Do coat hangers sound as good as Monster cables?

Discuss

69 Responses to “Do coat hangers sound as good as Monster cables?”

  1. usagizero says:

    All i know is that my pet rabbits tend not to go after the monster cables, the cheaper ones don’t last one glance from them. I’ve since secured the rooms the cables are in, but i’ll pay more for them not getting eaten or the rabbits being hurt.

    On a related note, i wish all electronics had simple replaceable power cords. I’m sick to death of the ones permanently attached to the unit.

  2. Piper says:

    “a coat hanger is not very durable, flexible and is not designed be protected or shielded from noise and electric fields.”

    Oh, NOW you tell us –I just modded my studio to the new spec and now there are coats strewn everywhere. Oh, and the NOISE! DAMN YOU ELECTRICAL FIELDS!

  3. Tadmeister says:

    Do Monster cables dry as fast as coat hangers?
    What you folks should try is hanging your clothes with Monster Cable. It actually dries your clothes faster and keeps it wrinkle free. But make sure it’s 16 gauge or bigger ’cause anything below that is negligible. The heat conduction of the thicker copper allows for better temperature dissipation of water molecules.

  4. paulatz says:

    I’ve an old-style HiFi at home, one of those composed of big solid metal boxes with one component each (tuner, tape player, cd player, amplifier, vinyl); my father has always used standard electric wires to connect the loudspeakers, I have never noticed any difference compared to HiFis using expensive cables.

  5. Brian Damage says:

    “He says his brother ran an experiment on him and four other audio aficionados listening to a new CD from a new group blindfolded.”

    Maybe it was just a crappy album. How good could it be if the group was blindfolded?

  6. noahpoah says:

    The kicker? None of the subjects even knew that coat hangers were going to be used.

    This would be a better kicker if the people did know that on, say, half the trials, er.., songs, there was a coat hanger while on the other half, there was a monster cable, yet they still couldn’t tell the difference.

    To be specific: the part of the brain associated with taste did not change, but the part of the brain associated with how much we enjoy that taste did change. Expectation changes perception at a very real physiological level.

    I loves me some high-tech phrenology.

  7. ill lich says:

    old news, but it’s tough to convince some people, after all “if it’s got GOLD on the tips it MUST be better. . . right?”

    I always just buy extension chords and slice off the ends: way cheaper, way sturdier, and easy to get lengths you can actually use.

    With regards to batteries in stompboxes– many of us keep an almost-dead 9volt around for special recording purposes, it provides a unique sound in distortion boxes: the signal falls apart and breaks up, but of course it only last a few minutes before the battery totally dies.

  8. padster123 says:

    An otherwise intelligent friend of mine swears by expensive little inserts for his CD player tray that supposedly reduce static on CDs. Yes, optical CDs. How the hell would static affect a reflected laser beam? Sadly, “high-end” audio is a hotbed of over-priced nonsense.

  9. dewaltanabe says:

    I have tried that and that’s bogus. The only way to go are the Moster CH-EX’s. They are all gold-plated with the hook at precisely 90 degrees to negate any magnetic fields created if you are using the cheap fabric softener. It also helps to use the optional LP motor that rotates the hanger at 45 rpm for more even drying. Of course you need to use only high quality 9V batteries. Not that cheap Radio Shack stuff.

  10. Songe says:

    For a good recap of speaker-wire history:
    http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm

    One of the lead engineers at McIntosh rigged up a test box that switched between different huge long coils of different wires, nobody could tell the diff. The only thing you need to make sure of is that the gauge of the wire is sufficient for the length of the run and the impedance of the speaker – however this only seems to come into play over long cable runs.

    I think that the main reason there are so many speaker wire scams out there is because hifi boutiques don’t make any money on amps or loudspeakers. They need a few high-margin items to stay in business – and the manufacturers know it, as do reviewers. It is in the interest of everyone but the buying public to know about this.

    If people want to buy it…who cares. Some of the cables look pretty cool.

  11. Songe says:

    Frankly I wish we could just ditch the RCA and go with XLR cables, like the pros do.

  12. Harrkev says:

    #9 mentioned the skin effect. That is complete BS for any audio application. At audio frequencies, the “skin” is thick enough to easily cover even the largest of wires.

    For those that don’t know, AC signals tend to restrict themselves to the outside of a circular cable. At the hundreds-of-MHz range, this can be significant. At audio frequencies, no effect whatsoever.

    As far as using zip cord (lamp cord), there is a matter of quality. Bare copper will eventually corrode. If you plug in the speakers and then leave them for a decade or two, and the environment is just wrong (say, a house near the beach), then you might find that the wire has corroded itself to the connector. Better cables tend to have thicker, tougher jackets, gold-plated connectors (which resist corrosion), shielding (not important for speakers, but can be for almost everything else) and generally better quality. I have also seen the insulation on some old, cheap cable crack and break away. Also, if you are running speakers in the middle-to-high three digit wattages, you might want thicker cables to reduce the I^2/R losses. Quality is definately worth paying for, up to a point.

  13. DulaMan says:

    Bahawahaha! That is sooooo funny.

    Best Buy and the like always sell this Monster Cable stuff and its way overhyped and overpriced.

    I bet even PLASTIC coat hangers can be just as good as Monster too! LOL.

  14. arkizzle says:

    #18

    He actually may have a point here, as the static can intefere with the specific voodoo-coefficient on high-end optical media.

  15. Phloodpants says:

    This madness extends well beyond speaker wires and interconnects. Power cords are another scam to separate you from your money.

    Here’s a screed I wrote some years ago on an speaker builder’s forum. One of the posters was bragging about the $200 amplifier power cable he had just bought and how much it improved the sound. “Opened up” was the term I believe…

    ——snip———

    It’s more than just your power cable!

    As long as you’re replacing the 4 feet of power cable from the system to the wall, you should consider replacing all the cheap 12ga wiring in your walls with solid silver wire. Remember, a system is only as good as it’s weakest link!

    The circuit breakers in your home should have gold plated contacts. As for the circuit breakers, I find that Cutler-Hammer breakers sound much better than Square-D. They have a warmer, more lifelike sound. Some people prefer old fashioned fuses, but I think they sound slow.

    The wire from your breaker box to the transformer on the telephone pole outside is usually inferior as well. I would suggest 1000 strand silver 2 gauge wire with a teflon jacket for this. It costs a couple hundred dollars per foot, but the results are well worth it! As a bonus, your socks come out whiter in the wash!

    If you can, talk to the power company about upgrading the wires that go to the power grid in your neighborhood. Everyone within a square mile of your house will thank you for it when the sound and picture coming from their televisions improves tenfold!

    Also, if you are a multi-billionaire, you have the option of paying the power companies to upgrade the high tension power distribution wires in your state. Since this is a high voltage application in excess of 50,000 volts, only the best will do! Copper shielded silver wire with braided gold plated magnesium outer layers works well in this application. Also, if your high tension power distribution line must cross other high tension lines, (especially inferior consumer grade lines) railroad tracks or rivers wider than 6 feet, then do so at a perpendicular angle. This may require the relocation of some high tension towers and the appropriation of additional farmland or nature preserve areas, but hey, we are seeking perfection! (Tip! Replacing the cheap ceramic insultors hanging from the towers with ones from Waterford Crystal is a worthwhile upgrade!)

    This is very important! I’ll say it again. The quality of the system is only as good as it’s weakest link!

    Then again, all this may be unnecessary. Depending on the distance to your power plant, it may be more effective for you to build your own power plant on site. This will save you billions in wire costs while shortening the length of your wire greatly. It has the additional benefit of being dedicated to your particular audiophile setup! You can choose whichever power generation technology that suits your system. – Coal, gas, hydro, nuclear, etc. –
    Call me old fashioned, but I prefer the sound of a coal power plant over nuclear, but if you are a sold state user, you may prefer nuclear or hydro. Solar or wind I’m afraid is out of the question. It just doesn’t have the peak current capability necessary for truly high end equipment! Solar power also suffers from a “space noise” problem that comes from the solar panels absorbing spurious radiation from sun spots, distant stars, pulsars, quasars and especially black holes. Black holes especially cause a sort of “suckout” in the sound of string instruments. I can hear this effect when there is black hole acting up on a solar powered system.

    I suppose there are naysayers out there who will say that I can’t “scientifically prove” any of this, but what has science ever done for us?

    Well, I can’t prove any of it, and I don’t need to! I can hear the difference because I have a golden ear. If I want to spend my money on things like this and I think it sounds better, then who are the objectivists to say I can’t enjoy it?

    There are strange powers in the universe that affect our audio systems that our puny brains are far too feeble to understand! The best we can do is tweak things until we are emotionally satisfied with the results. Do not try to understand why. Just enjoy the music!

  16. Tadmeister says:

    I beg to differ. The gold plated tips will only cause less friction on the base hanging component (the clothes line or closet bar). This will adversely affect optimal torque for the LP motor, roughly giving a drag coefficient of 0.03 Mus. The motor needs to sustain a minimum of 0.1267 ft/lbs per complete rotation in order for the nitrogen molecules to bond. I find that rubber tips work best.

    However, in a partial vacuum, the gold plating might be of some use. I think that’s up for more discussion.

  17. dave says:

    Ghod. Analogue USB sounds so much better than Digital USB.

  18. Tadmeister says:

    DeWaltanabe– have you even TRIED the Radio Shack platinum plated tip 9V batteries?

  19. dewaltanabe says:

    where did you get your GED?
    The CH Society of America in 2006 already presupposes that gold plating will reduce the rise time when given a step input of 47 joules. In particular when taking into account the Stern and Linvil stability factors, you cannot deduce that rubber tips would suffice. The Gaussian response would be horrific!

  20. spazzm says:

    Thanks, Phloodpants, I enjoyed that.

  21. NikFromNYC says:

    There is a big elephant in the room here. Coat hangers. Most high school kids don’t have any; most college kids have ones that were collected from their parent’s dry-cleaning service; and then one fine day, you go out and buy a box of good cigars, a case of vintage 1994 port wine, and heavy, formed and varnished coat hangers. Do these *work* better than just piling your pressed suits or t-shirts in a piles on an old pine bookcase? No. But do you feel better in your clothes? That’s a rhetorical question, the same question of whether *entry* level “high-end” audio cables ($100 vs. $20K for the “religious” ones) “sound better” than lamp cord? Besides, coat hangers are a very unfair comparison. They are solid, very high gauge wire, not available in *flexible* spools. No wonder they sound awesome!

    The number one improvement you could do for a stereo is to run it off of a series of car batteries that you charge at night, and rip out any transformers. I run a battery-operated (el-cheapo) SONY CD portable player as my “drive” but it has a DIGITAL optical cable output that I run through a high end (but no longer sold so the ones these days are likely quite better) digital-to-audio converter, and use high end class-A (transistors always on so it’s always hot), run through $80/each cables, to coaxial driver speakers. In other words, for $5000, I’m at the point of no further return except for another $1000 for a single penny’s worth of improvement.

    But the worst, utterly worst aspect of the history of “high end audiophilia” is that their standard measure of performance was how close a stereo system (always with only two speakers back in the day!) was how close it came to a “live performance.” In other words it was just classical music, since all modern music is electronically generated or modified anyway. Ever heard a *live* Pink Floyd concert? Or even Prince concert? Come on, guys, you go to see the performance, to connect emotionally to the performer, not to hear the very distorted and echo-filled audio along with ten thousand screaming fans, a hundred who are within stone’s throw of your delicate ears.

  22. zzatz says:

    Not all lamp cable is suitable for speaker use. The copper is fine, but some insulators are better than others. Vinyl and rubber corrode copper. Teflon is great, polypropylene works very well, and I’m sure there others that are acceptable. Good speaker wire can be cheap, but not all cheap wire is good for use with speakers.

    Corrosion may not matter if you use solder or gas-tight crimp connectors. But it does matter for the usual clip or compression type speaker connectors.

  23. dewaltanabe says:

    Yes I have Tadmeister: I do realize that Radio Shack does use a rare manganese dioxide. Their system of synthesis is difficult but they have manages to overcome the problems associated with a heterogeneous reagent. As you may recall, pyrolusite is a difficult reagent especially when oxidizing allylic alcohols. I prefer to fabricate my own batteries to increase the thermal coefficent of resistivity so that the increase heat will help to dry my sweaters faster.

  24. Takuan says:

    you have the makings for a great “tech talk” cable access show ….. it would have a huge cult following

  25. morcheeba says:

    I bought some nice speakers used, and each speaker has separate wiring for the bass and the tweeter. You can run these to two different amplifiers, use two sets of cables to one amplifier, or just connect them together at the speaker and wire them normally. The speakers come with a special gold-plated brass plate for this last option, but I was surprised to see that the original owner had used the heavy-duty staples from the box… still covered in varnish. At least it wasn’t going to rust on him.

  26. NikFromNYC says:

    Oh lord, I forgot to mention so many things. The computer setup for iTunes and my iPod setup. Both are just $275 add-ons, one having it’s own very good DAC (digital-to-audio-converter) that hooks up by digital USB, and the other using the already good DAC within 5G or earlier iPods, but which is *not* contained with the latest 6G ones. Those so far have *no* solution available to get good audio out of them (via a dock/pre-amp/volume control such as http://www.psiberaudio.com/catalogue.htm) , no matter how high of MP3 bitrate you use.

  27. dewaltanabe says:

    Might be worth a try Takuan. If it would promote the kind of cutting edge science discussed here, the altruistic impact on our global society would be limitless. If we could just minimize the eddy currents in our power cables we could reduce the skin effect and really “open up” the sound of speakers across the world.

  28. worlock93 says:

    Don’t buy extension cords, you can get the same cable by the foot at any major hardware store in the electrical foot. It’s way cheaper that way.

    The problem with monster cable is they’ve take something valid and twisted it to sell a product. If you go into any decent studio or any other audio intensive location you’ll find that the money they spend on cables is astronomical. Of course they aren’t paying for gas impregnated wire, sealed by vestal virgins that is somehow (through divine intervention maybe?) going to make everything sound better. What they are actually paying for is the construction quality. How well it’s shielded, stress strength, connector assembly, strand thickness etc. Cabling in a commercial location can take a lot of abuse depending on the application and these are valid concerns. All these things have almost nil to do with your average consumer, who in the case of speakers, is going to jam the wire into the speaker and stereo and then tack or tuck the wire away inconspicuously and not touch it again for years. Copper wire is copper wire. Of course, I’ll never forget the guy who tried to tell me that speaker wire was polarized and the wire with the stripe HAD to go in the black terminal and the unstriped wire HAD to go in the red slot. Any explanation from me that the wires just had to go straight through and the stripe was just there as a guide so you didn’t cross them was met with a brief silence and then a dismissive: “You just don’t know ANYTHING about hi-fi electronics!”

  29. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    I’m an audio geek with a large box full of expensive speaker cables and interconnects in the closet from experimenting with them years ago. Anyone want to buy a Highwire Cable Wrap, a metal spiral that goes around a power cable to tune its resonances?
    I determined that at best I might be able to tell a slight difference between one and another interconnect cable, but that I definitely did not care about that difference.
    I want to point out from a procedural standpoint that it is possible to construct a test between two things that masks actual differences. At the dawn of recorded sound it was ‘proved’ through blind testing that an Edison Grammophone was indistinguishable from a live singer. That claim was widely accepted at that time, but is no longer.
    Regarding cables carrying digital signals (SPDIF Coaxial), they may have the same RCA plug on both ends as an analog cable, but to work properly it should have far greater bandwidth. Digital signals need a conductor with Ghz range BW to avoid distortion because they’re basically VHF square waves and theoretically contain harmonics of infinite frequency. A normal analog audio cable may *work* for SPDIF, but many have enough capacitance to seriously distort digital signals and introduce conversion jitter because there’s no clean leading edge to get a clock signal from. This is actual testable physics, not snakeoil.

    I can and do make whatever interconnect, power cable or speaker cable I need based on the application. Length, cost and durability of connectors matter most to me after decades of hooking stuff up and unhooking it.
    And I second the poster who hates attached power cords. They’re either too long or too short and always in the way. I will never build another piece of gear with that ankle-wrapping lasso hanging off the back of it.

  30. Takuan says:

    It would be great! You wouldn’t even have to pay writers! Just a couple of guys, a table and some cheesy wall graphics and coils of cable. Needs a title…….

  31. jenjen says:

    The problem is that they were testing by listening to a CD. They should have tested this properly with 220 gram vinyl played on a 3″ thick solid quartz slab turntable propelled by an atomic motor. THEN you’d be able to discern the subtle differences. For sure.

  32. Grill says:

    Ha! I remember when these guys made some HDTV cables for the Xbox 360 which they proceeded to charge five times the cost of other perfectly-acceptable generic cables for (around £80 I seem to remember).

    When the cables came in for review, I noticed that they had 1) proprietary optical connections, which made them fairly useless and 2) no HDTV-SDTV switch meaning they were actually much worse than the official or generic HDTV cables. 0/5!

  33. lamarlowe says:

    Thank you jenjen! Just what I was thinking. In addition it is also such a crying shame that most of the xm, sirius, mpg players don’t carry the amperage needed to warm up the clothes hangers to true led zep wall-thumping, marrow-feeling resonance. At least not unless they’re hooked up to a true vacuum tube amplifier even bigger, and much prettier, than your swimming pool.

    I love news like this. Thank you, sincerely, Mark!
    You started off my week with a smile.

    For those interested, the original post is here:
    http://forums.audioholics.com/forums/showpost.php?s=97d4a3c39d247bf955a57b3953326a34&p=15412&postcount=28

  34. palindromic says:

    Next thing you know Monster cables will be telling you that CO2 is indisputably the cause of global temperature fluctuations.

  35. Uncle Geo says:

    There’s always been an “Emperor’s New Clothes” kind of mystique around audiophile gear. My favorites are the NoName Resonance Absorbing Balls (made of pendula wood!) http://www.nonamehifi.com/ShoppingNrab.php

    and the ever popular “cable lifters” http://www.nonamehifi.com/ShoppingLifters.php.

    I think these must be a joke (like my own Lirpa 1 Wireless Cable http://www.bstock.com/Lirpa1.htm.)

    Now for extra credit visit a High Def television facility, where frequencies are well into the megaHertz, and count the gold connectors. You can stop at zero because there are none. Gold offers no advantage even at those frequncies which are way higher than audio. Yet you will often see people coming home with a 2K plasma screen and 300 bucks worth of cable -cables the cable guy will give you for free if you just ask him!

    The point is not if gold is theoretically better than nickel -heck, it is! It’s whether gold is audibly better at audible frequencies. It ain’t even close.

    As to how the stores make their money, it’s the same way printer companies do -it’s not the printer it’s the ink. Audio joints make money on the accessories and the install and exclusive dealerships where it’s hard for you to shop the price. I’ll humbly beg to differ with one poster on the notion that speakers are not profitable -the dealer margin is usually 50% so even discounting they are getting 25-30% and that’s respectable.

    In the store’s defense I’ll say that the good old hifi store of yesteryear with knowledgeable salespeople had a hard time making any money when people picked their brains and then went to Best Buy to make the purchase. Most are gone.

    As to the idea that you should purchase better cables to avoid corrosion; might I suggest continuing to use lamp cord but simply replacing it at the first sign of corrosion. Or, even cheaper, cut off an inch at each end and restrip it to the shiny new copper that’s most certainly underneath the insulation. If you add a foot at each end on the initial install you could probably use the cables till you die.

  36. Ian70 says:

    I was totally going to try this test myself, using all of my 128kbps mp3s. I especially like the really old ones that sound all ‘swirly’ when you play them. Audiophiles reprazent!

  37. drachers says:

    Yeuch. Audiophiles generally listen to the gear, not the music. I have an embarrassing amount of cable stashed away from my more gullible days where I’d try them all and imagine there actually were tonal and/or rhythmic differences. Lord forgive me.

  38. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    Agree with the above. Fancy conductors are mostly Bee Ess. Durable connectors are not. Studios and industrial applications put a premium on reliability. They’re willing to pay for stuff that won’t break. I just buttoned up a Rhodes electric piano repair. Inside it’s wired with ordinary 22ga copper, but the connector to the amp is an ITT Cannon panel socket with a hefty cast body and mechanical latch. Far tougher and more expensive than anything you find on consumer audio gear. But that was the fault with the piano. Broken connector from years of use. If there was a heftier connector available, they would have used that, I’m sure.
    Regarding gold plating, I asked my brother, who is a materials scientist, about this. Gold metal actually has lower conductivity than copper, so you’d think it would be a step backwards to plate it on connectors. The important feature is that it doesn’t oxidize. Moisture in the air forms oxides on the surfaces and in the joints of all reactive metals, and oxide is a VERY poor conductor. A gold-on-gold contact will not degrade over time and get noisy, resistive or intermittent. I work on dozens of pieces of hi fi gear every month and one thing that EVERY ONE needs is cleaning of all of the non-plated contacts

  39. monospace says:

    This reminds me of the hilarious reviews of the Danelectro 9 Volt Battery over at Harmony Central, and how choosing just the right battery affects the sound of your stompbox.

  40. zuzu says:

    Perhaps analog audio cabling doesn’t suffer these issues, but the difference between Cat-5 and Cat-6 ethernet cabling is primarily shielding. Likewise, I had to replace my RG-6Q (quad-shielded) coaxial cables with RG-11 because of interference issues causing stuttering (dropped frames) in HDTV channels.

  41. Maurik says:

    Looks are worth the price.

  42. Philscbx says:

    LOVE IT:
    #56 POSTED BY ILL LICH , MARCH 4, 2008 11:27 AM
    old news, but it’s tough to convince some people, after all “if it’s got GOLD on the tips it MUST be better. . . right?”

    I always just buy extension chords and slice off the ends: way cheaper, way sturdier, and easy to get lengths you can actually use.
    ***
    I almost gave up till #56 came through with the extension cord trick.
    Want the best? Then use 12 gauge 3 wire up to 100 feet.
    That’s why Pink Floyd comes from the woods and the house at the same time while your in the middle of the yard. Just like it was done in 1972. Need it longer, leave the plugs on in the middle of the 100 foot runs with 10 gauge.
    Rock On Captain!

  43. Leezell says:

    Anyone remember the massive run on Radio Shack portable CD players 13 years ago when Stereophile found that they were as good if not better than any other CD player out there?

    http://www.stereophile.com/cdplayers/480/index.html

  44. Ray DelMundo says:

    I think that the main reason there are so many speaker wire scams out there is because most of these high end stereophiles are pretentious idiots.

  45. Halloween Jack says:

    No… wire… hangers. What’s wire hangers doing in this closet when I told you: no wire hangers EVER?

  46. NikFromNYC says:

    “Looks are worth the price.”

    Unless she’s a bitch.

    Then she should be paying you, not the other way around.

    One person who was not a bitch, and the exception that proves the rule is Patsy Cline. A cutting edge stereo system, you own. A girl who has not whipped her shirt off for you yet has come to your bachelor pad to watch a video or look at your “Europe Pictures” and two “complete collections” of Patsy Cline’s FIVE CD SET, and you, my dear son, have given her the auditory experience of her life, so be careful, or she’ll become your wife.

    *That* is the ageless experience ($150 iPod headphones be damned) that any bachelor who can’t afford Rembrandts, Swarovski chandeliers, and parquet floors can SENSUALLY offer a date. This shows PASSION in something, and passion in anything, pleasure in pleasure is better than the easy life of the trust fund kiddies of old who merely hired undocumented citizens to strum an untuned yukalaylee or two around. The Rembrandts are $5 a museum ticket, even free for students. I think I seduced all of my several but no bragging rights number of girlfriends using my stereo system, period.

    Best album to knock boots to, and I sincerely hope, with no hope, that this isn’t dated advice, but is ‘Tattoo You’ by the Stones.

  47. AniMill says:

    I was always a skeptic when it came to “audiophile” quality products. Certain items were without dispute worth their cost (Original Master Recordings half-speed master LPs), others were just the Emperor’s New Clothes (Linn Sondek LP-12 and wacky tone arms). Most of the purported “Golden Ears” were simply full of krap – but I endured it for the humor… until one special demonstration I witnessed: the ‘vibration cleansing’ of the stylus via the gentle rubbing of a matchbook flint striker across the needle. Yes people, the geniuses were scraping the diamond tip with the back of a matchbook to vibrate the crud off the diamond. I confronted the idiots about what they were doing and they snidely said, “Well it’s diamond, the flint is much softer.” To which I responded, “Yeah? Then I guess it’s not the vinyl that wears a stylus then?” My friends and I walked away laughing too hard… ahhh, those were the days.

    Wait, they’re back again. We should all rub the ‘pins’ of the HDMI connector with matchbook flints to ensure a sub-nuclear bond.

  48. manicbassman says:

    I’ve got one of those Danelectro “Vintage” 9 volt batteries. It came “free” with my headphone practice amp… made no difference to the sound, the amp has a horrible fixed volume hiss at all times when on…

    Cables… well, I always relied on using three-core mains cable for my speaker runs… so much cheaper than the audiophile stuff they were pushing at me when I bought my system back in the late seventies…

    I still have my Dark Side Of the Moon Mobile Fidelity 1/2 speed remastered 12 inch disk… the sound quality still beats the latest CD version easily…

  49. FrodeFrode says:

    Say the band in question didn’t use monster cables:) Then you’re definitely screwed.

  50. madsci says:

    At least with analog signals you can almost believe that it’d make a difference. But high-end digital cables? I think some people don’t quite understand how it works.

    The bottom line is that cables are very high-margin items, and stores love them. If you can get a customer to buy a $20 USB cable to go with their 20% margin $80 printer, you’ve just doubled your profit.

    Consumer-grade cables are CHEAP to produce. How cheap? Well, I just got my first shipment of some custom-made cables from China today. Actually, the company is based in Taiwan, not the mainland, so I probably paid a bit of a premium, but I got good customer service. I bought 200 each of a few different cables – a very small quantity as such things go. One cable was designed as a replacement for a proprietary cable that sells for $30 or so. My cost: 95 cents each. Throw in shipping, duties, wire transfer fees, small order surcharge, and so on, and I probably paid about a buck and a half. I’ll sell them for around $10 or $12, I expect.

  51. azmanon says:

    My favorite is the Monster Cable “audiophile” mini-jack to RCA cable thats perfect for connecting your iPod or other MP3 player to your Hi-Fi system.

    Now talk about a marketing scam…

  52. NE2d says:

    Not surprising–I remember 20+ years ago hearing of a test where the subjects could not tell the difference between monster cable and lamp cord.

  53. pgee says:

    I don’t mean to rain on any one’s parade but…. It’s not often you find copper coat hangers anymore. The price of copper is too high.

    A common coat hanger is soft steel or what would be called baling wire. Its closest industrial (proper name) is Mechanic’s Wire (Soft Annealed Mechanic’s Wire , 18 AWG.)

    10-ga steel wire measures,0.00684,(Resistance in Ohms/ft), and measures 11.8,(Resistivity
    10-6 ohm-cm).

    10-ga copper wire measures,0.000999,(Resistance in Ohms/ft), and measures 1.724,(Resistivity
    10-6 ohm-cm)respectively.

    (see [www.stealth316.com])

    I suppose that a coat hanger might be coated to prevent rust with a zinc coating but most likely that would be a lacquer or plastic finish. At any rate, I wonder as a conductor, steel or iron wouldn’t conduct quite as well as copper, unless it were perhaps copper coated steel.

    That wouldn’t seem quite right simply because of the economics of production of coat hangers would be based on the lowest possible unit cost.

    I agree that if you used common 18 gauge copper zip-cord I doubt you’d hear any difference,(provided there were limitations on length, and I’m assuming this would be about 1 meter in length based on an average length of a coat hanger).

    But, let’s just say, if your talking about a coat hanger right out of the closet, I think perhaps someone is telling a “creatively enhanced version of the truth…”

    At the very least, they would have to strip-off the paint or lacquer…

    And should the coat hangers work in the test as claimed, (if they were steel or iron only without a coating), I’d say that was a pretty good indication that the resitive qualities would have to be even more dramatic to be noticed, so why buy “99% oxygen-free copper” cable?

    So much for the little details

  54. Songe says:

    Don’t knock the LP-12 man! You can spend a lot more on a lot less of a turntable. In fact, the LP-12 and the technics 1200 are some of the best high-value turntables around.

  55. OM says:

    …Kids, I’ve dealt off and on in the Audio Technology industry for over three decades now. First as a design tech for Muzak, then as intern and later Video Engineer for a See-BS affiliate, then as a Test Engineer for that big company with a little name that makes computers but loves to lay off people for no justifiable reason en masse because some mid-level managers who were hired from an even bigger company with an even littler name told the big bosses “that’s the way we did it at the old place!”, and I can say with 100% certainty that the claims of Monster Cable are 145% complete and utter Bullshit. The voltages and wattages involved in getting audio to your speakers are so small that you’ll get the same quality sound out of cheap twisted pair from Radio Shack that you’ll get if you’re retarded and/or gullible enough to buy into Monster’s bullshit hype and buy their overpriced cables. While I personally am not stupid enough to waste money on Monster’s crap, I know quite a few audiophiles – two of which work for audio specialty stores – and they all can back up the reports that what Monster is offering is a complete and total scam. About the only thing you can do to improve a cable is to use gold connectors as opposed to the tin or metal alloy ones, and that’s only if you’re running cables > 200′, and even then the odds are that you won’t have a connectivity problem other than line loss, and the gold will help with that in the fact that you’ve got a more conductive connector, and that’s it.

    Bottom Line: If the FTC were doing their job, Monster would be out of business after having their claims exposed and sued into oblivion over truth in advertising lies.

  56. spazzm says:

    I once knew a guy who believed these cables were the “world’s best”.

    Of course, he also believed in the War Against Drugs, UFO abductions and that 9/11 was and inside job.

  57. Thinkerer says:

    This isn’t anything new to anyone with any knowledge of basic wiring or a cynical eye to overmarketing to stereo buffs. I always have fun teasing people who’ve spent huge sums buying pointlessly large cables.

    Coathangers might sound worse over a couple of km or so though, and you certainly couldn’t jump start your car with regular speaker wire :-)

  58. Kid says:

    Gold-plated USB cables. Laughs, period.

  59. afo says:

    so how long before we see Monsterâ„¢ Coat Hangers on the market?

    viva hi-fi!

  60. Scuba SM says:

    First of all, NikFromNYC, I have to thank you for the advice. I’ll be picking through my CD collection and moving my stereo to a place of prominence in my bachelor pad from your advice. :p

    Second, Kid, I went hunting for some USB cables and connectors not too long ago, and all I could find were “gold plated” connectors. I wasn’t sure whether I should laugh or cry. :)

  61. nezzyidy says:

    It’s true, Monster Cables are a huge marketing scam! Don’t waste your money, buy Canare or Mogami cable for the best studio cable.

    One thing to remember is that a coat hanger is not very durable, flexible and is not designed be protected or shielded from noise and electric fields. coat hangers might sound good on this simple test but don’t use them anywhere near each other or you will open up the possibility to have major hum and buzz problems.

  62. dculberson says:

    Monster’s not even the worst offender of this sort of thing. They’re cheaper than pretty much any true “audiophile-grade” wire, by a lot. The sad thing is that this sort of double-blind test has shown that audiophiles can’t even identify the coathanger versus a much more expensive wire ($1200+).

    Nezzy, Mogami and Canare won’t sound any better than a properly constructed cheap cable unless you’re talking about seriously long runs.

  63. Christovir says:

    I would contend that Monster cables do sound better, but only if you expect them to sound better.

    A recent study found that those tasting expensive wine said it tasted better than cheap wine, even though, in reality, it was all the same cheap wine. No surprise there. But because participants were drinking the wine in an fMRI scanner, the researchers could see different parts of the brain were lighting up in accordance with expectations of quality. To be specific: the part of the brain associated with taste did not change, but the part of the brain associated with how much we enjoy that taste did change. Expectation changes perception at a very real physiological level. Link.

    The trick, of course, is not to use this as a rationalization for Monster cables, or to claim all wiring perfectly equal, but instead to associate the cheaper alternatives with their own unique sense of quality, such as pride at personal craftsmanship and self-reliance.

  64. obscurica says:

    “Don’t waste your money, buy Canare or Mogami cable”

    Um, please just use lamp cord at .30 cents a foot. Strip the ends and screw on a banana plug. 16 gauge is plenny-plenny large, even for many PA applications. It’s electrons moving through copper, period. ALL manufactured home stereo cables are a scam, not just Monster® and Pear®.

    “a coat hanger is not very durable, flexible and is not designed be protected or shielded from noise and electric fields.”

    But shielding is not so much of an issue as speaker cables are powered, in effect it’s electrically self-shielding. What you should be concerned with is low-level lines near the speaker cable. Shielding is best for line level, mic level, instrument level, data, and other low power signal cables.

    You are right about coat hangers not being very flexible. I probably will avoid using them for speaker cable. :)

  65. Mister Staal says:

    While I fully support the debunking of audiophile myths, in this case I wonder about the experiment itself. A solid conductor would have some capacitance due to skin effect. This would probably be audible as a pop or click sound (discharging at a frequency determined by the length at gauge of the conductor).

    However, any stranded wire should be comparable to Monster Cable. We’ve found that standard 14 gauge, 2 conductor, FT4 appliance wire serves as suitable speaker wire for almost every application. It’s just butt ugly is all :)

    Granted, on a 70V/100V audio system you could probably just string a bunch of twist ties together with masking tape and it would be indistinguishable from Hi-Fi cables.

  66. El Mariachi says:

    Don’t hate on Monster too hard — obviously their audio claims are largely absurd, but their products are high quality in other respects. I have one of those 1/8″-to-RCA splitters that #40 finds amusing in my car (it was the only kind Radio Shack had in stock.) It’s got thick flexible insulation and tight connectors and I don’t worry about it falling apart. It’s just a well-made thing, and that’s worth an extra ten bucks to me. YMMV, some people prefer the baling wire & duct tape approach.

    And you have to admit that “Monster Park” was a big improvement over “3com Park.”

  67. rikchik says:

    Was there supposed to be a link to the actual story, or was this just a story from an email?

  68. netik says:

    Somewhere on the great, vast Internet, there is a shootout between Rolmex and Monster Cable, and Rolmex, generally wins.

    The main differences between cheap cables and higher quality audio cables usually come down to Connector quality (say, neutrik vs. generic brand), cable flexiblity, and conductor size.

    While stranded is more flexible than solid wire, solid wire outperforms stranded at high frequencies (and no, 20Khz, the upper limit of human hearing, is not a ‘high frequency’. I’m talking about frequencies in the Mhz range.)

    Look at a cable TV wire. It’s good into the Ghz range, and it’s a small piece of solid copper surrounded by a big shield.

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