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Testing audiophile claims and myths - Page 16

post #226 of 3125
Quote:
Originally Posted by khaos974 View Post

Let's clarify a few things first,

 

Sure.
 

Not once have I said that price made perfection, as you can indeed check I did merely say a good system.

 

I never said you did.  However, you used it as a benchmark, implying that I use price to gauge perfection.  My question "So price makes it perfect?", is more a clarifying question than an accusatory one.  Let's not be too sensitive now.

 

The price was merely an indication, it was mainly to avoid comments such as "low-fi rig can't reveal cables",  the example above could work with most rigs.

 

So you now answer the question to my query "So price makes it perfect?".  That's all I wanted.  No accusation intended.

 

For example, let's consider your own rig, which I suppose you like, replace all cables with basic Radioshack/Monoprices ones, and the headphone cables by the manufacturers' originals. Would you consider the cables, or some of the cables the weakest link of  this rig?

 

You see, you're speaking hypothetically, and the only reason for doing so is for argument's sake and when one goes down that road, it's for one reason only.  Just to win an argument.  If that's what you wish, then you win.  

 

OTOH, I have my preferred system here now and one that I have no desire to change since I'm happy with it as it stands.  However, I don't consider it nirvana, i.e., perfect.  There are flaws in it.  Cables do not form the weakest link either.  You see, although cables have made changes for me, they have not done anything fundamental.  A cable switch cannot render the sort of change that switching another component can, such as my headphones or the quality of the recording.  So though I may choose to make a cable change, I'd never consider it the weakest link since your hypothetical system for me cannot exist in reality.  Are we speaking on a practical basis here or a hypothetical one?

 

Second, would you say you believe that cables are important when it comes to SQ?

 

In response to such a direct question, I can't say that I consider them, in the context we're discussing (cable-rolling), important.  If I had to give up fiddling with one aspect on my system chain, it would be the cabling first. I fail to see that as the position of one who considers the cabling the weakest link or very important compared to all else in the chain.

 

Third,do you believe in the, "your system is only as good as the weakest link" theory?

 

Yes.

 

If the answer to the 2 last question is no, then the explanation I had for the claim, cables are the weakest link does not apply to you.

 

I answered 'no' for one and 'yes' for the other.  Where does that put me now?  On the fence?


Edited by aimlink - 10/18/10 at 6:05am
post #227 of 3125

Thanks for your answer, it actually clarified a lot of things for me. I was not trying to win an argument but rather trying to understand how one conciliates

 

-system only as good as the weakest link

-cables are important when SQ is concerned.

 

One cannot deny that cables are indeed a link for an audio rig. A corollary of a system is only as good as its weakest link is that the weakest link determines the upper limit of SQ you can reach with a system, that you can't go above a certain level of SQ determined by that weakest link. Since an already good rig with basic cables can be improved by changing components other than the cables, the conclusion would be that cables were not the limiting factor (which diminishes the importance of audiophile cables for SQ greatly) or that the theory of  "only as good as your weakest link" is bull.

 

From your answer, I would say that you don't subscribe to the theory "only as good as the weakest component" but rather to the theory that a "weak component" apply a penalty to SQ.

 

post #228 of 3125
Quote:
Originally Posted by khaos974 View Post

Thanks for your answer, it actually clarified a lot of things for me. I was not trying to win an argument but rather trying to understand how one conciliates

 

-system only as good as the weakest link

-cables are important when SQ is concerned.

 

One cannot deny that cables are indeed a link for an audio rig. A corollary of a system is only as good as its weakest link is that the weakest link determines the upper limit of SQ you can reach with a system, that you can't go above a certain level of SQ determined by that weakest link. Since an already good rig with basic cables can be improved by changing components other than the cables, the conclusion would be that cables were not the limiting factor (which diminishes the importance of audiophile cables for SQ greatly) or that the theory of  "only as good as your weakest link" is bull.

 

From your answer, I would say that you don't subscribe to the theory "only as good as the weakest component" but rather to the theory that a "weak component" apply a penalty to SQ.

 


Now that the heat has been turned down, I'll answer in same. 

 

You do seem to be understanding me now and I'd wager the position of most cable enthusiasts.  I can never speak for them all now, can I?

 

I personally see the weakest link in a chain, not on changing relative terms depending on how happy I am with a particular part, but instead as a more fixed consideration/prioritization.  What this effectively means is that if someone isn't happy with his system, I'd never recommend a cable change to fix the issue.  For me, it will always be source, then headphones, then amp.  Cable changes will not get you to love a system you aren't happy with.  The cables don't amount to a large enough difference to convert dislike to like or misgivings to great. The same applies to dissatisfaction with a pair of cans.  If you're fundamentally dissatisfied with your cans, you simply can't hope a cable change will fix it.  You need to change the cans or I'd reluctantly suggest to change the amp.  There are times when someone will post complaining about their cans being too this or that they are disappointed.  At times, there are cable change suggestions.  However, this has inevitably been quelled by a resounding disagreement to the effect that recabling will not fix fundamental issues and this disagreement doesn't come only from anti-cablers.  It therefore cannot be considered a weak enough link that will turn an unsatisfactory system into a satisfactory one.

 

I hope you can now see why 'weakest link' isn't merely semantics from my POV.  It's a fundamental claim that's never been made by a pro-cabler in any of the discussions that I've been involved, including this one.

post #229 of 3125
Quote:
Originally Posted by aimlink View Post

OTOH, the anti-cablers are the ones who ... can't afford to obtain the benefits of such differences.  So, in their displeasure, they question the validity of such differences.

 

Anecdotally, I think this is exactly backward.  People get hooked on the upgrade path (for good reasons, and I'm right there with them) but - subliminally - they know meaningful steps forward are very expensive, so they scratch their itch by convincing themselves that (for example) cables make a meaningful difference.  They create - by simple proclamation - the validity of such differences.  They can't afford the $5000 amp they want, so they buy the $500 cable.  Just an observation.

 

For the record, I believe that an audio system is an incredibly subtle and complex AC circuit, and everything makes a difference.  But that it's not possible for a cable to be cheap enough to reflect its percentage contribution.  Better to save the endless sequence of cable expenditures toward something more significant.
 

post #230 of 3125

Really, please elaborate?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by InnerSpace View Post



 

Anecdotally, I think this is exactly backward.  People get hooked on the upgrade path (for good reasons, and I'm right there with them) but - subliminally - they know meaningful steps forward are very expensive, so they scratch their itch by convincing themselves that (for example) cables make a meaningful difference.  They create - by simple proclamation - the validity of such differences.  They can't afford the $5000 amp they want, so they buy the $500 cable.  Just an observation.

 

For the record, I believe that an audio system is an incredibly subtle and complex AC circuit, and everything makes a difference.  But that it's not possible for a cable to be cheap enough to reflect its percentage contribution.  Better to save the endless sequence of cable expenditures toward something more significant.
 

post #231 of 3125
Quote:
Originally Posted by aimlink View Post

OTOH, the anti-cablers are the ones who can't hear differences or can't afford to obtain the benefits of such differences.  So, in their displeasure, they question the validity of such differences.

 


LOL

 

Love the quote.........

 

USG

post #232 of 3125
Thread Starter 

It is worth noting that the blind tests in this thread were all conducted by hifi enthusiasts, audiophiles and related publications for such. There is little information as to whether they were pro or anti cable beforehand, though the likes of What Hifi and the other magazines do have a pro-cable stance. AVreview does specifically state only one of its subjects was in the sceptic camp. I do think that it is reasonable going by the tone of each article linked to, the majority initially believed they would be able to hear a difference between cables etc. hence the repeated use of 'surprised' at the results!

 

However, since all the cable blind tests have been fails, I would happily state sceptic or not, you cannot hear a difference between cables.

post #233 of 3125
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG POPPA View Post

Really, please elaborate?
 



Which part, Pops?

post #234 of 3125
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by InnerSpace View Post





Which part, Pops?


You do know that both of you are about to rehash old arguments that invariably become circular. Or are you going to surprise the rest of us and provide actual evidence for any claims?

post #235 of 3125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prog Rock Man View Post

It is worth noting that the blind tests in this thread were all conducted by hifi enthusiasts, audiophiles and related publications for such. There is little information as to whether they were pro or anti cable beforehand, though the likes of What Hifi and the other magazines do have a pro-cable stance. AVreview does specifically state only one of its subjects was in the sceptic camp. I do think that it is reasonable going by the tone of each article linked to, the majority initially believed they would be able to hear a difference between cables etc. hence the repeated use of 'surprised' at the results!

 

However, since all the cable blind tests have been fails, I would happily state sceptic or not, you cannot hear a difference between cables.



I think it would be interesting to see what it actually does take in terms of a horrible cable to hear a difference - in other words, super-thin gauge, long, coiled, etc.  I didn't do a blind test or anything, but when I went from 20 year old (very stiff) 16 Ga, 30' long, coiled (only covered about 8') cable to new 10' sections of 12 Ga wire to power my Infinity Kappa 8s, I'm pretty sure there was a small difference in terms of bass and overall resolution.

 

Maybe I was hearing things in my head, but I did go from just about the worst you could do to power them to something most would say is adequate.

 

Today I did some listening tests (using my HD 600s) between a Beyerdynamic A1 amp and my uDAC today, and I'm not sure I could hear a difference between them when using the uDAC as the DAC.  Same thing comparing them to using an older Onkyo CD player and CDs of the same music (I had used FLAC files from my PC), no matter whether I used the headphone out of the player or the A1.

 

Last night I spent a while comparing my uDAC and the headphone jack of my computer (a Thinkpad T510), and besides the difference in power for my HD 600s I'm not sure I could pass a blind test between them.  The uDAC seemed less fatiguing and slightly less shrill/slightly warmer, but of course it could have been level differences or just in my head.  To be fair, I have heard other computers' headphone jacks and they aren't all acceptable.  I'm just inclined to think Lenovo isn't using bottom-of-the-barrel parts.  On the other hand, it is weirdly a combined headphone jack/mic in jack...

 

I also listened to a pair of AKG K701's and some Beyerdynamics of around the same price (don't remember the model, but looking at their website makes me think it was the DT 880), and those I could definitely tell the difference between - although it's still not that big of a difference.  I don't want to review them since others have done that, but my first impression was that the AKGs are a bit more emphasized in the highs and that the soundstage was a bit more spacious and precise than the HD 600s.  I suspect that the AKGs would be more fatiguing over time, and they certainly are a lot more delicate than the HD 600s and their carbon fiber construction - mine live in my backpack with my laptop, cameras (big SLRs), and more.  They get a lot of abuse as I carry them everywhere.

 

I didn't listen much to the Beyers, so I can't really comment on them other than that they are of similar quality to the other two.

 

They actually have a pair of HD 800s in stock, so I'm going to listen to those some other day.

 

On a side note, they played a pair of Tangent EVO E4 (I think) speakers while I was in the store, and they sounded absolutely amazing (for the size and price).  I ought to ask if they were using a subwoofer or not, but I'm pretty sure they weren't (I had gone between it and the speakers but heard nothing coming from it).  Maybe it was on (it's always hard to tell), but even if it was I'm still impressed with the quality.  Given the price I'm inclined to try a pair.

 

 

 

 

Wow, I guess I went all over the place here...


Edited by BlackbeardBen - 10/22/10 at 6:22am
post #236 of 3125

+1 Vote to Sticky forever.

 

Oh, and this: http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm

post #237 of 3125

Hey, that link already has its home in my sig. 

post #238 of 3125

I can't remember where the the article was, but I do recall seeing an article that stated that over 30', there was clearly degredation in video signals compared to cables around 6'. Video, being easier to objectively measure, is a good starting point for showing signal loss.


 

post #239 of 3125


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gsilver View Post

I can't remember where the the article was, but I do recall seeing an article that stated that over 30', there was clearly degredation in video signals compared to cables around 6'. Video, being easier to objectively measure, is a good starting point for showing signal loss.


 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackbeardBen View Post

I think it would be interesting to see what it actually does take in terms of a horrible cable to hear a difference - in other words, super-thin gauge, long, coiled, etc.  I didn't do a blind test or anything, but when I went from 20 year old (very stiff) 16 Ga, 30' long, coiled (only covered about 8') cable to new 10' sections of 12 Ga wire to power my Infinity Kappa 8s, I'm pretty sure there was a small difference in terms of bass and overall resolution.

 

gsilver, that's absolutely right. Which is why it's necessary that longer runs require a lower gauge wire to compensate for signal attenuation. Back to basics.
 

BlackbeardBen, could it be possible that difference you heard was from the replacement of possibly internally corroded cables, or that replacing the cables disturbed contact corrosion that had developed over the 20 years? Removing such would make a drastic improvement on SQ. I think this is the case for experiencing improved sound with new cables, more than anything else.


 


Edited by onef - 10/29/10 at 9:06pm
post #240 of 3125


Just the point you are making? Do not know anyone you are describing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by InnerSpace View Post





Which part, Pops?

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