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Audiophile cables, an interesting question. - Page 25

post #361 of 1186
Well, i cannot really go fully double blind but i could may be find a way to reduce all interactions between me and my assistant. I could perhaps blindfold myself so i don't see him (or anything else, in fact) but i'll need to operate the JRemote app so that's not possible. However, the dude won't know what's going on, just that he presses the switch on not and he would not be seeing my scorecard. So instead of the clever hans effect, he'll be wondering what the hell i'm doing so i guess we can call it the "bewildered hans" effect...
post #362 of 1186
Also have to deal with audible cues, such as flipping a switch.

se
post #363 of 1186

There are more scholarly works of course.  But this one is readily accessible.  The case against long term listening.

 

http://www.nousaine.com/pdfs/Flying%20Blind.pdf

 

Read it and weep or rejoice. 

 

As Bigshot says, more than a couple dozen seconds and your aural memory is shot.  Your brain will do a nice job filling in the details.  Further you will feel much more confident of those longer term results.  Put to the test such confidence is very misplaced.

post #364 of 1186

Yes, don't let the flip of the switch be audible.  Such a thing, at very marginal levels has been shown to corrupt blind results.  Without even knowing what your brain is doing it will perceive and use the sound of that flip of the switch or the gentle snap of a relay to 'cheat' on the choices made.  Clever Hans is an interesting phenomenon all on its own.  The human mind will be devilishly good at finding anything and everything available to it to make choices all without conscious awareness.  One of those areas where the science of sound, the processing of the human brain, and how it works is actually far more discriminating and fascinating than the audiophile mind even imagines.

post #365 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Eddy View Post

Also have to deal with audible cues, such as flipping a switch.

se

I think it was ab initio who mentioned that there's no click. If there is no external click (as in the springs on the switch itself) what i'll do is between switching the selector i will unplug my headphones. If i could hear things from external sources during the switch (external = not from the dac/selector/amp i will use my alphadogs in place of the 800.
post #366 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by x838nwy View Post

I think it was ab initio who mentioned that there's no click. If there is no external click (as in the springs on the switch itself) what i'll do is between switching the selector i will unplug my headphones. If i could hear things from external sources during the switch (external = not from the dac/selector/amp i will use my alphadogs in place of the 800.

There is no electrical pop while switching between sources; however, there is a little mechanical click from the latch on the toggle button. You would want to try and muffle that sound if you use speakers or open headphones. Otherwise, the switcher is pretty solid.

When pressing the toggle button, there is a brief amount of range of motion where both sources are electrically disconnected, but before the mechanical latch flips. Therefore, the brief fraction-of-a-second cutout of a switch event can be emulated by the operator without actually switching.

I recommend that your assistant emulates the brief signal dropout on ever trial that isnt switched, therefore 'switching' and 'not switching' events sound the same

Cheers
Edited by ab initio - 4/13/14 at 9:47pm
post #367 of 1186
It just so happens that i placed an order for a 10ft cable for the alpha dogs a couple of weeks ago. biggrin.gif but Peter does take his time though. (Nothing against the guy, he has vast amounts of orders it seems and he does do meticulous work so i can wait.)

We could solve this problem by buying 2 of these schiit selectors and press one or another. But seriously, even though i have more dacs and amps than one person should have (according to my wife, what does she know!) having two of these is a little excessive... Let's see if i can hear the click from Xft away on my hd800 (+ stock cable). If not we'll go further with the 702 annies which seems to have the longest stock cable in the world. If not it's the ad + peter's cable.
post #368 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAttorney View Post
 

Nothing clever. Just years of experience of working out when it is and isn't safe to trust my ears. The way the results have panned out has satisfied me that I haven't been unduly influenced by Expectation Bias. Of course, I can never be completely sure about that, but if I'm been double deluding myself, then I'm happy living with the consequences.  No method is fool proof. My main point here is that Expectation Bias is not the only mind trick in town, and fast switching DBTs actually introduce different mind tricks whilst successfully nailing the big one.

There are plenty of people with 'years of experience' and no idea what they're talking about. Can you demonstrate these tricks that DBTs introduce?

 

Quote:
The reason why subtle can be significant is in the effect it can have on musical enjoyment and greater insight into the performance. The difference between a good sounding hifi system and "you-are-there" is objectively small. The clues that help you "see" a 3D image of a performer are pretty tiny I assume, as concepts like "Soundstage" and "space around each instrument" are not readily explained by typical frequency response and THD measurements. And if you try to objectively analyse what's behind those differences, you can easily tie yourself in knots. A carefully chosen cable can subtly add focus to the images, bringing each instrument out of the mix. It doesn't create the details, it just brings them out more. Getting a step closer to "you-are-there" can be a very satisfying experience - it might even occasionally be "night-and-day", but only once, as you soon get used to the new sound.

Soundstage is easily explained by FR changes, ILD, ITD, and phase differences.

 

I have to admit that (especially in live performances) I've never worried that much about the exact xyz coordinate of each musician, let alone listened to the empty spaces between instruments. I only listened to the actual instruments themselves. I can't really imagine what empty space sounds like; I thought it didn't have a sound.

I'm sure that if a carefully chosen cable could subtly add focus to the sound there would be evidence for it, and you shouldn't have been using a fundamentally broken cable in the first place. It would really be a pity if these differences suddenly disappeared in a blind test, even a fast-switching one (in photography it doesn't take an eternity to determine which photo is more in focus either).

 

 

Quote:

One example of what I mean: You've listened to a track hundreds of times with component A. The very first time you listen to new component B, you hear the slight "ting" of a triangle that you've never noticed before. You may think that B must therefore be better than A. But then you go back to A and you also here the ting now. So now you're a bit confused and you swap back and forth and then get really confused because sometimes A seems better than B, and sometimes A seems better than A, so you know there's no point in continuing. There could be at least 2 different explanations for this:

 

  1. B really is better than A, but because you've noticed the new sound, you'll keep noticing it with whatever component you subsequently listen to.
  2. There is no difference, it was just greater concentration on this particular test that caused you to notice a new sound.

 

Fast switching tests aren't much help in deciphering such examples because you (or at least I) can quickly get into a muddle. Fast switching tests encourage you to listen out for sounds, not follow the musical performance. Much better  to enjoy the music in a way that the sound differences come to you - no need to agonise swapping back and forth looking for tiny differences. You can do that blind too, but much less practical to achieve.

 

They're an excellent help because

1. they encourage you to pay attention, rather than randomly 'notice' things that you may or may not have missed in the other device

2. you can listen to the same 'ting' in both devices, right after the other, and directly compare them

3. If you can tell the difference when furiously switching back and forth but can't tell the difference when enjoying the music, that isn't exactly a strike against fast-switching

4. The reason why that muddle exists is because there is no audible difference.

 

But if you can reliably detect these magical differences between cables in a DBT without having to switch back and forth quickly, more power to you (but be careful, one of your cables is probably broken).


Edited by higbvuyb - 4/14/14 at 3:44am
post #369 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by higbvuyb View Post

I have to admit that (especially in live performances) I've never worried that much about the exact xyz coordinate of each musician, let alone listened to the empty spaces between instruments. I only listened to the actual instruments themselves.

Placement of the performers in a dimensional sound stage can be very important to chamber music or small group jazz where you want complete separation of each voice weaving through the music. But a wire won't affect that, and you aren't going to get it with headphones. Clearly defined dimensional sound stage is something you only get with speakers.
Edited by bigshot - 4/14/14 at 4:03am
post #370 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post


Placement of the performers in a dimensional sound stage can be very important to chamber music or small group jazz where you want complete separation of each voice weaving through the music. But a wire won't affect that, and you aren't going to get it with headphones. Clearly defined dimensional sound stage is something you only get with speakers.

Instrument separation is more reliant on the relationship between the fundamental and harmonics than actually localising it to a specific point in space. You can have a narrow soundstage and still be able to differentiate between the instruments easily.

 

As for headphones, even the best 'soundstage' possible with headphones is pretty laughable so there's no point chasing headphones with 'good soundstage' IMO.

post #371 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by higbvuyb View Post

Instrument separation is more reliant on the relationship between the fundamental and harmonics than actually localising it to a specific point in space. You can have a narrow soundstage and still be able to differentiate between the instruments easily.

It's dependent on the placement in the stereo spread left to right and the distance between your speakers. A narrow soundstage may allow you to differentiate between instruments, but if you want a realistic soundstage, you need to have a distance between your speakers close to the actual distance from one side of the performers to the other. My system has the mains 16 feet apart, which comes out after the spread coming out from the speakers to close to 24 feet or so... the size of a string quartet or jazz trio. from the main listening point, it's also about the size of a symphony orchestra from the 14th row in the hall. Scale makes a big difference to sound stage. But most music only people don't talk about that... just home theater folks.

By the way, you can't get a spread of 16 feet without having a solid center channel to keep it from dropping out in the middle. That means 5:1 sound.
post #372 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post


It's dependent on the placement in the stereo spread left to right and the distance between your speakers. A narrow soundstage may allow you to differentiate between instruments, but if you want a realistic soundstage, you need to have a distance between your speakers close to the actual distance from one side of the performers to the other. My system has the mains 16 feet apart, which comes out after the spread coming out from the speakers to close to 24 feet or so... the size of a string quartet or jazz trio. from the main listening point, it's also about the size of a symphony orchestra from the 14th row in the hall. Scale makes a big difference to sound stage. But most music only people don't talk about that... just home theater folks.

By the way, you can't get a spread of 16 feet without having a solid center channel to keep it from dropping out in the middle. That means 5:1 sound.

Instrument separation and soundstage width are two separate issues. This is totally subjective, but personally I do not find soundstage width to be particularly important.

 

As for realism, I don't think speakers can get close to a good binaural recording through earphones, though I haven't listened to a setup on par with yours.

post #373 of 1186
Most two channel systems have clear sound stage. But it takes 5:1 to do a sound stage in the proper scale. Until you hear what that sounds like, you can't imagine what it sounds like. Not many people have 5:1 setups optimized for music.

Anything you can do to remove the layers of artificiality that is part of recorded sound makes it easier for the brain to fill in the blanks. Scale was a huge help for me. When I close my eyes, I can place *people* in front of me, not just instruments.

Binaural is an interesting effect, but I don't know if it's more than just an effect for me. I have a problem with the forward/back, up/down axises. For instance, sound in front of me snaps behind my head if I don't focus on it and hold it in place. The effect sounds really good, but it keeps changing on me if I don't maintain my focus on the sound. That isn't good, because I get lost in music sometimes.
post #374 of 1186
bigshot, i think the problem i have is that most 5.1 or (anything >2 channel for that matter) systems aren't set up correctly or at least not correctly for music. I find coherence a problem also. Any recommended source of information on how to set them up properly? (And what format do you listen to with your 5.1 system, btw? I'm new to the whole multichannel thing.). I pre-ordered an Oppo 105D and it's coming end of this month and there seems to be good multichannel deals around. Probably not the best quality, but for casual listening should be okay??
post #375 of 1186

I'm recovering from surgery right now, but when I am up to snuff again, I'm going to do a post on how I set up and calibrated my 5:1 system. It's a big subject, and like you, I couldn't find anything useful online. I figured it out through trial and error.

 

In general though, the most important things are to balance the levels of all the channels so it creates an even sound field... Equalize each channel carefully to produce a flat response... and make sure the room itself isn't causing problems.

 

I have a media server Mac Mini packed with high bitrate AAC files. I play stereo through the 7:1/Stereo DSP in my Yamaha AV amp. Yamaha is the best for DSPs.


Edited by bigshot - 4/14/14 at 6:08pm
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