Search the internet and you'll find opposing opinions: those who say cables can make a difference to the sound; and those who say they can't. The debate can become very heated indeed, and online insults are often traded.
If all cable was metal wires of a specific type, held apart by nothing, then maybe the naysayers would have it, but conductors are held relative to one another by insulation.
Because of proximity there is capacitance, and in a real capacitor the insulation is called the dielectric. Change capacitors from one dielectric to another in an amplifier stage and you can often hear a difference. So could there be a remote possibility that cables using different insulation might sound a little different?
Some in hi-fi argue that an interconnect, without shielding to keep out inteference, sounds better. But is it better? With no shielding (or with a floating shield which isn't connected) interference will be superimposed on the wanted signal.
For the large signals you get from such as a CD player, with careful cable positioning, there may be no hum, and as other airborne interference is made up of high frequencies beyond our hearing, no other interference would be heard. But it can have an effect on what is heard, and that is because of a process best known as heterodyning.
Heterodyning is a process which takes place in an AM radio tuner where two frequencies are mixed: one being the carrier frequency; the other being an intermediate frequency generated in the tuner. By mixing the two frequencies sum and difference frequencies are produced, the difference frequencies being the audio.
Accidental heterodyning is where interference frequencies mix with high harmonics of the audio signal inside an amplifier stage, and new alien frequencies "fall out". It is this which makes an unshielded cable allegedly sound better. It often leads to a "more atmospheric" sound, but the point is that it's different, and different doesn't mean better. If we are concerned with high fidelity - honest reproduction of what we are playing - then obviously anything added is not giving a high fidelity result.
This is how one of the UK's leading EMC engineers - Keith Armstrong - explains it...
... in-band intermodulation products are inevitable when there are two or more frequencies (which there always are) and any non-linearities (which there always are).
Interestingly, noise with fundamental frequencies that are outside the audio range ... can intermodulate with audio harmonic distortion products that are above the audio range, causing in-band noises to arise.
The thing with intermodulation 'artefacts' is that they are completely alien to the original waveforms, so even small amounts may sound objectionable even though similar amounts of harmonic distortion products might sound acceptably low.
That's just one of the 'techniques' used to add coloration. There are more: like passing the wires through piezo electric material (rock with quartz in it). Piezo material vibrates given an electrical stimulus, and a vibrating piece of piezo material produces an electrical signal. Think of quartz crystals used in oscillators. The signal flowing in this type of interconnect causes spurious oscillations to be added to it, and obviously they colour the sound. And when the music stops you obviously cannot hear it doing any of this.
We're sure cable manufacturers of a particular kind will continue to dream up more ways to colour the sound, and some in hi-fi will go into raptures about it, but if you prefer unadulterated sound please try our cables and interconnects. You can try before you buy here.