is there or has anyone ever measured a difference with high end cables? (1 reply)
just curious. as Gerry has joked about being a recovering audiophile, has anyone ever taken before and after near field measurements of a speaker with different cables? bonus question, if there was NO measurable difference, then does that "definitively and beyond a reasonable doubt" answer the questions of whether cables make a difference or not?
asking for a friend! 🙂
I think its important to point out that it's not whether or not cables can change the sound of your system or even if you can measure it, but rather the utility and value of such changes. For example adding resistance to a piece of wire changes the load on the amplifier; is this audible or measurable? It depends on the amp. It's not unreasonable to assume that this change will be both somewhat audible and measurable, but is it beneficial? Its doubtless that one of the characteristics of proper speaker cable is low resistance so the power of the amp does, actually, drive the speaker and not heat up the cable. I won't restate the many discussions that have been made about the audibility of expensive cables or changing other electrical characteristics such as capacitance or inductance; I'll post a couple of interesting links here.
Playing with any or all of the electrical characteristics of interconnects and speaker cables can change the sound but it's no different than using an RC or RL circuit to change the frequency response of the system. That's pretty much what old-fashioned analogue tone controls did. For audiophiles who relish direct circuits without tone controls, adding a "bright" or "dull" sounding cable may be the only way to "tune" the system's interaction with a conversely "bright" or "dull" sounding speaker, but that's not going to preserve the accuracy of the signal or contribute to the clarity or detail of reproduction. Today we have digital signal processing (DSP) that allows us to not only adjust the target frequency response of the system but also correct acoustical problems that are far more audible than any very minor changes caused by various cables. These DSP units minimize any distortion and do not contribute to phase distortion. In fact, it has been shown that correcting the systems frequency response actually corrects the phase response.
I always recommend keeping the load on the amplifier manageable by using the proper gauge stranded wire for speaker cable and choosing high quality interconnects that are flexible and durable. And yes, gold connectors are a good thing to minimize corrosion at connection points (and even that can have problems with corrosion if not properly attached).
I think it's worthwhile buying high quality cables, but not to add some non-quantifiable element of quality to the sound, but rather to allow the system to perform reliably and at it's proper specifications.