Thread: Connection cables between amp and SACD player

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Post by Lucifer September 2, 2011 (1 of 70)
Hi there, im a newby with SACD's and are only now utilising the cd player to its potential however I feel that the cables I am using are letting me down somewhat. Can someone advise me what are the best cables to be using between the amp and SACD player?

Post by Claude September 2, 2011 (2 of 70)
There are only two possibilities. Standard RCA cables (stereo or 5.1) or HDMI.

As far as RCA goes, SACD playback does not require anything special compared to other analogue sources.

Post by canonical September 2, 2011 (3 of 70)
Claude said:

There are only two possibilities. Standard RCA cables (stereo or 5.1) or HDMI.

Well, um, the new TEAC range of SACD players (CD1000/2000/3000) also supports XLR balanced output ... seems likely other SACD players do so too.

http://www.teac.eu/hifi-audio/distinction-series/

Post by canonical September 2, 2011 (4 of 70)
Lucifer said:

Hi there, im a newby with SACD's and are only now utilising the cd player to its potential however I feel that the cables I am using are letting me down somewhat. Can someone advise me what are the best cables to be using between the amp and SACD player?

I am sure there are looooooooots of opinions out there re cables. Here's mine:

When I purchased my new Marantz SACD player, I too ... like you ... looked into upgrading my interconnect cables to the amplifier. And I was really surprised at what a big difference they made ... thought I was going to be a sceptic ... and yet the difference was truly substantial. I settled on a pair of Harmonic Technology PrecisionLink Interconnects:

http://www.harmonictech.com/products/interconnects/precision-link.html

and I am absolutely delighted with them. A vast improvement over what I had been using (some cables that came bundled with a pair of STAX headphones) ... like lifting a veil ... revealing warm and transparent sound. I even invited family members (non-audiophiles) to listen ... and they thought the difference was just as clear as I did!

I also tried some Swedish cable made from silver ... and having done so, I would strongly avoid using silver cables: it is far too harsh, far too shrill, far too much high frequency ... had to sell those off.

The Harmonic Tech PrecisionLink are really beautiful: both to listen to ... and even just to look at :)

Post by Polarius T September 2, 2011 (5 of 70)
Lucifer said:

...I feel that the cables I am using are letting me down somewhat. Can someone advise me what are the best cables to be using between the amp and SACD player?

A couple of years ago, a major figure on a few dedicated audiophile forums who owns one of the ultramegabuck audio systems only a handful of mortals can afford on this planet decided to respond to the $1 million dollar challenge thrown by an audio skeptic who claimed that no audible differences could be detected between different audio cables in real blind tests in controlled conditions; if anyone could show the contrary, the person would get that million bucks. To prepare for the challenge, this guy, together with his select friends, decided to do a dry run at his home, using his system and his music, in his dedicated listening building (yes, not a room), in his listening chair, at his leisure, to get more used to a test situation and demonstrate how easy it would be to distinguish between this guy's own $33,000 cables (yes, such exist: Opus MM) that he always used and claimed to know the best, and an off-the-shelf pair of supermarket Monster wire (in the audio skeptic's challenge test, the challenger could bring his or her own cables, with the other pair being just such basic cheapo Monster cable). This rehearsal test was done with a blind A/B setup (the friends were swapping the cables and the "test subject" wore eyeglasses covered with duck tape so he wouldn't see what the friends were doing). In other words, all the parameters of the test were decided by the test subject and the conditions and circumstances could have hardly been more familiar and comfortable to him, hardly more conducive, in other words, to detecting any differences. The test result? On every trial, this guy, in his own mind -- and words -- he was "very comfortable and sure" that he got it right which one was which. In actual reality? He couldn't tell them apart. Frustrated with the results, they terminated the test after this much was obvious and went home, perplexed. The guy never took part in the $1-million-dollar challenge, the award of which remains to be claimed still today.

More on this is at http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=941184 (the guy in question is "Mike" -- not much of this was made available afterwards on the original forum where the effort was initially conceived and publicized, and quite understandably so, I guess).

We all can draw our own conclusions on how much cables matter, as far as "sound" is concerned (yes, some do think looks are important, so it's up to you what you want to pay for the aesthetics of it; sonically, no one has been able to show that they matter in any way, as long as the cables are well constructed and don't contain any of those "audiophile" quirks that do nothing but degrade the sound).

Post by Fitzcaraldo215 September 2, 2011 (6 of 70)
Polarius T said:

We all can draw our own conclusions on how much cables matter, as far as "sound" is concerned (yes, some do think looks are important, so it's up to you what you want to pay for the aesthetics of it; sonically, no one has been able to show that they matter in any way, as long as the cables are well constructed and don't contain any of those "audiophile" quirks that do nothing but degrade the sound).

I do not disagree. Of all the things that can make a difference in the sound of audio, I think the consensus, even among the most truthful reviewers, is that cables are about at the bottom of the list. But, that's not the same as saying they make no difference.

There are junk cables out there that just do not sound good. There are also riculously overpriced rip off cables that may sound slightly different from others, but no better or worse.

I have done a few cable comparisions in my home, but it is something I do not at all relish doing. Among competently designed and made cables, the differences are usually so vanishingly small as to be very hard, sometimes impossible to distinguish with any repeatability.

Having said that, I think speaker cables make the biggest difference. Interconnects,HDMI and power cables of quality at at reasonable length make little if any difference. Balanced interconnect does not usually distinguish itself vs. unbalanced until lenghts get over two meters or so. I do believe that any difference cables make is a result of electrical and shielding properties in conjunction with the specific electrical loads of components they are plugged into. But, price is unfortunately not an indicator of what mates best. There are bargain cables that might work just as well as, or better, than high priced cables. A little bit of experimentation with a few alternatives will give the answer. Plenty of dealers are willing to lend cables for trial. So, give it a go.

Post by canonical September 2, 2011 (7 of 70)
Polarius T said:

A couple of years ago, like this really major major major figure on a few dedicated audiophile forums who owns one of the ultramegabuck like soooooo expensive uber uber uber audio systems only a handful of mortals can afford on this planet ...

No dear.
The question is about INTERCONNECT cables. The flaky thread you refer to is about SPEAKER cables.

Thought of the day: "If you don't even understand the question, maybe you should not be posting the solution."

Post by classicrecordings September 2, 2011 (8 of 70)
My suggestion would be to ask a friend that has lots of different cables if you can borrow them. You could also try finding a dealer that would let you borrow cables over the weekend, with a deposit of course.

Personally, I have found listening to many different systems with many different cable changes during a listening session, that interconnects can make a difference, but synergy within a system can decide how much of a difference you hear.

My two cents.

Post by Polarius T September 3, 2011 (9 of 70)
canonical said:

No dear.
The question is about INTERCONNECT cables. The flaky thread you refer to is about SPEAKER cables.

Thought of the day: "If you don't even understand the question, maybe you should not be posting the solution."

Hon',

Glad you managed a thought today.

As among others also Fitz above notes, most people who hear a difference think speaker cables show the clearest one.

So if you can't hear a difference even between the "best" (= most expensive) and the "worst" (= least expensive off-the-shelf supermarket variety) speaker cables available, odds are you ain't gonna hear it among any interconnects, either.

If you aren't able to follow a discussion, a topic, or even a logic, maybe you shouldn't...etc.

I'm aware that such findings, and in particular Mike's "experiment," aren't exactly beloved by the audiophile crowds who prefer to listen with their eyes.

PT

Post by lennyw September 3, 2011 (10 of 70)
I think it is (used to be) a rule of thumb that 10% of your system price should be spent on cables. I have to admit to being, on the one hand, sceptical that they make much of a difference, but on the other, think that there ought to be something of equal quality linking the bits in my system.

As a Naim user, my possibilities are pretty limited, so I can't offer much advice on SQ.

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