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Audiophile cables, an interesting question. - Page 13

post #181 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAttorney View Post

Nicely put!

 

One could also say that measurements and DBT are valid scientific evidence. Just not sufficient scientific evidence.

When all the different evidences (?) are all in full alignment, then we have the answer that nobody can dispute. Other than another head-fier of course.
 

 



I think we are at that position now. We have numerous blind comparison, ABX and sighted tests with the same results, we have years of study by cable companies and amatures who ahve found no connection between how a cable is made, what it is made from and how it sounds and we have numerous experiemnts that show how the senses are interlinked and can be fooled.

post #182 of 1186

The funny thing is, if no DBTs had even been conducted I still wouldn't believe in cables. As I see it:

 

1. Existing science suggests cables do not do magical things to the sound. This is incontestable.

 

2. Audiophiles suggest they do, but fail to satisfy the burden of proof (reproducing these differences under controlled conditions). This is also rather hard to refute: Mr. Robert Harley of Stereophile presented a paper at the AES, declaring that there were audible differences in prettymuch everything, but they disappear under any types of controlled testing. If that's not an unfalsifiable claim with no supporting evidence (anecdotal listening reports are explained quite adequately with reference to psychology), I don't know what is.

 

With those two things being established, you can then logically go to step 3, exercising the mechanism by which we reject unfalsifiable claims with no supporting evidence as silly.

 

3. I hence do not give audiophile beliefs in cables any credibility.

 

DBTs are just trying to put things in the audiophile's court - (OK, so you think ears are better than everything. Fine, have a listen and distinguish these two things). The fact that cable believers reject this and then make out that the entire scientific argument rests on the DBTs done for their benefit says everything you need to know: you throw them a bone, but they stamp on it then try to stab you with the broken bits...

 

 


Edited by Willakan - 1/10/12 at 12:25pm
post #183 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willakan View Post

This is also rather hard to refute: Mr Harley of Stereophile presented a paper at the AES, declaring that there were audible differences in prettymuch everything, but they disappear under any types of controlled testing.


I just love this so much, every time I read about it. I need to patent the phrase "Schrodinger's Cable". Obviously within a cable exists two potential signal states at once, the changed and unchanged signal. When an audiophile (and only a true audiophile, perhaps with some unicorn blood in his or her family) listens to the cable sighted, the potential collapses into the changed signal. When a non-audiophile listens, or when anyone listens blind, the potential collapses into the unchanged signal. See? Quantum mechanics explains everything!

post #184 of 1186

The DBT is essentially the "experimental physics" for the underlying theory.  It's not necessary in the proof, but it helps in the demonstration.

post #185 of 1186

The Audio Critic actually kept a running commentary on Robert Harley's outrageous distortions of established science throughout the 90s, even going so far to speak of the dreadful "Harleyfication of digital theory."

 

If it were not for him, we wouldn't have people gibbering on about picoseconds of jitter and spending extortionate sums on reducing it, despite no real evidence you can actually hear it in even pretty large quantities+ideal conditions. Hell, if you're feeling paranoid (which I am) you don't really have to spend much to reduce jitter to silly-small amounts - my DACMagic makes a pretty damn good job of it, but is excluded from the ranks of the high-end by a relatively insignificant price tag, the audiophile aversion to anything that might possibly be a switching wallwart (even when it isn't anything of the sort) and the absence of some "fully discrete" output stage or similar marketing woo to justify an inflated price tag.


Edited by Willakan - 1/10/12 at 12:34pm
post #186 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willakan View Post

The funny thing is, if no DBTs had even been conducted I still wouldn't believe in cables. As I see it:

 

snip...


Me too.  Even without the negative DBTs there's still no good reason to believe it.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post

I just love this so much, every time I read about it. I need to patent the phrase "Schrodinger's Cable". Obviously within a cable exists two potential signal states at once, the changed and unchanged signal. When an audiophile (and only a true audiophile, perhaps with some unicorn blood in his or her family) listens to the cable sighted, the potential collapses into the changed signal. When a non-audiophile listens, or when anyone listens blind, the potential collapses into the unchanged signal. See? Quantum mechanics explains everything!


Its like the opposite of the uncertainty principle.

 

Harley's certainty principle states that magic cables only effect the sound when the listener knows what they're listening to.  There is clearly some sort of quantum entanglement between the cable and the listener.  The next step is to figure out how this entanglement is created at the factory and why it always matched the person who essentially buys a cable at random from the available stock.  Imagine the predictive capability needed to orchestrate such a phenomenon!

 

Now on a serious note...

 

The above might just sound like some sort of elaborate joke but it actually serves an important purpose.  Skeptics are often accused of "lacking imagination" or refusing to "think outside the box" by advocates of woo for rejecting unsupported beliefs when in fact the opposite is often true.  People who believe in psychics, magic cables, and other types of woo rarely consider the full ramifications of their beliefs.  How would the world be different if the world actually operated according to the mechanisms they propose or if the things they claim had actually happened.  If there are psychics who can read minds then why has there never been a case of stolen financial information via telepathy.  If there are real psychokinetics then why don't they rob buildings by unlocking doors with their minds or clean up in Vegas playing dice games?

 

Cables are the same.  If they do make a difference then how does it make a difference?  Our current knowledge places some rather large constrains on the possibilities.  The differences don't show up on our most sensitive test equipment, they only occur in this specific application and have never been measured or detected anywhere else, they disappear when we properly control for other variables, and its manifestation also mimics well known psychological biases and cognitive failures.  Given those circumstances why would you ever believe it it to be true until presented with some sort of new and very substantial evidence.  Because of that, pretty much any argument in favor of the woo is either unfalsifiable and therefore pointless to consider or susceptible to amusing reductio ad absurdum.

 

Its not just a joke and I'm not making fun of anyone.  I'm using my imagination and thinking outside of the box.  How could a claim be true and what effect would it have on the world if it was?  How would a world where the claim was true differ from a world where it wasn't and which world does ours most closely resemble?  If its implications would cause other secondary things which we do not observe then the claim probably isn't true.

post #187 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willakan View Post

The Audio Critic actually kept a running commentary on Robert Harley's outrageous distortions of established science throughout the 90s, even going so far to speak of the dreadful "Harleyfication of digital theory."


Is any of that online or summarize in one place?  Sounds funny to me.

post #188 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by maverickronin View Post


Is any of that online or summarize in one place?  Sounds funny to me.



http://www.theaudiocritic.com/cwo/Back_Issues/

 

You have to wade through the issues but it is well worth the effort- look out for the SHEESH fund segments - priceless !

 

post #189 of 1186

The relevant section for the scientific howler-watch is "Hip Boots: Wading Through the Mire of Misinformation in the Audio Press." It is very aptly named.

post #190 of 1186

Thanks.  I'll take a look at that when I get a chance.

post #191 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willakan View Post

The funny thing is, if no DBTs had even been conducted I still wouldn't believe in cables. As I see it:

 

1. Existing science suggests cables do not do magical things to the sound. This is incontestable.

 

2. Audiophiles suggest they do, but fail to satisfy the burden of proof (reproducing these differences under controlled conditions). This is also rather hard to refute: Mr. Robert Harley of Stereophile presented a paper at the AES, declaring that there were audible differences in prettymuch everything, but they disappear under any types of controlled testing. If that's not an unfalsifiable claim with no supporting evidence (anecdotal listening reports are explained quite adequately with reference to psychology), I don't know what is.

 

With those two things being established, you can then logically go to step 3, exercising the mechanism by which we reject unfalsifiable claims with no supporting evidence as silly.

 

3. I hence do not give audiophile beliefs in cables any credibility.

 

DBTs are just trying to put things in the audiophile's court - (OK, so you think ears are better than everything. Fine, have a listen and distinguish these two things). The fact that cable believers reject this and then make out that the entire scientific argument rests on the DBTs done for their benefit says everything you need to know: you throw them a bone, but they stamp on it then try to stab you with the broken bits...

 

 


1.  Suggestions are certainly uncontestable.  Existing science absolutely provides mechanisms whereby power cords and IC's do affect the system. To state otherwise is unscientific..

 

2.  Concurrence.

 

3.  It would be foolish to adopt this stance.  You can easily be proven incorrect.

 

Properly performed DBT's which control for all human response foibles are a good thing.

 

Cheers, jn
 

 

post #192 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willakan View Post

 snip....we wouldn't have people gibbering on about picoseconds of jitter and spending extortionate sums on reducing it, despite no real evidence you can actually hear it in even pretty large quantities+ideal conditions....snip

If I recall correctly, signal jitter will push through the system as analog noise whenever the receiver reconstructs the timing clock via the jittery input transitions..  I do not recall specific level of effect details (it's not my bailiwick), nor the author (was thinking Hawksford, but am not sure).

 

Cheers, jn

post #193 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnjn View Post

If I recall correctly, signal jitter will push through the system as analog noise whenever the receiver reconstructs the timing clock via the jittery input transitions..  I do not recall specific level of effect details (it's not my bailiwick), nor the author (was thinking Hawksford, but am not sure).

 

Cheers, jn


Then by extension if the signal is reclocked but noise remains well below audibility, there should be no problem right?

post #194 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post


Then by extension if the signal is reclocked but noise remains well below audibility, there should be no problem right?


As I stated, it is not my bailiwick.  However, what you say does indeed seem reasonable.

 

Cheers, jn

post #195 of 1186

@jnjn:

 

Not entirely sure to what extent you agree with me!

 

I agree entirely that science does provide mechanisms whereby cables can affect the sound, just not the magic ones beloved of audiophiles, that are invariably dependent on some unknown aspect of the cable. As for my foolishly adopted stance, it is one that I feel that one must adopt by logical necessity when faced with unfalsifiable claims with no supporting evidence, lest I seriously entertain the possibility that I am followed by invisible, incorporeal gnomes. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell's_teapot

 

Or is your criticism of pt.3 (and indeed 1) more a squabble over semantics? Technically, some audiophile ideas about cables make sense (sufficient gauge, that sort of thing), but I think you know to what I refer.

 

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