E.g. “How much should I spend on audio cables?” This was a much often quoted question in the 1980s when interconnects and speakers cables were trying to shake off their ‘snake-oil’ image and make a transition into the realm of bona-fide audio components, backed with scientific research and correlation to sound quality. The likes of Audioquest, Van den Hul, Sonic Link, Kimble and Monster Cables were notable pioneer in ‘brain-washing’ the audio community at large that cables do make a meaningful difference in sound quality.

Cables were by-and-large considered by audiophiles as ‘secondary’ issues – they lie slightly above the realm of ‘tweak-land’. The belief then was that the effect cables had on sound quality would be minor compared to the source, amplifier or loudspeaker. Of course there were times when sound quality differences were so minute during cable changes that some would swear they heard no difference. I am sure this belief still persists today amongst some but judging by the sales of specialist audio cables around the world, I believe the transition has been successfully made – cables deserves meaningful attention as part of an audio playback chain though most will not spend as much on cables as they do on the source, amplifier or loudspeaker.

I remember the often answer bandit amongst British hi-fi publications was: 10%. During the 1980s, an audio playback system was often thought to consist exclusively of source, amplifier and loudspeakers. So if you have a system where these three components costed, say RM10,000, then the answer is you should be prepared to spend about RM1,000 for your cables.

How much would you spend?

10 comments:

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

hooray to our debutant s.wufer! welcome to this controversial-but-deliciously-honest blog!

looking forward to more contributions from you!

hifikaki said...

Hi s.wufer,

A warm welcome to you!

Good question you posted. Well, I personally do not have a rule on % spending on cables. The cables in my system right now constitute 20% of the total system cost. If I add the cost of the PLC, then it will be higher than 25% (well, the PLC is not 'processing' the music signal like other equipment but is in the power supply chain, right?) :-).

My cable cost is already higher than the individual prices of my pre-amp and CD player. So, the cables as a group can be considered as a 'system component' already (I understand this is still a contentious issue) :-).

And I foresee that my spending on cables will creep upward further. The recent addition of the Audioquest Sky and a Shunyata Taipan Helix pc had further moved my system's performance along, which I personally feel is very good value for money, and the pinch is not as painful as a major equipment upgrade :-).

The thing I learnt is that although any cable will allow you to listen to your music (heck, a RM2 pair of interconnect from any hardware store will pass music from your cd player to your amp), but for your equipment to perform at the max level it is capable of, you do need matching high performance cable (note I say high performance not high price) :-)

aboon said...

Fully agree with hifikakai,he is right on the money!!

Who is s.wufer?Kung-fo master??

Anonymous said...

As much as you can afford. You should not need to justify how you spend your money on your system.

valentine said...

I think you must sepertates Cables into 3 categories based on their importance:

1]interconnect.

2]Power chord.

3]Speaker cables.

I would say spend your money 0on the be st IC you can afford.

As far as PCs are concerned ,it depends on the design of your electronics;certain brands like Mimetism ,Naim ,rega do not encorage the use of expensive Pcs.Rightly so,you do not hear any difference in their electronics.Even Lavardin,the revered French manufacturers only advise high current pure copper PCs.

Certain manufacturers,like Copland,ARc,encoraged the use of Pcs,and you really do hear the difference .I think you should lear to trust the manufacturers on this.

Sp? I always try to get from the same man to prenvent impedence mismatch...Once you are more advanced and know how to calculate the to prevent impedence mismatch,then only I think it is safe to move on.....

cpchee said...

agree with above.
Naim and Rega do not encourage cables tweak.

I think they design phiolosophy are just different

Kam said...

Hi-fi should never be simplified to numbers IMO.

yeo said...

I look at cables like car tuning.

You cannot make a toyota Camry into Mercedes e class,or even c class.

But tweaked well the camry can at least chase the merc[even though it will be bouncy.....]

but A tweak up camry is better than ordinary camry

Andrew Saw said...

"Naim and Rega do not encourage cables tweak."

I'd disagree on the Naim part. Naim has just launched the new Powerline power cable & Hi-Line interconnect which are massively expensive. Also the latest Naim h/w comes with phono plugs standard

S. Wufer said...

Not kung-fu master. My S. is short for Sub. Just call me Sub Wufer. I thank maggielurva for opportunity to express my hi-fi opinion on his blog.