Yes, cables do make a difference -- regardless of price...

I thought you may find this interesting…or not.  I know, another "cable post".  Disclaimer up front — I am a believer that cables can make a difference in the sound that you hear from your system.  With my speakers, like most high(er) efficiency speakers, I can hear large and small changes made to the system components — and cables are part of that system.

What I want to share is an exercise that I went through with my better half in setting up her recording equipment that she will be using to record audio books.  The hardware part of the system is simple:  Audio Technica Cardioid Condenser Microphone AT2035 connected with a XLR cable to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 preamp.

We started with the XLR cable that came with the microphone and recorded the short introduction of the book she has been contracted to record.  Then she recorded the same section using each of the our XLR cables I have on hand:  Vovox Excelsus, Mogami 2549, Gotham GAC-3, and Grimm TPR. Each of the cables have the same Neutrik connector and are very good studio cables that I have used in my system at one time.

Listening through headphones via the Scarlett 2i2, it was super easy to hear distinct differences in these cables.  The differences were not small and very apparent.  In the end, the Mogami cable was the winner — it seemed more open and warmer than the other cables and suited the tone of her voice the best. I have heard similar differences from these cables in my stereo system but not to the significant degree borne out by this exercise. 

To keep going, today I replaced the $10 USB C to C cable that I bought as an “upgrade” from the Scarlett 2i2 to a MacBook Air with a $70 Audioquest Forest cable. We were more than surprised that with the AQ cable in the system the drop of the noise floor was very significant and the blackness of background made the sound even more crystal clear.

The purpose of this post is not to promote or compares cables, just a public service posting for those of you who do not believe cables make a difference.  They really do affect how your system sounds (positive or negative) and if you cannot hear a difference then maybe looking at the transparency of your system is a place you should examine.

Imagine peace everyone.


Saying that cables don’t make a difference is naive. Many cables are definitely overpriced, and one needs to know what to look to get the most performance from their investment, but everything, down to the solder used in any component definitely makes a difference. Sometimes the difference is more audible than others, but it is there whether in audibility, longevity or both!

Those who do not believe cables make a difference, you can’t change their minds. This thread will accomplish nothing just like dozens of similar threads in the past.

audphile1:  Long ago, I was one of those that didn't believe that cables made any difference and used to buy whatever was cheapest, until one day I decided and was able to afford high end cables, so I decided to swap all of my cables.  Long story short, they made a believer out of me, and I will never go back to cheap cables although I must admit that I have yet to hear a difference with power cords in my numerous systems and they are very revealing.  The original power cords sound the same to me. 

You’re probably one of the very few that kept an open mind. Majority will not. 

I got involved in an argument on another site with an electrical engineer claiming that, as long as the cable is of a sufficient gauge, there can be no difference. He was, undoubtedly, referring to the ampacity of the wire which doesn't take into consideration the effect on an audio signal. 

I used the example of electric guitar pickups to illustrate the kinds of differences one might expect. Early pickup bobbins were hand-wound (AKA scatter-wound) in a random manner which caused a very unique, desirable type of distortion that could not be duplicated with the more uniform machine winding.

Likewise, in audio cables, there are different methods to wind wire which affect the reproduction of various frequencies and, hopefully, minimize distortions throughout the audible bands.

I don't think I convinced him but the truth remains that changing audio cables does change the sound. Whether it's better or worse is up to your ears.  

I also hear differences in cables, and I only have one instance where try as I might I could discern no difference between two cables. Specifically it was between the Acoustic Zen Satori and the Audience AU24 speaker cables, and this was the only time over many years of swapping cables, interconnects, etc. that this happened. Now, if I was able to hear and accept when there was no difference between two cables, does it sound reasonable that in all the other cases where I actually heard differences that I was just kidding myself and making it up? Like @audphile1 says, “you can’t change their minds” and I pretty much agree but hope my experience may resonate with someone somewhere.

This thread is pure catnip for the flat earthers. Wait for it…

@soix funny story man! As it happens, somewhere around mid 2000s I had my B&W N803 hanging off a set of Satori sp cables. I had an opportunity to try Audience AU24 (the original).  I really liked them but compared to Satori they were slightly more reserved especially in area of dynamics and bass. So I didn’t get them. But I do remember liking them a lot. Fast forward to now…I have a set of AU24SX feeding my speakers 😂

And yes, I was a cable skeptic as well. But once my system reached a certain level, the differences in cables became apparent. I remember trying out a VH Audio Flavor 4 or something like that. And it was the first time I heard a difference with a power cord

The right cables and cords designed with SQ in your wheelhouse and matched to your system can be transformative.  Read reviews but most important audition and burn in before final judgement.  Let your ears decide which brand is best.  I am sure you find as I did cables and cords are as important as any other piece of kit.  

@lordrootman It seems he did "pass" a test in the first post.He neglected to check with you first if it would be acceptable to your standards:-)

But once my system reached a certain level

This and a properly setup system is needed to identity small changes in sound signature. Simply slapping tons of equipment in a spot and then saying you cannot hear slight differences (good or bad), is pure foolish. Such people should learn to appreciate the efforts and pain audiophiles take to setup their system.

I too am a firm believer in cables. I have a very revealing system to begin with and for me it’s easy to hear good and bad or improvements within my system. First off I had for many years all Shunyata Sigma HC and Digital PCs for my sources and King Cobras for my 2 mono amps. First swap was the Shunyata Sigma digital for my cdp to the Audio Quest Dragon Source pc to my CDP. What a very huge difference. Especially the all black background. Totally changed the sound for the better. I really was amazed by the quality of the music. And Shunyata ain’t no slouch when it comes to quality cables. Next was the preamp AQ Dragon source And then my mono blocks to all AQ  HC Dragons. All with great dramatic improvements in MY system. I do believe if your system ain’t up to par or don’t have a revealing system u will not notice a difference. 

Power cords can also make a huge difference... 

The best interconnects I've heard are authentic Cardas Clear. 

My audio system has been elevated to an extraordinary level of performance, thanks to the integration of Sound Lab A645 panels, Atma-Sphere amplification (MA-1 & MP-1), and an Abbas DAC. The transformation was significantly propelled forward by the introduction of bespoke cables and a power regulation device crafted by Mr. Hai, a Parisian innovator who designs these components exclusively for friends and family. Given his background as an engineer with France's leading telecommunications company, it's only a matter of time before Mr. Hai becomes a household name among discerning audiophiles.

The clarity and detail my system now reveals are nothing short of astonishing. Mr. Hai's cables utilize a type of wire typically reserved for aerospace applications, which is difficult to procure. After rigorous testing, we determined that ETI connectors deliver the most authentic sound. Remarkably, each wire within the cable is air-insulated, enhancing its performance. The power regulation device incorporates a novel, patent-pending design that has significantly purified the power supply to my system.

Through extensive experimentation and fine-tuning with Mr. Hai, we identified the optimal cable configuration, leading to a profound enhancement in sound quality. The impact on my system was so dramatic that I remain in awe. The Sound Lab panels, in particular, now produce a bass response so deep and powerful that it physically resonates through the room, surpassing the manufacturer's specifications by reaching frequencies below 28Hz. The realism of thunder through these speakers is startling, and the reproduction of piano reverberation is indistinguishable from a live performance.

Atma-Sphere's electronics, known for their precision, naturalness, and dynamism, are now fully realized when paired with these ESL panels and Mr. Hai's cables. This experience has fundamentally changed my perspective on the critical role of cables in a high-fidelity audio system. Through our collaborative efforts, we've distilled several key insights:

1. Consistency in cable technology throughout the system is crucial. Don’t mix different cables & technologies!

2. Power regulation is paramount, arguably more so than any other system optimization.

3. The intrinsic design of a cable, rather than its shielding, is the most critical factor for sound quality.

4. The quality of connectors cannot be overstated; ETI connectors have proven to be superior to any other we tested.

5. The most expensive cable is not necessarily the best choice for your system.

6. XLR design significantly outperform unbalanced

7. Silver-plated copper cables offer superior sound quality compared to pure silver cables.

These insights are invaluable for any DIY enthusiast looking to elevate their audio system. The journey with Mr. Hai has not only transformed my system but also deepened my understanding and appreciation of the intricate relationship between components, cables, and power in crafting an unparalleled listening experience.



"OP can you pass a honest A and B test?" Did you read the op? Is this not exactly

what he did?



335 posts



"OP can you pass a honest A and B test?" Did you read the op? Is this not exactly

what he did?

No, @laoman , OP did not do a controlled A/B test (based on OP’s wording). He and his better half were probably role playing, and someone might have played the horse: read up on Clever Hans - it’ll be a shortcut to understanding how pervasive and subtle bias can be via the simplest of cues, and has been widely acknowledged for roughly a century. Doesn’t mean the differences assumed (between cables) were necessarily absent, it just means they’re being assumed without verifying something besides bias.

Bias as a word is similar to “theory” - many folks don’t understand what it actually is or how it applies in science, so as a word it often “lands” on ears/eyes differently than it probably should.

@soix funny aside - “flat earther” denotes someone who disregards all scientific evidence for the earth in fact being spherical, while demanding no scientific evidence to support the belief earth is flat. In the absence of empirical evidence for cables differing audibly (be it either measurements or rigorous preference studies), I think you might not be using that phrasal poke as deftly as you seem to assume? 😅

Studies are easy to do; they’re quite complicated to do correctly without proper understanding of the discipline(s) involved. Conversely, it seems surprisingly natural for folks to state anecdotal perception as broadly applicable fact. It’s a conundrum that extends well beyond unverified perceptions in home audio. Sigh.

The baseline purpose of making comparisons (the cable swapping exercise) that gave rise to this thread was: get good sound for recording audio books. It seems like that end was achieved, so it’s not of consequence that the road travelled was not an experimentally valid one. I’m glad the recordings worked out well and don’t see that as grounds for fussing over anything. 😁



differences in cables  -  yes .  I had expensive speaker cables Ansuz P2 . With my

new speakers Zingali  94 Db total disaster  at high frequncies.

Then i  tried cheap Atlas speaker cables  -  everything was ok.

Cables make a difference.

Anecdotal evidence/example: 40+ years ago when our small group of young enthusiasts/future engineers/tinkerers dabble heavily in audio (and the first CD came out, yeah!), we soon found ’thicker’ is better (instead of 0.7mm2 lamp cord, we splurged on 4mm2). We built our own active crossovers (found very quiet op amps, one of us was an electrical engineer), bi and tripe amped various speakers.

In our quest for better sound, we tried lots of different cables that were within out ’student budget’. One of our acquaintances family owned an electric supply company. One day, we grabbed a length of phat coax cable they use to wire up multi family and large appartment buildings for cable TV (I think RG59, but need to verify), and used them on our reference system. WE WERE BLOWN AWAY. We unlimited supply at super low price (we paid 10 cents per ft), we started to sell the cables to our network (making the connections was a bit of work).

Years later, we found that cable tested and listed in the top audiophile magazine (Stereoplay) in almost highest category of speaker cables. There was no cable NEAR that category that did not cost at least one hundred times as much (the magazine used 50 cents/ft). I actually still have a (uneven length unfortunately) section here, need to give it some serious ’re listening’. If I can’t hear the difference to my selection of roughly $3-$10/ft cables, it only means I need to get a new set of ears ;-).

Amazes me this cable and wire crap goes on and on. I guess that’s what you get when you use subjection rather than Verifiable fact. Gone are the days of Hang ‘em high. Who says democracy is dead lol. Build it and they will come, whatever the market will bear, to each his own, most of us live in a free world.


Would be nice if you could share the recording on youtube and indicate which cables are in use.

@crozbo Thanks for taking the time to write about your experiences.  It was well said and for me you accomplished your goal.  With the infinite amount of variables in audio systems it’s both an art and a science to achieve better sound.  And just like art, we all have different preferences.

Cables that carry an audio signal make a difference. Cables that carry electricity from the wall to a transformer?…well…


Explain to me how mixing cables is an issue?

My TT source employs different cabling than my CD source. They are different sounds in the first place. They do not interact with each other at all is the second. Why should I use the same cabling?

We are not welding connections together.  It is important to make good contact between cable and component.  If we look under a microscope we need all the help we can g e t.  We clean up our signal at the source.  Then noise can be reintroduced at each component and connection.  Again, we need all the help we can get.

I have not purchased expensive cables.  So I may never know.  But I have experienced dramatic improvements by making good connections and buying cables that are insulated properly.  I currently have silver coated copper which replaced copper.  Clarity and details improved.  

Good post from @benanders but I really appreciate that the OP recorded voice tracks using different cables so that they could go back and compare the tracks repeatedly. If you are comparing different recorded tracks back to back it removes a lot of the opportunity for bias. My issue with cable enthusiasts is where they disconnect one set of cables, plug in a new much more expensive pair, listen for weeks and claim that once the new cables "broke in" they sounded much better than the original cables.

I had a home recording studio in the 90's and I used this recording technique to compare preamps and microphones (I used a close-miced acoustic guitar which is very revealing). I even used this process to compare the sound of different tubes in a couple of my mic preamps as well as an opamp upgrade on one of my solid state preams. I posted many of these files on a recording forum and invited folks to listen and submit their reactions. Most listeners were surprised that the differences were so obvious. I used Mogami cables exclusively and it never occurred to me to compare XLR cables this way.

FWIW, I've never been able to hear the difference in interconnects. I realize it woulc be a hassle but it would be interesting if @crozbo could post these files so us skeptics could hear for ourselves.

The OP touched on something I have wondered about for years. If cables really make a difference then we should be able to hear the difference between two kinds of cable on  the same recorded track. My skeptical nature tells me that if there really were differences in cables audiophiles would have done this and posted the files to prove their point. Sure, cables are "system dependent" but, I'm sorry, that sounds like a cop out to me.

Does anyone know of a well controlled A/B/X test where cable differences were demonstrated? I've never heard of one. I know of dozens of tests where listeners failed to hear a difference but no test in which they were successful.

Lastly, my position is that if audiophiles hear a difference in cables then, for them, the difference exists. Cables seem to give a many of our creed a lot of pleasure and if that's where they want to spend their money then more power to them. I don't know if I'm lucky or cursed that I can't seem to hear the difference.


OK there are 3 major problems that audiophile people have that no audio engineer who records or mixes music concerning cables has and that is 
#1- Of course a cheap cable is not going to sound very good there are many reasons why poor quality cables don't sound good from being to thin to oxidation to having crimped ends. Audiophiles who compare inadequate cables to well built cables are comparing apples and oranges.
#2- I started my sound career 40 years ago live mixing and editing radio shows, the other editors always listened at 2.5x speed it was hard for me to understand the dialogue at first but after my brain "burned in" I was able to edit at fast speed. That to say your brain is variable it compensates for everything in the sound world and when you pay 10k for your AC cable you will hear a difference, there are definitely many emotional reasons but zero technical reasons.
#3- The description of the way cables make a difference include words like warm, airy, tighter low end, and imaging. All these things can be measured and measured very easily and accurately with way more resolution than your ears so those descriptions are proven incorrect. If the description were less technical like "musical", "beautiful", or "pastoral" then you could say there is no measurement for that, and ok who can argue with that, but that is not the case in most of your descriptions in this group. 


The company I was working for was building a new set of studios from the ground up and money was not a problem custom everything including famous speaker designer who came in and designed the speakers and wall they were mounted it (he didn't care about the speaker cables) so the engineers did lots of tests and ended up using Romex as the speaker cable for whatever reason they said it sounded the best. I've heard of people trying RG59 coax and had the same results you did. These examples are preferences (I like strawberry or vanilla ice cream better) this is what happens when there is so much confusion. Audiophile cables of over a few hundred dollars each should always have unmeasurable differences or else there is a problem with the cable.

I like how if you don't hear a difference you're not "open minded" or don't have a "highly resolving" system. 😐

The hardware part of the system is simple:  Audio Technica Cardioid Condenser Microphone AT2035 connected with a XLR cable to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 preamp.

@crozbo I've said this many times on line; if your equipment supports AES48 then the interconnect cables will hardly make any difference. I don't think that mic supports it, so you'll have to audition the cables to find the one that works best for you.

Its pretty amazing to me to see how mics have changed over the decades; that you can buy a large element condenser mic now for only $150.00! I'm sure that's given a lot of people access to making music that were shut out before.

But to make a mic at that price you have to cut some corners somewhere, and I suspect that it does so with the tiny preamp that's built into the mic. If it references ground, then cable immunity is out the window. IOW it might be a balanced output, but it doesn't support AES48, the balanced standard. The Audio Technica site doesn't say, so this is theory on my part. 

We use Neumann U67s in my studio, running into custom vacuum tube mic preamps, which drive the recorder directly, bypassing our mixer. You can put whatever cable you want in that setup and you don't hear a difference. But the Neumanns have a proper floating output which is the only way AES48 can be supported. They also have no problem driving 150 Ohms, which is a typical microphone level input impedance (quite different from the 3KOhm input of the Focusrite).

These sort of things have to be taken into account when making statements about cables. When you have the lower impedances of the pro equipment, cable differences vanish.

Post removed 

“flat earther” denotes someone who disregards all scientific evidence for the earth in fact being spherical, while demanding no scientific evidence to support the belief earth is flat.

@benanders In the audio world “flat earther,” and as it’s used here, refers to people who can only believe what they see and can’t get their heads around that there’s a bigger picture and that not everything can be described by measurements.  People here who can actually “hear” that bigger picture realize that the human ear is a pretty darn good measuring device if you have enough experience and know how to use them.  For those who can’t (or won’t) get it, good for them and just buy lamp cord and live happily ever after.  To each his own. 

First, thanks to everyone for keeping this discussion civil and keeping the flame throwers at bay.  The purpose of this post was to communicate my experience with a direct mic to track example.  

I commonly hear people say that they want their system to sound like the "real thing".  But of course that is never going to happen since you do not know what the "real thing" originally sounded like.  What you mean, I suspect, is that you want it to sound like your interpretation of what you think the "real thing" should sound like.

The purpose of our little experiment was just to get her modest voice recording set-up to sound as good as it could with some advice from the good people at ProAudioLA and Sweetwater.  Since I had all these different XLR cables it made sense to try to optimize the sound with resources on hand.

No elaborate A/B/A/A/B/B/B/A testing just her voice, reading the same passage with each cable and running all these segments back to back.  So, in playback there was a four segment level matched continuous track where you could determine the differences in recorded voice quality.  We liked segment 3 the best, which happened to be the Mogami cable. 

In this situation, we were there, knew what live sounded like, and liked how segment 3 best represented her voice.  That is all.  Nothing more and nothing less.



@audphile1 "You’re probably one of the very few that kept an open mind. Majority will not.".


On that note, those who already know the difference have no need to debate it further, and usually don’t respond. Some NaySayers enjoy debate, and often times have no record of actually testing some of the better cables themselves. Just talk.Talk is Cheap.  

Another cable thread...

I cannot fathom why so much people can deny that some cable may make a change for best or worst...

I cannot fathom why so much people are obsessed by the importance of cable which is secondary and minor most of the times compared to anything that matter: mechanical, electrical and acoustical working controls...

It is like the gear focus on branded name , the costlier the better, instead of acoustics basic and on synergy instead of price tags...


Anyway.... Enjoy the thread... 😊

@crozbo based on your last comment: Was your wife reading the track live for each cable, or were you re-recording the same pre-recorded reading by her for each cable? I know the latter sounds incessantly redundant, but, if you recorded a different live reading for each cable, you were comparing your wife’s live takes, not cables. In that scenario, using different cables was a confounding factor to assessing the quality of your wife’s reading, not the other way around, again - if it was multiple (different) live takes.

@mahgister +++1. Perfectly stated. People really should accept the fact that other people have different priorities for their music listening experiences. There’s not an absolute “right” or “wrong”.  IMO, of course 😉


"Listening through headphones via the Scarlett 2i2, it was super easy to hear distinct differences in these cables.  The differences were not small and very apparent."

This does not sound like role playing to me. You actually sound like one of the minions on the ASR site.




336 posts


"Listening through headphones via the Scarlett 2i2, it was super easy to hear distinct differences in these cables. The differences were not small and very apparent."

This does not sound like role playing to me. You actually sound like one of the minions on the ASR site.


@laoman My role play comment was tongue-in-cheek to point out an experimenter effect would be plausible given OP stated he’d already perceived audible variation among cables in his stereo system. In lieu of a minion-hunt or any other expression of “home team vs. visitor” mentality, how ‘bout we continue to heed the OP’s last remark?

Imagine peace everyone.

Have you ever thought of the fact that like AC cables the cable isn't what's important but the connections and the first connection inside the equipment. For some reason people think a crimped connection to a connection that only pressure scrapes to make an electrical connection on the opposite connector, most of the connection on connectors aren't good enough to support 100% field flow of electrons. A soldered connection at least uses a tin and silver mix that makes a good flow but even every soldered connection changes the chemistry. If you spend 10k$ on your cable and then it enters your equipment and flows through a fuse then a trace on a PC board you can't convince anyone that the 2 meters of 10k$ cable is helping, in the case of AC the wall sends the power through 12ga Romex. No one has ever explained how miles of AC power then transformers then wall plug then 10k$ cable then fuse then cheap internal cables will make the 10k$ audiophile cable effective. I asked every cable maker at AXPONA how this could be effective, only 1 maker had an answer that the cable acted as a reservoir of power that conditioned the signal. OK no, nice try. How do such smart people not look at basics?


Watch it one might think you a flat earther !  Perhaps more learning time to hear is needed, you know rule out the A / B, placebo, or 50-50 results. In the future you will probably see some Yum Yum selling cables with very small ‘audio’ only capacitors installed in their cables. Damn there’s that alternating current problem again…


crozbo, this is not a PSA.

You chose to sacrifice your annual post on the cable altar and start yet another entirely predictable, contentious and worthless argument. 



Cables certainly make a difference. If you're not hearing it, then it is one (or more) of the following issues: 1) Your hearing is just not good enough; 2) Your system does not have the resolution to allow you to hear the difference; 3) Your listening to an unfamiliar system; 4) Your cognitive bias says you cannot hear a difference between cables.

As far as A/B testing, No.3 is often the culprit in not allowing differences to be heard. The differences between cables are often very subtle and it takes a while for the listener to adjust to hearing the intricacies of a new system. 

I'm also of the opinion that cost of the cable has very little effect on the final sound, however, I do always feel partial to a silver-coated copper conductor.

Also, here's a 5th issue: different components change cables difference as well. I'm not talking resolution, but the interplay between source/preamp/amp/speakers. The interaction between impedance, sensitivity, etc. also play a role.

                                                  A years old rewind:

        Anyone needing a rationale for experimenting with new cables in their system and/or feeling dissuaded by the Church of Denyin'tology's antiquated electrical doctrines: take heart!

        Many new electrical facts have been established in the past 100 years, that support audible differences, between various cables, fuses, etc.

         I couldn't find anything like, "Updated Electrical Theory For Idiots", but- did manage to find something resembling a cartoon, that even a child could follow.  It neither mentions AC/sinusoidal waves in wires, nor does it go into the photon propagation of electromagnetic waves.   It does, however, emphasize/demonstrate how Electrical Theory has progressed, since the 1800s:


        These next two presuppose a certain amount of knowledge, in the field of modern Electrical Theory.    Click, "continue reading" in the first link's first answer, to get its entirety.    Note how it mentions the OLD, "... commonly held misconception that the flow of electricity through a wire resembles a tube filled with ping pong balls...", to which the Denyin'tologists fervently adhere:


        It's an established (measured) fact that an electromagnetic wave's propagation and speed, are dependent on the materials, of which the transmission line (cable) are made (ie: Dielectric Constant/permittivity).     The better (lower) the Dielectric Constant the better the flow and the longer it takes for that material, to become polarized.     One reason anything that comprises an RLC circuit (ie: capacitors, cables, PC boards), takes time to, "form", or, "break/burn-in".*      

          *Something that makes the Denyin'tologists apoplectic.

          Even the most inane (regarding the Sciences) must admit; braiding and twisting wires eliminates/reduces EMI interference.              
          That must lend credence to various cable geometries.

          That better dielectrics enhance the propagation of electromagnetic waves (ie: your music signal), lends the same credence to choosing cables with better materials (ie: Polypropylene, Teflon, air, etc).

           Of course: anything the Church of Denyin'tology's popes can't fathom, they'll summarily dismiss.


         As simple a device as a fuse is: it still carries a sinusoidal signal/voltage, ALWAYS from source to load.

                                                 NOT back and forth!

         Also (as mentioned above): any fuse acts as an RLC circuit, the 'C' of which will be determined by properties of its wave guide's/ conductor's surroundings (ie: glass, air, bee's wax, ceramic, end cap materials, etc).

          Any commonly drawn wire will exhibit a chevron pattern in its crystal lattice, so: why not "directionality" and why OHNO Continuous Cast, single crystal wire sounds better, to so many?


                   Stated above are scientifically tested, measured and proven facts. 

                                  There is no "contest", or "dispute" involved.


         The OP mentions Maxwell, but: obviously they have no understanding of his theory and possible ramifications as regards the above.


          Anyone that feels compelled to harp on not hearing any differences, is obviously too obtuse to understand the term "variables" (as frequently mentioned) and worthy of disregard.


          My only goal in these threads has ever been to encourage those with a curious, rational, functioning mind to experiment with their systems, based on the latest (20th/21st Century's) findings of ACTUAL Physics/science and ignore the Cargo Cult's incessant runway building (objections, convolutions, deflections and obfuscations).


                                           Happy listening!


Because distance matters.

The miles of current to your system don't matter as long as it arrives cleanly - it never carries the music.

The points of contact inside your components don't matter near as much because they are so short. The signal does not degrade near as much as going through 10' or so of cable.

Why do you think that people looking at cables haven’t already spent many thousands on acoustics? System synergy? Room dimensions? It’s pretty stupid to by a $200k Porsche and put  $50 Toyota tires on it. When you spend thousands, tens of thousands or more on a system, why not audition cables to get the most out of your purchase. Every cable has a different sound, can be good, can be bad.

But if you have a cheaper system/cheaper car, cables/tires aren’t going to make a big difference. You can only get so much out of a cheaper system or a cheaper car.

I commonly hear people say that they want their system to sound like the "real thing".  But of course that is never going to happen since you do not know what the "real thing" originally sounded like.  What you mean, I suspect, is that you want it to sound like your interpretation of what you think the "real thing" should sound like.

@crozbo It helps a lot to use recordings you made yourself, because you were there when it was recorded, huh! 😀

If you even get a chance to try equipment that supports AES48 (which is likely a bit more expensive) I'd be interested to hear if you still hear the same differences.

When the standard isn't supported, the shield of the cable becomes the signal return path, just as it is in an RCA cable. So its more susceptible to noise and the construction of the cable itself. Not only that but you lose immunity to ground loops. Cable immunity and immunity to ground loops are two things that the balanced line system is supposed to eliminate, along with reduced noise (Common Mode rejection of noise; CMRR).

So if the standard isn't supported, you're likely to hear cable differences. I think this is why the single-ended vs balanced thing is an on-going thing in high end audio since so little of high end audio equipment supports the standard.