The first cracks in the firmament of my stubborn stance on long speakers cables came in the form of a trade show.
Trade shows, like RMAF or CES, are for the purposes of selling stuff. Companies spend a great deal of money showing off their equipment to customers, both dealers and consumers. As a point of reference, the annual CES in Vegas used to run us about $50,000. That's a hell of a lot of money for essentially a 3 1/2 day show. Sundays found manufacturers chatting in the halls as customers flew home that morning.
If you're going to spend that kind of money you want to make sure you get a return on your investment. So you do your best. As an electronics manufacturer we partnered up with the best loudspeakers we could manage to find and tried hard to make great sound—tough to do in a hotel room with less than a day of setup time.
When customers sit and listen you want to make sure they look at what you're trying to sell. We weren't trying to sell loudspeakers. So the inevitable setup is a rack of PS Audio gear sitting between the loudspeakers—the worst sonic real estate for a high-end audio system because of vibrations. None the less, we're there to sell products.
Our show kit included different cables than what we used back home. At that time, my setup was long speaker cables and short interconnects. The setup at the show was different and so we carried with us both: short speaker and interconnect cables.
Over time I began to notice our shows sounded better (in some respects) than our setup at home. Quicker, greater punch, less colored. I couldn't be certain, but it surely left that impression upon me. And so I began to think about differences.
At the same time, outside influences were regaling me about switching to long interconnects…