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"Low Capacitance" Cables?

Holdt

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Just the simple act of putting a DAC on the left or right side of a power amplifier can make a difference as can the order (if you stack) components. Induced noise and hum can skyrocket. Back in the analogue days, with cassette/open reel recording, much time was spent carefully arranging the gear to reduce or eliminate hum/buzz (radiated). Just moving a preamplifier to one side or the other could make all the difference.

The basic rules haven't changed:
Keep low level gear away from high current gear and experiment with orientation. Consider where the low level high gain parts of circuitry are in a box and keep them physically away from power supplies, transformers etc. All the balanced connections in the world won't help you one iota, if the issues originate inside the unit itself.
Use decent quality, full shield cables, wired correctly (no weird audiophile wiring) with quality plugs.
Keep runs short, but no so short they are unusable or plain annoying.
Don't worry about speaker and signal cables lying alongside each other- that's just going too far. As for 90 degree cables- that's just silly stuff. Look at a studio's wiring, or a professional install in a concert hall, everything runs parallel- balanced of not.
Don't spend a fortune. Mogami, Canare and Amphenol, Switchcraft, Neutrik.
Yeah, but "back in the day" we didn't know much about EMC either, and all electronic devices shall today be compatible with the EMC Directive which prohibits devices to electromagnetic disturbances of the surroundings. At least in the EU. Don't know how it is across the pond.
 

solderdude

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For 4 foot RCA interconnects, Audioblast claims low capacitance at 38.2 pF/Ft
Whereas Benchmark uses Belden 1694A, which is listed at a lower 16.2 pF/Ft


Both are advertised as "low capacitance" and can I presume there would likely be no real world difference in performance - even in regard to my CJ preamp - if we are talking 3 - 4 feet unbalanced interconnects?

Similar questions about the XLRs: The Audioblast XLRs are Star Quad designs, but still claim "low capacitance" (conductor to shield) at
34.15 pF/Ft

The Benchmark XLRs are also Star Quad (Canare) and have almost identical capacitance specs (which they claim to be low capacitance).

So I figure I should be good to go with those?

When your source is relatively high output resistance (some tube gear can be) low capacitance is recommended.
Equally important, in such case, is the input capacitance of the amplifiers. Maybe even more so than the cable.

When you have interlink cables running close to magnetic sources (transformers) or directly running in parallel with mains cables in direct contact go for starquad.
Starquad won't hurt anyway.

35pF/Ft is low for starquad, around 15pF/feet is low for coax. This is an interesting property for long cable runs. You don't have any.

Obviously you care so I would suggest low capacitance starquad cable. That will put your 'audio-mind' at ease and thus result in better sound quality.
 

kongwee

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The lower the capacitance of the cable, higher low pass filter or lower roll off of high frequency.
 

solderdude

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That depends on the source impedance mostly.
With any decent output R < 600ohm you need a really long cable to create a little roll-off in the audible band.
 
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Holmz

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That depends on the source impedance mostly.
With any decent output R < 600ohm you need a really long cable to create a little roll-off in the audible band.

Of course it doesn’t matter at all.

Except for the cart to phono amp... then it starts to matter a lot.
And some amplifiers dislike driving a high capacitance load, so I guess speaker cables can matter as well.
 

solderdude

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Aside from the obvious phono cable maybe some tube pre-amps and some weird audiophile DACs could have an unusually high output resistance as well. Usually very expensive gear.

Yes, high capacitance speaker cables can make some amps oscillate, especially when no boucherot filters are used and speaker impedance at >20kHz rises substantially.
Roll-off is not so much of a problem there unless one uses the obligatory extra inductor before that cable. In that case roll-off is possible at longer lengths.
 

melvinjames

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Matt, check out Better Cables. I've used their Silver Serpents (XLR, RCA) for many years. According to the manufacturer the XLR's are 13 pF/ft capacitance and the RCA's are 17.3 pF/ft. (Their flagship cables are a touch lower in capacitance.) Nice cables, not the cheapest nor the most pricey.
 

kongwee

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Not with modern line level interconnect systems.
Well, you have to look complete close circuit of output + cable and look at the frequency respond at input. However, as cost involved, low capacitance cable is not expensive at all. At least you can find it in non audiophile price like Blue Jean LC-1.
 

MaxBuck

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Matt, check out Better Cables. I've used their Silver Serpents (XLR, RCA) for many years. According to the manufacturer the XLR's are 13 pF/ft capacitance and the RCA's are 17.3 pF/ft. (Their flagship cables are a touch lower in capacitance.) Nice cables, not the cheapest nor the most pricey.
Those are ludicrously expensive. No reason to pay that much. Perfectly fine interconnects are available at 1/4 to 1/3 the price.
 

Speedskater

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Well, you have to look complete close circuit of output + cable and look at the frequency respond at input.
That has been done many times and when they use the correct formula, they see that no reasonable cable will hurt frequency response.
* * * * * * * * *
Consider a 1,000 foot cable, with a total C of 0.034μF.
With an output impedance of 100 Ohms and a load of 10,000 Ohms.
It will have a loss of 0.75dB at 20kHz.
That's for a 1,000 foot cable.
 
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melvinjames

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Those are ludicrously expensive. No reason to pay that much. Perfectly fine interconnects are available at 1/4 to 1/3 the price.
I have no doubt there are some fine cables selling for less but ludicrously expensive? I suppose everyones idea of ludicrous is different. For example the AudioQuest Mythical Creature line of XLR's would fit the bill for me:

ThunderBird: $2,900/1m (RCA); $3,900/1m (XLR)
FireBird: $5,500/1m (RCA); $6,900/1m (XLR)
Dragon: $9,500/1m (RCA); $11,900/1m (XLR)
 

DonR

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I have no doubt there are some fine cables selling for less but ludicrously expensive? I suppose everyones idea of ludicrous is different. For example the AudioQuest Mythical Creature line of XLR's would fit the bill for me:

ThunderBird: $2,900/1m (RCA); $3,900/1m (XLR)
FireBird: $5,500/1m (RCA); $6,900/1m (XLR)
Dragon: $9,500/1m (RCA); $11,900/1m (XLR)
Yes. Pricey is more the right adjective but even then, a well-built and nice-looking cable is worth paying extra for many people. Ludicrous is just one level lower than plaid and that is pretty high up there.
 

kongwee

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That has been done many times and when they use the correct formula, they see that no reasonable cable will hurt frequency response.
* * * * * * * * *
Consider a 1,000 foot cable, with a total C of 0.034μF.
With an output impedance of 100 Ohms and a load of 10,000 Ohms.
It will have a loss of 0.75dB at 20kHz.
That's for a 1,000 foot cable.
You think I would care? as engineer, over spec and it is cheaper than 100% of the audiophile cable. It is under $100 under blue jean. It is even cheaper for me to get Belden cable and choose the connector I like.
 

dlaloum

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The availability of pocket money priced, digital watches, has never substantively impacted the sales of jewellery Rolex watches.
The cheap digital casio's - starting in the 1980's have been more accurate, cheaper, and had greater functionality... while costing tiny fractions of the Rolexes of the world.

Nothing wrong with a Rolex - but if all you want is to tell the time, you have loads of cheaper options!

Hence, the widespread availability of audiophile jewellery / bling

And those with a more pragmatic, engineering led perspective.... get their setup working just as well, while spending a mere fraction of the $$$$.

Where the shouting and yelling happens, is when the bling buyers, try to justify their purchase in engineering terms... in most cases, they are not justifiable on that basis... and the sellers/manufacturers that make those claims are clearly in the "snake oil sales" department.

In the 1980's Rolex fought a battle agains "Copies" from Asia.... to demonstrate their robust qualities, they took a bunch of Rolex watches, and a bunch of the various "copies" - laid them on a roadway, and ran a steam roller over them - all the Rolexes, were working fine after the steam roller treatment.
Much to Rolexes embarassment, quite a few of the "copies" did too.... (mostly cos some of the copies, copied not only the "look" but the construction design as well!) - the copies of course, were available for tiny fractions of the price of the Rolex.... LOL. and even in the 1980's the base Rolex oyster design was already long out of patent...
 
OP
MattHooper

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Just dropping back in to mention:

I haven't fully re-cabled my system yet. But I needed to move some things around and I replaced some XLR cables.

Connecting my Benchmark DAC 2L to my Benchmark LA4 pre-amp, I had some eye-wateringly expensive, gorgeous "blingy" looking audiophile XLR cables.
I'm not mentioning which because I don't think it's fair: Another audiophile was kind enough to lend me those cables for a bit because I didn't have XLR cables at the time.

I replaced the super-expensive XLR cables with 1 foot a pair of these cheap AudioBlast cables:


They were really nice and flexible, and it was simple to stack the DAC on top of the preamp and just have short cables between them, so no sloppy cables hanging anywhere.

The sound?

Identical. Of course :)

Not as blingy, but I don't care because I don't spend much time peering around the back of my equipment at cables.
 

Doodski

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Not as blingy, but I don't care because I don't spend much time peering around the back of my equipment at cables.
Lol... The first thing I try to look at is the back panel and wiring. It's where the tires meet the road. :D
 
OP
MattHooper

MattHooper

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Lol... The first thing I try to look at is the back panel and wiring. It's where the tires meet the road. :D

Are you kidding? I'm trying to grok that. Please help me.
 

Doodski

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Are you kidding? I'm trying to grok that. Please help me.
That grok word always confuses me. I have a difficult time deriving meaning in context from the word. What do you mean?
 
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MattHooper

MattHooper

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That grok word always confuses me. I have a difficult time deriving meaning in context from the word. What do you mean?

 
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