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Analogue Interconnects


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In looking for my next little purchase (last one for a while I think!), I came across this little beauty (as used by forum members here I believe?).

 

 

 

Now, I'm sure they are a wonderful addition to any system, however, considering they cost pretty much the total sum of my entire setup, spending that amount of money on cable is not only practically impossible but also not sensible with regards the complimenting equipment. If I knocked out the middle zero (in the price), things might make more sense in my budget-audiophile-pretend-system!

 

What analogue interconnects would people here recommend? At present I'm using some cheap, red and white standard cable. Would a more expensive one be worth investing in?

 

Relative to the rest of my system, £50 to £60 would be about the right amount of expenditure.

 

--

djp

 

Intel iMac + Beresford TC-7510 + Little Dot MK III + beyerdynamics DT 231 = Computer audiophile quality on the cheap! --- Samsung Q1 + M-Audio Transit + Sennheiser PX 100 = Computer audiophile quality on the go!

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Hi David - A very highly respected cable company is Blue Jeans Cable. many people in the industry actually use them. The BJC site is not the prettiest, but that's not what makes your system sound good :-) BJC will customize cables to almost any length within spec and the prices are great.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Hi David,

 

Unless your system is appallingly badly designed, and ultra susceptible to RFI, changing the interconnects will make absolutely no difference !

 

Countless blind tests have proven this. I read on another forum about an interconnect blind test quite recently. It was conducted by a group of confirmed audiophools, who were all convinced they would hear a difference. None of them could. Even comparing a stupid £750 cable with a 'red & white' freebie made no difference.

 

Chris.

 

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Hi Chris- Your statement is very absolute, I'm not willing to take it that far :-) I do think improvements in sound can be made with very good contacts / terminations on the cables and "proper" shielding. Certainly not "spent nuclear fuel rod" shielding like some cables have, but just enough.

 

I am always skeptical of those tests like the one you mention. It would be interesting to run a similar test with people who are extremely familiar with their own very resolving high-end system. Swapping cables in this situation would be a decent way to determine if these people at least heard a difference. I'm certainly not saying there is a 100% chance people would hear a difference, but the test just seems fairly appropriate to me.

 

I know people have tried to use hundreds of analogies in these discussions all over the Internet, but one that I can relate to is this: If I test drove a car that wasn't mine, using two very different grades of gas (high octane, low octane, whatever makes a difference in power?) I don't think I would be able to notice any differences. using my own car that I've been driving for years I notice the slightest little differences in everything. Just for reference, I'm no car expert and don't even change my own oil :-) I'm not trying to equate the chemicals in gas to the components of a cable, just the "testing" methodology.

 

You're obviously very skilled in many of the topics discussed around here and I'm really interested in your opinion on this one.

 

 

 

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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I think Chris has hit the nail on the head with this one. There are improvements to be had with decent interconnects over the standard cheapies shipped with low-end gear, but paying huge sums is probably not justified for us credit crunch impacted mortals.

 

I look forward to a contribution from Ashley (AVI) on this. He ships what look to me fairly standard (albeit excellent quality) interconnects and mains leads with his ADM9/9.1 active speakers and they sound better than any previous system I ever owned.

 

Worth sussing out used I/Cs on ebay - well broken in and cheap - Audioquest, Van den Hul, etc. Folks continually wanting to upgrade cables leaves bargains to be had second hand - and they are usually in good condition.

 

Phil

 

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Hi Chris,

 

The test in question did involve people using quite high-end equipment, and which the participants were familiar with.

 

With interconnect cables, there are really 3 issues to consider :-

 

1. Connector integrity and longevity.

Provided the phono plugs are reasonably robust and gold plated to avoid corrosion, there is no point in spending more than ~£2 per plug.

 

2. Capacitance.

This should be kept to modest levels to avoid unnecessary roll-off of high frequencies. With SS preamps or CD players, etc, their output impedance is usually a few 100 ohms, so even 1000pF of cable capacitance will have little effect. With tube preamps, impedances can be higher, so they may be more susceptible.

 

3. Screening.

Some power amps are more susceptible to RFI than others, so it is worth choosing a cable with a proper tightly woven braided screen, to avoid RF pickup. I actually use 75ohm RF coaxial cable (URM76) for this reason, which costs ~£0.80/m.

 

Once you have addressed these issues, the cable should be transparent. It is also worth pointing out that the cable used inside most equipment is nothing special. Indeed, most of the signal path will be via unscreened tracks on a PCB.

 

To use your car analogy, fiddling with external cables and expecting it to work wonders with the sound is a bit like adding a 'go-faster' stripe down the side of you car and expecting the performance to improve !

 

Chris.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi Chris - C'mon, I added that go-faster stripe and put sandbags on it to tighten up the sound coming from the muffler :-) Only kidding of course.

 

Thanks for the post as usual, although I don't agree with everything.

 

Have you heard anything about using gold on interconnects. Some of the people I know in the Industry avoid gold like the plague as they think it's not a good conductor of sound and degrades the sound. What's your take on this?

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Hi Chris,

 

If you look at the conductivity 'league table' for metals, silver is best, copper 2nd and gold 3rd, but there isn't a huge difference between them.

 

The gold plating is necessary to avoid oxidation. It is widely used on RF connectors where the frequencies involved can be many GHz (ie. ~ 1,000,000 times higher than audio), and there are absolutely no adverse effects.

 

Chris.

 

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Hi David,

One product I've used in the past and regretted letting go was the Supra Cables EFF-I. Also there's a mag called Stereoplay here in Germany, they rate the Crystal cable line a lot. Look around for them USED and you could find yourself a bargain.

 

Goodluck

 

Gordon R

 

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Thanks Chris and Gordon, I'll be checking out both Blue Jeans Cable and the Crystal cable line.

 

--

djp

 

Intel iMac + Beresford TC-7510 + Little Dot MK III + beyerdynamics DT 231 = Computer audiophile quality on the cheap! --- Samsung Q1 + M-Audio Transit + Sennheiser PX 100 = Computer audiophile quality on the go!

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I suggest you use Signal Cables Analoge 2 with Bullet RCA plugs. These value , oustanding ICs you wil love.

 

Powerbook G4 15 inch Aluminum, \"Fidela,\" M2tech EVO (BNC)with RF attenuator,dedicated PSU, Stereovox XV Ultra (BNC) Audio Note Dac Kit 2.1 Level B Signature Upgraded to 12AU7 tubes, ARC SP-16L Tube preamp , VAC PA100/100 Tube Amp), Vintage Tubes, Furutech ETP-80, (Alon 2 Mk2, (upgraded tweeters, Usher Woofers), Pangea Power cords, Omega Micro Active Planar PC. Signal Cable Silver Resolution ICs.

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David,

 

You're in the UK, you need look no further than :

 

http://www.flashbacksales.co.uk/

 

These cables are plain, but very effective, I've used them for custom cables in my Naim system and I've never been dissapointed. Customer service is unbeatable. I use them regularly, and I live in France, they can't be beaten for value.

 

cheers

 

Peter

 

Asus Netbook -> Fidelity DA-150 > Chevron Audio Paradox > Avondale S-100 > Audium Comp 5

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Chris,

 

The flashbacks are no snake oil cables. To be honest I have a Naim Hiline for the Cd player, and I think it's better than the Flashback cables, but is it 10x better ?

 

Of course not.

 

regards

 

Peter

 

Asus Netbook -> Fidelity DA-150 > Chevron Audio Paradox > Avondale S-100 > Audium Comp 5

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That was one fantastic read Tim, thanks! I'm quite tempted to give it a go, just for the sheer fun and ultimate fulfillment (though mine probably wouldn't work! ;)).

 

--

djp

 

Intel iMac + Beresford TC-7510 + Little Dot MK III + beyerdynamics DT 231 = Computer audiophile quality on the cheap! --- Samsung Q1 + M-Audio Transit + Sennheiser PX 100 = Computer audiophile quality on the go!

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I guess I'm getting too old for these discussions.

 

Here's my suggestion:

 

Borrow some cables in your price range that you have heard something promising about.

 

Listen.

 

You're done. If you want to go further you can. If you don't, you obviously won't. People with extreme views either way really don't matter. Conduct your own experiment and observe the results. Then get on with your life.

 

Sorry but treating this thing like it is some kind of religious debate is just silly. Hold whatever view you want. However, just like religion, please don't tell me your belief is the only valid one. I personally find cables to make a difference although there is more pseudo science and excessive margins than most other areas of the industry.

 

Who cares what I think? Who cares what the guy who tells you why it is impossible for you to hear a difference thinks? Trust yourself. If you try something and you have to agonize over whether you hear a change, or more importantly an improvement, move on and find something more productive to do with your time and money.

 

And don't forget to have fun, please.

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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Agreed. All comments taken onboard rom661. Infact, I just dropped by, to post that I'm no longer in the hunt for cable as I've dropped the Creek from my setup, though all recommendations have been greatly appreciated and will be a good reference point if needed in the future. The amplifier output on the TC-7510 is great and powers my DT231's perfectly.

 

So there you go, I've simplified my setup (and possibly my life! ;)) and can now spend my time looking for that fun factor you mention rom661...

 

The music! :)

 

--

djp

 

Intel iMac + Beresford TC-7510 + Little Dot MK III + beyerdynamics DT 231 = Computer audiophile quality on the cheap! --- Samsung Q1 + M-Audio Transit + Sennheiser PX 100 = Computer audiophile quality on the go!

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"Sorry but treating this thing like it is some kind of religious debate is just silly. Hold whatever view you want. However, just like religion, please don't tell me your belief is the only valid one. I personally find cables to make a difference although there is more pseudo science and excessive margins than most other areas of the industry."

 

A very reasonable POV. The only problem is that, unlike religion, these things can be measured, and because human hearing has also been measured, we can pretty accurately predict what will be audible. And if that is not good enough, there are reliable methodologies to test what actually is audible.

 

We don't have to rely on faith. We just have to obtain the data and believe the truth before our eyes...or ears.

 

Tim

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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I'm actually quite comfortable with my views on the subject and am very familiar with the arguments both ways. Sufficiently comfortable not to argue the point.

 

Best wishes

 

Rick

 

 

 

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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"'m actually quite comfortable with my views on the subject and am very familiar with the arguments both ways. Sufficiently comfortable not to argue the point."

 

I agree, and the data may support your view. I'm just saying that it is believing without (or against) supporting data that is faith-based, not the opposite. Perhaps we only disagree on the use of the religious analogy. I believe that, to a point, the quality of wire is audible myself.

 

Tim

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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I see your point and looking at it that way tend to agree with you. I guess my point was more based on the concept of refusing to be open to the possibility of observing something because there is is not a theory that explains it. My analogy may not have been the best.

 

Rick

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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