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Mains cables how much better

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by Docta teef, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. Docta teef

    Docta teef
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    Having read so many times about how mains cables will improve performance over bog standard out the box i decided it might be time to upgrade. Having read the DIY mains cable thread which i think comes in at about 17 pages or so i decided to have a go a making a cable. I used the 3 triple helix weaved design mentioned on the thread with a rhodium plated plug and wattgate i got off ebay. I burned it in for a couple of days on an old pc then tried it on my amp and dvd. In both cases i put on a few cd tracks to see if i could tell a difference, i half convinced myself listening to Bowies Changes the new lead sounded a bit better but everything else i think was the same.
    Next i tried some screened cable as used by isotek with the same plug and wattgate. Music wise again nothing too obvious so i tried it on my pj. I decided a cartoon would be the easiest way to spot the difference in colour so i sat down and watched an episode of justice league i had recorded (i am only 31 after all). I watched the first minute or so with the standard lead then turned off fitted the new lead and started again. It appeared to me that the Flashes costume appeared a bit brighter the red a bit more strong green lanterns eyes i thought where more green than when i've watched it before (just occurred to me i be everyone who reads this knows who the flash and green lantern are most of my non AV mates wouldn't have a clue) on the whole i did think thing looked a bit better. Once it had finished i swaped back to the old lead and watched the last minute again only now i wasn't convinced it looked any better at all.

    Question is how obvious do you guys who use specialist mains cables find the difference. Although the cable was not supplied direct by isotek given the parts used the cable would be nearest to its super elite cable which retails at about 130 quid (again will point out this cable was not supplied by isotek there cable my be a million times better).
    Two things i will point out are that

    1) The screened cable hes been tested with no burn in as yet (don't know if that matters for a screened cable (bet it does))
    2) My cinema room has its own mains circuit (i've been told both that this makes a difference and also that it does not by different people, though when the room was first wired i found that a tv with a video sender i was using down there doing some work looked to have a better picture than normal) so as a result i may just have a very good mains supply anyway. :suicide:
     
  2. forrestgump

    forrestgump
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    Mate,
    I and 100's of other forum members have built our own cables, tried the Russ Andrews option, Isotek, etc, etc. I personally think the whole cable issue for both mains and signal is all governed by 1 thing, THE HUMAN BRAIN, that is what tells us to believe that the £1000.00 we just spent on a new inter-connect has improved the sound or the £250.00 on a new mains cable has improved the picture on the TV or not as the case may be, no doubt the more technically minded veteran forum members ( I am a veteran forum member but thick!!) will have different comments and opinions but after 25 years of home cinema and hi-fi upgrades (I was listening to TV through my hi-fi 15 + years ago) I have concluded that the whole cable business is a minefield, so much so that I made my own mains cables for all my gear and now use old Tandy phono to phono leads for sound and vision, I am 100% happy with my Hitachi Plasma, Sony Amp, Arcam DVD Player and Elac speakers.
     
  3. Docta teef

    Docta teef
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    Fair comment Forrest the point is i dont want it to be better cause im convincing my self its better (could have spent 100 quid on my entire setup and pretended it was fantastic) i was hoing for definate improvment, which given the number of times ive read thats what you get, was what i was half expecting. The one thing i have to say does look better is the cable itself yes the cable looks good.
     
  4. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    None whatsoever i'm afraid. Hence I don't use them. Agree that the cables are usually prettier but who goes around showing of something that hangs out the back of your equipment. Better than hanging out your equipment I suppose....:devil:
     
  5. Docta teef

    Docta teef
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    To be fair i may be lucky and the room may be just getting a clean supply. I may try watching something with a hairdryer pluged in in the room to see if it makes a difference to PQ by spoiling it on purpose as for "hanging out your equipment" now we are talking some big thick cable. :eek:
     
  6. Knightshade

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    Tackling the problem at source would be the way to go. If you have problems with mains interference then installing a seperate ring main or at least a spur for the Hi Fi equipment would be cheaper than a power cord upgrade.
    However in saying that (I've installed a ring main, silver plated connectors and heavy duty good quality cable) Does this make a difference? I don't know. Technically it should but I have nothing to compare it to. I figure it must be good because power cords make no difference. I still use bog standard power cords and I have recently installed a mains conditioner (This did make a difference - The only one that ever has!)
    Certainly sorting the mains first will save you a few quid.
     
  7. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    There you go dragging the conversation down.....:rotfl:
     
  8. pjclark1

    pjclark1
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    Technically it shouldn't.
    Why not rewire the fuse box back to the substation?
     
  9. Docta teef

    Docta teef
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    As i said i did think that the individual mains spur made more of a difference when i put a tv in the room. This may well be why i see little or no change this would lead me to think a mains filter also would be of no help. As for bringing the conversation down i just gotta tell it as it is :D
     
  10. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    Every mains filter i've ever tried made no difference. Trouble is I found one that did.....
    Yes that's a practical plan:rolleyes:
    When you live in an old house and the wiring isn't as good as it could be. Replacing it and making it as good as it can be will make a difference. Installing a seperate ring main WILL make a difference. You're isolating your HI Fi from the fridge, cooker, washing machine etc. All can cause interference.
    Also there's this:
    Copper as you know is a semi conductor. When it is exposed to oxygen it oxidises reducing it's quality. Replacing the old cable with good quality copper and silver plating the contacts will produce an improvement in conductivity.
    Plus, you know the jobs done right.
    Which camp are you in then PJClark? Do mains cables work or not?
     
  11. Docta teef

    Docta teef
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    Just watched some more tv (cartoons again) dont know if i can half convince myself that the picture looks a little better or not think its time to get the g/f to have a look.
     
  12. guli

    guli
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    knightshade,

    Copper is not a semi conductor - please do not miseducate people :)

    Copper Oxide is non-conducting, but it will only oxidise on the surface, couple of microns. In fact all exposed copper oxidises, slowly, and stops after a couple of microns

    Givne that most cables we use are >>>> several microns - the effect is negligible.

    Alex
     
  13. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Can you help us understand why many manufacturers' mains cables now have ferrite cores at either end and the once raw brass plug is now nickel plated?

    Why do they go to this extra expense?

    StooMonster
     
  14. Matt

    Matt
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    If you are having to convince yourself that there is a difference then you have to wonder if its really worth it.
     
  15. ijd

    ijd
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    dont quote me on this , but the ferrite cores are to help reduce the magnetic field aroud the cable which can interfere with the signal being carried by cables in close proximatey and the nickle plating is to reduce corrosion,
    but yes to get real benefit you will have to upgrade the national grid, or at the very least back to your nearest substation, another great ploy from the marketing boyz :smashin:
     
  16. Docta teef

    Docta teef
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    Right just got the other half to have a look did a blind test (well not blind that wouldnt work) but watched a couple of minutes of the simpsons rewound it and swapped the cable (used the new one second).
    Her opinion the second viewing looked a little sharper not massive but a bit. This was what i had been half thinking so maybe there is something in it!
     
  17. ijd

    ijd
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    why not try and take a photograph and put them side by side
     
  18. Docta teef

    Docta teef
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    I had wondered that though of course that will only give an idea of a static image rather than motion
     
  19. Knightshade

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    I've always found a good way of testing visual cables is to leave it in place for a week or so. Your eyes get used to how it looks then swap back to the old cable and then see what you think.
    Wouldn't this add another variable or two to the already compicated problem?:)
     
  20. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    But it is measurable. Granted our ears may not detect it but i'd rather it wasn't there....
    Using silver wire would make more sense at least the oxide is still conductive.
     
  21. ijd

    ijd
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    Lets hope so, just to add another dimension
     
  22. Docta teef

    Docta teef
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    Think the using it for a week may be the way to go
     
  23. ijd

    ijd
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    HHMMMMM BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHANGE IN WEATHER OVER A WEEK,
    THAT COULD HAVE AN EFFECT, sorry about caps
     
  24. Docta teef

    Docta teef
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    Not an issue live in manchester therefore rain what ever
     
  25. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    Friday night....The beer Dimension:devil:
     
  26. tedy

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    Does anyone know where I can get aluminium foil, in order to make my own power cable? not the kitchen aluminium foil but the one that is used by Supra and Belden cables?
     
  27. guli

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    Everything is measureable with the right equipment. The reason I post is you're misinforming people that copper is a semi conductor.

    Why improve on something so small (copper to silver, in this context) on such a big chain (recording/playback) when it is not beneficial at all?

    By the way all your cat5 has oxide in them :)

    Waste of money.


    Regards

    Alex
     
  28. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    You've lost me..... What are you going on about???
     
  29. Docta teef

    Docta teef
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    To be honest i think that would be more toruble than its worth you would be better just sourcing some decent pre-made cable
     
  30. tedy

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    It's a 3x6 cable that runs from the electricity board to my stereo and video components and all I want is to shield the last 2 meters, so there is no interference with audio and video cables.
     

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