If Your System Doesn't Sound Good - Check The Cables

Most folks might have known about this but I just thought of posting since I’ve occasionally experienced this phenomenon. If the sound of the system does not sound good unexpectedly, check that the speaker cables are not leaning or touching the power cables or power cords.

I’m not sure how folks deal with cables behind the rack especially when space is tight, and I’m sure few would have some nifty solutions such as using little clips to tie and separate different cables. I don’t use clips but small pieces of dense foam to separate the cables. At times when I sense something amiss, I will usually check the cables behind the rack to see if the power cables are touching the speaker cables. Although the cables were previously adjusted to be separate from each other, the position of the cables can change over time. In most cases, the power cables would be touching the speaker cables and after I rectified that ,the sound quality would be back to normal.

Interconnects and USB cables are not as critical as the speaker cables though, in my experience.


Power cables running closely parallel to signal cables can definitely impair performance I have found. It’s well worth checking from time to time. Weirdly. I’m sure my cables move a bit over time - probably being re-arranged slightly by all the spiders there.


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Also check the connections between kit are the right way round: last year I got a new piece of furniture to put the system on (not got the room for racks - need the storage space). Recently got the 200 serviced, it just didn’t sound right, drove me mad for some time; did find that I no longer needed the Cord Anthem 2 between NDX & amp, it had been giving a bit of ‘brightness’ that the unserviced 200 needed - put the original ‘included’ naim lead back in; improvement, but still not ‘right’. Happened to be looking at the connection guide & took a look at the supply to preamp lead: wrong way round!
Now happily listening to my system sounding the way it should, moral of the story: When putting the system together - check & double check the leads are ‘the right way round’! :blush:


The usual advice for cables dressing is to leave them loose, hanging. The goal being to avoid mechanical stress.

I’m a bit dubious… Hanging cables undergo a permanent stress, caused by a permanent force: gravity.

I used a different approach. I gently shape the cables, then attached them to an aluminium structure I tinkered.

The cables then “rest” on foam loops which are attached to that structure. The cables never run parallel, never touch each other, never touch the rack or the floor (except for the PowerLines).

Burndy and SNAIC (NAC552DR) run parallel to each other without touching one another.

Speaker cables simply hang on the air, touching nothing, using cheap threads.

Does it make it make a difference? No idea, haven’t tested differently.

But makes a huge difference when… moving the rack for some cleaning :smile:


Great topic! I also want to mention to periodically clean the connectors of your cables!

I have started a thread for some strange behavior of Chord Signature speaker cables. They were muffled and had no sharpness at all. I was away from my system a couple of days and after I got back I cleaned the connectors on both sides of the Signatures with isopropyl alcohol and after that the cables got much more open, detailed and sounding more normal and as I was expecting. Especially if you buy cables second hand they most likely have gathered some dirt on the connectors. So keep it clean!

Foam pipe lagging is cheap as chips and is an easy way to separate cables that would otherwise be hanging against each other. Cut it into short lengths to suit and slide over the various cables as they lie in their natural position.

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Dust and static has an effect on cables. I take them all out to clean along the lengths using anti static treated kitchen paper.

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Where possible putting a bit of space behind the rack helps I found. In my case I only have two boxes on a 3 level Fraim with the middle shelf empty. Supernait 3 on base shelf and NDX2 on top shelf. I also have the wall AC sockets some distance away from the rack itself so the Powerlines have an almost ideal distance to hang naturally. The Hi-Line IC doesn’t loop at all but does rest on the floor, not really a way of avoiding that and having things touching the floor to my mind seemed somewhat unavoidable unless you raise every touch point up with cable stands or pipe tubing, which I don’t given it looks like a DIY project gone wrong.
The tougher dressing is the NAC A5 exiting the rear of the NAIT as it naturally wants to “stick out” and needs a lot of persuasion to go where you want it to, then you have the cable length challenge as it snakes about across the floor under various furniture.
I would agree keeping things from touching especially cables carrying AC and those carrying DC voltages.

Great to see pictures, always reassuring to know I am not alone in this.

Another thread mentioned the large Amazon packing bubbles and I found these useful.

I used to think it was temperature changes. Then I thought, like you Richard, it was spiders. However, I saw Disney’s Cinderella and saw the mice at night and it all made sense.

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