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Where is the Arrival Point of Cable Asylum?

Aug 4, 2008
Majority of the audiophiles are agreed that one of the most critical factors in a hi-end system is the connection cables. There is no doubt about it. Different cables provide different testing and enjoyment. A good sounding cable in a system may not sound good in other system or a good sounding cable may not sound good if one of the units is replaced. Good is also relative to each person, that's why I believe that it is not possible to pretend one cable betters then the other if both are good cables.

As a person who changed so many cables, I would like to share my own judgements with others. My aim is not to offend anybody or to break somebody's heart but humbly contribute to the craziness of cable industry, contribute to consciousness and prevent buyers to be abused.

Some cable producers use the thinnest wires to eliminate skin effect. Some uses thicker ones to eliminate DC resistance. Some prefers silver due to open and rich sound, some finds silver sounding thin, un-natural and they use pure copper to achieve body. Some uses platinum, carbon and other stuff, some combines them or alloys them. Some producers attach importance to shielding, some are against to shielding but use braided designs. Some uses ribbons, some uses litz (various independent insulated wires). Almost all pretend their design as the best in the world.

Above list can be enlarged. This situation at least for me is the clear evidence that THERE IS NO COMPROMISE ON CABLES FROM THE ENGINEERING AND THEORY POINT OF VIEW.

Following me, the cables, particularly the interconnect cables are the most degenerated and misleading part of the audio industry. The biggest income ratio in audiophile word is generated by the cable industry. An amplifier that consist of various elements, labour, engineering, design, (consists of good silver cables too) can be purchased to 5.000 but a poor interconnect cable costs 2.000 or more. Most of the brands are imitation of the other. They provide various colours, thickness and nice appearance and pretend to be the best one in the world at list in their price categories. I found 137 different interconnect producers (listed below). Unfortunately the human nature of "how expensive or how big, the better is" belief, guides one to misleading. Such belief motivates the first sales, and followers continue by thought that "if the other purchasers are idiots!"

One thing should be considered that I never mean such cables are not bad sound; actually they are mostly the good ones. Problem is a % 1 better sounding cable is sold to % 1000 price of the other. After the promotion and acceptance of a very reputable cable, another one comes to market even by the same company to claim to be better and price is 3 times more. Price increase in cable industry is going geometrically by the crazy multiples.

Last year, Stereophile made feature with Caren Sumner, the president of Transparent Cable. I picked up below sentence;
"Up to last year, the thickest cables and the biggest boxes on cable were on demand. If the cable was thicker or the boxes on the cable were bigger, the perception was such cables should sound better. So they sold in better quantities. But nowadays WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) is more involved in it and the wives don't like to see bigger and bigger things corrupting home decoration. As a matter of fact, we tend to produce thinner cables and smaller boxes in future."

At least such sentence gives clear leak that the product is not thicker or bigger due to technical aspects but due to marketing technique.

I was curious one day to break the box of my M..T interconnects to look inside. There was a very simple coil occupied only 1/10 of the box. I also broke the same brand power cord's box and realised only two ferrite rings that sold to 50 Cents each at the electronics shop. Another story is that ; a cable producer makes actively shielded cables. If you break the solid protected shielding unit, you see one resistor and one capacitor that can be purchased to 1 $. The price you have to pay for that unit is 420 USD. You may think it is proprietary or invention but it is not. The concept was built on the design of Pierre Lourne's DC Polarised Shielding Technology and used in professional audio industry for years.

According to me, a cable should be listened enough and alone prior to purchasing. If the critical listening is done with other people, physiology factor will act and people would tend to choose the most reputable one. If the difference is subtle, it should be thought again. Before coming to conclusion, other audiophiles should be called for critical blind testing. Cables should be tested without knowing which one is in connection. If blind test is done, every party should make careful and realistic observations. If they don't have clear tendency, it will not be logical to buy that cable.

One friend brought me a well known digital reference cable that sold around 1500 $. My cable was also a reference cable but reasonably priced (Illuminations D-60). We were three people and listened both of the cables properly. The other two immediately observed that the other cable was much better. It did not make the same effect on me. Mid sounds, vocals became softer and more natural but the bass became so slow and muddy. The energy and the slam at treble were gone. So it was and exchange but not additional. I had a feeling that physiology factor was in mission. I wanted to make blind test. My aim was not to degrade the other but just to find the answer why I did not hear the same thing with them. We made a blind test. Eventually both of them were decided and agreed on D-60. The discussion was over.

* Why they had the tendency to choose the most expensive or reputable one !

* Forget about it was worse, assume that they are the same, why the other cable cost 10 times did not clearly bit the other.

* May be my system was not enough revealing to stimulate that cable but if this is the case, I would pay 1500 $ unnecessarily as agreed by my friends.

Such cable producers generally target the people that don't have any problem with money. Such people are basically located in New York, Far East, Hong Kong, Japan and such places.

Producers also follow up, sales volumes of most expensive electronics and penetrate their cables accordingly. They assume that "a person who spends 350.000 $ for an amplifier will never use a cable of 500 $"

My thoughts are not to offend cable producers, if there is a demand, somebody has to supply with no doubt.

I wanted to design an interconnect cable for my own curiosity. I am not an electronic an. I used my all theoretical knowledge as a hobbyist and made a DIY interconnect cable. I pretend my cable is at the same class with the reference cables sold up to 1500 $. It will cost you around 50$ plus the Plugs that's all. Difficult to make but it is worthy. Hearing is believing. I shared the entire steps with you. Give it a try DiyE.htm. You must use the best available connectors and silver solder but not the budget ones. That cable cost me 200 $ together with Home Grown Audio's LOK RCA Plugs or WBT Top Of the lines.

How come that cable worked extremely well, for me better than the others ! I had no experience, no production plant, no engineering, research and development but it works. May be the answer is hidden in somewhere else, may be the other cable producers use the same method, design, listen, if works, claim and sell

February 2004 Ozhan Atalay


1. Accoustic Zen
2. Acoustic Research
3. Acrotec
4. Alpha Core
5. Analysis Plus
6. Apex
7. Apogee
8. Argento Audio
9. Audience
10. Audio Magic
11. Audio Note
12. Audio One
13. Audio Tekne
14. Audioquest
15. Aural Symphonic
16. Aural Thrills Audio
17. Ayre
18. Bear Labs
19. Bel The Wire
20. Better Cables
21. Black Mountain Cable
22. BMC
23. Bogdan
24. Canare
25. Cardas
26. Celtic Silver
27. Chang Lightspeed
28. Chord
29. Clarity Lab
30. Coincident
31. Concierto
32. Creative Cable Concepts
33. Crystal Clear Audio
34. DH Labs
35. Dimarzio
36. Discovery Cable
37. Dunlavy
38. Echochrome Cables
39. Ecosse
40. Elco
41. Electraglide
42. Empirical Audio
43. Ensemble
44. Esoterika
45. Fadel Art
46. FIM
47. FMS
48. Granite Audio
49. Gutwire
50. Harmonic Technology
51. Hms Cables
52. Home Grown Audio
53. Infinity Audio
54. Ixos
55. Jena Labs
56. Jm
57. JPS Labs
58. K A S Audio
59. Kharma
60. Kimber Kable
61. Krell
62. Lat International
63. Lieder Cables
64. Linn
65. Luminous Audio
66. MAC Wire
67. Madrigal Audio Labs
68. Magnan
69. Magwire
70. Marigo
71. Mas
72. MIT
73. Monster Cable
74. Moon Audio
75. Music Metre
76. Naim
77. Nbs
78. Nirvana Audio
79. Nordost
80. Oehlbach
81. Omega
82. Orbeck
83. Outlaw
84. Perpetual Technologies
85. Primo
86. Prisma Cables
87. PS Audio
88. Pure Note
89. Purist Audio Design
90. Red Rose
91. Revelation Audio Lab
92. Ridge Street Audio Designs
93. Rosinante Audio
94. Scott Nixon
95. Shunyata
96. Signal Cable
97. Silent Source
98. Siltech
99. Silver Audio
100. Silver Dragon
101. Silver Sonic
102. Silversmith Audio
103. Sonance Audio Video
104. Sonic Frontiers
105. Sonic Link
106. Stan Warren
107. Stealth Audio
108. Straight Wire
109. Synergistic research
110. T. G. Audio Labs
111. Tara Labs
112. Tekline
113. Tg Audio Lab
114. Tice
115. TMC
116. Tone Audio
117. Transparent Cables
118. Tributaries
119. Ultralink
120. Vacuum Reference
121. Vampire Wire
122. Van Den Hul
123. Vantage Audio
124. Verastarr
125. Violin by Concierto
126. Virtual Dynamics
127. Wasatch Cable
128. Wicked Cables
129. WireWorld
130. XLO
131. Yamamura
132. YBA
133. Z Cable
134. Zocore Cables
135. Z-Squared Audio
136. Zu Cable
137. Eichmann
About the Author
Ozhan Atalay President http://www.nonamehifi.com
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