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Audiophile cables, an interesting question. - Page 9

post #121 of 1025

Gotta love Bertrand Russell...

post #122 of 1025

I think this might've been said some pages back but...

 

I think the big question here is whether you can tell apart two cables made of different materials regardless of price, in a sighted listening test.

 

If you can't tell the difference, good for you. If you can, then buy the better cable and DIY some for yourself. Cables are not very expensive compared to the rest of your audio chain, unless you're going for the really rare stuff like Picolino, or you buy them premade. Yes, there is a lot of bias involved in a sighted listening test but like some say, ignorance is bliss. If you really enjoy the "sparkle" that silver cables add, why shatter that illusion? Also, I believe one of the reasons why some go for a recable is because we're all modders at heart. I haven't had the chance to do a side by side comparison of a silver/gold/crystal/platinum vs stock cable though, so I don't really have a strong opinion on cables.

 

I think what someone said earlier about headphone companies having more expertise in designing and tweaking headphones is correct for the most part. The Fostex T50RP and Grado Magnum are two good examples that show what DIYers are capable of but I think people should have more faith in the people who design the transducers and cups, which make up 99% of the headphone's sound signature (been seeing a lot of "throw away the stock cables they are crap" comments lately). 

 

post #123 of 1025
Blue Boat, if you hear the difference then why do you need to see the cable?

Sight introduces an expectation bias. You hear what you expect to hear.

There was an interesting study done with wine. People were given two samples of wine and told that one was cheap and the other expensive.

As you might guess, both samples were the exact same thing. The twist was that the subjects had their brains scanned while they sampled each. Though thy were drinking the same thing, they had different brain reactions depending on whether they thought they were drinking something cheap or expensive. In oher words, their physical perception changed because of what they expected to taste.

The same thing is going on here. People hear what they expect to hear from a cable.

If you thought that a coathanger was actually pure silver, then a coathanger would sound the same to you as a silver cable. This is why people thought that plain Home Depot wire was something special when it was put into a garden hose. Belief makes the difference. But if you take away the expectation, no one has any idea what they're listening to. Test gear shows no difference, either.
post #124 of 1025

I get where you're coming from Uncle Erik.

I've read a number of articles on sighted listening bias, including one very similar to the wine study, but a sighted test is kind of the

whole point.

 

If you truly believe that a $100 recable completes you (and your audio rig), then why would you shatter the illusion by subjecting

yourself to a blind test? I think the same can be said about drawing green lines on your CD, vinyl vs CD, Flac vs Mp3 and other various

audiophile myths. Sometimes ignorance can save you a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on upgrading and buying new

equipment to achieve that elusive audio "nirvana". Other times... 

 

normal_smile%20.gif

 

If after repeated sighted listening test, you are still very positive that the "upgraded" cable was the better one, then I think your next move

should be very clear. DIY some silver cables and stop spending money on audio for a very long time. 

 

Edit: I know this is the Science forum but I just had to get it off my chest. 

 


Edited by Blue Boat - 10/31/11 at 2:43am
post #125 of 1025

Whilst it is tempting to just say "If it makes a difference for you, good," such an attitude has allowed a pervasive aura of B.S. to surround high-end audio, which makes it appear utterly insane to "outsiders" and severely hinders the efforts of someone such as myself who is trying to get the best sound for the least money. My first thread on Head-Fi was one of utter conclusion, trying to work out how the DACMagic could be both warm and bright, whilst simultaneously being better and worse than a competing product.

post #126 of 1025

Yo!

 

I stumbled into this thread after googling for my company out of boredom. I work at Eupen Cables.

 

I'd just wanted to mention, in regards to some companies selling our stuff as miracle cables for huge markups, you wouldn't believe how much kludging is involved in the production of our products. And frankly, it's not just here (actually, if we're to believe a huge reseller, who audits us regularly, we're pretty good), but more or less the same in ever other cable plant.

 

So if someone like JPS or Monster is making up stories about the copper and insulation of cables, you can slap them hard.

post #127 of 1025

Hi glowtape. Glad you found us beerchug.gif. Does Eupen sell cable to 'audiophile companies' who then dress it up and sell it on for big mark ups with psuedoscietific marketing? Or do you have any evidence of a link bteween how a cable is made and better sound quality?

post #128 of 1025


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prog Rock Man View Post

Hi glowtape. Glad you found us beerchug.gif. Does Eupen sell cable to 'audiophile companies' who then dress it up and sell it on for big mark ups with psuedoscietific marketing? Or do you have any evidence of a link bteween how a cable is made and better sound quality?



 

 

The Eupen AC Power Cables have built in line filters at both ends.

They are not just a cable with a magic conductor and magic insulator.

They are actually power conditioners.

Audio component power supplies (actually any linear or switchmode power supply) generate a fair amount of switching noise which is conducted down the power lines to the other components in your system.

I know this is true having worked beside switchmode power supply designers for many years.

I will leave the Eupen guy to tell us if this is audible, but linear power spplies generate a lot of 50 or 60 Hz harmonics. The rectifier diodes also generate noise as they turn on and off.

Power supply capacitors and linear power supply chips usually have poor noise rejection at high frequencies.

 

It's unfortunate that  JPS can't just stick to the facts and try and educate audiophiles  instead of passing along the standard marketing BS.

post #129 of 1025

I'm more on the manufacturing side of the cables themselves. I'm not that fluent in electronics. Nor do I know details about customers, but from what's been told, there's been product sourced by at least one premium cable company.

 

My main gripes with audiophiles and their cables is all the marketing ******** they're sucked in with. If it were up to Monster cable, you'd believe their products are assembled atom by atom at nano-level. Alone the process of drawing large gauge raw copper wire (half an inch thick) down to the thin strand copper braids you'll find in your usual speaker and power cables is pretty interesting. All the stretching and bending forces applied (because drawing copper is all about pulling and bending things to make them thinner and longer) to get to the end result doesn't leave any place for the advertised tight tolerances or copper purity "high end" cable sellers are advertising for. Nor would a manufacturing company do any special alloys or coating for whatever reason. While theoretically doable, all the manufacturing changes to make and test custom processes work are too expensive to be worth done, especially since we're talking about tiny runs of a few thousand meters per year only (Monster cables don't sell like hot cakes). "Silver-coated" wires are my favorite, it's most of the times just tin being sold as something else. And insulations are usually cheap PVC or PE (stiffer ones) or cheap rubber (really flexible ones), and they don't have any signal affecting properties apart from preventing a short circuit (you know, insulating...)

 

Premium cable companies order bog standard products and gift-wrap it. Manufacturing isn't going to get bent out of shape for special wishes, if we're talking about a few thousand meters only. And if, it'll be really expensive. Cutting the profit line expensive.

post #130 of 1025

So claims of the likes of very high purity copper are possible dubious?

post #131 of 1025
Quote:
Originally Posted by glowtape View Post

I'm more on the manufacturing side of the cables themselves. I'm not that fluent in electronics. Nor do I know details about customers, but from what's been told, there's been product sourced by at least one premium cable company.

 

My main gripes with audiophiles and their cables is all the marketing ******** they're sucked in with. If it were up to Monster cable, you'd believe their products are assembled atom by atom at nano-level. Alone the process of drawing large gauge raw copper wire (half an inch thick) down to the thin strand copper braids you'll find in your usual speaker and power cables is pretty interesting. All the stretching and bending forces applied (because drawing copper is all about pulling and bending things to make them thinner and longer) to get to the end result doesn't leave any place for the advertised tight tolerances or copper purity "high end" cable sellers are advertising for. Nor would a manufacturing company do any special alloys or coating for whatever reason. While theoretically doable, all the manufacturing changes to make and test custom processes work are too expensive to be worth done, especially since we're talking about tiny runs of a few thousand meters per year only (Monster cables don't sell like hot cakes). "Silver-coated" wires are my favorite, it's most of the times just tin being sold as something else. And insulations are usually cheap PVC or PE (stiffer ones) or cheap rubber (really flexible ones), and they don't have any signal affecting properties apart from preventing a short circuit (you know, insulating...)

 

Premium cable companies order bog standard products and gift-wrap it. Manufacturing isn't going to get bent out of shape for special wishes, if we're talking about a few thousand meters only. And if, it'll be really expensive. Cutting the profit line expensive.



Mr G.

Perhaps this explains why some audiophile cable companies charge so much?

Because the OEM charges so much for a small run of a few thousand feet?

Some of the cables I have seen cut open (for example Cardas) appear to be made specifically for Cardas.

Whether the special winding, conductors and insulators actually do anything different to the sound is another question entirely. 

 

post #132 of 1025

Purifying copper is done by electrolysis. It's an one-step process. The copper ions travel through the electrolytic solution (copper sulfate) from the impure anode to the cathode. The impurities fall to the bottom of the purifying pool. Electrolysis gets you the purest copper, and all copper used in electric applications has been purified that way. There might be really negligible variances in zinc build up, depending how much the electrolytic solution is filtered. However, there's no "higher purity" copper than what's generally used in cable manufacturing. For electric applications, there's essentially a single quality level with a certain purity tolerance. Repeated purification is a futile no-gains exercise, and not really profitable either, because electrolysis involves immense amounts of energy.

 

There is a potential step in the process that might reintroduce some minor impurities. To produce the raw wire, that's delivered to cable plants, the cathodes have to be melted and then extruded into the thick wire. But there's practically nothing you can do at this point.

 

FYI, this is second hand information, since we don't purify copper.

 

All the drawing of raw copper to thinner gauges may reintroduce additional impurities onto the wire surface. The oils in the drum pools of the drawing machines start collecting impurities (foreign materials, iron from machine wear, etc), that may layer on the drums that create the stretching forces and might press these particulate impurities into the surfaces. To prevent that, you'd have to very frequency filter and cycle the oils, as well scrub and replace the drums. But were talking about ridiculously minuscule amounts of impurities, so that makes it essentially a theoretical exercise.

 

As far as measuring the existence of impurities goes, this is really only possible measuring resistances and comparing it to reference levels. You'd however need to have really high build ups of crap, to measure something beyond the expected error.

post #133 of 1025

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post
Some of the cables I have seen cut open (for example Cardas) appear to be made specifically for Cardas.



As I said, it's possible to do custom constructions. As OEM, we'd mix and match various existing manufacturing steps to get close to the specification a client may want. A client can't however expect an OEM to introduce client specific new/additional steps. That's nowhere near profitable.

 

Take that JPS cable. If I got it correctly, they took one of our power cables, put braided shielding (Techflex?) and another cheap insulation around it. There's no reason why we couldn't have done it ourselves, because we have machinery that can endlessly spin braided shielding around a cable, which results in an intermediary product, over which we could extrude another insulation (which would be higher quality than some heat shrink). A client would however have to bleed out of their nose for such non-standard steps, it'd probably be cheaper to have some cheap labor to do the finishing on an existing product as needed.

 

As far as "special winding" goes, IIRC audiophile cables advertise with tighter windings, right? If so, that's a single parameter on the stranding machine.


Edited by glowtape - 11/8/11 at 10:44am
post #134 of 1025
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prog Rock Man View Post

So claims of the likes of very high purity copper are possible dubious?


Not necessarily. Some years ago I spoke with a rep at Phelps Dodge (now Freeport McMoRan) about their regular ol' OFHC copper wire (CDA101). It was certified at 99.9999% pure. And at the time sold for around $3 a pound. Nothing special about it at all. They were achieving that level of purity just as a matter of course.

 

What disturbs me is that some of the OCC propaganda out there includes a comparison of purity between OCC and OFHC. The OCC purity is given as 99.997% and OFHC as 99.99%. Well, the 99.99% figure is just the minimum purity required just to meet the CDA101 spec, NOT what the purity levels are of what's actually being produced.

 

se

post #135 of 1025

 

Glowtape, you wouldn't happen to be the Herr Heinrich I spoke to back in 2004 would you?

 

http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/general/messages/32/325908.html

 

se

 

 

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