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To the cable non-believers...

post #1 of 149
Thread Starter 
Okay, so my uncle is a super audiophile. He has the greatest speaker setup I've ever heard (this giant stand of amps and pre-amps, super high quality cable, and it all leads to some of Avalon's Isis speakers and other subs and such that I forget about. )

And he's amassed a nice collection of cables. So, a while ago, I came over, and asked him it he would be able to do a little test.

I blindfolded him, and let him listen to three cables at a time with one of his favorite songs. Then, I went through the rotation again, and had him name the cables.

I tested six cables with him, and he was able to name them all, blindfolded.

I wouldn't exactly call it definite proof of there being a major difference in cables, (though I do believe in a difference between them) but I would say that you have to consider the possibility that some people have good enough hearing to hear things that electronic tests just can't pick up.
post #2 of 149
Pretty much. Did you hear the differences?
post #3 of 149
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post
Pretty much. Did you hear the differences?
between some.
But not near as much difference as my uncle heard. He has super trained ears.
post #4 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by pyrokid View Post
I would say that you have to consider the possibility that some people have good enough hearing to hear things that electronic tests just can't pick up.
What can people hear that is impossible to detect otherwise? Again there is this theory put forward that there is some sort of mysterious force that comes through in audio that is completely undetectable to all but human ears. Is it spiritual? Outside the bounds of known physics? If there are differences, they can be measured. We may not be able to correlate differences to specific subjective experiences, but the output signal is the output signal. It can be compared to other output signals. I don't deny whether or not he was able to pick out differences, but saying differences cannot be shown because people with good enough hearing can hear things that cannot be measured by analyzing the output signal is wrong. Again, if there is a difference, the difference can be shown. It doesn't mean it can be shown what people exactly hear when a difference is present, but it can be shown to exist or not exist. And if it can't be shown, and test is robust, then what someone heard is a function of variables not having to do with the variable that was controlled for (i.e. the cable or power cord).
post #5 of 149
What cables were these?
post #6 of 149
I don't believe in cables at all (based on my own, however brief, experiences) but reports like this intrigue me and make me want to do more investigation in my own system.
post #7 of 149
wake me up when you find a way to measure soundstage, depth, instrument seperation, etc.
post #8 of 149
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speederlander View Post
What can people hear that is impossible to detect otherwise? Again there is this theory put forward that there is some sort of mysterious force that comes through in audio that is completely undetectable to all but human ears. Is it spiritual? Outside the bounds of known physics? If there are differences, they can be measured. We may not be able to correlate differences to specific subjective experiences, but the output signal is the output signal. It can be compared to other output signals. I don't deny whether or not he was able to pick out differences, but saying differences cannot be shown because people with good enough hearing can hear things that cannot be measured by analyzing the output signal is wrong. Again, if there is a difference, the difference can be shown. It doesn't mean it can be shown what people exactly hear when a difference is present, but it can be shown to exist or not exist. And if it can't be shown, and test is robust, then what someone heard is a function of variables not having to do with the variable that was controlled for (i.e. the cable or power cord).
first off, for all I know, it could be spiritual. (not saying it is at all, just saying I don't know what makes the difference. )
and second, has anyone really ever done tests where we measure things like how it does with multiple, altering frequencies of varying volumes passing through it at the same time? (I have no idea if it's been done. I'm not implying that no one has.)

To Uncle Erik,
I don't remember most of them.
In fact, I don't remember any but the least expensive, which was a wasatch.

and no arguing please. I mostly just posted this thread to get some people to reconsider things, and see if maybe they wanted to experiment on their own to see if they could hear differences.
post #9 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by endless402 View Post
wake me up when you find a way to measure soundstage, depth, instrument seperation, etc.
You can't because (some of) those are qualitative measurements. But you can certainly measure various factors. Remember it all comes down to a collection of waves which are widely understood. this isn't cutting edge physics here, it's mathematics have been known for hundreds and hundreds of years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pyrokid View Post
first off, for all I know, it could be spiritual.
It could be - if you can prove that then be my guest. Until that time then I'd refrain from invoking audible differences caused by the invisible pink unicorn and settle with a real explanation.
post #10 of 149
Probability wise, the chances of him getting the order correct are quite low, but it's totally possible. Your uncle may have been able to determine the differences through other means, but it would still involve some guesswork on his part.

Test results like these always intrigue me. There are certainly many recorded examples of audiophiles failing to distinguish between cables or other components. There was a notable one where a group of three Hi-Fi magazine reviewers thought a portable CD player sounded better than a $5,000 CD player in a blind test.

A while ago, my friend sent me this link which showed me how something like 60% of people can't even differentiate 128kbps and 192kbps compression rates. He said that I was wasting my money spending so much on CD's and other audiophile gear. There was a set of tracks accompanying the article where you could compare both compressed versions of a song.

To me, the difference was obvious within a second of listening. The cymbals had a terrible roll off in the 128 kbps version. Obviously, I'm better at listening than my friend, so why can't the same apply to other audiophiles? It seems guaranteed that some audiophiles have better listening skills than me, some other people must be better than them.

At any rate, I'm going to stick to being a non believer regarding cables. I'm happy without cables, and that's what matters for me.
post #11 of 149
Once I loaned a CD from a guy and within seconds I had to turn it off because of horrible clipping and distortion - I don't remember having heard such a bad recording before, it was literally painful. He couldn't hear that anything was wrong and thought it sounded pretty good, he clearly thought I was joking or something. In fact, the recording was so utterly horrible that I had to look it up, we did it on his computer while arguing. The first review that turned up mentioned the bad quality, that kind of settled the argument.

It is amazing when you experience such things first hand, I simply couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that he couldn't hear something so utterly obvious - I think most people are oblivious to sound quality.

For this reason I don't give much credibility to tests averaged over several people, because most of them would be functionally deaf anyway. The interesting data point is what the highest scoring listener can differentiate.
post #12 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by pyrokid View Post
Okay, so my uncle is a super audiophile. He has the greatest speaker setup I've ever heard (this giant stand of amps and pre-amps, super high quality cable, and it all leads to some of Avalon's Isis speakers and other subs and such that I forget about. )

And he's amassed a nice collection of cables. So, a while ago, I came over, and asked him it he would be able to do a little test.

I blindfolded him, and let him listen to three cables at a time with one of his favorite songs. Then, I went through the rotation again, and had him name the cables.

I tested six cables with him, and he was able to name them all, blindfolded.

I wouldn't exactly call it definite proof of there being a major difference in cables, (though I do believe in a difference between them) but I would say that you have to consider the possibility that some people have good enough hearing to hear things that electronic tests just can't pick up.
Can you clarify a few things ?

For the first and second runs did your uncle know which 3 cables were being tested ?

How many trials did you do with each three cables ?
post #13 of 149
I guess all this kind of audiophile debate has something to do with Psychoacoustics ??
post #14 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Berlioz View Post

To me, the difference was obvious within a second of listening. The cymbals had a terrible roll off in the 128 kbps version. Obviously, I'm better at listening than my friend, so why can't the same apply to other audiophiles? It seems guaranteed that some audiophiles have better listening skills than me, some other people must be better than them.
Not to nit-pick, just a quick point - some people are certainly much better listeners than others, but the different between 128kbps and 192kbps is something that can be quantitatively defined -- there is a measurement that lets you know absolutely which one is better, and I think this is the argument against cables.
post #15 of 149
We need to get a life size Foobar ABX going:

2 identical sets of equipment except for the cabling!
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