The Cable Test - listen and decide

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi and General Audio' started by RobHolt, Aug 15, 2009.

?

I prefer......

  1. Cable 1

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Cable 2

    3 vote(s)
    13.6%
  3. Cable 3

    2 vote(s)
    9.1%
  4. Cable 4

    2 vote(s)
    9.1%
  5. I cannot detect a difference

    15 vote(s)
    68.2%
  1. RobHolt

    RobHolt Moderator

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    Following on from the lathing tests, here is the next in the series - Interconnects.

    Lots has been written in magazines about the 'sound' of cables and even more can be found on the internet. How much is fact and how much is fiction?

    Well, here you get the chance to listen, compare and vote for some different cables without any expectation bias or some pushy salesman steering you down a particular path.

    I've chosen four different cables for the test:

    - Chord Silver Siren. This employs a silver plated copper twisted pair, teflon insulation and a silver plated outer screen. A 1m pair cost around £150 so a moderately expensive cable.

    - Chord Calypso. Entry level 'specialist' cable of coax construction using a stranded copper centre conductor, polythene insulation and copper braid screen. Cost - £30 for a 1m pair.

    - Cheap 'bootlace' cable with plastic moulded plugs of the type supplied free with budget audio. Thin copper inner screened with a wrap-around copper screen. Cost - Free.

    - One of my own cables built from commonly available parts for a few pounds.

    Each cable in turn was placed between my WD phono stage (Rega P9/AT33 source) and the ADC. The same track - UB40 Madam Medusa on 12" single - was recorded through each cable and the files are presented below, with identities disguised in order to enable blind testing.
    No changes other than swapping the cables was made during the session.

    You can choose two versions, one a short 2 minute excerpt and the other a full 10 minutes.

    Please listen and vote for your preference.
    I would suggest that identifying differences is more important at this stage that feeling that you have to justify a preference to others. Simply vote for the one you prefer and perhaps say a few words as to what differences you heard.
    You can also vote 'no difference' if nothing can be detected.
    Names are hidden this time so the voting is anonymous to protect the shy ones here, but please comment if you can.

    Short Files:

    Cable 1

    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?zvoqtzzyzmd

    Cable 2

    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?25zlm1nnmmu

    Cable 3

    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?5u3f2wxwzmd

    Cable 4

    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?hyrnuytwjcm




    Full length files (care - 100mb)

    Cable 1

    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?ygt1iyduwyz

    Cable 2

    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?5m3mmykmj1n

    Cable 3

    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?wvjy1mmrzze

    Cable 4

    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?qlzfzyzxejn




    Very short files (5mb)

    Cable 1

    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?mmzmyynn2jm

    Cable 2

    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?jg520jn1nct

    Cable 3

    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?0y4mmmj4ozi

    Cable 4

    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?mymgitwmzam
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2009
    RobHolt, Aug 15, 2009
    #1
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  2. RobHolt

    zoiberg

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    Shame there wasn't an option which you think is worse too:D
     
    zoiberg, Aug 15, 2009
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  3. RobHolt

    RobHolt Moderator

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    Good point, but you can comment in your response - just say which one you didn't like and why.
     
    RobHolt, Aug 15, 2009
    #3
  4. RobHolt

    zanash

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    Are all the cable coax [bar the siren] ?

    shame you could not of included an unscreened cable ....I did offer one

    I'll get round to listening ... honest !

    the trouble is you've picked cables that have very similar topologies ie stranded copper /silverplated copper and screen , the only difference being the insulation. Your not allowing for different metals or conductor configurations ....which I would therfore expect them to have passingly similar sound...we will see !
     
    zanash, Aug 15, 2009
    #4
  5. RobHolt

    DavidF

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    Sorry Rob, "Nights" knock you around.

    It ain't gonna happen for me.

    Interesting though.
     
    DavidF, Aug 15, 2009
    #5
  6. RobHolt

    Wickfut

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    what audio interface did you use to record ?

    I didn't look at what numbers attached to the cables but I noticed a bit more bass oomph on number 1 (maybe)
     
    Wickfut, Aug 15, 2009
    #6
  7. RobHolt

    zoiberg

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    Number 1 was the worse for me, bass was a little less clear and harder to follow, 2 was best, 3 and 4 was similar

    As a guess 4 was silver plaited, could be wrong but it seemed a little bit more glossy in the highs

    Any chance of PM'ing me which was number 1 and number 2? I promise not to post anything so not to affect results, I'm just curious, be funny if the one I liked best was the freebie
     
    zoiberg, Aug 15, 2009
    #7
  8. RobHolt

    zoiberg

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    Problem is unshielded can cause some setups problems especially those using high gain phono stages and it seems Rob is using a vinyl based setup
     
    zoiberg, Aug 15, 2009
    #8
  9. RobHolt

    Tenson Moderator

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    Just to clarify Rob's post, the numbers witted next to the cables and the tracks are not related. This is a blind listening exercise, so the whole point is that the listener doesn't know which recording is which cable.

    The recordings are made by connecting the phono stage directly to one of my AudioSmile modified DEQ2496. The analog inputs go through a high quality audio transformer directly to the ADC chip. The digital signal is then fed directly to a Mac and recorded to disk. No sample rate conversions are done. It is about as direct a conversion as possible from analog to a digital file.
     
    Tenson, Aug 15, 2009
    #9
  10. RobHolt

    Tenson Moderator

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    Tenson, Aug 15, 2009
    #10
  11. RobHolt

    Tenson Moderator

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    I thought one of the tracks (number 4) sounded a bit brighter than the others, but the ABX comparator shows I can't reliably pick it out of the bunch! In fact I got near a 100% probability of guessing which track is which. I vote for 'I can't hear a difference'.

    Nice sounding bit of vinyl though!
     
    Tenson, Aug 15, 2009
    #11
  12. RobHolt

    RobHolt Moderator

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    Fair points, but I think too many files makes the whole thing a bit unwieldy and might put people off.
    There should be enough variation in the cables to hear differences if they exist. Siren is balanced silver plated twisted pair, Calypso copper coax, the 'Free' cable uses cheap materials such as pvc, and my own brew uses a number of alloys and is different to all of the others.

    Anyway, come of folks get listening and voting. Took a good few hours getting this lot recorded and posted!
     
    RobHolt, Aug 16, 2009
    #12
  13. RobHolt

    Joe Petrik Denebian Slime Devil

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    They all sounded pretty much the same to me, but I had a slight preference for cable 3, listening though headphones.

    I reckon Rob has saved me a fair bit of dough, as the differences between these cables are not of a magnitude I consider significant.

    Joe
     
    Joe Petrik, Aug 16, 2009
    #13
  14. RobHolt

    Shuggie

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    How do you ensure that an experiment like this produces a set of results that are valid? It's all very well taking care in the preparation and consistency of the files themselves and in doing a blind test, but there is absolutely no control over how anyone listens to these tracks. Fun, but ultimately meaningless.
     
    Shuggie, Aug 16, 2009
    #14
  15. RobHolt

    Wickfut

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    If there is a difference then the difference isn't worth worrying about..
     
    Wickfut, Aug 16, 2009
    #15
  16. RobHolt

    bottleneck talks a load of rubbish

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    Perhaps I read it wrong - but one of the cables is a free ''bootlace'' style one of the type you get free with budget hifi. Cables of this type I own are unshielded.
     
    bottleneck, Aug 16, 2009
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  17. RobHolt

    bottleneck talks a load of rubbish

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    Rob -

    There's no chance of a '10 second burst' recording of each is there? 18 mb per file is still way too big for my internet speed. 1/2 a meg each is more like it !
     
    bottleneck, Aug 16, 2009
    #17
  18. RobHolt

    RobHolt Moderator

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    Hmm, I see that a positive - something to be welcomed.

    Think about it.

    You are listening through your own familiar system, with no salesman, no pressure, no bias and you can apply your own subjective listening priorities to what you hear.

    As I said in the first post, this is more about identifying differences, and with the best will in the world, if you cannot hear a difference between a £150 cable using silver plated high purity copper with teflon insulation, and the string that comes free in the box, I'd suggest a little head scratching and self questioning should be happening.
     
    RobHolt, Aug 16, 2009
    #18
  19. RobHolt

    RobHolt Moderator

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    No problem Chris, I'l put as short blast of each up later this afternoon.


    <edit> files now up.
     
    RobHolt, Aug 16, 2009
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  20. RobHolt

    muzzer

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    Slight preference for 3 myself although the differences are so tiny its very hard to tell them apart, this was through a pair of AKG K701's, I vote for no difference.
     
    muzzer, Aug 16, 2009
    #20
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