Quality over Quantity

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dflee

Quality over Quantity
« on: 19 Dec 2020, 04:02 pm »
So, here's the question.
You've had the system running and want to try a different cable.
Do you:
A - Spend the money you have on one upper priced or.
B - Go down the ladder and get a couple for a full run.
Full run in most cases would be a couple (source to pre
and pre to amp).
What direction would you head?

Don

rajacat

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Re: Quality over Quantity
« Reply #1 on: 19 Dec 2020, 04:17 pm »
A recent experience made me think that the pre to amp IC is the most influential because my setup is bi-amped. YMMV..etc

Rusty Jefferson

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Re: Quality over Quantity
« Reply #2 on: 19 Dec 2020, 05:10 pm »
I believe it's important to change to a single type, including digital. Compare types, then you can mix and match if you like until you find the sound you're after. Replacing a single interconnect that could potentially add more extension and air to the system, may be bottlenecked if the other cables have opposite characteristics. Once you hear the airy cables, you may like it, or want to dial it back slightly by inserting the other type 1 at a time in different positions.

So many companies allow home demo now, you're not (ultimately) committing money until you decide. And there's also the Cable Company that you can try and return to.

If you want to try 1 at a time, I'd suggest swapping digital cables first. I believe they can have the biggest impact.

Tyson

Re: Quality over Quantity
« Reply #3 on: 19 Dec 2020, 06:01 pm »
Spend all the $$ on one cable to go from source to preamp.  Live with it for a while and then save up to get the best cable you can afford between preamp and amp.

In my experience, changes that are closer to the source (DAC or Turntable) have a larger impact than changes further down the line.  This assumes that the system is relatively balanced and has no glaring weaknesses that need to be addressed first.

S Clark

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Re: Quality over Quantity
« Reply #4 on: 19 Dec 2020, 06:03 pm »
Spend all the $$ on one cable to go from source to preamp.  Live with it for a while and then save up to get the best cable you can afford between preamp and amp.

In my experience, changes that are closer to the source (DAC or Turntable) have a larger impact than changes further down the line.  This assumes that the system is relatively balanced and has no glaring weaknesses that need to be addressed first.
This is my experience as well.  Buy one good cable, start looking for used to fill in as deals show up. 

Elizabeth

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Re: Quality over Quantity
« Reply #5 on: 20 Dec 2020, 04:49 am »
experiment with cables. move them around, see which matters. I would suggest trying a good able in all positions. Do not let some theory cloud the process. You may be surprised where it matters the most. Then perhaps get a second one of the kind you liked. again move them around.
Plus the break in. Some cables sound great right off, a lot need a few days. if it needs months. Forget that. (Basically if you dislike the sound do not let some dealer say it had to break in.. if you listened for a week and it sucks it is going to suck period. ( yes I know all about one brands claim it takes many months to break in

twitch54

Re: Quality over Quantity
« Reply #6 on: 20 Dec 2020, 03:02 pm »
first thing is to clean ALL connections on your existing cables, when was the last time you did that ? After that do 'you' have a feeling as what your weakest link is, cable wise ? Are all your IC's a meter or less in length ? What kind of speakers are you listing to , for if stats do you know the capacitance rating of your current speaker cables ?

IMO and like most cable (wire) discussions, eventually the thread goes in the toilet (hopefully this one won't). Regardless just remember there are plenty of well made, reasonably priced cables for your needs. No need to spend foolish $$ and I would be willing to bet and not knowing your room / setup that your $$ would be better spent on room / acoustic interaction.

Which ever way you go, have fun !

nrenter

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Re: Quality over Quantity
« Reply #7 on: 26 Dec 2020, 05:18 pm »
first thing is to clean ALL connections on your existing cables, when was the last time you did that ?

Amen. I have a hypothesis that the sound change typically most prevalent during a first-time impact-of-cable-change experience is due to a clean connector up against a dirty connector that was just unseated and re-seated (aka mechanically cleaned). Get yourself the Caig DeOx and Gold treatment kits and spend an evening cleaning / treating EVERY physical junction you can. Listen to the change. After a few weeks (or even months) go though EVERYTHING again. NOW you’re at a baseline to hear the differences in cables.

Maybe you buy a “cheap” cable and find a dealer / friend to loan you an “expensive” cable so you can compare the differences.

Letitroll98

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Re: Quality over Quantity
« Reply #8 on: 27 Dec 2020, 03:52 pm »
first thing is to clean ALL connections on your existing cables, when was the last time you did that ? After that do 'you' have a feeling as what your weakest link is, cable wise ? Are all your IC's a meter or less in length ? What kind of speakers are you listing to , for if stats do you know the capacitance rating of your current speaker cables ?

I second this and would go even further.  I can't tell you how many cables I've reterminated to find serious corrosion deep into the cables themselves.  Not such a problem for reviewers comparing brand new cables, but for us civilians it's very likely that your old cable is significantly compromised even after cleaning all the contacts.

DaveC113

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Re: Quality over Quantity
« Reply #9 on: 27 Dec 2020, 06:19 pm »
I second this and would go even further.  I can't tell you how many cables I've reterminated to find serious corrosion deep into the cables themselves.  Not such a problem for reviewers comparing brand new cables, but for us civilians it's very likely that your old cable is significantly compromised even after cleaning all the contacts.

Yes, this is a major issue and doesn't get enough attention!

Many cables are simply poorly designed and will corrode over time... things like air or cotton dielectric perform well, but maybe only until the corrosion sets in. Many other cables are poorly terminated and thus will corrode over time even if it's a well designed and machine made cable.

Also, some cables like foil cables, can't really be bent without compromising the cable, or the designer simply uses separate runs of foil which gives you poor and also variable electrical characteristics. Some run 2 ribbons side by side with both ribbons terminated into the same connector (RCA or XLRs for example). These cables can't be bent without putting so much stress on the cable that it will fail at the termination or the insulation in the cable will fail.

It's difficult to wade through all of this because there are so few defined facts and science about audio cables. Also, there are massive amounts of poorly designed and constructed cables on the market and people don't know how to identify them or who to believe.

dflee

Re: Quality over Quantity
« Reply #10 on: 27 Dec 2020, 06:43 pm »
Ok, so I've got copper, gold plated and silver connections.
What would you recommend I use to clean?
And after hearing the Hapa cable in my system I now want
a combination of TWL and Hapa if that's possible. I love TWL
for the depth of the instrument sound and am amazed at the detail
without glare of the Hapa.
Just can't afford to go down the rabbit hole.
All comments are appreciated thus far. Special thanks to Dave.

Don

dflee

Re: Quality over Quantity
« Reply #11 on: 27 Dec 2020, 06:49 pm »
One other question concerning corrosion.
Is some corrosion due to electrolysis? Can certain metals dissimilarities
be a culprit? Specially with current running through them.

Don

DaveC113

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Re: Quality over Quantity
« Reply #12 on: 27 Dec 2020, 08:33 pm »
One other question concerning corrosion.
Is some corrosion due to electrolysis? Can certain metals dissimilarities
be a culprit? Specially with current running through them.

Don

If you have significant ground current it does seem to leave deposits on your gear over time, generally on the plating of your ground connections, so if you stay on top of it it's no big deal, but I've had folks who failed to clean, and the deposits resulted in reduced conductivity over time, which makes the ground loop more audible. Basically, if you have hum that gets louder over time this is very likely your issue. Once you get to this level of contamination it's very difficult to clean off without damaging the plating.

I have noticed this can happen regardless of the metal used for plating the connectors, but I also think it's best to use the same materials in any mating connectors. For example my power cables with FI-50 NCF rhodium plated plugs do sound best using Furutech GTX NCF receptacles, both plug and receptacle use the exact same conductor and plating. Unfortunately, this is beyond what most folks are willing to do so they can never experience the products operating at their optimum levels. In my system I have all receptacles and IEC inlets rhodium plated pure copper Furutech NCF parts, and all of my power cables use the FI-50 NCF plugs. While this isn't an inexpensive solution, having the entire system wired this way makes a massive improvement over a little of this, a little of that approach. I think the latter approach inserts too many different types of artifacts of distortions into the system and you can hear them all. While NCF parts may not be perfect, they are as close as you'll get and if you only use those parts there's only ONE sound signature being inserted into the system so overall you get better clarity and no issues with strange artifacts you sometimes get by using different plating types together. Especially in AC power this tends to be an issue, moreso vs IC or SC connections. I've had customers replace gold receptacles with rhodium and report back that it gets rid of a hard edge to the sound, makes it sound more relaxed, etc.. which is not what you'd normally expect by exchanging gold for rhodium plated parts, but there it is. IMO this is part of the reason rhodium has been criticized, but it's misguided for the above reasons. Rhodium used with rhodium and with a pure copper base metal, is as neutral as it gets... except for WBT's platinum plated silver parts. :)

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Quality over Quantity
« Reply #13 on: 27 Dec 2020, 09:24 pm »
Ok, so I've got copper, gold plated and silver connections.
What would you recommend I use to clean?
And after hearing the Hapa cable in my system I now want
a combination of TWL and Hapa if that's possible. I love TWL
for the depth of the instrument sound and am amazed at the detail
without glare of the Hapa.
Just can't afford to go down the rabbit hole.
All comments are appreciated thus far. Special thanks to Dave.

Don



Get DeoxIT contact cleaner

DaveC113

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Re: Quality over Quantity
« Reply #14 on: 27 Dec 2020, 09:46 pm »


Get DeoxIT contact cleaner

I would avoid the stuff with gold, G5 I think... it goes everywhere. Instead get a cleaner that leaves no residue and clean thoroughly, then apply Caig G100 and then attempt to remove as much of it as possible with a dry q-tip, this tends to leave about the right amount.

twitch54

Re: Quality over Quantity
« Reply #15 on: 28 Dec 2020, 04:06 pm »
I would avoid the stuff with gold, G5 I think... it goes everywhere. Instead get a cleaner that leaves no residue and clean thoroughly, then apply Caig G100 and then attempt to remove as much of it as possible with a dry q-tip, this tends to leave about the right amount.

good point !

dflee

Re: Quality over Quantity
« Reply #16 on: 30 Dec 2020, 04:56 pm »
How would one check for corrosion within the cable?
Would checking continuity work or do you have to tear it apart.
Seems like even if there were no corrosion once it was torn apart, it's trashed.
I do have some professional contact cleaner. Can I use that with the Caig 100?
Don

Letitroll98

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Re: Quality over Quantity
« Reply #17 on: 1 Jan 2021, 01:40 pm »
That's my problem and why I just switched cables.  There was mild corrosion as far back as I stripped the wire, which was only as much as you need to reterminate.  Going further will mean installing new boots which I need to order.  One assumes you cut back until you get clean wire, if that doesn't happen the cable was trashed anyway.

DaveC113

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Re: Quality over Quantity
« Reply #18 on: 1 Jan 2021, 04:49 pm »
If you can see any corrosion right where the wire is stripped, then it's probably inside the wire, cut the insulation back and check.

This can happen with cheaper stranded wire, it leaves too much air space between the strands so the insulation doesn't make an air tight seal. I remember many years ago I had an auto shop, couldn't figure out why this Toyota truck wouldn't start. Eventually I tried bypassing the starter cable with another one and it started right up. The owner had installed some cheap wire and it still looked brand new, but because of this issue resistance was increased to the point the starter couldn't get enough current even though voltage at the starter read normal.

Good quality stranded wire is built to avoid this issue, for example mil-spec wire won't strip properly using the normal wire stripper for that gauge stranded wire, it's too big. This wire has about the same diameter as solid-core.