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The Cable Factor  

post #1 of 211
Thread Starter 
(I wrote a big long editorial on this...but then realized I could sumerize it into a few sentences.)


Ok....the battle wages on on the issue of "do cables matter". Many claim that it is only placebo and psychology...others argue that it is not... but no side will ever win...

Why?

Because somebody who spends $2000 dollars on a cable is never going to admit, even if he or she knows it in his or her gut, even if there is overwhelming scientific evidence otherwise, that purchasing that cable was a waste of money.


I am not saying that one side is correct, I am just stating something that impacts the battle that we do know is psychological.

Peace.
post #2 of 211
Possibly a valid statement if everyone who claims to hear a difference between cables had paid $2000 for cables.

But the truth is that even people who haven't spent a dime on cables can audibly tell the difference between stock cables and upgraded cables -- and not just $2000 cables, but even $40 cables. So basically your assertion that placebo, generated by the need to justify a purchase, explains any differences doesn't make sense.
post #3 of 211
Thread Starter 
I am not saying that cables do not make a difference. I am not saying that cables do make a difference either. I am just saying why the war will never end.
post #4 of 211
Basically you're showing that there is a group of people that will never surrender to the naysayers, even if they are right, *if* they are right.

Do you have a similar proof showing that there is a group of people that will never surrender to the 'yeahsayers', even if they are right, *if* they are right?

Well I have a pretty good proof of that myself, I think--

Somebody who stakes his whole reputation on the power of science and who happens to know squat about science will never admit, even if he or she knows it in his or her gut, even if there is overwhelming *real* scientific evidence otherwise (as against his own deluded view of science), that purchasing cables can be a valid use of money.

Another many a somebody who who has tin ears would seem to have overwhelming personal evidence that cables are a waste of money, despite overwhelming scientific and anecdotal evidence to the contrary.

All this applies *only if* there is going to be overwhelming scientific evidence for this, scientific evidence for that, blah blah blah...
post #5 of 211
Thread Starter 
I agree Bloggs.
post #6 of 211
Thread Starter 
BUT however Bloggs...

"yeahsayers", however, have nothing left to experience if they are proven wrong. They have already spent the money on cables. They can know longer, if proven wrong, spend money cables seriously thinking it will increase there musics realism.


"naysayers", however, do, if they are proven wrong, have something new to experience. They can gain in a sense by losing, because they will now know there is something new they can spend money on to increase audio repreduction. The "naysayers' will be more likely to surrender because they have not already made an investment, and will be more likely to, when proven wrong, just say "Oh wow, now I have something new to research and spend money on. Yippeee!"


EDIT:


It comes down to believing....people want to believe in things.



If a "yeahsayer" is proven wrong, he will have one less thing to believe in.


If a "naysayer" is proven wrong, he will have one more thing to believe in.
post #7 of 211
So how about the tin ear population?
post #8 of 211
I'm sure there are people in the world who want to *not* believe in things as well as the usual kind of people
post #9 of 211
I classify myself on the skeptic side of things. My outlook from the onset is always biased in this way: "X is cheaper than Y. Therefore, I'd rather buy X than Y. For me to purchase Y knowing X is cheaper, Y must be substantially and clearly better than X."

I hate brand loyalties, technology loyalties and snobbery and virtually all other prejudices. I care only about the quality of the product relative to other products in a similar price bracket.

So cables, for me, definitely fall into the "yeah right" category. They're expensive as hell and there's no way a price/performance freak like me wants to blow my hard earned money on a (explicitive) cable when I could be spending it on components, music, hookers, crack, whatever.

The problem is that the cables do matter.

There seem to be two schools of thought--people who share a lot of my frustrations expressed above who will search for evidence on paper of a difference and when they cannot find anything conclusive on paper will do no further research and in the other school people who value subectivity above all else and will dismiss anything on paper.

I land firmly in the middle. I believe science is NOT taking what other scientists have put to paper and using these papers to explain the universe. Rather, science is observing the universe and then attempting to explain it. I believe we all strive to be scientists in this sense of the word and that we often fall into one of the extremists views is when we lose site of our purpose. </surmon>

So... listen to cables. If you hear a difference, then we can begin to look at trying to explain that difference. If you don't hear a difference, looking for one on paper will probably not make you a happier audiophile.

The test...

Theory aside, here's the real test of whether cables matter. Go to a Headroom tour stop if you can. Listen to the HD600. Get a sense of what it is like with the StefanAudio Art Cable vs the Clous vs the Cardas. Personally, dparrish and I liked the Cardas better. Nick and Flumpus liked the StefanAudio Art cable better. Not one single person thought they were identical--NOT ONE. These people had NO MONEY on the line and no motive to perceive a placebo effect. Furthermore, when we talked about the differences we seemed to all reach similar conclusions about how they sounded--meaning not only that we all pereceived a difference but that we all perceived the same difference.

I'm not going to tell you every $2000 cable is worth $2000. I can only tell you that cables matter and cables do not all sound the same. I think you'll find this to be true yourself after some auditioning.
post #10 of 211
I think me and Czilla can put together the 'Bloggs-Czilla Theory of Die-Hard Boilerheads in Cable Flame Wars'
post #11 of 211
Cables CAN sound different... as long as there are gross differences in their electrical parameters. In these cases, these differences are easily measurable.

I believe some high-end cable manufacturers do strange things in their cables, which in fact lead to degraded performance. This cables can sound different. Maybe X cable has a high-frequency rolloff which makes it sound less "harsh" and more pleasant to some listeners. This is what in fact happens with valve amplifiers. These amplifiers in fact distort the sound much more than a decent solid state amplifier, but for many this is a pleasant distortion, which adds "warmth" to the sound.

Quote:
Originally posted by kelly
I land firmly in the middle. I believe science is NOT taking what other scientists have put to paper and using these papers to explain the universe. Rather, science is observing the universe and then attempting to explain it. I believe we all strive to be scientists in this sense of the word and that we often fall into one of the extremists views is when we lose site of our purpose.
Agreed 100%. If me and many others had any reliable proof that under controlled conditions, two cables having similar RLC electrical parameters (in practice this means that they are not very different to a regular RS cable) sound different, be sure that many people, amateur or true scientists, would be investigating WHY. That's what's science about.
post #12 of 211
More tempest in the teapot
More chasing of the unicorn

This is all pointless arguing/discussing of things that don't concern the audiophile, who is corcerned with how something sounds to him in his system.

THIS IS SUBJECTIVE AND EMPIRICAL!

No amount of measuring and analysis can tell "ME" what will sounds "GOOD" to me, it is "MY" preference. If we were electrical engineers or actually designing cables these measurements can be useful yardsticks, but again back to the subject we are audiophiles and our opinions and preferences are purely subjective and even subject to change over time.

I don't need a spectrum analysis to tell me whether I should like
Matisse or Monet paintings better, it is my subjective preference
just like it is my subjective preference what sounds good to me.

The sooner people realize this, the sooner we can end these pointless discussions. You can't measure what sounds "GOOD"

BTW, I do think people naturally try to rationalize that the more something costs the better it is and it is easy to fall into this trap,
and applies to all types of consumer products.
post #13 of 211
How good does the equipment need to be in order to notice a difference in cables (for the yeahsayers), especially interconnects? My starter system:
Denon DRA-685 Receiver (100w x 2)
Denon DCD-810 CD Player
B&W 560 Speakers (Similar to 600 line)
Monster speaker wire
Stinger Hyper interconnects ($7)

Would I (or you) notice a difference going up to $40-$50 interconnects in this system?
post #14 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by Ricky
Agreed 100%. If me and many others had any reliable proof that under controlled conditions, two cables having similar RLC electrical parameters (in practice this means that they are not very different to a regular RS cable) sound different, be sure that many people, amateur or true scientists, would be investigating WHY. That's what's science about.
I hate to argue with someone who claims to agree with me but...

When I said as scientists we should observe the universe first and then attempt to explain what we see on paper--I did not mean to imply that only that which we observe through instruments and tools is valid.

If my meager ears hear a difference then it is a difference worth exploring. If the tools by which you measure cannot discern the difference which I hear, I will be more apt to blame the inadequacy of your measuring tools than a placebo effect on my ears.

To pretend differences we have not yet been able to measure do not exist even though we perceive them is to bury our heads in the sand and fall victim to the religion of science rather than using science.
post #15 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffo
How good does the equipment need to be in order to notice a difference in cables (for the yeahsayers), especially interconnects? My starter system:
Denon DRA-685 Receiver (100w x 2)
Denon DCD-810 CD Player
B&W 560 Speakers (Similar to 600 line)
Monster speaker wire
Stinger Hyper interconnects ($7)

Would I (or you) notice a difference going up to $40-$50 interconnects in this system?
Jeff

It is my opinion that cables cannot improve a sound. They can only destroy a sound. Therefore, the differences are how much sound are they distorting. Some cables distort more than others. If this is the case, a better cable would distort less regardless of the components the cable connects yielding better performance in a similar way across all price ranges of components.

I realize this flies in the face of the formulas people try to generate "spend x% on cables, y% on speakers" but these formulas are senseless. The answers are not so simple and you'd have to audition and experiment to figure out what price points are worthwhile for you.

I don't have any experience with the Singer Hyper interconnects. I'd say most people (even of the "religion of science" variety) can somewhat justify cables that have shileding and quality connectors meaning that even they are willing to pay $30-40 for ICs or for parts to build them and I tend to think versus generic unshielded cables with low quality parts, the differences should be obvious to almost anyone.
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