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post #316 of 438
I agree, Jerry.

Cable mythology is inconsistent with itself. If you accepted every claim as true (hypothetically), then contradictions would abound. Not all claims can be true. But all of them can be false.
post #317 of 438
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidegger View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by blockhead View Post

Quote:



Evidence, shmevidence ~ the proof is in the eating. If Nick comes out and tells me that there can objectively be no difference between my headphone chords, then I would immediately know that I can't trust a thing he says, no matter how many facts and figures and graphs and charts and bells and whistles he backs it up with.

 

I've never tested headphone cables as it is much harder to test them with musical signals. Headroom or Tyll could do this of course but as mentioned elsewhere it would take a great deal of care to make sure that the positioning was utterly identical or the results would be unreliable. However the scale of signal carried by headphone cables is (most of the time)  very different from the line level (2V nominal) signals carried by RCA leads, so differences in rlc may have more impact on a purely output level basis and may even alter other audio parameters but these would be measurable.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by blockhead View Post

Eating smeating ~ the proof is in the proof. tongue.gif So you are saying you have absolute faith that your own perception is correct and without cognitive bias? Fine pointless to argue with that. I will say though that if Nick had found evidence that proved that cables did make a difference I'm sure he would have change his position. That is an important difference in my opinion.

 

I went through 3 stages in my cable research. At first long before the test I was highly skeptical, then for several weeks I was reading the forums and seeing so many positive assertiions about the differences in cables and asking people directly and getting personal answers back affirming this that I began to think that it must be possible, So I asked for examples of different cables and selected a range of designs/ materials for testing, at this point I really did anticipate finding some notable differences. Then I did the measurements and the results showed that the differences were very small after all. Now I am skeptical again but someone , somewhere may get evidence that shows meaningful differences between ordinary cables, I do not rule this out but I really want better evidence than sighted listening.

 

As an aside one surprising thing I found was a small ( 1000ths of a db) but statistically significant difference (using 900 samples) between attaching one cable according to the direction arrow or not.

 

 

 

 



 

post #318 of 438

"As an aside one surprising thing I found was a small ( 1000ths of a db) but statistically significant difference (using 900 samples) between attaching one cable according to the direction arrow or not."

 

That is the kind of minute difference that I think cable makers have seized upon to self-justify their own claims about cables. It is also the kind of claim that got Russ Andrews into trouble with the ASA who ruled there was not sufficient proof that reducing RFI was audible and he was wrong to suggest that it was audible. There is a lot of suggestion in selling cables.

post #319 of 438

nick_charles: I don't think it would be any harder to test headphone cables. You'd use the output of a headphone rig with very low distortion but with the cable loaded to match the impedance of a pair of headphones.

post #320 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_charles View Post

I've trialled Diffmaker on and off for several years. I haven't tested the latest version but I would urge a bit of circumspection. In versions I have tested I have found that Diffmaker can find differences between identical files. I would certainly not use it in anger until I had checked that it was not doing so still. My guess is that it is not always spot-on on the alignment and as I have found alignment has to be be very very accurate for the tests to be reliable.
 

 

RE: the Audio DiffMaker

 

@nick_charles:  Agreed.  The program is not perfect, but some reproducible data showing that there is an audible difference would be welcome.  

 

@Currawong:  Give it a try if you have the silver and copper cables.  If you 'hear' an audible difference between them, the program should be able to isolate it.  It would be nice to see some data supporting cable differences.

 

post #321 of 438

You can tell me it's not placebo? Boy, you have me convinced.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidegger View Post

I was planning on spending about $60 on some RCA cables. After reading this thread, I went to Guitar City and bought a Hosa for $6, at least for now. I will say this, however: there is a noticeable difference between my stock headphone cable and my Cardas. Anybody take issue with that?

 

Or is it the belief here that that is mere placebo also? Because I can tell you it's not.

post #322 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post


If you look at any other piece of tech, you get measurements and hard evidence. Go to your local Chevy dealer and ask why you should buy a Camaro instead of a Mustang. You'll get plenty of facts and figures. They'll be happy to provide them. Same with buying a computer, amp, or even a refrigerator. You'll find that the salesmen back up their products.
 


But to the consumer and retailer mindset, cables aren't really "tech" as such.  It's not really Camaro-vs-Mustang - it's more like "Would you like the Scotchgard and the special wax treatment with that Corvette?"  In exactly the same way as auto dealers sell the iron cheap and make up their margins on the dubious extras, so do audio dealers.  In a way we should be happy with that - cable margins keep dealers in business.  So long as there are customers for them, cables keep those places open, so we can buy what we want, in a choice-rich and price-competitive environment.  Philosophically ugly, perhaps, but what in retail isn't?

post #323 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidegger View Post


Evidence, shmevidence ~ the proof is in the eating. If Nick comes out and tells me that there can objectively be no difference between my headphone chords, then I would immediately know that I can't trust a thing he says, no matter how many facts and figures and graphs and charts and bells and whistles he backs it up with.


 

Long story short, I once worked at a TV station whose lab was one of several selected for HDTV research in the late 80s.  As it happened their part of the job was quickly completed, with the result that lots of talented and expensive engineers had nothing to do for the balance of the year.  Except that engineers always find something to do, and in this case they started a project to measure differences between samples of delivered equipment.  (Probably a management initiative to get money back.)  With super-precise standards, they found objective differences between everything.  Cable A measured differently than cable B.  Today's sample of cable C measured differently than yesterday's sample.  (These were wide-bandwidth video cables, not that it matters.)  But the differences were incredibly tiny, and were absolutely dwarfed by the differences between samples of more complex items.

 

So my direct, personal, learned experience is that yes, there will be objective differences between cables.  There will not be subjective differences, even if you're Superman.  And - given the data - it makes absolutely no sense at all to A/B cables instead of A/Bing a Thursday sample of your favorite can against a Friday sample.  The transducer data (on Tannoy Little Red Monitors, if you're interested) showed literally hundreds of thousands of times greater dissimilarity between samples with adjacent serial numbers than between all the cables in the world.

 

So all this angst and energy would be far better spent A/Bing different headphone samples (or amps, or practically anything) than cables.  It's totally dumb to stick with the headphone that came in the mail and swap its cable ten times.  Spend your time hiking back and forth to the post office, returning nine headphones to the dealer.  The benefit in SQ will make you forget cables in a big hurry.

post #324 of 438


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ex0du5 View Post

You can tell me it's not placebo? Boy, you have me convinced.

 


 


 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidegger View Post

I was planning on spending about $60 on some RCA cables. After reading this thread, I went to Guitar City and bought a Hosa for $6, at least for now. I will say this, however: there is a noticeable difference between my stock headphone cable and my Cardas. Anybody take issue with that?

 

Or is it the belief here that that is mere placebo also? Because I can tell you it's not.


I would like you to show me how it cannot be placebo or otherwise in the mind.

post #325 of 438


Great post, and I agree strongly.  Your next post was also very interesting -- and I must say, the findings don't surprise me a bit. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by InnerSpace View Post


But to the consumer and retailer mindset, cables aren't really "tech" as such.  It's not really Camaro-vs-Mustang - it's more like "Would you like the Scotchgard and the special wax treatment with that Corvette?"  In exactly the same way as auto dealers sell the iron cheap and make up their margins on the dubious extras, so do audio dealers.  In a way we should be happy with that - cable margins keep dealers in business.  So long as there are customers for them, cables keep those places open, so we can buy what we want, in a choice-rich and price-competitive environment.  Philosophically ugly, perhaps, but what in retail isn't?

post #326 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post
 
I'll take the old silverback's experience over the college grads desire to correct the world with their beliefs.


Yeah, newfangled ideas blow.....

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by InnerSpace View Post

Long story short, I once worked at a TV station whose lab was one of several selected for HDTV research in the late 80s.  As it happened their part of the job was quickly completed, with the result that lots of talented and expensive engineers had nothing to do for the balance of the year.  Except that engineers always find something to do, and in this case they started a project to measure differences between samples of delivered equipment.  (Probably a management initiative to get money back.)  With super-precise standards, they found objective differences between everything.  Cable A measured differently than cable B.  Today's sample of cable C measured differently than yesterday's sample.  (These were wide-bandwidth video cables, not that it matters.)  But the differences were incredibly tiny, and were absolutely dwarfed by the differences between samples of more complex items.

 

So my direct, personal, learned experience is that yes, there will be objective differences between cables.  There will not be subjective differences, even if you're Superman.  And - given the data - it makes absolutely no sense at all to A/B cables instead of A/Bing a Thursday sample of your favorite can against a Friday sample.  The transducer data (on Tannoy Little Red Monitors, if you're interested) showed literally hundreds of thousands of times greater dissimilarity between samples with adjacent serial numbers than between all the cables in the world.

 

So all this angst and energy would be far better spent A/Bing different headphone samples (or amps, or practically anything) than cables.  It's totally dumb to stick with the headphone that came in the mail and swap its cable ten times.  Spend your time hiking back and forth to the post office, returning nine headphones to the dealer.  The benefit in SQ will make you forget cables in a big hurry.


This is a great post.  Especially the bolded part.  It would explain why so many of us hear the same headphone differently.

 

 

USG

 

 

post #327 of 438
USG, I thought the production variations between headphones was "proof" of burn-in. smily_headphones1.gif
post #328 of 438


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post




Yeah, newfangled ideas blow.....

 

 

USG

 


Change isn't always better in a subjective hobby. Vinyl is inferior technologically but is preferred by the discerning audiophile. They are willing to accept the drawbacks of an inferior technology. Similar with amps. Newfangled ideas are mostly marketing gimmicks to take money from the gullible.

 

post #329 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post


 


Change isn't always better in a subjective hobby. Vinyl is inferior technologically but is preferred by the discerning audiophile. They are willing to accept the drawbacks of an inferior technology. Similar with amps. Newfangled ideas are mostly marketing gimmicks to take money from the gullible.

 

Preferred by discerning audiophiles?  There are many discerning audiophiles who discern quite differently.  At best this is a matter of preference.  So let's not call a spade a kumquat.  
 

post #330 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

USG, I thought the production variations between headphones was "proof" of burn-in. smily_headphones1.gif


LOL, I never thought of it that way.

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