Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › Audiophile cables, an interesting question.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Audiophile cables, an interesting question. - Page 3

post #31 of 1126

These are the best cable blind test I've run across.  Are there any other documented tests worth looking at?

 

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_11_4/feature-article-blind-test-power-cords-12-2004.html

http://home.provide.net/~djcarlst/abx_wire.htm

post #32 of 1126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elysian View Post

These are the best cable blind test I've run across.  Are there any other documented tests worth looking at?

 

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_11_4/feature-article-blind-test-power-cords-12-2004.html

http://home.provide.net/~djcarlst/abx_wire.htm


There was an amusing test, though maybe not as significant, run right here on Head-fi. I think it was power cables. Members took turns listening to a set of three cables hidden by covers with different shapes. All of this was done in their home, on their own equipment, at their own pace, so there was minimal pressure and no good excuse for unfamiliarity. There were lots of nice poetic descriptions of the sound of the cables, but very few testers distinguished the "audiophile" quality cable from the cheapo one, and I'm not sure if anyone managed it significantly. I don't want to look for a link right now, maybe later. It might be in the Testing Audiophile Myths thread.

post #33 of 1126

I have found some audible differences in some RCA car audio cables that I have used. I have used some Rockford fosgate RCAs and monster, and the very good radio shack brand RCAs. The sound characteristics changed quite a bit for me when I replaced my Rockford and radio shack cables with all monster cables that have two different diameters of stranded copper wire. The thought about using different diameters "Gage" of strands is that one diameter will transmit certain freqs better than other freqs.

 

Here is what they say about the technology.

 "This patented multi-Gage wire construction ensures that all the highs, mids and lows, which move at different speeds, arrive from your player perfectly timed. The result is more accurate audio reproduction, and a better listening experience".

 

This seems to be an interesting concept.

 

I noticed that they actually sounded better than my fosgate and radio shack cables. Otherwise I would have just put them back. The sound detail in the upper freqs were quite a bit better, and the mids were less digested and clear. The bass was the same audibly to me.

 

I want to experiment with building my own cables with silver wire, and using three different diameters and having an air gap between the silicone

insulation and wires. I believe it would be better to keep the different wires separated from each other to reduce capacitance between the wires and such, since capacitance can act as a filter to the audio signal. Proper shielding from the source and preamp is vital as well. I've heard plenty of noise coming through in car applications. Actually the shielding needs to be grounded at the amplifier, rather than the preamp, contrary to popular belief, and the preamp side left ungrounded to relieve ground loop feedback.

 

I also believe the quality of solder used, and the skill level on whoever soldered the wires will have a big impact on quality as well. Were the metal surfaces properly prepared before the solder, etc. 

 

I will probably use silver plated copper wire instead of pure silver to keep the costs down, and since the electrons theoretically flow on the surface of the wire anyway. 

 

I noticed a difference on the speaker cables as well concerning the Gage used. I replaced some 22GA with some 18GA and it was a pretty big difference in quality to me. After listening to a system for a long time and making just one small change can make a pretty significant impact overall.

 

This thread also brings up another somewhat related topic of passive crossovers vs. full range speakers. A passive crossover can act a a pretty significant "wire" between the speakers and amplifiers, not to mention the distortion caused by the filter capacitors, power resistors, and air coil inductors, which are essentially just a single, very long wire to begin with, and more connections to contend with.   

post #34 of 1126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Megaohmz View Post

 


All blind tests right?

 

post #35 of 1126
Head Injury, that was Edwood's cable test and I believe it was done with interconnects. Of course, no one could tell a difference.

All this cable talk reminds me of something I stumbled across the other day: N-Rays.

Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N_ray

Just like cables and various sacred audiophile totems, N-Rays could only be detected by humans while defying any and all attempts to measure or quantify them.

How the N-Ray theory got pantsed is a good story I won't spoil here.

The difference between cables and N-Rays is that people in 1903 had the integrity to call BS.
post #36 of 1126



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post


All blind tests right?

 


I quite frequently change cables between equipment and notice a difference almost all of the time. I replaced the original cable from a set of Sennheiser HD570s with a few different cables, one from Radio Shack, and one I made and there is a difference always. The last post was just one example of a pretty big difference I experienced. I have also changed RCA cables between my Dual 701 turntable and Marantz 2270 receiver and noticed an extreme difference, since the RCA that was soldered in place within the turntable was the original from 1973. I have built probably about 200 or so computer video cables in my time and if you get one wire soldered wrong, or if it is a weak solder then it drastically affects video quality on a video test. Same with audio. It boils down to wire quality: inherent resistance of the material used for making wire, whether it is stranded or solid, length of wire, if the connections will corrode over time, etc. Some people don't notice a difference it makes, but if you listen for a minute or so and then let your ears settle in to the sound of one cable, and then change it you might notice a difference for better or worse.

 

Shielding quality is a big factor especially in a CD/Whatever to Eq to preamp stage to amplifier. If the shielding is poor, then you will almost always get noise from EMF. And between each piece of stereo equipment, the noise will be additive in nature, also depending on how long the cables are. 

 

There seems to me to be a significant devaluation of the appreciation of quality audio equipment here. I guess we can all just go back to using lamp wire for use as speaker wire?

 


Edited by Megaohmz - 9/24/11 at 12:28am
post #37 of 1126

Quote:

Originally Posted by Megaohmz View Post



 


I quite frequently change cables between equipment and notice a difference almost all of the time. I replaced the original cable from a set of Sennheiser HD570s with a few different cables, one from Radio Shack, and one I made and there is a difference always. The last post was just one example of a pretty big difference I experienced. I have also changed RCA cables between my Dual 701 turntable and Marantz 2270 receiver and noticed an extreme difference, since the RCA that was soldered in place within the turntable was the original from 1973. I have built probably about 200 or so computer video cables in my time and if you get one wire soldered wrong, or if it is a weak solder then it drastically affects video quality on a video test. Same with audio. It boils down to wire quality: inherent resistance of the material used for making wire, whether it is stranded or solid, length of wire, if the connections will corrode over time, etc. Some people don't notice a difference it makes, but if you listen for a minute or so and then let your ears settle in to the sound of one cable, and then change it you might notice a difference for better or worse.

 

Shielding quality is a big factor especially in a CD/Whatever to Eq to preamp stage to amplifier. If the shielding is poor, then you will almost always get noise from EMF. And between each piece of stereo equipment, the noise will be additive in nature, also depending on how long the cables are. 

 

There seems to me to be a significant devaluation of the appreciation of quality audio equipment here. I guess we can all just go back to using lamp wire for use as speaker wire?

 

Firstly, you didn't answer the question.

The sentence in bold is just so incredibly elitist I don't really feel saying why would make you come across any worse.
 

 

post #38 of 1126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Megaohmz View Post

The thought about using different diameters "Gage" of strands is that one diameter will transmit certain freqs better than other freqs.

Here is what they say about the technology.

 "This patented multi-Gage wire construction ensures that all the highs, mids and lows, which move at different speeds, arrive from your player perfectly timed. The result is more accurate audio reproduction, and a better listening experience".

 

This seems to be an interesting concept.


Wow, that explains it then. I just always thought that drummers were too drunk to play the high-hat in time with the kick drum. biggrin.gif

I'm sorry, but marketing BS does not constitute proof. Makes you wonder though, how cable companies have managed to get away with inventing these sorts of sciencey sounding "facts" for years? If you tried this with almost any other sort of product you find yourself in trouble pretty quick. Anyone know why cable companies are able to get away with this BS?

As stated on the first page of this thread, if a cable is corroded or malfunctioning of course differences can be heard. In the case of an extremely poorly soldered dry joint or a disconnected wire, obviously a difference can be heard if the cable is not passing audio or passing it intermittently. Differences may also be significant enough to be heard if the gauge of cable is incorrect for the task, especially over long runs.

Shielding quality is only an issue if you have extreme levels of EMF. Otherwise the shielding found on stock cables is entirely adequate.

If you truly can hear a difference with RCA cables or headphone cables then contact Uncle Erik, I'm sure he has some contacts in the business and as he says, you could make a fortune for doing nothing but listening to music.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Megaohmz View Post

There seems to me to be a significant devaluation of the appreciation of quality audio equipment here. I guess we can all just go back to using lamp wire for use as speaker wire?

I would put it a little differently: "There seems to me to be a significant over-valuation of the appreciation of audio equipment marketing hype." Just because a cable is more expensive does not make it any higher quality or better at passing audio than a stock cable. I can be reasonably certain that I have higher quality audio equipment than you do but that is irrelevant to this discussion of expensive after market cables, inaudible differences and placebo effect. Would you please explain why lamp wire would not be suitable for use as speaker wire?

G
Edited by gregorio - 9/24/11 at 2:46am
post #39 of 1126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

Are you talking about opamps or cables?

They're not exactly interchangeable.

It can be demonstrated that a room changes the way a loudspeaker sounds. But you cannot say that the same room would change the way a cable "sounds."

Also, I'm very interested in the listening tests you took and passed. Please tell us more. Because if you can truly hear the difference, blind, you would be unique among six billion humans.

I imagine you could land a healthy six-figure income testing cables for manufacturers. You could probably consult with major studios, as well.

So go for it. It'd be great if you could pull down huge money from your special hearing ability. Whatever you're doing for a living now is a waste of your talents. You could make a lot more money and get to listen to music all day.

Even better, you could rub your money in the faces of skeptics and humiliate all of us.

Isn't that reason enough?


Uncle Erik, if you so insist then let me write about my superb hearing.

 

   The story began when I wasn't yet much into audio, abou 6 or 7 years ago. Some portable Sennheisers and a mp3 player being all my equipment, so I wasn't really councious about the talent I had. Fortunatly at that time, after years of pause from audio, my father bought himself a pair of Cabasse speakers, basic floorstanding model. He used the speakers with and old Denon amp and a cheap Marantz Cd player he bought out of interest of it's tda1541 dac chip, nothing grand.

   From time to time he was buying a speaker or interconnect cable and we listened for differences. None of the cables we used at that time was expensive or super-audiophile, yet we could both hear same differences. Please remember that at that time I was not much into audio so brands and types of cables told me really nothing. Also, cables were lying one along the other, with only one pair connected at a time, so I didn't even see which cable was plugged. After my father had already a small collection of different non-expensive cables he organised a blind test for me, again, at that time I didn't really understand what was the problem, differences were clear. So i sat with my eyes closed while the cables were switched, and I was describing differences I heard. After a few tries we discontinued the test with conclusion that cables do make a difference. I can recall two brands, tchick yellow nakamichi cables, and klotz gy107, I remembered the model because we both agreed that the latter brought big improvements in sonics. Numerous times later we used various klotz cables considering them a very nice bang for buck.

   As the time passed the equipment got better, and cables started being somewhat costly. I must stress that not every pair of cables was distinguishable at this level, and not every expensive cable sounded better. Last time we made a blind test we both could hear a difference between Kimber 4pr ( it might have been 8pr, I simply remember it was Kimber) and some Vovox silvered copper in teflon interconnects, the CDP was Arcam cd17 with hybrid amp (Haiku or smth like that), speakers stayed the same.

   On the other hand when I compared some basic Kimber IC with conducfil 8030 on my system I couldn't hear definitive differences even though it was 100% sighted test, I even switched the cables myself.

   It surprises me that there are documented test where people could really not hear a single difference. While I'm no master electrician and I can't (not yet at least) present you with scientific proof, I can say I passed a blind test on cables without even the bias of knowing what's the pressure on such tests and cables. Surely, this post will probably be cut to pieces and hugely criticized but I can't be more specific without writing a few pags descriptions of the lenght of my hair, air humidity and temperature during the test, or other stupid details. Some will always believe that cables make no difference, others that they do.

 

PS. A few years before the above mentioned tests were carried out I had my hearing measured with no sign of hearing damage or anything that would imply it's above normal. I also had my hearing measured at the age of 18, 2 or 3 years after the first tests, and results stated the same, no damage or bat-ears certificate.

 

post #40 of 1126

Hi MaciekN. Regarding blind testing, here are loads of them including many on cables

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/486598/testing-audiophile-claims-and-myths

 

Some blind tests are 'passes' in that they are comparison tests where people know they are listening to different cables and find differences. Consistently the results are that cheap and expensive are as likely to be preferred as each other. When you switch to ABX testing, where you have to identify which cable is which, then no one has passed a test.

 

Are your tests comparison or ABX?

post #41 of 1126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Megaohmz View Post



 


I quite frequently change cables between equipment and notice a difference almost all of the time. I replaced the original cable from a set of Sennheiser HD570s with a few different cables, one from Radio Shack, and one I made and there is a difference always. The last post was just one example of a pretty big difference I experienced. I have also changed RCA cables between my Dual 701 turntable and Marantz 2270 receiver and noticed an extreme difference, since the RCA that was soldered in place within the turntable was the original from 1973. I have built probably about 200 or so computer video cables in my time and if you get one wire soldered wrong, or if it is a weak solder then it drastically affects video quality on a video test. Same with audio. It boils down to wire quality: inherent resistance of the material used for making wire, whether it is stranded or solid, length of wire, if the connections will corrode over time, etc. Some people don't notice a difference it makes, but if you listen for a minute or so and then let your ears settle in to the sound of one cable, and then change it you might notice a difference for better or worse.

 

Shielding quality is a big factor especially in a CD/Whatever to Eq to preamp stage to amplifier. If the shielding is poor, then you will almost always get noise from EMF. And between each piece of stereo equipment, the noise will be additive in nature, also depending on how long the cables are. 

 

There seems to me to be a significant devaluation of the appreciation of quality audio equipment here. I guess we can all just go back to using lamp wire for use as speaker wire?

 




Many cable companies appeal to build quality as a reason why their cables sound better. Surely if there is a weak solder then the cable is faulty? No one is going to argue against faulty cables sounding worse. The same is true for shielding. The issue is when two equally well made cables are found to sound different. What is causing that?

 

Here is a thread that looked at what cable companies claimed about how they make their cables and sound qaulity

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/556398/cables-the-role-of-hype-and-the-missing-link

 

What is missing is a link between build quality and construction type and sound quality. It appears no matter how well made a cable is and how it is made, each cable company's own cable is the best sounding. That in itself is a massive contradiction and if anything shows any well made cable will do as well as any other.

 

So any difference in sound qaulity is not from the cable itself, it is caused by the listener and is best expalined by placebo, buyer justification, psychoacoustics etc.

post #42 of 1126

Prog Rock Man, the tests I've described were just comparison test without the knowledge of which cable is plugged atm. I was not picking cables because I simply didn't know which is which, I was describing the changes because I lacked names.  I knew nothing about them yet the differences I heard seemed to correlate with what my father had heard in his sighted test, the results of which I learned after I made my opinion on a given cable. It was meant to be more fun than science. If you say (well, link to tests that show it) that 100% of poeple who took ABX tests with cables failed, then I would most probably be no different.

 

I am not a proponent of expensive cables, and I confessed that not every cable made an audible difference.

 

As for cables advertising, every manufacturer, no matter the product, will usually say his is the best one. Rarely is advertising rational, isn't it? ;)

 

It seems that only if I take an ABX test between cables, which I would probably fail, I could say that I eliminated placebo from my judgement. In every other type of test I could be making it up. I find it quite stunning, because I thought the differences were clear, at least in some cases. So my senses mislead me severely everytime I heard a new cable, which, again, feels odd. Had my eyes lied to me this way I would be long dead by now. The only upside of this is that I must have a great imagination.

 

I would like to ask out of pure curiousity, how many poeple here tried an ABX on cables?

post #43 of 1126
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaciekN View Post

Prog Rock Man, the tests I've described were just comparison test without the knowledge of which cable is plugged atm. I was not picking cables because I simply didn't know which is which, I was describing the changes because I lacked names.  I knew nothing about them yet the differences I heard seemed to correlate with what my father had heard in his sighted test, the results of which I learned after I made my opinion on a given cable. It was meant to be more fun than science. If you say (well, link to tests that show it) that 100% of poeple who took ABX tests with cables failed, then I would most probably be no different.

 

I am not a proponent of expensive cables, and I confessed that not every cable made an audible difference.

 

As for cables advertising, every manufacturer, no matter the product, will usually say his is the best one. Rarely is advertising rational, isn't it? wink.gif

 

It seems that only if I take an ABX test between cables, which I would probably fail, I could say that I eliminated placebo from my judgement. In every other type of test I could be making it up. I find it quite stunning, because I thought the differences were clear, at least in some cases. So my senses mislead me severely everytime I heard a new cable, which, again, feels odd. Had my eyes lied to me this way I would be long dead by now. The only upside of this is that I must have a great imagination.

 

I would like to ask out of pure curiousity, how many poeple here tried an ABX on cables?


I've done ABX on cables, couldn't tell a difference, there are links on the top of this page (page 3) to some DBTs. There have been hundreds of them, even large prize money offered to anyone who could pass a DBT. To be honest you would need hearing at least 100-1000 times better than perfect hearing to stand a chance of hearing any differences.

I see audiophiles quite often plainly deny they could be susceptible to placebo effect or aural illusion. Even if, like you, some people are more open minded to the possibility of aural illusions, they still seem surprised they may have been victim to it. The truth is that not only are we all susceptible to aural illusion, but it is essential that we are. Psychoacoustics teaches us that music, harmony, chords and even notes themselves are a shared aural illusion, film and TV relies on the fact that everyone can be easily aurally deceived. Check this out (McGurk Effect). Eyesight is no different, colour is a pure invention of our perception and, does the world disappear every time you blink?

The world would be a terribly boring place without the differences between perception and reality.

G
post #44 of 1126

Yea I agree totally. That is why I am a big fan of the "cheaper, but getting way more expensive Radio Shack gold RCAs". They are pretty darn good quality build, and shielding is as good as it can be. One problem is the interconnects here in Hawaii will oxidize even if they are "gold" plated. I don't think that is real gold on the shack's stuff or on allot of other brands. I really want to get an electroplating kit in silver and gold so I can just do it myself. The silver kit can be used for plating the wires and gold for the interconnects and speaker wire connections.

post #45 of 1126

WOW!  The McGurk Effect is mind blowing, every Head Fi-er needs to see this.

 

Question #1: Megaohm, when you replaced the 22 AWG speaker cable with 18 AWG how long was the cable run?

 

Question #2:  G, my understanding is that many recording engineers often use different mic cables for a different sound? Fact or fiction or just outright BS?

 

Comment: Somewhere on the Audio Asylum website there is thread regarding a rumour that JPS Cable Company sells two models of power cords which they purchase from a company called EMC Eupen. Apparently there is a huge mark up on these cables.  Do they make an audible difference?  The two models of EMC Eupen cables both have built in EMI line filters. Many pre-amps, power amps, CD players etc have EMI filters on the AC input so draw your own conclusions.

 

Another comment: several years ago I tried using an audiophile speaker cable (sorry, can't remember the brand name) on an Audiolab 8000P power amp I used to own. After a while I noticed that one channel on the power amp was getting hot. I put an ocsilloscope on the output:  the amp was ocsillating at approx. 1 megaHz. The waveform was sinusoidal so the amp was not clipping but I would be very surprised if this would not be detrimental to the sound of the amp.  However, at this point I disconnected the cable so I have no opinion as to what this did to the sound of the amp. As we all know, power amp designers go to great lengths to prevent their amps from oscallating when the load is too reactive. The oscillation would have probably been caused by the speaker cable having too much capacitance.

 

And another comment........it would be interesting to get a metallurgists take on using (for example) a gold plated plug with a gold plated jack versus a gold plated plug on a nickle plated jack. I understand that the real benefit of gold plated connectors is the corrosion resistance.

 

Anyway......back to this McGurk effect, I think I'll trying putting a Beyer logo on my AKG headphones......................and maybe a Stax logo on my Sennheisers............LOL

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sound Science
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › Audiophile cables, an interesting question.