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Cables matter in mastering why not at home?


From the Music Matters, Ltd web site.


"When Ron and I agreed that Kevin was the Engineer we wanted to do the transfers for our Music Matters Blue Note reissue program I began to think about the connectivity issue at Kevin's studio. As VP of product development at AudioQuest since 1983, the knowledge that cables make a difference is hardly new to me!


An inspection of the facility revealed adequate wiring (mostly from Canare I believe) but hardly the stuff of audiophile dreams. As great as the output of Grays Equipment has been, I knew we could push the performance of this system significantly higher by improving the wiring of both the line level connections as well as the many AC cables in the chain. Kevin quickly agreed to give it a try.


The improvement we heard (by comparing before and after acetates) was substantial. It was clear that we had made a significant improvement to the facility. Through my many years at AQ (Bill Low and I shipped out of his garage back when I started at AQ in 1983) I have become quite familiar with the kind of musically important improvements that can be made when the cabling is made to be more of what it should be.....a sonically "invisible" conduit to the source.


After hearing the difference the AudioQuest cable made in his mastering set up, Kevin Gray had this to say: "I found the change with the AudioQuest cable to be subtle at first. It didn't really change tonality like many other cables I have auditioned. What it DID do is allow you to hear further INTO the music. Subtle directional and spatial cues became clearer and more defined without brightening or hardening the sound. I really appreciate this. So many cables I have heard tend to harden or soften one area of the frequency spectrum and everyone goes ‘Ooh, ahh!'. I don't want that. I just want definition. AudioQuest offers the finest sense of that I have ever heard."


The sonic results of this improvement are being heard not only on the Music Matters series of Blue Note reissues, but everything coming out of Cohearent Studio. Ron and I naturally decided not to make the improved wire a "Music Matters only" feature. After all, we are music lovers first and foremost.


We think you will be quite pleased with the improvement we have managed to squeeze out of an already state of the art mastering facility. "



Take away: It is a given that there was a bias toward AudioQuest, but I do find it interesting that the Music Matters team saw Sound Quality (SQ) improve in the mastering process. Music Matters is in business to sell high quality recordings. I am a cable agnostic, but it may be that this article quoted above is somewhat divorced from our constant debate regarding cables in that Music Matters is a business and perhaps more interested in results than blood letting.


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I have no intention of starting an argument over whether cables matter or not, but I will comment that I would be more interested in seeing these comments from a studio that doesn't focus on catering to the audiophile market. They know that their buyers are primarily of the cable-upgrading/ stereophile camp, and agree with Music Matters already. These comments become fodder for the pro-upgraded cable groups that make it to the front page of stereophile, the absolute sound, and any fora that have this kind of bias - ie. audiogon, and become a commonly linked article in our arguments. Had Columbia records, Abbey Road, or an equivalent studio/record company that does not focus entirely on the audiophile market stated this, I'd be more inclined to do some more research into cables and sound quality (As far as I know, none of them use fancy cables under most circumstances- and all of the studios I've experience do not either). The reason they use Canare, Mogami or Belden usually has nothing to do with sound quality, rather the studio engineers (AKA their interns) build all of their own cables and want ones that will last/be trustworthy. Compare a Hosa cable and something made with Mogami cable and Neutrik jacks and it'll be obvious which will last longer.

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alexwgoody, interesting comment.


You are have a good point, I wonder what the big "main stream" studios use. I doubt such information is easy to obtain.

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I haven't ever been in the ultra high end main stream studios, but I have recorded in some relatively nice ones. Most of them used Mogami or an equivalent no-name. I wouldn't be surprised if some engineers/musicians bring in specific cables with their gear, as some are very picky, but I'd be amazed if anyone re-wired the entire studio for a session. You'd probably have to be one of the best in the business to even request this in a high end studio, and I doubt that many do. Perhaps home studios of these wealthy musicians use different cables- I doubt they build their own, and when money is no object they probably don't care. However, I'm sure the high end cables companies would have numerous testimonials from engineers and musicians if they used high end cables for recording. I certainly haven't seen a Kanye West Kimber Kable.

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