Are cables components?

So the statement “It was a component level change” is inherently redundant? :slight_smile:


In this case yes. :thinking:

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Some here are aware I’m only a few months into high-fidelity audio. I’ll admit that I didn’t know it was a thing to upgrade power cords until I saw a video where Paul answered a viewer’s question on YouTube. Speaker cables and RCAs I had in mind, but aftermarket power cables? Whaahhhh? Who knew there was such a thing? I really thought (before now) that removable power cords were in case the one the component came with was damaged somehow, you could easily replace it.

My first exposure to a after market power cord was at a Stereophile hi fi show many many years ago here in the bay area. It was in one of the rooms where they were comparing for the public the difference between a stock power cord and a cord if my memory recalls called the Godzilla. I laughed!! These guys are not serious right? There’s no way a power cord can affect the sound, it’s not even in the signal path. Hah, but I’m so wrong, the sound is made from this exact power going through this power cord. Now I’m spending over $5k over each of my power cords, so who’s the ones laughing now!!

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Of course cables are components.

Where they differ from other components is that they play no active role in converting the recorded data into sound. They either transmit a signal totally unchanged or degrade it, mostly by allowing electrical pollution into the system.

So my digital signal path comprises a $10 ethernet CAT6a cable from a server/streamer that consumes 15w of power at full speed, and a pair of 4m speaker cables whose geometry is aimed primarily at noise rejection and insanely low impedance. For streaming, add 15m of fibre optic. Cable-lite, but not that uncommon.

The same server feeds 5 other rooms with no cables at up to 24/192 over uPnP.

I would happily use an active system with no cables at all. My wife would be even happier.

A high school friend and I were heavily into audio in the early 90s. We’d both sit around and just listen to Sade, The Isley Brothers and 2 Live Crew. We thought we knew all there was to know about quality sound because we had some leftover stereo equipment our parents purchased in the late '70s. It hit me one day when I saw a pair of $600 Monster Cable speaker wires that looked like water hoses in a carrying case, displayed in an upscale audio vendor’s window. That sticks with me even today.

Try a power cord on conditioner/generator first while I think makes the most improvement because it benefits all components. In my system the improvement exceeded the interconnects even, and I have very good interconnects.


Paul’s videos are just his opinion. He has strong views about a lot of things, as do most manufacturers and consumers of audio equipment, and plenty of people don’t agree with him.

Power cables do make a difference because they can act as a magnet, or filter, of electrical hash that deteriorates signal conversion to sound. You need pretty good speakers to hear the impact of this noise. You can clean out the hash with power conditioners that cost say $500. Other power conditioners do more and cost $5,000. I’ve used both varieties. Paul hates conditioners (which he explained in relation to a product he tried over 20 years ago), favouring regeneration, a core PSA business segment. I’ve used one of those as well.

You will only appreciate what gains can be made by your own trying and testing. My suggestion would be to assume everything sounds the same unless YOU can hear a difference. So far as component performance is concerned, I would never believe anything I read about sound quality unless I’ve heard it myself.

One of the joys of hifi is expecting nothing and then … WHAM!

Generally, an audio system cable has two connectors. Hence, 3 parts making up a component. In my opinion (and experience) the quality and suitability of those connectors is crucial to the overall performance of the “cable”. Even how well that connector fits or interfaces with the next component is crucial. A loose fit may not be noticed, but the damage to the sound can be significant. We may say a cable is great, or not, but it seems that, most of the time, the connectors don’t share in the praise or blame.

Yes they are.