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Why does the last end of the power cable matter so much?

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 
How is it possible that the last few meters of the power cable can improve the sound ?
I dont get it,all you do is SUPPOSEDLY improve the power from the socket to your component,but what of the lengthy run of power cables used in your house from the power distribution board ?

Why dont you go and change that cable too ? WHy dont you sell everything you;ve got to recable the entire home ?

This power cable thing you have got stuck up your brain is SO wrong,IMO !
post #2 of 66
what if you run the power through a conditioner or regulater THEN use a mean power cable

or you can go the expensive way and subscribe to richrd grays power company.
post #3 of 66
This is the most common rebuttal for why power "doesn't matter", it's also the most patently ignorant and foolish.

If power cables don't matter, do ICs not matter as well? This is blatantly false, since headphone cables make a huge difference and I don't see how IC are that different.

As the person above me stated, you can have a conditioner or some such (which IMO make huge and obvious differences unless your system is total crap), and then use a great power cord *after* them. Which means, the power is cleaned and regulated, then the nice cord keeps it that way.

Use your brain.
post #4 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by ]|[ GorE
How is it possible that the last few meters of the power cable can improve the sound ?
So far there is no evidence of any kind that it affects the sound at all. Why search explanations for phenomena that have not been shown to exist?


Regards,

L.
post #5 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leporello
So far there is no evidence of any kind that it affects the sound at all. Why search explanations for phenomena that have not been shown to exist?


Regards,

L.
There is no evidence for many of the things that we, as music lovers, headphone hobbyists, gear fetishists, and DIY enthusiasts, hear. We hear things that "are not accounted for". Does that mean we're all tone deaf?

Most useless thread ever.

It's called the search function!!! Research. Grow, my child.

EDIT: In case you wondered, I say that because this topic has been discussed Ad Naseum.
post #6 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by ]|[ GorE
How is it possible that the last few meters of the power cable can improve the sound ?
Don't try to rationalize this stuff... either you believe, or you don't. In a sense it's like religion (and as with religion, believers will assure you that their beliefs represent Truth and have nothing to do with religion).

Drink the Kool-aid, or don't...
post #7 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sduibek
Does that mean we're all tone deaf?
But of course not. Did I imply something like that?


Regards,

L.
post #8 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by ]|[ GorE
How is it possible that the last few meters of the power cable can improve the sound ?
I dont get it, all you do is SUPPOSEDLY improve the power from the socket to your component, but what of the lengthy run of power cables used in your house from the power distribution board?
You can go even further and consider the kilometers (...miles) of cables betweeeeen the power station and your house as well... I agree, it's hard to understand how power cables can make any sonic differerence under these circumstances. And I havent heard such myself so far, but then again I haven't tried any «high-end» cables so far. On the other hand...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RnB180
...what if you run the power through a conditioner or regulator, THEN use a mean power cable?
This makes some sense to me. But still I can't see how the cable transporting just the energy, not the audio signal, can alter the sound, supposed it doesn't create any form of bottleneck or brake for the current.

So I could just agree with Leporello's position...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leporello
So far there is no evidence of any kind that it affects the sound at all. Why search explanations for phenomena that have not been shown to exist?
...if there wasn't the fact that interconnects and headphone/speaker cables clearly do influence the sound (to my ears), although they could be thrown into the same category of unproven audio phenomena likely to be pure placebos.

Then again...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sduibek
If power cables don't matter, do ICs not matter as well? This is blatantly false, since headphone cables make a huge difference and I don't see how IC are that different.
...such a conclusion is inadequate, since signal carriers are much more likely to alter the signal than pure power cables with no obvious functional deficit. I mean, the «signal form» of the power is uninteresting (for the time being) as long as it doesn't constrain it, whereas the form of the music signal is essential. (Of course a signal-cleaning effect may change the scenario, but I doubt that a cable can do this.)

Nevertheless, I give power cables a certain credit in that they may in fact be able to make setups sound better or worse. It's wrong to think everything in audio is explained and explainable (yet), and certain things don't make sense, although they're obviously real. I'm thinking of the sonic differences between amps with (virtually) the same measuring data.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fewtch
Don't try to rationalize this stuff... either you believe, or you don't. In a sense it's like religion (and as with religion, believers will assure you that their beliefs represent Truth and have nothing to do with religion).
I don't think «hearing is believing» can be equated with belief and religion in this case. If you trust your senses in the long run, you'll end up with a certainty about certain phenomena that may (maliciously) be mixed up with religious belief. I'd even rather call certain ultra-skeptics who only rely on their «scientific» theorems and aren't even ready to listen for themselves «believers».


post #9 of 66
I have yet to explore the effects of different power cords. I hope I will be able to procrastinate that up-grade path as long as possible.

Not because I am not open to the positive effects of these cables, because I do think they can make a difference. AFAIK, many of them use a braid technique which helps the cable to filter out the RFI it self picks up. Just like why you twist high voltage leds in an amp. The high voltage cables in the ground, I would guess, do not pick up that much RFI since they are pretty shielded laying several feet under the surfice.
post #10 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaZZ
I don't think «hearing is believing» can be equated with belief and religion in this case.
If a person distrust science at the same time they consider the senses "absolute truth" (even knowing they can be fooled), then it can be equated with belief.

Vision tells me the earth is flat and the stars are tiny. Touch says that surfaces are solid (they're really mostly empty space). Why can't hearing tell a lie?

Quote:
If you trust your senses in the long run, you'll end up with a certainty about certain phenomena that may (maliciously) be mixed up with religious belief.
I didn't intend anything malicious, only that trusting one's senses to the exclusion of known principles is really almost childish... like "willfully" shutting one's brain off and stubbornly insisting "I hear it, therefore it exists." A schizophrenic hearing voices would also declare the same thing. There need to be "checks and balances" on the senses, in the form of rational knowledge (social agreement is not a substitute).

Quote:
I'd even rather call certain ultra-skeptics who only rely on their «scientific» theorems and aren't even ready to listen for themselves «believers».
I agree... either extreme constitutes a sort of religious attitude. See definition of "Scientism" :

http://www.pbs.org/faithandreason/ge...iism-body.html
post #11 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by fewtch
If a person distrust science at the same time they consider the senses "absolute truth" (even knowing they can be fooled), then it can be equated with belief.
Probably everybody occasionally has experienced one or the other self-delusion -- a reason more to be critical towards yourself and your senses and learn from the experience. But that doesn't mean your senses are generally unreliable. If they were, the human race (and related animal species) wouldn't exist today. Relying on your senses is the most natural behavior and a healthy attitude -- don't trust people who tell you otherwise, e.g. that you only have to trust data -- i.e. your intellect! How about biking or skating? Do you always have the laws of physics present for keeping balance?

Why do you equate relying on your senses with distrusting science? If I follow your point of view, I only have the right to hear what science has acknowledged as reality. Is this a «scientific», unbiased approach? I don't trust or distrust my hearing more or less depending on the kind of audio device in question, so it doesn't matter to me if it's a headphone, a speaker, a source device, an amp or a cable -- I'm as open as ever. Why should I be less critical towards my hearing in the case of a headphone, just because it's more likely to have a distinct sonic signature than a cable?

By no means I distrust science, actually I'm very interested in it. It's just that science isn't and has never been a monolithic collection of truths, but almost every truth has been modified throughout the history. Add to this that science has very little interest for audiophile concerns and therefore very little experience with corresponding phenomena. Subtle sonic differences below the level of sound transducers haven't found a satisfying explanation so far, and I can only wonder about people claiming that all audio phenomena are well studied and explained. Again, consider the sonic differences with amps -- barely denied even by ultra-skeptics, but simply not explainable on the basis of measuring data.


Quote:
I didn't intend anything malicious, only that trusting one's senses to the exclusion of known principles is really almost childish... like "willfully" shutting one's brain off and stubbornly insisting "I hear it, therefore it exists." A schizophrenic hearing voices would also declare the same thing. There need to be "checks and balances" on the senses, in the form of rational knowledge.
Sorry, but I'm of the completely other camp. If you let «rational knowledge» dictate you what's audible and what's not, you're not open-minded. Science isn't and never was a tool for dictating the laws of nature to follow the theories, it always was meant to experience nature and create the theories on the basis of these experiences.

You can call audiophiles «sick» in the sense of neurotic fanatics, and there's certainly some truth in it -- like with every form of excessive leisure activity --, but if in their never-ending search for the ultimate sonic experience a specific cable has a specific, consistent and repeatable effect on the sound, perceivable with the listener's ears, not measuring devices, it's all that matters. You don't want a cable that's scientifically approved to cause sonic differences. Just as little as you don't need a headphone that has been approved to be more brilliant or more spacious or whatever. Let your senses become independent of your intellect! Or rather: allow them to be as they once were. You can switch to a critical perspective anytime (since we're self-conscious humans, which is a good thing, among others), but in the end don't differentiate between more likely and more unlikely impressions! (Oops, am I preaching?)


Quote:
I agree... either extreme constitutes a sort of religious attitude. See definition of "Scientism":
http://www.pbs.org/faithandreason/ge...iism-body.html
I agree too -- good definition.


post #12 of 66
Quote:
Sorry, but I'm of the completely other camp. If you let «rational knowledge» dictate you what's audible and what's not, you're not open-minded.
I didn't mean dictate what's audible, but it could e.g. suggest that what I heard might be placebo based on expectations and other factors. It wouldn't change the fact that I heard something, only the reason why I might have heard it. And that could definitely influence my buying decisions in regard to power cords or whatever.

To use another example, the stars still look small. Rational knowledge explains that they look small because they're so far away. And so I don't try climbing a ladder to pick one for my christmas tree .

Anyway... as long as we agree reality lies somewhere in the middle (between 'pure objectivism' and 'pure subjectivism' for lack of better terms), to me we're on the same page. The rest doesn't matter so much, as long as there's room for interesting discussion.
post #13 of 66
There have been several explanations of why the "last few feet" make a difference. I think you can find one of them if you search audio asylum and/or for a web page that Jon Risch authored.

As for the notion of placebo, delusions, etc., the problem is that thousands and thousands of people report improvements with upgraded power cords, including thousands who were skeptical before they discovered the phenomenon. Thus, too many have heard the difference to attribute it to psychoacoustics. We may not understand why we hear what we do yet (science doesn't know everything yet), but people (again, thousands and thousands of them) hear it. And this is, in fact, "evidence" that power cables make a difference. It may not be evidence that some consider persuasive, but it is incorrect to say that there is no evidence at all that a better power cord changes the sound.

BTW, this topic has been discussed many times before, so the question of the day is: Will this thread go more or less than 10 pages rehashing the same positions and arguments?
post #14 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaZZ
...such a conclusion is inadequate, since signal carriers are much more likely to alter the signal than pure power cables with no obvious functional deficit.
Why? Afterall, power is the true source.

Quote:
I mean, the «signal form» of the power is uninteresting (for the time being) as long as it doesn't constrain it, whereas the form of the music signal is essential.
Wrong. Voltages can fluctuate a lot, especially if you are on an old powergrid (like here in Los Angeles). I can literally hear an instant difference in sound whenever someone in the building uses the elevator... (huge current drain), also the lights dim at these times. Power is a sine wave, just like audio is a wave. If you have bad power, you have an ugly distorted sine wave.

Quote:
(Of course a signal-cleaning effect may change the scenario, but I doubt that a cable can do this.)
Noise rejection, ferrites, specialty terminations.
post #15 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sduibek
Why? Afterall, power is the true source.
LOL, yes! So what? Power isn't fed directly to the sound transducer, but buffered by transformers and capacitors, that's why its waveform doesn't matter for the time being. Of course I don't deny the possible effect of power fluctuations, but if you compare the effect of signal fluctuations in power cords with the one in interconnects, it's clear that it can't be equally drastic. The signal alteration in interconnects is conveyed 1:1 to the transducer, whereas the corresponding alteration in power cords may or may not have some minor audible consequences. And it's still debatable if the signal can be altered (measurably) by a power cord at all.

Quote:
Noise rejection, ferrites, specialty terminations.
Maybe, or maybe it's just marketing vaporing...

I'm not questioning the benefit of a clean power signal though (and power conditioners), and I'm not even excluding an audible effect of power cords. I just wanted the proportions to be adequately reproduced.

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