What are you upgrading?


#161

Yep I can agree with that. Though as I said I have only experienced one custom made cable myself. I also think that expectation bias could come into it when your paying a good chunk of cash for something. I do stand by my perception that it does sound better. Be it subjectively only. I can’t back up my claims. The main reason that I ordered a custom made cable was that every time I ordered a balanced iem cable it would always cut out due to a badly fitted MMCX end on the cable. I ended up getting four different ones and ended up spending as much as I ended up paying for the custom cable in the end. I suppose you gotta pay for quality.

-Paul-


#162

I think the custom made cables are fairly priced, especially because many are made by hand. I know when I made my own ones (albeit I was very unskilled at the time) it took around 5 hours and many tries to get the best cable. I am very happy with the outcome, but I could’ve gotten an expensive custom cable for half the part cost and labor I put in.


#163

I would love to have the skills to make my own. Though I am sure that with time I could manage to rig something together. I will have to buy myself a soldering rig. Then practice and read up on how to make the cable. It would be a good project for me.

-Paul-


#164

It is a great waste of time…uhhh I mean “hobby.” :sweat_smile: I started a post here that has more details on how to get started / where to get parts. If you would like a more detailed instruction manual on how I completed my builds, maybe I’ll post a short guide. I do need to make some more here someday.


#165

That would be great. It would be good to have such guides and resources within this community at some point. I am sure there must be others like me who don’t yet make their own cables but would like to learn. Thanks Ryan.

-Paul-


#166

I hooked up my hand/custom Cardas Litz cables today. “Spiral Voice” by KAB Electro Acoustics. These go from my amp to my speakers. I had them do bananas on the amp end, spades on the speaker end.

First, I measured a difference. The old cables were 17ft and 25ft long, respectively. The new ones each measured 22 ft. NOBODY CAN SAY that you can’t measure a difference with cables!!

They look a heck of a lot better than the old cables. They’re clean, missing 35 years of dirt. Then I put on the new (2017) Roger Waters album, Is This the Life We Really Want?. Which @ChrisM had recommended.

Suddenly, my system sounded like a $75k luxury system. The blacks were darker than ever. The silences were incredibly deep. The soundstage was like sitting in the 3rd row at Carnegie Hall. In the distance, the goddess Eris was bringing a tray bearing golden apples of the sun.

Well anyway, I don’t know if it sounded that much different, but it was crisp and accurate, and enough electricity reached the speakers to let them do their thing.


#167

I’ve tried two different Cardas cables and in an informal blind test where my GF switched the cables I could hear no difference between them and the Mogami, Canara and Van Damme cables that I normally use. A friend even gave me his Forza and Double-Helix cables for my HD800 and HE560 and I still heard no differences compared to the Mogami, Canare and Van Damme. So for headphones the only reason I’d choose a specific cable is due to physical reasons (length, weight, microphonics, etc). If anything I think using Deoxit makes more of a difference than high priced cables for headphones.

When it comes to speaker cables I’ve heard differences, more so if the cable runs are long (+ 4M) since this is where in almost every instance I’ve heard the difference between a cheap 16G wire and a fairly heavy 8-10G wire but for shorter runs of under 3M I can’t hear any difference between a 8-10G and 16G.

Inter-connects I’ve noticed good and bad ones mainly on the RF issue with some cables. Also tried a few expensive power cables and heard no difference.


#168

Just ordered some more connectors and gear. Should be here early next week and I can start my guide.


#169

Years ago I tried a similar test where I was blindfolded and switched the GF. I could both hear and feel a difference.


#170

The differences that a cable brings is usually a very subtle improvement. I have talked to many people who can’t see anything different in cabling and many times they are looking for the wrong kind of changes.

If you expect night and day differences you will almost always walk away unimpressed. Unless the connection is having impedance issues, like in a passive preamp setup, a cable change will only effect low level detail resolution.

I once had a Sumo Athena line stage preamp that could be used as a passive or active preamp. I had many interconnects and few had any differences when the Athena was in active mode. When I pushed the switch to shift it to passive the type of cable was very important.

I tried many ICs and the best that I found were the Kimber Hero ICs w/WBT connectors. It was a very dramatic difference.

I am certain I was running into an impedance issues that the Heros fixed. I continued to use the Heros everywhere in my system because they were superb in almost everything.

I have also heard obvious differences when trying phono cables. Cheap phono cables are not very smart when someone has assembled a quality analog front end.

Anyone who says they have never heard differences in phono cables cannot be that experienced. LOMC cartridges can be especially fussy about the IC.

Ed

Life is analog, digital is just samples thereof


#171

Oh yeah. They can say it, but it doesn’t mean it is. It will always be subjective. They’re my ears, no one elses. I could care less how I hear - what I hear. If it’s better to me it’s better to me.

When I recently bought my LCD-4s I listened to stock which they list on their site for $599
I then tried 2 other sets 1 silver and a pair from Surf Cables. Not even close to the excellent ones from Audeze . Why was it better? Because I said it and they’re my ears, and that’s all that counts.

I’ve owed Cardas and have always been pleased. Today cable upgrades for me have everything to do with the value of price to performance ratio. Oh, did I say how my ears that ratio.

Congratulations on your new cable. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed mine.


#172

This has started a very fun conversation to follow. I think at the end of the day if you like something then that is all that matters. Quality cables for me are an aesthetic thing mostly, I picked up the cardas as an experiment, which I still need to do. But they so far are really nice and they feel good in the hand.


#173

My GF couldn’t stop laughing after reading this


#174

I didn’t expect any headphone cable to make a “night and day” difference but the way I look at it if I can’t tell with a blind test then what’s point since my limited funds could to toward another headphone, more music, more wine, etc.

@DarthPool, cable are an aesthetic thing to me also but don’t forget that its also a physical thing, it why I can’t stand the 8 conductor cable that Grado uses on anything from the SR125e and up, way too heavy for such light weight headphones.


#175

No insult intended but how much experience do you have listening to high end audio systems?

I know the typical answer to a question like that but it’s sometimes more than just your ears. If the listener does not know what to listen for, they will likely focus on high level passages and how well the devices handle reproducing these without distortion. That is only half the story because really great audio equipment also has to reproduce very low level content as well as the high level passages.

It is also critical to choose the right music to audition a system. I won’t suggest any particular music but the quality of that music is the key. Here, again, whether quality is present is not just about how well it rocks the house. Choosing very well recorded acoustic instruments is very important because, with electronic instruments, it is very difficult to tell what those instruments are supposed to sound like.

Being familiar with live music is also important due to the obvious need to have some exposure to how the performance should sound in the place where it was recorded. Once you have those bases covered you can focus in on the devices you are auditioning and tell which reproduce the music faithfully and which just make noise.

Also, listening to attack and decay of notes is very critical due to the need of having drivers that respond well and do not have trouble dealing with quick transients and reproducing the envelope of the sound without unrealistic overshoot.

That sounds like a lot of technical speak and not like listening to and enjoying music, which is the end result we all want. Understanding why a device performs the way it does is critical so you can tell which are coloring the music and which are doing the performance justice.

Critical listening of music takes a bit of experience and enough understanding of the musical content to tell when the equipment is doing that music justice. It is too easy to get impressed by equipment that sounds very good at something we rarely listen to.

I have a few reviewers who I trust and choosing their reviewed equipment has served me well.

How ever it works out I wish everyone luck with whatever you are shopping for.

Ed


#176

Subjectivity is all any of us have to offer. No one is right. No one is wrong. We are all on different places in our musical learning journeys. No one is right and no one is wrong. We learn from each other’s experiences. That’s what separates our forum from others

Being teachable is what allows me to continue to learn. " Happy Listening to All "


#177

Thanks for stating this! I feel like I should apologize for adding impetus towards our argumentation by stating that “I have no interest in cables except for convenience factors”. While it’s true that I have no interest in cables, I also have no interest in puppies, abstract expressionism, or gin, and until fairly recently I had no interest in headphones. My not having an interest in any of these things doesn’t make them bad, and someone else having an interest in any of these doesn’t make me regret those things in which I am interested.


#178

This is really a key question. It’s not just an audio question, it is how experience and training affect your reactions in many activities, and it’s a double-edged sword.

When I was the product manager for an authoring and editorial system in the professional publishing space, I was ALWAYS looking for naive users. The more a user knew, the more they focused on advanced features, and the more adaptable they were. But it was important to get impressions and feedback from people who were using it the first and second times, because you need adopters before you get users.

image

Above, for example, you see the word “Thin” written twice. Once with a “Serif” font and once “Sans Serif”. Many people, even those who have read for years never encounter a discussion of the technical differences. I had one user get irritated at me for explaining because once she knew, she was seeing this everywhere, and it interfered for a while with her reading. Good thing I also didn’t tell her about X-Height (the ratio of letter height from caps to lower case like the “n”), or point out kerning differences, like how the serif of the “h” overlaps the space of the “t” in Century Old Style, or the way Futura’s lower case h goes a bit higher than the cap T.

So, @DavidA, just be careful about educating your ears. Make sure you can turn off the education and listen to the music. And I’ve learned that unless the typeface is too small, I can still read a good book.


#179

More notes on the Mjolnir Audio modifed STAX amp and the old headphones. Today I let the amp stabilize for about 20 minutes before listening. Had a much better experience. Most of this was streaming Apple Music though the Mac Mini to Dragonfly Black to STAX amp to the old SR-5N earspeakers. I have heard that using them more is good for them.

Today, I did get satisfactory volume. Did not hear clipping or distortion, but was listening more to classical pieces – Handel, Mozart, The Beatles White Album, Harrison’s All Things Must Pass.

The Hifiman HE-560s have decidedly more bass punch. The old Stax go deep, but I don’t think they have the driver area. After reading reviews of the newer STAX, I think the SR-L700 will be my next target high end headphone. They use the new transducer tech, but are priced just above the Troposphere, in the ozone layer ($1425 list) not high in the Stratosphere like the SR-007 MK2, or in the Mesosphere like the SR-009S.


#180

You are definitely right. “No one is right and no one is wrong.” I feel like this forum just expands your view of how to be subjective. Techniques, different points of view and critical listening notes can help elevate how you listen and how your subjectivity changes.

The thing that bugs me about a lot of forums is that users try to alter others point of view instead of adding to the experience by providing their own techniques and subjective points of view, that may in turn influence others to use different techniques in how they listen.