Becoming a Believer



  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 160
    @Emlyn - I have to laugh, b/c it seems we come from opposite ends of the cable (pun intended) debate, but have similar open-mindedness, AND wound up with cables from the same manufacturers.
  • Joey_V
    Joey_V Posts: 7,672
    Yeah, I was also a nonbeliever before.

    Then now I have the audioquest wels.... not sure how that happened.
    Joey's Gear:
    Current Gear:
    Digital: Torus RM15 -> Emm Labs TSDx/Bluesound Node 2 -> Emm Labs DAC2x
    Analog: VPI Avenger Reference w/ Rim Drive w/ ADS + 12" Fatboy Dual Pivot + Lyra Etna
    + Audio Research Reference 40th Anniversary -> Boulder 2060 stereo amp (w/ Audioquest WEL Signature) -> new speakers + JL Audio F113v2 x2
    Rotel RA1592 Super Integrated -> Sonus Faber Olympica 3
    Oppo 105D -> Rotel RC1570 preamp -> Rotel RB1582 amp -> Focal Kanta 2

    Main speakers system evolution over the years:
    Klipsch Promedia 4.1 -> Axiom M22ti -> Sonus Faber Concertino -> Sonus Faber Concerto -> Polk LSi7 -> Polk LSi9 -> Martin Logan Mosaic -> AV123 Onix Ref 1 -> Martin Logan Vantage -> AV123 Strata Mini -> Martin Logan Summit -> Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor -> BW 802D2 -> Sonus Faber Stradivari -> Rockport Avior -> BW 802D3 -> BW 800D3 -> ???

    Old Gear:
    BW PM1 (3.5/5), CM10s2 (3.75/5), BW800D3 (5/5), Rockport Aviors (5/5), Sonus Faber Stradivari (5/5), BW 802D2 (4.5/5), Martin Logan Summits (4.25/5), Martin Logan Vantage (4/5), Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor (3.75/5), AV123 Strata Mini (3.5/5), ML Mosaic (3.25/5), Onix Ref1 (3/5), Sonus Faber Concerto (2.75/5), SF Concertino (2.5/5), Axiom M22ti (2/5), Polk LSi9 (3/5), LSi7 (2.9/5)
    Squeezebox 3 -> PS Audio Digital Link III -> Cary 306/200 CDP -> Cary 306 SACD -> EMM LABS DAC2X/TSDX
    Rotel RC1070 -> Rogue Perseus -> Cary SLP98 -> Cary SLP98F1 -> Cary SLP05 (sold and then repurchased) -> ARC 5se -> ARC Ref 40th Anniversary
    HK AVR330 -> Rotel RB1070 -> Rotel RB1090 -> Plinius SA102 -> Cary 211FE -> Classe M600 -> Boulder 2060
    Infinity Entra2 -> SVS 25-31PCi -> SVS 25-31PC+ -> Dual JL Audio F113v2
  • F1nut
    F1nut Posts: 46,126
    Joey_V wrote: »
    Yeah, I was also a nonbeliever before.

    Then now I have the audioquest wels.... not sure how that happened.

    Told ya
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."

    President of Club Polk

  • verb
    verb Posts: 9,911
    I'm now a believer!

    After reading a lot of debates on this forum, pro and con, I decided to jump into the fray.

    Going from home brew 10ga wire, to MIT Terminator 2's, the improvement was, in a word, profound! Everything opened up, soundstage, depth, bass was deeper, tighter, highs extended. Improved clarity, you name it.

    The only change I made in the rig was speaker cables! Wow!

    So I was intrigued. As many of us here have done, and even on this thread, you can pick up used cables for a fraction of the cost to what they were new. For a budget guy like myself, that provides the best opportunity for me.

    Later I was able to snag a pair of MIT Shotguns S1 bi-wires. Again, the improvements were significant! OMG is what I said! All in a speaker cable!

    As an engineer, we love to gauge performance on things we can measure, but in the case of cables it's nearly impossible. Sure length is an factor, but metallurgy, RFI performance, inductance (before and after cooking!), interplay amongst all the materials, etc., it's impossible to measure.

    How I got started on this journey was to trust the judgement of members here, and give it a try. Yeah it's tough to drop several large on cables, but if you go the used route, on the coat tails of many here, it becomes attainable.

    In the end, I trust the the folks here, and my ears. How it sounds to me is the ultimate data point.

    Am I at the end of my cable journey? Heck no! Still looking for a used pair of MIT Oracles!

    My recommendation, give it a try!
    Basement: Polk SDA SRS 1.2tl's, Cary SLP-05 Pre with ultimate upgrade,McIntosh MCD301 CD/SACD player, Northstar Designs Excelsio DAC, Cambridge 851N streamer, McIntosh MC300 Amp, Silnote Morpheus Ref2, Series2 Digital Cables, Silnote Morpheus Ref2 Series2 XLR's, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, Pangea Power Cables, MIT Shotgun S3 IC's, MIT Shotgun S1 Bi-Wire speaker cables
    Office: PC, EAR Acute CD Player, EAR 834L Pre, Northstar Designs Intenso DAC, Antique Sound Labs AV8 Monoblocks, Denon UDR-F10 Cassette, Acoustic Technologies Classic FR Speakers, SVS SB12 Plus sub, MIT AVt2 speaker cables, IFI Purifier2, AQ Cinnamon USB cable, Groneberg Quatro Reference IC's
    Spare Room: Dayens Ampino Integrated Amp, Tjoeb 99 tube CD player (modified Marantz CD-38), Analysis Plus Oval 9's, Zu Jumpers, AudioEngine B1 Streamer, Klipsch RB-61 v2, SVS PB1000 sub, Blue Jeans RCA IC's, Shunyata Hydra 8 Power Conditioner
    Living Room: Peachtree Nova Integrated, Cambridge CXN v2 Streamer, Rotel RCD-1072 CD player, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, Polk RT265 In Wall Speakers, Polk DSW Pro 660wi sub
    Garage #1: Cambridge Audio 640A Integrated Amp, Project Box-E BT Streamer, Polk Tsi200 Bookies, Douglas Speaker Cables, Shunyata Power Conditioner
    Garage #2: Cambridge Audio EVO150 Integrated Amplifier, Polk L200's, Analysis Plus Silver Oval 2 Speaker Cables, IC's TBD.
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 160
    Emlyn wrote: »
    There are lots of approaches with speaker cables. Look into the technology used by MIT, Audioquest, Nordost, etc. Also look into materials selection with higher end Kimber products including the termination methods and connectors, insulation, types of metal in the cable itself, time to construct, etc.

    Of course some argue that all cables sound the same regardless of materials and construction and someone would have to have miles of cable to measure any audible differences. I don't subscribe to that.

    Nothing wrong with Blue Jeans or entry level Kimber products. In my experience they do a very good job. Kimber tends to look better doing it though. I use Kimber Hero and BJC RCA cables interchangeably and have never noted a difference between them in what reaches my ears. The Kimber Hero cables do have locking WBT RCA connectors though which is cool.

    I'll also add that I really do believe someone can have an outstanding audio experience while only using "generic" or low cost cables as long as they pass a signal cleanly.


    Concerning the first two paragraphs of your above response, I would agree that there are plenty of things that can affect the “sound” of cables, and I am aware of some of those you referred me to; thanks for the response, btw.

    So one point of which I think we agree: cables may sound different.

    Another point I think we agree on is: differences in material types implemented AND construction can affect the sound of cables.

    I say, “absolutely”, to both of the above assertions (an additional caveat, for me, is that this is not necessarily commensurate with price).

    As a matter of fact, it is precisely these things that affect key characteristics described in my June 11 post: R/L/C, jacket/dielectric materials, conductivity of metal used (the wire itself and the attached connectors), and wire geometries.

    That being said, I think why many people have disagreements on this topic results from a lack of definition of terms, and concepts of discussion get blurred to a point in which individuals eventually aren’t even partaking of the same conversation.

    My current opinion concerning cables is that the “sound” they produce is the result of a cause-and-effect relationship measured as a frequency response (e.g. low R/L/C characteristics by-and-large equates to a reasonably flat frequency response in the audible range).

    What about the “sound” of the conductors (i.e. wire) itself? I think we perceive differences in this regard by way of extension of the above R/L/C characteristics (i.e. more or less transparent, bright, warm, rolled-off, dull, etc.). This concept further extends to the connectors attached to the wire, which typically is less conductive than the wire itself. These are the immeasurable aspects of the sound; our perceptions, or interpretations, of what we’re hearing in relation to the cable being used.

    So frequency response is objective, but the associated perception is subjective. If this distinction is not maintained during conversation things become confusing. I think this is the yin/yang of cable-speak.

    This is difficult since people use the same word, “sound”, to describe both aspects.

    Jacket/insulation/dielectric materials and design geometries also cause measurable differences to cable performance, but work a little differently, because the goal here is to reduce noise (an objectively undesirable form of “sound”), in the absence of which we can more greatly perceive (subjectively) with our hearing the “sound” coming from the recording and the rest of the system.

    Danny from GR Research put together a simple object lesson demonstrating this and refers to cables as being either “antennas”, or “filters”, and argues how geometries and materials affect which category a cable falls under:

    Recommend use 1.5x speed to get through faster.

    I took notice that the first set of cables are 12awg copper multi-strand types with PVC jackets (similar to BJC Beldens), and the Kimber look-a-likes have teflon on their windings, and the tri-braid geometry, which Kimber says is how he overcame noise at the disco in the ‘70s.

    Earlier this year I researched dielectric constants to understand why Danny stresses the importance of jacket materials in his videos. Some are better than others at rejecting EMI/RFI than others. PVC is terrible at this, but teflon, polyethylene (PE), and foam polyethylene (PE) are very good at this.

    All said, I would describe myself as one, not who claims that all cables sound the same; but if made with the right goals in mind, most cables SHOULD (italics) more-or-less share similar design/measurement/material characteristics, which would result in more consistent sonic outcomes (i.e. desirable outcomes)

    In other words, a poorly-designed cable is one that is lacking one, or more, of the following:

    high conductivity (i.e. low R/L/C), a flat frequency response from 20Hz-20kHz, simultaneous mitigation of RFI/EMI, and a reasonable cost.

    If these characteristics are all present, I can’t imagine being too concerned about the cables in my system.

  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 160
    This past Monday I received the Kimber Kable 4PR speaker cables I ordered (2.5m).

    Kudos to Kimber on presentation. The cables were packed nicely in a proper box, inside was tissue paper with the Kimber Kable logo all over it, and a zipper bag with the company logo, a card with my name, and the cables inside. Way to show appreciation for your customers Kimber!

    This actually created a little excitement about my new wire purchase. High praise coming from me considering I don’t expect magic from cables.

    The look of the cables is pleasing from my perspective. The positive wire side was clothed in brown PE insulation, and the negative wire side in black PE insulation. This combined with the braided geometry should combine for good rejection of EMI/RFI noise.

    The appearance of the cables goes largely unnoticed once connected, which I prefer. I elected the standard banana plugs offered by Kimber Kable. I must say the connectors are of excellent quality and they make a sturdy/solid connection. This is important to me since these are swapped in place of the long-time resident BJC locking banana connectors (excellent!). Kimber’s banana connectors are superior to any non-locking type I’ve tried in my system(s).

    Presentation and construction aside, how did they sound?

    Well, I was surprised that they, in fact, did sound different than my BJC 5T00UP speaker wires. I would have expected some difference in the form of potential reduction in bass fulness, due to the smaller overall wire gauge, but otherwise anticipated overall similar sound.

    The anticipated differences were not what I experienced, however.

    Objective (Measurable) Differences:

    On average I am listening to familiar recordings in my bedroom system at a 4dB lower volume setting than with my BJC cables! This is because playback is undeniably louder with these cables (i.e. superior signal transfer).

    There was also a noticeable reduction of mid/high-frequency hash. This resulted in being able to hear lyrics on certain recordings more accurately. Wow!

    I would stress that I don’t consider this to be a result of loudness levels being more easily reached, because, as stated, I compensated for this by significantly reducing the volume.

    Subjective (Immeasurable) Differences:

    Prior to inserting these cables I would listen to my BJC cables sometimes eyes open, sometimes eyes closed. I found in doing this my brain would interpret soundstaging/imaging cues more clearly with eyes closed.

    I would say the paradigm is the same with the Kimbers, however, there is a greater perceived 3D effect in terms of depth perspective; like you could walk into the soundstage and around the performers. The BJC seems more 2D, like a wall of sound. The soundstage of the Kimbers also seems taller. Cool, but can’t prove it. Again, this is eyes closed listening; eyes open I do not perceive these differences so much.

    I felt that I could also hear the trailing sounds of instruments a little longer with Kimber versus the BJC cables. Bass seemed more defined and powerful, as well.

    Now the faith statement (Am I a believer?):

    Some are convinced that faith is inherently blind. I disagree, in fact, faith may be reinforced/supported by logic and science.

    In this case, the example here is the measurable loudness level difference, which is something that would result from a cables combination of R/L/C. Also there obvious noise reduction (these wires serve at least as a RF filter, as demonstrated on the GR-Research video shared previously) when the Kimbers were added to my system.

    I believe in cause-and-effect, and my conclusion is that the above measurable differences did in fact inform my subjective experience.

    For roughly $150 I’m very pleased with the Kimber Kable 4PR speaker cables. BJC has been moved to a back-up system.
  • Emlyn
    Emlyn Posts: 3,188
    Glad you like them. A fun thing to do is leave them in place for a month then swap them again to see if you can still tell a difference.
    1. Polk L800 + L900, L400, LSiM-703 x4; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Marantz AV8805A processor; Parasound A31; Outlaw 7000X; Oppo 205; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Director 4.7; MIT S2 cables
    2. Magnepan 1.7i or JM Lab 920.1; Sonic Frontiers Line 3 SE+ preamp and Parasound JC5 amp; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Marantz SA8004 SACD; Music Hall MMF7 and Acoustech phono pre; PS Audio P500; MIT S1 Cables
  • I bought a used set of Kimber 8TC cables a while back (blue and black jacket) and I have been very happy. It was a noticable change over my DIY cables.
    Rega Planar 8, Apheta 3 MC , Aria mk2 Phono
    Aurender n100h, Benchmark DAC2 HGC
    Arcam SR250, Parasound JC5
    Revel F208, SVS SB-4000
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 160
    Emlyn wrote: »
    Glad you like them. A fun thing to do is leave them in place for a month then swap them again to see if you can still tell a difference.

    Makes good sense; harmless and easy to do, to boot!
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 160
    @Emlyn - Do you (or anyone else reading) have experience with Wireworld cables?

    The Kimber’s have gotten me looking at other brands, for comparison, and WW seems to have a lot of patents, and makes similar sonic claims to what I experienced with the 4PRs.

    I was looking at the Oasis 8s as an entry-point to WW.
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 160
    Ok, ok, ok.

    Working my way back to the wall socket. Got some Kimber 4VS jumper cables to rev up the engine on my MA Silver 1s.

    As were the speaker cables, these also are packaged with class.



    I was gonna go with KK Tonik ICs to keep costs down and stay with the same family of cables, but decided to spring for Wireworld Oasis 8s. These are the 4th level above WW’s entry-point.

    Lastly, I bought the WIREWORLD Stratus 7 power cable @Erniejade was selling.

    Pending delivery on all the WWs.

    Never thought I’d be excited about cables!

  • erniejade
    erniejade Posts: 5,665
    Shipped tonight :)
    I have the ww eclipse silver 8 speaker cables. Love them. I also have ww eclipse 7 rca and eclipse 7 silver rca. All good stuff.

    Remember if the Oasis 8's are new, let them break in for at least 100 hours. On used cables, yes they should be broken in but, I beleve in some settle time where i listened to something, leave it plugged in or turned on and a few days later listened again and the sound changes. I know not everyone believes in letting things just settle in and that is OK. Just my experience on my rigs, even used letting it sit a few days made a difference between first time listening and a few days later.
    T+A PA 1530R,Wireworld Silver Eclipse SC, Tyler Highland H2, High Fidelity Reveal RCA, Innuos Zen MK3 W4S recovery, LKS MH-da004, Border Patrol SE-I

    Have but haven't used in a while: Cayin SCD50T, Technics 1200, Denon DL160, Jolida D9