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post #61 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by rroseperry View Post



I promised myself that I was staying out of this, but I can't let this bit pass. The theories of special and general relativity were solutions to observed phenomena. Einstein didn't pull them out of thin air. It was his insight that brought together theoretical and empirical work by Albert Michelson, Hendrik Lorentz, and Henri Poincaré. There was evidence, just no good theory to unite it in satisfactory way until 1905.

Science can most certainly question our observations and perceptions. You should go over to the thread with the TED talk, where scientists showed how when people thought they were drinking expensive wine, pleasure centers in their minds lit up that were not affected when they thought they were drinking plonk.

 

I think you may have missed my points regarding observation and perceptions entirely, and for that I do apologize (I was a bit verbose). but do try to make an effort to at least see what I am speaking of. I mean I have spent the better part of my life trying to comprehend the scientific "truths" you speak of, i would think it to be courteous to spend but a fraction of your time trying to understand something before neglecting it entirely.

post #62 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdupiano View Post



 

I think you may have missed my points regarding observation and perceptions entirely, and for that I do apologize (I was a bit verbose). but do try to make an effort to at least see what I am speaking of. I mean I have spent the better part of my life trying to comprehend the scientific "truths" you speak of, i would think it to be courteous to spend but a fraction of your time trying to understand something before neglecting it entirely.


I'm sorry, what am I neglecting? I don't think I am dismissing people's perceptions in these threads.

In my experience, there are no scientific truths, sans quotes. Science is about what is and I have spent a goodly part of my own life trying to understand scientific explanations of the world we live in, specifically in biological sciences. I am no coming into this scoffing at science or thinking that our current knowledge is all there is or ever will be.
post #63 of 122
I was going to say that as long as no evidence points to the contrary we can accept that the theory that does exist, and is substantiated by evidence and thus proven (not to be mistaken for 'not disproven') is true, but Willakan already did so, and far more eloquently than I ever could.

If I was to employ such cheap tactics as many cable believers do I'd state my own experience with headphone cables, and tell of how I could never hear a difference between them, sighted or blind - can you disprove that observation?
Edited by b0ck3n - 8/5/11 at 11:03am
post #64 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdupiano View Post

Nope.

 

Edit (11:18 PM EST)

Attack my arguments, not me or my beliefs. I won't take offense to you question me or my beliefs, its just it won't get us anywhere and I would hope that you are searching for the truth rather than trying to make a point for the sake of making one.


 


Just looking for bias in your arguments.

 

post #65 of 122

Belden are a good example of a cable company. They make cables for all sorts of applications. Here they describe their coaxial cables

 

http://www.belden.com/03Products/03_Coaxial.cfm

 

in which they point to quality of manufacture and they have registered trade marks for the various ways they increase cable strength and reduce interference. Here is a paper by Steve Lampen, an engineer who works for Belden

 

http://www.belden.com/pdfs/Techpprs/wcfsbetp.htm

 

which describes in detail about the workings of cables. That is the same Steve Lampen who gave a presentation to the AES and stated that Belden had run blind tests to see if cables are audibly directional. The test was a fail, cables are not audibly directional. Yet tellingly Lampen admitted Belden will sell cables marked with a direction if the customer wants such. Why not as Belden are out to make money, but I would suggest that with their chosen markets making spurious claims about cables would damage their reputation. So it is better they distance themselves from such claims.

 

Now, if there was an audible difference to cables, Belden know the mark ups achieved by some audiophile cable companies. Do you think, that after all of Belden's serious cable research, if there was an audible sound quality difference inherant in a cable, that they would ignore that market?

 

I believe Belden's science of cables over the likes of Nordost.

post #66 of 122
Quote:

Originally Posted by Prog Rock Man View Post

 

That is the same Steve Lampen who gave a presentation to the AES and stated that Belden had run blind tests to see if cables are audibly directional. The test was a fail, cables are not audibly directional.


Actually one of the participants in that test scored either 10 out of 10 or 9 out of 10, I don't recall which.

 

While that still could have simply been chance, I think the participant should have been allowed a second trial. However his results were ignored and Lampen went by the average of all results.

 

se

 

 

 

post #67 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willakan View Post

The few tests that have been done, however lacking they may have been in scientific vigour, supported what was suggested by existing theory.

 

An invalid test supports nothing. You can't declare things valid and useful when you feel like it, that isn't science, it's confirmation bias.

 

As I said a few posts ago, it is all very well to walk in and seemingly take the higher ground and point out how we're all a bunch of hypocrites, but the fact remains that such apparently level-headed thinking falls apart when you try to apply such thinking to other fields and discliplines. You simply cannot be that open minded if you want to construct a vaguely plausible model of the world around you. Imagine if for every conceivable objection to a theory, even those that were fundamentally flawed, we smugly decided "Oh, it's impossible to decide either way."

 

Not sure where you pulled this from or even if it was in reply to me.  I'm not sure even what you are talking about.  It looks like you want to be able to choose when you are open-minded about something and when you're not.

 

The onus is on the cable companies to present a shred of evidence to support their ideas. I put it to you that it is you who misunderstand - you assume that people such as myself take DBTs and the like as the ultimate evidence there is no difference. It isn't - I still would hold my beliefs with equal vigour if  no DBTs had ever been conducted, not because I'm a narrow-minded hypocrite who wants to just shout my beliefs from the rooftops, but because no evidence has been presented to the contrary. DBTs are simply interesting anecdotes which can be used to illustrate an argument.

 

In truth, there is no onus on anybody to do ****.  Legally, maybe, but it's their karma if they are being dishonest and know it.  Everyone wants to set the rules for everyone else to their liking. It's rather like people's demands for the Sound Science forum, when it isn't even their forum! You can only say, "I wont be convinced that cables make any difference unless I see some valid science and so far I don't believe I've seen any." That is fair enough.

 

The core of the hard-core objectivist belief is that there has not been a shred of scientific evidence ever produced to demonstrate cables work. DBT are just the icing on the cake. We can trust in the measurements and theory as we do not need to know how a number relates to listening experiences. We can null signals in the analogue and digital domain to prove that there is no difference of any significance. If there is something we cannot measure, no-one has yet put forward any evidence as to what it is, how to affect it and the like.

 

TL;DR: Those who point to the hypocrisy and irony of the objectivist position as maintained here are completely missing the point. How's that for irony? It is not necessary to consider a theory that has yet to be even laid down, let alone fleshed out.

 

 

I think the point is, regardless of what truth there may be in anything you argue, many people here don't truly understand science or scientific method.

 

Just some things you need to consider. smile.gif
 

 

post #68 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Eddy View Post




Actually one of the participants in that test scored either 10 out of 10 or 9 out of 10, I don't recall which.

 

While that still could have simply been chance, I think the participant should have been allowed a second trial. However his results were ignored and Lampen went by the average of all results.

 

se


They should only be directional if there is a shield connected at one end (the chassis) and not the other.  Headphone cables are a prime example of this, since the connectors are different.  Even if the headphones were to use a 3-pin XLR jack (which would be insanely large to put on a headphone) there really would be nowhere to drain the shield to on the headphone unless it was made of metal and kept all contacts completely isolated from the headphone body.

 

I personally haven't experimented with directionality of cables that are perfectly uniform on both ends.  If the geometry dictated that directionality might have an effect, then I would investigate it.  This should never occur with RCAs though, only balanced, shielded cables and that would be due to an XLR jack on a chassis not having the shield pin connected.  But given that everything is wired properly on the chassis of both amp and source (and of course cables), directionality should not matter.

 

Some cable companies burn their cables in for a certain duration, and then label them directionally based on the direction they were connected.  Whether or not the cable manufacturer hears a difference, he may label it this way for the benefit of the customer if they believe in it.


Edited by IPodPJ - 8/5/11 at 7:56pm
post #69 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by rroseperry View Post



I'm sorry, what am I neglecting? I don't think I am dismissing people's perceptions in these threads.

In my experience, there are no scientific truths, sans quotes. Science is about what is and I have spent a goodly part of my own life trying to understand scientific explanations of the world we live in, specifically in biological sciences. I am no coming into this scoffing at science or thinking that our current knowledge is all there is or ever will be.

 


 

Quote:
The theories of special and general relativity were solutions to observed phenomena. Einstein didn't pull them out of thin air. It was his insight that brought together theoretical and empirical work by Albert Michelson, Hendrik Lorentz, and Henri Poincaré. There was evidence, just no good theory to unite it in satisfactory way until 1905.

Science can most certainly question our observations and perceptions. You should go over to the thread with the TED talk, where scientists showed how when people thought they were drinking expensive wine, pleasure centers in their minds lit up that were not affected when they thought they were drinking plonk.

 

The theories of General and special relativity (more on general relativity than special) was "based" on the work of mathematicians and scientists before Einstein BUT his theories did not develop from them directly. The theory of General Relativity was constructed by knowing a head of time what a solution needs to looks like. If you are a scientist and accustomed to solving Differential equations, you should know that there are various ways of solving differential equations, but there are no rigid analytical methods (meaning you can just plug and chug your way through any problem and get an analytical solution). What you do instead is assume a possible solution and "test" or demonstrate that the solution is a possible solution to the problem. This is also how String theory, M Theory, etc... have been developed. So, yes the solutions are based on previously known information and as you state observed phenomena. But understand that the solutions he used for his initial special relativity were actually from "defunct" solutions from Maxwell. The reason those solutions were neglected and in fact discarded until Einstein, is because they relied on the speed of light being constant. Einstein stated, that the speed of light is a UNIVERSAL CONSTANT, in his paper without justification -he claimed that it must be so. While there were measurements indicating that the speed of light did not change (eg. Michaelson Morely (sp) experiment). Those were never actual experiments that a scientific method (should one exist) would call a proper experiment because the purpose of the experiment was different from trying to prove or disprove that the speed of light is constant. As you should know, the Michaelson Morely (sp) experiment is actually a very famous null result, they were trying to find the Aether and could not detect it. Einstein made his declaration of the universality of the speed of light as a constant in vacuum, without experimental data. He stated it must be and therefore the following physical laws follow. In fact, this is what separated Einstein from previous physicists who performed countless experiments and formulated scientific laws to govern the behavior of the phenomenon they observed. Einstein did not perform experiments.  

 

If that does not bother you, just ask why the speed of light must be constant. I've asked every physicist, professors and researchers alike, that I have come across, and no one knows (after you bug them enough for the cause). They simply know that it must be the case because the "truth" that ensues from that assumption matches experimental results. But that is unfortunately a logical fallacy. Most modern Physical theories were all developed in a similar way, make an assumption to obtain a particular solution and determine if such a solution agrees with experimentation. This has happened as I stated since Einstein, to QED, to String Theory and any and forms of Theories of Everything today. And therein lies your, I suppose, ignorance in the matter. You are neglecting the view that science is not correct. While science does correct it self, it usually occurs in lifetimes, as Kuhn writes, it is not that the new scientific theory surpasses the old, rather it is the old scientists die out and the new ones continue with the newer scientific theory. And of course if you do follow Einstein, you would know that he is a prime example of this notion. Although he brought quantum theory into life, he detested it, and spent his lifetime rejecting it. Plank out lived Einstein and the young men and women who accepted quantum theory continued to spread it while the remaining scientists upholding Newtonian Mechanics died out. 

 

And of course you misread or neglected what I wrote regarding the difference between the ability of science to question our perceptions. It is not that science cannot question what it is that we perceive (eg. optical illusions), rather science cannot question whether we had them or not (the existence of the phenomenon). And the reason why I claim that no AxB testing will ever prove if someone has heard something is not that the test is not scientific enough, it is simply that you cannot obtain a scientific conclusion (even with the most perfect test) that they did not perceive anything.

 

And I think that many here agree that the testing can lead to the conclusion of placebos. But if placebo's can cure cancer, if they can allow me to get a root canal without novocaine, and allow me to do what I could not otherwise do, then why do people scoff at it? If the placebo is caused by a cable, and it allows me to hear more, is that not worth it? If a sugar pill can cure me of an illness, isn't it worth it? Just because you cannot explain it with your "Science," does it mean that I am not cured, or that I am not hearing something? And for those who claim that every test has never come out positive for the snake oilers, can they not simply claim that the presence and pressure of others decreases/eliminates the placebo effect of the cable? And do you not realize that calling something a placebo is simply labeling something that science does not understand. Furthermore, scientists call it a name so that it can nicely fit it into a little box and forget about it, just like the anomalies that ultimately lead to modern scientific theories today.

 

If you believe you know science, ask yourself and please write what is the scientific method and what is your methodology for cable science, it should be helpful in furthering the discussion of cable science. 

 

 

 

 


Edited by pdupiano - 8/5/11 at 9:51pm
post #70 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdupiano View Post

If you believe you know science, ask yourself and please write what is the scientific method and what is your methodology for cable science, it should be helpful in furthering the discussion of cable science. 


I'm gonna use this chart because I think it's pretty:

 

overview_scientific_method2.gif

 

Ask Question: Do cables make an audible difference?

 

Do Background Research: Cable makers believe they do, and audiophiles notice differences as well ranging from increased bass to treble extension. However, what we know of electricity suggests there won't be differences.

 

Construct Hypothesis: Cables make an audible difference.

 

Test with an Experiment: Measure a number of cables' frequency responses against a control, and null the results to find the differences.

 

Hypothesis is False or Partially True: There are small differences, but beyond audible limits.

 

Construct Hypothesis: If cables do not make an audible difference, then audiophiles will not be able to reliably distinguish between them in an ABX test.

 

Test with an Experiment: Set up ABX tests with multiple cables of varying prices and materials, and a selection of audiophiles willing to participate.

 

Hypothesis is True: Audiophiles do not score better than chance when ABXing cables. This suggests the differences are in the mind.

 

^^^ That's what's been done so far. What do you suggest we test next?

 

And can I just add that comparing cables in any way to Einstein's Relativity is silly.

post #71 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post


I'm gonna use this chart because I think it's pretty:

 

overview_scientific_method2.gif

 

Ask Question: Do cables make an audible difference?

 

Do Background Research: Cable makers believe they do, and audiophiles notice differences as well ranging from increased bass to treble extension. However, what we know of electricity suggests there won't be differences.

 

Construct Hypothesis: Cables make an audible difference.

 

Test with an Experiment: Measure a number of cables' frequency responses against a control, and null the results to find the differences.

 

Hypothesis is False or Partially True: There are small differences, but beyond audible limits.

 

Construct Hypothesis: If cables do not make an audible difference, then audiophiles will not be able to reliably distinguish between them in an ABX test.

 

Test with an Experiment: Set up ABX tests with multiple cables of varying prices and materials, and a selection of audiophiles willing to participate.

 

Hypothesis is True: Audiophiles do not score better than chance when ABXing cables. This suggests the differences are in the mind.

 

^^^ That's what's been done so far. What do you suggest we test next?

 

And can I just add that comparing cables in any way to Einstein's Relativity is silly.

 

Very Nice and I do like the Chart, reminds me of my Highschool books. But I think the chart is missing something... Observing. Isn't that the first part?

 

The conclusion certainly leads to differences in the mind and actually the result you came up with is interesting. Has anyone ever observed audiophiles getting worse than chance? They are soo bad at determining the difference between a high end cable and a normal cable that it is not statistically close to flipping a coin? 

 

Yes comparing cables to Einstein's relativity is silly but my previous post was really asking how much of science do you really think is true? As someone who has and continues to work in a research environment, I know that a lot of data is HIGHLY interpreted and the truth does not simply Jump at you. A lot of equations written in papers have a special "fudge factor" to make it conform to phenomenon. And Worst of all I know that professors and principal investigators often desire to see particular results and will cater their experiments to finding it. While I would LOVE to believe that what I have observed is a special case, my impression from students and professionals I have met at conferences (after a few beers of course) is that these all seem to be wide spread practices. Science is FAR from the "truth" that many claim it to be. Science once freed us from the shackles of religion and dogma, but I fear that it has grown too powerful itself and is no longer the liberator but rather our new master. Anyone in science today who tries to propose different theories or brings together different interpretations are labeled insane. They are ostracized and unfortunately it can ruin their careers. So it pains me to state that the notion that science corrects itself is a VERY painful process often taking decades for scientists to revert theories. I am reminded of the case of the retrovirus and proposed theories on how DNA/RNA interact. Unfortunately the name of the discoverer escapes me at the moment, but I do remember that he proposed the theory that we accept today and was labeled as an idiot and rejected decades earlier. 
 

 

post #72 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdupiano View Post



And I think that many here agree that the testing can lead to the conclusion of placebos. But if placebo's can cure cancer, if they can allow me to get a root canal without novocaine, and allow me to do what I could not otherwise do, then why do people scoff at it? If the placebo is caused by a cable, and it allows me to hear more, is that not worth it? If a sugar pill can cure me of an illness, isn't it worth it? Just because you cannot explain it with your "Science," does it mean that I am not cured, or that I am not hearing something? And for those who claim that every test has never come out positive for the snake oilers, can they not simply claim that the presence and pressure of others decreases/eliminates the placebo effect of the cable? And do you not realize that calling something a placebo is simply labeling something that science does not understand. Furthermore, scientists call it a name so that it can nicely fit it into a little box and forget about it, just like the anomalies that ultimately lead to modern scientific theories today.

 

If you believe you know science, ask yourself and please write what is the scientific method and what is your methodology for cable science, it should be helpful in furthering the discussion of cable science. 

 

 

 

 



One small caveat to this: placebos don't work in exactly the same way with everyone.  That is, many people simply do not find any difference from one cable to another.  However, many of these so-called audiophile cable companies charge a fairly substantial "restocking" fee that basically means that you're gonna be losing money even if you didn't "fall" for such a placebo, and the cable company will be making a pretty massive markup just by letting you "try" their cable.  (Locus comes to mind.)

 

On the other hand, if they offer a comprehensive return policy that lets you return their products completely free of charge, then I guess it's not the end of the world if they're selling something that in actuality does absolutely nothing to the audio signal.

post #73 of 122

Do you confirm your setup could indeed demonstrate sound difference before beginning on cable testing ?

post #74 of 122


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

An invalid test supports nothing. You can't declare things valid and useful when you feel like it, that isn't science, it's confirmation bias.

 

Firstly, the tests are generally not so flawed as to be dismissed out of hand. It is obviously ridiculous to say that only "perfect" tests can be used, as no test can be considered perfect. They don't prove anything anywhere near as conclusively as I would like, but they provide interesting anecdotes which can be useful in persuasion. Unfortunately not many people take an electrical theory primer as evidence (although they really should) so this is all we have.

 

 

Not sure where you pulled this from or even if it was in reply to me.  I'm not sure even what you are talking about.  It looks like you want to be able to choose when you are open-minded about something and when you're not.

 

Sorry, I will try to clarify. I felt the body of text you had "quoted for truth" in the original post implied that the body of evidence (DBTs) presented against cables was not anything like as conclusive. I felt this implied hypocrisy on the part of the cable naysayers, who often complain of the absence of conclusive evidence that cables work. To be open minded is to entertain new ideas - degrees of open-mindedness vary, depending on how little evidence you will entertain such ideas. My suggestion is that if you entertain the idea of cables actually doing what they say, you must be very open minded - if you apply that level of open-mindedness to the rest of your life, you will find yourself entertaining some very strange ideas. Therefore, to think cables sound reasonable and that say, homeopathy doesn't sound reasonable is to be inconsistent IMO. My meaning was slightly obscured by my badly-masked annoyance at the hypocrisy implicationsbiggrin.gif

 

 

In truth, there is no onus on anybody to do ****.  Legally, maybe, but it's their karma if they are being dishonest and know it.  Everyone wants to set the rules for everyone else to their liking. It's rather like people's demands for the Sound Science forum, when it isn't even their forum! You can only say, "I wont be convinced that cables make any difference unless I see some valid science and so far I don't believe I've seen any." That is fair enough.

 

I'm not suggesting it's some sort of karmatic requirement, I'm suggesting it is impossible to have an argument when one side has yet to prevent their evidence in any vaguely structured or consistent way. That's not me setting my own rules, that's common sense. If I say "I have a unicorn" and refuse to elaborate further, how can I be said to be putting forward an argument? As to what you put in quotes, that is prettymuch my position exactly. However, the time that high-end audio cables have been around and the absence of any attempts to produce evidence makes me even more skeptical. As there is an entire market built around such an absence of evidence, I feel justified in strongly criticising it. As to Sound Science, I don't recall "ownership" of the cable forum passing out of Head-Fi hands either, but beating a dead horse here...

 

I think the point is, regardless of what truth there may be in anything you argue, many people here don't truly understand science or scientific method.

Out of interest, what is your stance on the matter?

My basic complaint is that people believe in cables. To be open-minded is to consider an idea, even consider it plausible, on little evidence. To consider an idea plausible on no scientific evidence at all is the province of the insane.

 



 


Edited by Willakan - 8/6/11 at 1:03am
post #75 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaBomb77766 View Post

One small caveat to this: placebos don't work in exactly the same way with everyone.  That is, many people simply do not find any difference from one cable to another.  However, many of these so-called audiophile cable companies charge a fairly substantial "restocking" fee that basically means that you're gonna be losing money even if you didn't "fall" for such a placebo, and the cable company will be making a pretty massive markup just by letting you "try" their cable.  (Locus comes to mind.)

 

On the other hand, if they offer a comprehensive return policy that lets you return their products completely free of charge, then I guess it's not the end of the world if they're selling something that in actuality does absolutely nothing to the audio signal.


I think that because placebos are not universal and as you state work differently with different people, is the primary reason why it is in the fringes of scientific theories and makes it difficult to incorporate them into a good working theory. And Actually yes there are companies that will allow you to try out their cables, for FREE! I know that my local Hi-Fi shop, Audio Nexus (Summit, NJ), actually had a cable rental program for Kimber Kable. All you had to pay for was shipping if necessary. Here is a link to their bulletin, I don't recall if the program is still running now: http://www.audionexus.com/bulletins.shtml and look up kimber kable. 

 

 

 

Quote:
Do you confirm your setup could indeed demonstrate sound difference before beginning on cable testing ?

 

This is actually a very interesting point, and one of the reasons why I question a lot of scientific studies/testing and methodologies. It deals with the circularity of experimentation and also legitimacy of an experiment. If the set up could demonstrate a difference between different cables, it implies that you would have to hear a difference between them already and would obviously not require you to do the testing. In the case of cables its fairly straight forward that you can simply use whatever set up you had that allowed you to hear more/less from a particular cable, you demonstrated that you could hear something and can now do some subsequent testing. This isn't so clear cut with other studies and leads to possible circular issues. It sounds negative but I am quite certain that if you give any scientist enough money, they can furnish evidence for whatever it is you want to prove. I would simply like to point out LIGO and the discovery or lackthereof of gravity waves. It amazes me that the timeline for the possibility of discovering gravity waves appears to exceed the lifetime of the scientists originally involved in the project. The project required millions of government funding and has to date, not found a single gravity wave. And worse, the predicted timeline for them finding a gravity wave is at least after 60 year from now when all those responsible for the projects are dead. So yes I can find cable differences for you, give me $10 million and I will get back to you in a hundred years, you'll be amazed at the results they are a real page turner.

 

I also forgot to point out earlier that any scientific method calls you to make an observation first then formulate a hypothesis and follow the outline above from Head Injury (eg. I observed that I hear something different from changing my cables, I hypothesize that my cables caused a change in my audio set up). That observation part, is not questionable by the scientific method. Look at the chart, you can only review/revise up to the hypothesis portion, the observation must stand. 

 

 

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