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Audiophile cables, an interesting question. - Page 18

post #256 of 1186
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Looking to a high end cable manufacturer for info on audibility of high end cables is like putting a fox in charge of your chicken house.

Have you read it?
I understand where you're coming from, really i do. But if we don't trust manufacturers (cos's they're evil) and we don't trust magazines/web sites (cos they're sponsored by evil companies) then we are left with very little to go on.

Us mere mortals tend not to have the resources, access to equipment or experience to properly set up the tests. And finally as mentioned earlier, it's going to be impossible to be sure if a test is done by a group which is not biased one way or another in any case. Which is why i'm interested in the one to which steve refers.
post #257 of 1186
Originally Posted by x838nwy View Post


^ some measurements that may be of interest.

Seems rather a dog and pony show. Why are all the scales in the graphs unreadable? Their methodology doesn't appear to be terribly rigorous either. The results could easily be due to measurement error.
Steve, can you send me a link to the test? Thanks smily_headphones1.gif

This was discussed years ago on the Usenet newsgroups. Get in touch with Tom and I'm sure he'll be happy to answer any questions. http://www.nousaine.com

post #258 of 1186

I started a thread on the Acuity partnership when it first started a few years ago - it looked like the best chance of anybody being able to explain sound differences of cables etc by measurements. But the first sets of published results were poorly presented (e.g. no scale printed on graphs), so I lost interest, and the Sound Scientists tore it apart.


This latest set from Nordost looks much better presented. Of course, anyone selling anything will want to present the most positive spin they can, but Steve asked for evidence and here is some. Can the Sound Scientists put their prejudices aside for long enough to actually examine the evidence?


Edit: Ah, Steve, posted whilst I was typing. Yes, the scales are hard to read, but the principles of what the're saying is at least food for thought.

Edited by TheAttorney - 4/6/14 at 12:01am
post #259 of 1186
Personally, I don't doubt that different cables measure differently. I just don't think the differences are audible. Instead of graphs and charts based on electrical measurements, I'd like to see well controlled double blind tests demonstrating there is an audible difference. Once an audible difference is established, then I'd like to see tests that demonstrate which configuration is most accurate.
post #260 of 1186
IMHO double blind testing does measure the difference between cables or component as well as testing the listener capability to differentiate between things that being tested(if there was any difference)
post #261 of 1186
Originally Posted by TheAttorney View Post

Edit: Ah, Steve, posted whilst I was typing. Yes, the scales are hard to read, but the principles of what the're saying is at least food for thought.

Hard to read? Try absolutely impossible to read.

As for the principles of what they're saying, they're simply talking about difference testing. That's been around for decades. And consider what they're doing. They're taking a wav file, running it through a CD player's digital to analog converter, then running the output of that through an analog to digital converter with apparently no synchronization of the two clocks, comparing them to the original wav file and saying "Oh look! There's a difference!" And the "difference" trace doesn't even look like what you'd expect to see in a difference trace. It looks for all the world like a waveform snippet from a piece of music. Whatever it is, it's certainly NOT the difference of the two snippets shown above it.

It's amateurish and laughable. This "test" shouldn't even be brought up in any sort of serious discussion.

post #262 of 1186
I'm sure an email to nordost would sort this out? I'll give that a try.
post #263 of 1186
Originally Posted by x838nwy View Post

I'm sure an email to nordost would sort this out? I'll give that a try.

Go for it.

post #264 of 1186
Oh, and while you're at it, ask them why this "groundbreaking" work of theirs has never been published except as marketing literature. The pro audio guys are always publishing in peer-reviewed journals such as the JAES. But the so-called "high end" audio guys (who often look down their noses at pro audio) never seem to get beyond marketing literature.

post #265 of 1186
A big fan here of Science Fiction.
post #266 of 1186
Originally Posted by x838nwy View Post

I'm sure an email to nordost would sort this out? I'll give that a try.

You can do that.  I have.  More dog and pony replies.  There are many things wrong with the test.  Search www.diyaudio.com from some detail critique when it first came out.


If nothing else, they emphasize how the difference is greater on transients.  You see transients are another way of saying higher frequencies.  And difference testing shows the most difference at higher frequencies when there is a phase difference or timing mismatch.  That to me is the largest most obvious failing they have.  There are a few others.  In short, we can discuss it in more detail, but you are wasting your time.  This is bogus.

post #267 of 1186

Since we seemed to have revived this ancient thread, let me remind you all to keep an open mind as posted previously in this thread on page 7:




post #268 of 1186

Sent this on their "contact us" page



I have a question regarding your document "New Approaches to Audio Measurement". I know how this might sound like another smart-arse trying to prove himself, but I am a fan of your products and have been for a long time so I'm not trying to do any of that crap.

Anyhow, on head-fi there's yet another thread about whether cables actually make a difference. The documents cited in favor of audiophile cables include yours. Criticisms are abound mostly regarding the plots and scales that do not appear to be legible or in fact what they claim to be.

The thread itself is at http://www.head-fi.org/t/572588/audiophile-cables-an-interesting-question/

I wonder if anyone from Nordost care to comment.

If you do not have an account, please any reply to me e-mail address.

Thank you



Hopefully they will reply either here or to me. Any I receive, I will post here.

post #269 of 1186
Originally Posted by ab initio View Post

Since we seemed to have revived this ancient thread, let me remind you all to keep an open mind as posted previously in this thread on page 7:





Well, that's great. Though I must also point out that things are not always as clear-cut as they seem. A great deal of people who claim that cables make no difference seem to consider placebo to be the only possible explanation for any differences claimed. Along with that, there seems to be a false trust in double-blind tests - subjects who go into the test believing that there is NO difference between any of the cables will give results exactly according to his/her assumption/bias/belief. Is this scientific?


So one side clings on to (a) placebo and (b) the holiness of the double blind test.

The other keeps banging on about (c) I can hear it, so it must be real and (d) pseudoscientific concepts.


I don't see one side as more rational than another. In fact, I see more evidence sympathetic to the latter. Consider that:

1.) There're a lot of places that do a 30 day return on cables. There are many places that lend out cables for home trials.

2.) Places like Audiogon, eBay, Head-fi, etc., etc. allow people to list their cable, unimpeded from the manufacturers.


These two facts make trying to fleece people for huge bucks on cables that do practically nothing different to the free one they got very, very hard, surely. We're not talking about a cable that's perhaps not worth the price difference, but we're talking about something that's NO DIFFERENT from what you had earlier so okay, let's say 50% of the time, the placebo effect takes hold and people spend their thousands on the new cable, but the 50% would be sent back, surely.


Searching on eBay, I'm getting 182 results for Nordost, 283 for Cardas, and 11 for JPS labs. These guys have been selling cables since time began, so there should be more of their alleged scams being sold off on the web surely? (6,585 for Monster Cable, incidentally.) And I'm including fake cardas's and nordosts's here too, btw.


If one goes by logic, if I've paid $1,000 for a pair of interconnects that don't do anything I got for $50, then why keep them both and waste $1,000? Why not sell the expensive one  for 5-600 or something? Better yet, return them? Of all unaffected by the placebo effects, surely 100% would take this route as such we should see way more of them for sale, surely?


We also have the fact that people willing to throw thousands at their cables tend to compare different brands. I wonder how expectation bias works here? Say Cardas being proven, tried and tested, Kubala Sosnas being new and different… so how are we going to go with this? Where will the bias take us? Is it really complex enough to also reflect in totally imaginary differences between brands too? If it's all that, surely we should be look at reviews of amps, headphones and all sorts of stuff in a different light, but then again, are those measurable differences between amps actually audible?


Lastly (3) brands keep coming up with different models of cables.

I'm from the far east, so I know about fake things and things pretending to be what they're not. The thing i find odd is that if someone, say JPS labs makes totally normal cables that perform no different to 'normal' ones but sell them at outrageous prices, then what's the need to make more or newer models? If the answer is to re-fool the fool who paid for the old model then surely this is going to be a smaller and smaller market and not really a great model to go on. If it's to drum up the market and get people excited and rush out to buy their stuff then why do they come up with new cables very rarely? It's not like car makers with their 5 year cycle or whatever, cables seem to be released new very rarely and with very little fanfare.


May be they're amazing con-men, but this does not appear to be activities of people who make things that don't really work. If I were to try to make as much money as I can selling crap cables, I'd make crazy claims, use similarly crazy pricing and I will be out of a business in no time. But guys like George Cardas have been at this for a long time and remain respected members of the industry. Also many component manufacturers use internal wires from a specific manufacturer. Why would they want to use these expensive components if there's no difference between these and plain simple wires? (Before you say it's for boutique-value, how many actually advertise that they use specific brands of internal wires?)


It seems to me that there are many more factors we should take into account before putting it all down to cons and placebos. Again, that's may be me being close-minded.

post #270 of 1186
The reason that I don't go running off after every "cable breakthrough" that comes along isn't because I have bias and don't think scientiifically... It's because I've been down that rabbit hole too many times in the past.

I only have so many days of life to live. I have a stereo. I want it to sound good. I'm going to spend my time on things that make a significant difference, not the things that people can't even decide if there *is* a difference.

Assuming I did suspect that cables made a difference, after hitting the wall a few times, I would give up. Even if I still believed cables were important after getting shown they don't, I would just drop the subject and move on to other things. But it seems that cable fans can't do that. Their egos make them keep grabbing at any straw that comes along over and over and over... I don't have the patience or tenacity for that.

For me, it's a matter of priorities, not bias. I have bigger fish to fry.

I'd address your questions about the psychology of snake oil too, but again, been there, done that. (no offense intended)
Edited by bigshot - 4/7/14 at 11:01am
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