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Thread: Who REALLY makes the cables - For "Fill in the Blank" Audiophile Brand?

  1. #1

    Who REALLY makes the cables - For "Fill in the Blank" Audiophile Brand?

    Hello,

    I often wonder how many, out of the hundreds of high end brand offerings available, are actually %100 made by the companies who bring them to market? By this I mean a cable made solely in house, creating the conductors, twisting, jacketing and terminating the wires by their own employees and equipment in an artisan like fashion that one would expect when paying top dollar for Brand X?

    Everyone knows that almost every Highend Audiophile cable gets covered up by the familiar "TechFlex" jacket before leaving the building so unless one was feeling very brave I'm sure the company is counting on the end user not pulling apart their 4-5 digit priced cable just to see whats under the covers.

    What would your opinion be of an Audiophile branded cable that may have been farmed out to one of the big suppliers who take "Custom" orders from customers and turn around and make said cable to their customers Spec? Or maybe worse, just using some bog standard wire and making it look Highend using all the necessary Audiophile branding, labeling of Brand X. Would you be concerned, alarmed or less enthusiastic about Brand X knowing this and also knowing what that cable gets turned around and sold for some obscene price? Does it even matter if the end result sounds good to your ears?

    I can only think of a few brands who probably have the ability to do the whole enchilada in house without farming out the work (Cardas being one of them).

    What are your thoughts on this..Thanks
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  2. #2
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! rockitman's Avatar
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    I doubt very few branded cable makers if any extrude or draw their own wire from raw silver or copper.
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    [Industry Expert] Addicted to Best! Leif S's Avatar
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    The MasterBuilt Cables are from start to finish as far as the cable itself but they use Furutech and WBT to complete the product.
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    [Industry Expert] Addicted to Best! DaveC's Avatar
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    Very few build the whole enchilada, but I see no problem with this. The problem you have seems to be misrepresentation, and I'd agree it's not fair to take a commodity product, dress it up, and sell it for big $. I honestly don't know how many do this, but things have been uncovered and outed in the past so it does exist.

    As a consumer, why not just buy from a company that is transparent, open and honest about their product? They do exist... I say exactly what goes into my cables. No mystery, no drama, no big deal.
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    From my own experience, analog cables that can be mass-produced on reels and cut to length are never as good as a hand-built cable because one can get more air around the conductors and use bare-wire conductors etc.., all of which makes an interconnect better anyway. IF a company builds by hand, they can use the best parts available. Just because the wire or the connector is not built in-house does not mean it is not the best available solution. Every cable company cannot do OCC copper or silver for instance.

    Digital cables are another matter. The impedance of these must be uniform over their length, so they really should be machine-built.

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  6. #6
    Thanks for the comments thus far.

    I'm not sure how many possible sources there are globally of big supply shops who are capable of drawing the actual conductors but I imagine its not too many. To this point I'm not really bothered by that but what would concern me is finding out that underneath all that fancy packaging/sheathing and TechFelx lies something along the lines of a Mogami/RapcoHorizon/Belden/Canare or similar bulk wire that one could normally acquire at greatly reduced prices otherwise.

    I dont think I would even be too bothered to know that some custom recipe of off the shelf wire was used from places like Southwire or similar who have a massive selection of cable for various industries and then it was built/packaged/wound/terminated to Spec provided by Audiophile Brand X company. This would be somewhat reasonable in my mind since Brand X company would have spent the necessary time/money/R&D testing the recipe to achieve the desired sound as an end result.

    I guess I just shudder at the thought of peeling back a few layers of a multi thousand dollar cable to find nothing but Mogami/Canare/Zip Cord hiding underneath. At the end of the day I guess one will only know if they are brave/rich enough to pull out the box cutter and go to town on the wire with zero concerns of it being usable/marketable afterwards all for the sake of satisfying their curiosity.

    Maybe the real answer is to just not purchase anything that uses TechFlex
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    Site Founder And Administrator Ron Resnick's Avatar
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    Isn't Cardas one of the very few which extrudes its own copper and makes everything from scratch? I think they also make (white label) a lot of stuff for other cable companies.
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  8. #8
    Hello Ron,

    Cardas was the only "Audiophile" type wire company I could readily think of that may be one of the select few who do it all or can do it all themselves. I cant think of anyone else offhand
    Music is the brandy of the damned - George Bernard Shaw

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  9. #9
    [Industry Expert] Addicted to Best! DaveC's Avatar
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    There are just a handful of companies that actually draw wire and make cable for the audio market. IMO, Wan Lung in Taiwan sits at the top of the heap and is responsible for dozens of cable co's products and most of what is stated to be UPOCC is made by them. They have the Neotech and Harmonic Tech brands. Their UPOCC silver wire in ptfe/teflon insulation has been used in many top-$ cables including top end Siltech and Wireworld. I use their UPOCC silver/gold alloy wire which is even better, but I just buy the wire as a custom product and hand make the cables from bare wire. The other way to do it is to have the cable made by machine. More on that later...

    New England Wire, Cardas and maybe some others in the US make custom wire and cable, Furukowa in Japan also makes audio wire and cables for Furutech and others. Europe has several wire/cable co's whose products make it into the audio market.

    Audio cable co's either make their cables by hand from wire or have the cable machine-made. Hand made cables have some potential advantages that are especially important with interconnect cables, machine made cables have other potential advantages that might make them more ideal for other uses... like an HDMI cable, not sure anyone wants to attempt to hand-make one, I'm not going to try. Hand made cables can be very consistent in terms of the total cable length as the geometry can be randomized so errors are also randomized where with machine made cable you'll get the same error along the entire length of the cable. If you want to be able to step on a cable, it better be machine made... but really... don't step on audio cables ever.

    Tech flex is unfortunately ubiquitous and people see it as "high end" when in truth it's very inexpensive and not an ideal cover for a cable imo. It's not horrible though, a heavy PVC cover is a lot worse, and if kept away from the conductors won't have much effect. The cotton tubing I use sounds best but isn't as durable or easy to clean. This isn't a big problem for the intended application though, dust is usually the worst thing the cable ever sees and it never gets abraded on anything.
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  10. #10
    Very informative, Thanks Dave
    Music is the brandy of the damned - George Bernard Shaw

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