High end cables, snake oil!


New member
Username: Smu1976

St. Louis, MO United States

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jul-07
I just often crack up when I hear all these reviews on cables, power cords, etc. There is no sonic difference in a $5000 interconnect and the correct guage lamp cord from Radio Shack, not even Monster Cord improves your sound.

In my opinion learn from the real Pro's in the audio industry, or have your local audio store demonstrate a double blind crossover with any definitive effects. it will not happen! Don't fall the statement, "even my wife hears the difference with this cable" which is a over played sales line.

From the following site:

The Truth about Speaker Wire

Gordon Gow's Speaker Wire Listening Test

I have read several magazine articles and papers expressing the findings and opinions about the various kinds of speaker wire. Some engineers have applied their expertise to make measurements to prove conclusively that there ARE differences between wires. A few authors have devoted their entire paper to the measurements and never mention whether they have actually made any listening tests or if they could hear any difference. Despite all the measurements and opinions, the final test is whether you can hear any difference or not. Obviously, this must be done under controlled conditions where you don't know which wire is connected and there is no delay in switching.

In the early 1980's, special speaker wires were beginning to appear on the market. Some of the claims were totally unbelievable and had prices to match. Realizing that wire resistance was the critical factor in speaker wire, Gordon Gow, President of McIntosh Laboratory, used a speaker cable demonstration to show there was no listening difference between these wires and plain line cord. He delivered his presentation about the truth in speaker wire using a reel of Monster cable to stand on. Fifty-foot lengths of wire were used in the comparison. The setup consisted of a master control relay box and two slave relay boxes. A three-position switch was used to select one of three different speaker wires of equal length. One was line cord. The other two wires were from popular manufacturers. 8-ohm speakers were selected to be used in the test. The two other brand name wires were heavier than the line cord.

The boxes now show some signs of wear. This is from being handled and traveling around in a large fiberglass case along with all of the speaker wires and connecting cables.

A slave box was positioned at each speaker. Power to drive the relays in each slave box was provided with separate cables. The speaker wires were switched at both the power amplifier and the speaker so that only one kind of wire was connected at a time. Short pieces of heavy wire were run from the speakers and amplifier to the relay boxes. No other devices were used in the speaker line. The relay contact resistance was measured to be less than 0.1 ohms. No consistent listening differences were heard by customers or dealers.

The test proved his point. When I took the test, I was unable to hear any differences using several different 8-ohm speaker systems. BUT, when I deliberately played one particular 4-ohm speaker and I switched to the line cord position, I could hear differences. I knew this system dipped down to 2.6 ohms in one frequency range, and 3 ohms in another. It verified that differences can be heard if the wire is too light for a lower impedance system. A system this low in impedance requires heavier wire. After replacing the line cord with a heavier line cord of equal length, differences could no longer be heard.


It can be solid, stranded, copper, oxygen free copper, silver, etc.--or even "magic" wire--as long as the resistance is kept to be less than 5% of the speaker impedance. There is no listening difference as long as the wire is of adequate size.

Gordon Gow, President of McIntosh proved "no difference in sound".

Despite the effectiveness of Gordon's Gow cable demonstration and the truth about speaker wire, people visiting the McIntosh room at the shows, who had not experienced the cable demonstration, were disturbed that we were using ordinary heavy zip cord instead of one of the popular brands of speaker wire. Instead of listening to the McIntosh speakers and electronics, they recalled "bad" things they had been told about "common" speaker wire and this promoted questions about the "inferior" wire being used. When we changed the wire to a popular brand of wire, customers were happy with the setup, and directed their attention to the McIntosh equipment.

The demand for high quality speaker wire was increasing and appeared to be a new marketing area for several companies. McIntosh did not make or sell speaker wire. The solution seemed very obvious--rather than spend time and effort to create negative sales for McIntosh dealers who were beginning to sell speaker wire, it seemed best to encourage the speaker owner/customer to consult with the dealer about what speaker wire to use. Consequently, I no longer recommended the kind of wire or wire sizes in the speaker manuals.

By 1988, McIntosh no longer supplied audio interconnects with the electronics. Again, many kinds of special audio cables were available to the customer/owner. The dealer could also be consulted about what cables to use.

I credit the success of the speaker wire industry to their expert sales and marketing ability. However, it is my experience that ordinary copper wire, as long as it's heavy enough, is just as good as name brands.

Looking at this from a different perspective, there will always be those who will want expensive wire, not because there is an audible difference, but because they may value pride of ownership and prestige in a similar way to that of owning a Tiffany lamp or a Rolex watch.

New member
Username: Matto1985

Waltham, MA USA

Post Number: 6
Registered: Jun-07
Sounds about right to me. I didn't know that there was absolutely no difference between plain old copper wire and all the other types you mentioned. I did know that cheap cables were just as high quality as expensive ones. I find it pretty ridiculous that people are willing to pay 3 to 4 times the price that they could get cables for just because it's a name brand. As long as it works and looks nice enough, I'm fine with it.

Silver Member
Username: Leonski

Post Number: 150
Registered: Jan-07
Don't even go there!
The cogniscenti (sp?) KNOW what they KNOW and no amount of double blind anything except Scotch Tasting will make a dent.....(sip, sip)

And for God's sake, don't even mention the 'e' word, capitalized or not.

You will get zero traction on this forum with suggestions of 'scientific double blind' testing>
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