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Cable Skeptics, Tubes and Opamps - Page 6

post #76 of 105

So the science is wrong because you experienced otherwise? Honestly if this worldview prevailed, the earth would still be considered to be flat.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guidostrunk View Post



When it comes down to you telling me I'm crazy that i believe in sonic differences in cables. A subjective topic ie. religion, politics, Food etc.


 
post #77 of 105

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guidostrunk View Post

When it comes down to you telling me I'm crazy that i believe in sonic differences in cables. A subjective topic ie. religion, politics, Food etc.

 


Not really, In case you didn't notice this is not the faith based subforum, this is the science based subforum. 

 

Can you PROVE that you hear a difference between 2 cables? The answer is probably not to almost certainly not. If you can hear a difference I am confident that the difference between the 2 cables is easily measured by electronic equipment.

 

If you can you can hear the difference you can easily make tons of money beating DBT's. IIRC the $1million cable challenge still stands. Its easy money...

post #78 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guidostrunk View Post



When it comes down to you telling me I'm crazy that i believe in sonic differences in cables. A subjective topic ie. religion, politics, Food etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antony6555 View Post

Not everything is subjective. Do you think scientific truths are subjective too?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guidostrunk View Post



That would be your SUBJECTIVE opinion.Just like sharing the same meal from the same plate, you say it's terrible, and i though it was quite delicious.wink_face.gif We have 2 different opinions in the end. No sense in arguing the fact after the disagreement.


 


Nobody is calling anybody crazy.  The point is that subjective impressions of any phenomenon are of little or no communicative or evidentiary value to anyone other than the subject (the person experiencing the phenomenon).  This is the epistemological value of describing phenomena objectively, or "in the language of science" - communication of precise information which has identical meaning for everyone.

 

Let's use your food analogy above.  First, let's avoid religion or politics - conflating phenomena that can be measured with those that cannot is sloppy argumentation.  Second, let's avoid describing the food normatively.  Whether we like or dislike the dish is only interesting to us as individuals, and is of no value to anyone who is not intimately familiar with our tastes.  For a given dish, you may taste ginger and I taste garlic.  We can test the food for the the presence of both.  If the test shows the presence of ginger but not garlic, then we know your subjective impression has some basis in reality and mine does not.  I humbly submit that for any third party, the objective test of the food provides more relevant information about the food than either of our subjective impressions.  Taking all three data points (the test plus our two subjective impressions) gives a third party more information - that your taste can be trusted more than mine.

 

The experience of recorded sound is similar to the experience of tasting food.  Of course everybody hears things differently.  But tautologies are boring - to simply throw up ones hands and end the inquiry there is unsatisfying.  I want to know what is going on when I hear something.


Edited by terriblepaulz - 12/1/10 at 7:58am
post #79 of 105

@Paulz

 

Good explanation

post #80 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Antony6555 View Post

So the science is wrong because you experienced otherwise? Honestly if this worldview prevailed, the earth would still be considered to be flat.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guidostrunk View Post



When it comes down to you telling me I'm crazy that i believe in sonic differences in cables. A subjective topic ie. religion, politics, Food etc.


 

 

You have to be careful there Antony.

 

Think about alkyl shifts in organic reactions, no one would believe that is what happens based on scientific hypothesis from first principles, it is only after one has demonstrated that it occurs in practice that the science caught up to explain it. 

 

Quite like frontier molecular orbital theory and Walden inversions.

 

Dave
 

post #81 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by myinitialsaredac View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Antony6555 View Post

So the science is wrong because you experienced otherwise? Honestly if this worldview prevailed, the earth would still be considered to be flat.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guidostrunk View Post



When it comes down to you telling me I'm crazy that i believe in sonic differences in cables. A subjective topic ie. religion, politics, Food etc.


 

 

You have to be careful there Antony.

 

Think about alkyl shifts in organic reactions, no one would believe that is what happens based on scientific hypothesis from first principles, it is only after one has demonstrated that it occurs in practice that the science caught up to explain it. 

 

Quite like frontier molecular orbital theory and Walden inversions.

 

Dave
 


The methods used to predict the result were flawed. Once they were *proven* wrong the methods were adjusted, or an exception was added... and accepted as the current fact. 

 

To bring this back to the current discussion: Once someone can prove that cables make a difference that cant be explained by other methods science will readily accept it. So prove it. Science is happy to admit a mistake in the name of progress: who knows what can be learned & built off of this improved understanding of how something works. 

 

The converse is sadly not true. 100 DBT sessions of 100 different cable pairings that the golden ear cant tell apart and he will still believe... its some other thing... that we havnt tested yet. Yea...

post #82 of 105

(All that follows is IMO)

 

I believe some of my tubes sound different than others, and also believe it can be measured; most particularly in the extremes. I have a tube that emphasizes the bass noticeably more than another tube. I believe it would show up in a frequency response comparison. I haven’t performed any testing, nor have I read any test results of this nature on various tubes, but as I said, I believe they are different.

 

Let’s say that state of the art testing is bass frequencies – and both test as being able to output all of the bass frequencies equally, thereby proving me wrong. Am I wrong because they test the same, or will the truth be seen when testing progresses to the state of comparing the complete spectrum of frequencies reproduced, and the bass output of one is higher relative to the other frequencies compared to the other tube? What if I can’t instantly identify the different tubes in an A/B, yet almost without fail can do it if given 3 days with each one?

 

I am agnostic on the subject of cables. On the one hand, it is possible to me that there could one day be a test available to show those sonic differences some people speak of (and I hope  Uncle Erik is on the ground floor of it), but I also believe whether there is a test or not, someone (not everyone) should be able to demonstrate it. Different wires transmitting electrons differently doesn’t seem far-fetched to me, but only affecting certain frequencies of electrons is hard for me to imagine.

 

As for psychological impressions, I admit to the following:

 

When I have my wife make me a playlist with different bit rate songs and I blindly rate them, sometimes I will rate an mp3 above a wav. (It could be recording quality, because when I re-listen with eyes open, I sometimes do it again.)

 

I used to work with rocket scientists (really) and got to play with their toys and test gear sometimes. Like many of us, I think I have good ears. Although the tester said my ears tested very well, I saw the graph and it was nowhere near ruler flat, and it started sloping downhill way before 20k hz. I listened to some music and had to signal when I heard something wrong. Truth is they were introducing harmonic distortion, and there were times when I couldn’t tell until it got to 1%. (Notice there is no decimal point before the one).  Truth be told, as good as I think I am, a lot of what we mull over on these forums is probably below my detection capability.

post #83 of 105

Justin-

Good post; interesting thoughts.

Thanks!

post #84 of 105

Justin Uthadude writes:

I believe some of my tubes sound different than others, and also believe it can be measured; most particularly in the extremes. I have a tube that emphasizes the bass noticeably more than another tube. I believe it would show up in a frequency response comparison. I haven’t performed any testing, nor have I read any test results of this nature on various tubes, but as I said, I believe they are different.

I too believe that I can hear differences between some power valves (we call tubes "valves" is the UK). However I would be very happy to be proved wrong in a blind ABX.

What if I can’t instantly identify the different tubes in an A/B, yet almost without fail can do it if given 3 days with each one?

I think that if you can identity the differences if given three days with each one then that is surely convincing evidence that you can hear the difference.

I am agnostic on the subject of cables. On the one hand, it is possible to me that there could one day be a test available to show those sonic differences some people speak of (and I hope Uncle Erik is on the ground floor of it), but I also believe whether there is a test or not, someone (not everyone) should be able to demonstrate it. Different wires transmitting electrons differently doesn’t seem far-fetched to me, but only affecting certain frequencies of electrons is hard for me to imagine.

Well I agree with you on the assessment of what differences there are likely to be with cables. Personally I think that these differences are very small, and that the reported differences are primarily auto-suggestion. I would be very happy to be proven wrong, I wish that the people reporting the differences would do some blind ABX tests.

As for psychological impressions, I admit to the following:

When I have my wife make me a playlist with different bit rate songs and I blindly rate them, sometimes I will rate an mp3 above a wav. (It could be recording quality, because when I re-listen with eyes open, I sometimes do it again.)

Personally I think mood has a massive influence on my ability to hear differences such as this.

I used to work with rocket scientists (really) and got to play with their toys and test gear sometimes. Like many of us, I think I have good ears. Although the tester said my ears tested very well, I saw the graph and it was nowhere near ruler flat, and it started sloping downhill way before 20k hz. I listened to some music and had to signal when I heard something wrong. Truth is they were introducing harmonic distortion, and there were times when I couldn’t tell until it got to 1%. (Notice there is no decimal point before the one). Truth be told, as good as I think I am, a lot of what we mull over on these forums is probably below my detection capability.

I think the part of hearing that, if you like, really matters for this discussion of what people can and cannot hear is the perception.

The amazing and marvellous thing about human hearing is its selectivity. The people who have been sold expensive cables really do have good reason for their belief that the expensive cable is better because when they listen to music through it, then it does sound better to them. I know this very well because I have experienced this myself.

The problem is that what they are experiencing is the effect of the highly selective nature of their hearing. This is auto-suggestion. As long as they know which cable is in use then they will elect, unconsciously, to hear the differences in that cable. For the listener it is absolutely clear there is a difference.

Until they do a blind ABX test...

In the blind ABX test the cues for the auto-suggestion are removed and so we get to find out what the listener can and can not hear.

So, for me the main issue is not, so much, about a measurable hearing capability (ironically), instead it is about the much more mysterious area of human perception.

post #85 of 105

I think the issue is that what humans hear is purely subjective. Unlike audio signals which may or may not change within a measurable amount, the fact is that human ears are similar but different. They all work the same, but some aren't able to hear certain frequencies. For example, have a 6 year old and a 96 year old listen the same system and the same source and they will hear two different things. Also sound is subjective based on our brains and our experience with sound. Keep someone in a deprivation chamber long enough for their senses to attempt to adjust to the environment and I'd be fairly certain they would have two different opinions on the audio being heard from the exact same system. In conclusion, I don't think the audio science tells us all we need to know, I'm concerned that the science is as far as it can go presently without becoming subjective and anecdotal.

 

Ways to fix this: If someone studying audio took highly precise measurements of the ear canal along with precise measurements of the eardrum along with all the neural interconnects which allow us to understand and appreciate sound, then subjectivity would be removed. Until all those are possible it's all hypothetical.

 

Full disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. I have a PhD in Electrical Engineering, so take my medical opinions with a grain of salt please.

post #86 of 105

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alysony View Post

I think the issue is that what humans hear is purely subjective. 


It stops being subjective when you test it. Which is quite simple to do once you get past all the excuses against systematic scientific testing.

 

The test isnt a question of whether you enjoy the music (or satisfy whatever it is that compels you to listen) but simply whether the test subject hears something they claim to.


Edited by nikongod - 12/1/10 at 2:56pm
post #87 of 105

I'm stating that the brain adds it's own 'variance' to sound making it impossible to come up with a testable experiment. Sound for people can be duplicated within a certain margin of error but the fact remains that my brain 'hears' things differently than 'your' brain. We can measure how our ears hear a sound, but the measurement ends at the physical. Unfortunately the mental component to hearing can change a lot of things. For example have you ever heard a noise that wasn't there, or perhaps someone saying your name and no one was. That is all I was referring to.

 

In terms of testing equipment I agree, once a test has occurred it's no longer subjective. I would like to see the cables and the equipment put on measurement and analysis equipment. I would love to see if the cables changed anything with the setup. It's sad that even if the proof was screaming back at them the people who swear upon the grave that different cabling creates a significant difference will probably never give up their fight.

 

I am not pro cabling, personally I think it's mostly overpriced and I make it a habit of buying the cheapest cables and haven't had a problem yet.

post #88 of 105

I can say without question that different tubes can make a difference in at lest one area, noise. I have a VPI-130 and I the first time I listened to an album via headphones while plugged directly into it, I definitely heard noise similar to white noise. I was a little upset because this was my first piece of tubed equipment and I'd read such glowing (pun intended) things about tubes. I promptly ordered a new Sovtek 12AX7 tube and after I replaced it, the noise was gone or at least no longer audible. 

 

Does that also mean that the musical sounds are different? I don't know but I can't hear it if they are.

post #89 of 105

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alysony View Post

I'm stating that the brain adds it's own 'variance' to sound making it impossible to come up with a testable experiment. 


This does not stop people from successfully DBTing different power amps (SET tube VS solid state with lots of global feedback for example), speakers, microphones, and tons of other gear. If you want to throw out the "perfect source tempo" you could even extend this to instruments with lots of character (pianos from differnt MFR's, violins from different luthiers, or even the same luthier at a different time of his career, etc) themselves! There are many cases where DBT shows 2 things to be clearly different.*

 

Regarding the part of "we all heard differently" this is an excellent philosophical question but this is not a philosophical forum, its the SCIENCE forum. the question normally goes something like this: If I "stepped into" your body for a moment and looked through your eyes would red be red? Do you see a red object the way I see a green one for example? Until body transplants are possible this question will go unanswered.

 

Although philosophical arguments do occasionally bring about great scientific discovery you are strawmanning this issue by bringing it up. The test at hand of DBTing a cable is not one where you are going to listen through my ears, but the ones you have had since birth. You are going to be using the tools most familiar to you - thats the best your ever going to get.

 

The question is if you can identify things as different by ear. The answer going back to the color example is largely yes - and for the same reasons that we can by sight. With the exception of people who are clearly impaired we as a species all hear and see with similar acuity. The vast majority of us can all identify the red object in a box, and can hear to a roughly similar level. If your curious you could run several informal hearing tests as well as the cable test to see what frequency variation a person can hear, what volume level, and what THD (amongst other things probably) It was quite interesting to me.

 

If you dont think *you* personally are good enough (Im not even sure I am) to hear a cable what do you have to loose by running a DBT on yourself? Are you afraid that you'd be proven RIGHT? Before you go and blow that out of proportion why not try the test on a few friends? If you can find other people to actually take the DBT It will quickly become apparent that your hearing is not flawed at all.

 

* once you have shown 2 things as unquestionably different then the real troubles start. Defining whats better is much much harder than DBT, although it can be done by comparing reviews and scores of several listeners, and was the primary method used to decide what design to build until the 1940's - many of the circuits that the "test group" preferred are still in use!

post #90 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guidostrunk View Post

When it comes down to you telling me I'm crazy that i believe in sonic differences in cables. A subjective topic ie. religion, politics, Food etc.

Does anyone know what words mean anymore?

 

Let's start with religion. It's not subjective. Whether there is a God or not is an objective claim.

 

Then food. What about food? There is one subjective aspect to food: whether it's tastey or distasteful.

"Pizza tastes good" is subjective. "Pizza tastes different from steak" is objective.

 

There either is or is not an audiable difference. It might be *relative* (within the hearing of some but not others), but it's not subjective.

 

By definition: subjective is something which exists only in your thoughts and not in reality.

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