Price Isn't Always Indicitive of Quality or Performance


I had spent over $1000 on a Synergistic Research Cable.  The Atmosphere Level 1 level, to be exact. I was using this as my main source cable to my powered speakers. It was absolutely DE-MOL-ISHED by Lavricables' Grand line for a mere $500. It isn't that the SR cable wasn't good.  I was impressed with it and it was a major upgrade over their Foundation line and a phenomenal upgrade over Audioquest's Yosemite cable. 

SR and Lavricables use similar tech, but only Lavricables uses pure silver practically throughout.

Here is the over all make up of the $1000 SR Atmosphere cable:

4 conductors.
Conductor: Silver/Copper matrix.  Or....silver and copper wire twirled together. Purity unknown. Actual wire gauge unknown.
Dielectric: Teflon
Source Connector: gold plated copper, cryo treated and has graphene applied.
Speaker Connector: Silver plated silver, cryo treated and has graphene applied.
Has a silver-plated copper mesh as a floating shield.
Uses a Tesla Coil to burn the cable in (quantum tunneling) prior to shipping out.

Now...Lavricables' $500 cable:

4 conductors.
Conductor: 20 awg 6N pure silver. Each group is laminated separately in Teflon before being encased in Teflon dielectric insulation. Graphene is applied at key points through out the cable.  The cable was cryo treated.
Dielectric: Teflon
Source Connector: Trillium Copper plated with gold. Cryo treated and has graphene applied.
Speaker Connector: AECO ARP-4055 Pure Silver RCA Connectors. Cryo treated and has graphene applied.

The unbelievable sound quality from pure silver was so immense and powerful.  It was no longer like listening to music as it was more like experiencing the music.  The music was pushing into you.  Similar to going to a concert and having the music beat and play in your chest. There were songs that had distortion at either loud, high pitched, or at peak cacophony that I attributed to being part of the recording. The Lavricables proved that it was simply that the SR cable was incapable of reproducing those notes.  WHAT!?! I mean, how do you engineer a cable to fail at $1000? I guess so it doesn't out perform or come too close to your $10,000+ cables. In Lavricables, the Grand line is tops; there is nothing higher.  They pour *ALL* their knowledge, best materials and techniques in the Grand line.

I thought long about this and I think I figured it out. It isn't that Synergistic Research is necessarily trying to rip anyone off.  It's the cost of doing business in the United States.  Lavricables are located in Latvia. Synergistic Research and Audioquest are based out of California.  The average MSRP markup on goods in CA is 3000%. To compare, Texas's MSRP markup is 300%. So the cost of materials will be higher to make the same product in CA than it would in TX. Synergistic Research and respectively Audioquest, has to charge what they do to maintain living and operating out of CA. But in Latvia?  It is clear to me that the materials, tech and know how isn't that expensive there.  So it can be surmised that the cost of living and operating out of Latvia is less expensive, which means they can offer the highest grade product at a much lower cost than if the same cable were made here in the United States.

I am thinking of replacing *ALL* my cables. O_O

128x128guakus

@sns 

No one directly accused you of shaming and belittlement. I made a statement that having a discussion about cables is perfectly fine but belittlement and shaming isn't.  It wasn't aimed at you, or I would have said so.  However, there have been plenty on this thread that have.

@guakus Got it. Par for the course with cable threads, reason I mentioned finding them rather worthless. I have no problem with anything you've said.

"You get what you pay for" in high-end audio is more of a joke than a truism.

Do you really, honestly think that a $300,000 amplifier blows away a similarly specced’ $20,000 amplifier? Wrong.

Does a $5,000 cable sound better than a $500 cable? Nope.

There are differences in the sonic character of different products and it is equally wrong to think that all amps, cables, preamps, etc., all sound the same. They don’t. But in this hobby people are snookered by the completely phony adage that spending more gets you more.

Who would spend say, $300,000 on a turntable and not want to believe that it is flat out superior to a $30,000 turntable? Or that a $20,000 phono cartridge blows away a $2,500 cartridge?

It’s all confirmation bias. And in many cases, it’s just ego.

Think of most of this stupid-money pricing as you would about fine jewelry. It may look cool, but most of it is worth what the parts are worth and the rest is just bling. Unless it’s collectible, then the collectibles market for that type of stuff determines what it's worth. No better than or worse than.

Do you think that the most expense collectible vinyl records cost what they do because the music is better or the recording quality is better? Nah.

This hobby is so full of BS that is sometimes boggles the mind.

In the case of cables, the really expensive ones, their price has nothing to do with the parts cost or the R&D (lol) cost. The profit margins on these price-bloated items are truly, truly obscene. Why? Market positioning and marketing and YOUR bias.

Now don’t get me wrong, some products cost far more to build than others. Speakers for example. But even a $1000 speaker can sound as good as or better than a $5000 speaker.

It’s just the way this crazy hobby works. It is what it is, but more money equaling more sound quality, FOR SURE, ain’t what it is.

Where things get the craziest in in the aspirational gear-- priced to create an exclusive club of owners, and hopefully, made to last a lifetime and designed to be be (in the eyes of the beholder) beautiful-- like a Ferrari.

Stuff’s worth whatever people will pay for it, but it is not necessarily better because of it.

@wesheadley 

"Does a $5,000 cable sound better than a $500 cable? Nope."

Yup.  In this particular case, it's absolutely true. The specs are ever better. Also, I have proof. The $1000 cable was unable to reproduce a specific note that this cable is capable of doing. That for me is more than enough evidence. I even stated which specific materials, what specific song, what specific note.  So it can be tested, peer reviewed, the whole shebang.

You honestly think a manufacturer is REQUIRED to price their products based on what they're made of? Like there is some contract that states if you use Silver or Teflon as a dielectric you have to charge a specific amount of money?  There's no wiggle room in your theory for a company that is able to get better materials for cheaper and doesn't need to mark up so high to make a profit so they can reach more buyers?  Again, this is a difference between a European market and the US market.

Besides, based on what you're saying the audio quality should diminish if I buy a $300,000 amplifier on sale for $20,000. 🙄

This hobby may work the way it works for you, but not for me. I have not had as much success treating this as more expensive = better. What I have had more success with is, Specific Features and Specs = better, no matter what the cost is/was.

Yup. In this particular case, it’s absolutely true. The specs are ever better. Also, I have proof. The $1000 cable was unable to reproduce a specific note that this cable is capable of doing.

So you have proof? Evidence please. A defective $1000 cable might have audible issues with frequency reproduction, that’s about it.

A $1000 cable that cannot reproduce certain frequencies within the 20-20k range, has, shall we say, "issues". Or maybe you have a long run of analog cable-- that can easily pick-up interference. Deal with that and the cable suddenly works as expected.

You make the claim that better specifications mean the gear sounds better? Most specifications are meaningless, while some matter a great deal. The last publication that took the steadfast opinion that better specs equals better sound was "Stereo Review"-- decades ago. It was pretty much non-sense then, and it is nonsense now.

Beyond a certain level of spec, things like your ROOM, electrical interference, your unique combination of gear, and the overall quality of the power in your home-- all of that plays a far greater role in how a system/component(s) sounds than any given spec. Unless of course, something is broken.

Fantasy football, is, after all, still a fantasy, despite all of the numbers.