Quote James Lehmann:
I think it would be very worthwhile to first assemble more convincing evidence to support or refute the following (over-simplified) assertion: "changing cables changes the sound".
It's an utterly pointless exercise in my view. It is perfectly well understood that cables can change the sound if the interface design -- whether deliberate or through incompetence or cost-cutting -- permits that state of affairs.
No one will argue, for example, that different cable constructions can have a significant effect on the tone of electric guitars when playing through a guitar amplifier, and the primary reason is that the interface operates in a high impedance domain which readily exposes variations in cable capacitance and other parameters.
However, what I would argue is that if you can hear changes in sound quality when changing cables between line level equipment, then you are using poorly designed equipment. The interface should be designed such that any adequate cable of reasonable length should not interfere with the transmission of information in any detectable way.
If it does then something is fundamentally wrong with the design. So if you want to buy duff gear, and then spend a fortune trying to make it sound 'better' with exotic cables, carry on. I have no problem with that.... but I won't be doing the same thing, nor wasting my time with double blind experiments of the bleedin obvious!
However, I would point out that you can not 'test' a cable in isolation. The characteristics of the source and of the receiver MUST be closely defined and controlled since they too are essential elements of the entire interface.
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound