Coat hanger wire is just as good as a high-quality speaker cable

Summary:Believe it or not, coat hangers can be used as audio cables, and the sound quality is almost indistinguishable from systems with expensive cables.

Here's a question that pops up regularly in the Hardware 2.0 mailbox:

Does high quality cabling make any difference to audio/video quality?

When you're in a store and faced with a cable that costs a few bucks and another that costs a few hundred bucks, it's easy to think that the expensive cable must have some special secret sauce that the cheap cable is lacking, and that the cheap cable is somehow going to offer you a sub-standard, lower-quality experience.

And if you're spending big money on AV or home entertainment hardware then it's easy to be tempted to go for expensive cables just in case you're not going to get the best from your gear.

And that's exactly what the makers of the expensive cables want you to think.

I've always maintained that there's no difference between cheap cables and the expensive cables, with the exception the price, the packaging, and the hype levels. In the testing I've done, I've never been able to see or hear any difference whatsoever between the cheap stuff and the big bucks stuff. And as we move from analog to digital, it makes sense that the cable won't make a difference.

Either those 1's and 0's are getting down the cable, or they're not. It's that simple. I always buy cheap cables and have been more than satisfied with the results they deliver.

But I'm no hardcore audiophile. Maybe people with better kit -- or better ears -- than I have can tell the difference between cheap cables and the expensive stuff?


There's an interesting albeit old post over on the Audioholics forum where folks with some very good kit decided to put Monster 1000 speaker cables up against probably the worst cabling you could have - coat hangers.

The outcome says it all:

After 5 tests, none could determine which was the Monster 1000 cable or the coat hanger wire. Further, when music was played through the coat hanger wire, we were asked if what we heard sounded good to us. All agreed that what was heard sounded excellent, however, when A-B tests occurred, it was impossible to determine which sounded best the majority of the time and which wire was in use.

Needless to say, after the blindfolds came off and we saw what my brother did, we learned he was right...most of what manufactures have to say about their products is pure hype. It seems the more they charge, the more hyped it is.

The more they charge, the more hyped it is. Remember that.


Topics: Telcos, Hardware, Mobility, Networking


Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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