Marvey's Cable Rolling Adventures

Discussion in 'Modifications and Tweaks' started by Marvey, May 7, 2016.

  1. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    Marvey's Interconnect Cable Comparison

    For the Speaker Cable Comparison, Click Here: http://www.superbestaudiofriends.or...eys-cable-rolling-adventures.2034/#post-51639

    I hate doing crap like this. Most people who know me know that I hate rolling tubes, cables, etc. But I came into a bunch of cables, so naturally, I decided to do a comparison. I would have included more cables in the comparison, but decided to stick with the ones that were at least 1.5 meters in length because that is the distance I need between the phonostage and my amp. BTW, I have ZERO idea how much these cables cost. I know that some of the cables were prototypes - those that were prototypes have identifying marks blurred.

    The interconnect cables will be referred to as follows:

    1. XLO Unlimited Edition (Purple)
    2. White
    3. Pangea (Black)
    4. Gray
    DSC_2282.JPG
    DSC_2283.JPG
    DSC_2284.JPG


    In the end, I've decided to go with the Pangea cable. It comes down to a matter of personal preferences and component synergies. I used the Moth Cicada speakers, the custom 2x45 amp, a VPI Classic 4, JMW 12.5 arm, Ortofon Cadenza Bronze, and RSA phonostage.

    The second place cable was the XLO Unlimited Edition (Purple), which was bassier and a tiny bit more laid back than the Pangea (Black). The White cable was relaxed throughout most of the band with the highest octave emphasized and overall stage pushed back. The Grey cable sucked. The Pangea sounded the most neutral, precised and focused, with the stage being a little bit upfront. Duran Duran's Rio sounded kind of hot in the upper mids and lower treble with the Pangea, but that is how that recording sounds like.

    The conclusion is that interconnect cables do make a difference. The differences were immediately obvious to my wife, my daughter, and me. We did a combination of sighted and blind tests, but nothing formal or regimented. Does this mean that I advise people to run out and get all sorts of cables? Hell no, especially if you have modest or mid-fi gear. Cables are probably the last thing people should consider, and only after they have given thought to maxing amps or sources.

    BTW, the super girthy white/silver speaker cables with the silver wonder woman like bands are awesomesauce. They were prototypes that the vendor decided not to go into production with. I rolled several speaker cables too - more on this in another post.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2016

  2. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Unpaid LH Labs volunteer - Admin

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    Do you need me to make more interconnects with that kapton shielded mil spec wire?
     
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  3. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    Yes, the ones you gave me were a few inches too short, so they were not tested. Looked up pricing on Pangea cables. Not expensive at all. I'm sure the speaker cables I'm using had they gone into production would have been $6K.
     
  4. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    All aboard the crazy train?
     
  5. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

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    Pangea Cables cheapest not surprising they are good cables.
     
  6. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    LOL! Indeed. I honestly I did not know those cables were the cheapest until after the comparison.

    But isn't this how audiophoolistictstry works? I'm sure there is a version of those Pangea or similar type constructed cables, but with different cosmetics, being sold for $3k a 2M pair by a better known name with a master marketer. The Pangea stuff is sold by Audio Advisor, which has always been known to provide good value products.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2016
  7. shaizada

    shaizada Friend

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    Cables really make quite a difference...even more so after a certain level of quality is achieved in the setup. @purrin , glad you are experimenting with this stuff! :)

    Did you pick up an Ortofon Cadenza Bronze?
     
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  8. dllmsch

    dllmsch Friend

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    Used to be a cable disbeliever until I found this post.
    http://www.head-case.org/forums/topic/125-prosink/
    and it got me thinking.
    Is the characteristic impedance thingy that was described here by KG be the only factor that alter the sound of a cable?(assuming good shielding)
    Since he claim he can make all cable to sound the same. I'm no engineer and don't fully understand it.

    But if that is true wouldn't it be great since DIYers can alter the sound signature of a cable by simply adding resistors to termination?
     
  9. takato14

    takato14 Doglover

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    can't tell if trolling or finally gone off the deep end...
     
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  10. Enigmatic

    Enigmatic Friend

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    From my limited experience I strongly agree with Marv, and I think cables are one of those things which are easier to go wrong with than right. Also if one isn't disciplined, it is quite easy to fall deep into this rabbit hole and overspend when that money could be better spent elsewhere. I'm glad I'm over with that chapter on my gear though.


    <rant>
    I hate power cable rolling.
    </rant>
     
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  11. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    Yes. I picked up a Cadenza Bronze for "cheap" as a practice and training cart for my wife, and also myself, before moving on to something more exotic. I've done dumb stuff like get the cantilever caught on my shirt sleeve in days past. I do like the cart, so I feel it's important to get use to a certain handling process. Huge upgrade from the 2M Black. Took forever to break in. I was scared at first because it sounded overly warm, compressed, and dead. I needed to let everything settle before dialing it in. More later on the Cadenza Bronze including comparisons with the 2M Black.

    It would be interesting to see more specifics. Get a bunch of cables, measure the characteristic impedance, capacitance, resistance, inductance, shielding, etc. And then do sighted or blind tests.

    I really like that! Take a disciplined approach - deliberate and cautious. I will be posting the results of my speaker cable comparison soon (this time, the most expensive cable won). The thing that makes me shudder a bit is when randos ask another randos what good sounding cables are, or when I know randos could be better served by first spending the money on better amps or DACs before cables.

    No joke. More people here secretly believe in cables than you think, or at the very least acknowledge that cables do make a difference (@OJneg ). I know a guy who designs cables and truly believes in them, much more than I do. But talking with people like him, you realize that there just might be a method to the madness, and there are different approaches which are repeatable. Take Cardas for example. Anyone who has heard Cardas knows that he likes a certain kind of sound; and that there is a Cardas house sound. (I don't really care for the Cardas sound, but a lot of people like it and I understand why).

    You are going to have to get cables anyways, and having some knowledge of what is good or bad in certain price range isn't a bad thing. I walked away from this comparison knowing that this $35 Pangea interconnect, which happens to be very well constructed, suited my requirements more than some other way more expensive cables.

    In the end, it's not "deep end" or "trolling" or "subjective vs. objective". It's not too loose and not too tight. BTW, even your hero, Voldemike, strongly believes in cables.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2016
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  12. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    Marvey's Speaker Cable Comparison

    Let's cut to the chase. Remember that I run a flea powered amp (3 watts into a 12 ohm load). The speaker cables are as follows:
    1. White with silver bands. I think this is a super high end prototype that never made it to the market. The designer told me that there was some very fancy construction techniques used inside. You know, the typical audiophile marketing explanations of cable "stuff". I don't want to sound disrespectful, as the explanation was actually interesting to hear. In the end, what matters most is if I like it in my system.
    2. Snake (black and gold). I think this actually might be a cable on the market. Any help identifying it would be appreciated.
    3. Black. I think this actually might be a cable on the market as well. I used to own Linn speaker cables that looked exactly like these!
    4. Gray. I got these from Home Depot. They are terminated with awesome Monster insta-screw-in banana plugs.
    5. Blue. CAT5 plenum (teflon), terminated with awesome Monster insta-screw-in banana plugs.
    DSC_2286.JPG
    This time, the most expensive cable won (well, if the cable actually went into production, it would have been the most expensive). It's hard to use words, but the white/silver cable just brought the entire system up another level compared to the other cables. A very good sense of refinement, lack of grain, and an improvement in every sonic aspect across the board. A bit more bassy than the others (I would have preferred more neutral), but the bass is high quality and it does everything else so well!

    The snake (black/gold) cable was really good too, very hi-fi sounding, precise, detailed, leaner. I think it would have been better suited on another system. In fact, this is the cable that comes with the Edgarhorn system which @nonamodnar currently purchased. It's a matter of best synergy. I am using this cable as a speaker level output / input into the subwoofer.

    The Black is nothing special sonically. I don't believe the construction is all that exotic either. Just a bunch of heavy gauge copper enclosed a thick casing. Think of it like zip cord on steroids. Good frequency balance, but kind of dull and murky sounding. Maybe a little bit dark. I actually preferred the Gray cable by a slight bit more on my system.

    The Blue CAT5 deserves an honorable mention. I've been using CAT5 for years. In my system, the Blue would have been the number two cable. Not quite as much bass heft as the white/silver cable, not quite as refined, delicate, or smooth. But at the price, a standout value and highly recommended.

     
    Last edited: May 8, 2016
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  13. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master East

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    More variables, please.

    image.jpg

    Kudos to anyone that recognizes the 2nd image.
     
  14. Ray

    Ray Friend

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    I've got all upgraded cables. At first I thought I could hear differences, or did I. After time I wrote it off to wanting to hear differences. i always thought my rig sounded a bit more transparent afterwards.
     
  15. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    I had fun getting my family involved in the cable rolling last night. The differences are subtle, but discernible, even to non-audiophile ears. A lot of course depends upon system resolution.
     
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  16. Priidik

    Priidik Friend

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    I am in the process of making some cables myself. I do hear more differences between interconnects with my unbuffered dac with 600 ohm output than with Yggdrasil for example. Despite Yggdrasil being the more resolving dac.

    At first sight to the matter the KG approach looks a little intrusive for something having output impedance over few tens of ohms. On top of that in audio frequencies I'm not sold on the explanation.
     
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  17. Mikoss

    Mikoss Friend

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    Electrically, RLC (and obviously overall Z) all affect the signal, so it has always made sense to me that anything in the circuit would influence the presentation. The question becomes a matter of whether the effect is noticeable, and by how much.

    I have yet to play around too much with interconnects, but I think it's important to note all aspects of the circuit people are giving impressions with. The output Z of the amp, and also what is being driven... For example, the interconnects will change the overall circuit power factor of dynamic drivers, which could influence dampening and overall FR.

    I also agree the RLC/Z should be specified for interconnects... I have no idea why manufacturers don't openly give this info out. I find they're often selling other construction elements which really should have less effect on the circuit itself, which I think can lead to skepticism.

    Also cool you are trying the Cadenza Bronze Marv. Looking forward to your thoughts, as I'm also interested in that cart/Ortofon lineup.
     
  18. Artasia

    Artasia Friend

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    I was going to say that's really neat you can do this sort of thing together with your family members: another advantage of speakers over headphones.
     
  19. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

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    I loved that movie. I won't spoil it for others yet.
     
  20. knerian

    knerian Friend

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