Should SBAF do a cable expose?

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by Rthomas, Jan 31, 2017.

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  1. Rthomas

    Rthomas Friend

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    Guys,

    I’m sick of reading ‘cable reviews’ and the industry marketing cables as expensive as the headphones accompanied by pseudoscience and bullshit claims. In many ways I see SBAF as the anti-Headfi and a force for good in this hobby whereas HeadFi seems to be designed to empty the pockets of personal audio enthusiasts everywhere.

    For this reason I would love to see an SBAF organized cable expose.

    It could be done as a part of a meet where members use TOTL gear with so called ‘TOTL’ cables against stock cables to see if there is any improvement or difference.

    Something along the lines of what Tyll did at Big Sound with the DACS.

    Most of these cable companies offer generous money back guarantees so community funds wouldn’t even be wasted.

    What do you think? I think it’s times the high end cable industry faced some real resistance.

    A community effort with experienced members and TOTL gear could not be easily dismissed.

    |{
     
  2. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    It will be much easier to just stop reading the reviews. If your nervosa is getting to you, by all means do a review yourself?
     
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  3. Rthomas

    Rthomas Friend

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    It's not my nervosa getting to me. I've been tempted to do this many times and put my honest impressions on Headfi but one guy can easily be dismissed.

    The guys who advertise their stuff as audio jewelry are ok, it's the people who spout bullshit and put up graphs with price on one axis and ''realism and detail'' on the other axis that need to be put in their place.

    Check out the graphic on the Double Helix Cables website.

    It's nothing but fraud.
     
  4. jowls

    jowls Never shitposts (please) - Friend

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    SBAF isn't duty-bound to combat evil wherever it's found, IMHO. A cable debate is guaranteed to make people shit the bed. Shit quagmire ahead up in here...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
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  5. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Here be dragons.

    You are a brave man. You have entered the pit of the unspeakable. The dragons will roast you slowly until you too scream that you can hear the difference.
    I'm with you 100%... but I got close to that pit once, and I am still licking my wounds.

    Return proudly carrying your shield, or being carried upon it... but I'm staying at home!
    1. In any audio community there will be believers. Stand by to feel the fire!

    2. In any audio community there will be those who insist that if a test does not return the results they want, then there is something wrong with the test. Or... they could beat it with another ten years practice. Stand by to feel the fire!

    I am grateful to some of the worst audiophools I ever encountered, because they made me do my homework. In the process, I discovered some of my own audio mistakes and misconceptions. It was a good experience. But I don't engage in those conversations now, and won't in the future.

    What You Can Do...

    Buy your cables from bullshit-free suppliers. My choice is Bluejeans, and some of their articles were a great part of my education. Somebody once said to me: you're just falling for a different kind of marketing. Perhaps they were right.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
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  6. Deep Funk

    Deep Funk Deep thoughts - Friend

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    Wrap every cable you have in duct tape, tell the world they are indestructible and brag about your secret technologies.

    Just a silly idea, no need to expose anything. Have some fun and enjoy your music...
     
  7. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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  8. Robert777

    Robert777 Facebook Friend

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    I think the above linked thread is a very good starting point. It clearly sets out that cables can indeed make a nice difference but they are the icing on the cake and there is no direct relationship between cost and performance, rather that it is down to system synergisation. If that is a word.

    I am often disheartened by spurious claims and inflated prices but I feel that everyone is free to walkaway from the pit of expensive cables if they choose. If they get burned once maybe they wont again. If they love the upgrade, even if it is placebo or confirmation bias, the enjoyment is still the same and not to be dismissed.

    I feel a storm coming.
     
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  9. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    By the way. Cables can make a difference. There was a speaker cable, back in a pre-historic age, that blew up amplifers. That's a difference anybody can hear --- and it also points to the possibility of some things, including cables, being broken by design.

    And...
    In my many, many night-time hours of surfing, I found that it is possible to find real, scientific information about cables from the people with huge R&D budgets, rather than huge imaginations. I found out, for instance, some things about skin effect from Belden. They have one cable that is all skin (over a steel core for strength) for carrying signals that are of sufficiently high frequency that only the skin matters. The writer commented that it would probably make a horrible audio cable!

    Partly in deference... and recognition of the value of their education, I recabled my desktop system with Bluejeans cables. It cost about 100 GB Pounds. Which I don't think is cheap. Anyway, I'm pretty sure those cables are never going to fall apart --- but I was not so sure that they sounded any different.
     
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  10. rainer.skill

    rainer.skill Rando

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    I'm 100% with you. It should be more exposed to help naive people because scam is always unfair and not all audio lovers are engineers who understand why cable switching is bs. But I don't think it is the duty of sbaf to do so.

    Can you please explain what Tyll did at Big Sound with the DACS? I also don't believe in Amps/DACs changing the sound to an audible level (I mean, I hear it myself often, but I don't trust my ears / brain because I could never confirm it in blind testing). Would be nice if Tyll exposed that :)
     
  11. Rthomas

    Rthomas Friend

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    Tyll did a blind test of a TOTL multi bit dac (Yggdrasil) vs a TOTL Delta Sigma dac (Antelope Zodiac)

    The results showed that almost nobody could tell the difference between the two reliably.

    I would bet a decent sum of money that none of the prominent ‘’reviewers’’ in our hobby would pass a test like this.

    What would have been very interesting is if Tyll took a competent $500 DAC and pitted it against a ‘’TOTL’’ $2000 dac.

    Or a competent $500 SS amp vs a TOTL $2000 SS amp.

    The question to always ask would be which sounds ‘’better’’/more accurate (since they all seem to know how things should sound.....:rolleyes:)

    The results would’ve been very interesting.


    For my part I’m going to be buying one of these crazy £500 cables in the next few weeks and testing them against a good quality DIY cable using pro audio wire from Van Damme.

    Will report back asap.
     
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  12. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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  13. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Another interesting challenge was by Van Alstine. The direct links to the challenge, to the industry, and the story of the one cable manufacturer who eventually took him up on it, don't work any longer. It may or may not be included in one of his Audio Basics Newsletters.

    If I remember rightly, his conclusion was that an appreciable increase in quality could be achieved by spending less than the cost of the cables on better electronics, but, interestingly, he believed that there was a tiny difference, and he kept them in his system. He admitted that engineering colleagues could not hear the difference, but he said he could.

    The real, undeniable, against all principles (and thoroughly unprincipled) stuff is, for example, audiophool network cables. This is one reason that I would never buy anything from Audioquest, regardless of whether or not they might make a decent portable DAC. One does not have to be much of a network engineer (I was a jack-of-all-trades sysadmin) to know what rubbish this is.

    But in a world where audiophools, who's data requirements are actually quite modest*, have their tongues hanging out for the next CATn+1 cable to come along, AQ are always going to have a market.


    *I speak of audio, not video. I don't do video, currently don't even have a TV, certainly don't know about streaming it. Yes, I do know It's a different order of bandwith requirement altogether.
     
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  14. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    This will sound snobby, but I find it accurate nonetheless.... The affect of cables and other audiophool sundries is dependent on the level of gear in the chain. Also, evaluating with speakers instead of headphones makes deltas more readily apparent IME. Over at @drfindley 's house, I'd be shocked if anyone off the street couldn't pick out DAC differences when we did our Gungnir Multibit, Sonic Frontiers, EAR sound off. Differences were stark. Cables, yeah, as an engineer I don't want to believe I can hear a difference. But after hearing a difference, I am perfectly willing to donate my DIY milspec interconnects to charity if there are any takers. I purchased some bulk Furutech wire and connectors and built up some fancy cables to sample, and I hear what I hear. It's no longer a belief system on my end. YMMV.
     
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  15. jelt2359

    jelt2359 Friend

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    I just did this tonight with a couple of other friends. We ran the Yggdrasil into a BAT Preamp into a Nagra 300P power amp, and then AB-ed against a Chord Dave replacing the Yggdrasil by changing sources on the Preamp. Verity Finn speakers. We didn't mean to do AB-ing but a couple of us were sitting outside visual range of the input screen so we ended up guessing among ourselves what was being played. On more complex music, or EDM, whenever we switched from the Chord Dave to the Yggdrasil the soundstage suddenly flattened out. The accuracy rate was extremely high.

    However where it came to simple pure vocal tracks it was very very much closer. I could still hear the Yggdrasil as being fuller than the Dave, but the soundstage differences were no longer really present.
     
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  16. jelt2359

    jelt2359 Friend

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    Agree. It is such a huge change on speaker systems. Every. Single. Cable results in a noticeable difference, be it digital (USB, Coax, AES), analog, or power.
     
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  17. a44100Hz

    a44100Hz Friend

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    As for the person "off the street" it really depends on how actively they listen and what their past experiences have been. I've known people who hear no difference between their phone's built in speakers and my HD650 chain, or say things like "music is just bass anyway"... I'm already on the tail of the normal distribution for this sort of interest and involvement in audio reproduction, you are on the fringe of the fringe. I find your posts interesting and believe you nonetheless. Just glad I'm not to that point myself. It's lonely and cold in the fridge fringe.
     
  18. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    Oh I wish to be on the fringe of the fringe because then I'd be rockin' this:

    [​IMG]

    But I'm actually only somwhere around +1.5 sigma to the right on your normal distribution. :(
     
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  19. Rthomas

    Rthomas Friend

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    It looks like I derailed the discussion myself by mentioning other components.

    I'll be the first to admit to a complete lack of experience in the speaker world.

    I just want to focus on headphone cables for the moment especially the ones that cost nearly as much if not more than the headphones!

    Jan Meier has very kindly offered to loan me a Cardas Clear balanced cable for the HD800 which starts at $600.

    I will listen and report back.
     
  20. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    BTW, The Cable Co has some sort of loaner program that folks might be interested in. They've got a fairly large "cable library" to select from. I don't know any details about the problem, but someone might want to check it out.
     
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