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Coytee

Audioquest "DBS" cables... huh?

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I went through them a bit more tonight. I found that I have some Audioquest "Intelli-Cables"....you know....the ones with the arrows on them?

I DO wish I had the instruction booklet that came with these cause I don't know DIDDLY, what to do about that arrow...

Which way do the electrons prefer to flow again?

[*-)]

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"directional" cables will disconnect the shield from the downstream device's input, which forces the shield currents into the lower output impedance of the upstream device. Of course, this will require another wire inside the shield for providing the signal ground. Letting those currents flow into the higher input impedance of the downstream device will result in a larger voltage swing (thus more noise). To be honest, the little reading I've done on their website makes me think they're not entirely full of crap...certainly overhyping the magnitude of difference they're making though, but some might argue that is normal marketing...

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To be honest, the little reading I've done on their website makes me think they're not entirely full of crap...


It seems like sometimes that's all we can hope for...

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"directional" cables will disconnect the shield from the downstream device's input, which forces the shield currents into the lower output impedance of the upstream device. Of course, this will require another wire inside the shield for providing the signal ground. Letting those currents flow into the higher input impedance of the downstream device will result in a larger voltage swing (thus more noise).

I am a layman and just wondering why i.e. Kimber shows to use their PBJ line cable (RCA) the other way round. "quasi symmetric". At least the arrows on the cables are in that way. It has three strands. Just two of them are connected at the source side (upstream if I understand Mike in the right way). The third strand is connected only at the end of the receiving item to make the shield, together with "minus". May be it is more effective or safer to take the ground for shielding from the receiving gear (only)?
I use a pair of it since 12 years, soundwise it´s very ok the way Kimber recommends it.

Don:

There have been

reports that it takes listening to Egyptian bongo music for a few weeks

to break these cables in with this device attached, but when fully

broken in you will
never
want to go back to your old cables.


And what is probably the highest benefit, you will never listen to anything else than Egyptian bongo music. Or perhaps it opens your mind also for whale love songs.


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To be honest, the little reading I've done on their website makes me think they're not entirely full of crap...certainly overhyping the magnitude of difference they're making though, but some might argue that is normal marketing...

They make a big deal out of skin effect, providing math that shows conductor penetration depths for various frequencies. While it is true that there is some effect at the upper octave of the audible range, that effect would be about 0.1 dB at 20,000 Hz in favor of their speaker cable compared to 10 gage wire.

The difference with interconnects, caused by skin effect, is neglible. Capacitance and inductance of the cable tend to affect the frequency response more.

I was in an audio salon a few weeks ago and was shown some speaker cables of their own making. They were constructed of multi-conductor cable, 8 wires of about #14 AWG, priced reasonably at $8/ft with choice of ends. Four #14 wires paralleled equals #8 gage wire, which ought to work well on just about anything. I aver that this is sensible cabling and worth the price. They also showed some expensive Nordost cables that were constructed from ribbon cable with what appeared to be #20 AWG conductors. Other than being able to run this cable under rugs, I see no reason to consider this cable.

During the "golden age of stereo", the early 1970s, Audio Magazine used to publish an annual equipment directory. The largest catagory at that time was loudspeakers. It seemed that every unemployed cabinet maker made loudspeakers. I doubt that 10% of these companies had as much as an oscillator with which to test their products. Nowadays cable manufacturers are everywhere, as in the example in the preceding paragraph. All it takes is a soldering iron and wire strippers to be a cable maker, that and the gall to ask $1200 for ribbon cable. Some of these cables may be a good value, I fear most are not. Let the buyer beware!

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If I swapped out the little diode in this thing from green to maybe, uhhhh....blue... do you think I could sell them for more on a McIntosh forum? [A]

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They also showed some expensive Nordost cables that were constructed from ribbon cable with what appeared to be #20 AWG conductors. Other than being able to run this cable under rugs, I see no reason to consider this cable.

All it takes is a soldering iron and wire strippers to be a cable maker, that and the gall to ask $1200 for ribbon cable. Some of these cables may be a good value, I fear most are not.

Hi Don, there is quite a bit of information on Nordost's own website and plenty more on the net about the technology of their cables. I own and have owned many sets of Nordost cables and can wholeheartedly recommend them. The expense of the Nordost design, aside from their research and development and use of premium parts and being made in the USA, is the complexity of its build, it's not just ribbon cable. Read about Nordost micro mono-filament technology here: http://www.nordost.com/submenu.asp?MenuID=3&ContentID=25 While many are familiar with their Valhalla line for its high price and praised reviews, they have since come out with their new Supreme Reference, Odin. Prices are beyond expensive, try $16,000 for a 1 meter interconnect. Early reviews have flat out raved about the Odin and many in the biz feel this is yet another breakthrough. The Valhalla, and the SPM which was their first reference cable, drastically changed peoples perceptions about cable and cable technology. I lived with SPM's for some time and I've yet to hear anything so vivid, fast and detailed. The speaker cables were full of color and definition that even guests would notice compared with their earlier visits hearing other cables. The difference was not subtle, and was more akin to a preamplifier or source change in the system. When Nordost displays at shows, they will compare their own cables to show the audible difference between models. Not many, if any, cable manufacturer would attempt this. I've heard the difference at my dealer and was floored, I was a cable believer right there and then. Some good info here too: http://www.soundbysinger.com/vendor/Nordost.html

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They make a big deal out of skin effect, providing math that shows conductor penetration depths for various frequencies. While it is true that there is some effect at the upper octave of the audible range, that effect would be about 0.1 dB at 20,000 Hz in favor of their speaker cable compared to 10 gage wire.

I've been doing some similar calculations recently and have seen worst cases approaching a full dB at 20kHz. However, I think that we're both in agreement that it doesn't require an expensive solution to mitigate the problem.

And shame on me for even bringing this up, but I can't help but wonder if the bigger "issue" (as if there was ever an issue) is the reduction in damping imposed by the cable...which I think would crop up more readily with signals of a transient nature. It's just that rolling off the highs with an EQ sounds different than rolling off the highs with the speaker cable. And of course we're talking really bad wire to make the comparison even possible...

The difference with interconnects, caused by skin effect, is neglible. Capacitance and inductance of the cable tend to affect the frequency response more.

I definitely agree there.

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Hifi jim wrote:

"When Nordost displays at shows, they will compare their own cables to show the audible difference between models. Not many, if any, cable manufacturer would attempt this. I've heard the difference at my dealer and was floored, I was a cable believer right there and then. Some good info here too: http://www.soundbysinger.com/vendor/Nordost.html"

Good morning, Jim. I wonder if they would be willing to compare any of their cables to one that I made for a cost of less than $100. I bet they wouldn't. As far as the info on the link you provided:

"In stranded designs the signal jumps from conductor to conductor"

Not true.

"1-meter of ODIN interconnect is $16,000 and each additional meter is only $4,000"

Only $4,000 per additional meter? Like that's supposed to be a bargain or something? I would not have much trouble assembling an impressive 2 channel system for $4K, with used Heritage speakers as the transducers..

The place I work for has assembled cables for use in industrial applications. The most expensive project we have done involved manufacturing 4 weatherproof cables 8 feet long containing 6 coaxial cables and 16 twisted, shielded pairs, terminated into multipin shells. It took the girl a full day to make one cable, and we had to buy a special crimper and die set for the coax at a cost of $700 for that tool. We sold those cables for $3,000 each.

"Valhalla is extremely fast at over 96% of the speed of light". But a little further down:

"Valhalla reference interconnect is extremely fast at 87% the speed of light". And furtherdown, in the specifications:

"Propagation is 80% light speed".

So it seems these cables, according to Nordost, are slowing down? The stench of [bs] is getting stronger.

The resistance of a speaker cable is the most important spec that affects sound quality. Inductance and capacitance are the most important factors affecting interconnect performance, the less of both the better. All of the [bs] promulgated by high-dollar cable manufacturers is a canard, designed to impress unwary buyers.

I'll say it once more, let's compare one of these cables to my $100 DIY. Heck, they can even hand-pick theirs to ensure they get one of their 96% light speed jobs. I wouldn't want to force them to compete using only the 80% one.[8-)]

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"Valhalla is extremely fast at over 96% of the speed of light". But a little further down:

"Valhalla reference interconnect is extremely fast at 87% the speed of light". And furtherdown, in the specifications:

"Propagation is 80% light speed".

I´m not a tech head (although I am a Technician 13 years Telecommunication and 6 years digital Printers) but I always found these quotes funny.

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At the short distances (relatively) for speakers from the amps.... and given the fact that electrons actually "migrate" very slowly (about 0.002" per second if I recall) due to A/C being the current type... the difference between standard ETP or even the so called "special" OFHC copper used by the supreme high end gurus, and "normal" wiring is insignificant to the point of absurdity.

As pointed out, it's resistance that really counts..., and skin effect is negligible and likely meaningless below 20kHz. Well designed wiring that takes into account capacitance and inductance should not be very costly at all. Speaker wires or interconnects that cost $5k+ for a simple stereo system cannot be cost effective, and those folks selling that stuff are, in my opinion, at the very edge of "fraud".

The advertisments for this stuff invoke obscure, arcane physical principles, or even quantum mechanical principles that do not apply to the matter at hand. Advertising a piece of wire, knowing full well that while their physics may have some oblique merit, and knowing that for all intents and purposes that any "improvements" are negligible to the point of being unmeasurable by anything except the Lawrence Livermore Nuke Weapons Lab, is just not right.

There's quality wire, and there's crap wire. And there is a lot of "crap" wire around.... I would suspect that "crap" wire can be traced to the fact that the copper alloy used was very cheap, filled with "crap" contaminants, bought in bulk from an overseas supplier with no quality controls, and sold as "high end" OFHC. etc. It's a caveat emptor deal. Try to find the source where some of these companies obtain their wire, insulating sheathing etc. I'm not a "betting" person, but I would lay some money on the actual cost of the materials for the super high end stuff being probably less than $5 a foot - at best.....

These folks are playing to a consumer's ego and the consumer's unfortunate desire to be exclusive. No-one who spends that amount of money on a piece of wire will ever admit that it does something that other lesser, or shall we say, "pedestrian" wire for the unwashed masses does. It's psychoacoustics. The more it costs, the better it sounds. Has to. It's the rule. That's the audiophile psycho-acoustic paradigm. No-one cannot win an argument about this, regardless of facts, etc. It does not work. Wire and interconnects are like a "religion", and you either believe, or you don't. No cajoling, no public "call out", and neither mathematics, nor physics will sway ever the "true believer".

Just my $0.0000002%[H]

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Don, first off: I believe the speed of the Valhalla speaker cables vs. the interconnects is different as they are of different design (the Valhalla interconnect is not a ribbon design). Secondly, you have an impressive understanding of electrical theory, however I believe theory is just theory and it's the practice or more importantly the sound that matters. I can get up on my soap box with both fingers in my ears and scream about the benefits of cable technology, but who'd listen? Maybe Thebes, as he appreciates an impassioned fellow. But I'm sure I can do little to convince you of the sonic differences between cables. Not every cable will sound better because it's more expensive, but it will sound different than your $100 DIY. Not every cable is a match for every system. To say thats because cables are then being used as an EQ is also a misconception, does standard 14 awg wire not have a sound, does it not have an affect on the sound output from your speakers? All cables color and affect sound differently, which is right and wrong is a matter of personal choice, the same as it is for a preamplifier, amplifier, cd player, or even speaker. All of those components and their manufacturers claim complete neutrality. Are they lying? Are they full of [bs]? You'd probably say no, because you've made comparisons between speakers A and B, or amplifiers X and Z. However, have you made such comparisons between your own cables? If so, which did you prefer and why? Have you ever tried a Nordost product in your own system? It seems to me that most who scream about snake oil and BS, often have no experience with cables in their own system (or if they do it's limited to a Monster product, or equivalent). Try a Nordost Blue Heaven interconnect. They can be purchased for under $100 on Audiogon, and I think it would make a nice comparison with your homemade cables. The Heavens are relatively low end for Nordost, but their signature sound still comes through. The higher end cables add definition and color, but all of their designs excel in delivering a fast and lively sound. It will sound different than your own cable, but which you prefer is entirely up to. There is no right and wrong, same as any other piece of gear, same as music. Try convincing your heart rather than your head, and perhaps you too will be a believer. But for some to say there is no difference in sound between cables is just hard for me to fathom... but then many an audiophile used to argue if there were sonic differences between amplifiers. Of course that was 1970 something and what did we know then? Well, it's 2009 and we think we know everything, but someday in the near future I think threads such as this will be looked back upon with that same bewilderment.

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Just my $0.0000002%Cool

Would that be an oxygen free $.0000002 or a full of crap $.000002?

[*-)]

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Just my $0.0000002%Cool

Would that be an oxygen free $.0000002 or a full of crap $.000002?

Confused

Why, Oxygen free!!! Of course!!! Heh! Heh! Heh!! [A]

BTW: I can tell the difference between the eBay interconnects and the $25 each that I bought in 1979 which probably would cost $100 these days. Even have the center wire to connect to the ground, or however that is supposed to work. I really believe it's in the materials used as I opined.

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I think the wire and cable guys are good capitalists exercising their market rights. I am surprised so many of you are against capitalistic ideas of letting the market decide what they need.

I'm just exercising my right of free speech to warn folks who may not know better.

As to the price and profits in cable, have any of you looked into the manufacturing cost of a $30 tube of your wife's favorite lipstick? Judging by their business performance it looks like the cable guys have a profit structure not unlike pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Obviously, you fellas have never purchased your wives any perfume? Diamonds? Leather goods? How much is that Gucci bag again?

Diamonds have intrinsic value. Do Gucci bags cost $16,000? I dunno.

As for the claims, I'd say you've never watched any informercials in your lives. Have you seen the claims for prescription drugs? Diet pills? Vego-matic? And just getting back to our own industry, you do know there are $300,000 speakers, $65,000 monoblocks, and $45,000 preamps, right?

I never watch infomercials. I prefer listening to music.

Nope. I am not saying anyone's claims are true, or false. I am just saying there is nothing unique and different or evil about wire sales compared to many other industries. As far as I can tell, buying wire from one of these so-called BS-artists is a LOT safer than buying peanut butter from the genteel down-home peanut processors. I've personally not heard of one person getting killed by a Nordost cable.

Peanut butter would make an awful material for speaker cables since it does not conduct electricity. Has anyone tried to eat a Nordost cable? I think that if one did, it would make one very ill, if not be the cause of death. Volunteers, anyone?

It's been said by many in our industry that the cable guys have somewhat saved HiFi. Their share of expeensive advertising in magazines and web sites is, well, impressive. Stores like CC and BB would probably have closed their stereo sections years ago without the profitable addition of wire.

These companies certainly can afford expensive advertising with the prices they charge. CC is in bankruptcy, the wire didn't work out for them. BB selling $16,000 wire, BTW?

And as for BS, do you guys not read speaker ads?

I'm trying to quit.

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As to the price and profits in cable, have any of you looked into the manufacturing cost of a $30 tube of your wife's favorite lipstick? Judging by their business performance it looks like the cable guys have a profit structure not unlike pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Obviously, you fellas have never purchased your wives any perfume? Diamonds? Leather goods? How much is that Gucci bag again?

Diamonds have intrinsic value. Do Gucci bags cost $16,000? I dunno.

Nope. Diamonds are the same thing. It is just a smaller market. Actually - since ALL cables actually do something, they might have more "intrinsic value."

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Wow!!! from DBS cables to diamonds!! What a great thread!!! Really!! It's fascinating to see how everything gets "connected" by some method (The Kevin Bacon 6 Degrees Theory in action).

[Y][Y][Y]

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