I have seen the argument over and over again on why cables matter and the that wire is just wire and how scientifically it’s impossible for them to make a difference. The thing that surprises me the most is that different materials are used. Different shielding is used. Different connectors are used. Different braiding methods of the cables are used. Materials are sourced from different manufacturers and put through different creative processes but I always get some guy who comes on and says. WIRE IS WIRE AND YOU ARE NOT HEARING WHAT YOU ARE HEARING? To me it’s pure arrogance to think you know more than everybody else to the point where you tell me what we are hearing through my ears and we are not smart enough to know when are minds are playing trick on us. But using all these different materials, process and shielding and creative processes don’t make a difference. I spent the last 15 years trying all the cables I could try.  Thoughts anyone?

Ag insider logo xs@2xcalvinj

It seems none of these manufacturers seem to know how to make a proper power cord for their electronics. It makes me question every other design decision they make. If a short power cord makes a difference, imagine what a long power cord might do? Why not use long versions of these amazing power cords to transmit power to a separate, stand alone building that's otherwise off the grid?

Cables and power cords are complicated.  Cables that sound great in one system may not sound so good in another.  Stereo gear didn’t always come with IEC connectors.  I did some diy in the past removing the stock power cords wired into my amps and preamps and soldering in upgraded power cords.  Manufacturers added the IEC connector so that people could try different power cords.  But HiFi manufacturers have also done much to reject noise coming in through the power cord.  For example, I had an ARC SP-6b back in the late 1980s (with the fixed stock power cord).  I had a dedicated line going into my listening room.  I still had to remove all of the dimmers in the house because if a light with a dimmer was on, I could hear a quiet buzz in my speakers.  My later preamps did a much better job rejecting dimmer noise.

The biggest change I have heard with better power cords is actually what I don’t hear.  The background gets blacker- quieter.  I don’t know how they do it and I thought the background was quiet before I put in the better power cord.  That translates to a bigger and more 3D soundstage- more clarity and more focus to the images.  The highs get smoother and clearer too.  Even just a couple of years ago after I bought a Niagara 5000 power conditioner which made a large improvement, I thought to myself no need for better power cords on my DAC and preamps.  I was wrong.  I finally tried better power cords and found they improved the sound of my DAC and my preamps.

I don’t like paying for them because they aren’t shiny and pretty like a speaker or amp or one of those hifi turntables* with the foot thick platter, but power cords matter to the sound by a lot.

* I’d love to have one of those grand looking turntables with two, counter-rotating platters.  It just looks so cool.  But I spent my money on cables.


The problem with naysayers is that they ask for proof, aka too lazy to look and research for themselves.  They want us to do the work for them.  They sit on their knowledge of “limited facts” claiming “prove me wrong”.  However, for the rest on this thread, I’ll post some info:


Regarding Ethernet, quote from Puma Cat at WBF:

”…Respectfully, it's not a "digital signal"; that is only how the data is encoded. The actual signal is an analog voltage "square wave", and as such is susceptible to number of "noise factors", all of which have, and do, exert an audible impact on what is heard. The other important point for folks to understand, is that a lot of folks (most, probably), think that the "noise" rides "down low", at the bottom of the "signal + noise" component of the source "information" being amplified. This is not true: the noise actually rides "on top" of the signal...as such, its deteriorates and degrades the integrity of signal itself  As shown here with a digital signal source.”

”The reason that optical fiber provides a benefit is that it does not pass low- and high-source impedance leakage current, and this leakage current results in threshold jitter. Not to get too deep into the weeds here, but even the cores for the isolation transformers in the R45 jacks in an Ethernet switch can have an audible effect. 

While I dig up some more info, I recommend you read this white paper by John Swenson, who designed the EtherREGEN, and worked as a professional Ethernet engineer for Broadcom and CISCO for the better part of 40 years.
https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0...enson_EtherREGEN_white_paper.pdf?v=1583429386 “

”Remember, the signal is an electromagnetic wave that propogates down the cable (it is not electrons flowing through the cable like water in a hose or marbles in a tube). The Vp(propogation velocity) of the signal is frequency-dependent, and an electromagnetic "signal" wave can reach the end of the cable and "reflect back", just like water in a tub or pool. This means different frequencies propagate down and reach the end of the cable at different times. And, because the Vp is different for different frequencies, there will be a number of "back reflections" occuring at...different times†.

This is just some foundational info to understand, that particularly with respect to digital sources, our brains are very, very sensitive to the impact of timing. For digital audio, for example, we can actually hear the influence of timing errors in the picosecond range, which is why we use femtoclocks for components like DACs, streamers, network switches, network bridges, etc. The Sonore EtherREGEN uses a Crystek CCHD-575 clock, and this crystal oscillator was chosen specifically for it's audio quality. This is why components like the Cybershaft master clocks, etc., have such a positive impact, and why EtherREGEN also has an external 50 Ohm clock input*. 

The 1.5 M minimal length that Shunyata uses for Ethernet cables and USB cables, for example, was empirically determined as the shortest length that can be used to minimize the impact of signal wave "reflections" on audio quality.

It's physics, so yeah, it's a real thing”

Masterbuilt Cables were designed by the same government scientists involved in superconductors.  When a heated debate on WBF including scientists and engineers over some marketing material, they were all silenced when the supercomputer scientists answered/explained their claims which went way over my head.  Even scientists, engineers, etc are trumped by experts in a particular field.

If you want measurements in your cables, perhaps Iconoclast Cables. They have excellent white papers here and here that can educate on the problems and chosen solutions. Excellent read to learn about audio cables.

While a very few want proof aka understanding on how/why cables are better before purchasing, cable manufacturers rarely tell us the secret sauce so others can copy.  Most of us are simply interested in price/performance, seeking better sonics.