components. They affect the signal directly.
    Capacitors are passive components that affect active components. By their nature, they may be 'tuned' for specific purposes. One example: Filter caps are called "Filter" for a reason.
    Cables are pathway with nothing to add or remove.

    Does this help?

    Except that we know resistance can affect sound quality otherwise we'd all be using 30awg wire for everything.  Why bother using something thicker?

    We also know RFI and EMI can be picked up by wires and potentially be amplified by our amplifiers.  These can be "filtered out" by simple cable geometry such as twisting or braiding.

    So I would disagree with your claim that they have nothing to add or remove.

    Peter W., Gotta side with Corndog on this one. Up to a certain price point, cables do impact sound. I'm not talking the $8k/foot snake-oil out there, Resistance being the concern in our little man-caves, even for short runs, silver is the preferred conductor and offers the least resistance. Look that one up on the Periodic Table.
    As to your disparagement of the better-grade Chinese drivers, what has been your experience with them? I've had crappy NOS American/Brit tubes, Russian 6H8Cs, as well as some real beauties, but I think you ought to try a set of PSVanes or Black Treasures before bashing them. Listen, learn, and be amazed.


    Maintarget

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    Re: Interesting discussion on speaker cable snake-oil

    Post by Maintarget on Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:58 pm

    http://diyaudioprojects.com/Power/Low-Inductance-DIY-Speaker-Cables/

    If you are into DIY this is right up your alley if not interesting read.
    My only comment would be "If there is measurable resistance, inductance and or capacitance in any material and or component passive or active used in any circuit (Including speaker cable/wire) seems like it would have some effect on the performance of the circuit"
    Is it detectable in the human hearing range and by all listeners?
    Bottom line like Roy has stated many times
    "What the listener is hearing is subjective".............

    Peter W.

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    Re: Interesting discussion on speaker cable snake-oil

    Post by Peter W. on Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:39 pm

    deepee99 wrote:
    corndog71 wrote:
    Peter W. wrote:
    corndog71 wrote:I'm a little surprised that some of you guys are so quick to write off cable differences but can gush endlessly about the sonic differences of a tube or a cap which has a much shorter signal path.

    I tried responding at length yesterday, but it black-holed for some reason.

    Peter W., Gotta side with Corndog on this one. Up to a certain price point, cables do impact sound. I'm not talking the $8k/foot snake-oil out there, Resistance being the concern in our little man-caves, even for short runs, silver is the preferred conductor and offers the least resistance. Look that one up on the Periodic Table.
    As to your disparagement of the better-grade Chinese drivers, what has been your experience with them? I've had crappy NOS American/Brit tubes, Russian 6H8Cs, as well as some real beauties, but I think you ought to try a set of PSVanes or Black Treasures before bashing them. Listen, learn, and be amazed.

    Why is it that I always state words to the effect: After basic suitability, capacity and QC are met....

    And then someone throws 30 gauge wire on the table?

    As to Chinese tubes, I have never had a modern production Euro/US tube slag on me. 40% of my Chinese tubes have slagged. That would be dozens of the former, and  ten (10) of the latter.  How they might sound is relatively meaningless if they destroy themselves in the process, and in one case, but for put blind luck, I would have lost my power transformer.  Sorry, no Chinese Junque here.

    cci1492

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    Re: Interesting discussion on speaker cable snake-oil

    Post by cci1492 on Wed Aug 17, 2016 4:47 pm

    Maintarget wrote:http://diyaudioprojects.com/Power/Low-Inductance-DIY-Speaker-Cables/

    If you are into DIY this is right up your alley if not interesting read.
    My only comment would be "If there is measurable resistance, inductance and or capacitance in any material and or component passive or active used in any circuit (Including speaker cable/wire) seems like it would have some effect on the performance of the circuit"
    Is it detectable in the human hearing range and by all listeners?
    Bottom line like Roy has stated many times
    "What the listener is hearing is subjective".............

    I completed a pair of these a couple of weeks ago. They sound the same to me as the 12 gauge speaker wire I had been using for the last 20 years (on the solid state and the M125). But they were cheap to make, look wicked cool, and it kept me out of trouble during the time it took me to make them.

    Maintarget

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    Re: Interesting discussion on speaker cable snake-oil

    Post by Maintarget on Wed Aug 17, 2016 6:30 pm

    @cci1492 Exactly LOL!

    Dave_in_Va

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    Re: Interesting discussion on speaker cable snake-oil

    Post by Dave_in_Va on Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:01 pm

    I'm not a tech guy.
    In the comparison chart here

    http://diyaudioprojects.com/Power/Low-Inductance-DIY-Speaker-Cables/

    What should I be looking for under the Capacitance, Inductance and Resistance columns?


    Last edited by Dave_in_Va on Thu Aug 18, 2016 4:35 pm; edited 1 time in total

    Peter W.

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    Re: Interesting discussion on speaker cable snake-oil

    Post by Peter W. on Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:44 pm

    Dave_in_Va wrote:I'm not a tech guy.
    In the comparison chart here

    diyaudioprojects.com/Power/Low-Inductance-DIY-Speaker-Cables/

    What should I be looking for under the Capacitance, Inductance and Resistance columns?


    For standard wire, without any twisting or pairing, look here:

    https://ampbooks.com/home/amplifier-calculators/wire-inductance/

    For Twisted pairs, look here:

    http://www.standard-wire.com/cable_design_equations.html

    Point being that inductance and capacitance of wire in the applications under discussion (primarily speaker wire) are negligible based on the distances and gauges we would find reasonable. There is measurable value in twisting them - which does reduce inductance. Keeping in mind that small inductors (also known as "chokes") work at microwave frequencies and to the extent that they block such frequencies, it is all good.

    The only way this all works is that if one sets up a real test, perhaps with a series of four-pole knife switches or similar so that one may instantly switch back from one/another/both sets. Done properly, this would not damage the amp, and would clearly demonstrate whether one, another or both options was audibly different.

    As follows: The amp goes into a board where there are two four-pole make-break knife switches. This pathway is as short as possible. From this board to each speaker will be OPTION A speaker wire and OPTION B speaker wire. When both switches are engaged. both options are connected. The user may then have a friend-behind-the-curtain alternate between the two options with "both" being between each test as that leaves the amp always engaged with the speakers - important! If three such switches are used, three options could be tested. And so forth.

    With this expedient, there are no issues of level matching, shock to the amp, shock to the speakers, arcing (however slight) and more. Only the direct nature of the wires will be in play.

    I would posit that the minimum conductor length from the box to the speakers should be twenty (20) feet, and the minimum wire gauge should be in aggregate, 14-gauge, stranded. This so nobody tosses "30 gauge" onto the table. "In aggregate" so that the twisted systems recently show (and very nice, by the way) can also be admitted.

    Thoughts?

    This would be interesting to observe - what with all the gored oxen lying about...

    Tube Nube

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    Re: Interesting discussion on speaker cable snake-oil

    Post by Tube Nube on Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:30 pm

    Because auditory sensory-level memory deteriorates rapidly--even more rapidly to a fraction of a second with new incoming seansation, it is imperative that any fair test allow for immediate swithching such as you've described. This will also allow for blind testing, and is easily adapted to double-blind testing (if the one at the switch cant see the cables, or is "psychologically" in the dark regarding presumptions about what "better" cables might look like).

    Thise objecting to this type of testing might protest the lack of opportunity to appreciate the whole experience of getting to know a set of cables through the course of a full song, or many songs over a period of weeks. This type of testing, however, is problematic for making comparisons. The ability to "hear" differences is lost without i mediate switching. Instead, what is being compared is what has been remembered... The things that have been noticed and encoded to memory.

    Perhaps a hybrid of the two approaches can be struck. One could listen as long as they like to each cable individually. Take note of its perceived attributes, and then later, listen for thise specific attributes, one at a time, in a double blind test involving immediate switching.

    Peter W.

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    Re: Interesting discussion on speaker cable snake-oil

    Post by Peter W. on Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:50 pm

    Please note the interpolations.


    Tube Nube wrote:Because auditory sensory-level memory deteriorates rapidly--even more rapidly to a fraction of a second with new incoming seansation, it is imperative that any fair test allow for immediate swithching such as you've described. This will also allow for blind testing, and is easily adapted to double-blind testing (if the one at the switch cant see the cables, or is "psychologically" in the dark regarding presumptions about what "better" cables might look like).

    I would agree with the double-blind proposal. The switches certainly could be blind such that even the user could make the changes yet not know which was "on" or not. The only certain condition would be "both". There is virtue in simplicity.

    Thise objecting to this type of testing might protest the lack of opportunity to appreciate the whole experience of getting to know a set of cables through the course of a full song, or many songs over a period of weeks. This type of testing, however, is problematic for making comparisons. The ability to "hear" differences is lost without i mediate switching. Instead, what is being compared is what has been remembered... The things that have been noticed and encoded to memory.

    The entire point of this method is that at no time would the speakers be unpowered or the amp be unloaded. This would even account for the amp changing it sound based on the load it sees. Essentially, it would see no change in load. More so, the user could come and go over some period of time most resembling their own listening habits in their own listening room with only the box intruding.

    Perhaps a hybrid of the two approaches can be struck. One could listen as long as they like to each cable individually. Take note of its perceived attributes, and then later, listen for thise specific attributes, one at a time, in a double blind test involving immediate switching.

    I would actually see an advantage of the user to have both (or more) cables fully available and with full knowledge of which is which. Then *AFTER* all the perceptions are recorded and a 'favorite' chosen, the cables would then be re-configured into the test mode, and the blind/double-blind test would commence. For as long as the user wishes with the condition that there is no cheating. Here is where the oxen are most at risk. And, fair is fair, those who object to blind testing should have the courage of their convictions and prove that their perceptions are both real (no objections here), and accurate, what is really in question.

    Dave_in_Va

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    Re: Interesting discussion on speaker cable snake-oil

    Post by Dave_in_Va on Thu Aug 18, 2016 4:37 pm

    Thanks, but I was kinda hoping to know whether I should be looking for higher or lower values in the Capacitance, Inductance and Resistance columns.

    Thanks.

    Peter W.

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    Re: Interesting discussion on speaker cable snake-oil

    Post by Peter W. on Thu Aug 18, 2016 4:47 pm

    Dave_in_Va wrote:Thanks, but I was kinda hoping to know whether I should be looking for higher or lower values in the Capacitance, Inductance and Resistance columns.

    Thanks.

    In all cases, lower.

    But, as you certainly understand that none of these values will ever equal 0, and the point of diminishing returns is met far more quickly than you run out options, knowing when it is 'low enough' is useful.

    deepee99

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    Re: Interesting discussion on speaker cable snake-oil

    Post by deepee99 on Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:08 pm

    Peter W. wrote:
    Dave_in_Va wrote:Thanks, but I was kinda hoping to know whether I should be looking for higher or lower values in the Capacitance, Inductance and Resistance columns.

    Thanks.

    In all cases, lower.  

    But, as you certainly understand that none of these values will ever equal 0, and the point of diminishing returns is met far more quickly than you run out options, knowing when it is 'low enough' is useful.

    From all I've read and experienced, on the short runs we are dealing with, low resistance is probably the key.

    Dogstar

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    Re: Interesting discussion on speaker cable snake-oil

    Post by Dogstar on Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:00 pm

    A few years ago I saw an ad online for Morrow Audio cables and there was a photo on their web site of these $100,000 speakers. I saw the company was not too far from where I lived and I was really curious about what $100,000 speakers sound like. I emailed the company and the owner of the company responded and told me the speakers were actually in his home audio room. He invited me to his home to hear them as well as everything else in his $200,000 system which sounded very good. At the end of my visit Mike Morrow gave me a pair of their lower price point 1 meter interconnects. I hooked them up to my system and was told I need to let them break in for 10 hours or so. To be honest I didn't hear any difference from the ones I bought at Parts Express.

    The one thing I did appreciate about Morrow Audio cables is that they are available at a reasonable price point as well as much more expensive price points. Though as I said I didn't hear a difference and won't be spending money on expensive cables.

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