Lamp cord

November 7, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

On the rear of my Infinity IRSV is a wire bundle connecting all the tweeters and midranges to the crossover. The wiring appears to be standard lamp cord until you look closely. There, in small white writing, are the words Monster Cable.

Before Monster Cable we all connected our speakers to our amplifiers with what is commonly referred to as zip or lamp cord: 12 gauge stranded copper wire commonly used to power lamps.

Monster Cable's founder, Noel Lee, figured out that with enough legwork and marketing he could convince people that a better, more expensive alternative would help their stereo systems sound better. And he was right.

The only difference between lamp cord and early Monster Cable was the quality of the copper and an added twist to the conductor.

That it sold for 10X the cost of lamp cable is a testament to Noel's marketing chops.

That it improved sound quality is a hat tip to Noel for having started an entire industry that has forever improved the way our music sounds at home.

Clear away all the hype and craziness we associate with the cable industry and for just a moment, recognize the positive impact of what this man started.

Those that followed Noel have made huge contributions to our hobby.

Thanks, Noel.

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106 comments on “Lamp cord”

  1. Oh please...I had to sell this '300% mark-up' crap wire back in the late '80s/early 90's.
    Thanks Noel for lining your pockets with big dollars while you swindled us with this rubbish wire that only dulled the sound of our Hi-Fi rigs while really innovative companies like FURUKAWA ELECTRIC in Japan were manufacturing high class 7N PCOCC interconnects & loudspeaker wires that completely removed the muffled veil of sound that 'Monster Cable' brand forced us to listen to from our high-quality home-audio systems.
    And don't forget how Noel threatened & tried to sue everyone & anyone who dared to manufacture & sell their own brand of dedicated home-audio interconnects & loudspeaker wires, until an American loudspeaker wire manufacturer, who also happened to be a lawyer, kicked his arse (ass) so hard that Noel finally stopped trying to sue people for trying to enter the Hi-Fi audio interconnect & loudspeaker wiring industry.

    Noel Lee was the Donald Trump of home-audio wiring.
    "Monster" indeed...more like 'Monstrous'.
    Thanks for nothing Noel.

    The mid-terms are here...God help us!
    Make America Gag Again.

    1. Absolutely hilarious. Rant read this morning while spitting out coffee due to excessive laughter.

      What a great way to kick off a morning…a Monday morning no less. 🙂

    2. Remember (independent of our opinion), you’re posting into a country repeatedly close to a civil war and democracy downfall, which is (partly) supported by half of the nation. Others would say close to severe economic or other inner country challenges (like most countries).

      Difficult territory for an audio forum and better to leave out, even if it hurts.

      1. Duly noted jazznut.
        I only mentioned it because the mid-terms are nigh & it's very important
        that sanity prevails for the sake of all democracies...enough said ✌

    3. Lamp or "zip" cord has mostly been 16 gauge. 12 gauge for lamp cord is hilarious! 12 or 10 will get you better sound even with poorer quality cable--just sayin'. Speaker cable for cheap systems often was (and still is) 18 gauge and is just crap.
      Monster or some other boutique cable use to (maybe still do) sell instrument cables that were marketed based on specific musical styles (rock, jazz, etc.). Pure snake oil--many a laugh bubbled up from me and some of my fellow players from that.

      1. Elektor,
        ✨ 93 ✨ 😀 ...but Paul deleted some yesterday,
        some belonging to the deluded 'Kool-Aid' drinkers.
        Otherwise you would've been right on the money...100+

        You know what?
        Have a damn cookie anyway ✌

          1. Tim,
            We vote for representatives here in Australia too.
            Unfortunately the majority of them lie their ares's (ass's) off,
            which destroys the democratic model.
            But maybe America is ready for an Authoritarian government like China, Russia, Nth Korea & Belarus...I'm just spit-balling here.

        1. Freedom of speech is Democracy. Without it you have no Democracy. Its why Musk purchased Twitter a self proclaimed communist platform of censorship. If all sides are not heard there is no Democracy, that's when Civil wars start when the first amendment is not obeyed. We are a Constitutional republic first. Example if 9 out of 10 people vote to take your house from you that you sweated to pay for its nullified by your Constitutional rights.

            1. And to reply to your other ignorant remarks you know nothing about my wife, my family, my divorce so shut your fat slanderous mouth. Amazed your wife puts up with an asshole like you. And yes I figured out that you would delete a post in which I ripped you a new asshole. You are a coward that when loses an argument resorts to deleting the thread you started so people cannot see the fool I made out of you. I still have your posts threatening the life of a US President so quit while you're behind or the secret service will be paying you a visit.

    4. Oh the mirth! spilt my coffee... dang, wheres the cloth.
      Why not go ferral and use some 16mm2 twin TPS mains cable for the loudspeaker cables.. really reduce those I2R losses. Super lo Z, lowww loss transmission line right there! BOOM! Skin effect? whassat?! good for playing rock & roll realy LOUD.

    5. FR - So...I guess that it's "OK" for someone from another country ( in your case, Australia ) to comment on US midterm elections by offering another tired lambasting of Trump, but we who actually reside in the United States are silenced/cancelled from this forum by attempting to offer an alternative opinion on the eve of our election day.

      This is just what happened to Joe and myself earlier today as we both attempted to offer a more positive contrast between Conservative values/candidates/solutions to the huge problems We the People in the US face at this time...mostly due to the utter failures of the current party in power ( fact, not fiction ).

      I might add that all elitist political professionals from both parties who have forced their own agenda should take responsibility for their actions. This could apply to other representative republics around the globe, not only our own. That would be up to their respective voters at election time. Just my opinion.

      I have enjoyed reading your terse comments as they pertain to audio truth and fiction. I look forward to reading lots more of them. Kent H

      PS I would hope that the arbiters of blog commentary at PS Audio would reconsider their point of view and actions as regards censorship. If the decidedly restrictive aim of the forum is to restrain any "political" speech not related to audiophilia, then that policy should be administered equally across the forum to all participants, whether or not those arbiters agree or disagree with the views given. ??

      1. Hi Kent,
        I don't know if it's OK as I am only a contributor here & not the moderator.
        US politics is important to the other Western democracies; that's what you
        get for being the leader of the Western World.
        As the world sinks more & more into debt & Russia & China threatens our
        way of life, it doesn't matter who is in power, Dems or Reps, because
        these problems can't be solved by self-interested politicians.
        However, DJ Trump is a repeat-offender criminal, a slimy bastard, just like
        Noel Lee...I was just making a comparison.
        Trump idolises Putin, & I don't think that that is a good thing for any of us.

        Until an American president moves the world's microchip manufacturing back to America & out of Taiwan, which will soon be attacked by China, then they are not being serious.
        Once Taiwan is blown up, then the whole world will grind to a halt...think about it.
        We've already had a taste of this when the AKM factory burned down.

        1. The problem is that snake oil salesmen and slimy politicians have been around for ever. Both have a habit of doing something to disprove people's conceptions about them, like Biden's jog/shuffle up to the lectern to prove he's not dead, something my wife and I are not convinced about.

          "The economy, stupid" applies to both as well. People vote from their pocket (when it was used as a cash receptacle) and if they have lots of money like to buy bling hifi.

    6. FR - Sorry you feel that way about Donald J Trump. I might have some rather spicy words to offer about the Prime Minister/leader of the great country of Australia, as I understand the manner in which he handled the Covid lockdown and accompanying reprisals in your own country, but I will not since we already have enough of a contest of wills in the Western world between elitist rulers and ordinary citizens, in my humble opinion.

      If one is to label a person a crook/criminal, etc. then the accuser should be armed with the facts of those allegations. I myself am priviledged to live in the country I consider to be the greatest in this world, the United States. I have great respect for all free nations everywhere, and especially for the English Magna Carta which was the predecessor to our own Bill of Rights and Constitution. I wish all things good to those freedom-loving countries of the Commonwealth, especially for our close friends Canada and Australia. Kent H

      1. Thank you Kent.
        As I also believe in free speech, you are very welcome to say whatever
        you like about our former Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, since he is
        also a criminal like DJ Trump, & we also voted him out of office in
        May of this year just like Trump got voted out of office two years ago.
        The world prays for better leaders, but they are few & far between.
        Martin ✌

  2. And we as enthusiasts have made huge contributions to their bank balance. Cables, they’re essential, sure they make a difference but are one of the crazier parts of this hobby, an area where the charlatan can thrive. Cables that cost more than components and manufacturers suggesting we spend a large percentage of our budget on them, well, they would wouldn’t they. In a conversation the other day it was suggested that doubling the cost of a high end speaker might make a 5% improvement, highly subjective I know, but I wonder how that percentage would sit with regard to cables.

    1. The great cable debate continues…. 😀

      The only way to sort things out is by trying them. No difference? so be it and don’t pay the price. Where to stop trying them is when you reach the point of no improvement, or say hell no I’m not paying that price of admission.

      At times you wonder if the the slogan “better sound through a higher cost” is really the mantra of the high end audio world. There’s lots of justification on the manufacturer’s side. The price conditioning of the ‘audiophile’ started long ago. Look how many have come and gone….

  3. Don’t know Monster cable. Per wiki they were founded in 1979. The most popular good basic cable here is QED 79. I used it for 15 years. I checked it out and it first went on sale in 1976 for £0.80/m and it now costs £2.25/m. As inflation is over 5x since then, in real terms it has halved in price over 45 years. a bargain!

    The flat cables I use also precede Monster by a few years, they were first made by Monitor Audio in the mid 1970s.

    Go into Richer Sounds over here and you can still buy stranded cable off the reel, and they will put plugs on while you wait. The American obsession with cables does seem a product more of marketing than anything else.

  4. Noel Lee was a marketing genius without a doubt. Mr. Lee introduced interconnects, tone arm cables, locking banana plugs, high quality spade connectors, and there was even a Monster moving coil cartridge.

    But he wasn’t the first.

    In the early eighties there were a number of itinerant inventors that traveled from high end store to high end store demonstrating their merchandise.

    One such man arrived before Noel Lee and Monster took off.

    This man invented, demonstrated, distributed his goods as he traveled from high end store to high end store across the country. He sold a speaker cable twice the gauge of lamp cord, multi stranded tinned, twisted, and enclosed in a thick, flexible, brown jacket. It was called simply Brown. At Audio Musicale, the store where I started selling and learning about the High End at age 21) we used this cable extensively. If one wanted something more extreme he made another speak er cable that was 2-4 gauge with the same tinned copper that was enclosed in a thick, clear slightly tinted inflexible jacket that was terminated with heavy copper eyelets and special gold plated banana plugs modded so that a gold plated screw would connect the eyelet to the dual banana plug. Those things were beasts and were almost stiff enough to hold up an LS35a speaker by themselves. It was called Gold.
    Both of those special cables sounded amazing.
    There were matching interconnects with cool looking RCA connectors that completed the set along with a tone arm cable and even tiny head shell leads that could really make your cartridge sing.

    There were probably more products that I don’t remember but another innovation brought by one day was a Blue turntable mat that was tacky on both sides so to stick firmly to the platter and just tacky enough to stick to the record as well. There was a small notch on the edge of the mat. By noting where one started you could turn the mat around the platter and tune the mat to the platter. Strangely enough it made our Linn, Ariston and even the Oracle tables sound a bit better.
    Besides the accessories there were small bookshelf speakers that could be upgraded by adding a midrange system and even subwoofers the size of a small refrigerator. That entire speaker system was call the Js.

    Strangely enough this man also recorded many lesser known venues and musicians such as an elementary school choir and then marketed and sold his own records that still sound amazingly natural and musical today.

    I’m sure not all these products were introduced at once, but if I remember correctly the Brown and Gold speaker cables and gold interconnects appeared a year or two before Noel Lee and Monster made their splash.

    The itinerant inventor’s name, Robert “Bob” Fulton. Of course Bob Fulton never made the millions that Mr Lee did and his name is mostly forgotten today. Mr. Fulton was not a marketer in the class of Noel Lee for sure. But he was certainly an audiophile ahead of his time.

    I remember one other itinerant inventor that stopped by our store one day. He was a young man and arrived with a preamp under his arm as he introduced himself that sleepy afternoon. He wanted us to compare his preamp to our ARC SP 6. The little preamp acquitted itself well and was quite well built. I’m not sure why the owner didn’t pick up this new line or perhaps the inventor wasn’t quite ready yet.
    But I believe his name was somebody called, Paul McGowan.

      1. I graduated from highschool in 1977. I loved stereo since 13 or so. I saved and bought Dahlquist DQ 10s, and a Hafler Amp and preamp which had recently made an appearance. I had this setup at least by 21 maybe. Used of course. I already had a rep for a good ear and that’s why the store hired me.

    1. Wow. What a good memory. I cannot say I remember all this but I did traipse around with preamp under arm so.... And Bob Fulton. Yes. I remember the name. Never had a chance to meet him.

      Thanks for the memories.

      1. I’m pretty sure it was you. I remember it was a two piece preamp with umbilical cord? I thought it had some blue on it. It’s been a while. I was just a lowly salesman then but the owners always made us feel important and if they new an industry guy was coming to town or stopping by they’d usually pay us to be there if we could.

        I guess I could be mistaken.

        Those were cool days and the high end shows weren’t invented so the manufacturers stopped by at least once a year along with the regional rep if they had one.

      2. Paul- Unrelated to your post but relevant to another two: Why is it that the comments posted earlier by Joe and those of my own replying to him ( Joe ) have been suspended from the forum? This following a political "pot shot" given ( once again ) by our friend FR after he proceeded in his commentary once again with more disparagement of our former President. He ( FR) does not even reside in the US! ? other words...the political commentary by a person from outside our country is allowed either because 1) they coincide with the views of the forum arbiters (?) or else 2) special exemption is give to someone who is a regular and valued comment issuer, but not to others. Which is it? Just curious...

        Actually, I was "cancelled" by your forum arbiters from directing my concerns to FR himself in the most respectful manner possible later today...only to learn that the forum arbiters had once again prevented me from having a discussion on the grounds that "it looks like your comments have already been posted" (?) when that is simply not true.

        How about equal treatment for all participants...not just for some with whom you agree or respect more. I understand that this is an audiophile blog. If that indeed is strictly the case, the perhaps any or all political references are to be outlawed. Wouldn't that then be the rule for all. ? Kent H

        1. Kent,
          I will say it again.
          There was no "political commentary" by me.
          I didn't mention the Dems or the Reps.
          I spoke nothing of politics.
          All I did was compare Noel Lee to Donald Trump.

          Of course NOW I have posted some realistic &
          truthful views that MAY BE construed as political,
          but that is only after YOU posted your political views.

          "The mid-terms are here...God help us!"
          Refers to the unrest in the US & that is a fact.

        2. This is an audiphile forum and political comments or insults against a politician are allowed up until you comment against the party of the moderator, then they say its an audiophile forum only and your comments are deleted. This doesn't happen in any forums run by conservatives because they respect the first amendment rights of everyone. You only have freedom of speech when you agree with a liberal. My post was brilliant and truthful, hit home, therefore it had to be removed. Nobody likes when their party is made to look like fools with a dose of truth and reality instead of the mainstream medias daily lies and propaganda bullshit that so many take hook line and sinker.

              1. Not a joke, you're insulting people that you have no direct knowledge about other than the bullshit propaganda talking points of slander the media feeds you who are a political enemy of Trump. Maybe I should start ragging on the political leaders that you support in your country that I know nothing about other than what is said by those who don't support them. See how you like it or if you think its a joke. I thought Trump was going to be arrested? Watch the news tomorrow as he announces hes running for President in 2024.

                1. Go ahead start insulting them, see if I give a sh!t.
                  Politicians are all lying scum.

                  Trump is a criminal & that's a fact & you have drunk to much 'Kool-Aid' Joe.

              2. Joe,
                I could ask the same question of you.
                I made a joke, which a lot of contributors saw the funny side of, & you 'lose it' & go psycho like a Pitbull.
                You've drunk wa-a-a-a-ay too
                much of the Trump 'Kool-Aid'...Lol.

          1. I also don't appreciate putting a lot of thought, time, and energy into a post only to see a liberal dictator zap it in two seconds. This is abuse of power to control a narrative. Try debating instead of deleting and stop being a pussy. Free speech is about allowing what you disagree with not just what you agree with. Deleting is cowardly when only one person has that power and its only being done because you disagree with it or don't want some truth to be known. Responding to someone's post with my thoughts isn't any violation. We are adult enough to not need big brother butting in our debate on an issue.

              1. Maybe a solution would be to throw the Aussie troublemaker out of here. Does nothing but stir the pot and create trouble. He admits to messing with people because he gets enjoyment out of it. He's nothing but a board bully who has also threatened the life of a former President and I have it saved. I agree that this is an audiophile board and the use of even civil political commentary should be limited but this FR ahole who is not even a US citizen resorts to extreme insults and even threats of killing a US President. He should be booted out of here.

        3. Hi Kent and thanks for chiming in. Honestly, I am doing my best as "moderator" to delete these posts as quickly and evenly as possible. I am not choosing sides. My feelings on political issues are well known and have no place here.

          I very much wish Joe and Fat Rat would stop going after each other. Let's try and stay with audio.

          When I get up in the morning and start answering emails I run through the latest to the oldest in order. As I see the posts that are not appropriate for this audio related site I delete them as best I can.

          I am leaving yours because maybe someone will read it and understand.


    2. I would take mean tweets over hyper inflation and high energy costs that will send us into a recession if we're not already there. Jobs were great under Trump until Covid allowed opportunistic Democrats the chance to shut down millions of jobs in an election year and using shady election practices.

      People allowed to return to those Trump created jobs is not job creation by Biden the biggest Plagiarist there is and he's been doing that his entire 50 years in politics as a lifetime professional con artist that never accomplished a thing. Even Obama said Biden effs up everything he touches.

      Also rather have mean tweets than being over run at our southern border by Fentanyl that is poisoning hundreds of thousands of Americans a year and human trafficking by the Mexican cartel making billions off this illegal drug and human trafficking trade that is not only inhuman but allowing Pirates into our country who pillage our tax payers and commit crimes against our citizens. Crime is out of control in this country and the Democrats do nothing about it. Their answer is to defund the police.

      After the big red wave tomorrow there's going to be a price to pay. Biden will be impeached for the crimes him and his son engaged in that enriched the Biden family by money laundering foreign money into Joe's bank account. Joe Biden will not be the Democrat nominee in 2024, he's a cognitive mess and refuses to take a cognitive test and if he is he will be demolished by Trump or DeSantis. Americans don't want Communism or the new world disorder in their country.

      Biden will be 86 by the end of a second term and he's showing every bit of his age right now at age 80. Not to say there are not elderly people who cannot do a great job but he's not one of them, and he's corrupt.

      We hear all this BS Democrat talking points about Democracy is absurd. We are a Constitutional Republic. Democracy belongs to all of us. Democrats keep saying Democracy is on the ballot. I have news for them, Democracy is the ballot! Democrats think if you don't vote for them and do what they want that Democracy is over. Democrats will get a taste of Democracy on Tuesday!!

      As far as Monster cable I agree most of it is rubbish but if you're selective you can find some good deals on the stuff that is pretty good. But when it comes to politics in the USA you have no idea what you're talking about. Just another misinformed foreign spewing ignorance.

      1. Joe - Your thoughts and understanding of our midterm election stakes are absolutely correct, in my opinion. You have stated the issues at stake for our nation in an accurate and completely prescient manner.

        This election is not about "Trump the Bully" or any other such emotional label which represents Democrats' complete gaslighting in avoidance of discussing the dire straits under which we have lived for the past 22 months. Thanks be to our Lord that we are not residing in the unprecedented political oppression which is unfortunately currently prevalent today in the great English speaking nations of Australia and Canada. Our thoughts and prayers are with the citizens of those Parliamentary political systems who surely will fight to regain their natural rights and freedoms.

        We still live in a Constitutional Republic rather than the mob rule "democracy" label which is touted by the Democrat Party. It's time for "We the People" to take back our great country from the elitists of both parties. That said, I will close with my sentiments on this Election Eve, especially as it applies to our fabulous young Conservative candidates:

        Go Red Wave Tsunami!!! VOTE...Whatever it takes!

  5. FR, I think we need a little perspective here. Yes, Monster cable was 10X more expensive than lamp cord, BUT, lamp cord was dirt cheap. So 10X the price of lamp cord was not the crazy $2K OR $3K a meter that we have today.

    I remember when I bought my first reel of Monster cable. It did not cost that much and my gear was so crappy that it really did make any difference. I did not look for better cables until I bought better gear in 1986 and even then I did not spend that much on cables.

    1. Tony,
      Soundwise 'Monster Cable' brand wire was just thicker lamp cord
      hidden in a grey garden hose, filled with wax paper & cotton.
      There was better available for less money & far better available for
      the same money.
      If I hadn't been in Hi-Fi sales, then I may not know this.

      Even the 1.5mm dia. solid core copper electrical wire that I still use
      today, at 65c per metre, makes 'Monster Cable' brand loudspeaker
      wire sound like string between two cans.

  6. I believe Paul was in his early thirties at that time. And I could have been have been 21 +~ 3 years.

    I remember it was a two piece preamp with separate power supply.

    And I’m almost certain it was Paul, though at the time he was hardly famous and while I was interested in hearing the product I don’t remember him exactly.

    At the time inventors like William Zane Johnson, Bob Strickland, Bob Fulton, and Lou Conrad among others visited the stores. They were accompanied by the region’s factory rep.
    I remember Bill Johnson flying into the small airport outside St. Louis, picking him up at the airport, and the two owners, another employee, and myself going out to dinner.

      1. Across the river in Belleville, Illinois. We were the area ARC, Acoustat, Magnepan (we shared with Flips), Oracle, VPI, Fulton, Monster, SOTA, Denon, Yamaha, Audioquest, Sumiko, and I’m sure sone I’ve left off.

        1. Wow! I haven't thought about Belleville, Illinois in ages. My brother lived there for about five years. I left St. Louis in 1980 to find fame and fortune ( I not going to go into how that worked out ) and have only been back to St. Louis a handful of times in the last 40 years. I do not think there is a single B&M audio store left in St. Louis.

          1. Remember when St Louis Music made guitar amplifiers and PA systems? My daughter lives in Lake STL. I like visiting the music store in Wentzville. They have a lot of old, er, vintage electronics...

            1. Yes. I loved the Tympani’s there. They sounded special. The owners allowed the employees to stay and experiment after hours as long as we put everything back and were ready for the next day.

              So we switched preamps, turntables, cartridges, amplifiers and wire to our heart's content. It was surely a fun time.
              The debut of the ARC SP 10 was amazing to hear. Nothing else sounded like it for sure.

  7. The reality is, that what happens in the U.S.A. affects the entire world, and what happens elsewhere affects the U.S.A. There are some pretty bizarre things happening here in the U.S.A. such as people invading the Capitol with weapons, and a noose outside, being characterized as people just expressing their Constitutional right to demonstrate and give their opinions.

    1. I agree with you. However, this is an audio forum. Let’s keep the opinions and comments about audio. If you want to make comments and offer opinions about politics, there are forums for that. The USA isn’t the only country that affects the world. I’m not saying anymore about it.

      1. It helps if you are tolerant, thick skinned, have a somewhat twisted sense of humor and most of all can easily ignore things. I have never participated in a forum where things do not go off track. If they go too far off track it is the job of the moderator to correct them. Good luck and hang in there.

        1. So Paul can add to his qualifications "Door to Door Salesman".

          Never a bad thing. A friend's father went to Oxford University and when he graduated the first job he got was selling Encyclopaedia Britannica door-to-door. He thought whatever he did, he needed to know how to sell. He became a leading venture capitalist and made a large fortune.

          p.s. Venture Capitalist = Getting someone else to do the work and taking 20%.

  8. Paul, how did we make it to 2022 and there are still people out there in this hobby that don’t think cables matter? How I wish it were true! It would have saved me so much time and energy. It baffles me. All I can come up with is that the cable-denying crowd don’t take the time to set up their system properly. Perhaps to them, some expensive speakers playing in a room is HiFi. If that’s the case, I don’t think I would hear the differences either. HiFi is all about setup: you sit in the sweet spot doing nothing else but listening, your room is sound treated in some manner, your equipment and cables have been hand selected to have synergy, the lights are low, etc. If you’re not doing those things, then cables probably don’t matter.

  9. Sgrowan... For the record it's Bill Conrad and Lew Johnson. Their company is still doing well with their hand built, great sounding products. They did a fine job perpetuating the company on to their long time internal manager and engineer. I believe they still have advisory rolls. Nice folks and good business people.
    Thanks for the memories of the industry in different times.

  10. Music for Pleasure is still in business and doing well as for as I can tell in St. Louis.

    There are several businesses located in the owners’ homes.

    At Home Theater and Design by Dave Wilbanks is my favorite.

    Belleville, IL is not what it used to be for sure.

  11. This is my basic philosophy on cables:

    I think the selection of cables is a difficult and frustrating morass. Just because a cable is expensive doesn't mean it necessarily offers the best sound for your ears between your particular components in your particular system.

    The idiosyncratic ears of a particular audiophile will find there to be an optimal cable to use to connect any two components, but it is not possible to predict in advance, based on input impedance and output impedance, or based on cable resistance/capacitance/inductance characteristics, or based on the design of the dielectric or of the cable sheath, which cable this will be. One must try different cables between each pair of components, and attempt to be largely design agnostic and brand agnostic, and to judge primarily by ear.

    In other words, ideally, we would have in inventory a wide array of different models and different brands of cables. We would cycle each of these cables through every pair of components, and see which cable sounds best to each of us between every pair of components. In practice this is very difficult to accomplish.

    My answer to this morass is to start with very basic cables, like Mogami 2549 or 2791 or Belden 1192A or Iconoclast. From there one can experiment with fancy, expensive cables, if one so chooses.

    1. Well stated Ron,
      I still use a very cheap 1.5mm dia. solid core copper electrical wire, that cost me
      $0.65 per metre, because I haven't 'heard' anything better in nearly thirty years.

      1. Could you please give more information on the brand speaker wire/ cable and model number so others (like me) can explore it's use and try it out. Thanks in advance.

        1. Hi sharaf,
          What I use is called, '1.5 millimetre diameter solid core copper electrical wire'.
          It should be available at any electrical hardware store, HOWEVER, in some countries, like Australia, it's manufacture has been discontinued & you can only get 1.0mm dia. or 2.00mm dia. solid core.
          Audible tests have been done & 1.5mm dia. sounds better than 1.00mm or 2.00mm.
          So if you are going to try out solid core wire then go for the 1.5mm dia. size.

          There are a few dedicated Hi-Fi audio cable companies that make solid core loudspeaker cables that you might also want to explore, such as 'DNM Design' in England.
          Denis Morecroft (DNM Design) makes a 1.3mm dia. solid core loudspeaker wire in a flat ribbon design.
          He also makes an 0.85mm/0.6mm solid core, flat ribbon design interconnect, that I highly recommend.

          There are others that twist their solid core wires & from memory another company goes with a 1.6mm dia. solid core.
          Just Google, 'solid core loudspeaker wire' & go from there if you really want to go deep into it.

          Finally, for my ears, & the least amount of money, the '1.5mm dia. solid core copper electrical (house) wire' is the best sounding, by far.


  12. I had some of the original Monster Cable, with the clear jacket as shown above, and I had to throw it away after a few years since it had corroded badly inside the jacket. Copper oxide is green and is pretty obvious with the clear jacket. Also, not good for sound quality. I learned later that this is common. The first time I visited PS Audio (2017?) I listened to the IRS system and was duly impressed. I did walk around the speakers and was shocked to see the Monster Cable wiring for the EMITs and EMIMs. I looked closely and thought I could see a tinge of green. I pointed this out to Paul and commented that this wire (can't speak to later iterations since the jacket was opaque) was infamous for oxidizing. With all the other improvements you've made to the IRS I'm amazed you never replaced that god awful wire. Shame on you sir, shame on you!

    1. pmotz,
      Thanks for posting about the green oxidization that so commonly happened
      to the 'Monster Cable' Original, since I forgot to include that in my post.

  13. Can't pile on here... and I'm sure some of the wire stories are accurate.

    However, probably in the late 80's or early 90's and before clean power was fashionable, I purchased a Monster Reference Power Center 5000 model from my Audio Dealer to power my then Carver Amp and C-J preamp. Something was wrong with it and per the manual, I contacted Monster directly, ended up speaking with Mr. Lee personally. He was very nice and I had a brand new unit almost the next day. Now, thirty years later it is still powering my entire Sonos/Samsung home theater system. I've had no issues and many, many thunderstorms. I'm sure it can't compete with Paul's offerings but is as well built as anything in my six figure stereo system. I wouldn't buy a $10K speaker wire from Monster but this is a good product. Even has a nice voltage reading meter on the front.

    1. Hi coppy,
      I have, not in use anymore, a 'Monster Cable' brand
      'Discus'; a Compact Disc stabilizer that worked quite well.
      Not all 'Monster Cable' brand products were crap,
      just most of their wires (cables) from my experience.

  14. Today instead of the expensive brands in use today I use Western Electric copper tinned 8 gauge wire for my speakers and power cords which I build myself. I used Belden 8402 for balanced interconnects. The system never sounded better. I’ve had several dealers bring over their vaunted expensive speaker cables, power cords, and interconnects. They’ve pretty much shook their head in disbelief. And I’ve not purchased any wire products since maling the switch about 5 years ago. I’ve had Cardas, PS Audio, Fulton, Synergistic Research, Clarus Crimson and never even tempted to switch.

  15. People who censor fear the truth. They don't want that truth to be heard by others for fear it will take down their views and false narratives. Just like communist China. Problem is for them is our voices will be heard tomorrow. Doesnt matter whats censored on this message board. Democrats are going down hard tomorrow. Slammed. The initial anti Trump trash post was allowed, the thread was only deleted after I ripped it a new ahole and the moderator couldn't take it. I wanna thank Kent Houser for his support of my message. I value an honest American's opinion, not a foreigner who knows nothing about American politics or a liberal deleting political messages that shows their criminal party for the farce they are.

      1. Hi Matin,
        Your comments regarding the US political system are valid, perhaps more so as you can view the situation with relative objectivity. Some of the opinions of my fellow murikan's are also "valid" but sometimes skewed by their particular circimstance. Please forgive them. I would like to add my 2c worth concerning speaker cables which I think this post was about. In my expereince cables DO make a difference but not what the respective marketing folks would have one believe. Most folks use speakers with passive crossovers and some of the problems are; making a better than previous physical connection, stub tuning the passive network, amplifier output stage with different R/L/C and dielectric absorbtion parameters of the particular cable. Cable differences are minimised with active crossovers, IMHO. Then we devolve into the preference arena, where what sounds good to one person might not be another's choice. My advice to anyone looking to "upgrade" what they have would be to look to manufacturers that cater to the professional trade where quality, reliability and relatively low cost are important. Mogami, Belden, Canare, Neutrik, etc. Then select vendors who provide products that meet those expectations. If I had the choice to spend either $4k on a pair of speaker cables or music (Physical copies, preferably purchased from the artist's website) I choose music, which is why I have a audio system to begin with. The best tweak I have ever found for my audio system is music.

        1. Hi 'cruiser,
          If you're replying to me all the way down here, then I'm assuming that you've read all the posts above & therefore there's no need for me to explain myself again (eye-rolling emoji)
          What was supposed to be a Ricky Gervais type joke about a businessman who is a complete asshole, went horribly wrong...well, maybe not horribly wrong, because some sane people got it & laughed along.
          I didn't start expressing my political views until I was pressed to do so by those who did...nuff said.

          I appreciate your 2c worth...probably more like US$2.00 worth, with inflation (another eye-rolling emoji)
          As far as spending big dollars on Hi-Fi wires, ie. cables & interconnects, I still use something that cost me AU$0.65/m nearly thirty years ago...cheaper per metre than your two cents worth with inflation 😉
          And this is because I have not heard any loudspeaker wires that sound better, overall, in all this time.

          Since this 'Paul's Post' is now like last weeks's newspaper, at the bottom of someone's birdcage, I would suggest that the next time Hi-Fi wiring/cables (they are not really cables, they are wires encased in thickish grey/black garden hoses to look impressive...'like' cables) comes up as a topic that you reprint your post (if you could be bothered that is) but closer to the top of the page, to catch more eyes, as you make some very valid points.

          Cheers, Big Ears ✌

          1. Hi Martin,
            Arrived at the party late. I will endeavor to accomodate your request. It's kind of sad that folks who deny science and factual history will worship it in other ways when it suits their requirements. Sounds kind of like a record playing about 100 years ago. I have replied to Mr. six pack before. He has an interesting opinion, not one I subscribe to by any metric. His opinions are probably better served a 4 chan forum. You have your own issues in Aussie, we have ours. Hopefully we can collectivly solve then togather.

  16. Noel Lee was nothing more than a litigious asshole much like another "famous" New York real estate developer we all know well and good. Noel may have brought a pumped up lamp cord to market but credit must be given to Bruce Brisson who actually designed later Monster cables and then left to start his own business known as MIT. To carry water for this man is truly sad Paul...

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