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Why do the 'pro-cable' side refuse to accept the science and do blind tests? - Page 3

post #31 of 579
What I don't understand is the believers' steadfast refusal to even consider alternative reasons for the perceived differences they hear. The "I switched cables, I heard a difference, therefore i know for a fact that cables make a huge difference" shows deeply flawed reasoning. And some arrogance too. Basically, most people have a very difficult time discerning the difference between fact and opinion.



I'm always amused when such believers say BUT I KNOW I HEARD IT. Ok, but so what? The only thing that proves is that you think you heard a difference. The actual explanation for that could be any number of things, including that cables perhaps make a difference. But try telling that to a cable believer and they react as if their sanity has been called into question. This utter lack of curiosity surprises and disappoints me. But I think a lot of that also has to do with the fact that many of the pro-cable set here have somehow intertwined their cable belief system with their own self esteem. If you accept that, then it's easy to understand how threatened they feel by the notion of tryingbto reach some factual explanation for the differences they think they hear.



Simply put, it seems most pro cablers have the deeply unsettling fear that they're wrong.
post #32 of 579

Or it could be that they simply don't care.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Monkey View Post

Simply put, it seems most pro cablers have the deeply unsettling fear that they're wrong.


 
post #33 of 579
Quote:
Originally Posted by lazard View Post

Or it could be that they simply don't care.
 








Every indication is to the contrary, but sure, it's a possibility.
post #34 of 579

I have a couple 'upgraded' cables, one which I purchased from a friend, and a couple interconnects which I made. I have these because they were fun to make/supported my friend, and they look nice. I haven't bothered to A/B them because, frankly, I don't care. I'm sure that I'm not the only one who has purchased aftermarket cables for personal or aesthetic reasons. 

post #35 of 579
Quote:
Originally Posted by logwed View Post

I'm sure that I'm not the only one who has purchased aftermarket cables for personal or aesthetic reasons. 


For sure you are not.

 

OTOH, you admit that you bought them for aesthetic reasons, and dont sound like you expected them to have a miraculous effect on the sound of your system.

post #36 of 579

I doubt that they've changed anything. The only problem I have with cablers is that they recommend upgraded cables to kids who don't have proper amplification or a nice source or anything. Even if they do make a difference, which I doubt that that do, they should be the last thing that you upgrade.

post #37 of 579
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post

 


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."
 


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 ;)


I stand corrected! Although an interesting fact is that Zaollas did have lower resistance, about only about 92% of the Van Dun Hul's resistance, but after your little lecture I doubt that actually matters anymore.

But I don't think we need to claim an improvement in sound to justify nice things: My entire guitar is wired with silver/teflon shielded cable (thank you, John), not because I claim that the maybe foot total of wire in there makes any difference after the metres and metres of wire in the pickups, but because I think it's easier to work with, as teflon doesn't melt, and it's shielded which on a single coil guitar, is a good thing, because I don't have the output to overshadow radio interference.


Edited by Cymbal Monkey - 8/13/10 at 11:02am
post #38 of 579

I think any responsible "pro cable" person will agree that a cable is the last thing to experiment with. You have to tune your amp, source and headphones before thinking about cabling. I don't think the industry is interested in proving one way or the other. If money is involved there will always be a shade of doubt. Head Fi has had annual meets with so much gear and people to prove or disprove this but has not attempted it. We attend local meets and still little effort is done to have both sides try for themselves. It's like any other belief system. You defend your beliefs because you have found something to convince yourself it's true. The amount of effort you put into it is determined by your character and the importance of the belief. In the scheme of audio, it's not important that we convert one side to the other. We don't wage war to impress on others our beliefs. I'll still go fishing with my anti belief friends.

 

I hope those who are curious about differences in presentation will take the effort to try for themselves. As others have said, get your gear first and get very familiar with it before attempting any efforts.

 

 

Now you want to talk baseball, hockey, football, basketball, soccer, auto racing, golf, etc. where's my gun.

post #39 of 579

Happy Camper, Hit the nail on the HEAD again........and to Quote Forest Gump "That's All I Got To Say About That"!!...................................

post #40 of 579

I do believe, as Uncle Erik said, there's more at stake here. I don't like mentioning I'm an audiophile because people start to look at my funny and I have to explain that I'm a objectivist audiophile, not a subjectivist. If cable demand fell, audiophile companies would be forced to either leave the market or switch to making things that actually improved sound, like better amps or DACs. I also find it interesting that the subjectivists seem to believe that people from technical backgrounds have inherently worse hearing than those who aren't.

 

My only guilty secret is the fact that I swear by Cardas Quad, but like I said, I don't claim any sonic improvement, because I honestly believe that chaos theory, entropy and the temperature of the room have more of an effect on sound than a few drops of solder. I use it because it's easy to work with. It wets fantastically and is very clean. I propose this: Let's stop lying to ourselves and saying a fifty dollar spool of solder sounds better, and that thousand dollar cables sound better, and lets start buying these things on a basis of durability, easy of use and aesthetics. I spent two and a half hours ramming nylon multi over a twenty five foot cable, why? Because I like the look of the nylon braid. Granted I could have cut it up and covered the wire as I used it because no interconnect I need is twenty five feet long, but I didn't, because I'm silly and determined. But for me, a five foot cable is not more than a twenty dollar affair all said and done. Heck, it's even silver plated with gold contacts, sure it's not cryo treated or made of snake dust and fairy oil, but I guarantee you, if I sold it for a thousand dollars someone would buy it and claim it's a revolution in sound quality. But I'm not going to, because I don't intend to sell cables promising anything for sound quality, only build quality and customization. (that's provided I ever manage to start this venture)

 

 

 

Quote: John Dunlavy

''What we do is kind of dirty and stinky,'' he said. ''We say we are starting with a 12 WAG zip cord, and we position a technician behind each speaker to change the cables out.''

The technicians hold up fancy-looking cables before they disappear behind the speakers. The critics debate the sound characteristics of each wire.

''They describe huge changes and they say, 'Oh my God, John, tell me you can hear that difference,' '' Mr. Dunlavy said. The trick is the technicians never actually change the cables, he said, adding, ''It's the placebo effect.''

 

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/12/23/technology/downtime-a-spat-among-audiophiles-over-high-end-speaker-wire.html

post #41 of 579

Yep. 'God exists.' is an untestable hypothesis.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazard View Post

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

post #42 of 579
Quote:
Originally Posted by nycbone View Post

Yep. 'God exists.' is an untestable hypothesis.
 


 


What can of worms has Lazard opened?!

post #43 of 579
Quote:
Originally Posted by nycbone View Post

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


WTF!?  Seriously just WTF.  How is it not falsifiable?

 

Measure it!  See if there are any differences between the signal coming in one end and going out the other.

 

DBT it!  See if there are any differences which can be heard.

post #44 of 579

Read what I wrote. All of it. Frequency responses and the ability to detect frequencies can be measured.

 

Sound quality is subjective and cannot be measured. Or defined, for that matter. Your perception of quality is different from mine. 'Cables make a difference in sound quality.' is not a falsifiable nor testable hypothesis.

 

It also doesn't pass the laugh test. But that's not science, is it?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maverickronin View Post


WTF!?  Seriously just WTF.  How is it not falsifiable?

 

Measure it!  See if there are any differences between the signal coming in one end and going out the other.

 

DBT it!  See if there are any differences which can be heard.


Edited by nycbone - 8/13/10 at 3:32pm
post #45 of 579
Quote:
Originally Posted by nycbone View Post

Read what I wrote. All of it. Frequency responses and the ability to detect frequencies can be measured.

 

Sound quality is subjective and cannot be measured. Or defined, for that matter. Your perception of quality is different from mine. 'Cables make a difference in sound quality.' is not a falsifiable nor testable hypothesis.

 

It also doesn't pass the laugh test. But that's not science, is it?
 

 

I guess not using a cable at all doesn't make a difference in sound quality either.  Or an amplifier.  Or output transducers for that matter.

 

That's just a dodge, and a pretty poor one at that.  Even if you allow SQ to be completely subjective by allowing for someone who enjoys equipment that outputs white noise when feed Motzart, it still fails.  It fails because it can be shown that cables make no measurable difference.  Even assuming someone can hear things that are not otherwise measurable, it still fails because that person can not be shown to differentiate between cables when blinded.

 

In short, if it doesn't actually do anything, it can't increase SQ or decrease SQ, no matter how you measure it, and even if everyone measures it differently.

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