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Why do/don't "audiophile" cables improve sound? - Page 17

post #241 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
What are you smokin'?!

See ya
Steve

Nothing you are smoking.....

in real life you DON'T hear how far the walls are away of the singer or mucisian!

Some high end amps have hyper detail wich portray an image of how deep, how high and how wide the recording room is. Never heard that in real life.
post #242 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
What are you smokin'?!

See ya
Steve

Nothing you are smoking.....

In real life you DON'T hear how far the walls are away of the singer or mucisian!

Some high end amps have hyper detail wich portray an image of how deep, how high and how wide the recording room is. Never heard that in real life.

So, where is all the detail all of a sudden coming from?!
post #243 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourmaline View Post
Nothing you are smoking.....

In real life you DON'T hear how far the walls are away of the singer or mucisian!

Some high end amps have hyper detail wich portray an image of how deep, how high and how wide the recording room is. Never heard that in real life.

So, where is all the detail all of a sudden coming from?!
I'll say it again. This is nonsense. You're obfuscating the point a little bit by mentioning specific things like heights of ceilings and widths of rooms, but the point remains that differences in room shapes and sizes are obvious to the ear when it comes to reverberation, echoes, etc.

Is it your opinion that if blindfolded you couldn't tell between the same singer singing in a closet and a concert hall just from the sound?
post #244 of 293
@tourmlline

I find the use of the word "detail" there confounding. If you can't hear it in real life, it's not going to be there on the recording either. If you're talking about audio effects that are not on the original recording, the word "detail" is highly misleading.

I have issues with the claim on it's face though. You certainly can tell the difference between rooms based only on audio cues in real life. Our brains are tuned to make such calculations based on the arrival difference between reflected sound waves.
post #245 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu View Post
@tourmlline

I find the use of the word "detail" there confounding. If you can't hear it in real life, it's not going to be there on the recording either. If you're talking about audio effects that are not on the original recording, the word "detail" is highly misleading.

I have issues with the claim on it's face though. You certainly can tell the difference between rooms based only on audio cues in real life. Our brains are tuned to make such calculations based on the arrival difference between reflected sound waves.
Exactly, if you can't hear it in real life, why would you be able to hear it from a speaker.
post #246 of 293
Some people simply don't have enough fantasy and imagination, and some are even proud of it.

«Detail» is a subjective perception, not a measuring criterion. Modern amps offer virtually perfect measuring data, so you won't find differences revealing weaknesses in the detail reproduction. But fact is that they differ in this regard when it comes to the subjective valuation of their sonic characteristics. And there are indeed a few solid-state amps which tend to overemphasis of detail -- this characteristic is usually called «analyticalness».

I turn (to my ears) many tube amps tend to «richer» sonic colors than typical solid-state amps (or than I consider neutral) -- particularly thanks to a richer overtone spectrum. One could also call this «too much detail» -- but that may be my personal interpretation.

I don't agree with tourmaline on his «soundstage» statement, though. A highly accurate solid-state amp will reveal a lot of the acoustics in the recording studio/hall. Of course the vertical dimension can't be captured with two horizontally oriented channels, but width and depth absolutely can. So an amp which manages to portray as much of them as possible is the more accurate one.

Nonetheless, I've heard at least one headphone amp which clearly made the soundstage more opulent than I considered natural -- it obviously added some artificial space, at the expense of tonal and spatial definition. It was a hybrid amp, BTW.
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post #247 of 293
Way off the original topic of this thread, but I hesitate to call "detail" a subjective word. When I switch to crappy $5 ibuds there are certain things that I literally cannot hear. For whatever reason it's beyond the mechanical resolution of the driver to produce. Another way I think of the word being used is in blind testing of codecs. Even though the average person will fail blind testing most of the time, you can essentially describe specific details for them to look for, and they can pass a/b testing. This is really the sense I get from the word "detail," very specific audio cues or signatures.

"Analytic" is the word I would attribute to a subjective feeling that a certain pair of headphones overemphasized details. Lots of tricky words in that sentence too

It really would help audio reviews in general if some of the language could really be pinned down. Audio reviews seem to love extravagantly flowery language which filters down to us, and at times it really seems like a disservice.

EDIT : Personally I hate the world "analytic." It's been used and abused in so many contexts that when ever I see it in a review these days it conveys no meaning.
post #248 of 293
geez...all these talk and we end up with nothing useful!

Fact: audiophile cable cannot improve sound (audiophile cable may do less damage to the signal than your average cable)

Fact: the purpose of cable is to transmit whatever signal output by the source to the amp; or from the amp to the spkr PERFECTLY (easier said than done)

Fact: the whole purpose of the $200K audio system is to reproduce, to the best of its ability, the sound wave captured by the microphone, or synthesized in Pro Tools

Fact: all those 'audio properties', e.g. sound stage, height of the instrument, hall sound, 'being there', transparency, etc; are really just the artifacts of a 'almost perfect' reproduction of the sound wave captured by the mic.

Fact: stereo imaging is just Jedi mind trick

Can we get some discussion on 'In what ways does the audiophile cable transmit signal (both small signal and large signal) differently than the nonaudiophile cable?'
(I know they do because I can hear a difference; I haven't done any research in this area, and browsing the IEEE database and recent patent app didn't come up with anything useful either)
post #249 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by chesebert View Post

Can we get some discussion on 'In what ways does the audiophile cable transmit signal (both small signal and large signal) differently than the nonaudiophile cable?'
(I know they do because I can hear a difference; I haven't done any research in this area, and browsing the IEEE database and recent patent app didn't come up with anything useful either)
I think this topic has been discussed many times to great lengths. I think it comes down to a couple things.

If you can truly hear the difference then there should be a measurable difference between the two cables/amps/sources/speakers/dampeners/magic pebbles...

The properties of a cable and it's make-up can be argued till your blue in the face, but if the measurable differences are in multitudes of 10s or 100s out of the range of human hearing it's a mute argument. Unless your superman with radar dish ears.

People will believe what they want to no matter what evidence is logically presented to them. They continue the argument with circle logic and "because I hear it" or "someone smart said it". Fine you hear it. Leave it to magic or gnomes in the cables. Don't try to say it's because of the super octal weave with cat hair di-electric and super dilithium crystal silver.
post #250 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by chesebert View Post
geez...all these talk and we end up with nothing useful!
What were you expecting?!

I have a few (useful?) thoughts to add.

hciman77 has provided a link with measurements with respect to the skin effect. According to these, an average speaker cable of 10 feet produces a drop-off of almost 3% of loudness intensity (-0.25 dB) at 20 kHz due to the skin effect. That's actually not much and well within the bandwidth of modern electronics' variation. It's certainly nothing one could deduce a dull or underrepresented treble of. The main question is: «Is this audible at all?» My experience tells me that it most likely is. On the other hand, I don't have measuring instruments which would allow to make conclusions about the correlation between certain measuring values and heard sonic characteristics with electronics and cables.

Nevertheless, I have made a lot of cable experiments with the goal of minimizing the skin effect -- by means of a drastic increase of cable surface relative to cross-section surface. I achieved this by using magnet wires with (finally) extremely low diameter (down to 0.04 mm). With the clear trend: the more extreme the ratio, the more treble sparkle. Not exactly higher treble intensity, rather higher quality, clarity and detail. At the same time this design approach could also lead to overemphasized brilliance and smoothness or even sleekness, especially with bigger cable lengths, so that a conventional braided cable with its drier characteristic could offer the impression of higher accuracy and definition, despite the duller upper end.

Apart from geometry, the materials also played a certain role. Silver and silver plating had a characteristic impact. As many other audiophiles have discovered, silver tends to sound bright and detailed, up to edginess in some cases.

As stated in an earlier post, I have occupied myself extensively and intensively with the construction of loudspeakers and thereby experienced unexpected phenomena: Even barely measurable frequency-response or (accompanying) phase-response changes can have audible consequences. So I switched a variable capacitor of (max.) 470 pF parallel to C2 -- the second component of a 4th-order high-pass filter for a tweeter with crossover at 1730 Hz -- with a total capacitance of about 14.3 microfarad.


(See black box with knob at the right side)

You can imagine the influence of the difference between 14.3 and 14.30047 or e.g. 14.30022 microfarad: it's barely measurable in terms of frequency or phase response, although theoretically it leads to a microscopic change of both. However, to my ears different positions on the scale revealed a multitude of «sweet spots» -- meaning adjustments which seemed like making «click», allowing the music to appear as a homogenous, coherent entity -- and an overwhelming area where this sensation was absent, although there was a constant minimal change of characteristic nonetheless. (I should add that the crossover-network components as well as the involved speaker chassis were pedantically measured beforehand and brought into exact accordance with established filter formulae.)

Later I detected that I could get similar effects by pushing the tweeters (on the top of the cabinets) forward and backward by fractions of millimeters or even changing the position of the whole speaker by similar amounts -- also implicating a slight shift of phase between tweeter and woofer relative to my listening position. I have to admit that I certainly wouldn't be able to get such results with any unfamiliar equipment. They were just possible after many hours of intensive occupation with the characteristics of this pair of speakers.

Back to the 3% drop-off at 20 kHz. As said, this is not much, and most people won't be able to detect a difference of volume level in that range between two samples; add to this that 20 kHz may not be audible to adults anyway, so if we take a drop-off in the range of 0.15% at say 12 kHz into account, this seems even less likely. But in fact we don't deal with two samples of different loudness intensity, but we're talking of sonic-balance variation! It may not be possible to associate a 3% drop-off with a lack of treble, though, but as modern (headphone) amps show, they can sound clearly different despite minimal measuring variations. BTW, the main candidates (or should I say: my main candidates?) for responsibility for sonic differences are harmonic distortions. This despite the fact that THD in most cases resides below 0.01%.

Depending on the slope characteristic, a HF drop-off may be perceived differently: once as dull and lackluster, once as accentuation of the lower treble and even as harshness or graininess. Keep in mind that a frequency response in the form of a straight line is perceived as uncoloured, even if it's slightly tilted to one or the other end. The same applies to a slightly convex or concave curve, as long as it's smooth (and of course not too extreme). But once the curve is inhomogeneous, it's perceived as colored.

I can't pretend if the perceived coloration in the case of minimal deviations such as 3%/0.25 dB isn't in fact a consequence of inevitable phase distortion, but since FR and phase distortion always appear parallel, it doesn't matter that much. Just one more example. I once got my Metaxas Solitaire (a power amp with extraordinary HF bandwidth) modified: The only sonically relevant modification was the removing of a small inductor coil (meant to prevent HF oscillation) right before each channel's speaker terminal with a value of 0.01 mH -- corresponding to a low-pass corner frequency of 127 kHz. After the modification, the amp sounded significantly smoother (although you would rather expect a smooth low-pass filter to create smoothness) and showed finer «grain».

The conclusion of this long post: My theory is that minimal FR- and phase-distortion patterns in cables are responsible for the perceived sonic characteristics.
.
LL
post #251 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by monolith View Post
I'll say it again. This is nonsense. You're obfuscating the point a little bit by mentioning specific things like heights of ceilings and widths of rooms, but the point remains that differences in room shapes and sizes are obvious to the ear when it comes to reverberation, echoes, etc.

Is it your opinion that if blindfolded you couldn't tell between the same singer singing in a closet and a concert hall just from the sound?
It isn't! Obviously you never heard a high end system costing over 150.000 dollars. These rigs are capable portraying a scene that you can see(hear) the walls behind the players and left and right to the players. This has nothing to do with reverberation, that's all there and natural but it is NOT natural to hear exactly how high a room is. You can actually feel(hear) how big exactly the room is and where the walls are, say 5 by 10 meters or so. I've never encountered that in a real life session. So, obviously, they portray too much detail, fake detail.
post #252 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaZZ View Post
What were you expecting?!

I have a few (useful?) thoughts to add.

hciman77 has provided a link with measurements with respect to the skin effect. According to these, an average speaker cable of 10 feet produces a drop-off of almost 3% of loudness intensity (-0.25 dB) at 20 kHz due to the skin effect. That's actually not much and well within the bandwidth of modern electronics' variation. It's certainly nothing one could deduce a dull or underrepresented treble of. The main question is: «Is this audible at all?» My experience tells me that it most likely is. On the other hand, I don't have measuring instruments which would allow to make conclusions about the correlation between certain measuring values and heard sonic characteristics with electronics and cables.

Nevertheless, I have made a lot of cable experiments with the goal of minimizing the skin effect -- by means of a drastic increase of cable surface relative to cross-section surface. I achieved this by using magnet wires with (finally) extremely low diameter (down to 0.04 mm). With the clear trend: the more extreme the ratio, the more treble sparkle. Not exactly higher treble intensity, rather higher quality, clarity and detail. At the same time this design approach could also lead to overemphasized brilliance and smoothness or even sleekness, especially with bigger cable lengths, so that a conventional braided cable with its drier characteristic could offer the impression of higher accuracy and definition, despite the duller upper end.

Apart from geometry, the materials also played a certain role. Silver and silver plating had a characteristic impact. As many other audiophiles have discovered, silver tends to sound bright and detailed, up to edginess in some cases.

As stated in an earlier post, I have occupied myself extensively and intensively with the construction of loudspeakers and thereby experienced unexpected phenomena: Even barely measurable frequency-response or (accompanying) phase-response changes can have audible consequences. So I switched a variable capacitor of (max.) 470 pF parallel to C2 -- the second component of a 4th-order high-pass filter for a tweeter with crossover at 1730 Hz -- with a total capacitance of about 14.3 microfarad.

You can imagine the influence of the difference between 14.3 and 14.30047 or e.g. 14.30022 microfarad: it's barely measurable in terms of frequency or phase response, although theoretically it leads to a microscopic change of both. However, to my ears different positions on the scale revealed a multitude of «sweet spots» -- meaning adjustments which seemed like making «click», allowing the music to appear as a homogenous, coherent entity -- and an overwhelming area where this sensation was absent, although there was a constant minimal change of characteristic nonetheless. (I should add that the crossover-network components as well as the involved speaker chassis were pedantically measured beforehand and brought into exact accordance with established filter formulae.)

Later I detected that I could get similar effects by pushing the tweeters (on the top of the cabinets) forward and backward by fractions of millimeters or even changing the position of the whole speaker by similar amounts -- also implicating a slight shift of phase between tweeter and woofer relative to my listening position. I have to admit that I certainly wouldn't be able to get such results with any unfamiliar equipment. They were just possible after many hours of intensive occupation with the characteristics of this pair of speakers.

Back to the 3% drop-off at 20 kHz. As said, this is not much, and most people won't be able to detect a difference of volume level in that range between two samples; add to this that 20 kHz may not be audible to adults anyway, so if we take a drop-off in the range of 0.15% at say 12 kHz into account, this seems even less likely. But in fact we don't deal with two samples of different loudness intensity, but we're talking of sonic-balance variation! It may not be possible to associate a 3% drop-off with a lack of treble, though, but as modern (headphone) amps show, they can sound clearly different despite minimal measuring variations. BTW, the main candidates (or should I say: my main candidates?) for responsibility for sonic differences are harmonic distortions. This despite the fact that THD in most cases resides below 0.01%.

Depending on the slope characteristic, a HF drop-off may be perceived differently: once as dull and lackluster, once as accentuation of the lower treble and even as harshness or graininess. Keep in mind that a frequency response in the form of a straight line is perceived as uncoloured, even if it's slightly tilted to one or the other end. The same applies to a slightly convex or concave curve, as long as it's smooth (and of course not too extreme). But once the curve is inhomogeneous, it's perceived as colored.

I can't pretend if the perceived coloration in the case of minimal deviations such as 3%/0.25 dB isn't in fact a consequence of inevitable phase distortion, but since FR and phase distortion always appear parallel, it doesn't matter that much. Just one more example. I once got my Metaxas Solitaire (a power amp with extraordinary HF bandwidth) modified: The only sonically relevant modification was the removing of a small inductor coil (meant to prevent HF oscillation) right before each channel's speaker terminal with a value of 0.01 mH -- corresponding to a low-pass corner frequency of 127 kHz. After the modification, the amp sounded significantly smoother (although you would rather expect a smooth low-pass filter to create smoothness) and showed finer «grain».

The conclusion of this long post: My theory is that minimal FR- and phase-distortion patterns in cables are responsible for the perceived sonic characteristics.
.

Except you have posted nothing to support your arguments.

You have taken one thing, and applied it to things illogically. To form all these false ideas.

Headphone cable is not 12awg. IC's are not 12awg. They are often 22awg or smaller. Which raises the skin effect frequency greatly.

Also, you say all these things affect phase and what not. (which you seemed to pull out of no where) Then it would be able to be measured.
post #253 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu View Post
@tourmlline

I find the use of the word "detail" there confounding. If you can't hear it in real life, it's not going to be there on the recording either. If you're talking about audio effects that are not on the original recording, the word "detail" is highly misleading.

I have issues with the claim on it's face though. You certainly can tell the difference between rooms based only on audio cues in real life. Our brains are tuned to make such calculations based on the arrival difference between reflected sound waves.
I heard high end systems and some are soo transparent, you'll ectually hear thom size...never heard that in a real concerthall or outside concert. you'll hear reverberation in a room, that's it. Nothing detailed (or transparent) as some hyper detailed high end system portray as image. In real life you hear an instrument with reverberation, that's it, not how far it is of the wall, especially in a big room, where the sounds rather seems to float then anything near a wall.

Some amps just don't protray a real life stage but a fake, over detailed one.

I know there are 2 types of audio people; one that wants as much detail out of a cd and the ones that want as lifelike as possible. Two different worlds.

I am the lifelike person and it is not natural to see/hear even how big a wall is and yes, sometimes you'll hear the sealing too, that detailed. To my ears, this IS not natural.

I also happen to know musicians so i know a few things about how natural instruments should sound, some instruments have nowhere as inner detail as some amps portray them. I wonder where the detail is comming from, it's not in the instrument or voice!
post #254 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGnome View Post
Except you have posted nothing to support your arguments.

You have taken one thing, and applied it to things illogically. To form all these false ideas.

Headphone cable is not 12awg. IC's are not 12awg. They are often 22awg or smaller. Which raises the skin effect frequency greatly.

Also, you say all these things affect phase and what not. (which you seemed to pull out of no where) Then it would be able to be measured.
Never heard that one: phase...only capacitance and inductance...some cable effect too like skineffect and other sorts... cable can influence damping factor of an amp if the capacitance is too high.....then you'll get frequency shifts....

Correct. IC's are made of thicker core.
post #255 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGnome View Post
Except you have posted nothing to support your arguments.
Well, I have posted my (listening) experiences. You can't expect anything more from a non-EE with non-professional measuring gear.

Quote:
You have taken one thing, and applied it to things illogically. To form all these false ideas.
The ideas are not wrong, they're just unproven.

Quote:
Headphone cable is not 12awg. IC's are not 12awg. They are often 22awg or smaller. Which raises the skin effect frequency greatly.
Really? By how much? Enough that the already tiny effects have become ultra-tiny and therefore definitely inaudible? My theory implies tininess of any grade.

Quote:
Also, you say all these things affect phase and what not (which you seemed to pull out of nowhere).
Then I recommend you to look for some white papers or even better schoolbooks to learn to know how frequency- and phase response go hand in hand.
.
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