Should SBAF do a cable expose?

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

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  1. beemerphile

    beemerphile Friend

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    I'm sorry, but when the same tired list of phrases full of fuzzy superlatives get trotted out my bullshit detector starts going: "Clang!, Clang!, Clang! On top of that, something was clearly broken if there was a sharp discontinuity. I THINK I have heard some minor differences between interconnects and I can believe that some differences exist. But differences that require alternate laws of physics, well, I got to go outside now.
     
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  2. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    Yeah, sorting out the basics is always cheap and relatively easy. All the old project studio hacks with cheap panels, curtains or whatever else can give an appreciable improvement for very little.

    However, that's sane and well-informed, a long way from
    - that's just silly hyperbole. Someone upgrading from an old beater amp probably has other priorities than near acoustic perfection if they're smart. Fix what you can upfront, but always consider the bottleneck, etc.. (Yeah, I know you know this stuff backwards)

    Back on topic.. sometimes you have no choice but to indulge in fancy cables, whether you build or buy them. I'm currently waiting on a balanced 4.4mm Sony TRRRS to weird IEMs cable. If it's a tiny bit bling too, I can't pretend that I won't enjoy that a little. Any time that I've had to wangle a better cable, I usually don't go out of my way to make sure that it's more ugly than the one that it's replacing.

    No shame in that, you'd have to be some sort of joyless bastard to not be at least a little pleased by a small lookgrade.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
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  3. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    Its remarkable how effective, yet unattractive the free upgrades are.
     
  4. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    They are? I must be a freak, as I love the "walk into a room and improve the sound by poking things" effect.
     
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  5. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    Fucking weirdo...get outta my living room! :eek::D
     
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  6. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Jude's wasn't the only dissection. Shortly after folks started "discovering" garden hose and romex in VD's most expensive cables, Rick Schultz did a couple videos showing how they assembled their cables. The "secret sauce" was a blend of sand, activated charcoal, lead, steel and some other powdered metals, IIRC.
     
  7. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    There's a character in one of my favourite, and strangest, books* that cannot resist having sex with multi-storey carparks.

    Many a time, the listening room is actually the family listening room, even the family living room, and the hifi must simply fit in. But even when it isn't, there are some things that are very basic and simple, but completely ignored by even hard-line audiophiles.

    Fair enough, some people want a listening room (if they are lucky enough to have one) to be nice, to be homely, to have some decorations. But how many stop to consider that everything they put on the shelves, from the CD cases to the antique china that they also collect, is going to be vibrating and resonating. It is not just the speakers and room we are listening to, it is all its contents as well. And the guy is spending hundreds, or worse, on cables.

    I don't think I could succeed with this. Even as a visitor, any space I occupy becomes cluttered within minutes (but at least I'm not a manic random poker!) and my living/listening space is always going to be knee-deep in rubbish. But if I ever did have that wonderful facility, a listening room, at the very least the stuff on the shelves would be blu-tacked. Ha Ha, wouldn't it be great to be able to say, "Hear that oddly reinforced 440Hz there? It's the Ming jar in the corner!"


    *The Collector Collector by Tibor Fischer
    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
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  8. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    This, old bean, is one of the factors that drew me to decent headphones... :cool:
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
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  9. Madra

    Madra Acquaintance

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    I reported on this experience the way it happened, and described what a couple of friends and myself heard.
    I have never experienced before the effects of using non matched speaker cables and jumper cables (in this instance, a Kimber speaker cable with Cardas jumpers) and was surprised by the effect it had on the speakers' performance.
    I believe this is an experiment that anyone can easily repeat provided one has access to speakers with biwired terminals.
    Many speakers manufacturers stick to single wiring in order to avoid problems caused by mismatched wiring, or in case of bi-amping, amplifiers.
    We had a good listening session afterwards with the matched jumpers and luckily, no laws of physics were altered.
     
  10. jelt2359

    jelt2359 Friend

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    High Fidelity Cables (Rick Schultz's current company) have a very obvious effect on the system, increasing clarity and making the soundstage more holographic all around. He's just launched his new line, and like virtually all cable manufacturers I've seen he offers a money-back guarantee:

    http://www.highfidelitycables.com/products/speaker/reveal/

    Alternatively try something simple yourself to hear what he's trying to do with magnetism in your cables. Tie a few magnets together, at the start and at the end of your cables. It'll probably sound worse because you won't have any idea what you're doing, but importantly it'll sound different.
     
  11. rainer.skill

    rainer.skill Rando

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    I thougt this is a "cable expose" thread but sadly it turned out to a voodoo thread
     
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  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I wouldn't say that. It if inspires one of us to do a blind test, then it is not for nothing. I renamed the thread subject to be more clear on the matter.
     
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  13. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Cables are bits of wire. Cables with added components are not just bits of wire. Add a component, unless it's one of those sand-filled doohdahs from, err, Sympathetic Enquiry or whoever the hell they are, is quite likely to change sound. And even with a bit of wire it is still possible to make it so broken it blew up amplifiers.
    Damn, I confess to being lazy about this. It is hard work, especially (where even possible) single handed. The nearest I came to it was confused rather than blind over sample rates when I last did any digitising. Not very scientific. And I didn't know that. even then, I could have using a simple ABX plug in. Now my audiogram lets me off the hook. But it has been an interesting journey, and listening tests, for me, became as much about watching how my brain, in those circumstances, listened, as about how the different equipments and bits sounded. And hey, I still enjoy the music :)

    But cables is a weird one. If I need to change the way my equipment sounds, I probably have the wrong equipment (or, more lately, the wrong ears) and something needs to change. I could...

    1. buy equipment I prefer the sound of.

    2. take wild stabs in the dark with unspecified changes made by expensive cables.

    3. use EQ.

    Especially as I am mostly using a computer as source, I'll take the no-brainer there. Designed for the job, Can be as cheap as free, and is going to do, more or less (probably software quality might vary) what I want it to.

    Actually: I miss tone controls. But I had much better hearing and more audiophile misunderstandings, when I bought my amplifier(s)
     
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  14. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    If I just wanted my system to be better, as in better... No question: give me cash and I'll buy new speakers :)

    The headphones, actually, will do me. As per my sig: midfi but moist.
     
  15. Rockin_Zombie

    Rockin_Zombie Almost "Made"

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    I have always wanted to participate in a cable blind test. I know the science behind different cables and their connection to sonic differences is dubious, but I have never bought a boutique cable so don't want to dismiss them without actually experiencing. However I don't wanna spend big bucks on cables either so..a community blind test is my only hope :D.
     
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  16. jelt2359

    jelt2359 Friend

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    Well as I said before, if anyone wants to do this, then I suggest they do a random swap of cables, DACs and amps. The expectation bias is extremely strong with cables either way, with those hearing a difference likely motivated to continue to claim to do so, and those not hearing a difference likely motivated the other direction.
     
  17. Rockin_Zombie

    Rockin_Zombie Almost "Made"

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    That will be too many combinations to conduct a proper blind test I assume.

    Stereophile did publish results of cable "single-blind" test. Even with "single-blind" the results weren't statistically significant I would say. They also changed an Amp in the middle of the experiment. Double-blind would have been more useful.

    http://www.stereophile.com/content/...-cable-comparison-tests-0#5lmBHrt4M8qZBuJD.97

    Nelson pass extensively measured cable properties and did a short listening test in this paper:

    https://passlabs.com/press/speaker-cables-science-or-snake-oil
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
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  18. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    In general I'd like to see more double blind testing of audio equipment. Perhaps make it a feature in audio meets?

    I'd also like to see more standardization of reviews to easier compare gear and a database built where you could compare user ratings of different gear based on different criteria. Something like Marvey has done with those ghastly spider charts. It's not perfect - we don't all understand the same meaning even when assigning the same numeric score for something (e.g. timbre) - but its a start.

    Combining the two would be fun. Make listeners score gear basic on 5-10 sonic criteria without knowing what gear they're scoring. Get a large enough n and you'd have a very useful database for comparing gear.

    I suspect we'd get some of the same results you see in wine where even so-called experts sometimes fail to distinguish between 20 & 500 dollar bottles in blind tests.
     
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  19. Deep Funk

    Deep Funk Deep thoughts - Friend

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    Could be worse...

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Thank god nobody has yet said, "Why can't you people trust your ears?"

    Well, I guess this is a superior crowd to other audio forums I abandoned. But the biggest missed point in all this blind test business is that the purpose is entirely to trust one's hearing by removing the other elements.

    The other problem is that people always set up their definition of a blind test to shout down. Like, you can't tell with samples of a few seconds. Not part of the definition. Listen to the same sample for a week if you want. And can manage the administration of such a test.

    In the end there's no obligation. I take my biases shopping, I know it and I accept it.

    Where the obligation should lie is on the seller. There should be some sort of substantiation of claims made. Sadly, there never has been, and the media, that could have helped prevent the current state of crazy excess, jumped on the bandwagon and joined the game from the start. Suits them. See J Gordon Hunt's interview on the lack of honesty of the industry. But then, people say the he didn't do blind tests!

    There is one thing that we can, comparatively easily do in even sighted listening tests: level matching. Without this, equipment comparison becomes a joke. There is a minimum amount of dB that is perceived by our ears/brain as a volume change, but I believe that much smaller changes are perceived --- as differences in quality. The slightest change to that volume knob can make the music deeper, richer, fuller. Surely people who are not just music listeners but audio hobbyists know this? The people who sell to us do! The rule is, louder, if not already too loud, always sounds better. But hey, it was some way down the road, and already knowing this, when I came to understand that it applies also when the increased loudness is not enough to be higher volume.

    Haha
    what was I said about not having these conversations again? Well, I am not going to throw a big objectivist fit here. It would be hypocritical anyway, because I do not blind-test my own purchases. And I'd like to remain a bit more popular than GUTB.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017
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