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Why do the 'pro-cable' side refuse to accept the science and do blind tests? - Page 2

post #16 of 579
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

Many in the anti-cable camp have scientific or technical backgrounds, and they usually possess both a greater understanding and appreciation of the principles underlying the issue than most laypersons.  Their training and their jobs require them to apply these or similar principles all the time, so it's something ingrained into them and part of the culture.  In my own field the professional association lists this short code of ethics.  Numbers three and five (and six) are most relevant to this discussion:

 

http://www.ieee.org/membership_services/membership/ethics_code.html

 

I'd say number seven and number ten are the most relevant, but to each their own  

 

7. to seek, accept, and offer honest criticism of technical work, to acknowledge and correct errors, and to credit properly the contributions of others;

 

10. to assist colleagues and co-workers in their professional development and to support them in following this code of ethics.
 

post #17 of 579

Quote:

Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

Many in the anti-cable camp have scientific or technical backgrounds, and they usually possess both a greater understanding and appreciation of the principles underlying the issue than most laypersons.

Even students can take part in this, I'm a high school student who happened to take AP Physics and that made me start to question magical cables.

 

If blasting money on fifteen hundred dollar interconnects makes you happy, more power to you, but if I wanted to improve my listen experience, I would get a new amp, or new DAC, or new headphones, or even upgrades for these things, like new OPAMPS or such things. And consider this, please: If there is something that we can't measure in sound, then maybe that's worth investigating, because if we figure out how to measure it, we'll be able to build better audio equipment.

 

There is an exception: Guitar cable.

Guitars output 100mVrms, or in lay mans terms, almost nothing, so here, having super low resistance cable is very good, because I actually did a double blind here (a rig with Zaolla, Monster and Van Den Hul connected to a toggle), and at lengths greater than around seven feet, the highs suffered on the Monster more than on the Van Den Hul and much more than on the Zaolla. But there was no "booming bass" improvement or improvement in [insert term that gets subjectivist audiophiles aroused here], it was only a retention of high frequencies. But audio line signals are so much more powerful than this that it becomes irrelevant, and it took seven feet of cable to hear a difference out of a low output single coil pickup.

post #18 of 579

Is there a reason we can't just leave each other alone?

 

In all seriousness, I do not agree with some, but respect that there are many, MANY routs to make music a magical experience.  If we cant agree on that issue, that of respect, (and sometimes distance from something we don't understand or accept is respect) despite our own understanding, then there is nothing to debate.

 

The real problem is that we cant all listen to the exact same gear, with the same ears,  If this were possible, then maybe some conclusion would come of it.  But then... where would the fun be if not for the differences?

 

I heard a Stax-uDAC combo at the recent Atlanta meet.  The cables connecting the two, and the usb cable to the computer were off the shelf Radio Shack types.  However the musical message was so well conveyed that I didn't care.  Do I think it could have been improved upon, sure. But the owner if the rig and I agreed, they weren't required for a great listening experience.

 

So... WE LEFT IT ALONE!

post #19 of 579

Originally Posted by headbob View Post

Because the anti-cable side won't accept that, despite science, they DO hear a difference.


Yeah, there you have it.
 

Part of the reason may also be because we do not have identical gear in both ends of the cable, hence lots of variables. In the end what your own ears pick up is what matters, not what a scientist have measured in a totally different environment.

post #20 of 579
No, scientific results explain cables quite well.

Every test result, whether measurement or listening test, indicates no difference. Not one result indicates otherwise.

The percieved "differences" are entirely and thoroughly explained by psychological phenomena. Placebo and expectation explain why people think they hear differences and why every single unsighted test fails.

It is important to bring this up because nonsense has eviscerated this hobby. No one takes audiophilia seriously because of the faerie, unicorn and magical healing crystal aspect. It's a joke to the public and has become a punchline. The general public doesn't take us seriously. Which is a shame, because most people truly enjoy well-reproduced music. Further, if more people took audio seriously, we'd have many more products on the market and lower prices due to the volume. We would all benefit from that.

Then there's the dark side of shills. Every few months a militant new "believer" or two turns up. People who are only here to discuss cables and contribute nothing else. It's hard to believe that they aren't part of the cable industry. Considering the immense profits, they have every incentive to plant people to generate sales.
post #21 of 579

I find it interesting that the pro-cable folk have devolved from defending their positions to making anti-science statements. The only consistent argument I've seen so far is, "I'd rather trust my own perception rather than concreted scientific data". I don't know whether to find it amusing or /facepalm.

 

When I first joined this site, I was really impressed by the fancy custom cables and even more awed by their astronomical prices. Like any other ignorant newbie, I thought to myself, "these are so fancy looking and expensive. Also, so many people use them. They surely must work!" But the more I read these threads and the more I search the internet for any concrete evidence to support any claims of improved SQ from these cables, the more I am convinced otherwise. I was very open-minded to the notion of controlled, experimental testing of cables until I came across all this anti-science arguments by the "believers". All I've observed is that not only can the pro-cable people not bring forth any evidence to support their claims, they blatantly ignore any scientific evidence that is contrary to their claims.

 

And yes, I've also seen a few anti-cable people who are bitter and angry, but that's only to be expected when they try and reason with the believers and all they get in return is, "lalalala I hear a difference and that's all that matters, even though I cannot substantiate my claim with any objective data lalala".

 

At least the person who admitted to liking custom cables solely for their looks was honest with himself, and I can't say I disagree with him. They're definitely prettier than the stock ones, and some do look a good deal sturdier.

post #22 of 579

They refuse to do bind tests because they don't want to fail in the outcome. People have offered a lot of money to individuals who can pass a cable blind test, yet nobody has. 

 

Even if a cable-believer on here failed a DBT then people wouldn't change their opinions. They like spending money on cables. 

 

I for one am not going to support these thief's who charge ridiculous money, for something that to me is no better than any old strimmer cable. People don't realize how much they are getting shafted by company's such as Nordost and Van Den Hul.

 

Why not support a good honest company like Van Damme ! 

post #23 of 579
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingtz View Post

I find it interesting that the pro-cable folk have devolved from defending their positions to making anti-science statements. The only consistent argument I've seen so far is, "I'd rather trust my own perception rather than concreted scientific data". I don't know whether to find it amusing or /facepalm.

 

When I first joined this site, I was really impressed by the fancy custom cables and even more awed by their astronomical prices. Like any other ignorant newbie, I thought to myself, "these are so fancy looking and expensive. Also, so many people use them. They surely must work!" But the more I read these threads and the more I search the internet for any concrete evidence to support any claims of improved SQ from these cables, the more I am convinced otherwise. I was very open-minded to the notion of controlled, experimental testing of cables until I came across all this anti-science arguments by the "believers". All I've observed is that not only can the pro-cable people not bring forth any evidence to support their claims, they blatantly ignore any scientific evidence that is contrary to their claims.

 

And yes, I've also seen a few anti-cable people who are bitter and angry, but that's only to be expected when they try and reason with the believers and all they get in return is, "lalalala I hear a difference and that's all that matters, even though I cannot substantiate my claim with any objective data lalala".

 

At least the person who admitted to liking custom cables solely for their looks was honest with himself, and I can't say I disagree with him. They're definitely prettier than the stock ones, and some do look a good deal sturdier.


Just a typical case of selective observation based on a position already made and seeking reinforcement.  I'd suggest reading the posts of those who believe in cables more carefully and openly. 

post #24 of 579

Sort of...

 

Science is the process of evaluating falsifiable and testable hypotheses. It doesn't matter how the original hypothesis if generated. Elevation of a hypothesis to a theory or a law does not make it more valid (the graphic shows this to some degree, though not to my satisfaction). It is still a hypothesis.

 

There is no proof or verification in science. One can only use methods accepted by the scientific community at the time to falsify or obtain evidence in support  of the hypothesis. There is no 'pass.' There is only fail.

 

A good scientist always assumes that she/he is wrong. The better scientist spends their career attempting to falsify their own hypotheses. That's what I do (professionally). That's how science proceeds.

 

Sir Karl Popper had a lot to say on this subject. The Logic of Scientific Discovery is worth reading, particularly the discussion of hypothesis testing.

 

'Cables make a difference in sound quality.' is NOT a falsifiable hypothesis and cannot be tested. Period. Neither side can win this argument.

 

'I am using science to choose my cables.' is a ridiculous statement. Your tried different cables and you liked one better. End of story. No science involved.

 

'The frequency response produced by headphones using this cable is different from the frequency response produced by headphones using that cable.' is a falsifiable, testable hypothesis. If you have the equipment needed to test this hypothesis, have at it.

 

If the previous hypothesis is supported, then

'This individual can detect differences in frequency response when these cables are used.' is a falsifiable, testable hypothesis.

 

 

 

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

scientific_method.jpg

 


Edited by nycbone - 8/13/10 at 5:07am
post #25 of 579
I have a cousin who just likes to argue because its distracting to the point. The point here is that some people do hear differences in cables and some don't. Why is that so wrong or hard to accept? Why? And please don't answer. Those were rhetorical for my sake. If you are so absolute in your belief, what makes you think I am any less in mine? If that's true, then why do we keep talking to each other about cables? It would only be distracting to the point that there are indeed two sides to this, no matter how much you wish it weren't so.

I'll be leaving now to go back to the cable appreciation thread, I hope the anti-cable person will stay here. This is truly a dead debate, with people flinging their own feces in to the mix because they enjoy doing so, like my cousin.
post #26 of 579


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nycbone View Post

Sort of...

 

Science is the process of evaluating falsifiable and testable hypotheses. It doesn't matter how the original hypothesis if generated. Elevation of a hypothesis to a theory or a law does not make it more valid (the graphic shows this to some degree, though not to my satisfaction). It is still a hypothesis.

 

There is no proof or verification in science. One can only use methods accepted by the scientific community at the time to falsify or obtain evidence in support  of the hypothesis. There is no 'pass.' There is only fail.

 

A good scientist always assumes that she/he is wrong. The better scientist spends their career attempting to falsify their own hypotheses. That's what I do (professionally). That's how science proceeds.

 

Sir Karl Popper had a lot to say on this subject. The Logic of Scientific Discovery is worth reading, particularly the discussion of hypothesis testing.

 

'Cables make a difference in sound quality.' is NOT a falsifiable hypothesis and cannot be tested. Period. Neither side can win this argument.

 

'I am using science to choose my cables.' is a ridiculous statement. Your tried different cables and you liked one better. End of story. No science involved.

 

'The frequency response produced by headphones using this cable is different from the frequency response produced by headphones using that cable.' is a falsifiable, testable hypothesis. If you have the equipment needed to test this hypothesis, have at it.

 

If the previous hypothesis is supported, then

'This individual can detect differences in frequency response when these cables are used.' is a falsifiable, testable hypothesis.

 

 

 

 


 


QFT.  Maybe the question of this thread should equally be "Why do the anti-cable side only use science when it suits them to do so and mis-represent it when they do?"  It's rather like that other thread about why DBT is banned in the other forums.  The answer to it could equally be because almost nobody knows what they are talking about (ie: just about everyone who argues about cables is full of it).  The few people who do have a clue aren't interested in discussing seriously, just shouting everyone else down.  But this has always been the case throughout time.  Over 1000 years ago, someone wrote: "A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart."  (Proverbs 18:2) People never learn, nor, it seems, do they want to.

 

For the record, I'm not pro- or anti- anything, just in favour of no BS.

post #27 of 579

My opinion: (If cables do anything >_>)

The reason I don't give into cables is because even if you have a specially treated high preformance cable. The quality is severely bottlenecked unless ALL signal paths (incl. those within the DAC/Amp/Transpo/etc.) are made from the same material and given the same treatment.

post #28 of 579

Oh no, I will answer:

 

You made the assumption that the "difference" heard is due to the cable and not due to another thing. How can you be so sure it was the cable? Before you answer.

 

Have you ever had the impression that when listening to your music setup from one day to the other, it sounded different than the previous day (better, worse) when you didn't change anything? The answer is yes, everyone of us have, if not we wouldn't be seeking for "more and better" 

 

And as you don't control any other variable in your listening experience you can't rule out the possibility that the "difference" wasn't the cable's fault.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kboe View Post
 The point here is that some people do hear differences in cables and some don't. Why is that so wrong or hard to accept? Why? And please don't answer. Those were rhetorical for my sake. If you are so absolute in your belief, what makes you think I am any less in mine? If that's true, then why do we keep talking to each other about cables? It would only be distracting to the point that there are indeed two sides to this, no matter how much you wish it weren't so.
 


Finally word for advice, you should think about yourself as part of the equipment chain. And no one is a perfect being, so your perception might be wrong as it changes throughout the day, and it changes more than an amplifier or a cable can.

 

Food for thought

post #29 of 579

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nycbone View Post

A good scientist always assumes that she/he is wrong. The better scientist spends their career attempting to falsify their own hypotheses. That's what I do (professionally). That's how science proceeds.

 


To paraphrase/quote someone else (I dont remember who)

 

"The wise are never sure of themselves, where idiots are always absolutely certain. We are doomed."
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cymbal Monkey View Post

There is an exception: Guitar cable.

Guitars output 100mVrms, or in lay mans terms, almost nothing, so here, having super low resistance cable is very good, because I actually did a double blind here (a rig with Zaolla, Monster and Van Den Hul connected to a toggle), and at lengths greater than around seven feet, the highs suffered on the Monster more than on the Van Den Hul and much more than on the Zaolla. But there was no "booming bass" improvement or improvement in [insert term that gets subjectivist audiophiles aroused here], it was only a retention of high frequencies. But audio line signals are so much more powerful than this that it becomes irrelevant, and it took seven feet of cable to hear a difference out of a low output single coil pickup.


I dont doubt your findings, but I have an alternate explanation than cable impedance which IME makes very little difference in audio-line-level applications. 

 

If you measure the impedance of the 3 cables you sampled you will almost certainly find them within a very small margin of each other. Compared to the output impedance of the guitar's pickup and any volume/tone controls on the guitar the differences are truly nominal.

 

If you measure the parallel capacitance of the cables (and at lengths above 7ft it is almost sure to be significant) you will likely see some correlation between this and the highs with the most capacitive cable having the worst highs. If you buy some more cables of similar construction, but different length you will quickly see that their capacitance is proportional to their length plus a constant for the connectors.

 

If you consider the output impedance of the guitar pickup and this capacitance you will see that these 2 elements (output impedance & parallel capacatance) create a low-pass filter. 

 

I should also note that this effect is not at all restricted to guitar cables, although without digging deeper into hi-fi applications it may appear to be. In hi-fi applications where the source has a high output impedance (such as a tube output stage on a DAC, CD player or Phono stage) the highs roll off in exactly the same scientifically predictable manner. The effect is masked by the fact that hi-fi cables between a source with high output impedance and the preamp are typically 3ft or so and made obvious in a guitar pickup because the cables are seldom even 7ft - they are often longer! Remember the length of the cable has significant effects on parallel capacitance. If you put those same guitar pickup cables on a piece of hi-fi gear with high output impedance you would observe very similar results.

 

The end result is that for certain applications you want very low capacitance cable. The question of compromises always comes up, and depending on the situation it may be worth sacrificing capacitance to improve shielding for example. With a 100mv signal, better shielding never hurt anyone ;)

post #30 of 579

Arguing about whether cables make a difference is like arguing about whether god exists.  Neither side will ever win. 

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