Why Quality Audio Cables Make a Difference in Sound Quality

The highly controversial topic amongst the audio world. Do audio cables actually make a difference when it comes to sound quality or does it do absolutely nothing? We shouldn’t be so quick to judge those who hear an honest difference in sound quality through audio cables. Maybe not everyone can hear it, but it still worth checking the facts before completely dismissing it.

Some  audio enthusiasts in older generations have developed a life-long love affair with the development of cables, and have heard with their own ears how much better sound quality has gotten as time has passed on. Still, some would say that this argument is invalid, and that we shouldn’t spend money on nice audio cables, even if there is a tiny difference.

But, once you listen to DAC audio through quality cables, you’ll understand that there is something truly powerful about a nice cable plugged into your amp. It not only carries your sound as purely and efficiently as possible. It’s reliable and designed to carry high sound quality for a lifetime. A benefit that is hard to talk any seasoned audio engineer out of.

Most journalists believe that there is absolutely no difference in sound quality.  But the high-end audio enthusiasts and reviewers mull on over the clear differences in sound they hear that are really only understood by experts in sound and audio. As a consumer, just wanting to have good sound quality for a home audio setup, it is hard to figure out which direction to go.

How Cables Transmit Audio

When your audio system creates an electrical signal, for example,  the vibration of a guitar string, it converts that vibration into an electrical signal. That signal is in turn sent through the audio cable and into the speaker. Through the use of membranes and powerful magnetic drivers, the output is a perfect recreation of the vibrational tone. However, when the braided metal inside the cable is made from less conductive or low quality metals, a significant amount of resistance is created. This prevents efficient transmission of the electrical signal, meaning a diminished quality of sound.

The longer the cable has to stretch, the more resistance is created. One way in which manufacturers have found to prevent long cords from having so much resistance is to thicken the gauge of the wire.  That allows the electrical current to flow through more purely. So, this is where high-end cable wiring comes in. And people wonder about paying money for a thicker wire, just to have a better electrical flow, when your thin wire gets the job done perfectly?

What Kind of Audio Cables are Right for You?

The truth is, it just depends on who you are, and what your budget is. If you are a professional DJ on tour, you are going to want the best cables money can buy. If you are a college student with just a music source in your dorm room, the chances are you’ll stick to whatever is most affordable.. Either way, there are a few things to keep in mind when finding the right audio cable.

The first thing you want to pay attention to is the conductivity. Find a cable that has the least amount of resistance it’s the electrical current as possible. A few good indicators on if the conductivity is good is if is oxygen-free, multi-strand copper.  And it should be nice and thick, especially if you need a longer cable.

Next, you want to make sure the cable has proper insulation. You don’t want other random signals coming in and transmitting to your speakers. Make sure that there’s at least two layers of insulation on the audio cable for the best listening experience.

Lastly, you want to be sure you have sturdy connectors. This is the piece that connects the speaker to the audio source. I have found that most people tend to be drawn to the gold-plated connectors for the most efficient sound quality.

The Research Speaks, But Who’s Listening?

Audio expert, Brent Butterworth, has done various testing to prove that high-end audio cables do make a significant difference in sound quality.  That’s music to the ears of any high-end audio enthusiast.

This is still a battle that will probably never be fully resolved. People are either too for or too against it to find a common middle ground. We can do our best to accept ourselves and agree that high-end audio is high-end audio for a reason. You don’t need it, but if you are passionate about the art of sound, and you have money to spare – nice audio cables are something that is entirely reasonable to add to your studio setup. People will live on with their skinnier cables and slightly diminished sound quality.  Perhaps all that really matters is if they can hear the music.

It can be thrilling to immerse yourself into every sound wave, and analyze every beat and every note.  But sometimes it’s important to sit back and just let the music play, without focusing on quality or cables.

What artists are in heavy rotation on your playlist? Leave us a comment with your favorites in the section below.