Don't buy into the expensive cable hyperbole!

A cable is a cable is a cable, and don't let marketing or people making claims they can't prove change your mind on that.

A cable is a cable is a cable, and don't let marketing or people making claims they can't prove change your mind on that.

Rarely does a week go by that I don't get an email from someone asking me whether changing some cable in or connected to their PC will boost performance in some way or other. Usually this person comes to me with a link to some product that makes all sorts of wild promises. It's with sadness that I have to inform the individual that no, changing one cable for one that can be more than 100 times more expensive won't make a jot of difference.

Unless your existing cable is damaged, not working or the wrong cable, changing the cable is a pointless exercise, no matter how expensive or bold the marketing claims may be.

Cable snobbery is rife, and one area of consumer electronics where it can be found in abundance is amongst audiophiles. earlier today I came across a blog post by journalist Malcolm Steward who was boasting the benefits of "Super SATA" cables.

Take it away Mr. Steward:

I listened to the cables in my NAS feeding my Naim HDX/DAC/XPS and clearly identified easily perceptible improvements through my highly revealing active Naim DBL system. Quite what it is that wrought these improvements I do not know. My only guess is that the Super SATAs reject interference significantly better than the standard cables and in so doing lower the noise floor revealing greater low-level musical detail and presentational improvements in the soundstage and the ‘air’ around instruments.


The most marked and worthwhile difference, I felt, was in the increased naturalness in both the sound of instruments and voices, which seemed more organic, human and less ‘electronic’, and in the music’s rhythmical progression, which was also more natural and had the realistic ebb and flow that musicians exhibit when playing live. In short, recordings sounded more like musical performances then recordings.

So, nothing that we can measure? OK ... remember we are talking about SATA cables here, carrying 0s and 1s between the hard drive and motherboard.

As you can see the cables do not look anything special even though they are far more robust than the standard issue flat cables, and they are are irradiated, I am told, to vapourise any moisture that has found its way into the molecular structure of the conductors.

Oh, OK, right, they're irradiated so that ... WUH???? Sorry folks, but we are now into the realm of sci-fi and fantasy. This is utter nonsense, and if anyone disagrees with me, then show me the data to prove your point. Over the years I've tested all sort of "ultra" and "pro" cables, from USB, to network to HDMI, and I've not come across one that made a jot of difference in the real world.

Save your money and spend it on something more sensible ... like magic beans or something.