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CDs for comparing speaker cables

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by jrpavel, Jun 20, 2004.

  1. jrpavel

    jrpavel
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    In the past, I have done some side-by-side speaker cable comparisons with high quality, but mono, tracks from the likes of the Sheffield / XLO test & burn-in CDs.

    Much to my surprise, I found that one cable could make two drum sticks clicking against each other sound real, whereas the other sounded dead in comparison. The differences overall were small, and the music of which the drum stick clicks were a part, not particularly demanding (small number of instruments, one voice).

    I would like to try some other tracks, but most high quality recordings are, of course, in stereo.

    Can anyone suggest CDs that would be suitable for testing cables, or explain how best to go about creating / burning such test CDs?
     
  2. nikyzf

    nikyzf
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    I assume your amp does not have a mono option?

    iTunes (Mac or PC) will import CD as mono if you wish. You could then build up a library of mono tracks and burn them onto CD. (I assume the PC version has the same options as the Mac version I use.) It's a free download anyway, so it costs nothing to try it. You don't need an iPod or to subscribe to the iTunes Music Store to use iTunes itself.

    HTH
     
  3. nikyzf

    nikyzf
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  4. jrpavel

    jrpavel
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    Thanks. I had forgotten that it had that facility.

    Having tried a few more tracks, I have managed to convince myself that cables do need a short "burn-in" period and that, in my case, silver/tin-coated bi-wires (Chord Carnival Silver+, Odyssey, Black Rhodium AST 200) seem to be slightly better than plain copper (Liberty ExtraFlex, ProAc Reseponse loudspeaker cable), but that the differences are very small within each group.

    The best distinguishing test that I have found is a stick hitting the metal edge of the drum: does it sound like real wood hitting metal, or does it lack resonance.
     
  5. nikyzf

    nikyzf
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    Just a word of caution: concentrating on one sound might mean that the overall performance takes a back seat. The best gear has the RIGHT amount of everything, not the MOST of anything.
     
  6. jrpavel

    jrpavel
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    Sure. Point taken. That is why I was hoping that someone would have a set of tests that might help to discriminate by accentuating areas of difference.
     
  7. Stereo Steve

    Stereo Steve
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    I've got a Tracy Chapman album that has plenty of stuff to listen out for. It's the one with Fast car on it, maybe a compilation (I'm not great fan). It's got nice detail, plenty of clean bass as well as some solo vocals. Also some 'thicker' tracks.

    It's the first CD I turn to when I want a refference of what I think my system should sound like.
     
  8. Londondecca

    Londondecca
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    I think listening to test discs will not give you a true indication of music. My recommendation would be to take some CD's which you know very well. This not only gives you a benchmark but also lets you hear real (musical) sounds
     
  9. bobbypunk

    bobbypunk
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    i agree opinions should be formed without so much science involved if it sounds better to you then it sounds better stop asking why and just enjoy the music. If you demo speaker cable using a test disc and controlled situation it may give you a very detailed cable that sounds utter crap with your taste in music!
    (Tracy Chapmans album with Fast car on it (Not the best of) is very good demo disc because it was Digitally mastered (Not remastered) and kept digital through to production.)
     
  10. jrpavel

    jrpavel
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    To my surprise I found that I already have Tracy Chapman and Tracy Chapman Collection (both of which have Fast Car). The former is DDD, the latter doesn't say. I'll give them a spin.
     

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