Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › A stimulating read about cables (at least I thought so)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

A stimulating read about cables (at least I thought so) - Page 2

post #16 of 35

Here's a thought, there may be more at work in cables or materials that known science can account for--so it would be illogical to conclude that our measurements are the end-all be-all of audio or physics.  


Edited by sphinxvc - 8/3/11 at 11:27am
post #17 of 35

If the cable manufacturers had truly stumbled upon things in audio as yet undocumented by modern science, don't you think some of the people who write papers about such things would actually care? How comes the head of AudioQuest's "R&D Department" hasn't won a Nobel prize for disproving half of analogue signal theory?

post #18 of 35

The whole nature of what I was saying has to do with things not stumbled upon yet.  And, sure they care.  A degree of open-mindedness would do everyone some good. 

post #19 of 35

what I find most peculiar about the whole thing is that in both cases (Mr R. Russell’s and the $1M bet) the cables in question were Monster’s. now, I don’t visit/read/post in any other audio forum other than this (except Audiogon classified, or read some hifi blogs), but I don’t see Monster’s cables being the recommended choice among audiophiles. If anything Monster’s is a prime example that clever marketing and looks has nothing do to with selling cables; if that logic was true (as some of you would suggest) then Monster’s cables should be the top choice for audiophiles. fact is, they're not - at all. Monster’s are ordinary cables at best, and no amount of marketing is gonna change that.

 
Also Roger Russell mentions in his post, besides Monster’s, another couple of cables, which he’s not tried. Personally I don’t care how much they cost - if he’s not tried them he shouldn't pass judgements. I thought the question was whether cables make a difference - not how much they cost. Do I think most cables are overpriced? Most definitely yes. and so is everything else.
 
I’d bet that all it takes is a good audiophile in his place, his system, his music, his cables… and Randy can pretty much kiss goodbye to his dosh... guaranteed.
 
post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenni View Post


I’d bet that all it takes is a good audiophile in his place, his system, his music, his cables… and Randy can pretty much kiss goodbye to his dosh... guaranteed.
 

 

Perhaps.

 

However Tom Nousaine has set up ABX boxes in the homes of audiophiles so they could use their own system, their own music, their own cables, test completely at their leisure, etc.

 

Nothing.

 

se

post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by sphinxvc View Post

Here's a thought, there may be more at work in cables or materials that known science can account for--so it would be illogical to conclude that our measurements are the end-all be-all of audio or physics.  


It would be interesting to discover something new besides, resistance, capacitance, and inductance in a wire.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Willakan View Post

If the cable manufacturers had truly stumbled upon things in audio as yet undocumented by modern science, don't you think some of the people who write papers about such things would actually care? How comes the head of AudioQuest's "R&D Department" hasn't won a Nobel prize for disproving half of analogue signal theory?


+1

 

post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post

It would be interesting to discover something new besides, resistance, capacitance, and inductance in a wire.


I think if something else that was relevant at audio frequencies was discovered it would be a lot more than interesting.  It would be groundbreaking.

post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by sphinxvc View Post

Here's a thought, there may be more at work in cables or materials that known science can account for--so it would be illogical to conclude that our measurements are the end-all be-all of audio or physics.  



It would be illogical, but the assumption is not that there are more than the basic things (eg. resistance, capacitance etc..) in cables, rather the assumption that most take is that cables are composed of just those basic things (resistance, capacitance etc...) and therefore people make the logical conclusion that the cables do not sound differently. 

 

The difficulty lies not with the conclusion but rather the assumption. Induction tells us to assume that there is nothing different in specialty cables because it is composed of the same set of parameters (R.L.C etc..) but the black swan story (not the movie) should caution us to the use of induction as means of proof and consequently a source for truth. 

 

Neither side of the debate is illogical, its simply that they are starting on different grounds. Until they can stand on the same plateau, I'm afraid there will always be an endless debate. But understand that it stems from the assumptions they make, not their conclusions thereafter. And if anyone here, or anywhere else for that matter, can make arguments/prove that one assumption is better than the other without calling upon other questionable assumptions or arguments but rather Truth itself, well then I should like to hear it and I would like to think so would countless other individuals. 

 

As far as the Randi Test goes, I think that it was fairly disappointing to see it diffuse that way. But I'm quite certain that the whole event (leading up to the test and the subsequent fall out), probably lined both party's coffers. I can't help but think the snake oilers made quite a bit of money by stating, they were willing but the scientists were not. And I'm certain that the snake skinners made believers and profits  from stating that, TPA is full of it (oddly the winner in this case would be Monster Cables). Either way I'm certain that the sales would probably exceed the $1 Million dollar price if you tallied up the change on both sides. 

 

In so far as doing the test without the $1 Million, I'm not sure its worth it at all. People are motivated by rewards (first assumptions of economics), and the $1 Million dollar prize may be more representative than monetary and actually makes it fair game for the snake oiler to participate. Without the prize, what does he win? He wins the praise of the people at the judgement and he gets a pat on the back. What did he risk? His business and livelihood, his reputation. On the other hand the Snake Skinner wagers but a mere few moments of his time. And on the off chance he loses, what does he really lose? Nothing. Even if the snake oiler is able to discern even the smallest purity of silver in a piece of wire through some audible squeak, the Snake Skinner can easily say, it was by chance, or "so my man, you are one in a million," and yes stories will spread but the spread will be very meek, a few friends here and there, maybe in these forums.

 

Now, add $1 Million dollars into the mix and what do you get? The Snake Oiler is on national TV, but for him the stakes are the same. If he loses, he loses his reputation, his business and livelihood (no different as before). But if he were to win, what changes for him? The drastic change is not in the $1 Million dollars (although it can be argued that $0.5 Million is a nice little pay day), but rather it is in the risk of the Snake Skinner. Because of the notoriety that $1 Million dollars brings, the Snake Skinner can no longer brush off the loss as "He was just one in a million." And in this case, it is also the Snake Skinner's reputation at stake. 

 

In the first case, a man would need to be a fool to take those odds (I'd sooner bet my life savings on green at a roulette table). But in the second game, both men are on even ground and have everything at stake. Once again its amusing to me that the party that claims to be for truth and honesty are the ones hardly being truthful about the power of their position, for it is always easier to be the doubter. Hell a high school student spending one day in a class about nihilism and solipsism can easily be a skeptic and argue with the best who study philosophy for decades. He could not only argue soundly but also excel and win the arguments, that is the power of skepticism. There's more to that story, but I apologize for the digression. 

post #24 of 35

Quote:

Originally Posted by pdupiano View Post

It would be illogical, but the assumption is not that there are more than the basic things (eg. resistance, capacitance etc..) in cables, rather the assumption that most take is that cables are composed of just those basic things (resistance, capacitance etc...) and therefore people make the logical conclusion that the cables do not sound differently. 

 

The difficulty lies not with the conclusion but rather the assumption. Induction tells us to assume that there is nothing different in specialty cables because it is composed of the same set of parameters (R.L.C etc..) but the black swan story (not the movie) should caution us to the use of induction as means of proof and consequently a source for truth. 

 

Neither side of the debate is illogical, its simply that they are starting on different grounds. Until they can stand on the same plateau, I'm afraid there will always be an endless debate. But understand that it stems from the assumptions they make, not their conclusions thereafter. And if anyone here, or anywhere else for that matter, can make arguments/prove that one assumption is better than the other without calling upon other questionable assumptions or arguments but rather Truth itself, well then I should like to hear it and I would like to think so would countless other individuals. 

 

As far as the Randi Test goes, I think that it was fairly disappointing to see it diffuse that way. But I'm quite certain that the whole event (leading up to the test and the subsequent fall out), probably lined both party's coffers. I can't help but think the snake oilers made quite a bit of money by stating, they were willing but the scientists were not. And I'm certain that the snake skinners made believers and profits  from stating that, TPA is full of it (oddly the winner in this case would be Monster Cables). Either way I'm certain that the sales would probably exceed the $1 Million dollar price if you tallied up the change on both sides. 

 

In so far as doing the test without the $1 Million, I'm not sure its worth it at all. People are motivated by rewards (first assumptions of economics), and the $1 Million dollar prize may be more representative than monetary and actually makes it fair game for the snake oiler to participate. Without the prize, what does he win? He wins the praise of the people at the judgement and he gets a pat on the back. What did he risk? His business and livelihood, his reputation. On the other hand the Snake Skinner wagers but a mere few moments of his time. And on the off chance he loses, what does he really lose? Nothing. Even if the snake oiler is able to discern even the smallest purity of silver in a piece of wire through some audible squeak, the Snake Skinner can easily say, it was by chance, or "so my man, you are one in a million," and yes stories will spread but the spread will be very meek, a few friends here and there, maybe in these forums.

 

Now, add $1 Million dollars into the mix and what do you get? The Snake Oiler is on national TV, but for him the stakes are the same. If he loses, he loses his reputation, his business and livelihood (no different as before). But if he were to win, what changes for him? The drastic change is not in the $1 Million dollars (although it can be argued that $0.5 Million is a nice little pay day), but rather it is in the risk of the Snake Skinner. Because of the notoriety that $1 Million dollars brings, the Snake Skinner can no longer brush off the loss as "He was just one in a million." And in this case, it is also the Snake Skinner's reputation at stake. 

 

In the first case, a man would need to be a fool to take those odds (I'd sooner bet my life savings on green at a roulette table). But in the second game, both men are on even ground and have everything at stake. Once again its amusing to me that the party that claims to be for truth and honesty are the ones hardly being truthful about the power of their position, for it is always easier to be the doubter. Hell a high school student spending one day in a class about nihilism and solipsism can easily be a skeptic and argue with the best who study philosophy for decades. He could not only argue soundly but also excel and win the arguments, that is the power of skepticism. There's more to that story, but I apologize for the digression. 


You're right, it's the premise.  That said, I think DBTs are actually the cable naysayers strongest argument.  My skepticism goes both ways, the cable supporters would be in error not to concede that their conclusions could be based on place-bo.  The cable naysayers would be in error not to concede that there could be more to physics than science has accounted for so far.  Ultimately both can only fall back on DBTs.


Edited by sphinxvc - 8/4/11 at 6:12am
post #25 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by sphinxvc View Post

Here's a thought, there may be more at work in cables or materials that known science can account for--so it would be illogical to conclude that our measurements are the end-all be-all of audio or physics.  


Silver touched by god wrapped in aincient cotton from egyptian mummies, transfers the signal cleaner then ever heard before ! bigsmile_face.gif Bet that will sell becouse there is more at work then science ! No proof, it doesnt exist !!! Till now its 1 for science and 0 for the "audiphile" cable-makers.

post #26 of 35

The nature of receiving funding for research is one where funds are granted for specific and likely ground breaking advances that are of benefit to the society as a whole (or a large group within the society, which implicitly impacts the society as a whole). Regardless who is right or wrong here, I therefore wouldn't read anything into the fact that there hasn't been any major breakthroughs in research within this specific area. 

 

More than likely, significant benefits from such research outside the small audiophile sphere would be needed to receive anything but corporate funding from an audiophile company. Corporate funding always involves a political aspect to it versus how the results are communicated, which would affect the impact of the results (regardless if they were 'fully true' or 'well published'). In fact, I wouldn't even expect an audiophile company to provide such funding to anyone external to their own R&D team, and I question how many of these are academically trained researchers. If an audiophile company would be collaborating with a university, very few academics would take part in the research project if they couldn't freely publish the results from it - regardless what these results would be. Such findings would also be a significant competitive advantage for a corporate sponsor, and thus fall under the non-disclosure agreement that dictates collaboration with industry during research. As such, it would most likely be left as an argued advantage in marketing campaigns rather than fully disclosed 'scientific truths' for the public.

 

Anyhow... back to the main topic of the thread now. My popcorn should be ready any second.

post #27 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Renegade1988 View Post

Silver touched by god wrapped in aincient cotton from egyptian mummies, transfers the signal cleaner then ever heard before ! bigsmile_face.gif Bet that will sell becouse there is more at work then science ! No proof, it doesnt exist !!! Till now its 1 for science and 0 for the "audiphile" cable-makers.

 

If we left things at that state, we'd never have any scientific advances. All advances in knowledge start from more or less planned guesses (abductive inferences, as Peirce describes these based on the work by Aristotle). Maybe silver touched by God wrapped in ancient cotton from Egyptian mummies actually does make a difference, but we'd never know if someone didn't feel it was worth testing. I wouldn't believe it or buy it myself without testing and seeing the difference, but that's an entirely different story and not something I would hold over those who do wish to try this out.

 

There is indeed way too much we have no clue of how it works, so let's not beat up the ones innovative/creative/crazy/mislead enough to actually try to find answers that are outside our current understanding, eh? It could actually be their continued support for potential snake oil products that lead to actual advances that are undisputed.

 

But yeah - too many multi-syllable buzzwords in a row lead to allergic reactions on me too, particularly when they try to shove it down ppl's throats.


Edited by Trasselkalle - 8/4/11 at 7:47am
post #28 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenni View Post

what I find most peculiar about the whole thing is that in both cases (Mr R. Russell’s and the $1M bet) the cables in question were Monster’s. now, I don’t visit/read/post in any other audio forum other than this (except Audiogon classified, or read some hifi blogs), but I don’t see Monster’s cables being the recommended choice among audiophiles. If anything Monster’s is a prime example that clever marketing and looks has nothing do to with selling cables; if that logic was true (as some of you would suggest) then Monster’s cables should be the top choice for audiophiles. fact is, they're not - at all. Monster’s are ordinary cables at best, and no amount of marketing is gonna change that.

 
Also Roger Russell mentions in his post, besides Monster’s, another couple of cables, which he’s not tried. Personally I don’t care how much they cost - if he’s not tried them he shouldn't pass judgements. I thought the question was whether cables make a difference - not how much they cost. Do I think most cables are overpriced? Most definitely yes. and so is everything else.
 
I’d bet that all it takes is a good audiophile in his place, his system, his music, his cables… and Randy can pretty much kiss goodbye to his dosh... guaranteed.
 


Monster cables were used as the non-audiophile option, the competitor was pear cables with a $7200 cable. However, pear cables pulled out before the test could be performed. 

 

Lets not be so open minded that our brain falls out. The article I began this thread with describes blind testing undertaken my McIntosh many years ago, they found that no-one could consistently differentiate any difference. 

 

The idea that science may not understand all elements of change is somewhat understandable, however, the gold standard would obviously be double blind testing, something cable manufacturers seem terrified of. 

 

Also, the most accurate scientific instruments that measure properties far to small and delicate for humans to detect, often with tiny voltages at work, do not require their cables to be drenched in snake oil to operate, something to think about in that.

post #29 of 35

There has been a lot of technical study of hifi and cables. There are many links in this part of the forum to various papers studying various aspects of cables. Then there is all of the study that has been conducted by the big cable makes such as Belden through to the 'extensive R&D' claims of smaller audiophile cable makers. Then there is the Audio Engineering Society. Then there is all of the blind and ABX tests. Finally there are the hifi makers themselves and all of the bits of wire used inside hifi.

 

Hifi cables as a specific product began in the early 1970s (roughly). So that is 40 years worth of study. The result, nothing new. We are still using the likes of LR&C and skin effect which were first discovered in the 1800s.

 

So the evidence is weighted very strongly in favour of there is nothing inherant in a cable which affects sound quality. The same kind of weighting you would give to the sun rising again tomorrow. It might not happen, but it is highly unlikely.

post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fidelity_Fiend View Post

The idea that science may not understand all elements of change is somewhat understandable, however, the gold standard would obviously be double blind testing, something cable manufacturers seem terrified of. 

 

 

I would expect that most ppl (at least here on HF) recognize that the gold plating is about minimizing long-term oxidation effects, not sonic quality. You could use copper for better results if you were ok with changing them (or removing the oxidation) as soon as that started acting up. That follows the same logic as re-fitting your contacts every so often - exactly like Russell says in the link you provided for speaker cables. 

 

Furthermore, I saw http://gizmodo.com/5210904/giz-explains-why-analog-audio-cables-really-arent-all-the-same fly by as a link for why there actually is (or at least should be) a difference between cables in another thread (http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/564978/multi-aftermarket-cables-for-custom-iem-evaluation-thread-5-cables-evaluated). The Gizmodo paper is incredibly popular science'y written, but then again - so was the first link (edit: although by a possibly more authoritative name, particularly for a McIntosh fanboy like myself). It's also how things are typically written at Gizmodo given their audience. I had some links to braiding and other EMI/RFI related issues but they must be on my other computer. Such cables weren't covered at all by Russell given that they only compared straight 'no-frills' cables against each other in the A/B tests as far as I know. I'm adding this only to get as many of the arguments for differences as well as no-differences in. 


Edited by Trasselkalle - 8/4/11 at 8:35am
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sound Science
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › A stimulating read about cables (at least I thought so)