New RCA cables: changed perception of music

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by AudioLoup, Aug 2, 2017.

  1. Doctor Fine

    Doctor Fine Audio Expurdt

    Free Speech Land
    My last thread was too controversial and got cancelled.
    So I quit posting for a while to pout.
    I just updated my profile---just for YOU.
    Thanks for caring about poor little ole me.
    Seriously guys, I love this forum and I am sorry if I acted childishly.
    I am somewhat brain damaged having been dropped on my head as a child.
    Max Florian and Brother_Rael like this.
  2. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    The OP is from the Netherlands, English would not be his native language. Plenty of other people posting here would have learned English as a second language, therefore it is not unusual to see people using the wrong choice of words when posting here..

    That is unless he started the thread with the intention of stirring trouble which I doubt was the case.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
    AudioLoup likes this.
  3. Ingenieur

    Ingenieur Forum Resident

    FYI McIntosh MC462
    Full power line input 2.1 V
    Input Z 22,000 Ohm
    I = 2.1/22,000 = 0.1 mA
    P - 2.1 x 0.1 mA = 0.2 mW
    That is delivered to the amp

    Assume 16 awg for the line cable
    Z for 12' loop (6' cable) ~ 50 mOhm
    Power dissipated in cable
    ~ 0.1 mA^2 x 50 mOhm ~ 46 pW
    0.000000046 W dissipated over 6' of cable
    'burn' in ?

    one side of my brain wants to believe...
    The other, how?
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
  4. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    AM radio must sound nice there.
  5. Ilusndweller

    Ilusndweller S.H.M.F.=>Reely kewl.

    Columbus, Ohio
    I did fairly extensive interconnect comparisons about 25 years ago when I was recording. With my ears, on my system, and with both real-time comparisons of recordings of my stereo (varying a set of interconnects) as well as long term recording results (500 masters, varying cables), I have 3 conclusions.

    1. I can tell the difference between copper and silver. Back then, the only interconnects I could find where copper/silver was the only variable changed were the Audiotruth Lapisx3 (silver) and the Audiotruth Emeraldx3 (copper). I prefer copper, but when I recorded at bassy/boomy venues like the Ventura Theater I would use the Lapis ("faster" sounding).

    2. I could not tell the difference between "El Cheapo but with Japan printed on one of the plugs"(the cheapest RCA interconnects I owned, a value of maybe $7) and Audiotruth Emeraldx3 (their TOTL copper cable, about $325 for 1/2 m) or Audioquest Rubyx3(about $130 for 1/2 m) or Audioquest Turqouise, or Monster M1000 MK?, etcetcetc.

    3. I bought Harmonic Technology Truthlink 2 single crystal (according to Mr. Lee, now of Acoustic Zen, for this wire there was a "metal grain boundary" every 500 feet or thereabouts) balanced interconnects to use for mic cables (about $800 for 10'). I also had some Monster M1000 MK? mic cables that I bought from the Oades OADE BROTHERS AUDIO Field Recording Experts, Roland, Tascam, Marantz, Fostex, digital field recorders (about $150). And the cables that came with my starter mics, Radio Shack #33-3007 made by Shure, their TOTL mic in the mid 90s at $100 each. I could not tell any difference between any of them and that was with quality recording gear.

    My "el cheapo made in Japan" RCAs are about to be pressed into service as I am 99% certain my bag of "higher dollar interconnects" was swiped by someone finishing up my house. And even though I could not hear a difference 25 years ago, I really am missing those interconnects and have not yet set up my second system because of this.

    To my ears on my system...ymmv of course.

    I can see where cable differences could be detectable on higher end systems for sure though as I just upgraded my main setup and it is much, much better sounding than my former system. I thought I had a pretty good sounding system before and now can only imagine how insanely amazing some systems must sound.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
    Hardcore, sushimaster and Ingenieur like this.
  6. Ingenieur

    Ingenieur Forum Resident

  7. AudioLoup

    AudioLoup Forum Resident Thread Starter

    The Netherlands
    Nope, certainly not stirring trouble. :laugh: And I did really mean the music sounded slower to me. Like an old TT that starts losing it's exact 33-1/3 spin, just a fraction, but still.

    As some of the more perceptive (pun intended) readers have stated, I was talking about 'perception', which of course has nothing (though apparently everything) to do with the gear. And I really liked some of the responses popping up here.

    For one, I think it's quite possible that focussing on music when trying on new gear makes you hear things differently simply because of the extra focus. Could 'slower' be a form of hearing things differently? Maybe.

    For myself I previously tried to explain it as maybe hearing a little more detail, which gives the impression of there being 'more music' in the same amount of time. In he same way that you may be able to pick up more detail if you were to play a video in slow motion.

    But the best translation of my intention with this thread is this simple sentence:
    Pacing and timing, bringing some sort of calm to the music. It seems to me to cover best what I perceived as sounding different. So, thanks all! More debate on my warped perception is welcome of course. :cheers:
    Tim 2 and Hardcore like this.
  8. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    I kind of understood your post in similar lines, everything changes into a kind of slow motion picture and give you the chance to pay attention to details that normally would pass very fast at normal speed.
    That was my interpretation anyway, but as you can see, using the word slow opened the door for all sort of remarks that are typical on these type of threads.
    Anyway enjoy it, I was surprised when this was revived, I was in shock to see who brought it back to life, that shows how little I know. :biglaugh:
  9. sushimaster

    sushimaster Forum Resident

    Peeps here laughed when I said I use Hagerman's Frykleaner to burn in all my cables...speaker cables, rca cables, balanced cables, instrument cables...
    I liked it so much that I went and bought his Frycorder to burn in all my power cables.
    I used to be a skeptic about such things but I went ahead and bought it and tried it and heard a difference, but I guess to each his own.

    Tim 2 likes this.
  10. Ilusndweller

    Ilusndweller S.H.M.F.=>Reely kewl.

    Columbus, Ohio
    Cable burn in?


    Please post a scientific explanation (or link to a scientific explanation) for cable burn-in.

    Buncha LOLOLOL explanations on the web.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
  11. Tim 2


    Alberta Canada
    I use a cable cooker too with impressive results.
    To bad the sceptics wouldn't take the time to listen for themselves, rather than close off their minds to anything they don't understand.
  12. Hardcore

    Hardcore Quartz Controlled

    Who can I tempt into buying a pair of these? I mean, it’s got Taylon® and Super ARAY, do your cheap cables have that? I think not.

    ChordMusic Analogue RCA - The Chord Company

    I bought a pair of their Clearway cables to replace the standard ones that came with my Technics, I feel like a mug now.
  13. Ilusndweller

    Ilusndweller S.H.M.F.=>Reely kewl.

    Columbus, Ohio
    Despite the fact that I cant find a valid explanation for cable burn-in on the web, I am open to the idea as my background is in experimental testing. What I am realizing (since setting up my new system about 3 weeks ago) is that I think it would be verrrrrry difficult to tell any cable differences on a "probably less than 10k +/-" system. Having said that, I still dont believe cable burn-in is real. But...I would LOVE to have access to a >100k system to test this for myself.

    Here I was G.D.T.R.F.B. (Ive been no less than 10 people on here)

    Interconnects matter ..Do the interconnects improve with time .. burnin ??
  14. Oelewapper

    Oelewapper Plays vinyl instead of installing it on the floor.

    Some pray to god, some burn a candle, some burn incense, some burn cables...
    Everyone has their own ritual ;)
  15. Hardcore

    Hardcore Quartz Controlled

    Did you experience a noticeable difference with the high end interconnects? Or was it more a case of buying cables that were considered to be of a similar quality to the equipment?

    Not long ago I would have no doubt that expensive RCAs would sound better, now I’ve seen so much scientific evidence that proves otherwise I feel it’s all a big con.

    Edit, the post I was replying to got deleted.
  16. Oelewapper

    Oelewapper Plays vinyl instead of installing it on the floor.

    There are differences that actually matter between various RCA cables in specific applications, like phono signals... but I think you're right when it comes to line level signals.
    SteelyNJ likes this.
  17. Hardcore

    Hardcore Quartz Controlled

    Phono signals are what I care about! Could you elaborate on what I should be looking for?

    I’ve been reading up on capacitance but am not exactly sure what is good or bad. I’ve got access to a multimeter if that helps with measuring.
  18. Oelewapper

    Oelewapper Plays vinyl instead of installing it on the floor.

    Decent shielding and low capacitance is best.
    You want as low cable capacitance as possible, so that you can load it using your phono preamp.
    It's not as important for MC as for MM... that's why MM phono preamps often have selectable loading capacitance.
    However, most modern MM cartridge can perform quite nicely with low capacitance, because of their lower inductance compared to older models that used bigger coils (because the magnets weren't that strong).
    Hardcore likes this.
  19. Hardcore

    Hardcore Quartz Controlled

    Thank you, I’ll borrow my friends multimeter and measure the two pairs I have to choose between.

    It’s the fact that these cable manufacturers don’t publish their specs which makes me so dubious about the whole thing. Imagine an amp or speaker company doing that, relying on vague meaningless promises of clearer, warmer sound.
    Oelewapper likes this.
  20. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    I am sure that others have commented on this but I would still do sound comparisons if were you.

    Someone (a friendly repair guy, now retired) once lent me an old Crown amplifier maybe 20 years ago. Measured great, amazing specs. It was in my system for no more than 30 minutes, it turned out to be clear and cold.

    My vintage McIntosh gear sounds amazing and lifelike but does not measure well.

    Hardcore and Oelewapper like this.
  21. Oelewapper

    Oelewapper Plays vinyl instead of installing it on the floor.

    Yeah, the absence of specs is highly annoying...
    I’ve bought two cheap RCL meters to measure it, but in the end I gave up measuring the cable capacitance by myself... I found that a random consumer grade RCL meter isn’t accurate enough and I didn’t feel like investing in it.
    I ended up doing trial and error, by swapping out cables and comparing results by using my old scope and making recordings on pc.

    I’ve recently heard about a manufacturer that does post its specs and they’re good too:
    Stereo Cables at Blue Jeans Cable

    Some other people (don’t remember who unfortunately) on this forum that do have the proper RCL meter have confirmed the specs.
    Shawn and Hardcore like this.
  22. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident

    I have a real problem with how some people hear cable differences immediately, and others claim that you need to "live" with cables for a while before "realizing" the difference.
    62caddy likes this.
  23. Ilusndweller

    Ilusndweller S.H.M.F.=>Reely kewl.

    Columbus, Ohio
    When it comes to cable discussions, I think a big factor that often gets forgotten and yet is so important in the bigger picture is each individual's ears and all the stuff that goes on bw them and "hearing" the actual sound.

    Who am I to say what you can and can not hear and vice/versa?

    Ive found these differences are very subtle. Did they really sound different? Are you sure? Does cable A sound better than cable B in all regards? Could it be a personal preferences thing/6 of one half a dozen of the other? Could what you've read be influencing your "conclusions"? etcetc. Trying to hear differences is not fun when it comes to cables...

    Really it comes down to one thing.

    Have you proven your cable beliefs to yourself.

    While some people think cable A is better sounding than cable B, others think cable B is better sounding than cable A. Now Im back to where I started.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
  24. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident

    I AM NOT SAYING THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED IN YOUR CASE. But this is how superstition, old wives tales, tribal wisdom, etc. can start. If one took an old amp with great specs, and didn't confirm that this OLD amp was still performing per spec, it could very well sound terrible compared with something that had better specs. (Sorry, much of my career was spent trying keep people from jumping to conclusions based on bad data.) A person can listen to an amp that is no longer operating at spec, hear it sound bad, and hold on to that idea that specs mean nothing forever, and pass that along.
  25. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    Very true, many things can wear out or go out of spec over the years!

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