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Topic: I never thought a different cable could make such an improve (Read 4166 times) previous topic - next topic
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I never thought a different cable could make such an improve

This afternoon when browsing around Radio Shack, I noticed that the 6-foot cut length of 6mm OFC A/V coax cable (278-1271--no connectors) had been reduced from $5.99 to $2.97, so I picked up two.  When they rang up as $0.97, I went back and picked up two more.  They had 8mm too, but I don't know of any RCA connectors that the 8mm diameter can be crammed into.

Coaxial, about 60-80% braid coverage (copper), unusually thick aluminum foil wrapper (not mylar), foamed insulation right under, followed by a blue layer of insulation (teflon?), #24 AWG stranded copper core.

I took the RCA connectors off a pair of 3-foot cables (6-tang gold-plated, probably Monster) and put them on the coax that I just bought, and replaced the analog link from my soundcard to my receiver with them.

Ouch.  I can now spot Blade-encoded mp3s without headphones.  I can hear the central point of a vibrating guitar string, moving back and forth just to the left of the right speaker ('Sueno con Mexico' by Pat Metheny).  Every mp3 file I played is revealing new details that I have not noticed until now.  There is a better sense of transparency and of control of the amplifier by the soundcard.  Bass and midrange are tight; treble is more accurate.  A layer of (slight) muddiness has been lifted.

I think it may have something to do with capacitive/inductive reactance (or lack thereof) in the cable and how the op-amp output buffer (NJM4580) behaves with it.

This is the best $1.84 upgrade I've ever heard.
godzilla525

I never thought a different cable could make such an improve

Reply #1
Either your older cable was broken, or it's just placebo effect.

Capacitance and inductance on interconnects are despreciable, unless you use a very long interconnect and a high output impedance source, which is not the case at all for most soundcards.

I never thought a different cable could make such an improve

Reply #2
I believe it is possible.

I once performed a loudspeaker cable blind test (although not double blind), and I heard a difference an was able to distinguish between 3 sets

I never thought a different cable could make such an improve

Reply #3
I believe loudspeaker cable is more prone to cause audible differences than interconnects, mostly if you use thin or very long cable compared to thick cable.

However, using a reasonable gauge cable all differences vanish.

I never thought a different cable could make such an improve

Reply #4
Note that different isolation or just moving the cable by replacing it can improve things - if it was badly installed (e.g. near interference, bad contacts) in the first place.

--
GCP

I never thought a different cable could make such an improve

Reply #5
When I hooked it up I didn't expect to hear any difference at all. I doubt that the original cables I used have turned sour, but it is a possibility.  I'm pretty skeptical of these sorts of things myself, but I'm consistently hearing things coming through that were just not there before.
godzilla525

I never thought a different cable could make such an improve

Reply #6
Quote
Originally posted by godzilla525
but I'm consistently hearing things coming through that were just not there before.

Change back the original cable to compare, then you realy know it wasn't there before.
--
Ge Someone
In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

I never thought a different cable could make such an improve

Reply #7
5 m
Hi,

some time ago I had connected my Terratec EWX 2496 with my HK 5000 by some good coaxial cable from car hifi, 5 metres.


Then I got an optical cable, 5 metres, cost 10 €.
It was a big improvement.
Analogue the sound was a liitle bit muffled.
Digitally the sound is perfect.

So yes, I think that longer distances, eg. 5 metres, have a bad influence to sound, even if you use well shielded cables (analogue) and so on.

So go digitally.

I never thought a different cable could make such an improve

Reply #8
OK. 

*Old cable: 3'5" (roughly 1 meter) coaxial, Shield = 0.02 Ohms, Signal = 0.11 Ohms, Capacitance = approx. 90pF.

*New cable: 6' (1.8 meters) coaxial, OFC, Shield = 0.05 Ohms, Signal = 0.20 Ohms, Capacitance = approx. 130pF.

I substituted one of the older cables for the right channel, and it didn't seem to have the same sparkle as the left channel, characterized by an ever-so-slight shift to the left of a mono image at higher frequencies.

After a while of listening, I had a harder time telling the difference, but some of the more subtle imaging of stereo material was harder to make out.

I'd do a blind A/B of these cables, but that's hard to do since it takes me so long to change them, and any switching mechanism would introduce errors of its own considering how sensitive the current situation seems to be.

Given the age of the older cable (circa 1996) some oxide may have built up on the connectors causing semiconductive properties. ???

[EDIT]
@ user:  I'd go digital, but my receiver is analog-only. I use the digital input on the card for my CD-Changer, though.

Something tells me that from your experience and mine that there's a definite cable interaction with the 4580 op-amp that this card uses for an output buffer.
[/EDIT]
godzilla525

I never thought a different cable could make such an improve

Reply #9
This seems to be a very good source of information regarding speaker wire.

http://home.sundial.net/~rogerr/

Go to the "Speaker relates sites" section and click on "Speaker wire"

-gft

 

I never thought a different cable could make such an improve

Reply #10
I've done some playing around with cables and found that I could detect a tiny, almost imperceptable difference in the sound, but only when going total crap to overkill; in the dorm, I needed 10m of cable per channel (5) to go from the dresser, around the corner to a far-away table (our rooms were tiny but long). At the time I was using crappy 24-gauge lamp-cord. When I moved into my apartment off-campus, I used only 1m of Monster Cable per channel, since the receiver was closer in proximity to where I have my speakers. The only difference (I think) I can detect is in background noise, which seems to be a bit less noticable with the 1m setup compared to the 10m. I'm not sure if this is due to line-loss (resistance), shielding, or just my imagination 

 
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