A recent speaker cable test I conducted for Geoff Morrison at The Wirecutter got me thinking once again about this highly contentious subject — just when I thought I’d banished it from my mind forever. Later, I mentioned to Allan Devantier, manager of acoustic research at Harman International (makers of Harman Kardon receivers, JBL and Infinity speakers, and numerous other audio brands), what we were up to. He and I got into an in-depth discussion of whether it’d be possible to demonstrate from a technical standpoint that, at least in fairly extreme circumstances, speaker cables can make a detectable difference in the sound of your system.
I’ve felt dismayed by both sides of the argument: the belligerent insistence in some audio publications (notably Stereo Review, which has now morphed into Sound & Vision, and the barely alive The Audio Critic) that speaker cables make no difference, and on the other side, some high-end audio reviewers’ long-winded, elaborate, effusive descriptions of the differences in the “sound” of speaker cables. It seems to me that both sides are defending entrenched positions rather than engaging in an honest, open-minded effort to seek the truth. Do Speaker Cables Make a Difference?