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ZS Acoustics

The difference in sound between cables

Why do some people hear a difference in sound between cables while others don't?

Some music listeners consider it important and believe they can discover a significant difference in sound between various types of cables, and I include myself among them. Others either don't hear a difference or hear only minimal difference. Both sides are right, which often leads to disputes. How is that possible? This is based on my personal experience and observations. I attended a Hi-Fi exhibition where you can see serious audio equipment in the picture. They demonstrated AudioQuest interconnect cables in three price categories: affordable, mid-range, and the best or nearly the best and most expensive XLR cables.

I was among the audience members. At first, I couldn't sit in the middle, but eventually, I managed to do so during the demonstration. The acoustics weren't very good, even though the room was large. It was more like a hall. Two AudioQuest employees from America came for the demo, but it was awkward for me because there was hardly any noticeable difference between the cables. The manufacturer's representative rambled on about how the top model sounded so much better compared to the others.

I looked around to see what the audience thought because it was evident on their faces. They didn't hear much either, but they also didn't dare to speak up. They didn't want to argue or ruin the business. Tests like this shouldn't be conducted because they created the unintended impression that investing in cables isn't worth it. After such a poor presentation, it's very difficult to convince someone otherwise.

But if these cables were tested in my listening room, the result would be different. Even if the music listeners took them home to try them in their own listening rooms, they would find a place where the difference in sound between the cables would be much more noticeable, even on a much cheaper sound system. One of the reasons why some people hear a sound difference between cables while others don't is the environment and the audio equipment. Another important factor is the listener themselves. How do they evaluate the sound they hear? There is a certain quality difference among the cables. Some people are sensitive to it, while others are less so.

So before you "whip each other up" over this, think about the points mentioned. Nobody likes wasting money, especially if it's hard-earned and scarce. Nevertheless, there are those who spend a lot of money on cables even in relation to the value of their audio equipment because it greatly improves their sound. Also, understand that some people don't hear it that way. Therefore, it's not worth it for them to spend money on it. That's why it would be good if you respected each other's opinions. So, if someone is in my listening room where the conditions are ideal, and the difference between the cables is clearly audible, yet they don't hear it or consider it a minor difference, I accept that. Even though I perceive it differently. But let it be the other way around as well.