About audiophile cables…again.

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Photo By Tom Cronin (Flickr: One hell of a mess…) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

helmuthsposts in a way I agree these kind of tests are stupid, mostly because they are done to discredit and make fun of all audiophiles. (Well, in this test at least the journalist was careful to point that some audiophiles do not share the opinion that audiophile network cables change the sound)
In fact besides guitar players I don’t actually know more people who “fight” over the importance of cabling in audio, and even guitar players have their reasons to fight about cables mostly because cable length and impedance can change their sound.

Its my opinion that audiophile cable companies should be legally forbidden of claiming improvements in their cables without proper scientific tests made by companies like

Bureau Veritas. Any improvement claim without proper tests should be considered false advertising and dealt in a swift manner by the authorities. Yes, I’m that tired of the cable wars…

I have some things I don’t enjoy about audiophile cable companies.
I don’t like the marketing BS some of them use to lure audiophiles and also the massive lobby behind their advertising in some magazines and audiophile websites.
Journalists/reviewers are human and they have bills to pay. So yes, they will hear differences in the cables and they are always good differences, someone point me to a bad audiophile cable review made by a serious site, please!
Seriously last time I paused my ad-blocker I was amazed by the sheer volume of cable ads in audiophile sites. Its like a visual virus!
Only our hobby has this aggressive behavior by audiophile cable makers, most cable makers don’t really need so much visual garbage to sell their stuff.

I’m always highly suspicious of reviewers that claim a HUGE difference when they change a cable, be it a loudspeaker, signal, data or even a power cable.
I’m sure they actually believe in what they are writing but I don’t have the need to believe in them because I make my own cables, plus most of them don’t objectively test their cables. Seriously a capacitance, resistance meter isn’t that expensive or hard to learn to use! Some network players are harder to use.

I respect their opinions if they respect mine, for me there are far more important things in audio than pieces of wire interconnecting gear.
Note that I believe in quality cabling but always supported by objective tests, plus people are free to spend their money the way they enjoy it most.
If someone whats to spend 10K in a cable sure go ahead the economy will be happy.

By the way I know only one man that actually tries to explain objectively why cables make a difference, that man is Mr. Roger Skoff (Former XLO cables owner), I respect him a lot but not always agree with him. With that said everyone is free to have their opinion but always in a civil manner specially in public communities. Mr. Skoff suffers a lot of bashing online and I don’t agree with that. Community made bashing is wrong and rude…
Before someone accuses me of having a double standard, Mr.Skoff actually always says he was and still is in a way connected to XLO so its no secret, some other reviewers are not so open about their relationship with audiophile cable brands.

My biased review on subjective cable reviewers.

I have a little evil rule I often follow, if a site reviews audio cables in a subjective way I’ll drop it from my serious list of sites.  

This means I’ll take anything on that site with suspicion, specially reviews.
I don’t have anything against sites that actually try to objectively measure an audio cable but besides Archimago’s blog I don’t know anyone who does it, to be completely sincere.

I believe subjective cable reviewers actually believe in all that they write most of the time, unless the cable in question is advertised on their site. If they make money from the cable brand they are reviewing doesn’t matter how serious they say they are, they’ll be biased and often will try to protect their income.
It hurts me to write such a thing but it’s true, I usually lurk around websites and watch with amazement reviewers or friends of reviewers defending a sponsor.
Anyone who does that is not a pro in my book, amateurs I can forgive because they don’t make money, but so called professionals should NOT endorse such behavior.

So I’m biased against subjective cable reviewers , you bet I am!
One of my favorite audiophile writers whom I shall not name here was the owner of a audiophile cable company, now this man knows his cables and tries to debunk some like me who say audio cables make no difference after a certain point in price/quality.
The difference is that this writer actually tries to explain objectively why cables might sound different and he isn’t reviewing for a sponsor or possible future sponsor.

A owner of a site I shall not name here wrote that most cable reviewers would need to make expensive investments in testing gear and education so they could make objective reviews, he also wrote that readers would need some education to understand those reviews.

Now I respect his opinion but I do not agree with him. Pros should have their own testing tools, that’s why they are pros and not amateurs. If they don’t have money they should try to find a lab that makes the measurements for them. As for education, a professional reviewer should know what he reviews and have at least some education do understand basic measurements, after all amateurs do it all the time.
This brings me to the last point, audiophiles love their hobby and will try to educate themselves if they can achieve better audio reproduction.

I believe it’s easier to write subjective reviews, spit some unusual words almost like a wine taster and voila you got a subjective cable review!
If that’s the case I understand those reviewers but that’s is being lazy in my book. 
I care less and less about the inner fights of the hobby but I believe we must be serious about it and with each other.

About Hi-Fi cables and connectors.

Before starting this rough opinion about Hi-Fi cables and connectors, I want to get some stuff out of the way.

I don’t believe in audiophile BS cabling, I know a founder of a audiophile cable company, I have a huge respect for him but I don’t believe in the claims about his cables.

I do believe in quality of the connectors and the raw materials some companies use for making their products but that’s from a mechanical point of view, good stuff will last more.

If you want good cables try professional or hospital grade products, for connectors try professional stuff. For my projects I sometimes use Sommer cables and Neutrik connectors but that’s my personal taste.

Some no BS tips for cables and connectors:

Analogue unbalanced signal connections: You should keep cables as short as possible.

Analogue digital signal connections: You can use ferrite beads to clean RFI noise from the signal but besides that its only 1s and 0s and DAC don’t process RFI noise.

Speaker and headphone cables: You don’t need oxygen free copper because today that metal already has a lot of purity in its standard production. Also keep cables as short as possible, because they are also affected by external noise, long cables will have more resistance and amps don’t like that.

AC power cables: You can use ferrite beads if you are paranoid about interference but remember the power supply should clean most of the noise. Also remember that unless you are crazy rich your home will have standard power cables inside its walls and this means that 1meter or audiophile BS cable and connectors will not improve shit on your system.

Optical cables: Keep the tips of the cables clean and forget about them.

Connectors: Keep them rust free and you should not have problems. A good soldering is important to have a good signal path.

Fabric sleeves on cables: They look good, make the cable last a bit longer but don’t improve the signal. They can solve some mechanical sounds that travel headphone cables.

Materials: They are important, because if the plastic is shitty the cable will brake faster, the same goes for the cross section of a wire, really thin wires will fail sooner that quality wires, in power cables always read the specs or you can put your house at risk.

Like I said not so long ago there is no voodoo in interconnections. You can make your own cables (its fun), or you can buy them, I have some nice Philips cables and they do the work. Stock cables are ugly and not very solid but I did some blind tests and didn’t notice a thing versus other brands and even a DIY cable.

You don’t need exotic cables in your system because inside most components there is no exotic cables to begin with, only normal copper cables.
Anyone that says otherwise, wants to sells you BS cables or bought BS cables, the ones who bought BS cables can have a nice cup of blind tests maybe that way they can spend money in what really matters, loudspeakers, amps and imagine that, good recorded music! 

Audiophile digital cables.

They improve the 1s & 0s of your music stream, oh! wait its only raw digital data! XD
I know they improve the jitter! They also improve the other BS on your system! 
Let face it, audiophile cables are pretty and look nice on a setup.
I feel sad that some people actually believe so much BS about cables.
Reality call, do they think studios use High-End cables to record music?
Cable construction is important but there are limits, hospital grade cables are the finest out there and you won’t see those BS prices.
Cable Voodoo, I shall now kill a black chicken to improve the highs! XD 

A curious tale of prejudice in a audiophile store.

So I said to an audiophile store owner that I don’t like to call myself audiophile and that I really didn’t get why so many audiophiles only hear Jazz in their systems, like it was the holy grail of audiophiles. True Jazz audiophile lovers I’m sorry but even you guys must notice that people who hear rock and pop after a while will only hear Jazz in their systems, at least near other audiophiles. 

Don’t get me wrong I must admit that I was a bit hard on my words…
Also let me state that I had to tell the owner that I don’t belong to the consumer side of the Hi-Fi and that I like to build stuff instead.
I also said I respect the products but I know the true price of most stuff he had in the store, plus that I didn’t believe in the cable voodoo shit.

I think I got to his nerves when I said the jazz thing! His words to me and I’ll quote “ Sir, that’s a lot of prejudice” and to that I replied “This is what I see on audio shows and online”.

Now I’ll tell another tale.
I’m usually really nice to most people, but I can be a true bastard when it comes to snake oil sellers, and my friends that store sells those very transparent…cof cof…cables, if you get my idea.

If I return I’ll not touch the subject again because the guy only wants to sell his stuff and I can’t blame him.

I use the tag audiophile because I have the hope that I’ll find more people that enjoy all types of music and also people that don’t believe in audio voodoo.

This was a curious tale of my prejudice in a audiophile store.

A note, I don’t go to audio shows since 2004, when I went sellers didn’t give a shit about me because I was young and had no money.
Now I’m older and have money but I don’t give a shit about sellers or audio shows….Karma is a bitch! XD
I have the right to have some prejudice I’m not perfect and don’t want to be!