NB Speaker Cables 'Vigilante' Cable tested by Archimago - Real world measurements against a higher priced 'Exotic' cable.
A few months ago we had a bit of a spike in traffic and traced it back to a blog by 'Archimago'. It was a simple shout out at the bottom of his article that said:
"A shout out to an interesting cable company in Australia - NB ("No BS") Speaker Cables. Be careful with the Snake Oil, and maybe someone can let us know how the Burn In worked out. Love the honesty and humor, guys. Good luck with the business!"
We liked the cut of this guys jib, so we got in contact with him exchanged a few comments and emails for a few months and talked about the weird and wonderful world of audio. Recently, Archimago posted another article where he measured a range of speaker wires for resistance, inductance and capacitance with the most important being resistance. Why is resistance so important? To put it as simply as possible, the lower the resistance of a cable, the more power gets from the amp to the speaker resulting in the least decibel loss. His findings were expected, with the thicker gauge cables being the least resistant and therefore displayed the least decibel loss when measured.
In the same article Archimago threw around the idea of testing consumer available speaker cables including an expensive/exotic cable he had access to. We couldn't help but offer to throw our hat (or cable!) in the ring, which lead to his latest article when he put our humble NB Speaker Cables 'Vigilante' cable up against a Slinkylinks cable made of pure silver worth more than 10x our Vigilante!
I won't go too in depth, as the article itself does that for you, but to summarise his findings, OBJECTIVELY (being the real world, proven science of what we can measure and define as a 'quality' speaker cable), we blew the Slinklinks out of the water!
Was this a surprise? Not at all. Why? Because the science behind what makes a quality speaker cable has been heavily researched and unchanged for 40+ years and it's the same philosophy we've built our cables on, it's that 'resistance is king'.
NB Speaker Cables 'Vigilante': 10' (4m) length with a 4Ω load, the 20kHz roll-off would be about -0.0065dB.
Slinkylinks: 10' (4m) length with a 4Ω load, the 20kHz roll-off would be about -0.026dB.
4x less roll off at 20kHz.
Why did our cable perform so much better? It's simple, our cable is a much thicker gauge even accounting for the slight benefit in using silver over copper. The larger gauge allowed for less resistance, equating in less roll off.
Despite all the mumbo jumbo of pure silver wire, air dielectrics and whatever other marketing buzzwords one could come up with for a cable, it objectively performed worse.
But does this actually equate to the Vigilante being 'better' sounding cable? Honestly, not to the vast majority of people that listen to them. Despite measuring at 4x the resistance, the actual dB loss difference between both cables was a fraction of a decibel! Very few, if any human that has ever existed could identify a difference that small.
Which cable performed better subjectively?
This is where it all gets very complicated. In this instance, Archimago felt our Vigilante cable performed better. But how does one determine what sounds better 'subjectively' as after all it's... subjective! This is where the psychology behind speaker cables is far more interesting than the science. I touch on this in my most recent article here.
In my opinion, what makes a cable sound better subjectively comes down to that persons impression of the cable, whether the difference is audible to another cable or not. It's why cable companies have been so successful over the years using buzzwords and marketing to sell what we have clearly shown to be an inferior product.
So what point are you trying to prove here?
A part of our mission here at NB Speaker Cables is to educate people away from feeling like they have to spend thousands on speaker cables for a quality cable. We want to cut through all the bullshit and provide a product that uses the proven, long term evidence of what makes a great cable and offer that product at a reasonable price with a range that looks cool and supports Australian Manufacturing at the same time.
You can find the full article from Archimago here:
And his two original articles here: