• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

I have four speaker cables here and they all sound different!

  • Thread starter Deleted member 50060
  • Start date
Status
Not open for further replies.
D

Deleted member 50060

Guest
Brand new here. Just found this site today and joined.
I have several speaker cables and they all sound quite different.
I had someone change the cables without my seeing and I heard the difference every time.
The thing is, I just found Amir's videos on youtube and agreed with much of what he said. Certainly the scientific approach appeals to me. I think his approach is fantastic and provides a great service to the audiophile/music-listening community.

I can't stand the exorbitant prices of much of the audio gear out there. Insane markups and little value-for-dollar, exaggerated claims, etc.
All that said, I still hear differences when I change cables.

So I'd like to learn why and I am tired of hearing about placebo effect.
I did an actual blind test. And then I conducted one with someone else who is not an audiophile and she heard a difference every time.
So what is happening?

Is it simply the different gauges? Shielding or lack thereof?
Wire length? We kept them all to ten feet. I was expecting the big thick, heavy gauge cable to be the ones I would prefer.
It was not the case. I preferred the 16 gauge every time.
Differences in soundstage, separation, imaging, depth, coherence, etc., were all audible.

I find most channels on youtube to be a lot of nonsense. I found audiosciencereview on youtube and it immediately became my favorite channel.
The logic is there.
But how does one reconcile this with actual user-end experience?
I dig what Amir talks about, but I just can't discount my ears.
My ears are what got me into audio as a child and all I care about is what sounds good to me.

I don't care about price, I care about sound quality and value.
I've spent time listening to $85,000 speakers and $300 speakers and everything in between.
I've heard average stuff at $20k and fantastic equipment at $3500, like my speakers.
So I just wanted to hear some opinions on this and see if anyone out there is in my situation where you know much of the stuff out there is snake oil, but you also KNOW you are hearing a difference between cables.
Whether or not the signal is different is a different conversation.
But clearly something is different between the cables.

And interestingly, my favorite cables every time are the second cheapest.
The ones for $500(which I know is cheap these days for speaker wire), were my least favorite. I thought they were terrible and I was able to hear them every time.
I left those cables in as an additional test. The most expensive ones. The ones I WANTED TO LIKE. The ones I expected to be "the best." And within a few days, I went from listening to music 24/7, to my speakers not having been turned on for two weeks.
I put the other cables back in and I couldn't stop listening.

Just wanted to hear some thoughts.
I've have been listening to high-end audio for over 27 years. Not a newbie.

Thank you very much for reading.
 
To the OP - I hear you, but I'm these days firmly of the belief that what we hear we can measure and there's no 'hidden thing' which cannot be measured...

You didn't give details of your amp and speakers - that'd be handy. A list of a couple of tracks you heard the difference easiest would help too.

Some amps do react to different levels of capacitance and inductance in cables (it's an amp design issue I feel if they're not unconditionally stable with the bodge that the cables provide the final inductance). Other amps, usually transformer coupled valve amps but the Croft hybrids are similar, offer high output impedance which equalises the passive speakers they're driving - just maybe, different speaker cables will affect this further? - I'm guessing but it's a faint possibility.

Copper covered aluminium cables add gobs of extra resistance for the same gauge over standard copper types.

Lastly, the gauge of the cables themselves is all telling. I used to sell plenty of a silver plated cable (with necessary PTFE outer). With a mid to high level UK based system, it livened the sound up nicely but with a proper higher end system, it sounded scrappy and crude. Back then it didn't 'click' with me that the gauge of this quite pricy stuff was little better than the generic 42 strand cable we gave away with cheap mini systems!!!!! We'd never dream of using the give-away 42 strand cables with more 'exalted' systems, but I regret not doing an A-B comparison at the time.

For ten feet runs and with my now tatty-with-age dealer hat on, I'd suggest a simple 2.5mm copper stranded cable (in the UK, Kabeldirect and Fisual do something suitable at fair prices) and regard that as a kind of reference for shortish runs up to several metres each side -


- I came by this stuff via the similar/same Linn K10 cable which used to come in made up runs with the dinky and effective CLassik one-box music system they did some years back. trying this wire with other 'better' systems was a private eye opener for me but the findings only gelled properly after I'd left that side of the industry and could 'think' about it more...

Hope the above helps a little and I haven't got my own knickers in a twist about it...
 
Just wanted to hear some thoughts.

You forgot to mention which amp was used and which speakers.
How the 'blind test' was performed and controlled.
Differences in separation is a tall order as cables are always separated anyway.

Only some info about pricing and as we all know price says very little and your credentials which none can verify.

Differences in soundstage, separation, imaging, depth, coherence, etc., were all audible.

You know that aside from separation the other 'audiophile aspects' are all not quantifiable and acc. to you it is only these (subjective) aspects that are clearly audible by you and even an untrained listener.
Somehow it would seem as that are the only differences between cables that can exist and strangely enough are not seen in measurements.
Of course the 'etc.' is a bit open... do you mean 'tighter bass, smoother highs, more analog' ?
 
Welcome aboard!:)
I did an actual blind test. And then I conducted one with someone else who is not an audiophile and she heard a difference every time.
I'm sorry, but you obviously did not. If you did a proper, controlled blind test and managed to catch each cables every time, you would have been the first person in a world to do so.
I've have been listening to high-end audio for over 27 years.
Doesn't worth that much around here...;) Many ASR members are in Audio for twice that long and don't say it out loud.
The ones for $500(which I know is cheap these days for speaker wire)
OK...
 
To summarize: For such tests, you need controled double blind methodology. If not, you are deluding yourself. However, what we already know is that decent cables should not and do not demonstrate any sonic differences, and that decent cables at domestic lengths can be dirt cheap. If there are differences in a double blind controlled test, it means a cable is a bad one, and that can be measured. See here for more: http://archimago.blogspot.com/2015/06/musings-audio-cables-summary-non.html
 
Ok. I already knew that folks here believe that there are no audible differences between cables.
I didn't come on here for a debate. That is boring and a waste of my time.
I thought I'd ask how one could explain these things.
A few things -

To someone telling me I didn't do something I know that I did, I have no response other than - I am not interested in proving anything to anyone. If you don't believe me, wonderful. No need for your input as there is nowhere to go from there.

If this is not going to be a pleasant exchange, I'll just quit the site now. I did not join to argue or debate.
I asked some questions and if these questions are beyond what anyone here can fathom, then perhaps I am in the wrong place after all.
I didn't come on here to prove whether or not I heard something.
I asked if anyone had any idea what is causing the differences.
If you do not believe it is possible, then there is no need to respond. Again, that would be a waste of time.


I've have been listening to high-end audio for over 27 years.
Doesn't worth that much around here...;) Many ASR members are in Audio for twice that long and don't say it out loud.
I didn't say it to be of any value "around here." I said it to provide context and give a bit of background and to say that I didn't just start listening yesterday. I was not trying to prove anything to anyone. I thought this was going to be a friendlier place. you needn't reply again.


I did NOT forget to mention the rest of my system. I left it out specifically to avoid complicating the question. It is largely irrelevant as this test was performed using 5 different amplifiers. The amps which were better and more resolving are the ones I could hear the greater differences between cables.
I am not listing off all of the equipment for everyone's approval. They range from vintage to contemporary and are in the $2-6k range.
My preferred system is of a very high quality and the only system I've ever heard to match it was the $85k

I didn't say it was a controlled, double blind study.
It was just a blind test in my home, performed over a few months as it is a lot of work.
I was not told which wires were changed or if any were changed.

I did NOT say I could tell which wires were which brand. Other than one set of wires, the rest were all new, so new to my ears.
There were actually six different wires, but two were the same brand. Audioquest.
I also didn't mention brand names in order to keep bias out of the replies here.
What I was able to discern EVERY time according to the notes of the person doing the changing, was when a wire was changed and the ones which I described in a certain way were consistently described in those specific ways. There was one exception. The change between the Audioquest FLX DB/ 16/4 and 16/2, which I did not count as it is the same wire, which we threw in there just to see if there was an audible difference in going thicker with the same wire. There was none that I could tell consistently.

Etc. means just that. A bunch of descriptors that I see are typically scoffed at on this site based on the couple of hours of reading(I did just find this site a couple of hours ago).
I chose not to include the list of them. Tight bass, extension in the highs, decay, etc. etc. etc.
Some of the wires had noticeably more bass.

I was happy to list the wires and get into the details of the tests, but it is clear this is not my cup of tea.

I thought this was going to be a discussion.
Not a contentious back-and-forth.
Ugh. What a turn-off.

Bye.
 
To summarize: For such tests, you need controled double blind methodology. If not, you are deluding yourself. However, what we already know is that decent cables should not and do not demonstrate any sonic differences, and that decent cables at domestic lengths can be dirt cheap. If there are differences in a double blind controlled test, it means a cable is a bad one, and that can be measured. See here for more: http://archimago.blogspot.com/2015/06/musings-audio-cables-summary-non.html
Ok. And I actually came on here to see what the audible differences which were heard - are - and to discuss. I only found Amir's youtube channel yesterday and just learned of the site a couple of hours ago. My comment on youtube yesterday was an offer to have him test the cables I used in the test here to see what conclusions he may reach.
Appreciate the reply, but I really didn't come on here to prove that the earth is round. I thought we might get into the details of each cable and find out what may be causing the different sonic characteristics.
 
You forgot to mention which amp was used and which speakers.
How the 'blind test' was performed and controlled.
Differences in separation is a tall order as cables are always separated anyway.

Only some info about pricing and as we all know price says very little and your credentials which none can verify.



You know that aside from separation the other 'audiophile aspects' are all not quantifiable and acc. to you it is only these (subjective) aspects that are clearly audible by you and even an untrained listener.
Somehow it would seem as that are the only differences between cables that can exist and strangely enough are not seen in measurements.
Of course the 'etc.' is a bit open... do you mean 'tighter bass, smoother highs, more analog' ?
Didn't forget to include any of that. I was not going to write a book in my initial post. I thought we might get into the details after. Didn't even know if anyone would reply. The general tone here is not to my taste, so I am not going to continue here. Thank you for your reply. Take care.
 
High capacitance cables can intentionally alter the sound. Were any of your speaker cables such a design?
This is what I thought we might discuss. Really was not ready for all the nonsense. I am just trying to find how to cancel my account. Might you know where I can do that? Thank you.
 
Some of the wires had noticeably more bass

This would be very measurable though (one of the aspects you mention that actually IS verifiable)
That could be caused by the cables having an unusually high resistance which in your case is extremely unlikely.

You asked for explanations. There aren't any. That is....... not a scientific one and as none of the tests were verified using measurements and test controls 'we' will chalk it up to subjective impressions.

Only some very exotic cables with extremely high capacitance might make some amps unstable (without the obligated inductors being used that will be supplied) but not all amps.

Copper, silver, unobtanium are all behaving linear in and well above and beyond the audible range in the same way so cannot change tonality (more bass etc).
So when you perceived that you should verify by measuring. Subjective evaluations are just that.

In any case.. in the end.. all that matters is your enjoyment.
When 1 type of cable does this for you audibly so and you tested only 6 then, most likely, you could maybe get more 'improvements' with other cables. That must be bothering you in the back of your mind as all cables you tested were different they all should do so ?
 
Last edited:
I can't stand the exorbitant prices of much of the audio gear out there. Insane markups and little value-for-dollar, exaggerated claims, etc.
All that said, I still hear differences when I change cables.

So I'd like to learn why and I am tired of hearing about placebo effect.
Why are you tired of hearing about it?

There is much more invoved in the psychology than placebo effect.
And there is also the neuroscience.

I did an actual blind test. And then I conducted one with someone else who is not an audiophile and she heard a difference every time.
So what is happening?

Is it simply the different gauges? Shielding or lack thereof?
Wire length? We kept them all to ten feet. I was expecting the big thick, heavy gauge cable to be the ones I would prefer.
It was not the case. I preferred the 16 gauge every time.
Differences in soundstage, separation, imaging, depth, coherence, etc., were all audible.

The wire gauge makes no difference unless the electrical resistance is too much, considering the cable length.
16 AWG is fine for that length, approximately 3 metres.

I find most channels on youtube to be a lot of nonsense. I found audiosciencereview on youtube and it immediately became my favorite channel.
The logic is there.
But how does one reconcile this with actual user-end experience?
I dig what Amir talks about, but I just can't discount my ears.
The "ears", actually the hearing sense, consists of the inner and outer ears and the neural network including the brain, and the psychology.
 
You did not describe the listening test methodology, and that is where I would look for the explanation of what you heard. So:
1 It needs to be exactly level matched, and you need a volt meter for that, to achieve a better than 0.2 dB result.
2 Changeover has to be very quick, i.e. near instantaneous, given the short duration of human hearing memory.
3 And of course the interpretation has to be statistically solid, with enough observations and a big enough difference to be confident that the result is not random.
4 You have to use a good solid state amplifier without any weird behaviour. No Prima Luna tubes or Naim.

If, after all of this, the hypothesis of differences still stands, then we need measurements to explain them.
 
This would be very measurable though (one of the aspects you mention that actually IS verifiable)
That could be caused by the cables having an unusually high resistance which in your case is extremely unlikely.

You asked for explanations. There aren't any. That is....... not a scientific one and as none of the tests were verified using measurements and test controls.
So for those reasons 'we' will chalk it up to subjective impressions.
As stated in my reply, the first thing I did when I found Amir's video yesterday was ask to send him my cables to have them measured and tested.

But no discussions permitted here. No problem. Got it. I've asked the site to cancel my membership.
If there are any moderators here who wish to expedite that, that would be nice.
 
But no discussions permitted here. No problem. Got it. I've asked the site to cancel my membership.
If there are any moderators here who wish to expedite that, that would be nice.
Your version of a discussion is setting the parameters with rules that are stifling. Make your power move to cancel your membership. If that makes you feel empowered so be it. O yes, and a MOD would expedite that to further empower you... You're full of beans!
 
We can have a discussion if you describe your testing methodology, and you have not yet done that. I am a research scientist, and I can tell you if there is an unexpected result, the first thing you do is look very carefully at your observational methodology. Please do realize, however, that this is not a new problem, and all previous claims that decent cables used under domestic conditions can have a sonic signature have been refuted. Strong claims demand strong evidence.
 
You did not describe the listening test methodology, and that is where I would look for the explanation of what you heard. So:
1 It needs to be exactly level matched, and you need a volt meter for that, to achieve a better than 0.2 dB result.
2 Changeover has to be very quick, i.e. near instantaneous, given the short duration of human hearing memory.
3 And of course the interpretation has to be statistically solid, with enough observations and a big enough difference to be confident that the result is not random.
4 You have to use a good solid state amplifier without any weird behaviour. No Prima Luna tubes or Naim.

If, after all of this, the hypothesis of differences still stands, then we need measurements to explain them.
Actually used some very good meters on all equipment prior to testing and verified my tests and results with an engineer live over Skype.
changeover was very quick. Also did long-term listening tests as well to compare against each other.
Everything was tested on solid state. Left my tube amps on the side for this.
The results were anything but random.
But again, I did not describe EVERYTHING in my initial post because I thought this would be more a conversation and not an interrogation.

I am only replying now because you took the time to write a thoughtful reply, so I am answering. But really, I have completely lost interest as this is not a discussion. It is a bunch of people believing something and entering into it with their bias. Instead of discussing an experience and perhaps sharing some information which may be able to explain the difference.
I could say much more, but I really don't enjoy these kinds of debates.
 
Well, you can ask to have the cables measured but...

Amir has already measured speaker cables. He even has one lying around for 2 years now from a manufacturer who (sadly) is no longer with us.

There are some issues with measuring cables.
A: it is not done on various speakers/loads and needs to be to evaluate properly. Just 4ohm resistive can only give so much info.
B: it is not done with the same amp as yours.
C: why would 3m be a good length ? Some prefer shorter and some need longer cables.
D: Amir can take some measurements with the AP (under various loads) and they will show some minor differences (very time consuming).
E: One can measure L, C, R and these numbers will differ. Whether or not this could (potentially) matter depends on load and amp.
F: Fully characterizing 6 cables AND doing proper controlled blind tests will take days/weeks. Time that could be spent on more worthwhile things.

I can understand you feel your findings are dismissed. When you read some cable threads (there are many) you could have known what the reaction would be.
People here want to see all aspects and measurements and confirmed listening tests that could pass scrutiny.

Brand new here. Just found this site today and joined.

You might have joined to get some scientific answers as to why you found what you found. The only thing 'we' have to go on is your 'reporting'.
'We' do not have an explanation other than... uhhuh.. and it doesn't match known research nor personal experiences of most (but not all) ASR readers/members.
That will work fine on most other 'audio' sites but not here.
Maybe... just maybe you could have read some cable threads to get the lay of the land in ASR ?
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Back
Top Bottom