Shielded RCA cables

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Charles Calkins

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Shielded RCA cables
« on: 1 Sep 2018, 09:54 pm »

     Hi Guys:
          Anybody have an opinion about Shielded RCA cables? Good?  Bad?

                                                Cheers Charlie

FullRangeMan

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Re: Shielded RCA cables
« Reply #1 on: 1 Sep 2018, 10:05 pm »
I like shielded cables for all positions IC, speaker or power cables, a alu or copper tape help keep RFI away and not need alot of braiding.

JLM

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Re: Shielded RCA cables
« Reply #2 on: 1 Sep 2018, 10:57 pm »
I prefer balanced (self-shielded) cables that have positive latching connections and are cheaper than nearly all hyped single ended cables. 

The 'downside' is that balanced cables are normally associated with more expensive gear (that is better built and quieter).

Normally there is no need for shielded cables (unless you have a huge wad of cables in use and/or a nearby strong radio station).

Useful link:  https://www.audioholics.com/gadget-reviews/speaker-cable-and-audio-interconnects

FullRangeMan

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Re: Shielded RCA cables
« Reply #3 on: 1 Sep 2018, 11:26 pm »
Normally there is no need for shielded cables (unless you have a huge wad of cables in use and/or a nearby strong radio station).
Equivalent of radio stations are wireless phones, cel phones and wi-fi just inside our rooms, in a 50 aptos building may have more than 100 these bugs run 24/7 days.

JLM

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Re: Shielded RCA cables
« Reply #4 on: 2 Sep 2018, 01:56 am »
Equivalent of radio stations are wireless phones, cel phones and wi-fi just inside our rooms, in a 50 aptos building may have more than 100 these bugs run 24/7 days.

Never read, heard, or experienced of any of those affecting single ended cabling. 

FullRangeMan

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Re: Shielded RCA cables
« Reply #5 on: 2 Sep 2018, 02:00 am »
Never read, heard, or experienced of any of those affecting single ended cabling.
They are in the GHz band, long reach:
''A general rule of thumb in home networking says that WiFi routers operating on the traditional 2.4 GHz band reach up to 150 feet (46 m) indoors and 300 feet (92 m) outdoors. Older 802.11a routers that ran on 5 GHz bands reached approximately one-third of these distances. Newer 802.11n and 802.11ac routers that operate on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands vary in the reach similarly.''

Elizabeth

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Re: Shielded RCA cables
« Reply #6 on: 2 Sep 2018, 12:01 pm »
My laptop picks up 19 usable WiFi signals from the local apartments. Then there is the smartphone carriers all pervasive signal. the over the air TV signals. Am and FM radio signals, CB radio, Shortwave radio, the Police bands, Who knows what other floating around.
However I have used those woven Kimber IC (no shield at all) in lengths up to 7 meters), never a problem.
So  i would say it may be a solution looking for a problem to solve, that does not exist except in the mind of the worrier.
On the other hand, I HAVE had rear surround speaker wires (common zipcord) which picked up CB radio from passing vehicles! Listen to them clear as day.

JLM

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Re: Shielded RCA cables
« Reply #7 on: 2 Sep 2018, 12:12 pm »
WiFi, bluetooth, smartphones, TV, AM, FM, CB, Ham radio, and police bands all operate way beyond the audible spectrum.

Did try a DIY chip amp at home years ago (that had the power supply in a separate cabinet) that picked up a local (mile away) FM station at roughly -30 dB, but who knows how this very questionable amp picked up that signal?

Can someone who is more knowledgable in this matter pipe up and explain my FM and Elizabeth's CB experiences?

Speedskater

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Re: Shielded RCA cables
« Reply #8 on: 2 Sep 2018, 12:34 pm »
WiFi, bluetooth, smartphones, TV, AM, FM, CB, Ham radio, and police bands all operate way beyond the audible spectrum.
Did try a DIY chip amp at home years ago (that had the power supply in a separate cabinet) that picked up a local (mile away) FM station at roughly -30 dB, but who knows how this very questionable amp picked up that signal?
Can someone who is more knowledgable in this matter pipe up and explain my FM and Elizabeth's CB experiences?
Hi-fi components can be sensitive to interference all the way up to cell-phone frequencies of 2GHz!

Jim Brown (an EMI/RFI interference expert) writes in a long engineering paper:

Detection at Semiconductor Junctions Every semiconductor junction, whether part of a diode,
transistor, or integrated circuit, is quite nonlinear, especially in the voltage region where it is beginning
to conduct................................ ................
Thanks to this non-linearity, every semiconductor junction functions as a square law detector, detecting
any RF signal it sees.

http://www.audiosystemsgroup.com/RFI-Ham.pdf

In short, any new product that uses electricity has the potential to cause interference in hi-fi components. So all interconnect cables should be shielded.

Letitroll98

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Re: Shielded RCA cables
« Reply #9 on: 2 Sep 2018, 01:38 pm »
Supposedly unshielded cables sound better so I've subconsciously gravitated to those cables, but I've never been able to detect a difference based solely on that criteria.  On the other hand I've never had an RFI/EMI issue I could detect either.  For me it's a non issue, others may have different experiences.

lokie

Re: Shielded RCA cables
« Reply #10 on: 2 Sep 2018, 01:47 pm »
My first advice... you have to experiment with your own system. Don't listen to people who have advice that says... "this is the way it is".Every component is different w different power transformers. Output Transformers, and million different schematic schemes not to mention power quality coming to the house etc., etc., etc..

But, here's my experience: My RCA interconnects are heavily shielded and they work great on everything. My pre-amp did not like the various shielded power cords and prefers to be plugged directly into its own dedicated home run.  My DAC likes shielded PC's and is plugged into a power conditioner.
Amps have shielded PC's and sound great but still experimenting here.

Speedskater

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Re: Shielded RCA cables
« Reply #11 on: 2 Sep 2018, 03:27 pm »
Supposedly unshielded cables sound better so I've subconsciously gravitated to those cables, but I've never been able to detect a difference based solely on that criteria.  On the other hand I've never had an RFI/EMI issue I could detect either.  For me it's a non issue, others may have different experiences.
Or it may be that there is a little bit of interference cause background noise that you have come to enjoy.

John Atkinson
Stereophile magazine
August 2005
I think that what the listener perceives with this cable is that at low levels, the sound is fattened and made more coherent-sounding by the dominant second-harmonic distortion. In addition, the presence of background noise cannot be dismissed, as there is some evidence that introducing small amounts of random noise results in a sound that is preferred by listeners. At higher signal levels, transients are accompanied by bursts of higher harmonics. However, these subside as quickly as they appeared. The overall effect is to render the system sound as being more vivid,


I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Shielded RCA cables
« Reply #12 on: 2 Sep 2018, 07:20 pm »
My first advice... you have to experiment with your own system. Don't listen to people who have advice that says... "this is the way it is".Every component is different w different power transformers. Output Transformers, and million different schematic schemes not to mention power quality coming to the house etc., etc., etc..

But, here's my experience: My RCA interconnects are heavily shielded and they work great on everything. My pre-amp did not like the various shielded power cords and prefers to be plugged directly into its own dedicated home run.  My DAC likes shielded PC's and is plugged into a power conditioner.
Amps have shielded PC's and sound great but still experimenting here.


Great advice, what works for one system may not work for another.  I have tried various IC's and XLR's and some sound different and some don't.  I settled on Belden 8402 XLR's and AQ Columbia 72v DBS XLR's which definitely give me a clear, detailed sound without sibilants.

It is all trial and error with cables and power cords.

Photon46

Re: Shielded RCA cables
« Reply #13 on: 2 Sep 2018, 07:30 pm »
Whatever the reason may be, I definitely find unshielded cables preferable in my systems. I have used unshielded Luminous Audio Synchestra Reference interconnects in both single ended and balanced configurations for many years. The only time I ever experienced any negative consequences was the brief period of time when a neighbor was using HAM radio.

FullRangeMan

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Re: Shielded RCA cables
« Reply #14 on: 2 Sep 2018, 09:55 pm »
I have a Hartke amp that used pickup taxi CB radios when this equipment was in fashion in the 1990s.

Letitroll98

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Re: Shielded RCA cables
« Reply #15 on: 2 Sep 2018, 10:22 pm »
Or it may be that there is a little bit of interference cause background noise that you have come to enjoy.

I could buy that if I had a preference for shielded or unshielded cables, but as noted in my post I don't.  My favorite cables are shielded, I have other, unshielded cables that I like nearly as much, and other shielded cables that are terrible.  IME it doesn't seem to make a difference, I can recognize that for others it does, my guess is I haven't had identical examples of shielded and unshielded cables to make a fair comparison.  Other factors swamp the shield issue for me.  Separately I agree that we can often be fooled into thinking a little noise or second harmonic sounds better.

Early B.

Re: Shielded RCA cables
« Reply #16 on: 2 Sep 2018, 11:27 pm »
Separately I agree that we can often be fooled into thinking a little noise or second harmonic sounds better.

I have a buddy who has said to me more than once, "I like a little bit of mud in my system," after listening to my system. Music, naturally, has lots of "mud" in it (you'll rarely encounter a black background in nature). It's us audiophiles who crave a "purer" (and probably unnatural) sound. Cables help us tune the sound to our liking.

Charles Calkins

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Re: Shielded RCA cables
« Reply #17 on: 6 Sep 2018, 08:18 pm »
 
Hi guys:
      My new turntable has detachable RCA cables. Don't see that on most cheap turntables.
      It came with very skinny cables. Maybe 22 gauge or less. I went through my audio parts
      boxes and found a pair of 2 foot Monster RCA cables. Hooked them up and turntable sounded
      much better.
       I had read about shielded RCA cables so I thought I'd get a pair of them. Something CHEAP!!!
       I bought a pair of Monoprice Monolith RCA silver cables with 24K gold plated Connectors.
       And they are foil shielded.

         MY GOD!!!  They make everything sound BRIGHT!! Not for me. I'll stick with the monsters.

        If you have a kind of soft sounding system the Monoprice cables will sure as hell brighten
        up your system. So that is my adventure with shielded cables. I wonder if  being silver has
        anything to do with brightness.

                                                   Cheers

                                                Charlie
                                                 Charlie

gregfisk

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Re: Shielded RCA cables
« Reply #18 on: 7 Sep 2018, 06:43 am »
I use shielded cables everywhere, I have tried both and don't notice anything negative using shielded cables.

On the other hand, if I don't use a shielded cable from the cable box to my TV I get a very clear ghost on the screen. I have 3 large TV towers line of sight to my house so why not keep all that noise out of my audio system. Having everything shielded just makes sense to me and I don't have to worry about RFI/EMI. I really don't see how a shield on a wire can have a negative effect but whatever works for everyone else is fine by me.

FullRangeMan

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Re: Shielded RCA cables
« Reply #19 on: 7 Sep 2018, 06:47 am »
Few audiophiles measure the RFI/EMI may to affect his room anyway.