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Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Sound Of Monster Cable Versus Coathangers

Okay, this is from the "You can't make this stuff up" file. Engadget posted a story where a group of 12 "audiophiles" showed just why they get so much abuse from pros over their so-called "golden ears."

The group was A/Bing different cables, and unbeknownst to them, the engineer running the test swapped out a set of cables for coat hangers with soldered-on speaker connections. Not a single listener was able to tell the difference between the Monster Cable 1000 (at $500 each) and the coat hangers (free), and all agreed that the coat hangers sounded excellent.

It's easy to get down on the Monster cable here, but the fact is that a coat hanger very well may have been a better conductor since it may have been thicker and maybe shorter, although it's certainly not as safe or easy to use. Monster Cable takes some reasonable good cable and markets it in such a way that its perceived value is a lot greater than it deserves to be. The problem is that for speaker cable, 12 or 10 gauge zip chord (lamp cable) will work just as well as expensive Monster cable.

For low signal level work like guitar and mic cables, Monster makes a decent though overpriced product that will certainly sound better than most cheap cables, but you'll bet a bigger bang for the buck from some plain old Mogami or Canare, the studio standard for more than 30 years now.

Still, you have to laugh at the so-called "audiophiles," who many times have a lot more money than sense. After all, how many pros would buy a $500 volume knob?
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David Schober said...

A number of years back the MC guys went around LA studios winning shoot outs of their XLR cable vs the stock studio connection to the 2 track tape machines. That is till they won until they went to Schnee's where I was an assistant back then. Their stuff clearly lost to plain old Belden.

Bill said he difference was probably due to the fact that at his place the XLR cables running to the 2 track were soldered at the output amp of the console, ran under the floor and directly to the machine with no other connectors in line. Most other studios had at least one, and sometimes two or three multipin connectors in the path which hugely degraded the sound with each connection.

It might have been that the MC cable was better than the cable those other studios. But what was most likely better was the connection they made right out of the patch bay, and to the machine.

Frank said...

Not only does this prove that Monster Cables claims are BS, so are self-professed audiophiles with their "golden ears." Thanks, Bobby! Love your blog/books.

A Guy said...

Great point, Bobby, there are many overpriced copper cables, and other (over)pricey stereo gear out there.

And never, ever, buy audiophile digital cables, like CAT5 cables, to which nothing but your DAC, or more precisely a clock on your DAC, will ever listen. I don't want to dump a link in your comments, but Google "Denon CAT5 cable." $500 bucks! Yikes
Thanks for the read...

Unknown said...

Monster Cables are overpriced by a wide margin, yes. But I'm a "pro" who is also an audiophile, and I'd bet that not only can I hear the difference between good cable vs lamp cord, SO CAN YOU. We spend thousands on good A/D converters when they do the same job as a beat up old 888, and why? Because they sound better. And if you can't hear the difference between a Pro Tools rig with and without an Aardsync, you'd better consider another line of work. And btw, mastering engineers don't use lamp cord.


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