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Suggestions 10' Speaker Cables (Read 6498 times)
beowulf
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Re: Suggestions 10' Speaker Cables
Reply #45 - 08/22/13 at 01:04:50
 
maddog, thanks for all the good tips and what you're saying about break-in makes sense as well ... I have noticed that the Taboo starts shining about 20 minutes or more after it's turned on and it also makes sense with the cables.  As I mentioned earlier I have a Decware Silver interconnect and also a Rega Couple 2 interconnect ... the Decware has many more hours on it than the Rega, but I can't help but like the Decware better at this point ... I will keep a/b'ing until the Couple 2 gets some more miles on it though.
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will
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Re: Suggestions 10' Speaker Cables
Reply #46 - 08/22/13 at 06:45:28
 
Beowulf.

My room and system, but within my perceptions and preferences, the Nirvanas do compete. They have a signature though, as the others do. I am keeping them in now as I find what they bring to my sound compelling, but also to see where they go with more break in. I really like the Decware cables too, and like the Morrows also, but not unequivocally. I am hesitant about them for a number of reasons I put in post 42. The cool thing is, the Nirvanas are cheap and have a good return policy, so even if they don't fit ....

Maddog,

I have noticed cables being a bit "off" when first installed too, even when they are broken in.…worse for some than others…especially the Morrow cables really had to "warm up" a while before I felt I could listen carefully to them…the dielectric??? Likely!

At any rate, all three had been in use over the last several months, and hard as it is, I did run each a while before initial critical listening. After that, when I changed them again, I just sat down and listened to a number of the same test tunes with each, and each cable came in with the same level of settling in. This is another reason I went for hours of "passive" listening with each. Just in case.

You pose some interesting questions about "reality" in music reproduction and perception. I think these are valid and good to keep in mind, but also relative depending on ones body/mind, senses, discernment, practice, gear, gear/room synergy, and perhaps most importantly, having reason for trusting, and then believing our preferences and perceptions. I find psychoacoustic concepts interesting, and I agree that acclimating can be influential, but also feel it does not necessarily have to be to a meaningful degree. For me a lot is physical…listening fatigue being a great indicator of this.

Starting from such a satisfying music playing system, with parts and components made by folks with very good minds and ears, it appears for me that the reference concept applies more to them than me as long as my room is good.

I mean, every recording we own was made based on individual preferences using individual sets of gear, rooms and ears. And all are different! So to me, it is more a thing of adjusting my system to enjoy the recordings I love to hear to help them sound their best as much as possible (most of which are at least decent in musicality). Actually, the wide range of recording qualities, some bright, some dark, some bassy, some sizzly, and so on, seems itself a governor for keeping from getting too far off real.

In this, some audio decisions might be a touch different than adjusting for reference recordings, but not very different. For me it is about getting the system/room the best it can be toward a sense of players in the room. And after all, of all the recordings I have heard or made, none are totally accurate.

And venues for live playing…I can't even think of trying to duplicate that myself…most venues beginning compromised, often in many ways. So I need to go by the standards my system and room create, and trust my preferences to guide the way. There are the occasions when something does not work well, but luckily not often for me.

As long and hard as I have listened, first impressions often last for me. The way I listen and the way I "play" my system, with tuning and changing out tube sets every so often (as a vehicle to finding new listening pleasure as well as reaching greater levels of discernment), I believe I have come to a baseline that is pretty real. My perceptions and decisions yes, but the sounds of real instruments and real voices within this.

I check myself with the help of my wife pretty regularly. We will AB stuff and she has little or no idea what I put up is "supposed" to do. Neither do I for the most part except in a general way since the only way for me to really "get" a piece of gear is to hear it myself, in this room. Sometimes, I check whatever it is myself first to get my impressions…but also, I might just put it up and we both listen, in which case I develop my impressions on what I hear as we listen and wait for her to comment before I do. Though her words are most times a little different than mine, what is described is ALWAYS what I heard. I trust this.

This is interesting. Thanks for starting this part of this discussion… I love it when real thoughts stimulate more thought.

For me, when I hear something that draws my attention, it is most often a thing that holds up with time. Either I don't agree with it in my system/room, or I do, in which case I might flesh out the subtler details with time…or not. Most times I really like what it brings to the system, perhaps because I rarely try anything out of the blue, using trusted sources as pointers. But also, as my room and system become more refined, it accepts synergistically more variety of decent stuff than it once did.

In this exploration, many things that "stick out" at first can be really good….more refined transparency; forgiving qualities of warmth that do not compromise detail and which still hang within a neutral feeling framework; more satisfying bass; better timbre; better attack and decay; micro or macro dynamics, or micro detail..textures, or whatever.

It actually constantly amazes me how a system/room that is so good can get better by following and trusting perceptions and preferences! With the vast variety in recordings and mixes of good music, for me it actually becomes an imperative to try to help the system awaken them as much as possible, sheerly for the increased pleasure of hearing them.  "Accurate" to the original recording may not be very true to the real sound of instruments...players or singers in rooms. This is my objective, to help pull out the real sound of music right here. I think it is safe to say that many recordings sound better here than they did in the studio or live venue. Why not improve them with an excellent system/room.

It is tricky, and there are many places where we could stumble, but I doubt I would like a system that was completely accurate. Then all those different rooms, and recording gear, and mixing gear, and mastering gear, and digitizing gear, and all the rest that was not accurate to begin with, will sound inaccurate in terms of a real musical experience.

As I "write out loud" I guess I find accuracy a bit mythical. No matter how good the technology and gear, and the measuring gear, finally it is people running the gear and making decisions based on their preferences and perceptions. And we all know that gear and technical knowledge is constantly developing, change that by definition rules out ultimate accuracy.

I do like that the gear makers I like use good references along with their knowledge of tech and most importantly their great perception and discernment.…it puts me in a good ballpark for my personal exploration and refinement of all that I hear in tuning my system/room to satisfy me.

I guess one safety factor that can help keep us on course is this: Though few recordings are accurate in fact (or recorded in accurate rooms), most who made recordings of good music were trying to make it sound real within the framework of a given economic environment, technology, gear/systems, and rooms…all of which, they also tried to make sound real. But few are alike.

So if we make our systems feel right within the the variety of the above, there is likely a "balance" within the imbalance of recordings that can work with. We might lose a little of the best of the best in terms original accuracy, but we might also improve upon a lot of recordings that are not so accurate. At the same time, I don't really think those more accurate recordings necessarily suffer from system tuning…they might have a slightly different flavor than the original mixing room, but still be great, or even get better musically. This is my experience anyway.

Luckily, we can get gear to help us get great sound in our own rooms, and we can flesh out the good of what we listen to without revealing just how bad the less good recordings are. This is a whole lot of what I love about good tube gear.

All that said, I think your suggestions for checking system sound and trying to get it real are interesting and compelling, I am just pulled into the exploration from another angle, very possibly toward a similar end.
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« Last Edit: 08/22/13 at 15:50:10 by will »  

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maddog07
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Re: Suggestions 10' Speaker Cables
Reply #47 - 08/30/13 at 18:31:23
 
OK.. I promised I would report back on my experience with the Goertz MI2 between my Torii MK.III and my high-efficiency, full-range, crossoverless DIY's - here it is.

Once again, I continue to be stunned & amazed at the Torii/Audio Nirvana combo.  It's upsetting the turnip cart and shattering "knowns" that had become "givens" in my audio experience of the last 30+ years.
Prior to the above said combo, I have preferred the Goertz wires in "every" system I've ever heard them in.  Not so, in the Torii/Audio Nirvana configuration.  It's not that the Goertz were "bad" - far from it - just "different" and I preferred the other cables, which are Nordost Red Dawn.  Another member on this forum compared and contrasted Nordost cables with Zen Styx in another thread not long ago.  I believe the guy had Vahalla's... which are just too far into the $$$ lunacy realm for wire for me.  But I bought the biwire Red Dawns I have, used, for a mere pittance.  The other poster, commented that the Zen Styx sounded so much like the Vahalla's that he could not reliably tell them apart, so he sold the much more $$$ Nordost and kept the Zen Styx - all this is dependent on my memory here... so don't quote me on this - just search the forum for the discussion.

If the Red Dawn's I have, sound similar to Zen Styx.. then the Zen Styx would be my preference between my Torii and my DIY Audio Nirvana's.  However, I am still running Goertz silver IC's, sources to pre and pre to Torii and prefer them over any other IC's I've tried so far... so my "known" about Goertz hasn't been completely shattered.!

will

yep... listening "fatigue" is the #2 thing I listen to, after the initial check for traits that draw unnatural attention to themselves.  I don't think I could come to live with wires that take "hours of passive" listening to settle-in every time I turn on the system.  I can barely stand the 30-45 minutes it takes my Torii to reach "thermal stability" as Steve refers to it.  My listening time is "precious" and is all about quality and not as much "quantity" as I would like.  I get listening time in small chunks.. an hour - hour and a half max usually.  So I need things "there" as quickly as possible.  I currently kind of have to plan my listening.  Go down to the man-cave, get everything fired up and something playing at low volume - come back in an hour, usually before bed, to "listen", relax and unwind.  I require a system that comes "on song" relatively quickly.
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beowulf
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Re: Suggestions 10' Speaker Cables
Reply #48 - 08/31/13 at 05:15:56
 
Quote:
maddog07 said,
then the Zen Styx would be my preference between my Torii and my DIY Audio Nirvana's.


The Zen Styx would be my preference if I could afford them ... I will always be on the lookout for a used pair to come up, but I rarely see them in the classifieds!
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will
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Re: Suggestions 10' Speaker Cables
Reply #49 - 08/31/13 at 06:15:41
 
maddog.

I agree on the cables and amp warmup. I would hate to have to play cables for hours before serious listening. I thought I had heard the Morrow cables sounding a little dead after not playing for some weeks, so decided to let them and the Styx "warm up" before serious and critical listening. I had had the Virtues in for a while, so little concern there (except that they probably are not fully burned in). I don't recall having heard this with the Styx before...but played it safe. When I was listening daily to the Morrows, I don't recall hearing this. Actually I believe I recall Morrow saying to let them work in a bit when changing systems, or after prolonged non-use. Lots of little wires with lots of dielectric likely the culprit.

I always try to turn on my Torii for a half hour or so before listening and leave my DAC and Zstage on all the time.

Did I interpret correctly....my assumption is that you don't have Styx, but base your Styx observation on someone saying the Styx sound like the Red Dawns and you prefer your Red Dawns over the Goertz in this case?

I would love to hear your DYI speakers with the Torii....sounds like a great thing!
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beowulf
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Re: Suggestions 10' Speaker Cables
Reply #50 - 08/31/13 at 08:35:33
 
Quote:
will said,
Actually I believe I recall Morrow saying to let them work in a bit when changing systems, or after prolonged non-use. Lots of little wires with lots of dielectric likely the culprit.


Paul from Clear Day told me the same thing ... he said that ... although the cables he was sending me were very broken in to let them play at least 10 hours in my system before any critical listening.  I have a pair of the Clear Day Shotguns coming tomorrow so looking forward to hearing them in my setup.  He still doesn't have a Double Shotgun pair to send me just yet.  He's a great guy to deal with though!
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ZENCDUSER
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Re: Suggestions 10' Speaker Cables
Reply #51 - 08/31/13 at 14:33:50
 
I've used Clear Day single run cables in the past, and have used a 12 ft pair of Mapleshade Clearview Golden Helix cables for the past two years with Hornshoppes, and now Omega Super 3S.  I bought them used for $100 ( about 170 new).  Great clarity at all freqs,  and wide soundstaging.  They do require several hundred hours of break-in to eliminate some upper frequency harshness, despite the thin dielectric.
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will
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Re: Suggestions 10' Speaker Cables
Reply #52 - 08/31/13 at 15:27:56
 
Beowulf,

I look forward to your impressions with the clearday edit: double shotguns in your system/room. Looking at emails, I tried the singles and then shotguns. The shotguns had more bass info, were very clear in my system...a good clear...not edgy....also very fast, but for me lacked some mid-bass weight and warmth, so were not quite for me  balance-wise. It looks like I had the SE34I.2 with MG944s for my testing.

Anyway, hope they fit!

Zencduser,

how do you feel about the bass and mid-bass with the mapleshades?
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« Last Edit: 09/01/13 at 06:04:10 by will »  

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Lon
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Re: Suggestions 10' Speaker Cables
Reply #53 - 09/20/13 at 19:18:59
 
I decided to try the Mapleshade Double Helix Plus and burned them in for over 300 hours in my  second system. Then I put them in place of the Decware Zen Styx in the main system.

They are not coming out any time soon. It's hard to best the Styx in my main system, but these have all that I love about the Styx and a bit more "mellowness"--a bit of forwardness gone. And I think I hear what will does in the Styx, that little bit of smearing. . . that's diminished in the Double Helix. Really like what I'm hearing, a lot.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Suggestions 10' Speaker Cables
Reply #54 - 09/20/13 at 20:33:50
 

Interesting. (looking those up) It's a neat idea how they have them "shielded" I wonder if the thin gauge twist helps with that smearing...

I could totally make a set of these using the same wire as the Styx, just in the appropriate gauge. I wonder if it would be the best of both worlds.

I don't get how the ground is connected though...it almost looks like it would have to all drain down the amp side negative...hmmm...I guess I just need to figure out what gauge they are using and see!



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Lon
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Re: Suggestions 10' Speaker Cables
Reply #55 - 09/20/13 at 20:41:36
 
I'm pretty sure the cryo treatment plays a factor here as well.

Just plain great sound right now. Expensive (and I don't DYI) but worth it to me. . . . Nice change.  And I think I can use the Zen Styx in my Dad's system, should work (the PS Audio xStream Statement cables wouldn't connectors were too large.)
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« Last Edit: 09/20/13 at 21:03:18 by Lon »  

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maddog07
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Re: Suggestions 10' Speaker Cables
Reply #56 - 09/20/13 at 21:28:58
 
the Mapleshade's are speaker wire taken to its most elemental form - "less is more".  Minimal insulation, single solid core conductors.  I don’t have the Double Helix Plus… just the plain vanilla Golden Helix and they are a revelation in clarity if you have been listening to the garden hose variety passive equalizer boutique “wire” that costs more than the components you have them connected to…!!!!  
The extra wire added to the braid in the Double Helix is meant to act as a “shield drain”, connected to the circuit at only one end.  I can’t comment on the “plus” version… probably cryo’d, but Mapleshade marketing is not spinning it as that exactly.
I can’t tell you their exact gauge… never seen it in print, haven’t tried to determine it… but its less than 12 awg. As compared visually to some other wire known to have 12 awg. Solid conductors.
The stuff is pretty truthful and neutral.  If you have any nasties upstream, bright speakers or a lively room – it will tell you asap.  But if the rest of the system is up to snuff, it’s hard to beat for the bucks, if accuracy in your wires is your goal.
I think I read in one of Steve's papers or maybe even in the write-up about the Styx, that you can separate them, or twist the + and - leads together in slow twist of a couple of turns per foot and effect how they sound... try it and see is the gist here.

There are only 3 things that make up sound science and engineering for the transmission of electrical signals thru a wire, inductance, capacitance and resistance – which all figure into impedance.  And after all, we are talking about very small “distances” of signal travel here for us audio nerds.  If a given wire can pass perfect signals(measurable) at human auditory frequencies without frequency alteration, amplitude loss or phase errors… it’s a perfect conductor for our purposes.  If this wire is in a noisy environment, it might need shielding.  But after that folks, it’s all snake oil, ferry dust and Voo-Doo science… i.e. the pile of $$ you laid down for those garden hoses are “passive equalizers” that are “changing” the signal.  You may like the "change", but they are changing the signal, and not merely passing the signal as accurately as possible.  Spend your money on better components, or components that “sound” the way you “desire” and not on “wire” that changes the sound the components are making - it $$ better spent IMO and experience.

let the defensive flaming of 4+ $ figure wire begin!! ::) 
nothing prompts more heated debate than the discussion of "wire".
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Suggestions 10' Speaker Cables
Reply #57 - 09/20/13 at 22:07:15
 

Well said, and my thoughts exactly. That's why I'm hard pressed to pay $1000 for a cable, or even $400 for that matter.
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beowulf
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Re: Suggestions 10' Speaker Cables
Reply #58 - 09/20/13 at 23:02:38
 
Well, I had a almost 2 weeks to spend listening to the Clear Day Cables and compare them to my El Ceapo Cables2Go 12 AWG Velocity Speaker Cables.

First off, Paul (the owner) is as nice of a person as they come, he is great to deal with and has a really nice product.  From first inspection you can tell the cables are made really nice and they also look cool ... so they have some nice eye candy going on (way prettier than my current cables for sure).

Now here's where it gets sticky ... I think when I used them I got a little more sparkle in the highs compared to my El Cheapos and having the single driver Omegas - a little sparkle in the top end is a good thing IMO.  However if I left the room and somebody swapped them out on me without my knowledge I doubt I would be able to tell the difference from my old cables.

I really wanted to like the cables, but I just can't justifying spending $280 for cables where I couldn't see a huge improvement from the cables that I already have.  Can I say without a doubt that they are better?  Yes ... well maybe?  But I can't say they are $280 better than what I currently have.

I'm a vet and on limited income - so I just couldn't see that they made enough difference to purchase them (when I could use the money for something else such as music).  I'm not sure if my ears are just shot as I have been shooting guns and jumping out of aircraft for many years and all those loud noises may have caught up to me as I don't know if I can hear the details that a lot of you guys are hearing when you describe your experiences.  Maybe that or I just don't have enough experience yet.  It doesn't mean that I've given up hope on cables, so I think I will continue to audition a few more products before I decide if they can make a big enough difference to me to purchase some ... but I can at least feel confident that the current cables were comparable to a higher end brand and I can take my time to find ones that I like or make a bigger difference to me.

But the kicker is, I sent the cables back to Paul a few days ago and I think I kind of miss them Huh Grin
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« Last Edit: 09/20/13 at 23:04:18 by beowulf »  
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maddog07
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Re: Suggestions 10' Speaker Cables
Reply #59 - 09/21/13 at 00:05:04
 
the only high dollar wire whose cost can be somewhat justified IMO, are the ones based on solid silver... silver has increased in price significantly in the last few years.   And this would cause silver plated wire to rise some also... but silver-plated wire has a few microns of silver coating on it at best.  so listen carefully here and try before you buy.

The other thing that you rarely see discussed in depth, at least from the perspective that it actually affects, is the termination, or the connector.  There are a lot of very smart people with decades of electrical engineering experience, training and knowledge that will tell you that for speaker wire, the best connector is "no" connector.  Because the connector is likely to have different metallurgy than the wire, a different impedance than the wire, etc.  I think Steve even lives in this camp.  By the same notion, “no” insulation, i.e. “air” is the best insulation.  RCA plugs and jacks are a total crapshoot too… no clearly defined industry standard and they vary wildly.  The exception being 75 ohm connectors for coaxial wire for video signals and generally s/pdif digital signals also.

I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that I once fell for some of the ridiculous claims made by some of the boutique wire companies.  There came a day, when I participated in my first volume matched to within  1/10th of a volt measured at the speaker terminals AB/X test, that changed my perspective on the hi-end wire industry game forever.  Yes there is wire that generally has a certain “affect” on the sound, and sometimes the effect is desirable and sometimes not.  And there is a lot of reasonably priced wire that is “accurate” and “neutral”.  A lot of people would be stunned to discover, if given the opportunity to have it demonstrated to them, that typically, the more expensive and “exotic” the design… the more “tailoring” of the sound the wire does.  I thinks it just makes far more sense to use competent wire, based on sound, long-established, electrical parameters that can be had for reasonable costs and spend your hard earned $$ on better components… or the most ignored component of 99% of systems – room acoustics.  You’ll get far more for your $$$.

what I find quite entertaining at times, is the latest "revelation" in speaker wire or IC's, where the creator has gone to great length and in some cases, expense, to create some hi-tech solution to a problem that has already been solved long, long ago.  Yet they present it as "new", "radical", "revolutionary".  They just seem to take great satisfaction in impressing themselves with their discovery of a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist.  And then they come up with some wild marketing to spin it on the naïve and gullible.  Caveat emptor applies here more than just about anywhere else, with the possible exception of the used car business, and late night infomercials!  Do not miss my point…yep… most of them do “affect” the sound – and you may like the effect, but you may not.  And you may very likely be strangling the true performance potential of your system.  But doesn’t it make more sense to use “neutral” conduits of the electrical signal, at reasonable cost, and let the components, your speakers and your room acoustics determine the sonic personality of your system?  I’m just saying…. From a logical and deductive reasoning standpoint, this just makes more sense.

Want to have some fun?  Have you ever attended the RMAF?  Of course take along your favorite reference tunes to listen to on the hundreds of systems and components on display – everybody does.  What everybody doesn’t do, is take along a set of speaker cables and a couple pair of IC’s that are their reference and/or known to be neutral/accurate in the best sense.  Not too many of the exhibitors will let you change cabling… but you might be surprised how many will.  This is not something I go around trying to do, just to see if I can get away with it.  Something I hear or detect as “wrong” has to be present before I spend my time doing this.  One year I went in to a room that had a combination of components and speakers that should have been making some righteous sound.  I had heard the gear before in other systems and even owned a different model of speaker from the speaker company and models from the amp/preamp brand before as well.  The exhibitor was in a good size room, one of the larger suites, so it shouldn’t have been all the rooms fault either.  The sound in this room was so dull, flat and lifeless it was just embarrassing IMO for the exhibitor.  So I was looking for what was “wrong”.  The only complete unknown to me was the speaker cable and IC’s in use.  No name dropping hear.  But suffice it to say, the speaker cable was huge… like a python laying there on the floor, with large “boxes” on the ends that were probably full of resistors, capacitors, inductors, lord knows what else – at least a large dose of ferry dust and real eye-candy dressing.  I thought “hmmmm”.  I kindly ask the exhibitor if I could come back late, after the show officially closed that evening and listen to the system again – and substitute my wire.  Guy looked at me like I had not two, but three heads… “why would you want to do that?”.  I didn’t tell him that his $150,000 display sucked arse.. I just said, for a “reference”.  I was genuinely interested in the speakers on display.  He said, “well, I guess we could do that – what do you have?”.  I showed him, he kind of grinned.. and said “sure”.  So confident was he, that my wires would just completely ruin this wonderful sounding system he had on display(not) and degrade it into an intolerable mass of noise.
Evening came, I went back and there were other “after hours” attendees.  There was a guy there about to write a check for the speakers on the spot.  Not sure what his reference was, but he seemed like he had drank about 4 pots of coffee too much, and just could not part with his $$ fast enough.  He definitely “drank the kool-aid” already and his credit card had already been debited.  Anyway… I had to endure him listening to this system sounding like mud, while he continued to try and convince himself that it was the greatest thing he’d ever heard.  Nothing could convince this guy that this system sounded horrible.  Throw a big heavy comforter over your speakers and you can get an idea what it sounded like.  Finally, I got my chance.  We removed the super-sonic, space-modulated, hyper-spiraled, quantum physics manipulated, etc. etc. cables and installed my lowly cables.  Fifteen seconds into the first song played, the over excitable prospective buyer decided he needed to go home and change his wires…. When he left, the exhibitor came over to me and ask me if he could use my cables for the rest of the show.  I smiled, another true believer had just been enlightened.  Then he admitted, that prior to the show, he had never heard these cables used in his equipment before… it was a manufacturer to manufacturer agreement for the show…. I kindly suggested, he might want to listen to the combination of components he was going to display at the show - “before” the show next time.  I rested my case – and took my wires with me too!  

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