The truth about interconnects - can you handle it?

Warning: Following this link may be hazardous to your perception of reality.
As we go trolling along... My "truth" is based on what I hear, not what I read with respect to audio products - especially other people's pre-conceived prejudices. Yeah, I can handle it.
Agree with Gs5556. I handled it a long time ago. What you hear is what you get. I suppose the next website link will be about the "fact" that we can't see the difference between anything either. Afer all atoms are atoms. We're just imagining the whole thing.
The truth is that the writer of this article don't have a pair of good trained ears. We can handle that.....
The sub-linked article is a kill:
"As a rule of thumb, I recommend investing about 5-7% of your total system cost into cables and interconnects, with the following priorities:

1. Video Interconnects (75 ohm, shielded coax)
2. Analog interconnects (low capacitance, twisted pair / Coax, shielded when needed)
3. Speaker Cables (Low DC resistance and inductance, short runs when possible)
4. Digital Interconnects (75 ohm, shielded coax for short runs, or toslink for longer runs)"

Oh yeah, my TV's much more important that the rest of the system - but this quote is from a HT site. But what do I know, as a joke I've moved my home interconnects into my car system (Nak cassette deck/Soundstream amp/ADS speakers) and found that one can hear the difference driving down the highway. Ack!

But, then, they call ME extreme (same article): "The truth of the matter is, standard 12 AWG Oxygen Free Multistranded Cable (OFMC) is fine for most applications except for maybe the extreme scenario of a particularly difficult Electrostatic Loudspeaker (ESL) system driven by tube amplifiers" Is there another way?

Thanks for the chuckle, Redbeard!
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Any article posted under a title such as 'The truth about interconnects' deserves to be ignored. The effects of interconnects on sound are subtle and vary depending on the situation. A blanket claim to the 'truth' is absurd.
An interesting site, Redbeard. As you can see, it is unlikely to shake the faith of those who already buy into what its authors call "cable theology." But perhaps newer audiophiles who are still making up their minds about such things will find the different perspective offered there enlightening.
My high school physics teacher once told us that tire width makes no difference in traction too. Righhhhht, that's why all pro race cars are running on bicycle tires. ;-)

People also saw apples fell from trees but didn't know why until Sir Newton came up with this idea about gravity, and all of a sudden, a lot of thing became explainable. And Einstein's relativity theory, and so on, and so on. Science is just a term to describe the limited knowledge that we currently possess until another genius come up with another briliant theory or discovery. So all that article validated is that we still don't know a lot about how a lot of things works in our physical environment. You might hear the difference, but our current limited "scientific knowledge" hasn't been able to explain it, or know what to measure.

People belive what they want to believe. If people want to think Earth is flat, they will find "scientific evidence" to support their view.

I just trust the best scientific measuring device I have: my ears, and they tell me that interconnects makes difference, so do powercords.

Here is another page from the same site:

Can you honestly find fault with what is said on this page?
.....good posts Gs5556, Twl and all who see this as a troll-- I agree and trust my ears too. I'm glad that opinions vary though as it makes for a great diversity of music, gear, wires etc. CHEERS. Craig

I find it astonishing that double blind tests are totaly absent from discussion on cable forums, even prohibited on some!!! What gets me the most is that the same people who swear they can hear subtle differences in cables are deathly afraid of double blind testing. Go figure!
We know that DBTs are pointless, worthless, and "prove" nothing. What else is it we need to know.?
I beg to differ, Redbeard. May people perform double blind tests when comparing cables and they usually hear differences. The problem with double blind testing in cables is it takes time. When switching out cables, it takes minutes or hours for the cable to settle in with the equipment they are now on, so to be fair you have to allow for adequate time.Even though the human ear supposedly has a short memory,the ear-mind can remember enough to hear the sonic differences in cables.I believe scientific principles should be adhered to in good cable design, but the final decision-maker has to be your own ears, as no piece of test equipment that man has ever designed can see what the human ear can hear.Nice try though.
As I have posted numerous times before, I have done literally hundreds of blind tests, and had people that worked with me trying to do their best to trip me up. That said, if there was any change in equipment that did make a difference, I identified it well over 90% of the time. I have no fear of blind testing, and I don't think any other audiophiles have any fear of it either. I do think the ABX'ers are afraid that we will try it and realize that they were more full of it than a Christmas turkey. If you really believe that you can't hear these things, then get another hobby. Audio is for people who can hear. Others can play with trains or take up gardening.

After so many things sayed what to say more? I subscribe to the "wild bunch" that CAN hear differences between cables(and other stuff too). Can you handle it?
Dopogue - why? Twl claims he can deliver repeatable results (90% of the time) with DBT. The point would be that a measurement can be taken (a human audition) to determine sonic performance. That has worth - now Twl (or anyone at this level of repeatablity) can serve as a standard. It also proves there are differences in cables.

Being a newbee to Agon, I enter this thread with trepidation. I'm not seeking to stoke a flame fest! And while it's apparent that this topic has been discussed before, if the vets wouldn't mind weighing in I could learn something (which I frequently do in this outstanding forum).


If you THINK that some wires sound better than others, then they do...for you. Maybe not for me, or anyone else, but why should you care?
I'll mention another thing. When we were doing this testing, it wasn't just with cables. Components and other things were switched as well, and the task for the blindfolded individual was to not only determine if something had changed, but to name the brand and model of the equipment that had been put into the system. And sometimes more than one thing was changed at the same time. Other times nothing was changed in an attempt to fool the blindfolded person. Both myself and my fellow salesmen at the audio store could name the brands and models that were substituted into the reference system with repeatable accuracy. Ok, so it can be done. My point is that all this hubbub about blind testing is just so much garbage. Nobody needs a blind test. You can do it standing on your head. If you can hear the difference, then you can hear the difference. It's that simple. If the difference is worth the money to you, then buy it. If not, then don't. But to claim that it is all "psychological" is just plain crap.
I went double blind once. I was using two hands. I was told that if I only used one hand then I would only go blind once. I have been blindly and happily following that advice ever since.
Redbeard, when all is said and done, some folks will still want the expensive cables and all the bogus explanations that come with them. There is little point in attempting to convince the subjective audiophile. The arguments will go round and round in circles for ages, all to no avail. Something that sounds cogent to you, is met with disbelief, often verging on hostility. In the end the same argument will be used as a closer: the fact that if you can't hear a difference you are not worthy of commenting on high-end audio, which is the realm of the Golden Eared. TWL will invariably come out in the end with a "say it ain't so Joe" line, fearing, I think, that maybe his ears could be playing tricks on him.
Very easy to tell which cable sounds best when you change interconnects on a good passive pre. Also on ES and ribbon type speakers. Phono cables also. I have some stax headphones that I think could show cable change for the good or bad very easy also although I have not done this. The truth about interconnects is: The wrong ones will degrade sound, as always let your ears be the judge.
Interconnects can cause shifts in microdynamics which will result in a change in sound. But it is a funny way to go for tone control, unless you have a lot of money and time and like to fiddle with things. People get into this hobby for a lot of different reasons. Some have a lot of fun with interconnects and speaker cable. Let 'em have at it.

Twl, I don't believe you can dbt to 90%. But, then again, maybe you do have some golden ears and a singular genius, you lucky dog.

This topic looks very interesting. I have been lurking on Audiogon for about a year, learning a lot about hi-fi and enjoying one of the most elevated web site on the net...I don't want to convince anybody other then me if expensive cables are worth it, as I am the only responsibile to pay the bills... I do have decent wires[nordost, analysis plus] and I was looking into buying some cardas gold reference ICs[ I am telling you that so nobody can say that I am one of those folks in denail about cables just because they can't afford to buy some good wire]so I stumbled on some the well-known-to-some-of-you web sites, sustaining that blind studies failed consistently to differentiate various wires and the placebo effect is responsible for the percived heard differences...To my surprise, major audiophilic sites banned any blind study[ the only one than can completely destroy the placebo argument] . I never saw a blin study in a audio magazine, and lots of folks on the net,otherwise nice and refined, became hostile or sarcastic dealing with this subject[ somehow understendable, as it would be ridiculous to invest thousands in wires that would not be differentiated compared blind with Sam Telig's 20 bucks ARs and they may take the blind study as a personal challange of their audio skills...]
I belived that I felt a little difference while swaping my cables, but I am not so sure anymore that is was real because:

-placebo effect may be very strong.One out of three folks with major deppresion wil get much better taking a sugar pill belived to be the medicine...It is not impossible that the often subtle differences between cables are due to our different expectations...A minor change in the excitation threshold of cohlear cells or more likely less cortical inhibition in the areas surrounding the brain's audio reception zone , as Joe is in awe of his new audio jewlery, could not alter the final sensation?
-there are reports of folks[ even audiogoners]with revealing rigs and demonstated integrity that are downsizeing to decent entry level cables, as the exotic ones failed to make a difference.
-pro reviewers-see a recent Stereophile advocating the use of a good gold plated RCA and high purity stranded copper as "All that you'll need".

So I decided to try a single blind test. I'll order two philips 963 sacds[ and I'll return the 2nd after..],ask my wife to hook them with the cables to be studied to my amp, put identical cd copies and hit the play buttons 5 seconds appart. I'll change the cables in no time, using the amp's remote and I'll write the impressions . Some friends will be invited to increase the number of measurements[ beers given after...] Do you have any suggestions ?
The person who wrote and those who agree with the writer simply can't accept why interconnect sound different. Aside from being ignorant about why the interconnect sound different, they want to see "the real science" behind the cable making. Obviously if the manufacuture expose the truth then no one who buy their cable any more. It's not because there is no explanation of why the designer choose what they did. If you know how to copy a $3000 interconnect and make one for $200 then these inventors will be starving. If you notice, some manufacture like NBS and Electric glide choose not to speak about technical terms about their product for the people like Redbeard to argue with them about science behind the cable making.
I do many friends like Redbeard and I'm sick and tire of put up with them regarding to this topic.

My last word to them is: If you think things are that simple, please make a cable and prove me wrong. Suddenly, the whole room became silence.

These people will go on are argue about why all the equipment should use XLR then there would be no difference in sound with different interconnects.

Redbeard is just bored and trying to pick a fight. Stop this stupid thread already
Pbb and Danvetc, I can only report my experiences. As probably both of you know from my many previous posts, I have no desire to spend more than necessary for good sound. I have always tried to point out good value type of products. I don't own the most expensive cables. For a long time I used my own DIY. But I cannot deny that they sound different. They just do. I can't say the grass is orange just because I would like it to be so. Facts are facts and that's all there is to it.

Regarding my blind testing percentage, it was not just me, but also my fellow salesmen at the audio store I used to work in. Perhaps it was the familiarity level that we had with all the equipment that we demoed. But it was no problem to identify any of the pieces substituted into the reference system, and do it rather quickly and accurately. We knew the sound of the gear, and it showed, blindfolded or otherwise. Now, when you can walk into a room blindfolded and know that there's a Threshold 400 amp playing, when nobody told you what gear was hooked up, then that is no accident. Walk back out of the room, come back in blindfolded and know that a Naim 250 was now playing, and be right. I'm not talking about simply hearing that there is a difference. I'm talking about being able to identify the differences clearly enough to name the amp, blindfolded. And all the guys in the shop could do it with repeatable accuracy, so I don't go with this "golden ear" idea at all. In fact, I wonder why so many people doubt their hearing so much.

But anyway, what I want to point out is that there are clear audible differences between many products of all types, and that normal people are quite capable of hearing these differences on a decent resolution audio system. No blindfold required. Some things may not have much difference or even any hearable difference, but most do. If this was not the case, then people wouldn't be buying different things. There is no way in the world that anyone is going to convince me that the entire audiophile population is "hypnotized" into buying all different kinds of gear, claiming it sounds different when it didn't. That premise is totally ludicrous. I cannot even believe that anyone would propound such an idea.

Again, I think it comes down to a financial rationalization being made when people don't want to spend huge sums of money on cables or other audio gear. I don't have the most expensive pieces anywhere in my system. I can't afford them. But I don't run around telling everybody that I can't hear the difference between my system and a $200k system. I just have made a financial decision on the items I have and am satisfied that I have gotten the best for my money. Maybe my system may sound better to me than some other more costly systems, and maybe not. But they sound different.

I do abhor buying products simply on the premise that "if they cost more they must be better". I don't subscribe to that theory at all. I think that is just as bad as saying that there is no difference in sound, because they are both fallacious. In my mind, the products that come closest to sounding the best, at the most reasonable prices, are the good value products and that is where I try to spend my money. I use my ears, and sometimes, yes, I even will use certain technical specifications in my decision making.

In the end it is the user that has to live with his decisions. If they are happy with the sound, then that is all that matters, regardless of the methods they used to come to the final selection. After all, this is audio, and the sound is what matters.
Dandreescu: The problem with your approach, if I understand it, is that you won't be avoiding the placebo effect. You'll be listening to two cables that you know are different, even if you don't know which is which. So if they sound different, it MIGHT be because they really are, or it might be because your brain is overriding your ears (which happens frequently, despite the protestations of some). If you do notice a difference, have a neutral observer play one or the other at random, and see if you can guess which one is playing. If you can guess correctly 8 out of 10 times, they probably really do sound different. Otherwise, it's likely all in your head.
i find it strange that people claim there is no difference between different types/brands of speaker and IC cables. i consider myself new to the hobby, and the most noticeable change in sound on my system came from, in this order: 1) speaker; 2) amp 3) cables 4) preamp 5) NOS tubes 6) upgraded CD player
Bomarc, thanks for your response. I am reading a lot of health care DBTs professionaly designed, but other than some basics I am not at all an expert in statistics...I am trying to do a single blind study [ I will not know, of course, what cable I will listen too, so that will not suppose to eliminate the placebo?] but I'll write what I'll hear for cable A and B...I don't know how many times should I repeat it until it has some statistical significance, but hey, I am not planning to publish the results in Stereophile...It is suppose to be cheap,laid back and fun. I did it before comparing the Musical Fidelity A3 cdp with the Philips sacd 1000. The results were obvious in 15 minutes.On cdp, one player was heavy in the bottom end and had some rolled of highs[ sacd1000], the other had better dynamics and details.[ even my non-audiophile wife got the same differences ] Also the air around instruments and lack of digital glare was evident with pure dsd material...Those modest personal observation did match others reviews, so it may be that I'll find consistent differences with cables. [ However,I will not extrapolate, as two amps or cdps are supposed to be way more complex than two twisted copper wires made from the same purity material...]
I just don't grasp why folks are so tense about this subject, it's like preaching darwinism in a southern baptist church...
I have been sitting on the fence for a while now when debating if X cable that costs $20 is better than Y cable that cost $300. That being said, a friend let me borrow a set of PS Audio Statements and the second I put them in the system, I heard what I didn't want to hear...a significant difference. Trust me, I DID NOT want to hear a difference. I would have loved it if the $20 set of IC's I had sounded the same as the PS Audio's...but sadly they didn't. So needless to say, I am now saving my pennies for some of the sweet PS Audio ICs.....are there better out there than these even....I don't know and I really don't want to know. My pocket book cannot handle it.
The best way is to live with the component under test for three months. Blind test is not a very accurate way to compare different components anyway. As posted by others, a normal listening is not to switch cable every 5 min, I don't care you double or triple or .... Some need longer time to settle, and those cables will lose in blind test. And people are nervous and tired in the tedeous "blind" test. You listen to Beethoven 9'th and say "what a great music" at end. I don't think you will say any good thing if I switch between Beethoven and Mozart every 5 min. Or repeat the same section every 5 min.
Dandr: Unfortunately for audio comparisons, our brains are wired to synthesize information from all our senses, rather than to isolate information from a single sense. So if you're just comparing two cables blind, your brain is already telling you, "These are two different cables." It's really easy to make someone think they're listening to two different things when in fact they're not. So no, just comparing the cables blind will not eliminate the placebo effect.

For your CD player comparisons, it's important to match levels (with a volmeter; an SPL meter won't do). The same system with as little as a 0.2dB difference can sound different--even though one doesn't sound any louder than the other. Also, remember the limitations of single-blind testing--if there's anybody in the room with you who knows which wire is which, there are all sorts of subliminal ways they can communicate that to you. Try to avoid that if you can.

One reason audiophiles don't do more of these kinds of comparisons (besides simply not liking the results) is that it is not easy to really do them right. That doesn't mean that what you're trying to do isn't worth doing--anything is better than non-blind comparisons. You just have to remember that if you hear differences, you haven't definitively proved anything.

Overall, though, you have my respect for giving it a try. Have fun (and enjoy the beer) and tell us how things turn out.
I do believe that interconnects affect the sound, but the effects are due to the rational, measurable effects of the electrical characteristics of the cables on the signal. Every cable has it’s own R/L/C characteristics. These characteristics affect the signal as it passes through the cable, in the same manner that a filter affects any signal.

The real question is: Why are the measurable, quantifiable characteristics of cables not included in discussions of how the cables affect the sound? For example, replacing a pair of interconnects with a pair with higher capacitance will cause a greater roll-off in the high frequencies. In a system that has a bright sound, this might be good; but in a system that is dark, this would make it worse.

If we could reach a consensus on what changing each of the electrical characteristics of an interconnect should have on the sound, then we could move on to the next logical question, which is: Why should we spend big bucks on a particular set of cables when a pair with exactly the same electrical characteristics can be had for a fraction of the price?

I can tell you for a fact that the guys selling the big bucks interconnects will do everything in their power to de-rail this kind of awareness and self-education within the audiophile community.

BTW, has anyone tried putting a pyramid over his or her system? I hear channeling cosmic energy through your circuit boards does wonders for the sound. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
Oh, one more point. It is critical to know how much of a change in any electrical parameter is required before you can detect a difference in the sound. Of course this will vary from one system to another, and from one pair of ears to the next; but without it you are just pi$$ing into the wind.
It seems that people will deny that wires make a difference for several reasons:
1) They tried them and heard no difference.
2) They will not try it because their "theory" says it won't make a difference.
3) They're open minded, and would like to try, but are scared that they will be ripped off.

To all those in number 3) camp have a look at this thread. You can make interconnects for under $20 that sound fabulous.
Actually, most of people can tell the difference between cables. It just takes more CD and system tweak to make sure what you think better is generally true for most of music and the variation of your system setup. Any component, like source, IC, amp...., should be tested in a natual listening condition in your home and rest of setup, and please give it enough time. "Blind Test" can be dangerous, are you sure those tester have the same taste and ears as yours? Even you do the blind test yourself, are you sure no simple system tweak can reverse your first vote? The only sure way is to play around with it for a while in your daily life.
Bluefin, our audio memory for detailed musical presentation is very short, same as memorising a phone number for 10-20s in order to call someone in our phonebook. Unless yours imediate recall memory is truly exceptional, after 3 mo from listening to a component you'll have just some vague impressions of how the music details were[ are you very sure that the cable you listen 3 mo ago has a slight tighter bass than the one you listed today? Would you be more inclined to detect a difference if you were listening to the same cables half a minute appart?] ...

Obvious,normal listening does not include switching cables like crazy, but we are not talking about normal listening but of some kind of test designed to pick up some differences...

5 minutes is too long! I'll listen to about 25-30s on one cable, than I'll switch to the other one. If the 2nd cdp will start playing 25s after the first, I'll be able to listen to the same slice of music presented through 2 cables, one after on other.

Tired and nervous? Nah, I'll do it when I'll be rested and relaxed. My happines in life is not linked at all with the test's results, I'll do it for fun [ some of my weekends are booring also...] If any audiogoners are around Barnwell, South Carolina, are all invited for a listen-beer on the house!

Cables not broken in? It may be a point. Many vendors do burned them on the cable cooker, someone can also buy used...

Bomarc,the level matching seems like a good point,I did't think about it. OK, maybe we'll not eliminate the placebo, just reduce it a little will be ok...

on other ideea for a test: same CDP, 2 different cables-ICs R/L to my Mg Head OTL tube head amp and than listen through the Sennheiser Hd600, each ear will listen to a different cable!...what do you think?[ does not seem very rigurous, but is very easy to do it!]

The point is not to remember which cable has tighter bass or high. The point is: do you like the sound/music or not after you listen and tweak for enough time? So you know the best you can get from this cable. Very often, a component impress people at first listening does not keep the excitement long. Especially we don't want to bet our hundreds CD's collection on one or two namely reference CD's. I know many friends regret their purchase realizing later that the particular component is only good for <20% of their CD collections. And actually a so called better high and low componet make 80% of their collection sound worse. It is not uncommon to hear this.
I personally had experience of blaming on wrong components before. Like some cables or CD players were edgy.... and later found the room was the cause. After fixing my room, the edgy cable became better cable. The other example is the bass: after using a better transport, the bass is tighter and reverse my vote on my IC. The other way around, I change my mind on some DAC becasue switching around digital cables.
So, a good component lasts! it responds well for most music and associated gears you throw at it and should last long.
I still remember which CD or LP I enjoy very much tens years later.
Maybe I remember the amp or speaker, but I usually forget which cable I used with them.
Only remember recent cables I have been playing around.
A good cable should not remind you about cables all the time, otherwise there is a bug in your system.

Like man will not know woman on the first date, and definitely should not A/B girl friends in a short time bcz it won't work.
Eventually, we will find it out after marriage after man and woman live together.
Same as music and our gears.

Even some journal put out so call "blind test result", how many of us will trust it? I think many will say "a bunch of lousy listener" to replace "this crappy commercial writer". We still will not have conclusion.
Okay folks. I am kind of new here--oris that "hear"(?), but I am a quidk study. I suspect that anyone moving from Radshack, circuit city, good guys,etc. standard off the shelf cables to Acoustic Zen, Cardas, etc.-quality cables will hear a terrific differance. Perhaps this is enough. There are those of us who appreciateg great bass and especially vocals and there are some cables that might show some differance. I did change from Radshack digital RCA to Acoustic Zen and I am a believer! As far as speaker cables and comparisons, etc., the test is easy: Just wire one speaker with one cable and the other cable goes to the opposite speaker. you can even run the system on mono setting. If you like it, buy it.
Wires make difference on components that are not properly designed and tend to pick up and oscillate from already increased 21st century RF influence causing large circuit instability or even permanent damage.

Like in the old-day designes all you've got to do is not to let it be present in the input (piece of cake actually) with pennies worth of electronic elements. Tend to say that ALL audio circuits had been already designed and have a bunch of ways to avoid bias instability and RF influence.

For me as EE working in large financial institution(as a financial specialist) there is a very simple explaination:

Electronic specialists needn't reinvent any wheel nowdays. All the specifications on audio-electronic equipment jumped far higher than standards of High Fidelity and the question stays pretty clear: How to "resurrect" the dying after 80's audio market?

All you need(as a designer or manufacturer) to do is hook-up a dealer or few(market stability) explain him that you've got some outstanding own scientific conclusions and selected the best of the best to create this wire that should retail for the price of diamond necklace. Dealer is the one with commercial sting will add some "harmonic distortions" to transduce it with nice advertizing manner to his dumb client.

Yeah, wires and cables do "its best" for the ones who hears well and reads well commercial magazines to compensate simple and inexpencive circuit elements that should be present in every audio component but believe me they are not.

What drove me realy for my conclusion is despite my knowlege of electricity and signals I started to read magazines and started to develop some belief but...

I was CURIOUS to strip my Mainstream Hybrid expencive powercord and realized that it's OXIDED after one year of usage!!!!!!!! WHERE THE HELL IS 99.9999999999 OFC COOPER???
I also looked up in Home Depot power wires that I have a large roll for near three years and there were no corrosion whatsoever!!!

Anyone wishes to strip some Shyniata or Siltech out here?

I also stand for component manufacturers that stand for their product(where they realy put labor) able to proove that their components sound equally to the listener with ANY type of interconnects or speaker wires and believe me there are such and many of us after my post can write them bellow...
I'm an electronics technician, not an engineer. But I do work with some engineers. I brought some ads from some audio magazines to them, and let them look at some for some interconnects and power cords. They were all astounded that anyone could possibly believe this nonsense. The characteristics of any wire can be measured, and in fact has to be for industrial use. The right wire is critical for industrial applications. But what blew them away was a power cord that cost almost a grand, that could be gotten from digi-key for $3. Perhaps Penn & Teller should do a show about this stuff.
Try listening to (and with) your ears rather than to your friends, engineers or not. I have a physicist friend who was fully convinced that my weird wires (Omega Mikro, Mapleshade) didn't make sense. He still feels that way but agrees that they do make music, better than he's ever heard it reproduced.
As long as any of you simply "look at" and "measure" these cables, and do not listen to them, there is no real determining being done. That would be like me "listening" to the Mona Lisa, and determining that all paintings were alike. Or "watching" a symphony being played, and concluding that Beethoven looks just like Tchaikowsky when being played. You technical people need to let go of your attachment to measuring instruments and listen to equipment. Just like 20 years ago, when this argument was "put to bed", we have forgotten that, and are now arguing the same old stuff all over again. Are you going to tell me that a Technics department store receiver sounds better than a Pass Aleph? Why not? It measures as good or better. Wires don't matter, capacitors don't matter, everything is the same, they both amplify and have low distortion specs. Is this your position? All I can say is that for people who claim to be "analytical and scientific", your analysis and science are sadly lacking. Are you going to try to say the sun is not shining, because you are using a light meter under a shade tree, and forgot to look where you were standing? You have to actually listen to the product to determine how it sounds. No measurement in the world is going to tell you this. All science begins with an "empirical analysis". This means "an observed phenomenon". Then tests are done to determine what is happening. Using tests that don't relate to the phenomenon cannot be used to "prove" that the phenomenon isn't happening. You are using science in reverse, and cannot even see that is what you are doing. That is not scientific. The premise that "everything has to fit into my little R-L-C bag" is just bad science. Claiming "psychological" effects to explain what you don't understand, or can't measure, is a convenient escape from the real conclusion that you can't measure what is being heard, so you lean on that in order to cover the shortcomings of your testing methods. The real truth here is that the "scientific" argument is the trailing edge which is well behind the cutting edge of listening testing.
Twl: I suggest you stop railing about science until you make some effort to understand what it is. You've crammed more misinformation into one paragraph than I've seen in a long time. Just because you are uninformed about the current scientific understanding of human hearing doesn't mean the science doesn't exist or is incapable of explaining everything--everything--you hear.
Amen, brother Bomarc.

BTW, Twl, I care as much as anyone here about the faithful reproduction of music. As I attend many concerts each year, I have live music to compare my system to. I listen very carefully, and converse with many people who do as well. My responses here ARE based on my listening tests.

Enjoy your music,

While I believe their are some great cables out there that can make an improvement in the sound of your system, I also believe their are some cable manufacturers that are fradulent, and their is no protection group to police it.
And even if their was it would be difficult to prove given the complexity of why something works, especially in system A and not in system B. Never the less a manufacturer can make up any mumbo jumbo for advertising purposes and suck in the audiophile whose never ending quest is for the perfect sound. For me the true test is would I be willing to wager money I can tell you the difference between cable A and Cable B. I own several cables I would be willing to bet a $1000.00, I could tell you the difference blindfolded. I own other cables that I would not bet a nickel on.
As an electronic design engineer, and a fervent believer in the scientific approach to understanding our world it saddens me that so many "scientific" people are so closed minded to anything that they cannot explain with their limited science. Be skeptical, by all means, but don't be closed minded, because once you reach that point all progress halts. Remember Einstein .. imagination is more important than knowledge. Or the saying "To those with limited knowledge there are infinite possibilities ... to those with great knowledge there are few".
I'm skeptical that time travel or teleporting will ever be a reality, but I will never say never ... can you imagine explaining to a person of 500 years ago that people would travel to the moon, or that the rate of progression of time was altered by gravitational fields, or that the mass of an object increases with the speed of that object ?
I was very skeptical of cables, and I remain very skeptical of the amounts of money paid for cables, but I have heard with my own ears that they do make a difference.