Are audiophiles still out of their minds?

I've been in this hobby for 30 years and owned many gears throughout the years, but never that many cables.  I know cables can make a difference in sound quality of your system, but never dramatic like changing speakers, amplifiers, or even more importantly room treatment. Yes, I've evaluated many vaunted cables at dealers and at home over the years, but never heard dramatic effect that I would plunk $5000 for a cable. The most I've ever spent was $2700 for pair of speaker cables, and I kinda regret it to this day.  So when I see cable manufacturers charging 5 figures for their latest and "greatest" speaker cables, PC, and ICs, I have to ask myself who buys this stuff. Why would you buy a $10k+ cable, when there are so many great speakers, amplifiers, DACs for that kind of money, or room treatment that would have greater effect on your systems sound?  May be I'm getting ornery with age, like the water boy says in Adam Sandler's movie.
My point is of course you can construct absurd cases where some generic wire might win in a shoot out with a superior wire due to some contrived assemblage of variables. But those case can be thrown out. They’re outliers. You cannot put the genie back n the bottle. Not with cables and wire, not with fuses.  Simply saying we can’t easily perform an AB test doesn’t actually mean your argument is valid. You cannot have your cake and eat it, too. One trusts wire directionality is one of your variables.
Geoff, I wasn’t constructing any cases, absurd or otherwise. And I wasn’t addressing cables or fuses. My point in mentioning all of those variables was to convey the thought that the results provided by expensive in-wall wiring in comparison with Romex are (a)unlikely to have much if any predictability, and (b)are unlikely to have much if any consistency among different systems and installations.

-- Al


To point out the problems with poorly designed experiments, I gave an example above of how inferior interconnects can help with impedance matching between components; however, I can't think of a scenario where a combination of the variables you list would make well designed AC wires perform worse than romex (save for an extreme example of a reduced voltage drop leaving voltage above the component spec which, frankly, is hard for me to conceive). You always do a good job of pointing out the existence of each end of the bell curve but in this case I am not in agreement. Can you be specific with a scenario I am missing.

BTW,  I use 10 gauge Furutech OCC in my walls because I like the way it looks on my oscilloscope. 

geoffkait3,597 posts06-18-2016 7:59amBringing up credentials, especially when they aren’t particularly relevant, such as chemistry in a physics debate or discussion, is what we refer to as Appeal to Authority, a particular form of logical fallacy. A recording engineer who might argue against cables making a difference in SQ cannot win the argument based ONLY on his credentials as a recording engineer. A chemistry major or even a EE cannot win any physics argument based on his credentials.


Ya but how about bringing up that "I know a guy" who works at NASA and he agrees with me? Now that pretty much clears up this whole topic.

Seriously though, I completely agree with your point that an "Appeal to Authority" is often a sophomoric tactic employed when the facts aren’t in support of a position; just as poorly designed experiments (DBT’s as an example) serve the same purpose. 

That said, I raised my role as a materials scientist not to support a specific scientific claim (as I have made none). Rather, I did so in response to a post made by inna which indicated the OP needed a scientific background to make his claims. I pointed out my credentials to demonstrate my qualifications to engage in a discussion about science regarding the poorly contrived scientific claims of the OP. This is of course a proposition he has shown no desire to pursue for reasons I have mentioned. Namely, I don’t believe this thread is about cables.

WPC wrote,


Ya but how about bringing up that "I know a guy" who works at NASA and he agrees with me? Now that pretty much clears up this whole topic."

But I am the guy that worked at NASA. Hel-looo!


I was referring to Drac's reference to his friend at Nasa who has unequivocally determined cable's are scams. Are you to whom he was referring?