How Much Have You Invested In Cables

Fair point, we tend to only use balanced cable for analogue interconnects , and low level signals from mics tend to get put through star quad. Mains can be iffy if it’s an outside broadcast but that’s why we have electricians with generators. It’s more important to have redundancy so a good sound desk will have two power supplies in case one fails.
The best recording studio I’ve ever been in is Mark Knopflers’ in Chiswick. The studio is basically a Faraday cage with balanced mains. Again they use good cables but not silly money ones.
It’s a can of worms, it’s just my opinion…be happy

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I had not heard about the Faraday cage - that really is hardcore!

Like many, I have seen a lot of amazing-looking cables with amazing claims and amazing prices, and I can’t understand how they can work and can’t hear their benefit when I try.

However, I am mentally drawing that line of pointless excess at around the cost of A5 and maybe a Hi line/ Morgana price for interconnects. Other people quite reasonably draw it much lower and I also can believe some people who repeatably prefer expensive cable A over slightly less expensive cable B , though I can’t hear why.

If that’s the best studio you’ve been in for kit, any comments on the worst?

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I have new respect for what cables do for a system.

Due to awaiting electrician and TV wall mounting we’re currently running our office SuperUniti in the lounge, with SL speaker cables.

Now this obviously in no way compares to our old or upcoming new system but I have to say the SU with the SL cables has a lot of top end sparkle the sound didn’t have when we originally ran it with Linn LK100. Cost of cables higher than cost of electronics.

Bass is mooshy but then that’s why we originally added a 250DR!

I think the SU with SL cables and slightly less demanding speakers would still make an excellent one box lounge system….

Out of curiosity what cables do they use at Grove?

In my system the cable shielding makes the biggest difference to the sound.

Relatively inexpensive cable sounds great as long as it has good connectors and shielding.

It’s an interesting point. I heard a non-imagined uplift (quieter background, better detail) switching to (shielded) WH cables from (unshielded) Naim cables. I have a lot of boxes and hence knitting behind the rack. I wondered then how much of the uplift simply came from the shielding, and how much of it I could theoretically have got from a more OCD approach to cable dressing.

The answers to both seemed to be ‘some’, so the WH cables stayed, but I have no reason to assume that cheaper options that I have not heard would not work just as well.

BUT the reverse is true for ethernet cables, were unshielded cables sound better with my Linn streamer for whatever reason. Got to love this hobby!

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Interesting. I am delighted to report that I have never ‘heard a difference’ from different ethernet cables and switches (though plugging in my NDX2 does beat using my wifi), which matches my understanding of what I ‘should’ hear. However, you are not the only person to report very differently. Which cable won and which lost?

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I just use standard 24 AWG Cat 6 U/UTP Fluke tested patch cable.

Better than?

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Off the top of my head Chord, Shunyata, AudioQuest and many others!

Can’t remember the exact models…

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Many times I’ve been convinced that some expensive cables made a difference but every time I’ve had a chance to quickly switch back and forth (equipment that has dual outputs) I simply can’t tell the difference. I recently tried this by comparing a toslink cable with an expensive coax digital cable loaned to me (in this case there are more factors than just the cable) and even then I could not make out any difference. It was as if I wasn’t switching inputs. Have also level matched ICs with dual output preamps using really cheap ICs, always no difference whatsoever. If you have not done this then you’re in for a surprise.

The vast majority of music is recorded on well designed inexpensive (properly shielded) stranded copper and that’s really all you need. The cable they use is the “rate limiting step” in the process. With Naim there is the issue of using the speaker cable as part of the output stage but they essentially solve that for you with NACA5.


Anyone thinking of trying this with Naim systems should proceed with caution. The grounding connects from the preamp through the source (CD player or streamer) and will not perform as intended if there are more than one connection through to mains earth. So sources are best disconnected when not in use.
I would add that these rapid A/B tests don’t work for me when trying to assess which sources are more enjoyable. They have some use in detecting obvious differences in performance, but to assess the true quality of a box to reproduce music enjoyably I need to be able to relax and enjoy it for some time.

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I have the same problem but worse. I am a poor tester and it takes me ages to decide that A is different to B and I am not imagining it, while others reach the same decision (it turns out) in 2 or 3 tracks. I also find some things (e.g. stereo separation & image clarity) much quicker to spot than (say) a headache-inducing aggressive edge to treble or excess sibilance. Home tests for me.

Amazed to see that this thread is still running.

I’ve got some top quality snake oil, which I’d happily offer for sale here if Forum rules permitted it.


I’d it consistently makes music sound noticeably better to me and to people who don’t know I’ve applied it, over a week or two in my house, I’m game.

I’d like to A/B it with my existing snake oil first. Do you have a demo policy. If I like it I am happy to pay way more than its worth.

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I’m afraid that you’re not allowed to watch, as the method of application is a very large part of the alchemist’s art (or is it artifice?).

If you were to watch, I’d have to shoot you afterwards, which seems a high price to pay on your part.

Let’s face it, no reputable dealer would allow you to watch the fettling that goes on when fitting an ARO to your LP12.

It’s a bit like the Freemasons or the Magic Circle.

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I should warn that I’d expect you to pay the huge cost ‘per anum’, though.

(Only one ‘n’ used there.)