Who thinks $5K speaker cable really better than generic 14AWG cable?

I recently ordered high end speaker, power amp, and preamp to be installed in couple more weeks. So the next search are interconnect and speaker cable. After challenging the dealer and 3 of my so called audiophile friends, I think the only reason I would buy expensive cable is for its appearance to match with the high end gears but not for sound performance. I personally found out that $5K cable vs $10 cable are no difference, at least not to our ears. Prior to this, I was totally believe that cable makes a difference but not after this and reading few articles online.

Here is how I found out.

After the purchase of my system, I went to another dealer to ask for cable opinion (because the original dealer doesn't carry the brand I want) and once I told him my gears, he suggested me the high end expensive cable ranging from $5 - 10K pair, depending on length. He also suggested the minimum length must be 8-12ft. If longer than 12ft, I should upgrade to even more expensive series. So I challenged him that if he can show me the difference, I would purchase all 7 AQ Redwood cables from him.

It's a blind test and I would connect 3 different cables - 1 is the Audioquest Redwood, 1 is Cardas Audio Clear, and 1 my own generic 14AWG about 7ft. Same gears, same source, same song..... he started saying the first cable sound much better, wide, deep, bla...bla...bla......and second is decently good...bla...bla...bla.. and the last one sounded crappy and bla...bla...bla... BUT THE REALITY, I NEVER CHANGED THE CABLE, its the same 14AWG cable. I didn't disclosed and move on to second test. I told him I connected audioquest redwood but actually 14AWG and he started to praise the sound quality and next one I am connected the 14awg but actually is Redwood and he started to give negative comment. WOW!!!! Just blew me right off.

I did the same test with 3 of my audiophile friends and they all have difference inputs but no one really got it right. Especially the part where I use same generic 14awg cable and they all start to give different feedback!!!

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Expensive cable, like an expensive watches (which sometimes keep time almost as well as a cheap quartz) etc hopefully offers pride of ownership and decent resale value if it remains fashionable. I mostly use 2X7m various high quality pro sector balanced mic & line cables between balanced pre (AR Ref3) and active crossovers. I do own some fancier stuff (2 brands 2x4m) but its not as long and has to cross the middle of the floor where it gets trod on and the difference is negilgable despite the length differences. Those crappy phono plugs make more difference and should never be allowed within 50 miles of high quality audio, but sadly we're stuck with them for many things. Loudspeaker cable, particularly if it has certain types of pvc insulation, deteriorates over time due to various chemicals used in the pvc manufacturing process. A friend was testing cables for square wave transmission in hostile environments and oberved that charge begins to kindle its own track in the surface of the pvc. PTFE and silicone do not suffer this effect, he found. Generic cables are available in high purity with these jackets.
For a luagh see http://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/bitsofwire_e.html

The dealer is obviously blowing smoke and trying to influence you to buy the expensive cables. It was an excellent test to indicate that the dealer could care less what it sounds like, as long as you buy the $$$ product from him! lol.

As far as your audiophile friends, this is a prime example of "pre-conceived notions" getting in the way of true objective listening. An audiophile can easily enter into a listening session with the idea that Cable X will sound better than Cable Y, so the mind plays tricks on you and influences you to actually think that way. It is very difficult to "leave all pre-conceived notions" at the door and truly listen objectively. It is a learned skill and takes time to figure out how to truly "listen" instead of "seeing" a particular product name. I have determined myself that $$$ cable does not necessarily mean it will sound better. We actually determined that plain old 12awg stranded OFC copper speaker cable sounded better then a several hundred dollar Nordost Blue Heavan. The 12awg is actually a pretty excellent speaker cable. In other extensive power cord and interconnect testing, I do believe that cables make a difference, but I have not yet gotten into R&D on speaker cable. I still actually using a double-run of 12awg OFC stranded ($15 for 50 feet from monoprice!). Eventualy, I will get into this. Based on other cable R&D, I think that the Neotech NES-3002 from VHAudio would be a excellent step up (being that individually insulated 21awg solid-core OCC copper conductors). Based on interconnect R&D, I believe that the braided Kimber 8TC/12TC would be good alternatives for testing as well. Even though Kimber conductors are still stranded, there are only about 7 variable gauge strands in a single insulated conductor. This is close to solid core and much better than normal stranded cable. Ahh, future testing.

It sounds like you simply reinforced some expectation and preference bias into a slanted test. The power of suggestion is not to be discounted. You don’t come across much different than the salesman. I agree that most cables are way overpriced, but what you did sounds like nothing more than an exercise in making your ends justify the means.

The fact that you don’t hear a difference isn’t an absolute. Just you don’t hear a difference. As for the "expensive" gear you bought, are they revealing enough, or just expensive? There are way too many variables in your scenario to quantify.

This place is filled with expensive, but not revealing, equipment for sale. I’ve heard this argument before.
Many times.

All the best,
I don’t understand nonoise’s comment - the OP stated that "It’s a blind test..."
Randy, I think nonoise, is saying if Sautan don’t hear the difference, in a simple way, so be it.just respect it.Our ears  get better as we listen....Now I own Heimdall 2, I bought it because my ears demand it,Iam sure, when Sautan hear the difference, He will buy Odin, only maybe..
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@ jayctoy. I ordered Wilson Alexia, Mezzo, MC1.2Kw, C1100, MX160.

Yes. It's a blind test. I can definitely and absolutely hear the difference when it comes to different speakers but when it comes to cables, I really couldn't tell the differences. I doubt anyone can tell that this music is being played with brand X, brand Y, or brand Z. I was a big believer in high end cable, influenced by my rich friends without really compare or test them out. But when a 20+ years old expert dealer couldn't even get it right, it just hit me! I went ahead and tried to challenge another local dealer but was refused then he insisted he could easily hear the difference but since he felt I wasn't going to buy anything he would not entertain me! LOL. Maybe I was pretty aggressive/rude when asking for the test challenge. 

please list all dealers/retailers for verification purposes. Otherwise,
cabling does make a difference, good-bad-indifferent- much will depend on the listener. Expensive is not always better. I am a "cable" guy first and foremost. I stand by my assessment. Happy Listening!
you mention 7ft....8 ohms speakers I presume?   Hard to beat no matter the price or even the gauge... 
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Sautan with those gear you will need a descent cables at least.Good gears deserve good cables...
I’m with you dill. Sautan invented this story of a blind test---it never happened. No dealer would allow a potential customer to do it, nor participate in it. Absolutely a bogus story.
@ jafant. It's not nice to post dealer or individuals  name here in forum. My main purpose isn't to make anyone looks bad but only to argue Cables doesn't really matter and you cannot really hear the difference. I dare to challenge that no expert can listen to music and tell exact brand & model of each cable nor expensive and cheap cables.

@ benjie. I tried very hard to listen the differences but I could not. They all sound the same to me when I play them on the same speaker, same preamp, same amp and same source. May be I ain't expert.

@ jayctoy. Yes. That's what I said. I will still get the fat and expensive cable just to match up with the gears. I am not going to drive a Ferrari with GTR wheel even if they perform great. The point is that sound quality from $10K cable will be same as $100 as long as the Length and AWG is same, I am pretty sure on this. 

I wish I still have the demo cables to keep on doing the test with other dealers.
I have told this many times but will relate my experience again.  System is Audio-gd master 7 dac to Shindo Auriges preamp to two David Berning 270Z power amps Bi amping Magnapan 3.6 speakers set up in Limage/HK positioning.
Interconects were Sablon Pantella, Auditorium 23 spaker cable for the Maggie ribbons and High Diamond 8 speaker cable for the mid and bass. About $5000 in cables. Replaced interconnects with Beldin 8402 microphone cable and Western Electric 16 gauge speaker cable on tweeter amp and Dueland  16 gauge speaker cable on the other amp. About $500 in total cabling. Did lots of ABing between all the cables and the cheaper stuff is simply better in every way. The emotional connection to music with the low price stuff is simply greater. Not saying that the high priced cable didn't sound terrific, just the Beldin, WE, Dueland is simply better to my ears im my totally subjective opinion
@ bdp24. The fact is the fact. Believe it or not. I am sorry if I offended any dealers in this discussion that potentially hurt what they do for living.

I am not going to say anything anymore after this one. Sorry cable dealers. 
Yes the Duelund wire at $10 meter bests all the big dollar cable I have heard and owned over the years. Folks you must try this stuff and you will sell your high dollar cables. At least many of you will. 16 gauge stranded and tinned copper wire in oil impregnated cotton. Made like the Western Electric NOS wire from the 60s and 70s only better! Parts Connextion is the place to buy it. Amazing wire for ICs, speaker cable, hook-up wire...

Please do not use connectors on the speaker cable and simply use the bare wire. It is tinned and will not oxidize. You will smile big 😁

Very interesting post indeed. I'm part of the "cables make a difference" camp. Even my spouse, who by the way doesn't know anything audio, could hear a difference when I swapped out AQ mid-level cable (don't remember the model) with a Acoustic Zen Silver pair. I asked her if she could hear any difference in the sound of the music that she usually listens to. Her words were "it's like someone removed a veil off the speakers". 

The same thing happened when I replaced the Acoustic Zens connecting my phono-pre to the amp with Kimber K1130. It changed the soundstage.

My point is as long as the cables have good EMF/RFI rejection properties they should sound good. 
Never was a cable believer... I used to chuckle seeing all these cable posts... then I tried AQ Oak, and been a believer ever since.  No reason for me to spend money on something that doesnt work.  But boy... it did. 

I've tried other cabling... minimal difference.  I've tried AZ Satori.  Minimal diff to my 12g OFC stock wiring. 
If you can't hear the difference buy some lamp cord. I can hear a difference although I didn't want to hear it.
Several times I have done a little reality check and inserted a lessor cables. I really wish it was all bullsh*t cuz I would have much more $$$ left.  
I have limited experience here, but I do hear differences in cables employed.  The more expensive do not always sound better to my ears.  I think it's partly a matter of synergy and partly a matter of subjectivity.  Find something that works for you within your budget and be happy with it.
Cabling IMO is system dependent.  What sounded better?  How did it sound better in your opinion.  What type of front end do you have in your system that can allow you to hear the differences, etc.  You can change a cap and resistor in any component and hear a difference, even for the better but you have to know how something can make a difference first.  I don't disagree with you in any way but the better the front end or source, the more you can hear what the differences are and if they pleased you.  There are many factors to listening tests so in general you may not hear a difference but from your post, I don't know what you listened for.  I would imagine something sounded a little different in some way.

Happy Listening.
I'm in the low cost club.  NOT necessarily the anything works club.  There are inexpensive 12ga and 14ga cable solutions, but they are not all created equal.  And there are 10ga and 8ga solutions that sound very good but most are impractical and, in some cases, just dangerous do to their inflexibility. 

The biggest keys to inexpensive speaker cable are to use stranded, untinned pure copper (never anything else), never terminate, keep them short, experiment with how many twists per foot of one conductor around the other.  If the cable absolutely must be terminated, use crimps, never solder.  IMO, NEVER USE SILVER IN ANY AUDIO CIRCUIT.  I think it can cause a brittleness and brightness in the treble.
ahendler & grannyring

Is their a power cord equivalent to the Belden 8402 ICs & Western Electric/Dueland speaker cable?
I’m still on the fence about cables. I started with cheap Groneberg Quattro Reference cables (~$200 per power cord and $300 per IC and speaker cables). I’ve now tried: Shunyata Alpha HC power cable, Shunyata Zitron Python XLR IC, Sablon Panatella IC, Blue Jeans RCA IC, Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme blue power cable, Cerious Technologies Graphene Speaker cables, Oyaide Neo d+ USB, Belden Gold USB, Argento Flow Master Reference power cable.

I can’t say that I’ve really noticed a difference in my system and do think it’s very system dependent. Confirmation bias is definitely real. The first time I heard the Argento Flow Master Reference (~$6000+), I would have sworn that the difference was a big as switching from my Odyssey Kismet monos to the Sanders Magtech. The second time that I switched it out, which was a couple of months later, I heard no difference.

I heard no difference with the Shunyata Alpha HC power cable on my system, but when I took it to my brother’s system (Vandersteen Treo, McCormack HT-1 amp, Acoustic Zen Tsunami II power cable), the difference was very noticeable even at lower volumes.

I’d say you should experiment and just go with what you think sounds best in your system.
its not really a blind test anyway as you told them what cable was in the chain regardless if you didn't change it or not. should have been cable A,B and C with them making comments on each cable then tell them what cable they liked and didn't.
The fact (in doubt) that you purchased an expensive McIntosh/Wilson based surround sound system tells me that you need major help.

Forget your cabling rant.

Just my opinion.


The "common" wisdom is that silver works well with tube electronics, copper with solid state. And that that is because silver tends to sound bright, copper warm. But that assumes that tube amps sound warm, solid state bright, therefore tubes with silver and solid state with copper are synergistic matches, possessing complimentary distortions.

But if the goal is neutrality, going down that path leads to a dead end. Change one component, you have to change them all. If your amp is slightly bright, better you find one that isn’t than to get warm cables to offset the amp’s brightness.

So, are silver cables inherently bright, copper ones warm, and tube amps warm, solid state bright? If I’m not mistaken, users of Clear Day pure silver speaker cables find them to be not bright, just very, uh, clear. Same with the pure silver Kimbers, though they might be just a bit too "clear" for solid state that is itself very clear ;-). I don’t think anyone would pair silver Kimbers with a Krell amp! But with a Pass? No problem. Lots of ARC dealers are Cardas dealers, as well as Audioquest.

I bought 50’ of the Western Electric 14g speaker wire (cotton-wrapped tinned-copper) on ebay, from the retired WE employee. About a buck and a half a foot! Gonna try it myself soon, with my tube and ss amps, and ESL and Magnetic-Planar loudspeakers.

Funny because I upgraded my Nordost Frey SC's to Ansuz Ceramics (3.5K vs 16.4K) and tried a/b-ing them. Couldn't really hear much of a difference. Until I put one of each cable in. What I finally determined was there was no difference in tonality ( which is what I was expecting). There was a huge difference in openness and 3d sound. So I was listening for the wrong thing. What surprised me it didn't jump out and bite me in the nose until I had one of each in the system.Then I stared to think what could I replace to get that sound. Um nothing other than the cables. I like my system too much to change any components. The next step up in electronics or speakers would be a lot more than the cable upgrade.

Short story try one of each cable. If you still hear no difference stick with the cable that costs the least. But don't stop demoing cables. They are very system dependent.
Sadly, spending a ton of money on gear does not automatically produce a great sounding system where cabling makes a difference.   Your room and/or components are not playing well together.  Performance is (optimistically) mediocre.  You have some work to do.  When your system finally gets there, $12 cabling will make you barf.  
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Wlutke putting a a musical system, you need experience, train ears, money, time to listen, it's a lot of work, stressful, my experience I have two audiophile friends, who have good ears, and very musical system, so I listen to their system a lot, they explain to me every quality their system does, it took a long time before I learn, one problem, I don't want to spend money  on good cables, and gear,true expensive give does not give you guarantee to have musical system, you have to match them until the music will connect to you, until you are in a hurry to go home so you listen to your favorite music, Iam bless to meet them 20 yrs ago.Now when one of my audiophile listen, His jaw drop, And I always thank them for mentoring me.


I'm not sure I agree with you regarding the silver = bright and brittle comment. 

My silver core cables do not sound brighter than the copper core counterparts, in fact, that was my initial fear but boy I was wrong.  Warmer and more analog with better imaging and focus on the silver. I am impressed. 

Maybe that's why they make different kinds of cables.  But my opinion stands.  I have never heard a silver cable I could live with.  YMMV.
In my system, silver cables sounded very bright. I couldn't listen to it for long durations. I swapped the Omega silver cables with Nordost Blue Heaven and am happy with them. 
" untinned pure copper (never anything else)"
The Western Electric and Dueland cable is Stranded tinned copper and it sounds terrific.  Also if you like Supra cable as a lot of people do it is also stranded tinned copper. The " never tinned" statement is an old wives tale 
Bpolleti silver usually works on tubes, but stick on copper if that's what your are happy, silver are not for everyone. Like you said that's why there are many cables out there.
I have the Supra 2.5 and 3.4W speaker cables and they do have a wonderful sound to them, albeit at the expense of some detail and higher end info (shimmer, presence and decay). Don't get me wrong. In the right system they can lull you into la la land. 

That wonderful midrange and succulent bass comes with a hint of smearing which masks some of the detail I mentioned. It's not much, but enough for me to look elsewhere. Tonian Labs speakers are internally wired with them as are the Clearwave Duet 6 monitors that I'm presently using. Neither one lacks in the treble (with the Tonian Lab TL-D1s the clear winner: that Raven super tweeter is among the best out there) so I can't figure out why being used as speaker cables they do what they do so it goes to show that there's more going on than can be explained.

There are no absolutes, save for the Zu Event SC which consistently perform better than the rest that I have in all areas and they are a Litz design of copper and silver plated copper. There's something about them that just sounds so right, and I wouldn't have dreamed of paying their full asking price and instead, got them at discount since they were superseded by a newer line.

All the best,

Silver isn't always bright.  My Ocellia Silver interconnects are certainly not bright sounding.  And neither is my Audio Note SPx speaker cable.

The bottom line is you just have to listen to different cables yourself and reach your own conclusions.  Don't rely on dealers or reviews or some poster on a forum.  Try different cables in your own system and if you find an inexpensive cable that sounds good to you, great!  But don't assume that all listeners will react the same way.  

I have absolutely no doubt that the cable pundits speak the God’s only truth as THEY see it or THEY experienced it, i.e. Cables do not matter

Ok..... fine ..... no quarrel or disputing their experiences and resulting opinions, and I would not even try to challenge their points of view in any way.

But that nay-sayer subjective opinion is also absolutely no basis for any pontification expanded to a blanket generalization as fact or circumstances.

To wit, Similarly, here is the 180 degree opposite counterpoint argument as witnessed by the several thousand independent witnesses to the exact opposite effect that cables do matter , and the experiences of these masses in a large public audio expo venue was considered sufficiently profound to the extent that it was so reported in a quality magazine by an audiophile hobbyist reporter.



I had a chance to sit in on a couple demonstrations in the Nordost room, giving my feet a well deserved break. I’m very familiar with the benefits of high quality cables and use a full Nordost Heimdall 2 loom with my reference two-channel setup. That being said, I always find the Nordost demonstrations to be an “ear-opening” experience. Michael Taylor from Nordost demonstrated the significant sonic benefits of replacing an OEM cable with a Nordost model – in particular 1) a swap of a single USB cable, from OEM to Nordost Blue Heaven ($250/2m), to Heimdall 2 ($500/2m) and; 2) a swap of a single RCA interconnect, from OEM, to Blue Heaven, to Heimdall 2, to Tyr 2 and finally Valhalla 2. Along with convincing the audience in the room that cables DO matter, I’ve now got the bug to upgrade.


I was there at the TAVES 2014 expo myself and concur with the conclusions of the mag reporter .I found the same result with A-B shootouts of many contenders and pretenders ranging from cheap to expensive in my own system.

 Ok..... So what?

These cable war posts are just a tiresome, never ending, oft-repeating, and purely conflict incubating opinion troll forum Posts that are never going to be any kind of influence to either camp.... full stop. ....each side and their experiences and resulting experiences are vastly different with no basis for either side to claim victory.


simple.... as already highlighted in a prior post, the pros and cons of high end cables are entirely system dependent,
IMO, the question is not, as you posited it, who thinks an expensive cable is "better" than a cheap cable?  The question for an audiophile is, can you hear a difference between cables?  If there is indeed a difference, then one of them may very well sound better to you.

I recently compared two relatively expensive cables, both at a dealer and in my room, and the difference is obvious and easily heard.  One is Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme speaker cables, and the other is Douglas Connection Alpha 12AWG OCC Speaker Cables.  Now, the GE cables are composed of silver, copper, and graphene, while the Alpha 12 cables are made of Furutech FS-Alpha OCC ≒12 AWG conductors.  The GE cables immediately present a wider, more open sound stage, with more highs and with more clarity and detail.  The Alpha cables immediately render more bass slam and warmth.

Now, the question of which is better is entirely up to the listener.  I like the slam of the Alpha cables, but the clarity, sound stage, imaging, and vocals of the GE cables is just addictive.  I'm still evaluating so as to be able to soon make a choice.
It all gets very complicated. Results one gets with a particular cable or interconnect are system dependent, and dependent on the composition of the metal conductor, whether it’s silver or copper, the purity of the metal, the dielectric employed, whether it’s stranded or solid core, shielded or unshielded, whether the cables are broken in properly, whether the system under test is broken in properly, whether the system is error free, who is doing the listening, whether the cables/interconnects have been cryogenically treated or not and last but certainly not least whether the cables or interconnects are attached in the proper direction.