"garden hose" speaker cables

DC

Active Member
I recently bought a set of semi-ridiculous speaker cables. You know, the kind that the usual parlance among audio forums is that they're made for people with more money than brains? But they were used (already broken in!), the seller very highly reputable, the price right, and the "fit" perfect with correct length and connector configuration. And I guess I wasn't as satisfied with my current cables as I could have been, so my fidelity strayed. (See what I did there?)

Anyway, I'll say it... damn, these sound fantastic. I wasn't quite prepared for how different they would sound - we're talking speaker cables here. It's one of those cognitive dissonance moments as the left part of my brain struggles with how one 6' hunk of copper wire could possibly SOUND this different than another 6' hunk of copper wire when placed between an amplifier and a speaker, but my ears and the rest of my brain say it does. And less subtle than you might expect.

A little background: Since the upgrade to the Harbeth speakers and Pass Labs amp, I've had it in my mind that the speaker cables ought to be better. I've used a set of homebrew cables from a surplus of older, but high-quality stock, and plenty big - a (M)onstrous amount of shiny, happy, oxygen-free copper between the tight-fitting gold-colored banana connectors. I've also tried Kimber 4TC and 8TC, Nordost Blue Heaven (which I liked a lot, but they were bi-wires and that wasn't a good fit), and some Avanti cables that were good, too. I recently bought a set of Anti-Cables ("Reference Level 3.1") as my brain thought they might be a good fit. They were OK, but frankly not much different (or better) to my ears than the homemade ones - an improvement, but less than hoped. So I've experienced different speaker cables having different sounds, but it's usually subtle shades of differences - I have found speaker cable differences to be less obvious than, say, interconnects.

Now the Acouztic Zen Satori cables are in, and indeed I think I am experiencing a bit of satori. The difference is less subtle than any other speaker cable switch I've ever made. There's a new level of transparency, revealing more in the recording than what I'm used to, and a brilliance and ambience that gives a wider (bigger, really) soundstage. This is more like a component upgade than a cable upgrade, and therein lies my confusion. But I'll stop thinking about it and just listen to the music.

It does address (better this time) one of the "weak link" upgrades I've had on the radar, and reveals in even more clarity the next weakest link to work on.
 

RichPA

Junior Member
It's always interesting to read about someone's cable journey. Mine has ended, surprisingly enough, with Benchmark speaker cables. I thought I had settled on Analysis Plus after trying Kimber, DH Labs, and some others, but a pair of the Benchmarks showed up for a good price and just the right length and connectors.

Of course, being an audiophile, "ended" is probably an overstatement :)
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Doesn't it piss you off when things you don't want to make a difference make a difference? I was that way with interconnects. I did some comparisons and there were obvious differences. Not necessarily related to price but certainly a synergy with some components and some cables. Dammit, another thing to think about! (as if I don't take some sick joy in this madness).

I have some gigantic garden hose cables that I probably should sell, they're too short and in a box. My speakers never seem to be close enough to my gear to play with really esoteric cables. The garden hose ones are green, so they really do look like garden hoses.
 
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Olson_jr

Active Member
Change Satori to Hologram II and I could echo your entire post.

Glad it was not just my old ears.
 
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DC

Active Member
Change Satori to Hologram II and I could echo your entire post.

Glad it was not just my old ears.

Ah, so you’re the one. I was just “this much” late.

And give credit to your “old ears” - they’re good.
 

S0und Dragon

Moderator and Circus Hand.
Staff member
Requiring 14 to 16 feet lengths...at least for one channel make the higher end Garden hose cables a bit of a reach. But I have some MIT shotguns here that did pretty much wipe the skeptical smirk off my face. Good stuff.
 

DC

Active Member
Doesn't it piss you off when things you don't want to make a difference make a difference? I was that way with interconnects. I did some comparisons and there were obvious differences. Not necessarily related to price but certainly a synergy with some components and some cables. Dammit, another thing to think about! (as if I don't take some sick joy in this madness).

It’s not so much that I don’t want it to make a difference - if it does, it does. But it does make it frustrating when it’s the most expensive stuff that sounds best. Or perhaps more frustrating when the expensive stuff doesn’t sound best?


I have some gigantic garden hose cables that I probably should sell, they're too short and in a box. My speakers never seem to be close enough to my gear to play with really esoteric cables. The garden hose ones are green, so they really do look like garden hoses.

My room puts my speakers relatively close together, and my setup puts my amp between them, so I can get away with very short cables. I usually won’t even consider something longer than 2m, and 1.5m is actually better. Heck, 1m might work if there’s spades on all ends.
 
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