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In Reply to: RE: Black Rhodium Cables From The U.K. posted by Isaak J. Garvey on July 14, 2017 at 12:15:09
I think you're largely right - it's like customers think they know what they want and buy online. Once they spent some ridiculous sum on their cables, they have to justify their purchase by singing its praises. Then they quietly sell them on hififorsale.com and try something else.
Cables are virtually impossible for dealers to demonstrate - certainly on the equipment their customer owns - so the whole cables industry is lead by snake oil and pulling wool over eyes - a complete jungle, and a costly one!
There are of course good cables and bad ones, but in my view most of the big makers offer cables that are GROSSLY overpriced.
"so the whole cables industry is lead by snake oil and pulling wool over eyes"
That's a bit drastic in scope. I know of high-performance cables that are very costly to R&D and manufacture in ways that most consumers are not aware of. While there are a number of cables that may be overpriced based on lesser R&D and manufacturing costs, with little reward from a sonic perspective vs. funds spent for the products, painting the entire category of audio cables with such a broad-brush as being an inherently deceptive aspect of the audio industry is unfair, in my opinion.
While there are certainly cables within the marketplace that I can't understand what the cable designer must have been thinking, I continue to be disappointed to find that some folks tend to think the topic of audiophile cables is a big rip-off scheme. While I have not followed more recent trends in loudspeaker pricing, decades ago I became aware that loudspeaker sales provided the biggest profit margin of all audio gear in the marketplace, but there has never been such a backlash against the loudspeaker industry as being an inherently deceptive aspect of the audio industry as the more controversial topic of high-performance audio cables tends to be.
I agree that a blanket statement is a bit drastic and there are cable companies that really interested in making excellent products and not just
HOWEVER...to say that cables are extremely expensive to R&D is a half truth to my way of thinking. If you are looking to reinvent the wheel and want to make a very complicated, proprietary product, yes it can cost a ton.
But this goes against my experience without exception..with respect to cables, simpler is better. Period.
If R&D was so costly, why are there more new cable companies popping up like weeds every few months, and if you look at the exhibitor lists at all the shows, there are brand new start-up wire vendors at every one. Which shows me the the upfront investment is mostly time..and marketing.
"Simpler is better. Period."
That's another quandary, Isaak. Much of what makes an audio cable high-performance in nature is eliminating the deleterious side affects of a cable/connector/jack interface which is still not perfected as of yet. But new materials, methods, and designs are still in the works; there is a future in high-quality audio cabling.
For example, the notion of past-proven pro audio cables being considered as good as it gets because they are simple does not provide what I'm seeking in an audio cable, because I know better via direct experiences over the course of many years of personal evaluation to accept that notion as a dead-end when it comes to cables and my audiophile enjoyment.
I'm rather with Isaak over this.
Wire is wire - made from good quality copper, maybe with silver coating. Nothing new here. It comes in very thin strands to single core - nothing new here. So what is the R&D cost? One has to choose the best combination of copper / silver, strand thickness and number of strands - and none of this is expensive. That's hardly rocket science and needs little R&D expenditure as there's nothing new in these decisions.
Then there's the covering to the bare cable - what it's made of, what thickness, whether to use a screen, etc. Again, it's all been done before - 1000 times. Some makers do it right some don't. If a new company wants to make a nice cable without huge R&D costs, he just copies and existing design - same materials, different colour and packaging - no real R&D and no one could claim patent as the materials are widely available to all - and none of the materials is really costly.
Cable making is hugely profitable and unjustifiably so - in my view.
FWIW I find this post both well reasoned and temperate.
There is no disparagement of any particular cable, nor is there the suggestion that all cables sound alike. Quite the contrary.
I have carefully read the two forum rules referred to and cannot see anything here that comes close to violation of spirit or text. All that I can sense is a personal, and strongly held, disagreement by a moderator on the merits.
The 2001 article of his that Jon provides the link to forcefully expresses his disagreement with the principal point of the post.
It is not personal on my part.
His post DID relegate all the science about cable construction and materials and theory and the selection and prioritization of the many design compromises into "it's just copper, it's just insulation, it's just jacketing, etc.
Then the next content is that "it is overpriced and unjustifiable".
Then he suggests it would all be reasonably priced if they just copied someone else s product, in essence stealing that person's R&D efforts and perhaps even patented design.
I don't see how you can consider that to be reasonable or some thing that should be espoused about the entire cable industry.
Just because he does not single out a specific company or product, does not mean he is not disparaging the entire cable industry and the whole concept and reason for being of that industry. That certainly falls under dissing the spirit of this forum.
RE my link to the older post, indeed, I wished to point out that his complaining about the price of modern audio cables was just a red herring, which seems to be an attempt to cover up his disdain and disbelief about modern audio cables being worth any more than some very basic materials costs. In that older post, I show how even some very basic materials can cost way more that one might think, and that truly SOTA cables can and will cost more than a Chevy or a Ford of a cable.
These are the reasons I did not let his post pass uncommented, the next step down that road from him would be a violation of the rules, and he would then be subject to being banned, temporarily or otherwise.
Cable Forum Moderator
You are treading close to violating the spirit and the rules of this forum, see:
No cable bashing here, take it somewhere else.
RE the costs of doing high end cables, you may not have seen this post:
The Cost of High End Audio Cables:
This is a trivial example, and if someone were really going for a "new" design, not just a re-bake of an existing cable, or a classic geometry and set of materials, then there would actually be R & D costs and the labor and time associated with that to include in the costs of the product.
Some people don't just copy other's work, they go for the whole enchilada.
Good morning Jon.
> You are treading close to violating the spirit and the rules of this forum, see:
Reading that "Rule", which accepts that Double Blind Testing is a scientifically acceptable procedure, I appreciate that it could (and obviously has in the past) lead to unwelcome argument. Presumably one can still say "I tested these 2 cables (or amps) over a period of time and found ....with A, compared with ....with B"?
However in the whole text of this "Rule" there is no explanation of the initials ABX. What does that stand for please? If AA users don't know what they can't talk about, the rule will inevitable and accidentally be breached. "ABX box" adds to the confusion! I suggest a clarification from the Moderators.
I hadn't realised that this particular sub-forum had its own specific rules. However the main gist of this notice is "The Cable Asylum is for those who have decided that audio cables make a sonic difference." That certainly does include me, as you will see from my earlier postings in this thread. However I appreciate there is a certain sensitivity in this forum when any post is critical of individual manufacturers or the cable industry in general regarding value for money. This strikes me as unfortunate if such criticism has a modicum of truth. Other sub-forum don't seem to be quite so sensitive. I'd be happy to praise or criticise any amplifier or speaker, not only on its performance, but also on its perceived value for money - and not expect to get my knuckles rapped.
Now I know I'm not allowed to express opinions on cables' value for money, I will do my best to concentrate solely on performance.
Thanks for the advice. Peter
As I said in an earlier post, I have read the rules very carefully. I fail to see where it even hints that you may not opine on the issue of cables' value for money, just as for any component. I have seen numerous posts on this forum doing just that.
Just as Peter says he does, I also believe that "audio cables make a sonic difference." I also believe that some cables offer great value, and have made my choices accordingly. I would want to share my experience in that regard, and hear from others on the subject.
Wikipedia - ABX test
It's against the spirit of the forum for me to argue about the notion of high-performance cables, so I'll simply agree to disagree.
Excellent points. There are no absolutes.
I agree with your overview of the cable industry.
To be fair, the Black Rhodium cables i have in house, the Symphony IC, and the FoxTrot speaker cable, are $275 per pair, and really do sound good and use proprietary connectors.
Any legit dealer will allow a potential customer to take home cables to hear at home, I have never bought cables with out a home demo, aside from USB, and other digital cables.
The Foxtrot speaker cables do look like good value but it's unclear from their site why the very similar Quickstep cables are so much more costly.
I see there's a dealer is Southampton, 20 miles from where I live that offers them on demo - I might be tempted to try a pair. I'm using Chord Odyssey at present but would like to upgrade.
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