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Got my Cables! (minireview)

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I got my Cardas 300b microtwins from Arnett today! Who hoo! Came in good shape, pleasure to deal with Arnett, recommended seller.

Now, now...

Whoever said that cables make no difference.
Boy are they wrong!

Did some A/Bing with my RS golds and the difference was like night and day, more detail, depth, and body with the Cardas. Bass is improved, highs are smoother, it is better. I just need better headphones though to properly distinguish between these cables (etys are en route, probably will come in 2 weeks but I wont see them for like 3 weeks).

The only fault I see in them is the sense of a decreased soundstage. However after A/Bing with my RS golds, I realized that there is no depletion of soundstage, it just feels like it... maybe the Cardas need more soundstage.

This is how I feel about the soundstage: (0 is head)

Radioshack:
--<<0>>--

Cardas:
--(((0)))--

The soundstage is about the same but there is way more body to the Cardas so the sound is a bit narrower, uneven on the soundstage.


Anyways these are good cables from what I can hear!
post #2 of 33
chych,

I'm with you -- I'm of the opinion that those who insist that interconnects don't make a difference just haven't tried enough of them in their system (or just can't hear).

Congrats on the Cardas cables! Give us further impressions, please, as they develop.
post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 
Wow, just did some more listening.

Track 12 on 'Run Lola Run' has this glass breaking part and with my DT831s, it really sounded like glass was breaking, loud and making you want to flinch.

My SR80s didn't do that.

Well well, guess what, interestingly enough with these cables they do! Those highs are smoother and more realistic, I can hear things on my SR80s that I previously only could with my DT831s... oh man how I want to listen to them now... wait wait, etys en route
post #4 of 33
I read this the other day on avsforum: http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/003699.html. Very interesting thread, some EE prof. states that IC's only make a difference coming out of a tube amp, and have absolutely no effect on SS amps. He goes on to say that electrically the IC difference in SS systems is almost undetectable, and when it is the differences arise well outside of the sonic range. Very long and technical, but interesting nonetheless.
post #5 of 33
First of all chych, congrats on the new cables. I'am considering them myself since I need something smooth sounding.

Ophir, whatever they say, I trust my ears. Cables do make a difference. A big difference I'd say between al cheapo once stocked with CD players and good audiophile cables.
post #6 of 33
I am very inclined to think the guy is crazy, especially when he goes on to say that there are no differences between SS amps. He does have some very good theoretical points to back him up though, almost to the point of being convincing, that's why I suggested people read up on his rants.

I myself have never heard a great deal of difference, more clarity/less grainyness if anything, but I've never heard good cables an my hearing isn't all that sensitive - too many parties with eccessively loud/****ty speakers in high school and college. I don't know, but I think that there's got to be more behind what people "hear" in different interconnects/cables than just mass suggestion ...
post #7 of 33
Even if you can't hear a difference, think that way.
There are perhaps 50 companies or more that make high grade audio cables. If cables didn't make difference these would have ran out of bussiness long time ago. You can't foull milions of people for decades.

To hear difference in cables one needs at lest mid-fi system.
The difference between speaker cables, can be next to unaudiable on a boom box for instance
post #8 of 33
although I really don't have an opinion about whether cables sound different or not, I don't think the business argument is
a valid one.

There are gigantic companies out there that make billions by selling very expensive, stinking tubes that you're supposed to burn, and they cause yellow teeth, bad breath and cancer.

Or what about all the companies making tons of money by selling all kins of esoteric crystals or other gadgets.

And I'm pretty sure that even 300 years ago, a lot of maps were still being sold that showd earth as being flat.

Just my 2 cents....


Bye

Redwooood
post #9 of 33
Quote:
I am very inclined to think the guy is crazy, especially when he goes on to say that there are no differences between SS amps. He does have some very good theoretical points to back him up though, almost to the point of being convincing, that's why I suggested people read up on his rants.
The phenomonen he is mentioning is by no means "crazy", its an increidbly basic property fact that's used in the design of virtually EVERY analog electronic device, down to the basic CMOY amp.

When you have a resistance in series and a capacitance to ground, it will form a low pass filter. HIgh frequencies will be rolled off. So if the amp has a low output impedence, the corner frequency of that filter will be way out of the audiable range. With tube equipment with high output impedence, the corner frequency will be much lower, and audiable.

He never said anything about solid state equipment being all the same, he said that they all have low enough output impedences that the LCR of the cable will have *no* effect on the sound
post #10 of 33
Quote:
I'm with you -- I'm of the opinion that those who insist that interconnects don't make a difference just haven't tried enough of them in their system (or just can't hear).
That's the typical argument of the tweak-o-phile. "Anyone who doesn't hear what I hear just can't hear."
Quote:
If cables didn't make difference these would have ran out of bussiness long time ago. You can't foull milions of people for decades.
Follow the money. Think of the herbal supplement industry. Billions of dollars spent on random pills with zero scientifically accepted evidence for their effectiveness. And this is peoples' health we're talking about here. People will put this stuff into their bodies because they think it helps, and the companies will tell them it helps because they make more money. There's a lot of incentive for the audio industry to keep pushing magic cables, because cables have some of the highest markups, hence more profit for the dealers.

I'm looking at Chych's profile. His source is a computer hooked up to a mid-fi DAC, and his best headphones are broken Beyer 831s and Grado 80s, albeit amplfied by a decent amp. Now if someone with that profile proclaimed that "Cables make no difference at all!", people would be laughing him off the boards telling him that he "can't hear" or telling him that he needs better sources and headphones. But since he does hear "night-and-day" differences, the weak source and the mediocre headphones don't matter.

I hate to do it, but I'm going to say the magic words that sets off every audio forum I've ever read: "blind testing" Let's face it, we all love our new toys. I just got a new Cosmic as an upgrade from a TA driving Etys and Senn 600s, and I love it. I think the Cosmic sounds better, but if someone else did the switching between the two amps, I have a feeling that I would have to listen very carefully to hear the difference, and there are actual measurably superior improvements between the amps, unlike the differences between cables. A little skepticism goes a long way in audio-land.

There's nothing wrong with spending money on whatever makes you happy, and if it sounds better to your ears, that's all that matters. But before you push what you hear to other people, and before you make absolute statements like "night-and-day", you should think about the your own biases and how easy it is to fool the senses sometimes. Now, if Chych wants night-and-day differences, just wait until you get your Etys. Going from cheap earbuds to Etys was a real night-and-day difference, and I admire a company like Etymotic who do real research into human hearing and let their engineer (d_wilson) do the talking.
post #11 of 33
Ack, double post, sorry.
post #12 of 33
Oh my, where to start...

Quote:
mikewang said...

Follow the money. Think of the herbal supplement industry. Billions of dollars spent on random pills with zero scientifically accepted evidence for their effectiveness. And this is peoples' health we're talking about here. People will put this stuff into their bodies because they think it helps, and the companies will tell them it helps because they make more money. There's a lot of incentive for the audio industry to keep pushing magic cables, because cables have some of the highest markups, hence more profit for the dealers.
So tell me, what is your scientific background? I don't have a degree in biochemistry, but I understand a decent amount of it. And for some herbal supplements, yes the philosophy is akin to waving a magic wand and saying you're cured. However, don't generalize. There are many nutritional supplements (herbal or otherwise) that do have noticeable effects, do have scientific backing, and would be clearly differentiated by a double-blind test. But guess what, no herbal supplement works for everyone. Why? Everyone's biochemistry is different. In these cases, the research on the supplement may be sound for the average person's biochemistry, but not a specific person's biochemistry. Cables are no different, in that even if you do have all the theoretical measurements in the world to claim cable A is better than cable B, cable A might sound better, the same as, or worse than cable B due to the person's hearing capabilities, the associated equipment, etc...

Quote:
mikewang said...

Now if someone with that profile proclaimed that "Cables make no difference at all!", people would be laughing him off the boards telling him that he "can't hear" or telling him that he needs better sources and headphones.
No, MOST of the people here (ahem) would not be laughing chych off these boards or telling him he can't hear. And for the record, he does not need a better source or better headphones, though that's always nice.

Quote:
mikewang said...

But since he does hear "night-and-day" differences, the weak source and the mediocre headphones don't matter.
Excuse me? Weak source and mediocre headphones?!? My my, aren't we elitist... ... you do realize he has a better source than at least 1/2 of the people on these boards... you'd make a great counselor, I can already tell... Look, if you don't like the equipment, fine. But do something a little more constructive than just random bashing. If you think he could've done better for the same money, let's hear some suggestions.
Quote:
I hate to do it, but I'm going to say the magic words that sets off every audio forum I've ever read: "blind testing" Let's face it, we all love our new toys. I just got a new Cosmic as an upgrade from a TA driving Etys and Senn 600s, and I love it. I think the Cosmic sounds better, but if someone else did the switching between the two amps, I have a feeling that I would have to listen very carefully to hear the difference, and there are actual measurably superior improvements between the amps, unlike the differences between cables. A little skepticism goes a long way in audio-land.
I have no idea if Mike Walker has a brother, but if he did, it must be you. Measurements this, blind testing that. Nobody here is gonna argue that measurements and blind testing are good things. But you get so caught up in them, that even if you did hear a difference, you might convince yourself into thinking that since the measurements didn't show any differences, you must've been (pardon the pun) hearing things. So w/ this mindset, you do another blind test, and wow you don't hear a difference anymore. The power of the mind, indeed.

Quote:
mikewang said...

But before you push what you hear to other people, and before you make absolute statements like "night-and-day", you should think about the your own biases and how easy it is to fool the senses sometimes. Now, if Chych wants night-and-day differences, just wait until you get your Etys
Read that last quote again. Now what should you be thinking? That's right... pot... kettle... do you really need me to finish?

Quote:
mikewang said...

There's nothing wrong with spending money on whatever makes you happy, and if it sounds better to your ears, that's all that matters.
Exactly.
post #13 of 33
thomas, when I said that I thought he was crazy, I was referring to this (not his math or theory, which having taken a couple of EE classes, I understand and is correct):

From Vadim:
Quote:
For instance with speaker wire, just for kicks as a joke, I went as far as I compared a rusted hanger (5 hangers attached together) from my closet to the $100 per foot of a Kimber deal. Nobody could hear differences in a Blind Test.
Anyone who wires $2000 speakers (Carver Amazing Platinums) with rusted hanger, is nuts.

Also, I'm sorry but I don't think you read the entire thread, he pretty much states that SS amps are no different from one another, as long as the situation is controlled.

Here's a what I'm refering to:

From Fireball:
Quote:
Vadim:
Are you indicating that all amps sound the same? People don't buy tube amps because they distort the sound. They sound completely different from solid-state. No tube amp will have the bass of an SS but the highs are smooth (lacking grain) and the midrange is involving rather that sounding reproduced. You can easily tell tubes amps from SS and SS from different SS. For instance, listen to a Krell. Krell has a distinct sound and once you heard it you can tell when you are listening to one (whether in a blind test or not).
From Vadim:
Quote:
Fireball,
I am not in favor of sweeping generalizations, but, yes, under controlled conditions the amps will sound the same. What I mean by controlled condition is this.

You take two amps, for instance a 200-watt Krell and 60-watt Pioneer receiver and attached them through a switch to a set of speakers. Make sure that the sound level coming from the speakers is equalized to be within 0.1 dB, meaning that the Krell is not allowed to be louder then the Pioneer. It’s only fair, right? Make sure that you are not overdriving any of the amps under test, meaning, - do not ask the Pioneer to dish out more then it can. In other words do not ask a 60-watt amp to deliver 100-Watt signal. To be fair do not use more then 10-20 Watts on average.

Now if both amps under test have lower then 0.1% THD (and they do) at al frequencies of interest (20-20kHz) and reasonable power levels, then under the Blind Test condition you will never tell them apart. This has been consistently shown and documented.

I know that Tube amps sound different from SS amp. Yes, this difference is often identified in Blind tests. Well, it just maybe that the gross non-linearity of the Tubes are simply evident in tests. You see, a typical tube amp will not have a claimed 0.1% THD at throughout the audible frequency range. It may be fine at 1 kHz, but is it the same at 10 kHz? You will hear this! Many tube amps have this problem, but then again there are some good ones, and those are quite transparent and do not have the typical tube sound. Additionally the high damping factor of the tube amplifier will show itself in cutting off some of the high frequency components of the signal, and again you will hear this.
post #14 of 33
ok, sorry, i replied a bit too fast, without reading through the whole LONG thread...

you're right, he is a bit crazy for his views on amps and coathangers.

BTW, the ending of that discussion rasies some great points, i agree completely with the comments about microwave engineers...
post #15 of 33
First of all I want to apologize for the harsh tone of my original post. Chych obviously enjoys his new system, and I don't want to rain on anybody's parade. Those new Etys will really rock.

There's a lot of hyperbole on both sides of the issue. Audio magazine ads would have you believe that all their tweaks will yield night-and-day improvements. Then there are the people who say that coat hangers and rusty zip wire are all you need. Just like everything else in real life, the truth is going to be somewhere between the extremes, and it's important to not to buy into the hype from either side.

Many people claim to hear significant differences between audio components even though there's no measurable difference. There are plenty of possible explanations. Could be just the placebo effect. Or maybe they can hear signal differences that are smaller than the measuring instrument's accuracy. Or maybe there is some psychoacoustical phenomenon which can't be measured at all. Personally, I would love to find out the answer, since it would tell us something very interesting about ourselves. Somebody posted some Headroom measurements of Grado phones' frequency reponses, where we can see how the measurements correspond to our subjective perceptions (a slightly peaky treble leading to the "punchy" Grado sound). So it is possible for subjective opinion and objective data to agree, and we're all better informed for it.

One way to make both sides happy in the cable wars is to DIY. There are lots of objective advantages to making your own cables (custom lengths, choose your shielding, not buying from snake-oil salesmen), and some of the cable recipes can stand up to the pickiest "Golden Ears". With the right tools, you don't even need to solder. If you're intimidated by DIY amps, try DIY cables to start. It might make a big difference for you.
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