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Audioquest GO-4 Speaker Cable Review

Rate this cable:

  • 1. Waste of money (piggy bank panther)

    Votes: 253 97.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 2 0.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 2 0.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 3 1.2%

  • Total voters
    260

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the AudioQuest GO-4 speaker cable. It is on kind loan from a member and costs about US $599.
Audioquest dBs speaker cable GO-4 Review.jpg


The attached dongle is a 72 volt battery supply that feeds an unterminated wire the length of the cable. Different terminations can be ordered. Here are the company advertisement about the cable:

Audioquest dBs speaker cable GO-4 Multitone Specifications.png


And this interesting note about terminations:
Audioquest dBs speaker cable GO-4 Termination Specifications.png


They are certainly dull looking but in addition, they have already tarnished/oxidized:
Audioquest dBs speaker cable GO-4 oxidation Review.jpg


I slid my meter over the terminations and whenever it hit an oxidized spot, it would add about 0.1 ohm of resistance! Both the spade and banana ends had this problem. Not good.

Testing of this cable was challenging due to one end being the spade terminal. I could not mate that easily to my analyzer for the typical measurements I run. Still, I managed to squeeze good data from it.

Comparisons are made against a non-name 12 gauge cable from Amazon with typical banana plugs. Cost is probably $20.

Audioquest GO-4 Measurements
I started by make wideband frequency response measurements as high as my analyzer can go (200 kHz):
Audioquest dBs speaker cable GO-4 Frequency Response Measurement.png


The cable makes no changes to the response even if we zoom to ±1 dB vertical scale (zoomed inset). This is better than the response of any amplifier you connect to it. As expected.

For next two tests, I connected the Topping PA5 amplifier through the test cables and then to my standard dummy load. Here is our power sweep:
Audioquest dBs speaker cable GO-4 Power vs distortion Measurement.png


The generic cable is a hair better but that may be because of easier termination and lack of oxidation. It is tiny and negligible difference so we can put it aside and conclude that the AQ GO-4 cable didn't bring anything to the party on noise or distortion.

Above test is at 1 kHz. We can expand that to 32 tones at varying frequencies:
Audioquest dBs speaker cable GO-4 Multitone Response Measurement.png


Results are identical as far as noise and intermodulation distortion.

EDIT: for extensive evaluation and test of the DBS, see the review of their Victoria cable: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...t-victoria-audio-cable-with-dbs-review.14683/

Conclusions
I know many of you could have predicted these results but it is always good to have solid data to back it. Whether we check for tonality using frequency response or real life amplifier driving a load, noise and distortion remain the same with GO-4 cable compared to generic. What is not the same is the degradation of the terminations on the cable. This is a fail and simply not acceptable in a premium cable.

I can't recommend the AudioQuest GO-4 speaker cable. Use a generic cable and put the rest of the money toward good music.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
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DMill

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I can’t ever recall two panthers. Both seem appropriate. Thanks for taking the time to look into these. I hope owners are at least finding them flexible and easy to use in their systems. I suppose a bit of sandpaper can remove the rust.
 

617

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I feel like I've said this before, but is there much utility in measuring several products from outfits that do not use objective methods to design their equipment? I think we've busted the cable myth at this point.

So far we've seen an AQ dac, some power conditioners, some power cables, some interconnects and speaker cables.

I can't be the only one who prefers when ASR celebrates the surprisingly good rather celebrating the humiliation of obviously bad products.
 

Somafunk

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617

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Here is how these conversations go:
  • "only an idiot buys this"
  • "actually I like them because the interconnect quality is high and it's worth it"
  • "audioquest deserve to be put in jail"
  • "blue jeans cable also has nice quality and doesn't make absurd claims"
  • "only people prone to sheeplike religiousity are capable of being scammed by AQ"
  • mod: "let's keep religion out of it"
  • "I am coming here from SBAF/Stereophile/Steve Guttenburg and these sound amazing, you guys need to get a job and use your ears"
  • "I am going to engage with you scientifically"
  • "Use your ears you nerds"
  • "Here is a whitepaper showing why Amir's measurements are inaccurate when the cable is used with a real load"
  • "I have a degree from MIT and this whitepaper is garbage"
Just a summary of course, one of these threads went to 35 pages.

Then if we're lucky Amir will make a video debunking the product like he's Martin Luther nailing the 95 thesis of
audio science on a door somewhere.

Now why do I care? Because it lowers the level of discourse on ASR, attracts idiots, weakens the differentiation of Asr as a platform and deprives us of the opportunities to see tests of products that might sound amazing and contribute to musical appreciation.
 
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AndreaT

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Once more, thank you Amir for showing how not to spend the dollars we earn and save and dedicate to improve the music reproduction in our systems ! Any further comments about performance with and without the 72 V battery Dielectric-Bias System? Why should the dielectric be biased, like the grid of an electronic tube? If I am not mistaken, the grid bias allows to bring the electrons cloud toward a more linear segment of the cathode emission for the range of of voltages applied to the grid. But in a SE cable? You already commented in a past review of Audioquest interconnects, but I wonder if the theory to bias a SE cable has any merit, in spite of its bad implementation in the Audioquest products.
 

Garrincha

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Once, in the dark past before I knew ASR, I bought an AudioQuest product, the Black Dragonfly. Ok, it was used and not very expensive and many years ago there weren't that many dongle around, but still, how embarrasing!
 

Martin Takamine

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Belief is stronger than truth to many. Is that worth arguing about?
Belief is truth for many that why I appreciate the facts presented on ASR.
The sun rises and sets is the truth for some but the fact is it has something to do with the rotation and revolution of celestial bodies.
 

PeteL

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Once, in the dark past before I knew ASR, I bought an AudioQuest product, the Black Dragonfly. Ok, it was used and not very expensive and many years ago there weren't that many dongle around, but still, how embarrasing!
How did it sound?
 

restorer-john

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@amirm a few questions.

Did you activate/deactivate the 72V 'bias' system and test for any differences.

I am also wondering the length of the cable in metres/feet, its measured resistance and perhaps capacitance (conductor to conductor).

The FR plot of the cable is for a pair of conductors or one? What source impedance did you drive it at- the 20R AP source and at what voltage?

Not expecting any changes in the conclusions, but the testing procedures could be a little clearer.
 

sam_adams

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They are certainly dull looking but in addition, they have already tarnished/oxidized:
Audioquest dBs speaker cable GO-4 oxidation Review.jpg

If the base metal is copper, this indicates a poorly plated nickel passivation layer under the gold plating. Absolutely shoddy workmanship. @amirm indicates that there is no nickel passivation layer under the gold. That's worse than shoddy—it's just stupid.

Two easy reads on silver and gold plating of copper:

https://advancedplatingtech.com/blog/silver-plating-of-copper-or-copper-alloys/

https://advancedplatingtech.com/blog/prevent-corrosion-of-gold-plated-contacts-terminals/
 
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respice finem

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If the base metal is copper, this indicates a poorly plated nickel passivation layer under the gold plating. Absolutely shoddy workmanship. @JSmith indicates that there is no nickel passivation layer under the gold. That's worse than shoddy—it's just stupid.
At this bargain price, one can't demand much :p
/s.
 

Sonny1

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My expectations were low but they somehow managed to disappoint. Great review although they made it easy for you. Companies like Audioquest probably cringe when they see you review one of their products. They have to know their metal plating is cheap and products don’t work as advertised. Glad I never bought into this type of marketing. Thanks for the review.

Waiting for AQ to come out with some sweet tube connectors!
 
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