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The case against cables and for convention DBT - Page 2

post #16 of 18
As someone who has recently spent quite a lot of money on cable upgrades, I nevertheless frequently doubt my ability to correctly spot differences, and particularly my ability to decide if the difference is worth the cost to change. In fact I find that part quite stressful when there's a lot of money at stake.

So I agree with many of the points made against cables - they really should all sound the same and there is probably a huge mark up on some of them. However, as a music lover, I treat a cable as I do any other component: as a black box. My only criteria for choosing any black box is: will it bring me greater musical enjoyment than by spending the same amount of money on anything else? It's strange, it's weird, it doesn't make sense, but on this point the cables win (assuming bought wisely in the context of existing system).
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAttorney View Post
As someone who has recently spent quite a lot of money on cable upgrades, I nevertheless frequently doubt my ability to correctly spot differences, and particularly my ability to decide if the difference is worth the cost to change. In fact I find that part quite stressful when there's a lot of money at stake.

So I agree with many of the points made against cables - they really should all sound the same and there is probably a huge mark up on some of them. However, as a music lover, I treat a cable as I do any other component: as a black box. My only criteria for choosing any black box is: will it bring me greater musical enjoyment than by spending the same amount of money on anything else? It's strange, it's weird, it doesn't make sense, but on this point the cables win (assuming bought wisely in the context of existing system).
I agree completely! While I'm not "into" cables myself, I certainly have some "overpriced" equipment. I'm 100% sure that I could get the same sound for significantly less money. Still, I enjoy my system in daily use and it brings me more joy than a cheap plastic system would, even though I'm confident that I would fail a DBT. But I use my system sighted and I have no problem admitting that I'm deluding myself.
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
For me, the most powerful arguments against cables have nothing to do with testing or methodology.

One thing that both believers and skeptics agree on is that there is no current scientific method to measure cables. Measurements all come back the same or with results below the threshold of human hearing. I don't think there is an argument there. So, what are the implications?

If something cannot be tested by any known means, then it is also impossible to develop cables. When you work on a product, you measure, test, form hypotheses, and use results to zero in on what you're trying to achieve.

However, with cables, there is no way to do this. You'd have to go through thousands of prototypes and listen to each with a variety of music and equipment to get an idea of how it sounds.

Further, since ABX testing (for the sake of argument) has no validity and is riddled with flaws. The implication there is that you can't even test your cable designs by ear against your other designs. So protyping and listening must be out of the question because there is no way to compare two of your own designs.

So each new cable design is a complete shot in the dark. It's just something someone made up.

Another argument against cables is the lack of amateur participatuon in the science of them. Look at every other field. There are amateur astronomers, amateur chemists, amateur amp designers, amateur everything. Most amateurs share freely with each other. I know there are amateur cable builders, too, but there's zero information or development of the reasoning behind them. All you get are testimonials about sound. It's not like the amateur radio guys who actually developed SSB (single sideband) transmissions. With cables, there is no body of work whatsoever to draw upon. When you find that, you're usually into pseudoscience territory.

Sensitive test equipment has been around for a good 50-60 years. If there was a difference between cables, it probablynwould have surfaced years ago. Further, corporations would have patented their findings and left a trail of prior art. That doesn't exist until much later. Were there obvious effects and benefits, there would be a bunch of proprietary material in the pubic domain today. Likewise, the period of patents is up for the earliest audio cables. Most manufacturers make a variety of claims about their proprietary work. Fine. Except the term for patents is now up on the early cables, meaning that their designs are now public.

Look at what happened to other technologies when designs finally became public. Check out the intense amateur development of the steam engine and airplane after patents expired. There is nothing comparable with cables.

Most of all, however, is the money angle. There is no argument that prices are well above the cost of materials and labor. Since development is impossible (see above), then there are no other costs. So why the high prices? You can't tiptoe around the fact that people are eager to generate profits. It looks like there's no reason for the prices except to generate huge amounts of money.

What are the implications of that? Well, one is that vast profit margins attract people who care about doing nothing but making money.

The implication from that is that there must be several, if not more, cable manufacturers who exist only as a profit-making enterprise and don't give a crap about cable design. After all, you can't develop cables anyway. You can only take the marketing literature and listening impressions at face value.

The implication you get from that is that there must be a certain number of cable manufacturers who are entirely fraudulent.

So, how do you tell the difference between a fraudulent cable (one with zero development and that only exists for the profit of the manufacturer) and a "real" cable? You can't. You can, apparently, only listen and decide. There's no way to tell if the manufacturer is secretly laughing at you for being an idiot or if they're sincere about their product.

Those are why I think there's nothing to this field. Nothing yet, anyhow. It is possible that something will be discovered. I will accept those results. But today, all we have are people casting blindly into the dark. They don't understand what they're doing and neither does anyone else. They are, however, making extremely large amounts o money while not knowing what they're doing.

Funny thing is, why not put some of that money into finding a scientific reason for the existence of their products? I mean, if people were calling something I made snakeoil, I'd be irritated and set out to prove them wrong. Yet no manufacturer has done this. Curious. Further, some kind of rational understanding would allow for development of better products, make for great advertising against competitors, and would enable kicking some competitor ass. Instead of making tens of thousands, you could goto tens of millions if you found out why they worked. Yet no one has done this. Even more curious.

The bottom line is that all the implications do not add up. Further, lies are always transparent when you look at them sideways. Lies are calculated to be difficult to detect when viewed head on. This is why manufacturers go out of their way to muddy the waters with science. They know there is still the unknown and unexplored and they know that testing protocols aren't perfect. That's wh they insist that their products fall into these exceptions. What you have to do is take a few steps to the side and look from a different angle. Accept them at face vale and then start drawing inferences and implications from the claims. If the implications prove ridiculous, then that's when you know you're dealing with snakeoil.
Good Post !

USG
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