Why Do Cables Matter?

To me, all you need is low L, C, and R. I run Mogami W3104 bi-wire from my McIntosh MAC7200 to my Martin Logan Theos. We all know that a chain is only as strong as its' weakest link - so I am honestly confused by all this cable discussion. 

What kind of wiring goes from the transistor or tube to the amplifier speaker binding post inside the amplifier? It is usually plain old 16 ga or 14 ga copper. Then we are supposed to install 5 - 10' or so of wallet-emptying, pipe-sized pure CU or AG with "special configurations" to the speaker terminals?

What kind of wiring is inside the speaker from the terminals to the crossover, and from the crossover to the drivers? Usually plain old 16 ga or 14 ga copper.

So you have "weak links" inside the amplifier, and inside the speaker, so why bother with mega expensive cabling between the two? It doesn't make logical sense to me. It makes more sense to match the quality of your speaker wires with the existing wires in the signal path [inside the amplifier and inside the speaker].



Post removed 
Post removed 
Post removed 
Post removed 

Here’s an analogy. Suppose you have to run 100 feet of hose to a lawn sprinkler from a hose bib. The instructions say to use a 1-inch diameter hose for that length of run in order for the sprinkler to spray the design water pattern. You say that does not make sense because the 2 foot pipe from the water main to the hose bib is only 1/2 inch. The reason is the pressure drop is lower to the hose bib because of the short 2 foot length. Taking that out 100 feet will reduce the pressure by a factor of 50 and there will not be enough pressure for the sprinkler to work as advertised. To counteract the pressure loss, a larger diameter hose is needed. The hose bib's 1/2 inch pipe is not the weakest link -- it sets the initial condition of water pressure. This is similar for hose bib/amplifier, hose/speaker cable and sprinkler/speaker.

I see the mob carrying flaming torches and pitchforks approaching! 

No, you and your mob beat us to it.!  What's with all the projection? All of your critiques can be turned around on you and your kind, which they have been in the past. You just seem to take sadistic delight in fanning the flames in support of anyone who brings up this dead horse of an argument. Always have.

Despite your insults (which are bourne out of losing so many arguments in the past on this subject) anyone with half a brain and two good ears can hear the difference. 

All the best,


And all fish taste alike!

Remove the sense of sight and all wire sounds alike! 

As the old saying goes, "to each their own".

I'm in the same camp as the OP, I use Mogami on just about everything and Pangea power cables. I'm perfectly happy with it - my system sounds great.

My pockets aren't as deep as some, so I'd rather put my money into upgrading my hardware. Of course if I ever feel I'm done with hardware, who knows, I might experiment with cables a bit

Bottom line, who am I to diss someone who swears by their cables?

       The adherents of the Naysayer Church will never accept that there exist a multitude of variables, when an accurate simulacrum of performers and their performance in a particular venue, is the desire/goal.

        If their result differs from that of others, the aspects that they can't discern CERTAINLY MUST BE the product of the others' imagination.

             Of this they are certain: it CAN'T be THEIR system or ears!

                                      Perish the thought!

A much more apropos view of the local, imaginary intelligence operative (et al):

                                           (SNORT of derision)

@kinarow1 -

        Many upscale equipment designers do use better wire within their products*, or: offer such as an upgrade.

         Even companies that manufacture PC boards, take into account the dielectric constants, of the material used and their effects on signal speed, among other factors.

               *ie: David Manley (of VTL) was already using George Cardas' wire, internally, back in the Eighties.      Emerald Physics offers WireWorld, OCC internal wiring, as an option/upgrade.

Whatever, yet again.

Some people use their ears, and some just read, to make their listening determinations.

My bias is to prefer Mogami because it's so inexpensive, but unfortunately other cables sound much better...when I had Dali MS5 speakers I bought a set of their speaker cables that were identical to the internal wiring but did not prefer them...and who spends big money on cables that are not returnable ???


From 1992 to 2015 I used a twenty-foot pair of Mogami 2477 Blue Neglex 14gauge coax speaker cable to power my KLH Nine full-range electrostats. I was perfectly happy with this combination!

I am not such an insecure audiophile that I would lose sleep wondering if, say, Kimber cable would sound better than Mogami!

If you can’t hear the difference with good cables then save yourself the money and don’t buy them. Sadly for us many of us can hear a difference and spend accordingly.

@gs5556 : Your analogy comparing water pressure to electricity for speaker wire is way off! Amperage/current is  not at all like water pressure! Resistance is the defining constant for speaker wire. The longer the run the better it is to have lower resistance to control the voice coil motion of dynamic drivers. Inductance and capacitance here are not important.

Here is why cables matter.  Power to a lamp is just enough current to make a filament glow.  It doesn't matter what the waveform looks like, whether there is noise on the circuit, or if there are losses/disruptions along the way.  If the power gets to the light bulb, the electrician declares victory.

In a stereo application, we have 2 goals:  signal and power.  The signal path is sacred.  You don't have just power running through there, you have all the detail of the music encoded into the electrical signal.  each transition between materials, across junctions, bad solder joints, or even large mass changes such as speaker binding posts challenge the signal to maintain all that precious data.  The better the wire, the more consistent the path, the less material or physical interfaces that the signal sees, the less it is disrupted.  In a perfect world  it would be a straight wire of silver running through a vacuum.  So do everything you can to make the signal wire as successful as possible.

Power is less important but important just as well.  There are 2 aspects of power:

1.  adequate size of the conductor.  The cable needs to be larger than you would think, even for a low power amp.  this supports dynamic changes where current flow can be very high for a very short period of time.  

2.  Quality of connectors and 60 hz waveform etc.   The quality of the power needed is often less important because manufacturers of great amps take care of this themselves but it can never hurt and using high quality cables can add.  I think the 1st point above is 95% of it but others disagree and you can form your own opinion.


Great point and if I may borrow the power cord to a lamp analogy, some here think that just because sound comes out the other end when using basic cabling, that they’ve accomplished something and there’s nothing more to be done.

Nothing could be further from he truth.

All the best,

Rather than rationalizing why cables may or may not matter, simply try different ones and HEAR for yourself if they matter. To my ears, they matter. In fact I have now found out that everything in my system matters, fuses included. Science may have a different take on it, but I could care less, my ears take priority over science in this case all day.

Post removed 

I completely agree that everything matters and that there is a point of diminishing returns. Inter Connects and Speaker cables take priority and then power. You can get great performance and sound without spending your children's 529 plan. 

When you get to heaven, it’s one of the first things they’ll explain to you. But as they say, if you don’t believe in them, you’ll never know. Too bad there’s no way to figure out as mere human if they make any difference. If only there were an ultra simple method to discover the truth... Something like just listening to them. Oh well.

I'd primarily ignore the discussion and the claims.  Just get decent cables... both interconnects and speaker wire... from a modest company like Blue Jeans, or SVS perhaps, or ELAC, and be done with it.  Cable obsession is misplaced.

I think it’s an unexplored science. It’s in the same science as when you buy a new set of tires for your mountain bike you feel faster….. like when you wash your car, it seems to ride smoother….. or like when you were a kid and you got new tennis shoes you could run faster. I think speaker cables and inner K’NEX live in the same science. I don’t think that any of these of quite been figured out yet.

 The part that I don’t understand is every time you make a tweak your system gets better. When you change speaker cables there’s four connections so you should be able to divide the change by four.can you hear the difference if one speaker has expensive cabling and one speaker does not? The improvements should only be half as good. I haven’t made a list, but I would guess that if you added up every tweak, that makes your system better there’s probably 100 different things that some people do to make their system sound better. Here’s the part I don’t get, when do you run out of better? You just did 100 things to your system and each one made it better and better and better and better and better and better and better and better and better. Doesn’t at some point it reach a level of being so good that it stops? It seems to me to be, almost a little insane to think that there’s no end to better. OK, I’m not on drugs. Sorry for going so deep I really would like to know if you ever think you’ll run out of better? 



Boutique cables are important because they give audiophiles a way to churn costly items without alerting the spouse. Wires? What could THEY cost?

What's the point in weighing in on this debate? But I will anyway.

Do cables matter? One can—as this among so many other threads, websites, and books abundantly show!—make cogent "arguments" on both sides. No one will ever settle the matter by argument.

As for settling the matter by listening...well, there's good reason to be skeptical of any confidence in this, too. In order to conduct a fair listening comparison, so many things have to be the case: very precise volume matching, blind listening, A/B/X tests repeated at least ten times, etc. etc. Furthermore, and perhaps more to the point with cables: there's plenty of empirical evidence that our memories for small details in sound last only a few seconds. To change from one set of cables running from the same amp to the same speakers quickly enough is impossible; you'd have to have two identical sets of speakers and source in exactly the same acoustic space. Finally, even if cables do matter (and I'm willing to accept on faith that they do, to some small degree), other parameters matter much more—the most important of these being the acoustics of your listening room. Because one can't change one's listening room as easily as one can change a component, or cables, folks tend to disregard the importance of the listening room, or at most try to tweak it with bass traps, diffusers, absorbing panels. But—assuming the same recording being played (the quality of the original recording is probably the single most important parameter)—the listening room is going to make a vastly bigger difference than cables will. 

Somehow, the witticism attributed to Niels Bohr seems appropriate here. Noticing a horseshoe over his door, a friend expressed astonishment at Bohr's superstition. He replied: "I understand it works whether you believe in it or not."

While everything makes a difference, does that mean better? As pointed out by many here, science does suggest that Material quality and shielding makes for a better cable. It may cost hundreds of dollars to produce a cable with the properties desired to produce audiophile grade sound. What makes me scratch my head in wonder is seeing $7k power or $30k speaker wires. I suppose enough market exists among the Less than 1% crowd to keep some of these in business.

Then again, nothing new under the sun. Some of the claims thrown around remind me of the early 70's first fuel shortage. Reading about all the miracle fuel saving gadgets coming on market would lead one to think that you may need to tow a tanker to collect all the extra fuel you would be making.

At the end of the day, only so many veils can be lifted before it becomes a gadget obsession instead of a music hobby.

Why Do Cables Matter?

They don't and it isn't objectively provable that they do. The people that say "I know what I hear" or similar, are no different than people who believe a random set of stars in the sky has something to do with what happens in their lives.

Why do cables matter?

To stop signal contamination and degradation of the sound. Sure, wires in equipment are different, but then they are in cases that provide shielding.

As for claiming, they don't, and it isn't objectively provable. What utter rubbish. Test equipment is completely incapable of showing it. That's why every decent reviewer does a listening test.

If you can't hear the difference, then either your equipment or ears aren't good enough. Just because you can't hear the difference, don't belittle people who can.

Here is why / what cables matter.  #1 the connectors are secure and have contact surface that is noncorrosive.  #2, the cables are flexible and route and lay orderly without strain. #3 shielding is present and again does not make the cable stiff. #4 if one wants to code cables for visual identification or attractive looking.  #5 the obvious, current capacity.  #6 As a well dressed person that looks good commands respect, so does a cable. 

Now, some people dress over the top, some look over the top others act over the top, as we chose out friends, we chose our cables.  

I will admit the Miles Davis albums I listen to often sound better when I have a clean room and I'm dressed well and have a drink in my hand.  So, my bias is admitted.

This horse’s been beaten to death. There are many reasons why cables don’t make a difference. Some examples…

1. The equipment (and room) just not resolving enough to reveal the difference between cables 

2. Cables aren’t of quality or aren’t enough of a step up from what is currently in the system. 
3. You aren’t capable of hearing the difference 

4. You simply don’t want to hear the difference 

Your upgrade path should be as follows: components and speakers first, room acoustics next, then cables. Even if you bypass room acoustics, if you have the ear to hear the differences and or know what to look for (trained listener) you will hear the difference between cables and even a difference between various connectors on the same cable. Materials used to build a cable or connectors vary in quality and composition. Shielding matters. Dielectric matters. Gauge of wire matters. All these factors play into the sonic signature of cables. Outlets matter as well. The degree of improvement differs based on what link in the cable chain you upgrade and in what order. 

The only measurement tools that are of any importance are your ears. Again, if you can’t hear the difference if and when you try different cables in your system, use old cables that came with your VCR, just pull the yellow cable off the red and white. Use a lamp cord for your power and speaker cables and congratulations - you have achieved audio nirvana.
For us the unfortunate ones who can hear the difference,  we will work on bringing our cabling to the level of our components, run dedicated lines, use power conditioners, upgrade outlets and do whatever it takes to achieve the sound, tonal balance and soundstage and imaging that we perceive to be ideal or as close to ideal as possible. Some will go as far as upgrading the parts and wires inside the components and speakers to get there. There’s no right or wrong approach to this. 

No one owes anyone any proof or physical evidence of what they can or cannot hear. 

Here's another analogy...without good cable a cable car would plunge to the ground. Also, I have a Pangea cable running from the wall to my conditioner (and a few other "fancy" cables here and there because I do want to be as "audio hip" as possible based on likely incurable insecurities), and it almost didn't work as it's so damn thick, like a water hose...I tried replacing it with an actual water hose and that simply will not work as you really need some sort of esoteric adapter for that. Also, a 1" think AC cable will NOT work as a garden hose...trust me...



1,155 posts


Here’s an analogy. Suppose you have to run 100 feet of hose to a lawn sprinkler from a hose bib. The instructions say to use a 1-inch diameter hose for that length of run in order for the sprinkler to spray the design water pattern. You say that does not make sense because the 2 foot pipe from the water main to the hose bib is only 1/2 inch. The reason is the pressure drop is lower to the hose bib because of the short 2 foot le"ngth. Taking that out 100 feet will reduce the pressure by a factor of 50 and there will not be enough pressure for the sprinkler to work as advertised. To counteract the pressure loss, a larger diameter hose is needed. The hose bib's 1/2 inch pipe is not the weakest link -- it sets the initial condition of water pressure. This is similar for hose bib/amplifier, hose/speaker cable and sprinkler/speaker."

What an excellent analogy!!! Well done!

I have no real idea as to why ables matter.   I hear all the arguments for and against.  What I do really know is that I can hear the difference and so can others.   Therefore, I invest in cables.   I’m not saying that everyone should do the same.   It’s or ears, your system, and your wallet; it’s your decision and no one else’s.

From what I’ve experienced, the further up one goes in quality level within a manufacturer’s line, the law of diminishing returns applies. Most manufacturers have a sweet-spot offering that gets 90-95% of the performance of their reference line. Above the sweet-spot, any further improvements seem harder to discern. Certain cable brands seem to have a ‘house sound’. I personally like Nordost cables for the perceived speed, openness, clarity and resolution that is the Nordost house sound. Some feel that Nordost wire is a little on the lean side. Can someone explain why high efficiency horns / compression driver systems seem to be less affected / dependent on cable quality? I’ve heard such system with basic wire sound really superb.

*L* But @nonoise , has anyone Really looked into...(sorry, Listened To...) a definitive analysis of the string/cup interface?

The quality of the cups, and the interface twixt cup & string?

The string itself, the length, thickness, the number of threads, the composition of ?

Probably buried in a Pentagon document file somewhere...."Untapable Communication Systems", or something like that.... 😏

It’s just sad to open a forum to the first 4 posts being deleted....🤨

"Ooouhahhhooou....’excitable boy(s)’....."

’....after X long years, they let them out on their own...’ ;)

Is the OP serious?  Does he not know that the internal conductors are chosen/built to a cost and performance targets while the external cables are at the option of the user?  That higher performing components with parts like better wiring also increases their costs and thus prices?

Cables for sure matter I owned a Audio store for10 years  and many times they would say buy a $40 k audio system  but then only$2 k on audio cables,

I would then have-to  prove by letting them borrow , at least spend at least 10-15% of the cost of your audio system on cables , power cords too count just as much at getting the most out-of  your Audio system . Now isnot the time to be frugal .

I tried long ago blue jeans cables and Mogami , it okay best ,

for example buytheWireworld  Eclipse speaker cable ,and interconnects 

that’s maybe $2500  $1500 for a 2 m speaker cables , and 2 pair of interconnects , before discounts  ,these are a major upgrade .

power cords what do you have there ?  At least buy Pangea  sig mk2  power cords 

under $300 each  these use Cardas  top Copper wire , a good value . Everything counts ,by being frugal you are greatly restricting the potential of your detail, sound staging and imaging .  Mogomi is what I use for practice on my guitar , nothing more , Audio cables can be very expensive, but what I recommended is average price between10-20% of the cost of yourAudio system is a good average to spend .

in part youget what you pay for .

Why post something like this when you can grab a few pair from many online dealers to hear for yourself if there is any difference in sound quality? If you can’t hear or your system isn’t capable for it to take advantage of better cables then don’t waste your money, pretty simple. I can hear a difference between cables, good or bad, and then there are cables that sound a little better but cost exponentially more so then you have to determine if it’s worth it or not. Also, are you talking about silver or copper, there is a difference?

Even on the other cable naysayer audiophool websites that claim there is no difference between cables, never use the included IC’s that come from their equipment, they always buy the $50 blue jeans or Mogami cables and claim technology and sound quality can’t get any better. So I bought a pair of $100 blue jeans to see if they were onto something. After break in, I sold them. The sq went backwards, dull, no soundstage. 

Go out and listen for yourself, nobody is going to be able to tell you what you will hear using your equipment.

+1 audioman58 

I used blue jeans cables until I was able to hear a difference when I borrowed a few pairs from audio connection. Not only was the highs cleaner, but even when I switched to the cable with the battery, everything was well balanced. Hard to explain but true. I liked some of those other analogies too. I think it’s like if you buy a sports car with a lot of horsepower and put cheap tires on it. Expensive High power amp, with cheaper cables. Let your ears be the judge. 

+1 rbstehno Following on from the previous post, it's amusing that the people who claim cables don't matter are generally using cheap cables.

Instead of asking this question, which has been asked a hundred times here, and if you want to truly answer the question you will need to listen for yourself so here is my suggestion:

Contact an on-line merchant who will allow you to return cables after a 60 day in-home trial. It will cost you about $75 to return the cables. I used Music Direct. When Shunyata Venom-X cables first came out I read some info that peaked my curiosity. So I bought $6,000 worth of interconnects and speaker cables and installed them into my system. The audible difference between the lower priced cables I was using and the Shunyatas was literally like a major component upgrade. Needless to say I kept the cables.

If you don't want to spend that much then go the used route. I helped a friend put together a set of Acoustic Zen for his system that cost about $2,200 for all cables. He was quite surprised and happy with the results. If you are not impressed then sell them and go back to your current set up. Some people can hear the difference, others cannot. If your hearing is not sensitive enough you may not benefit from the cable upgrade.

Prior to this both of us were skeptics. Now we are believers.

With this said, perhaps some room treatment would be more of a benefit for your pursuit of audio nirvana.

Blame it on Noel Lee! In the Days of Yore audio hobbyists used zip cord - and nobody cared or complained! Then in 1976 Mr. Lee started selling 10 gauge fine multi-strand cable in a clear jacket. He called it Monster Cable and it was an overnight success! Lee claimed his cable was better because the high frequencies traveled faster on the outside and the bass frequencies had more oomph due to the thickness of the cable. Cleaner, clearer highs and greater bass mojo compared to zip cord! All these claims by Lee were unsubstantiated by any lab measurements! He said " just listen". The "My golden ears told me it is so" crowd fell for this hype and bought miles of Monster Cable, making Noel Lee a multi-millionaire! Soon other entrepreneurs took notice and started their own wire businesses. They discovered that all you need was a nicely made product with a catchy name and a liberal amount of print spin (this was pre- Internet). Lab measurements not needed! 

Post removed 

I’ve been a known cable skeptic for the last 30 + years as an audiophile. In 1995, I listened to the same system through a dealer with multiple price points of MIT cables. I could not hear a single difference at all. However, I bought MIT cables anyway. I didn’t buy the cheapest, but I certainly didn’t spend a fortune. The price for some of those cables, even back in 1995, was stupid expensive.

Fast forward to today, I still have my MIT cables, but recently changed over to all Pine Tree Audio. These cables are handmade in the USA. They were a fraction of the cost of my MIT cables. I chose them merely for how well they are made, and more importantly to me, the colors. I use purple for balanced cables, blue for RCA, and yellow for digital. My system sounds amazing. Most people that have listened to it have never heard anything better. So what it’s worth, that’s my two cents.

     No one can tell you whether/how your system, room and/or ears will respond to some new addition.   There are simply too many variables.

     LIKEWISE: no one can possibly know whether a new addition (ie: some kind of disc, crystal, fuse, interconnect, speaker cable, etc)  will make a difference, in their system and room, with their media and to their ears, without trying them for themselves.   

     Some companies offer a 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee, so- those that are actually interested, have absolutely nothing to lose, by trying (experimenting with) such.     

     Anyone that knows anything about the sciences, realizes that something like 96% of what makes up this universe, remains a mystery.       

     For centuries; humanity’s seen, heard, felt and otherwise witnessed phenomena, that none of the best minds could explain, UNTIL they developed a science or measurement, that could explain it.     

     The Naysayer Church wants you to trust their antiquated science (1800’s electrical theory) and faith-based, religious doctrine, BLINDLY ("Trust ME!"). 

     Theories have never proven or disproven anything.  It’s INVARIABLY testing and experimentation that proves or disproves theories/hypotheses.   

    IF you’re interested in the possibility of improving your system’s presentation, have a shred of confidence in your capacity for perceiving reality and trust your own senses: actually TRY whatever whets your aural appetite, FOR YOURSELF.         

                      The Naysayer Church HATES it, when THAT happens!  


I use purple for balanced cables, blue for RCA. 

Because it’s impossible to tell them apart by connector types? Color is a better indicator? What if one is colorblind and blue appears as green and yellow appears as pink? Why did you spend more on these cables than the most basic ones you could get for under $50 for the entire loom if cables make no difference? Or did you just pay extra for the color of the jackets?

This is the funniest thing I read to start my day. Thanks for the entertainment!