Musing following some cable posts...

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi and General Audio' started by zanash, Jul 5, 2007.

  1. zanash

    sideshowbob Trisha

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    Are you proposing an independently organised ABX test or the usual sighted variety? If the latter, it's pointless, as has already been covered in this thread.

    -- Ian
     
    sideshowbob, Jul 8, 2007
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  2. zanash

    Tenson Moderator

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    I tried a pair of Pete's cables and heard no difference. Certainly not a night and day difference. I have no doubt that any properly constructed cable will also make no night and day difference.

    Effem, I might be interested in winning the £1k if you agree to the methodology of me bringing a couple of freebee cables and connecting the dual outputs of a CD player, one with the freebee and the other with your cable and feeding each to an input on a remote switchable pre-amp. All done without you watching and covered up. You then identify which is your cable and which is the freebee. You must get it right 4 of 5 times. If you can do it, I bow my hat and admit your cables must be significantly different from others out there.
     
    Tenson, Jul 8, 2007
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  3. zanash

    Jimbo

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    Just using our ears not science. Jim.
     
    Jimbo, Jul 8, 2007
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  4. zanash

    Tenson Moderator

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    How about using our ears in a controlled environment?
     
    Tenson, Jul 8, 2007
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  5. zanash

    thrudge

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    This is all rather intriguing. My experiences have been:

    1) Trying four sets of interconnect in my system (including freebies). I was very sceptical beforehand. The most expensive set was (to my ears) significantly better. So I bought them. Heard the same effect on a mates system - different cabes, very different setup. The dearer ones were better.

    2) A basic Russ Andrews mains block way outperformed the RS one I was using. Bought it. It worked the same trick on a friends setup.

    3) Another RA mains block, 4 times the price of the first made no difference whatsoever. It went back.

    4) Valve dampers worked wonders on my amp and strangled the life out of my mates.

    5) I borrowed a DAC (DPA something or other) and used my Quad CD player as a transport. Couldn't tell any difference whatsoever.

    6) Mate bought a phonostage (Delphi, I think) that blew my socks off. Borrowed it. Couldn't tell the difference from my Michell Iso, except maybe I'd lost some warmth.

    Now, if I was a diehard "if it's more expensive it must be better" sort of bod, you'd expect me to go for the dearer cables. But you'd also expect me to go for the dearer DAC, phonostage, and mains block. After all, I do like buying new kit. Given the circumstances, I find it hard to see myself as self-deluded when it comes to cables.

    I also find it hard to believe that Sideshowbob and others who hear no difference are being insincere or deluding themselves because they're tight-fisted.

    My best guess is that people who don't hear differences in cables either a) have particularly well-sorted systems which are not susceptible to cable changes, or b) just haven't tried enough different cables. Of course, if Bob et al have heard cable swaps in a variety of systems, that blows my 'theory' out of the water.

    A final thought - I'm not comfortable with the idea that either camp is being dishonest, it just doesn't seem plausible. But if both camps are honestly reporting their experiences, WTF is going on?
     
    thrudge, Jul 8, 2007
    #65
  6. zanash

    Jimbo

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    That is as you say your opinion Tenson but there are a majority of people that tried them and like them very much. But there are a minority who dont. Whether these people and yourself have something wrong with your hearing i dont know ,but it is rather contradictory to say we believers dont. Jim
     
    Jimbo, Jul 8, 2007
    #66
  7. zanash

    Tenson Moderator

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    It is my experience, not my opinion.

    I'm certain my hearing is fine. Better than fine in fact.

    You don't what?

    Maybe a cable can make a little difference (arguably audible) but not a night and day difference. It is this usual hi-fi habit of massively exaggerating things.
     
    Tenson, Jul 8, 2007
    #67
  8. zanash

    sideshowbob Trisha

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    Nice idea, but I've been involved in many cable tests, using a variety of methodologies, and many different systems :)

    I think this is probably true of Rob and Tenson too, and, in fact, of every cable sceptic I've ever come across, much as some cable merchants like to suggest that anyone who doubts their claims has an agenda or doesn't use their ears.

    I have heard a couple of cables that sounded a bit different from the norm, but that is probably because they were doing something measurably odd. In neither case was the result an improvement on a freebie cable, they just sounded wrong. But given that almost no boutique cable manufacturer makes its own wire, but merely plaits and sheaths off-the-shelf stuff, and given that audio cable really doesn't have a complicated job to do, common-sense as well as experience suggests to me that there really is no good reason for a boutique cable to make any difference unless it's deliberately designed to give an audibly unusual (and therefore wrong) frequency response.

    -- Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 8, 2007
    sideshowbob, Jul 8, 2007
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  9. zanash

    ADPully

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    Are the largest proportion of the cable skeptics are Solid State equipment owners?

    Our views are disconnected - lets drill into why? - Then we all might all learn something. Ian its not really fair to expect Effem to pay for expensive electrical testing . Even if he came up with something I suspect you wouldnt believe his results were valid. I seem to remember reading an article (Ken Kessler I think) where boffins would not believe that a stereo image could have height to it (Science knowledge may be better now). We all know it does have Depth Width and Height dont we?

    If measurements were the most important factor we would all still be using 1980's super spec transistor amps and CD players.
    Where in fact a significant group of users choose valves and vinyl

    Andy
     
    ADPully, Jul 8, 2007
    #69
  10. zanash

    Dev Moderator

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    I don't think so. Sideshowbob, Rob and I have both SS and Valve kits. Like Rob, SSB and Tenson, I've never heard "night & day" differences between cables (including Pete's), just very subtle ones and not worth arguing about.
     
    Dev, Jul 8, 2007
    #70
  11. zanash

    sideshowbob Trisha

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    I use both valve and solid state equipment, and I prefer vinyl to CD.

    I don't think there's any mystery, placebo and expectancy effects are well understood...

    If effem is willing to put up his cables for independent testing and evaluation I'm prepared to pay all the costs.

    You have no reason to assert this, I'm extremely open-minded. But his test has to meet certain basic criteria of good practice. Tenson's suggestion above of a CD player with two outputs, and a remote-switchable preamp, is a good one. If effem can consistently demonstrate that he can identify his cables in such a setup, then we can conclude that his cables do, indeed, sound different from the norm. No cable manufacturer has ever passed this kind of test, btw, at least not in any publicly verifiable way, which is why James Randi and others have put money on the table and issued their challenges.

    A complete red herring, this has been gone over many times before. People should buy and enjoy what they like, regardless of how it measures, for no other reason than they enjoy listening to it, but anyone making claims about their product should be prepared to put those claims up for test. And, you can be quite sure, if it's audible it's measurable.

    -- Ian
     
    sideshowbob, Jul 8, 2007
    #71
  12. zanash

    Jimbo

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    This is interesting actully do you Tenson and Sideshow hear width, depth, and height in your system. Jim.
     
    Jimbo, Jul 8, 2007
    #72
  13. zanash

    melorib Lowrider

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    Learned with you guys, whenever anyone tries to discuss something serious, you always go back to everything sounds the same, wonder what you are doing in an hifi forum... :zzzz:
     
    melorib, Jul 8, 2007
    #73
  14. zanash

    RobHolt Moderator

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    They can make a difference but a quick look at why reveals such cables to be operating as filters at audio frequencies. They either have very high capacitance, inductance or resistance - or a combination. These things react with the load and source impedance to make a filter or in some extreme cases, oscillator.

    Fortunately 95% of cables on the market have benign electrical characteristics and they all sound the same irrespective of price.
     
    RobHolt, Jul 8, 2007
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  15. zanash

    Tenson Moderator

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    Hi,

    I can hear depth and side to side information in the right recordings. Height is an interesting one and it is not really possible to capture it with normal microphone techniques. But certain frequencies bands are loosely perceived as coming from different heights and positions around the head. Combine that with narrow-band filtering in a similar way that the majority of peoples Pinna do for sounds coming from whatever height and you can do a pretty good job of fooling the mind.

    It is much more of a 'trick' than normal stereo side to side and depth and is not on most recordings you come across. So no, usually I don't hear obvious effect of height.
     
    Tenson, Jul 8, 2007
    #75
  16. zanash

    RobHolt Moderator

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    I often wonder what the practitioners of voodoo are doing in a hi-fi forum.
     
    RobHolt, Jul 8, 2007
    #76
  17. zanash

    sideshowbob Trisha

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    ^ What Tenson said.

    -- Ian
     
    sideshowbob, Jul 8, 2007
    #77
  18. zanash

    thrudge

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    I don't doubt that these can have an effect, but I can't see it explaining every instance. Just from my own experience, I've found no changes where I expected and wanted them; I've also found changes where I neither expected nor wanted (to pay for) them.

    Of course, I could have a particularly weird and convoluted set of subconscious processes when I'm evaluating kit, but that smacks of forcing the facts to fit the theory :confused:.

    Now that's something I'll vote for :MILD:.
     
    thrudge, Jul 8, 2007
    #78
  19. zanash

    melorib Lowrider

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    So do I, cables sound all the same, cables sound all the same, I dont have money to buy good cables, cables sound all the same... :inferno:
     
    melorib, Jul 8, 2007
    #79
  20. zanash

    Tenson Moderator

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    I don't think money is the reason for most 'sceptics' as if they can afford any decent hi-fi they can probably afford a few cables if they really felt it was worth it.
     
    Tenson, Jul 8, 2007
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