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Blind Cable Taste Test RESULTS!

post #1 of 578
Thread Starter 

Two years ago, a man's fantasty became reality in a form never seen before.

Edwood_BlindCableTest_03CableLineUp.jpg

Blind Cable Taste Test, a giant testing arena.

The motivation for spending his fortune to create Blind Cable Taste Test was to encounter true results for everyone to discover in the comforts of their own home. To realize his dream he secretly started choosing cables of various types of materials. And he hid the materials inside the same exterior.

Edwood_BlindCableTest_SECRET_04Materials.jpg

And he named his cables the Blind Cable Taste Test. The indistinquishable cables of sonic mystery.


Triangle Cable is Solid Silver
Edwood_BlindCableTest_SECRET_01Triangle.jpg

Circle Cable is Canare
Edwood_BlindCableTest_SECRET_02Circle.jpg

Square Cable is Rat Shack
Edwood_BlindCableTest_SECRET_03Square.jpg


Blind Cable Taste Test is the arena where Head-Fiers await the challenge in their own home. The Head-fiers have one week to tackle the sonic mystery of the cables. Using all their senses, skills, creativity, they are to discover for themselves what the true mystery beholds.

Edwood_BlindCableTest_07Shipping.jpg

And if ever a challenger wins over the Blind Cable Taste Test, he or she will gain the people's ovation and fame forever.

The heat will be on!


Edited by Edwood - 5/14/10 at 12:51pm
post #2 of 578
Thread Starter 

The Results:

 

Edwood_BlindCableTasteTest_Graph_01.jpg

 

Here's the real kicker.

Only ONE Head-Fier that participated guessed ALL THREE correctly.
And the best part, this person did the test and turned the cables around to send to the next person in the shortest amount of time of all the participants.

Thanks to all that participated, and putting up with the continual delays due to business, vacations, illnesses, etc.

-Ed


Edited by Edwood - 5/14/10 at 12:52pm
post #3 of 578
Congratulations and thanks, Edwood. This was quite a project.

When's the next one?
post #4 of 578
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbriant

When's the next one?
Hahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah ahahaha...

<deep breath>

Hahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah ahahaha...

Gotta lay off the Tussin

-Ed
post #5 of 578
I'm somewhat skeptic about cables and IMO is good to know that in truly blind test, and in the comfort of their own homes with the system that they were really familiar with and used to, the huge majority of the participants failed miserably, nothing against them, and I know that this would be a really hard test for them, if differences are so subtle as I believe them to be, what lead us to the sad but true conclusion about cables, one more time, then: Snake oil

Now I know that the cable believers will argue that the ones who participate, had not really good ears, or that there are flaws in the test, or that the systems were not revealing enough, or that this or that was not asked, or should be asked instead, or maybe even flaws in the statistical system, and blah, blah, blah, and that these results don't mean a thing for them, as those cables maybe did not made the difference, but the ones they own will do, in their systems, and to their ears, etc, etc...

But unfortunately for them, none of these that will argue probably were part of the participants on the test, wondering why? So their credibility is here at risk if you ask me...

IMO the reality is now a more unarguable fact than it was before, same as that test with speaker cables, done by some manufacturer some time ago, in which all those golden ears were all the time hearing a cheap zip cord, and they still insisted in hearing the differences, and even wrote about them describing differences, that at that time, they were told which cable they supposedly were listening to, so the placebo is in the equation, now it was a really blind test, so placebo out.

Kudos for the participants, and Edwood for making this test happen!!!
post #6 of 578
I like the irony that the Ratshack was largely guessed as a solid silver cable.
post #7 of 578
Awesome!
Who gussed them all correctly?
post #8 of 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holybanana
Awesome!
Who gussed them all correctly?
I think it was ayt999...who (it should be noted) may well have had the most revealing gear of anyone who participated in the test.
post #9 of 578
interesting, it would seem most people heard differences between the cable but were not able to ascertain which is which. I wonder if it was quantified with which cable has the highest treble? which cable has the best bass? which cable has the largest soundstage? etc etc the result would of been consensual.
post #10 of 578
Were there any comments given about each cable, or were the participants simply asked to identify which cable they thought was which?

Quote:
Only ONE Head-Fier that participated guessed ALL THREE correctly.
And let's not forget that that could have very well been luck or random chance.
post #11 of 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwood
Here's the real kicker.

Only ONE Head-Fier that participated guessed ALL THREE correctly.
And the best part, this person did the test and turned the cables around to send to the next person in the shortest amount of time of all the participants.

Thanks to all that participated, and putting up with the continual delays due to business, vacations, illnesses, etc.

-Ed
Thanks Ed,
So who's our golden ear boy (or girl?)

I have a comment/question about the test...
The guesses were assuming that we had some sort of preconceived idea of what a particular cable material was supposed to sound like, right?
Mine:
Silver=bright/detailed
Starquad=balanced/mellow
Rat Shack=harsh/unrefined

My assumptions may be different than someone else's, so I'm not sure what this chart really tells us.

What I would like to know is which cable did we all like the best? Will there be more graphs?
post #12 of 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd R
Thanks Ed,
So who's our golden ear boy (or girl?)

I have a comment/question about the test...
The guesses were assuming that we had some sort of preconceived idea of what a particular cable material was supposed to sound like, right?
Mine:
Silver=bright/detailed
Starquad=balanced/mellow
Rat Shack=harsh/unrefined

My assumptions may be different than someone else's, so I'm not sure what this chart really tells us.

What I would like to know is which cable did we all like the best? Will there be more graphs?
that's the problem. In my mind it would be more like:

Silver=extended/detailed/harsh/airy
Starquad=balanced/refined
Rat Shack=mellow/slightly muddy/pleasantly boring
post #13 of 578
Quote:
interesting, it would seem most people heard differences between the cable but were not able to ascertain which is which.
Again, with such a small sample base, this could also just be random chance.

Now if the same people were to once again do the same test with the same 3 cables .... and came up with the exact same results .... that would help eliminate random chance and indicate they were hearing an identifiable difference.
post #14 of 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by taoster
interesting, it would seem most people heard differences between the cable
You can't draw that conclusion from this test.
post #15 of 578

Been waiting a long time to post this...

Here's a copy of the PM I sent Edwood after I completed the test:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarke68
I didn't get involved in this test to try and guess which cable was which, but rather to find out which cable I prefer. I figured my favorite would be the silver, since they're (I assume) the most expensive, but I've also heard that silver cables can be bright, so perhaps I'd prefer the star-quad, or not be able to tell any difference at all?

When I first got the cables I did a quick run through...my first impressions were that the triangle were my favorite (silver?), the square was a close second (star-quad?), and the circle was junk. I had a difficult time shaking my first impressions for subsequent tests, so I ran the rest of the tests blind. I'd pull one cable out of the box and install them (the way you did the 'band' around the middle made it easy to conceal the cables identity with a finger while still being able to read the directional arrow on the side). Listen to one track off McCoy Tyner's 'New York Reunion', install the next cable, repeat. When I was done, I "shuffled" the cables and put them back in the box for the next test.

I started out rating the cables as I went along, as my goal was to find my favorite. What I found, however, was that I almost always preferred the last cable in the test, and it didn't matter which cable it was. Clearly there's some other factors at play here besides the conductor material! So I abandoned the "rating" system and just wrote my listening impressions of each cable. There's some inconsistency in my impressions from session to session, but a few patterns did emerge:

square: consistently the most neutral, didn't add anything to the music, but (more importantly) didn't take anything away.
triangle: possibly a bit more extended in the high frequencies than the square cable, with a little congestion/muddiness in the lower midrange/mid-bass region
circle: my impressions were all over the map: at times overly bright, at other times neutral but a tad laid back (although my DAC is a tad laid back, so these could be the most revealing)

So that's how I want 'em. If I must guess which is which, then guess I will:

square: silver
triangle: star-quad
circle: cheapo

Note that the differences between cables were extremely subtle, and in fact impossible to differentiate at times. All this has taught me that for my ears, in my current system, cables are not a significant contributor to sound quality, and I'll be sticking with my "inexpensive, reasonably well shielded/constructed is fine" theory on cables until I have reason to think otherwise. Very interesting and valuable experiment...thanks for setting it up!
Want to reiterate the part about thanking Ed for organizing the test...valuable, fun, just the type of thing that makes Head-fi an awesome audiophile community!

As for the results, draw your own conclusions. For me, I won't be spending another dime on interconnects as long as I live.
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