Different cables do sound different

I’ve never been a believer that sound character could audibly change with different cable materials and construction/styles, but I am now. I never thought I’d be making this thread but, after experimenting with many different cables, I’ve come to the conclusion that different cables can have an effect on sound.

I’ll make the concession that I’ve never experienced any difference in how headphones sound with different cables, but I can definitely hear differences between different cables with the same IEM. :anguished:

I’m guessing this thread will stir some thoughts and feelings so let’s discuss.



:nauseated_face: :face_vomiting:


This drives me crazy too! members with more experience can share more about it. I don’t use IEM. But from my headphone experience, the Amiron Home cable sounded different than the t1.2nd occ 7n cable :confused:

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Hey, man. Whether in word or emoji we don’t need be accusing someone of lying just because they say they hear things differently than we do. I think we can raise the caliber of discourse here a bit, don’t you?


With IEMs it’s really easier to hear, even if they’re inexpensive.

There’s the obvious: When the cable sucks so bad it doesn’t send all the info to your ears (…ahem… KZ).
Then there’s switching from a good cable (copper, oxygen-free copper), to a “silver cable”, which adds a bit of 10khz-ish sparkle/treble. No need for a million dollar cable: This one does it.

Still, oxygen-free copper is the norm, if you want 100% conductivity, that’s it, that’s all. But it’s obvious that different metals do different things. The question is, honestly, why would you change that. But… I think it’s like tubes. Find the one that fucks up your music the way you like it. Lol.

I bought the T3 cable because it looked good. Was surprised to hear this little 10khz+ sparkle. :man_shrugging:


Yeah man it really does, especially with low impedance IEMs like the andromeda. I know that this is a controversial topic, but for myself, I really do hear the difference.

Me and another person on Headfi made the “Hardest Hitting Headphones in the World” thread

Both of us have Obsessive/Aspergers traits and it was a perfect storm
As documented in early thread we:

  • Bought same source
  • Bought same amp
  • used same track
  • same portion of track
  • Same app
  • Same settings

Then we bought same headphones said to be bass cannons.
As low frequency can travel through pads and vibrate chasis and change air pressure inside cups, we used an a4 sized paper cut in half to show the impact.

My youtube channel was begun to share vids and assure with shots of E12 dial in frame, position and size of paper, that we were doing the same thing.

Like cooking or anything else if we did ANYTHING different, we would come up with different results which we never did…except once

I set up to do a video for a set and the paper which I had not touched made hardly and throws.
It was moving enough to do a video earlier?
Nothing changed except a 3.5 mini to mini between Cowon DAP and FiiO e12
Mostly silver
He saw my vid and noticed it as we were identical and using stock FiiO mini to mini.
No way the mini to mini was doing that.
Yes it was.
Changed back the mini to mini and it started rocking again.

Are expensive cables WORTH it?
(Worth is what someone will be willing to pay so yes, cuz they sell em…but for me …no)
Does it improve audio quality?
(Totally subjective and cannot be measured…so no)
Better mids
Tighten this
Smooth that
(Again, no…not as clearly as fanboys claim anyway.)

Did a silver cable diminish the ability of a Yamaha 500 set to slam hard in bass?
That actually happened.


what is placebo effect
Honestly I am not even saying their is no change
I am saying that likely any change is 100% exaggerated because the person is an audiophile
unless you measure it with science it means nothing, how is that for raising the caliber?

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I mean, this is called hi-fi guides. It’s all about the small changes. If you’re saying every change is an exaggeration, something like “lo-fi guides” would be a better place for you to make friends.


so basically you know I am right and you don’t like that fact, i can settle for that, your happiness means nothing to me after all vs my ego

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Well, if I’m right, what are you doing here?

Also, you want to measure things with science? Fine, go search for the electric conductivity of silver VS copper. You’ll find they’re different metals with different conductive properties.

nah you all started this fight over emojis which were obviously ment to be a lighthearted poke at best I don’t feel like apologizing so I wont and even other serious audiophiles lambast you and disagree with you so you just have to put up with it, it seems you are more concerned with fighting or providing pseudoscientific arguments than talking about the actual thing.

Honestly I am only posting as a reaction so it’s you who are keeping me here, I am simply not taking shit from any of you if you want to comment how I am wrong or need to leave. Just stop replying to me and carry on and I won’t even post in this thread.

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What IEM and what cables?

I’m genuinely interested in this subject. Like the whole big argument against “audiophile” cables is more down to price. A $300 cable isn’t going to change the sound versus a $5 cable.

I believe that for the most part, however I’ve heard some interesting stuff through my long journey.

I’ve heard of some DIY gurus saying some of the best speaker wire they’ve used was ethernet cables, and even say that thicker cables can degrade sound.

I’ve seen more recent measurements of impedance between some cables–some very startling. Like IEMs can be sensitive with balanced armatures (and if/whatever crossover network inside). It wouldn’t be out of my mind to consider that a change in impedance would alter sound.

The question is, does price matter? Does material matter? Do connectors matter? Does the quality of the solder matter? Does the connection type matter?

@Rikudou_Goku’s cable measurements show a $15 cable holding its own against a $140 cable. The former being high quality copper, the latter being silver/gold.

To toss this up even more, does a higher impedance cable have a benefit?

Like… :exploding_head:

First: A lying_face and puke emoji is not the best way to be “lighthearted” on the internet. “Talking about the actual thing” using emojis won’t do it either.

Sorry to inform you that this forum accepts different opinions than your own and we are allowed to disagree. Basically saying “I am right and you are wrong and if you tell me otherwise I won’t talk to you” is not an argument and will just get you banned, fast, because this is not (insert random popular forum here), mods are actually active and liking the community and open-mindedness of it and all the respectful members we have.

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not even going to read, keep commenting, like I said I am only here for you cutie
feeling loved

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They do.

My IT00 sounds different with Tripowin Zonie cable when compared to stock.

Same with Meze 99 C, their sound changes when using the Meze 2.5mm Balanced Cable.

Yup. I heard a difference with my KZ AS06s. Inexpensive (35$?), but full-balanced drivers. Copper cable (Tripowin Zonie even, I think) versus the 35$ “silver” cable above. I did not believe the cables would make any difference, I bought the cable because it looked good, and I actually wish it would not have changed the sound signature, because I’m treble-sensitive and the subtle “sparkle” added by the silver cable just adds a bit of sibilance and “air” I don’t like.

Man I also hear the “interiors” of my old smartphone working with the KZ AS06s, lol. They’re not detail monsters, but it’s funny hearing interferences going through, sometimes, like, when a page loads. Yup, BA drivers, even inexpensive ones, are sensitive!

Long story short, everything matters… but Amazon basics cables are still excellent. Lol. When I bought my first speakers, I only had tiny, thin cables to plug em. Monoprice 12AWG oxygen-free copper cabling arrived, and the speakers gained like +5dB bass.

There’s a reason why oxygen-free copper is the standard. I feel like everything else is like… adding tubes to your sound. Sometimes subtle, sometimes extremely different stuff, different materials, will just add a different flavor or mess with the sound. In fact, I already said in this forum, “if you believe different materials make a difference, chances are your favorite cable might be at the dollar store”. Silver is more conductive than copper, but uh, yeah, quite rare, quite expensive.

-My bet would be on silver for achieving “perfection”. Why? Science.
-Until then, oxygen-free copper is perfection.
-I stay away of companies not mentioning what materials they use. Be it Monster cables or Audioquest.

There’s also one problem with silver cables versus copper: Do you think the people doing the dacs, amps, headphones, speakers you use, tested em with silver cables and recommend silver cabling? I highly doubt it. If you want the stuff you buy to sound “as intended by the creator”, oxygen-free copper it is.

Could anything else be an enhancement? That is the question, lol.

From my experiences with amp / speaker systems: speaker cables matter. Have heard enough differences, including “not that expensive” systems like Cambridge Audio small tower with Mission speakers, and the cables were maybe at 100 bucks. Though never went higher that second hand Red Dawn speaker cables for my big system - and well, even my wifey immediately heard the difference from the other room…
Thus I`d not be surprised that headphone cable matters.
If it is about cable material, type of connector and its coating - I do not care.
Best is to be pragmatic - if the cables are long enough to connect the gear, you like their looks/feel - perfect. If particular cable does something to the sound in your particular system which you like - grab it and enjoy.

I have an incredibly linear set up with VERY low noise floor to begin with. I’m also using 24bit flac files. I’m using an SMSL SU-9 with a THX amplifier.

I used the Mangird Tea and went through all of my 2pin cables, in which I have stock cables, copper, copper with tin coating, copper with silver coating, pure silver, sterling silver, and hybrid with copper, silver and gold.

The biggest differences I hear are from stock cables vs the other upgrade cables. I can hear differences between the different materials, but it’s not hardly worth discussing. It’s not like the difference you would hear from switching to a different IEM. It’s just slightly different, but I did discover that different cables and different cable materials can sound different from one another.

I haven’t done an exhaustive study with headphone cables since most of my headphones all use different connections and I don’t have a ton of different cables to try that will work on the same headphone.

Just thought I’d report my findings. They were completely unexpected.

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