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An antidote to snake oil

CapMan

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I recently bought a couple of 5m subwoofer cables from a chap on eBay. I found it refreshing that they arrived packaged with a full run down of the technical cable specs (electrical properties), a piece of cut cable stripped back to show the conductor and the two shields, plus some instructions on how to handle them to avoid kinks. I think they are used for telecoms data transmission.

The ‘sales pitch’ did not promise faster transients, subsonic low end , black backgrounds or earth shattering bass - just that the cable spec and construction would help minimise signal loss , interference and ground loops and my subs would play just fine!

They were £20 each.

They are 75ohm coax so for shits and giggles I tried one of these 5m cables as a digital link cables for my two devialet experts - needless to say they worked perfectly , even at 192/24.

Bear in mind that folks over at DevialetChat had issues with high end 2m foo foo AQ spdif cables causing drop outs used the same way :)

So I hope that this thread can be the antidote to Snake Oil - for good experiences of honest, good value, properly specified stuff that just does the job in the way that physics says it should :)

Excerpt from eBay listing …

No 'Hi-Fi cable-fu' or magic properties

Have you ever noticed how rarely Hi-Fi and AV cables come with any kind of specification?
There's no indication of the cable impedance, or the attenuation, its capacitance or the return loss. Often there isn't even an adequate basic description of what kind of shielding is used. What you get instead is pseudo-scientific sounding terms and vague hyperbole.
This mini coax has a full set of specifications. You'll get a copy with your cable.
Conductor 1 /0.31 +/-0.003BC - 100% plain copper
Insulation Material: Solid Natural PE
Nominal OD : 1.95 +/- 0.1 mm
Braiding 1 16/6/0.1+/-0.003TC / Nominal OD: ~ 2.45mm - tin coated copper- 91% Coverage
Braiding 2 16/6/0.1+/-0.003TC / Nominal OD: ~ 2.85mm - tin coated copper - 90% Coverage
Sheath Material : PVC / Colour : White
Min. thickness : 0.24mm / Nom. thickness : 0.30mm / Nominal OD : 3.55+/-0.1 mm
Minimum Bending Radius 20 mm single bend, 40 mm repeated bending
Voltage Test : Inner Conductor to Braiding: 5300V d.c/1min, No Breakdown
Nom. Capacitance : 67+/-2pF/m
Max. DC Conductor resistance : 236Ω/km, 20 OC
Min. DC Insulation resistance : 20,000MΩ/km
Characteristic Impedance : 75+/-4 Ω( 5MHz )
Maximum attenuation @ 100m measured at 1,000,000Hz (1MHz): 2.1dB
 
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killdozzer

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I like what your write and agree with your arguments, but it won't be an antidote. Buyers who are into snake oil are not waiting for someone to dispel and lift the veil from their eyes. Very often, they're quite robust in their belief that you simply don't hear what they hear. They "live the life" of special equipment for special people. In your case they would just tell you you don't hear what they hear and that's why you think the cable is just as good.

On a side note, I fully agree that the cable you bought is just as good.
 
OP
CapMan

CapMan

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I like what your write and agree with your arguments, but it won't be an antidote. Buyers who are into snake oil are not waiting for someone to dispel and lift the veil from their eyes. Very often, they're quite robust in their belief that you simply don't hear what they hear. They "live the life" of special equipment for special people. In your case they would just tell you you don't hear what they hear and that's why you think the cable is just as good.

On a side note, I fully agree that the cable you bought is just as good.
I’m probably preaching to the choir on this site :)
 

DSJR

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A linky would be nice - no foo, no advertising as such, but a sensible seller who should get the exposure they deserve I feel...

AHHH - Found it :D (I should let the OP put a link to it if he wants). Very sensible and informative advert too and 5m is now £24 or so...
 
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Dial

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When we stick to audio or video or even computers, spending thousands of dollars for a piece of wire is only ridiculous. But for the mains supply, these esoteric craps can become dangerous, not only the cables but also the power strips and other whatnot at no price, often not even shielded or filtered (even by a simple ferrite). What has been demonstrated here.
 
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CapMan

CapMan

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CapMan

CapMan

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What makes a cable a subwoofer cable?
In this case it’s just a long, shielded cable that is thin enough to hide under the carpet in my lounge :) oh yes, and most definitely plugged into a subwoofer to quote From above :)
 
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DSJR

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What makes a cable a subwoofer cable?
I shouldn't butt in (so apologies if necessary) but this is one is a thin (ish) well shielded cable able to be run more discretely around a room to the sub than many standard audio cables, some of which are awful in the shielding it seems.
 

Zoomer

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I'm far from an expert, but some of the claims made about shielding sound pretty dodgy.
Also the use of the term electro-mechanical where electro-magnetic is meant doesn't inspire confidence.

Antidote to snake oil? I doubt it.
 

Jim Taylor

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Buyers who are into snake oil are not waiting for someone to dispel and lift the veil from their eyes. Very often, they're quite robust in their belief that you simply don't hear what they hear. They "live the life" of special equipment for special people. In your case they would just tell you you don't hear what they hear and that's why you think the cable is just as good.

Absolutely correct. As far as I know, the "conversions" arising from disputes between committed parties are few. The real value of exposing dangers in the consumer arena (in any area of it) is to inform and protect the individuals who are still seeking the basic facts.

There are thousands, if not millions, of people out there trying to make decisions. And by that, I mean that they are bound and determined to make their own decisions; they're not looking for someone to make decisions for them. All they want, and need, is reliable information.

They can get it here. Jim
 

mansr

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I like what your write and agree with your arguments, but it won't be an antidote. Buyers who are into snake oil are not waiting for someone to dispel and lift the veil from their eyes. Very often, they're quite robust in their belief that you simply don't hear what they hear. They "live the life" of special equipment for special people. In your case they would just tell you you don't hear what they hear and that's why you think the cable is just as good.
Your wife has tin ears, and your kitchen isn't resolving enough.
 

killdozzer

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Your wife has tin ears, and your kitchen isn't resolving enough.
:D
iu
 

FrantzM

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The amusing thing is that: we, of the "objective" audiophile persuasion tend to fall for some of these. For example, we tend to use thicker gauge of interconnect for subwoofer duties.
Come to think of it.. It is interesting to realize that, a frugal and DIY-inclined, could just buy a 500 ft roll of RG-6 cable and use it for all audio applications, line level or signal level, digital or analog. RG-6 is perfectly good for speaker signal , the center conductor is a 18 AWG copper and the sheath (the shield) usually has 1/4 the DC resistance of the center conductor ... have not seen anyone do this :) ... Talk about signal "purity" .. here is the subjective audiophile version: :cool:
The Same cable is used everywhere in the audio chain, resulting in extraordinary coherence, pace and timing. Complete rejection of RFI at all levels be it speakers signals, phono , CD or streaming... dark, cosmic-black background, Galaxy-wide and deep soundstage... Precise, coherency of the sonic event...
:p

Peace
 
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