Yes, The Quality Of Your Cables Does Matter

Discussion in 'Accessories / Connections' started by DonnyThompson, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    Without repeating the tests under controlled circumstances it's unlikely that we or anyone would be able to give a definitive answer to the question of why one cable performed differently to the other three. When this sort of thing happens, it's often that one of the set that is audibly worse than the others, as in the case of causing oscillation that I reported earlier, and having one that is audibly better than the other three good cables is unusual.

    For Chris's test, a simple answer might be that three cables had much the same inter-conductor capacitance and the fourth was significantly lower, thus forming a higher roll-off frequency with the output resistance of the microphone, and in this case the difference was audible. I personally doubt that explanation, but it fits with the evidence as presented.
     
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  2. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    As far as cable goes, I follow the norm where I buy cable to trust it spec'ed for the use. I'm marginally motivated to report if we hear a change in Ricks studio or, in my new CM in progress. Best case, the fact that my CM is like a cockpit with the said gear and different interconnections may be part of that. I seriously doubt we will hear it as I did the day I but we'll see. I'm hoping its notable because its pretty silly otherwise.
     
  3. Audiofreek

    Audiofreek Active Member

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    Interesting stuff Chris! You heard a difference in a mic cable. Could it be the load from transformer output of the mic(200Ohms), to transformer input of the preamp, and cable capacitance causing the difference? I wonder if you were using a transformerless input, would you have noticed a difference? The U87i prefers to see a bridged input, I don't think there is much difference in the transformer of the Ai. Just guessing here, really have no idea, but it would be fun to find out.
     
  4. Audiofreek

    Audiofreek Active Member

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    I see that the M2b is transformerless, so much for the load theory.
     
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  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    I dunno, Bos, it makes sense to me.... and is on par with my theory - in that a good cable doesn't "sound" like anything.
    It's not until you hear a good cable, performing as it is supposed to, next to one that is not, that you "hear" a difference, and in this case, you still aren't hearing the good cable, but are instead hearing the issues with the cable of lower quality.
     
  6. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer Active Member

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    Exactly, and "grabbing a cable and playing, then grabbing another cable and playing again" is not a controlled test. Which was my point.

    I think even more likely is that all of the cables sound exactly the same, and something else is making it seem like the sound changed. Again, measuring is the best way to tell. Second best is a blind test, though you have to go back and further at least half a dozen times and identify the cables correctly every single time.

    --Ethan
     
  7. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer Active Member

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    Of course I meant "back and forth" :rolleyes:
     
  8. Audiofreek

    Audiofreek Active Member

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    Wouldn't a null test work to identify if differences in cable that were being heard, were infact present?
     
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    To me, if you need a null to hear it, its a waste of time. Wire is wire.
    I actually recorded all the versions I did and I thought I posted them here but I can't find them so...

    Call me sometime Rick, I'll grab the Accusound and lets see if we notice anything . It will take 30 mins. This isn't rocket science. Its to see the the cable is made better, not if the wire is magic. What we all heard wasn't subtle so it will either be repeated or not.
     
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    PS, I'll bring the M-2b as well. You got to hear that. That thing is special :)
     
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  11. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    A null test could be used, but bear in mind the following (most of which has been said already):
    1. A cable is passive, linear and time-invariant. It does nothing on its own.
    2. What you hear when you listen to a selection of cables interconnecting two pieces of gear is how the gear and the cable interact. You can't just listen to the cable on its own.
    3. If you change the sending or the receiving gear, you are liable to get a different set of results from the same selection of cables.

    For the null test, use a consistent source driving through the different cables in turn into the same receiver, which should have recording properties. For example, you could use a track on an Alesis HD24XR recorder driving through an analog output via the chosen cable back into the analog input of a different track. You need a "reference" cable, and in this case it could be a pair of TRS plugs with tip and ring interconnected using about 3 inches of unscreened wire. No need to connect the sleeves. Record one track using this "reference" connection.

    Next, perform the same process but use the test cables in turn, recording to different tracks. You could test 22 cables this way at standard sampling rates. After doing the recording, you download the tracks to a computer, invert the reference track and subtract that wave from all the others. The differences are the individual track nulls, but with the I/O conversion differences taken out through using the "reference" cable. Gain up by about 60dB and listen.

    If I were doing this, I would work at 96KHz, which would restrict me to 10 separate test cables. This process would, of course, also work with a computer DAW and high-quality audio interface, but always remember that we are testing the cables relative to the input and output properties of the interface or recorder in use.
     
  12. Audiofreek

    Audiofreek Active Member

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    Hey Chris, I was wondering what your schedule is like? Is it possible for you and I to run the tests sometime this weekend or the next?
     
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I'm available this weekend, maybe not next.
     
  14. Audiofreek

    Audiofreek Active Member

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    Ok, I'll give you a call.
     
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