Initially I upgraded the power cables to my components just for looks and not really believing there would be a sound change. But there was. When I added another component, I ordered another power cable from the same manufacturer. They offered a higher end cable for the same price. After a day or two I had to take it out of my system. The highs were irritating my ears. I returned it for the same lower end model and have been happy with that. I also found when I returned to the supplied power cables tha came with the component , the sound was warmer. Bottom line is I went not expecting a sound change and to my surprise I did hear it.
Sound change - yes, I believe changing the sound of your components is easy to achieve - but, improving the sound with cables, even with increasing prices is much harder. There are always compromises - cables that shield may also cause a loss in transparency etc. There is also the issue of synergy - getting the right cables for your component and the right cables in your system. Some say stick with the same loom throught your system i.e. find a brand and model and go with it from source right through to the speaker cables. Others will say you need to mix and match to find our what's right for each component.
If you're like tinkering (it is part of the hobby) it may be fun (but beware it can be expensive) - otherwise you may just frustrate yourself.
One way to go cheap is to audition components and systems in the store demo rooms and find the system with the cables that meet your likes - then you've got a point of reference to start.
DIY cables are a whole other source of experimentation - sometime very affordable, other times not.
One caution is don't end up spending more time listening to your cables and the changes they make then to the music (or perhaps to the movie) because that's what the system is there for. Happy listening.
The biggest difference I've noticed in my system while experimenting with cables was with interconnects between my CDP and my amp. I was using Blue Jeans Cables IC's, which I thought were pretty good. My buddy brought over a pair of lower end Cardas IC's, and the difference was quite stunning to be honest. The improvement in bass was the most noticeable characteristic.
I've tried a lot of different speaker cables as well, and to me, the 14 AWG Home Depot cable for .40 cents a foot sounds as good as any fancy, braided, terminated "boutique" cable I've tried.
I came accross this article (sorry from another site, please delete post if I broke a rule ) about deceptive sales techniques from cable companies. I thought you all might enjoy it.
I think I beg for toys more now at 36 than I did at 6... damn technology!
I just perused through it but the comparison demo is virtually identifical to what Nordost performs at audio shows, using their cables. Testing method and science aside, personally, I've tried a number of cables and though some seem to make little to no difference, others provide a very different presentation and/or frequency response. Some of these differences in presenatation and frequency response can give the impression of a more three dimensional image and result in what is perceived as a larger or smaller soundstage. I can state this for both analogue interconnects and speaker cables with interconnects have a greater impact. Whether the sonics are improved by going to more expensive cables depends on personal tastes and your system as well as your objectives. I've found that price does not dictate better sound.
At the least a cable swap will provide no difference. The next step up is that the cable acts essentially as a tone control - rolling off the highs or pushing back the mids or curtailing base. At best, the cable can better facilitate signal transfer between components, allowing you to get closer to the source media.
In the end, it's finding the presentation and sonics that best suit your personal tastes and needs and I'll argue with anyone that there are differences that can be achieved by switching cables - whether there are always improvements is another story alltogether.
Last edited by SoundGame; 04-20-2012 at 08:11 AM.
You are more than welcome to share links from other sites here tkroeker - as long as they relate to our conversations
I have read a couple of other similar articles in the past and while they certainly illustrate valid points, I find that they also over-analyze some ideas.
I think that SoundGame summorized the topic very well in his post above - I agree with everything he is saying. When I first got into audio video as a hobby, I have to admit that I was a little skeptical of buying pricey cables to upgrade my system. It wasn't until I had the opportunity to compare cables with some friends on our own terms that I discovered just how much of a difference a good quality cable can make in a system. That being said, higher price cables don't always translate into improved sound.
The only to determine just what difference a particular cable will make in your system is to try it yourself
Does cable/ cable price always matter? If it does to YOU that's what's important, but NEVER forget that it is not because a cable sound's different, that it's better sometimes it's just that DIFFERENT.
PS: 15% of the value of your system is a reasonable amount to spend on cables, my system list for about $20k and all my cables list price are about $4k just a bit over but i believe in always buying USED
Chord CPM 2600 Amplifier Chord One Cd player Acoustat 1+1 Speakers ( 1984 ) Acoustat heaven on earth.