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Re: How Fancy Are the Recording Cables?

Many studios use a decent, even high quality of audio cable, and use mostly balanced connections as well. Some brag about using Monster or another brand of high end audio cables, others just quietly get some thing decent or high performance out of the Belden catalog.

Seldom do dirt-cheap crappy-sounding cables get used in the pro recording studio. Those that brag about using dirt cheap cables find that they get few customers nowadays.

Then, there is the concept of a total error budget before things become audible. It is often argued that, since the recording studio has a console with hundreds of op-amps, miles of wires, dozens of faders (pots), and so on, that this is "proof" that audio cables can't possibly have any effect, it would be swamped out by all these other factors.

The point that these folks seem to be overlooking, is that distortion is additive, signal losses are additive, if the signal gets screwed up pretty good just in the recording studio, then what that really means is, that we have very little margin left over in our playback systems.

See:
http://www.audioreview.com/message/DCForumID8/1527.html#49
where I discuss this concept.

If the recording studios have already "used up" most of the distortion and signal loss overhead via the recording process, then what would ordinarily be very slight and insignificant amounts of distortion and/or signal losses suddenly become much more critical, and in going from a very very slight amount to just a slight amount is enough to push the whole playback event over the "real sound illusion" cliff.

One clue to this is that minimalist/perfectionist recordings tend to sound good on a wide variety of systems, while much of the mass market pop music is variable on different systems, and there are those recordings that "gel" on just a few systems, and sound terrible on the majority of other systems.

Anyone who has ever heard live studio feeds, or even recorded playback in the studio over good speakers or reference headphones, can tell you that it sounds pretty good in most instances, and that even with digital recording, storage, and distribution media, there are losses in going from the original studio master to distribution media.

Simple recordings of a live band will tell you that there is a huge loss from being there live to just about any recording that can be made, SOTA and all.

Jon Risch


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