Snake oil of the year award: Audiophile cables

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Snake oil of the year award - audiophile cables

After a very long time I introduce new article in category “Bullshit of the week”.

I believe in cable magic, don’t get me wrong, but manufactures are sometimes thinking that thicker is better. Ask yourself: how could possibly speaker, power cables or interconnects be costing more than than amplifier, speakers or new car? Vendors often prey upon the suggestible audiophile giving them reasons why these products must be utilized in their precious systems in order to achieve the best performance possible to reach the true path of audio nirvana.

Look how those cables look ridiculous and judge yourself. Better have expensive equipment and cheap, good sounding cable, than these stupid looking garden hoses.

Category: power cables

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Category: speaker cables

Category: interconnects

Beware of bullshit:

  • Promotes that their product allegedly eliminates audio related Skin Effect and/or “Strand Jumping” problems
  • Claims revolutionary breakthrough in cable technology by polarizing or biasing the dielectric using a battery
  • Claims vast improvements in sound by inserting “Cable Elevators” to raise the cables off the floor and minimize electron misfiring or static energy fields.
  • Claims that cryogenically freezing cables improves fidelity or measurably changes electrical properties after the cable is restored to room temperature.
  • Claims that their cables require a “Break In” period
  • Claims that measurements cannot quantify why their designs are superior and often misapply engineering principles in their reasoning but abandon the associated governing laws and metrics that establish them
  • Claims audible differences exist between stranded and non-stranded wires of same gauge rating, geometry and conductor spacing

If a vendor is selling you on any of these fallacies, run don’t walk away from their products, unless of course you enjoy a good sci-fi story and desire to buy expensive audio jewelery.

Top Ten Signs an Audio Cable Vendor is Selling You Snake Oil
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13 thoughts on “Snake oil of the year award: Audiophile cables

  1. Most Audio is based on dumb consumers, who don’t understand the basics. Of course you have a better SOUNDING wall plug. And the con men selling it defend the con with all sorts of BS. And they take parameters that have nothing to do with Audio signals and apply from RF or Microwave etc. FTC really needs to arrest,fine, and put out of business the con men.

    • I absolutely agree. I can’t recall any industry with so much BS such as High end audio with their false claims. So many people bought alu power strip (extesion cord) for hundreds and don’t wanna open it, just in case they might find just nest of wires.. Ridiculous!

  2. The sad part is that people who buy into overpriced nonsense like replacement AC power wires really do believe the sound improved. Without a victim willing to complain, it’s difficult to prosecute. But jail is the right place for these scoundrels. For a much more detailed look at this subject, find my AES Audio Myths video on YouTube. It’s an hour long, but it explains how audio really works in great detail.

    • And the “reviewers” with magic powers to hear the un hearable, they push the BS. Shills for all the BS produced, ever read about how one of the esteemed, hahahaha, reviewers Mr. $150,000 TT, can hear the improvements in DEMAGNETIZED Plastic record!! Holy Moly, . These record demagnetizers is only slightly above $2,000 !!! From FleeceTech I think, but it will also DEMAGNETIZE line cords(COPPER, hmm, really)? And CD’s cus you know how magnetized that polycarbonate and Al coatings get! And of course he, They ALWAYS hear the improvements, and of course when challenged tow the BS line, of standard answers, not trained listeners, system ain’t resolving enough, blah blah blah. The entire high end industry of audio is loaded with scoundrels and shills. I’d rather deal with pro and commercial audio, the stuff has more planet EARTH links! Planet RETARDO is filled with better sounding wall outlets, and non resonant cords, you know that vibrating line cord sounds bad! Are you lifting your wires off the wood floor with WOOD blocks? Cus those floors distort, holy shit, con men galore. I look at pictures of studios with live bands, there is stuff all over the floors, but on playback make sure you ensure they don’t touch the floors. Criminal

      • The easiest way to prove these people wrong is to sit them down and do a blind test with what ever they are claiming they have expert hearing for. With their knowledge so exaggerating it should be easy for them to pass the blind test. Will they ever take it? Surely not if they want to remain credible. As easy as this is to set up, this will never happen!

  3. Last, Please, Please PLEASE listen to products in your own system before commenting. If a “snake oil” purveyor is worth his salt, they will back their claims with an in-home audition.

  4. I come from an audiophile background, worked at a premier shop at one time many moons ago. Still involved but lately the whole cables, power cords especially thing has surprised me. I rarely ever here a coherent explanation why these exotic products or maybe it’s simply exotic prices of these products are better. Most of the time it might sound a little different but sound better? I’ve heard devices like a Panamax Filters ( not recommending. Just an example ) really improve ; reduce noise in the power line and improve not just sound but video images ( less noise ).
    Well recently at a friends home listening to some great jazz while getting ready to leave my friend changed the power cord to his amplifier, turned it back on and there it was, Paul chambers drum kit spread out from stage left to stage left to center stage. His kit just expanded. I asked him to put back the original power cord and Chambers kit collapsed back to the left side. One again he put back the fancy cable and voila, Chambers drums are back again. It wasn’t subtle. I measured the resistance and capacitance on both cables with my Fluke DMM but not much could be deduced from that. They measured pretty much the same. After discussing this with other knowledgeable people, they could not come to a consensus as to why the difference. One person suggested that I use a clamp meter on the amplifier end of the power cords while playing the recording and check for greater fluctuation in current. A couple of weeks later we tried this and well as the current fluctuated more on the audiophile cord.
    Maybe up to this point I wasn’t paying much attention to differences in sound or I simply didn’t care or just lazy. Frankly discussions on this subject put me to sleep but hey, I was completely surprised and even more so now that I here more differences in power cords than interconnects and speaker cable.

  5. The funny thing is that not a single cable non-believer has been able to achieve truly great results building their stereo setups. And on the opposite, the owners of the best stereo systems out there have invested a lot in cables and vibration isolation.
    I prefer to judge by not what people say but what they do…or in this particular situation – what they have achieved.
    Another thing is what these cable-critics actually own… In 95% cases it is an AVR and they use a Blu-Ray player as a source. 🙂 Hi-Fi ? Seriously ? )))))))))))
    They have no clue as to what Gryphon Tabu may sound like married to , say, Sonus Faber Guarneri ( with a s/n under 650 – the speakers started sound like crap after chinese brought in their management ).
    So, again, in 99% cases they simply cannot afford to pay 3-10K for a cable…so it’s nothing but envy.
    If they can’t afford to have it, then it’s better for their self-esteem if they pour dirt.. It just makes them feel better about themselves.
    There are plenty of cable manufacturers out there. Not all of them are great. But that’s what the hobby is for – audition and find the best for yourself. In the meantime, you’ll get some experience as to how different cables affect your setup.

  6. There also has to be some basic understanding of the product. For instance, Nordost Tyr ICs and speaker cables were designed to work together and they will NOT sound good in any other combo.
    The speaker cable by itself sounds hollow, while the interconnect has really thick sound. They work perfectly together but will imbalance the whole setup if used separately. Certain cable brands will not work well with certain brands of components…etc etc etc. This is the knowledge one gets after thousands of hours of auditioning and experimenting.
    “The more expensive – the better ” doesn’t work here…it’s all a matter of synergy. Sometimes a 200 dollar cable sounds better than a 2000 dollar one..just because it’s in the right place. However, if you want to get the best, you should be ready to pay for it.
    My cables and accessories cost more than my components and I use Mark Levinson gear which isn’t exactly cheap.
    For all those non-believers…borrow from someone some Combak Harmonix product. A vibration control set and use where it’s supposed to be used ( under a source or an amp ). You’ll be totally blown away by what these little things can do. Then you’ll start understanding that everything is not that simple in the world of audio.
    I wish I could buy an el-cheapo generic speaker cable instead of my VooDoo Stradivarius Amati and get the same or even similar transparency…I could take a vacation in Thailand with the money I’ve saved.

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