Cables. Let's build the basics

The idea is to organize basic information about the cables
There is usually a lot of mystique and suggestion. And trial and error tests that are usually very expensive.
I am not a connoisseur but I comment as synthetically I think it. You will contribute and correct.

I thought of dividing the cables into 2 categories:

  1. the power supply and
  2. data (analog and digital)

And the problems also in 2 categories:

  1. Interference by magnetic fields and
  2. Parasitic electricity

Magnetic fields
Different electric currents circulate through all the cables that generate different magnetic fields. As we usually have many cables in very close spaces, these magnetic fields interfere with the conduction of data. That is why it is good that the cables have magnetic protection: the power cables because they generate the most interference, and the data cables to be less interfered with by the previous ones.
I understand that the cables do not improve the sound, but rather the protection prevents the sound from getting worse. In other words, the more protected, the less the worse, because it has greater protection against interference. If the cables were ideally separated so as not to influence each other, I understand that any material would be the same as long as it respects what is necessary in terms of impedance, inductance and resistance. But ideal situations do not exist.
Analog data cables are influenced by magnetic fields generated by power cables. It remains to be seen if the same thing happens with digital ones (ethernet, toshlink, etc.) I have my doubts.

Parasitic electricity
The electrical network provides voltage to many appliances in our home that produce alterations in the flow of current. These alterations, being present in the power supply of the audio equipment, introduce what is called parasitic electricity that inside the operation of the sensitive transformers. Therefore, it is best to have a direct power line to the equipment and that there are no other electrical appliances in it. There are also parasitic current filters that go between the network and the equipment, cleaning the electrical current.
I understand that the magnetic shield of the power cord works for the previous point, but not for this one. They are different problems.

If someone had the necessary measuring elements to verify the presence of magnetic fields in the area of ​​the cables and parasitic electricity, it would be objectively easier to diagnose problems and choose solutions. As we do not usually have it, it ends up being by trial and error, wasting time and money, giving rise to mystical speculation.
Thus we find comments from who bought a cable changed his life, and for another it was equal to nothing.
To this is added that finally the recognition of the difference is subjective through listening, which can be more or less sensitive and more or less suggestible.

Anyway. I listen to corrections, contributions, etc.

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Thanks for what may be a good idea - if we manage to keep it on topic and leave blind testing out of it :joy:. First immediate thought before I have read further is that analog and digital cables cannot be one category, much too different.

In the power cable category you seem to assume that they are always shielded, but they are not.

Mechanical microphony is not an electrical topic for cables (though its supposed effects on the units are) but cannot be left out, if only because Naim attributes much significance to it.

There are also other properties of cables that may or may not be real, but in any case are at the very least poorly understood on a physics level and yet believed by many to have an effect. One part of this is (sorry) cable burn-in, but also others if we believe the imprecise claims of cable manufacturers.


There is a lot of technical stuff here I dont really understand - but i totally agree on seperating analog and digital cables.
My experience is the former has a massive baering on sound - speaker cables etc - but really unconvinced by digital.
For example I cant tell the difference between a high end HDMI cable and my amazon basics one.
From a Naim perspective i don’t have a 500 series so i also doubt a high end Naim digital cable will make any difference to the sound for me over others for optical or coax.

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Of course, the category of cables could be subdivided into analog and digital. It depends on the criterion that is taken.
Digital does not seem to have the same loss of quality, although I have read many who notice changes with better cables, despite the fact that theoretically it does not seem possible.
What other properties are they talking about?

@mpaltadonna the problem I see is you’re trying to quantify cables. That doesn’t work. You can’t decide audio quality based on a framework of statistics or cable design or materials. Because of three huge variables. First the equipment. Different gear different outcomes. Second the room, think that’s self explanatory. And third the listener.

So even given the exact same gear say Naim Preamp and Power amp one person might like the Naim interconnect, someone else Siltech.

Rooms sound different, and we all hear a bit differently.

You could try creating a database using various brands of cables and equipment and arriving at some good matches. But that’s a big job.

And we haven’t even talked about different AC power. It’s absolute importance is I feel frequently under valued. Remember our whole audio systems rely on AC it’s at the heart of it what we listen to.

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Maybe I expressed myself wrong, but I don’t want to quantify. On the contrary, find solutions tailored to each individual’s taste. As you say there are variables of equipment, room, etc. Also from interference from cables and electricity. Problems that deteriorate the sound signal. If they are not diagnosed, it is not possible to choose which solution to apply and changes are made by blind trial and error until an improvement is found, but accidentally. If there is interference due to parasitic electricity, it will not improve until a filter is put in place for it, then each cable will be liked based on the different qualities that they contribute to the sound.
On the other hand, if something does not sound good without knowing why and the filter is applied when there is no such problem, there will be no improvement.
Different cables that give the solution to the same problem, will have different asses in the sound that each one will choose at will.
What I am aiming at is to identify when there is an objective problem, the solution is particular depending on the other variables and especially the taste of the listener.

Good Luck with it!

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Type in the word ‘Cables’ into the search box and over 500+ theads have been opened over the past few years. The discussion points/answers you maybe/are looking for may be in there somewhere.

Good luck…

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@mpaltadonna weren’t you using regular red and black electrical cables last time you posted? Has this changed now? What are you using now? How did you go with the speaker decisions? Did you keep the little PMC’s

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Well I don’t think that in mainstream physics there is any concept of why they would sound different at all

And don’t forget about burn in. :popcorn:


And blind A/B testing :popcorn: using statistical distribution theory :eyes:


Oh dear. That’s like a bat signal to the usual suspects. I think you’re going to need more than one box of Popcorn :joy:


Hi @Mark84, if you used those red and black wires. Then I decided to switch, and now I have some Van Den Hul and spatially arranged the cables to be as far apart as possible. At first I didn’t notice any difference, after two weeks the sound started to improve. So I guess it has to do with the cables. Trial and error, method that I do not like. I decided not to keep the small PMCs. And I carry on with my old infinity that sounds great. I will think of better speakers later. As in our country there are no tests or returns, with my supplier we agree that he will give him the PMC and the ATom in exchange for a Nova. I am waiting for it to arrive in the country, there is a long delay. I hope the Nova gives me a wider and better quality sound. I would have kept the Atom that I really like, but I had that money going for me and used it for 2 months to get a Gold Note that sounded huge spatially.

Yes thanks. But it is difficult to find substantiated arguments. There are usually accounts of particular experiences such as: I have X equipment, I bought Y cables and everything improved (or nothing) and it is not clear why.
For example, I would like to know if apart from these two problems that I identify, interference from magnetic fields and parasitic electricity, if there are other problems with clearly identifiable cables. From the reading I did, it is not clear to me if there are other

Today I learned that a $10 MIDI cable from Long & McQuaide does a perfectly good job of connecting a 5italic & a NAT05

Do you prefer it to the lavender grey interconnect that comes with the NAT05?

Because people like to spend money and have nice things and marketeers like to sell you those things. You won’t find a consensus because there is not one.

They are cables if they are built to correct specs then they will function as intended. Beyond that it’s your interpretation. The fact that simply having higher blood pressure that day determines how you hear I would be very dubious spending a lot on cables, which as you rightly determine have no consensus on sound what so ever.


OMG - not another cable thread …