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The Cable Factor - Page 2  

post #16 of 211
kelly, the Stinger Hypers are shielded and have good quality (as far as I know) connectors:
I bought them because I didn't have money to spend and was just looking for something shielded with gold connectors that would be better than the typical interconnects that come with some equipment.
post #17 of 211
Originally posted by Ricky
Cables CAN sound different... as long as there are gross differences in their electrical parameters. In these cases, these differences are easily measurable.
This is of course a simplistic assumption, and assumes that you know what to measure, which would be a very arrogant and likely false assumption for any scientist. A far more useful assumption is to look at the anecdotal data, determine if there is merit in the number of people who claim to hear differences, and then try to find out why. Since you quoted pharmaceutical research in another thread, I can tell you that that's the way it works. A drug is on the market. Anecdotal reports appear as case histories in journals, or adverse side effect reports to FDA. Eventually, there's enough anecdotal evidence that it becomes apparent that a controlled study is needed, and one is done.


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.
You've got science ass-backwards. Science is about observing the world, coming up with explanations, and then testing them. If a doctor sees an adverse drug effect in a patient, it's not the doctor's job to figure out why it's happening. It's up to the scientist to put together the anecdotal information, form a hypothesis, and test it. With regard to cables, the anecdotal information is there. Anybody who's heard the effects knows that they are there, and that's all they really need to know. After all, to listeners trying to achieve the best sound out of their systems, that's what's important, not trying to prove what they hear to somebody else. You've got the anecdotal evidence. The percentage of people who report hearing cable differences is so high that the anecdotal evidence is compelling in and of itself. Either form a hypothesis and do a properly designed study (or provide references to a properly designed study that has been done. Hint: In audio, I haven't seen any), or butt out. Repeating your beliefs about cables is a religious, not a scientific approach, and not worth the time that I and others have wasted on you.
post #18 of 211
I love when Hirsch and I agree. It's so rare and yet so rewarding.
post #19 of 211

The Emperor has no I/C's (sometimes)

I must agree with Kelly. There are some poor I/C's out there which clearly degrade the performance of otherwise fine audio equipment. OTOH, once one gets beyond the stage of larger gauge OFC wire with well-made gold connectors the return on investment $$$ becomes rather small to my ears. I think I offended one friend when I could honestly not tell a difference between his baseline $150 I/C's & some newer $800 ones even on blind a/b testing on his >$10K home system. (Incidentally, he refused to blind a/b test these same I/C's after I could not tell a difference!) It offends me greatly when some high-end audio shops push high-profit margin items (inc. some I/C's) when they know (or should know) that the items will not significantly improve the buyer's system. I know of an incident where an audio shop highly recommended $250 I/C's to the buyer of a $5K system, then used generic 18ga speaker wire for the sub on deliver & installation!!!
That said, I can consistently pick out differences in some cables. I find some of those differences pleasing. Some manufacturers construct I/C's to produce certain audio effects (e.g. rolling off high frequencies) & I see nothing inherently wrong with that. Such options may help competent (and honest!) audio shops in matching a system's sound to the listening room's characteristics and (most importantly) to the owner's preferences.

post #20 of 211
Originally posted by kelly
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."

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.

I agree with DA--it's all subjective and personal depending on one's budget and taste. My approach to the question has been to through a lot of money at it in an attempt to find my own truth to the matter. I'm completely happy with the results. Who dares, wins.
post #21 of 211
What an interesting thread!

Indeed we have heaps of anecdotal evidence about differences between cables (to name an example).

Anecdotal evidence is about perception: “To my ears brand A sounded better/different/brighter/more musical etc. than brand B”. For many an audiophile this seems to be sufficient. It is also true that they do not have to prove anything.

However, there is another breed of audiophiles (like me, for instance) who would like to explore a little further than the surface level of perceptions. Many of us also feel that making factual statements about empirical reality in public is more convincing if it is backed by evidence. You may choose not to care (“I do not have to prove anything”), but then what is the point in debating publicly? Better close the doors and windows...

“… Anybody who's heard the effects knows that they are there…”. I agree with Hirsch to the extent that a genuine perception of an effect certainly is there. Those claiming to hear differences are not faking.

But a question that still remains unanswered is: are these perceptions of an effect caused by different acoustic output between to different pieces of equipment – or by something else? This is what my kind of audiophiles are interested in. Perceptions are fine, but as an audiophile I am not terribly interested in other peoples’ perceptions per se.

I do not think that the amount of anecdotal evidence could be compelling in and of itself, although it is an interesting phenomenon. Think about astrology or various quack ‘medicine’ that people buy to lose weight (or people who are mentally crippled by “memories” of having been abused by aliens). No matter how much we have anecdotal evidence of perceptions, the aforementioned question still remains.

About forming a hypothesis and conducting a properly designed study, I fully agree with Hirsch. It is about time!

All comments welcome.


post #22 of 211
>>>>However, there is another breed of audiophiles (like me, for instance) who would like to explore a little further than the surface level of perceptions. Many of us also feel that making factual statements about empirical reality in public is more convincing if it is backed by evidence.<<<<

I'm a newbie, budding audiophile. One question I have is - how can expensive speaker cable make any difference when the cable used inside the speakers themselves are just ordinary cable?

I realize this has probably been discussed before and don't want to start a flame war or anything, but I am curious.
post #23 of 211
Originally posted by Jeffo

I'm a newbie, budding audiophile. One question I have is - how can expensive speaker cable make any difference when the cable used inside the speakers themselves are just ordinary cable?

How do you know? Which speaker?
post #24 of 211
>>>How do you know? Which speaker?<<<

This is only what I've read. I may be wrong. My particular speakers are B&W 560s.
post #25 of 211
Originally posted by pigmode

How do you know? Which speaker?
In some exceptional cases, special silver cabling is used in speakers, but don't doubt that in these cases they advertise it!!

From an engineering point of view, it is a not good idea to use silver in a driver's coil, because it has more mass for the same conductivity than copper, and the lighter the better in a speaker driver.

By the way, the beloved by many Sennheiser HD600 (I believe a very good headphone), has aluminium cable coils, because aluminium is even lighter than copper. You know what? Aluminium is worse conductor than copper.

By the way, all the tracks at any printed circuit boards' circuits, are ordinary copper too.
post #26 of 211
Kelly explained about role of science very eloquently.

There is also another problem that I observed happening in discussions over the last few years, and that tends to be the actual cause of many flame wars. It's when people who either have received some engineering training or have gained it by themselves enter discussion throwing some better known formulas or theorems showing that it's not possible to see a difference. That's possibly the consequence of education received these days where focus is not on the background of physical phenomena and how things actually work but rather on generalized or even simplistic explanations, usually through ready to use formulas or rules. Anyone who have taken a proper multiyear degree at a good university or college will learn that most processes we use or observe are very complicated results of interaction of many participants and while we may know the basic rules governing those participants, it is impossible to analytically describe the behaviour of the whole system because mathematics is simply beyound us. The only recourse is to use numerical methods (i.e. number crunching computer) to solve a very specific problem or to make sweeping assumptions about participants or elements of the system that then allow us to write formulas and actually solve them. The second thing is what's done in universities since it's the only way to give students something to work with. Also, generalization is in many cases perfectly acceptable and gives insight into phenomena. So, a course usually starts by pointing out that things are very complicated but that if you assume this and that you can get a formula that let you analyze stuff and even build things.

Problem arises when you then try to use generalized formulas as a god-given truth, ignoring the assumptions that were used to derive it. The assumption might have been that the electrical field is uniform all accross the conductor or that a single frequency is used or that a value is within certain range. One of the common things done in mathematics competitions or entry exams is to give you a "paradox", e.g. use standard rules to transform an equality formula into unequality one. Usually the tricks is that formulas that people use every day, regarding square roots for example, are valid only if the variables are non-negative. Vast majority of people never realize this and keep using formulas that the teacher wrote on the board, learn them by heart and in almost all cases that works out well.

So, when you encounter something a generalized formula (like the ones using generalized R/L/C) cannnot explain, it's time to go back to basics, instead of claiming that it's impossible. Of course, you have to be sufficiently persuaded that what you've encountered is indeed happening. Most of modern technology is based on generalized formulas and it does indeed work, so scepticism certainly has its place. There is a lot of placebo I'm sure so it's hard to separate chaff from the wheat.
post #27 of 211
Sorry, I repeated the previous post at this. I've deleted it now.
post #28 of 211
Every single component in the audio chain makes a difference (each part in the signal path makes a small change and adds up to make an audible difference). If cable B sounds better than cable A to you, why the hell do you want to try and prove or disprove yourself? I trust my perception and only mine on what I like and what I don't. If somebodys graph, some fabricated theory, etc. tells me that I'm wrong, I tell them to go **** themselves. Who's to say what my preferences should be? I'm all about customization whenever possible.

Do I think cables make an audible difference? I sure do, hell I just spent near $100 on a mini to rca cable to connect pcdp to a portable diy amp.
post #29 of 211
dbl post...
post #30 of 211
triple post (sigh)
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