Do Expensive Audio Cables Matter? Monster Cables vs El Cheapo Cables

Do expensive cables make any difference at all? Or is it all sales BS?

The DSP Project set out to check this out:

We’ve heard allot of different opinions on this subject ranging from “you cant tell the difference Monster cable and a coat hanger” to people who insist on £2000 cable for their speaker connections, claiming it makes a big difference. We went to Urban Chain studios with Mike, John, Charlie and myself to test the following cables:

  • £7.13 Junior special (Home made from crappy bell wire – £7 for the connectors)
  • £20 Van Damme
  • £55 Chord cream
  • £100 Monster cable

All cables are 4 meters long with Neutrik XLR connectors. We tested the cables with both our ears and our eyes and do you think we could find a difference?

They did find a difference – but their results may surprise you…..

9 thoughts on “Do Expensive Audio Cables Matter? Monster Cables vs El Cheapo Cables

  1. a few years ago, in a famous LA studio, we did a blind study of this. we took a monster cable, a regular cable, and a wire coat hanger connected to high end speakers in a listening session. and not one of the ‘experts’ we had could tell the difference. as long as the electrons are moving thru the copper, then you have what you need. in fact some of the guys picked the wire coat hanger as the best sound….. word.

  2. Pity they left out the classic wet string. But seriously, is anybody really suprised? There is, of course, a difference between the conditions under which signal cables and speaker cables are operated, but unless you get substantially rectifying contacts somewhere, the BS factor is the same for all – proportional to the outrageousness of the price. Let's face it, the reason why vinyl sounds 'better' than CD is because of the 'nice' distortion inherent in the former.

  3. Too bad Monster cables are neither high end nor profesional. Mogami and Canare are what they big boys use, and they are usually cheaper than Monster if you roll your own. That being said, differences aren't going to be as noticeable at short lengths like that. Differences in cables become noticeable at very long lengths where RF and capacitance become issues. Also there is the durability of various designs. The kind of copper used may not matter as much, but there are differences between how the internal wires are done (quad star vs regular) and what kind of shielding is used (braided vs wrapped vs foil).

  4. Most studio rats know that there's no difference between high end cables and low end cables in sound quality… Really the only thing you have to worry about is whether or not your cables are shielded because you can get some funky interference in some places depending on if you take your gear out on the road… If you're certain you aren't getting interference you can use whatever the hell you want really 🙂

  5. This doesn't look like a proper blind test. They need to be able to pinpoint the same cable consistently multiple times to prove that there is a difference and that they can notice it. If they know what cable they're listening to, their feelings for that cable or brand will color the results.

  6. First monster cables aint the best cables and second its the role chain that makes the diference. From the mic, then the calble, then the pre amp, then the audio interface, then the cable to speakers, and the speakers, so its a whol chain if u change just a little part it willl make a little diference, but if u change the while thing the diference gets big.

  7. Moster Cable make a good cables, so as AR..with in prices range..If you have hi end audio, mainly in the speakers, there is a diffrent..by recording easy listen music, for one minute then record on diffrent cables..headphone don’t lie..Ribbon speakers are very pickly..they show fault s of anything in speaker cable and RCA ect..best to say pay less than $200.00..now find then on sale or close out like my mc1000 for $75.00 RCA..do your homework..
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