audio cable madness

Ok, so it's been a while since I made a post here. It's not because I ran out of things to talk about-- far from it. It's just that it's been hard for me to take the time to write these things down. Laziness-- pure and simple. In the future, I'm going to try for one post a week.

Anyway, this post is about cables. Can you believe this? Apparently people are willing to pay $1000 for a stereo audio cable with RCA jacks on the ends!

According to the website,
All ANJOU interconnects are produced on proprietary custom designed and built machinery. The greatest cable design in the world is absolutely worthless if it cannot be produced reliably to design specifications.

No, really? Your electronic part is made by a machine? A-fucking-mazing. Where do I sign up to give you $1000? But... if your cable design is so great, why does it cost so much to make?

The even more amazing thing is that this is an analog component. The whole point of digital technology is to make components robust against interference. There are a lot of standards for digital audio that have been developed, like this guy. This cable doesn't use any of them. It is the equivalent of getting a gold-plated stick shift for your Yugo. And this isn't just my opinion.

Wow! I'm really using a lot of hyperlinks today.

Anyway, the point is, this thing is a scam, pure and simple. The regular cables that you pick up at the store are every bit as good as these silly $1000 ones. Of course, gold plated connectors resist corrosion, which is good. And it's important to get a cable with the right impedance.

My current audio setup looks like this: My windows computer has a 1/8" RCA sound out, followed by a cable that goes into my linux computer's sound in. That computer's (1/8" RCA) sound out goes to a switch box which can switch between Bose headphones and Boston Acoustic speakers.

I'm not too crazy about the RCA 1/8" cables. Honestly, I would rather be using coax cables, which are more difficult to accidentally pull out, and provide slightly better quality. But I don't think my headphones and speakers are high enough quality that I would really notice the difference.

One day, when I get a house, I'll have some real speakers-- the big free-standing kind-- and probably an external amplifier to drive them. But right now I just don't have the space for all that. And frankly, most of the time when I listen to music, it's in the car.

It's frustrating how much retail stores will try to charge for cables of any kind. Ethernet cables, serial cables, audio cables-- you name it-- the minimum price seems to be $10, even for items that obviously cost 10 cents to make in China. It's getting to the point that you could pay more for a single length of wire than for the CD player that you plug it in to! Maybe someone will publish an FAQ on how to rip a length of audio cable out of a $5 pair of headphones. Until then, though, I'm just going to continue salvaging stuff. Madness, pure madness.