• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

AudioQuest Wind High-end Cable Review

SIY

Major Contributor
Technical Expert
Joined
Apr 6, 2018
Messages
5,793
Likes
12,216
Location
Phoenix, AZ
It is not recent. The article was published in 1995. It is posted on their site now. That aside, it is a faulty test. A person in the letters section explains why:

Cable physics
Editor: I am writing regarding Ben Duncan's "What a Difference a Wire Makes" (December '95, p.95). The time-domain results shown are hardly surprising, especially given that his test signal "representing a music transient" bears little similarity to a musical signal at all.

Musical signals have an unmistakable amplitude envelope, a fact well-known to synthesizer designers. Percussive sounds may start with a rapid onset, but they all end with a controlled decay. The end of the [1kHz] toneburst used in his tests bears more similarity to a squarewave than to a musical source. The maximum slew rate of a sinewave occurs at the zero crossing, and this is where the tone burst suddenly ends. For example, look at his fig.7 (Vol.18 No.12, p.100). Cover up the waveform to the left of the "4.00m" mark. Note that the end of the toneburst not only looks like the rising edge of a squarewave, [this is a visual illusion due to the large vertical amplification used in BD's graphs—Ed.], but also the circuit behaves as if it were (and for good reason), with harmonics similar to those shown in my fig.1.

Cables with greater inductance and amplifiers with lower damping factor will have a higher impedance at higher frequencies, which permits greater ringing with transient signals. The end of a 15kHz toneburst could certainly be considered "transient" since its slew rate is 15 times greater than at 1kHz. Whether or not the >100kHz ringing observed is "common" is unproven without a larger sample of amplifiers. Whether it makes an audible difference is yet another question that perhaps bats could answer.

The amplifier I tested does not exhibit this "imperfection" even at frequencies greater than 15kHz, in spite of the amplifier's relatively large negative feedback. On the other hand, this amplifier's damping factor remains constant and high across the audio spectrum. So which will make the greater difference—the amplifier, cable, or speaker? If Mr. Duncan had used a different amplifier, the cable effects at 15kHz would have been masked less by the amplifier's artifacts.

Even if we were to accept a toneburst with no amplitude envelope control as a possible musical source from an electronic instrument, no evidence is shown that the measured effects are actually audible. If they were in any way audible, then I'm certain that data would have been prominently displayed. Then the phrase "meaningful differences" would be undeniable. If no one can hear it, how important is it?

I can find nothing in Mr. Duncan's results that suggests "logic" concerning special cables for mains. I have never seen current waveforms into power supplies that even remotely resemble an isolated double-sine toneburst. The fundamental frequencies involved are so low (50Hz/60Hz) that even the harmonics will not be profoundly affected by mains-cable inductance (even without considering the tens of thousands of microfarads of filter capacitance that follow in a typical power supply). What degree of real improvement could be expected by changing the last meter or two of cable at the end of several kilometers of mains wiring?

Mr. Duncan's data concur with mine: The effects of a speaker cable, though measurable, are small compared to amplifier artifacts. Once again, we are left with clearly measurable differences between speaker cables, but no proof that these differences are audible.—Fred E. Davis, Connecticut
Note that Fred Davis was one of the two people who analyzed and demonstrated cable effects and non-effects back when the craze was really taking off (Dick Greiner was the other). Their work was definitive, but didn't really slow down the spread of ignorance.
 

CDMC

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
1,028
Likes
1,917
Really, going with any pro audio cable (Belden, Canare, Mogami, Van Damme, Klotz, Van Den Hul, Gotham, etc.) and pro connectors (Neutrik, Switchcraft, Amphenol, etc.) is going to give you good results. Heck, even the well constructed versions of cheap/freebie cable will work well.

Notice I said “good results” rather than “good sound.” I don’t think any of the above cable stocks and connectors will sound any different than the others. However, buying a quality cable will get you a more robust and durable product.
I think you would be hard pressed to do it for less than $200. It runs about $100 for a pair of speaker cables, and a couple of pairs of XLR or RCA will run you $80 of so. Ironically, I have found Mogami pro cables to be significantly more expensive than getting them from Worlds Best with Amphenol or Nuetrik connectors. I agree, they all sound the same, unless you get a really high emf environment where a star quad cable may pixk up less noise. .
 

RayDunzl

Major Contributor
Central Scrutinizer
Joined
Mar 9, 2016
Messages
11,185
Likes
11,217
Location
Riverview FL
I'm now prepared for the onslaught of people telling me a coat hanger is just as good or only marginally worse.
Ok.

1kHz into speakers measured at the amplifier terminals (with alligator clips and 30 feet of XLR)

1603947558816.png


I'm not sure I can distinguish the cable from the digital artifacts, considering that the digital source signal (not shown) has a rather arbitrary (probably illegal) start/stop to it.

---


Spectrum of the source signal:

1603947940398.png



Spectrum of the measurement

1603948012980.png


---

Conclusion:

Looks good to me.
 
Last edited:

Sal1950

Major Contributor
The Chicago Crusher
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
8,583
Likes
7,857
Location
Central Fl
Shouldn't is the operative word there. I don't think we can reliably measure a person's ability to hear differences and I don't believe double-blind testing solves that.
If properly done, yes it does.
 

digicidal

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
Messages
1,439
Likes
2,351
Location
Sin City, NV
Shouldn't is the operative word there. I don't think we can reliably measure a person's ability to hear differences and I don't believe double-blind testing solves that.
How would it not solve that? If there is an ability to hear the difference then the double-blind test will absolutely verify that fact. On the other hand if there is no ability shown (i.e. the results are commensurate with guessing) then about all you can argue - aside from the obvious "the subject can't hear the difference" - would be that the test was limited by other factors (signal masked by noise, presented at inadequate levels, etc.). In the case of the later then a better test presentation might be in order... but the methodology would still be sound (pun intended) regardless. :rolleyes:
 

AudioSceptic

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 31, 2019
Messages
1,255
Likes
1,030
Location
Northampton, UK
It is not recent. The article was published in 1995. It is posted on their site now. That aside, it is a faulty test. A person in the letters section explains why:

Cable physics
Editor: I am writing regarding Ben Duncan's "What a Difference a Wire Makes" (December '95, p.95). The time-domain results shown are hardly surprising, especially given that his test signal "representing a music transient" bears little similarity to a musical signal at all.

Musical signals have an unmistakable amplitude envelope, a fact well-known to synthesizer designers. Percussive sounds may start with a rapid onset, but they all end with a controlled decay. The end of the [1kHz] toneburst used in his tests bears more similarity to a squarewave than to a musical source. The maximum slew rate of a sinewave occurs at the zero crossing, and this is where the tone burst suddenly ends. For example, look at his fig.7 (Vol.18 No.12, p.100). Cover up the waveform to the left of the "4.00m" mark. Note that the end of the toneburst not only looks like the rising edge of a squarewave, [this is a visual illusion due to the large vertical amplification used in BD's graphs—Ed.], but also the circuit behaves as if it were (and for good reason), with harmonics similar to those shown in my fig.1.

Cables with greater inductance and amplifiers with lower damping factor will have a higher impedance at higher frequencies, which permits greater ringing with transient signals. The end of a 15kHz toneburst could certainly be considered "transient" since its slew rate is 15 times greater than at 1kHz. Whether or not the >100kHz ringing observed is "common" is unproven without a larger sample of amplifiers. Whether it makes an audible difference is yet another question that perhaps bats could answer.

The amplifier I tested does not exhibit this "imperfection" even at frequencies greater than 15kHz, in spite of the amplifier's relatively large negative feedback. On the other hand, this amplifier's damping factor remains constant and high across the audio spectrum. So which will make the greater difference—the amplifier, cable, or speaker? If Mr. Duncan had used a different amplifier, the cable effects at 15kHz would have been masked less by the amplifier's artifacts.

Even if we were to accept a toneburst with no amplitude envelope control as a possible musical source from an electronic instrument, no evidence is shown that the measured effects are actually audible. If they were in any way audible, then I'm certain that data would have been prominently displayed. Then the phrase "meaningful differences" would be undeniable. If no one can hear it, how important is it?

I can find nothing in Mr. Duncan's results that suggests "logic" concerning special cables for mains. I have never seen current waveforms into power supplies that even remotely resemble an isolated double-sine toneburst. The fundamental frequencies involved are so low (50Hz/60Hz) that even the harmonics will not be profoundly affected by mains-cable inductance (even without considering the tens of thousands of microfarads of filter capacitance that follow in a typical power supply). What degree of real improvement could be expected by changing the last meter or two of cable at the end of several kilometers of mains wiring?

Mr. Duncan's data concur with mine: The effects of a speaker cable, though measurable, are small compared to amplifier artifacts. Once again, we are left with clearly measurable differences between speaker cables, but no proof that these differences are audible.—Fred E. Davis, Connecticut
It should be obvious that there can be audible differences between speaker cables, but only if there are measurable differences in the electrical characteristics, as The Audio Critic showed many years ago (Issue 16 here <http://www.biline.ca/audio_critic/audio_critic_down.htm>). Why is this obvious stuff not better known?
 

CDMC

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
1,028
Likes
1,917
It should be obvious that there can be audible differences between speaker cables, but only if there are measurable differences in the electrical characteristics, as The Audio Critic showed many years ago (Issue 16 here <http://www.biline.ca/audio_critic/audio_critic_down.htm>). Why is this obvious stuff not better known?
Because people don’t want to believe the obvious or truth as is it often isn’t what they want to hear. How many people do you think die a year because they forgo medically proven cancer treatments for some herbal remedy they read cures cancer?
 

MakeMineVinyl

Major Contributor
Manufacturer
Joined
Jun 5, 2020
Messages
1,167
Likes
1,558
Location
Santa Fe, NM
I'm now prepared for the onslaught of people telling me a coat hanger is just as good or only marginally worse. :)
It depends heavily on the brand of coat hanger. They vary tremendously. :oops:
 

Unclevanya

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2020
Messages
153
Likes
102
It depends heavily on the brand of coat hanger. They vary tremendously. :oops:
Years ago a buddy of mine got fed up with speaker wire wars. He mounted copper pipes to his wall behind his system, soldered heavy copper wire to each at the amp end and at the speaker end.

My own way of getting a fun tweak on cable believers is using old Monster Cable power cabling (from 1990s) designed for hooking up car stereo amps to the battery. This was available in discounted reels at 10 gauge ofc copper. It's red, and has only one connector, not stereo, but it's super flexible for the size and looks expensive when terminated.
 

Unclevanya

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2020
Messages
153
Likes
102
Oh and does anyone here remember the THIN speaker wire craze that came out of Europe in the late 80s or early 90s? It was crazy. Even blind comparisons showed preferences for the thin cable with some speakers (mostly mini monitor style). My recollection is that the long runs of cable were acting as resistors and altering the frequency response. If I recall they eventually showed this was the reason by adding resistors to heavy wire and the blind comparisons no longer showed a preference.
 

AudioSceptic

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 31, 2019
Messages
1,255
Likes
1,030
Location
Northampton, UK
I think you would be hard pressed to do it for less than $200. It runs about $100 for a pair of speaker cables, and a couple of pairs of XLR or RCA will run you $80 of so. Ironically, I have found Mogami pro cables to be significantly more expensive than getting them from Worlds Best with Amphenol or Nuetrik connectors. I agree, they all sound the same, unless you get a really high emf environment where a star quad cable may pixk up less noise. .
Why $100 for speaker cables, especially if you make your own using Belden, Canare, or even Linn K20?
Because people don’t want to believe the obvious or truth as is it often isn’t what they want to hear. How many people do you think die a year because they forgo medically proven cancer treatments for some herbal remedy they read cures cancer?
I don't know, and don't want to know because my view of humanity is low enough already. Now, we even have Covid-19 deniers!
 

AudioSceptic

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 31, 2019
Messages
1,255
Likes
1,030
Location
Northampton, UK
Oh and does anyone here remember the THIN speaker wire craze that came out of Europe in the late 80s or early 90s? It was crazy. Even blind comparisons showed preferences for the thin cable with some speakers (mostly mini monitor style). My recollection is that the long runs of cable were acting as resistors and altering the frequency response. If I recall they eventually showed this was the reason by adding resistors to heavy wire and the blind comparisons no longer showed a preference.
Yes, I do. IIRC DNM started it off and they are still making them <http://www.dnm.co.uk/cables.html>. A friend swore by his own take: the tiny enamelled (?) conductors used in telephone cables, the ones connecting the landline phone to the wall socket. I wonder how much resistance they had?

Edit: this was 30 years ago, but would it be the same as the conductors in CAT5 cable?
 
Last edited:

Killingbeans

Major Contributor
Joined
Oct 23, 2018
Messages
1,187
Likes
2,066
Location
Bjerringbro, Denmark.
I don't believe for a minute that cables don't make an audible difference in a high-quality system. That does not mean that there aren't snake oil prices for products that perform the same or worse as much lower-priced products. However, to think that different geometries, wire thickness, insulation, composition and overall assembly does not affect sound, is just plain wrong. Does using a certain cable mean it will get your system closer to musical reality? No, the illusive reality itself is very subjective, but I do not think this cable review is even close in giving us the full story.
It's relatively easy to make a speaker cable that acts as a filter, but it's much easier to make one that doesn't. Interconnects usually goes to inputs with impedances of 10K or more, so you would have to be a complete teletubby to design one with filtering properties in the audible band. Shielding/noise immunity is not rocket science, despite what some manufacturers would like you to believe.

I'm now prepared for the onslaught of people telling me a coat hanger is just as good or only marginally worse. :)
Of course not ;)

It might be in some specific situations, but the point of an RCA cable is to avoid having to worry about most eventualities.

I don't think we can reliably measure a person's ability to hear differences and I don't believe double-blind testing solves that.
I don't see why a blind test should measure your abilities. All it does is giving an idea of the probability of the cable doing anything that falls within your abilities. The magnitude of your abilities is not even a part of the equation.
 

StefaanE

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
May 12, 2020
Messages
528
Likes
857
Location
Harlange, Luxembourg

Count Arthur

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jan 10, 2020
Messages
832
Likes
1,443
Some of my Teletubby, homebrew efforts:

1604001377680.jpeg


Cotton insulated solid core, twisted, no sheilding. I put them together as a temporary solution, but they sounded absolutely fine and I ended using them for about 5 years.

1604001431452.jpeg
 

CDMC

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
1,028
Likes
1,917
Why $100 for speaker cables, especially if you make your own using Belden, Canare, or even Linn K20?
Because that is what it cost for a 15 foot pair of Canare 4s11 or Belden 5000e from BJC. I like the BJC are ultrasonically welded for a lifetime gas tight connection. Yes, I could make them myself, but it take two hours, won't be gas tight, and my soldering looks like it was done by Ray Charles after a lot of alcohol.
 

Vasr

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 27, 2020
Messages
1,409
Likes
1,756
Don't know if this has been discussed before, but for the engineers out there, is there any technical reason to prefer stranded twisted wire core to a solid core for audio use (interconnects not speaker wires) or vice versa?
 
Top Bottom