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How many of you use fancy cables?

Discussion in 'Accessories / Connections' started by DavidSpearritt, May 11, 2005.

  1. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

  2. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    I've just switched over to Gotham cables. They're not too expensive, but they sound great. I'm assuming that the difference is in the shielding. It has made a big difference to my U87 which sounds much smoother on top, and on feint sources. Its self-noise had a 'dirty' quality about it, which I assume was EMI.

    The difference has been less dramatic with my Audio Technicas. The AT4047 has very low noise and sounds a tiny bit clearer, and the AT4060 has an unusually deep self-noise that doesn't compete with the source at the upper end. It sounds the same as it did before. I have yet to test it with my other mics.

    The article is quite interesting. I've heard (as far as I know) the entire Nordost range of expensive cables. I don't care about the objectivist/subjectivist nonsense, but I heard a definite difference. In many cases I preferred cheaper cables. In other cases there was an obvious difference, but I didn't have a preference. In one setup I was quite startled the way it changed the soundstage. It was as if the singer stepped into the room. Having said all that I didn't particularly feel the need to rush out and buy these cables. I regarded it as a bit of a novelty. It was, however, a system using B&W Nautilus speakers, and I've never heard a setup with these speakers that I've particularly wanted to hear again, although I can imagine these as amazing monitors.

    I still have to hear the Audio Note Ongaku, and by all accounts it's something special, but that's another story.

    I believe that some people hear a difference, and when they realise the cable costs a fortune, they decide it's a change for the better.

  3. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    I think I should qualify what I said about the B&W Nautilus speakers. They are astoundingly clear. However, their brutal honesty, which is what I believe would make them amazing monitors, shows up deficiencies elsewhere.

    I'm afraid I'm stuck with lesser B&Ws for monitoring :cry:


    PS has anyone here used Lipinski speakers? I'm very curious about these as hi-fi speakers, as well as monitors.
  4. I use Mogami for my mics, Monster for my instruments, and Sonic Horizon Silver Moon series for my monitoring and home theater. "No mom, I have absolutely no idea where that $12,000 for college last semester went..."
  5. bap

    bap Member

    Rossini grew to be very wealthy and very fat. One little anecdote about him states that he was so fat and prolific [as well as formulaic] that once he dropped a finished aria onto the floor but instead of expending the energy to pick it up, he simply wrote another to replace it.

    When I can do the same with a fist full of hundred dollar bills, then I will certainly look into some of these 'fancy cables'.

    I use good cables, but not fancy ones.
  6. MasonMedia

    MasonMedia Guest

    I usually roll-my-own using Belden cable (Quad or Lo-Cap) & Switchcraft or Neutrik Connectors. If there's no time, I purchase high quality assemblies put together by a local electronics retailer who uses Mogami and Neutrik. They use silver solder on the connectors. Don't know if that makes any physical or sonic difference.

    Along these lines---

    A year or so ago I witnessed a demonstration that illustrated how easily the brain can play tricks on the "expert" listener. The presenter had inserted a mystery box in-line in the monitor path between a console and a set of Genelec Monitor Speakers. The source was a original classical recording. During playback a switch on the box was moved from one side to the other. Each time it was switched there was a momentary interruption in the sound and an indicator on the box changed from green to red or back again.

    Before the test began, it was stated that the box was modifying the signal. The switch was on the green position to start. The recording was played for a number of minutes and the switch was moved back and forth as many times as the audience wished. Slowly listeners began to offer opinions as to what differences they were hearing between green and red positions.

    In the end, it was revealed there was no difference. Both sides were hard-wired through. The circumstance, coupled with the slight interruption of the sound (a relay mute circuit controlled by a CAP), was enough enough to fool many of us in the audience. :wink:

  7. bap

    bap Member

    I roll my own as well. Mogami, Canare, and some Redco with Neutric connectors.
  8. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    mogami for mics
  9. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    I often find at these events that there's a sort of subtle brain-washing going on. They try and make you feel stupid if you can't hear the difference. The first thing you have to do is top up your cynicism before you go in.

    Straight A/B tests are nonsense anyway, unless there's a vast difference between whatever it is you're listening to. When you hear something second time around it will sound different because you're comparing the sound with something you've just heard. That's easier on the brain, and this is the ideal time to act.

  10. bap

    bap Member

    I find myself changing my mind all the time and it's me brainwashing myself! I don't need any help, thank you.

    My skills are better than they were but I still find myself thinking I have improved things only to listen a day or 2 later and wonder what was wrong with me! It does take a while to to gain experience and wisdom.... and ears.

    Bob Katz says that a good mastering engineer will nail things over 80% of the time on their first go round.

    I'm not there yet and do not believe that fancy cables are the answer to my quest.
  11. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I believe that some people hear a difference, and when they realise the cable costs a fortune, they decide it's a change for the better.

    John, your comment here made me want to add the same thing about finding a pair of speakers that does the same thing. At that point, you realize cost is not an issue, and it becomes time to get what you need to do the job properly, regardless of the cost. I recently had such an epiphany.

    In my case, it was the Lipinski L-505's. Since you asked about Lipinski speakers in a followup post on this thread, I'll direct you to my review of them in this month's MIX magazine. (Shameless plug department! ;-) Mix's contractual agreement with reviewers is that they may not comment on a product publicly before a review is published, etc., but you can read the review here online now, as well as in the printed version in the May 2005 issue:


    I've been biting my tongue about these things since I first heard them; wanting to shout from the rooftops about them. They are truly wonderful, astounding speakers, and I bought a pair for myself almost immediately after getting them for review. (Well, as soon as I realized I wasn't imagining things...) They are indeed worth every penny, and pretty much puts an end to the whole game of "Which is better?" for me. For me, and the way I work, they are "IT". I've never heard anything better, quite honestly. I've heard so many different speakers over the years, always worrying about coloration, and how truthful a speaker can be, it was always a tossup between the workaday reference monitors, (Tannoy's, KRK's) vs. the high end stuff. (B&W, etc.) I always figured my mixes would sound different elsewhere (better or worse, depending on the environment) than in my studio. It was a fact of life, and I accepted it, but always knowing things could be better.

    All that changed for me with the Lipinki's.

    The general consensus among those who've heard and used the Lipinski's is that they will make you a better engineer/mixer. They don't lie, they're not exaggerated at either end of the spectrum, and yet their level of detail is jaw-dropping. Seriously, I had to find new superlatives when writing about these speakers. (And I'm a CYNIC, believe me..!) The top end is effortless and clear, while the midrange on down just remains solid with no hot spots or breakups. If you read their website (or the mix review), you'll find out more; these things are truly a labor of love, created by a man with a fanatical attention to detail. In the review, I mentioned hearing true "MONO" with these as well. It's really quite a phenomenon that has to be heard to be appreciated on the L-505's.

    They're not at all cheap, but I reached a point in my life as soon as I heard them and said: If not NOW, then WHEN? And if "I" don't deserve to have them for my work, then who should?

    It set me back quite a bit, but again, they're worth every cent, and has made working with music a joy all over again. In addition to my regular workload day to day burnout, I'm once again listening to music for the sheer PLEASURE of it. Your desert island list may shrink after you've heard some things on these speakers (they are brutally honest!) but the good stuff only gets better.

    Give them a listen if you can, I think you'll understand as soon as you hear them.

    Sorry to hijack the thread....back to wire type discussions....click......
  12. bap

    bap Member

    I can understand the huge difference great speakers and great room can make and have witnessed it myself.

    Are you running $2000 cables to your new speakers?
  13. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Hey Joe!
    I read the review already, that's what prompted me to ask the question in the first place!

    Thanks for the detailed info.

    As far as your epiphany is concerned, I have to admire anyone who uses AT4040s alongside his DPA 4003s! I think you'll get great results once something passes a certain quality level -I suppose it's a case of finding an application where each piece shines, and using your talent and experience. Of course that doesn't mean there's no place for very expensive high-end gear.

  14. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Great topic and GREAT article Dave!

    I personally use Monster and Mogami for everything in my chain for recording. Do I find a significant difference? No, not really. However, they are durable and reputable and in both cases warranted for life. I don't have the luxury of time to create much of my own stuff, so when something breaks, especially cables, I simply have them replaced.

    As for my hi-fi system -- here's where the big bucks come in. My SACD player is hooked up by some VERY nice MIT cables. 6 of them in fact. Each cable costs just a little over $700. Can I hear the difference? You betcha! Did I pay that price for them? Not a chance in cold Hell! I got them on MEGA discount (a store was clearing out all of their hi-fi stuff) and I got the whole lot for less than 1 would normally sell. (Woo-hoo).

    I think a lot of the cable industry is driven on hype, but some of it has some truth. Staying moderate is the key - make purchases that give you an advantage but don't break the bank and all should be good.

  15. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Personally, I think the whole cable thing is BS. I use cables that are made well, but when listening carefully, I have yet to hear a noticable difference between the cheap-o ProCo mic cables and my Canare star quad cables. As long as the signal passes... I won't use hosa as they are prone to breaking, but just about anything else is fair game.

  16. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I'm with you Ben, I only use quality cables for construction reasons, Canare, Mogami, Gotham, and I am making all new analog cables from AES, 110 Ohm types. I posted the article to show how bad the debate has decended to.
  17. mdemeyer

    mdemeyer Active Member


    Are you using the 100ohm AES-EBU cable for analog becuase you like how it sounds, or ??? Just curious. I have a spool of it around and one long AES cable, but never tried it for analog.

  18. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    I cannot say that I can detect a difference or improvement between AES 110 Ohm and normal star quad, but since I am hanging Royers on long cables from ceilings of concert halls, the much lower capacitance of the AES cable is much better for the mic and the signal.
  19. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    The feed from our DAC-1 to our Bryston 4B is now 110 ohm AES cable. Even though it is only 6 feet long it does seem to make a difference in the high frequency range. I too have thought about using it for microphone cables but the expense of replacing all my microphone cables would be enormous.

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