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Is It Really Worth 'Upgrading' Sennheiser HD 580/600/650 Cables? - Page 12

post #166 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by googleborg View Post

I wish companies would stop making products that have such glaring and obvious weaknesses which are so easily solved!  I mean, if the improvements were so good, indeed worth the cost of entire headphones in-themselves, they could just swing their vastly higher purchasing power and scales of economy, labour cost, R&D, precision machining and tooling, and offer headphones with the best cables already as 'upgraded' models, or their own after-market upgrades.

 

Are you telling me that they've not thought about this?

 

Are you telling me it's more efficient for countless "little men" operations to do this that have to charge so much just to make it viable, than for the likes of Sennheiser, who could implement these improvements in such scales as to ameliorate the cost of entry by massively cutting these "viability" costs, thus lowering the barrier to entry thus increasing sales/aftermarket sales whilst maintaining profit margins.

 

I mean if all these super expensive tweaks amounted to jack, they'd do it.

 



I think this is an excellent point.

 

The voodoo cable companies would have us believe that the Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic, AKG and so on have spent a huge amount of time and effort developing their headphones, but then, amazingly, they go terribly wrong with the cable...

 

The difference between the headphone manufacturers and the voodoo cable companies is that the headphone manufacturers really do research and I suspect have found that actually the regular copper cables are actually a very good design.

 

The voodoo cable companies just invent some terrible pseudo scientific crap and call that "research" and ask a massive price.

post #167 of 241

An interesting video from Townshend Audio: 

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9HrYAyVItY

post #168 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiofil View Post

An interesting video from Townshend Audio: 

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9HrYAyVItY


Don't have sound on this machine so don't know exactly what the test set up and conditions are if he even details them, but I'm always a bit suspicious when I see square waves used as they often have little or no relevance to anything that's going on in the audio range.

 

And this bit from their website makes me all the more suspicious that this is the case:

 

Wherever electronic signals are transmitted by wire, be it telephone, video, digital data, radio or TV, the impedance (NOT resistance) of the interconnecting cable is ALWAYS matched to either the source or the load, to prevent distortion. This rule is almost universally ignored in the case of hi-fi where about the most important link of all is the speaker cable.

 

Telephone uses matched impedances because they're transmitting over many miles and they need to transmit maximum power which is the case when source, line and load impedances are matched. But it's not an issue in this case. And video, digital, radio and TV match impedances because the electrical wavelengths are typically small compared to line lengths and matching impedances helps prevent reflections and standing waves. However that's not the case with audio where electrical wavelengths are miles long.

 

So I'm tempted to chalk the video up to nothing more than a "dog and pony show."

 

I also found this bit on the website interesting:

 

These inherent Isolda characteristics are further enhanced by subjecting the copper conductors to EDCT where the copper is slowly cooled to about 190 degrees Celsius, held there for a number of hours, and then gradually returned to room temperature.

 

Cooled to 190 degrees Celsius? Where do they live? On Mercury?

 

I assume they meant minus 190 degrees Celsius and that they're referring to some sort of cryogenic treatment.

 

They go on to say:

 

EDCT is proven to improve the lattice structure of copper, eliminating small ‘dislocations’...

 

This is precisely what happens with plain old, garden variety heat annealing. And virtually all copper wire used for electrical purposes has been annealed in this fashion. Further, I haven't seen any actual evidence that cryogenic treatment eliminates lattice dislocations in copper wire and I find it rather odd that freezing it should have the exact same effect as heating it.

 

Finally...

 

...and having an amazing effect on the cable’s final sound.

 

Lattice dislocations will make the wire harder and cause the wire to have very slightly higher resistance. Don't see that this would have any particular effect on sound, let alone an "amazing" one.

 

se

post #169 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Eddy View Post


 

Finally...

 

...and having an amazing effect on the cable’s final sound.

 


For me it is interesting that the voodoo cable companies talk always in terms of effects on the sound.

 

This changing of the sound in some way is not an improvement but merely an alteration.

 

I think the primarily objective in hi fi is indeed high fidelity, this means that the audio equipment reproduces as accurately as possible what is in the recording.

 

The voodoo cable companies don't actually tell us that the cables improve fidelity. They tell us endlessly about the effects on the sound but hi fi really isn't about creating sound effects.

 

This is something which applies to all of hi fi today. Unfortunately so much of the equipment on sale is simply producing too much euphony and while this is appealing for a short while it becomes very annoying if you are indeed interested in the recording.

 

Many of the so-called high end components for sale today are not very good at reproducing the recordings, but rather they simply churn out a harmonious euphony.

 

post #170 of 241

Great comment!

 

 

I made similar conclusions with K701(stock)/HD650(stock)/HD650(Zu2) especially this one:

 

"A similar thing occurs when listening to my HD800's vs HD650.  I listen to the HD800's and hear a piece of detail in the bass that just hits me.  Never heard that before when listening with the HD650's, I think.  So I put on the HD650's and this time, I'm listening for it.  It's soft, but it's there.  There's a difference between detail that jumps at you and detail that you have to be listening out for since you expect it to be there.  Or worse, detail is inserted where you expect and it's not there.  It's like when you hear your phone ringing (usually when you're expecting a call) when no such thing happened." 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aimlink View Post




I was switching back and forth between my HD650 and Ed8s and the more I did so while comparing, the less different they sounded.  They sounded most different when I initially switched from one to the other.  This happens to me all the time and I put this one down to another effect of expectation and my mind filling in the blanks.  I'm very concerned about this phenomenon and what it would do when endlessly switching back and forth between the same track playing through two slightly different chains.

 

A similar thing occurs when listening to my HD800's vs HD650.  I listen to the HD800's and hear a piece of detail in the bass that just hits me.  Never heard that before when listening with the HD650's, I think.  So I put on the HD650's and this time, I'm listening for it.  It's soft, but it's there.  There's a difference between detail that jumps at you and detail that you have to be listening out for since you expect it to be there.  Or worse, detail is inserted where you expect and it's not there.  It's like when you hear your phone ringing (usually when you're expecting a call) when no such thing happened.

 

Hearing is a funny thing and though blinded testing does take away the influence of expectations and bias when one knows what he's hearing, there are still other phenomena to consider as one switchings back and forth between the two tracks trying to confirm that they've heard small differences between tonality and such... not even the presence or absence of specific sounds.... just subtle differences.

 

I know what you mean though, but I'd be careful.  It would be better if you listened to one for a while so you get accustomed to it and then switched to the other.  This isn't about cables, but about the two players.  Again, I'm aware of blinded tests that have been done where the subject is given the cables to play with over an extended period to prevent the problems I'm relating and that still, they were unable to differentiate the cables used.

 

Usually, when I can't hear a difference, this is immediate for me.  This has occurred for me when comparing iTunes' Player with Pure Music (simply can't hear a difference there though there are so many testimonies to the contrary), when comparing the Cardas and stock cables for the HD650, when comparing optical out to a HiFace USB to S/PDIF out, when comparing a lot of 320Kbps files to their lossless counterparts, when comparing wav to ALAC, when comparing CD rippers.  Some of these comparisons have been at significant expense to my pocket and it would have been nice to hear a difference.  It would seem that this bias isn't consistent and I do wonder why?  I'd definitely not be so firmly on the fence if things were more consistent.  I genuinely have no agenda here and wish the cables didn't make a difference at times.  It would make the whole deal a lot cheaper and less of a hassle to try and err.

post #171 of 241

FWIW, my opinion, listening to music is suppose to be an enjoyable and relaxing pursuit.  To me, what music listening isn't about, is having to work at it.  One should question a recording or various gear that requires rapt attention in order to pick out nuances.  The nuances should be there for all to enjoy, not just for the experienced listener.

 

???

 

(The above is based upon aimlink and spagetka's comments and is just an observation and nothing more.)

 

Maybe I have the wrong attitude (expectation) about this whole music listening thing.

 

???

post #172 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by spagetka View Post

Great comment!

 

 

I made similar conclusions with K701(stock)/HD650(stock)/HD650(Zu2) especially this one:

 

"A similar thing occurs when listening to my HD800's vs HD650.  I listen to the HD800's and hear a piece of detail in the bass that just hits me.  Never heard that before when listening with the HD650's, I think.  So I put on the HD650's and this time, I'm listening for it.  It's soft, but it's there.  There's a difference between detail that jumps at you and detail that you have to be listening out for since you expect it to be there.  Or worse, detail is inserted where you expect and it's not there.  It's like when you hear your phone ringing (usually when you're expecting a call) when no such thing happened." 

 


 


 

In response to comments by aimlink and spagetka.

 

I think that these are interesting observations.

 

Many hi fi people listen to music from the outside -> in rather than the inside -> out. I used to do this, and I still do, but I do it gradually a bit less all the time. You might wonder what this outside -> in and inside -> out is.

 

Outside - > in is where you listen with attention directed towards the replay quality.

 

Inside -> out is where you listen to the music coming through the replay system.

 

Most reviews you see of audio stuff today are written by someone who has been listening outside -> in. In fact, every review I've read in the past years is like this. It is kind of obvious that they would be as the person is reviewing the audio equipment. But we don't listen to music in the same state as the audio equipment reviewer. When we listen to music we are just wanting to hear the music. If we go with the more natural music listening state of inside -> out then I think we actually become better at assessing effects on that music by the reproduction equipment.

 

I think it might be good to try the inside -> out approach to listening to music. At first it will feel like you are consciously ignoring the audio equipment and that is fine. After a while of listening inside -> out then I think you will start to gradually begin to see quite a big difference in how you comprehend these sonic issues.

post #173 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Eddy View Post

Don't have sound on this machine so don't know exactly what the test set up and conditions are if he even details them, but I'm always a bit suspicious when I see square waves used as they often have little or no relevance to anything that's going on in the audio range.

 

Sure ... I've found that cable science is, most of the time and for most people (manufacturers, users, skeptics), more of a rhetorical exercise than anything else.

Either it comes from a cable company you tries to sell a product and back it up with some fancy literature or from a fervent skeptic who repeats like mad the same "it's all voodoo" phrase, both seem just as pointless.

 

 

On the other hand, if we approach things with an open mind we may actually learn something.

 

Back to the video I've linked before. In the test he basically runs a 2Khz square wave through a speaker cable and compares the signal coming straight from the wave generator to the (same) signal transmitted through the cable.

Inverting the phase on the cable end allows the oscilloscope to show the differences between input and output (by subtraction).

 

 

Just as food for thought here is a quote from Headroom's literature on square wave tests:

Quote:

While frequency response graphs will tell you about the amplitude response of headphones at various frequencies, it doesn't tell you about the ability of the headphones to keep all differing frequency components lined up in time. For an audio signal to sound coherent and natural the high speed edges of the signal need to travel through the system at the same speed as the low frequency components.

When phase is smeared, the square wave starts to look quite ragged as all its components become misaligned. For the upper mid and treble frequencies the 500 Hz square wave is very sensitive to phase errors.

 

 

I wish we could see more .... science on this cable matter, so we can put to rest the ridiculous religious war between the chosen ones and the infidels.

post #174 of 241

I wish we could see more .... science on this cable matter, so we can put to rest the ridiculous religious war between the chosen ones and the infidels.

 

Can I be the infidel?

 

 

Just bought another headphone cable that's balanced and I bought it from Warren Audio.  Why?  Because I didn't like the rude way you guys were bagging on Rick who was thoughtfully trying to answer your questions.  And by doing so, I knew it would give you anti-cable types something more to write about.

 

 

And the money?  It will be put to good use stimulating the economy and this is a good thing.

 


Edited by beeman458 - 10/4/10 at 3:32pm
post #175 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiofil View Post

I wish we could see more .... science on this cable matter, so we can put to rest the ridiculous religious war between the chosen ones and the infidels.


So do I smily_headphones1.gif

 

The key thing that is missing from the scientific observations with credibility (rather than the pure pseudo science stuff) is quantification.

 

Often we are told that such and such will make some sort of difference but there is unfortunately absolutely no indication as to how much difference.

 

Quantification can be by analysing signals or it can be by statistics from well controlled blind ABX listening tests.

post #176 of 241


 

Quote:

Originally Posted by audiofil View Post

 

Back to the video I've linked before. In the test he basically runs a 2Khz square wave through a speaker cable and compares the signal coming straight from the wave generator to the (same) signal transmitted through the cable.

Inverting the phase on the cable end allows the oscilloscope to show the differences between input and output (by subtraction).

 

 

Which doesn't tell you anything particularly useful. But it looks good on a 'scope so I guess it "works" for the dog and pony show.

 

 

Quote:

Just as food for thought here is a quote from Headroom's literature on square wave tests:

 

While frequency response graphs will tell you about the amplitude response of headphones at various frequencies, it doesn't tell you about the ability of the headphones to keep all differing frequency components lined up in time. For an audio signal to sound coherent and natural the high speed edges of the signal need to travel through the system at the same speed as the low frequency components.

When phase is smeared, the square wave starts to look quite ragged as all its components become misaligned. For the upper mid and treble frequencies the 500 Hz square wave is very sensitive to phase errors.

 

Guess they haven't heard of "group delay."

 

And of course they're talking about headphones, not cables.

 

se

 


 

post #177 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Eddy View Post


 

 

Which doesn't tell you anything particularly useful. But it looks good on a 'scope so I guess it "works" for the dog and pony show.

 

 

 

Guess they haven't heard of "group delay."

 

And of course they're talking about headphones, not cables.

 

se

 


 



Stanley Liipshitz did some controlled tests on the audibility of group delay a while back, turns out huumans are pretty insensitive to group delay until it gets really big.

post #178 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by p a t r i c k View Post

In response to comments by aimlink and spagetka.

 

I think that these are interesting observations.

 

Many hi fi people listen to music from the outside -> in rather than the inside -> out. I used to do this, and I still do, but I do it gradually a bit less all the time. You might wonder what this outside -> in and inside -> out is.

 

Outside - > in is where you listen with attention directed towards the replay quality.

 

Inside -> out is where you listen to the music coming through the replay system.

 

Most reviews you see of audio stuff today are written by someone who has been listening outside -> in. In fact, every review I've read in the past years is like this. It is kind of obvious that they would be as the person is reviewing the audio equipment. But we don't listen to music in the same state as the audio equipment reviewer. When we listen to music we are just wanting to hear the music. If we go with the more natural music listening state of inside -> out then I think we actually become better at assessing effects on that music by the reproduction equipment.

 

I think it might be good to try the inside -> out approach to listening to music. At first it will feel like you are consciously ignoring the audio equipment and that is fine. After a while of listening inside -> out then I think you will start to gradually begin to see quite a big difference in how you comprehend these sonic issues.


If I'm speaking about the music I listen to then you'll get the impression of in -> out listening.

 

However, if we're discussing cables, amps etc., then when I speak about my listening it will obviously take on an out -> in flavour.
 

post #179 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_charles View Post

Stanley Liipshitz did some controlled tests on the audibility of group delay a while back, turns out huumans are pretty insensitive to group delay until it gets really big.



Yeah. And just look at the group delay for your typical multi-way loudspeaker. Enough to curl your hair.

 

And of course the topic of this thread is cables so the issue is rather moot to begin with.

 

se

 

post #180 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Eddy View Post


Which doesn't tell you anything particularly useful. But it looks good on a 'scope so I guess it "works" for the dog and pony show.

 


Well, the point of the test is to show that the geometry of the cable makes a difference and it is measurable. In that matter I find the test relevant.

To make it really useful they'd need to translate that difference (or lack of) into something meaningful for audio reproduction.

 

 

I'm not so eager to dismiss the subject just yet.

So far I've only seen tests made with a clear intent to prove that the other side is wrong. This doesn't make either side right, nor does it hold much value.

 

I truly think that cable science is only at the beginning and has yet to produce valuable data showing their effect on audio.

 

Don't forget the Earth has been considered flat for thousands of years till proven otherwise. That hasn't made it less round, has it ?

 

 


Edited by audiofil - 10/4/10 at 5:45pm
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