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electrical engineers: Why do cables improve sound? - Page 3

post #31 of 602
Depending on equipment and codec decoder implementation methods, it is possible to hear the difference between lossless files and WAVs during playback. It is possible to have lossy playback of loseless files depending on the format and decoder used, or for errors to occur during real time decoding, especially in marginally stable computers or computationally underpowered mp3 players. Add in that many people have difficulty in getting volume level matches in their testing, how the brain confuses volume for quality, and the placebo effect, then you can pretty easily see how people may come to that conclusion.

What is impossible though is hearing differences between a WAV file and a WAV file properly reconstituted and error checked from a lossless file.
post #32 of 602
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by omedon
Lots of science as little as 20 years old is very outdated. Lots of science that is much older is not.

As others have said theories are an approximation. Until our understanding is complete, which it will likely never be, theories will be subject to revision.
But the answer I am looking for is this: Why does the scientific justification of analog audio cables fly in the face of common sense, and also in the face of other current scientific knowledge in directly related fields? If we have the technology to transfer with perfect accuracy a 5GHz signal through an analog cable (which we do), and that technology costs $20 to implement (which it does), why does a far simpler 30KHz signal require such expensive cabling to transfer with imperfect accuracy? It doesn't make sense to me that the solution to a more difficult engineering problem would be less complex and less expensive than the solution to a directly related but less difficult engineering problem.
post #33 of 602
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricP
But the answer I am looking for is this: Why does the scientific justification of analog audio cables fly in the face of common sense, and also in the face of other current scientific knowledge in directly related fields? If we have the technology to transfer with perfect accuracy a 5GHz signal through an analog cable (which we do), and that technology costs $20 to implement (which it does), why does a far simpler 30KHz signal require such expensive cabling to transfer with imperfect accuracy?
You're looking at this the wrong way. You're assuming that the more expensive cables are more accurate. In the audiophile realm, the opposite is often true; that's why they sound different. As Siegfried Linkwitz puts it:
"Cables can have audible effects and some manufacturers make sure they will, either through unusual electrical parameters and/or by suggestion. Weaknesses in the design of the output-to-input interface are exploited. In any case, sounding different does not automatically mean that you now have a more accurate transfer from electrical to acoustical output."

He has a few more things to say here, though nothing exhaustive:
http://www.linkwitzlab.com/orion-faq.htm#Q10
Linkwitz is a real EE, and co-invented the Linkwitz-Riley filter.
post #34 of 602
the reason so called "audiophile" cables cost so much has nothing really to do with design, it's becuase the market allows it and the cable companys know this hence the 1000% markup. out of all the gear in audiophile land cables have the biggest margin.
post #35 of 602
I guess in the world of audio you have to treat interconnects as transmission lines. It's mostly L and C that affect the signal.
post #36 of 602
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricP
It doesn't make sense to me that the solution to a more difficult engineering problem would be less complex and less expensive than the solution to a directly related but less difficult engineering problem.
One thing to note here is that you are assuming that the factors which you are optimizing and designing for in the case of the 5 GHz are exactly the same as those you are optimizing and designing for in the case of the 30KHz cable. That is plainly an assumption which may or may not be accurate. In particular the usage for audiophile cables may not require or demand perfect reproduction. As a related example, solid state amplifiers tend to have far less distortion than tube amplifiers and yet many prefer them because they like the sound better which is the exact opposite of what the measurements would lead you to expect. Likewise with a cable which rolls off the high end of the signal. Not as accurate yet it may be more pleasing for a particular listener...
post #37 of 602
i find it funny to see people spouting "transmission lines" when were dealing with short runs, mismatching impedance, and almost dc audio.
post #38 of 602
Quote:
Originally Posted by helix
the reason so called "audiophile" cables cost so much has nothing really to do with design, it's becuase the market allows it and the cable companys know this hence the 1000% markup. out of all the gear in audiophile land cables have the biggest margin.
one of the most accurate posts in this thread I reckon!
post #39 of 602
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gpalmer
One thing to note here is that you are assuming that the factors which you are optimizing and designing for in the case of the 5 GHz are exactly the same as those you are optimizing and designing for in the case of the 30KHz cable. That is plainly an assumption which may or may not be accurate. In particular the usage for audiophile cables may not require or demand perfect reproduction. As a related example, solid state amplifiers tend to have far less distortion than tube amplifiers and yet many prefer them because they like the sound better which is the exact opposite of what the measurements would lead you to expect. Likewise with a cable which rolls off the high end of the signal. Not as accurate yet it may be more pleasing for a particular listener...
Huh... as a pseudoengineer I was assuming that perfect transmission of a signal from point A to point B was the goal in cable construction. Cabling is intended to imperfectly transfer a signal?
post #40 of 602
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricP
Huh... as a pseudoengineer I was assuming that perfect transmission of a signal from point A to point B was the goal in cable construction. Cabling is intended to imperfectly transfer a signal?
Well, I think you're missing one subtlety about this equation. The task is to transfer the signal in the manner which causes the best readings on the measuring instruments. BUT, those measuring instruments are human ears and brains not mechanical and that's where the fun starts. Let's just say that the accuracy of the calibration may vary somewhat...
post #41 of 602
I'm not an expert but i imagine for a real hi-fi buff it is how the cable colours the sound and not just how well the data is transfered.

Headphones are a prime example, the HD650s sound was coloured on purpose since when measured flat the testers decided the sound was somehow lacking to the human ear.

People who listen to music for pleasure want it to sound nice whereas in other cable/sound applications what is usually wanted is an accurate representation of signals rather than just what sounds nice to the human ear.
post #42 of 602
I humbly suggest that the real problem is the lack of the very phenomenon (i.e. audible differences between wires), not the lack of a scientific explanation for it.


Regards,

L.
post #43 of 602
As always, we have the hi-fi dichotomy between what we call 'good' and what is 'accurate'. A cable that 'sounds fantastic' isn't necessarily a more accurate conductor of electrical information that one that 'sounds like crap'. We have no way to truly hear if a cable is actually accurately transmitting the electrical data or not - we can only hear if we like the sound or not.

People pay through the roof for different cables, because through whatever means, they do adjust the sound of the system, and people enjoy those adjustments that suit their tastes. It does not however mean that the cabling setup they prefer sonically is 'better' than one they don't. It could actually be a hell of a lot worse, technically. I said this in another thread, but a cable that by a complete accident of engineering turns a horrific recording of some teenagers scratching at a few stringed instruments into the four clones of Paganini, we're going to say it's a great cable, despite the fact that technically it's electrical transmission is obviously a complete mess.
post #44 of 602
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gpalmer
Well, I think you're missing one subtlety about this equation. The task is to transfer the signal in the manner which causes the best readings on the measuring instruments. BUT, those measuring instruments are human ears and brains not mechanical and that's where the fun starts. Let's just say that the accuracy of the calibration may vary somewhat...
I see. So if the only measure of a cable is a subjective one, then it is useless to read a review of a cable and base your buying decision on it, because what one person heard may be entirely different from what you hear. Or you may hear something they don't, or vice versa.

I think considering the price of some of these cables I will try and make sure I hear no difference
post #45 of 602
Quote:
Originally Posted by helix
i find it funny to see people spouting "transmission lines" when were dealing with short runs, mismatching impedance, and almost dc audio.
what is almost dc audio in your definition?
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