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Audiophile cables, an interesting question. - Page 4

post #46 of 1126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Eddy View Post

That was no rumor. JPS Labs took a stock, $30 (for a set of 5 from Eupen's US distributor, large quantities would cost a bit less) power cord from Eupen, dressed it up in some heatshrink and Techflex and slapped a $350 price tag on it. My friend Mike Pulizzi broke the story on that one after he cut open a JPS Labs power cord of his and found the Eupen cord underneath.

 

Got any links to subjective impressions? biggrin.gif

post #47 of 1126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post

 

Got any links to subjective impressions? biggrin.gif


Heheh. Nah. I prefer to leave the subjective stuff up to the individual.

 

se

 

 

post #48 of 1126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

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

 

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?

 

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


The signal travelling down a mic cable is anything from 10 - 1,000 times lower than line level (the level from your CD to your amp). Mic level signals have to be amplified greatly with a mic-preamp before we can record or process it. Therefore, any differences in mic cables would be many times more obvious than differences between say speaker cables. Can we hear those differences? .... Not a chance! I have worked in many top recording studios in the UK, over the course of 30 years, starting as a musician and then as a recording engineer and producer and then in audio post production. The only time I have ever seen a mic cable being changed (very rarely) is if there was a fault with the cable. I have had conversations about mic cables with engineers in the top studios but always in terms of longevity, as mic cables are constantly being plugged, unplugged, trodden on, coiled up, stored and generally abused. I always avoid conversations about expensive audiophile cables with experienced recording engineers, unless I'm making a joke, otherwise they would view me as a bit of a nutter, without much knowledge of how audio works. Not a good basis for a mutually respectful working relationship. So, I'm not sure how that rumour started but it's definitely BS that recording engineers change cables for a different sound. Changing mics for a different sound is very common but mic cables, never!

The interesting thing about the McGurk Effect is that even knowing it's an aural illusion doesn't help. With all my years of experience, using and training my ears to analyse sound as accurately as possible, you would think that I would be less susceptible to this aural illusion. Nope, not a bit of it, sounds just as different a word to me as it does to everyone else! When I listen to a musical note I've recorded, I can break that note down and pick out many of the individual harmonics but I still also perceive it as a musical note and as part of a chord within a moving harmony. If I wasn't still susceptible to this illusion of notes and harmony then I would be unable to mix and create music, the same is true for the sound I create for TV and Film.

G
post #49 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? ;)

 

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?




Like you I was amazed at what happened to the sound as I listened sighted, blind and ABX. I was relieved to find out that sighted, blind and ABX testing has consitently turned up the same results. I still find it a bit hard to believe, hence the continual search for more evidence.

 

As for the number of people who have taken ABX tests, I coulkd find out if I counted participants in the tests I have gathered. I would guess it is 100 max and mainly middle aged, well off male audiophiles.

post #50 of 1126
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregorio View Post



The signal travelling down a mic cable is anything from 10 - 1,000 times lower than line level (the level from your CD to your amp). Mic level signals have to be amplified greatly with a mic-preamp before we can record or process it. Therefore, any differences in mic cables would be many times more obvious than differences between say speaker cables. Can we hear those differences? .... Not a chance! I have worked in many top recording studios in the UK, over the course of 30 years, starting as a musician and then as a recording engineer and producer and then in audio post production. The only time I have ever seen a mic cable being changed (very rarely) is if there was a fault with the cable. I have had conversations about mic cables with engineers in the top studios but always in terms of longevity, as mic cables are constantly being plugged, unplugged, trodden on, coiled up, stored and generally abused. I always avoid conversations about expensive audiophile cables with experienced recording engineers, unless I'm making a joke, otherwise they would view me as a bit of a nutter, without much knowledge of how audio works. Not a good basis for a mutually respectful working relationship. So, I'm not sure how that rumour started but it's definitely BS that recording engineers change cables for a different sound. Changing mics for a different sound is very common but mic cables, never!

The interesting thing about the McGurk Effect is that even knowing it's an aural illusion doesn't help. With all my years of experience, using and training my ears to analyse sound as accurately as possible, you would think that I would be less susceptible to this aural illusion. Nope, not a bit of it, sounds just as different a word to me as it does to everyone else! When I listen to a musical note I've recorded, I can break that note down and pick out many of the individual harmonics but I still also perceive it as a musical note and as part of a chord within a moving harmony. If I wasn't still susceptible to this illusion of notes and harmony then I would be unable to mix and create music, the same is true for the sound I create for TV and Film.

G



Question:

I understand that recording engineers will often different vacuum tube mics and some high end mic pre-amps use vacuum tubes?

 

 

Food for thought: I wonder if there is any scientific basis in the idea that two wines from the same vineyard taste different because they are different vintages?  Frankly, I find it just about impossible to tell the difference but then I don't claim to be a wine connoisseur...................

 


Edited by Chris J - 9/25/11 at 6:25am
post #51 of 1126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

Question:

I understand that recording engineers will often different vacuum tube mics and some high end mic pre-amps use vacuum tubes?

 

Food for thought: I wonder if there is any scientific basis in the idea that two wines from the same vineyard taste different because they are different vintages?  Frankly, I find it just about impossible to tell the difference but then I don't claim to be a wine connoisseur...................


Professionals still use tubes? eek.gif

 

There are measurable differences between tubes. I don't know specifics. I know Uncle Erik does, you can send him a message. They have different voltage biases and behave differently at different loads and in different circuits. That's not nearly the same thing as cables. How audible a change between tubes in the same design is, that's probably overblown, but I can forgive it because there are differences.

 

There's a lot of variables that go into wine making. Maybe one harvest is sweeter than the next, maybe the vintners use too much of one ingredient between vintages. There are lots of potential differences here. It's like asking why your favorite dish at a restaurant one night tastes worse than the week before. There are measurable differences here as well, but they'd probably take a back seat to the price tag if you asked a connoisseur to compare.

post #52 of 1126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post


Professionals still use tubes? eek.gif


They do, the aim is to impart specific tube colorations to the sound, reproduce the soft saturation effect on a track for example.
post #53 of 1126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

I understand that recording engineers will often different vacuum tube mics and some high end mic pre-amps use vacuum tubes?


No, that's not really true. Some recording engineers will use tube mics and tube pre-amps for specific tasks. The vast majority of recording engineers generally avoid tubes like the plague! It depends on what your doing though. Some forms of distortion in some genres of music is highly desirable. In fact, heavy metal wouldn't sound at all like heavy metal without copious amount of distortion (particularly on the guitars). So this is an example of where tube equipment might be used. It's all about the genre, in classical and jazz we try for complete transparency because classical music is designed for live performance, many other genres though are designed for the studio and are very difficult or impossible to perform live acoustically. In these genres, engineers use the colouration of mics and pre-amps as a musical tool, an integral part of the production. This has been true since the 60's.

G
Edited by gregorio - 9/25/11 at 6:54am
post #54 of 1126

Gregorio, thatnks for the link to McGurk effect, that's interesting but I am troubled by it's impications on cables. Everyone who took an ABX on cables so far has failed but if this effect applies here, then tests change nothing. Even if I know that's an illusion, everytime I change a cable I will hear a difference unless it's an ABX test. My brain may tell me not to buy new cables but my ears will tell that new cable sounds great, and both will be right in a way. Paradoxally, I could enjoy listening to a new cable while knowing that it did not really change anything.

post #55 of 1126
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaciekN View Post

Gregorio, thatnks for the link to McGurk effect, that's interesting but I am troubled by it's impications on cables. Everyone who took an ABX on cables so far has failed but if this effect applies here, then tests change nothing. Even if I know that's an illusion, everytime I change a cable I will hear a difference unless it's an ABX test. My brain may tell me not to buy new cables but my ears will tell that new cable sounds great, and both will be right in a way. Paradoxally, I could enjoy listening to a new cable while knowing that it did not really change anything.


One of the biggest causes of problems in cable debates is that the objectivist side is often presented/presents itself as stating 'you cannot hear a difference' when clearly people can. There are many who do not care why they hear a difference with a new cable, they are just happy that they do.

 

Where I think that they are wrong is to attribute the difference to the cable using pseudoscience and frankly the deceptions of many cable sellers.

 

If you accept that the reason for hearing a difference is you, as proven by sighted testing, then be happy and buy lots of cables. You are right, the brain and ears are both right.

 

Incidentally, I am helping with a challenge against a hifi publication for misleading practices over cables. It is way too early to say any more at the moment, but we are going to press for a ruling as to whether or not it is possible to use pseudoscience to promote/sell cables. We clearly think it is not.

 

 

 

post #56 of 1126
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaciekN View Post

Gregorio, thatnks for the link to McGurk effect, that's interesting but I am troubled by it's impications on cables. Everyone who took an ABX on cables so far has failed but if this effect applies here, then tests change nothing. Even if I know that's an illusion, everytime I change a cable I will hear a difference unless it's an ABX test. My brain may tell me not to buy new cables but my ears will tell that new cable sounds great, and both will be right in a way. Paradoxally, I could enjoy listening to a new cable while knowing that it did not really change anything.

 

That's entirely possible and you're welcome to buy cables if you know the effect is psychological but you enjoy it regardless. For me, even if my brain tells me the sound has improved, I wouldn't be able to justify the price knowing that there's no real physical change.

 

post #57 of 1126
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaciekN View Post

Gregorio, thatnks for the link to McGurk effect, that's interesting but I am troubled by it's impications on cables. Everyone who took an ABX on cables so far has failed but if this effect applies here, then tests change nothing. Even if I know that's an illusion, everytime I change a cable I will hear a difference unless it's an ABX test. My brain may tell me not to buy new cables but my ears will tell that new cable sounds great, and both will be right in a way. Paradoxally, I could enjoy listening to a new cable while knowing that it did not really change anything.


I think the McGurk Effect works so well because the information entering the eyes and the information entering the ears are in direct conflict. The brain decides to give priority to the eyes and changes what you perceive you are hearing. I don't think this is the same situation as with cables. With cables, I don't believe it's a question of what we see being in direct conflict with what we are hearing, it's more the case that our hearing is in conflict with what we believe. I think, we are capable of training our hearing to overcome our belief. I think this would be even easier to accomplish if our belief changes. In other words, I think that if you loose your belief that you can hear a difference with cables, then you will no longer hear a difference in cables. I have no absolute proof for this assertion, just an educated guess.

G
post #58 of 1126

The McGurk test is more just an interesting anecdote to lob in the vague direction of the "ears are perfect" group, rather than a real example of the psychological mechanisms that lead to differences being perceived with cables.

post #59 of 1126

   I don't understand one thing. In the youtube video of McGurk we hear a difference because lips of that guy suggest that they are making different sound, while it has not changed. From the very moment we learn to speak and understand speech we learn that certain sounds coincide with certain layouts of lips. As explained in the video, our brain tries to make sense from what it both hears and sees, and as it faces a contradiction of sound vs mouth layout it changes what we hear. So the source of the imapct of visual information on sound is quite obvious with speech. But it totally isn't with cables.

   Common knowledge is that cable is just a cable, everybody (who is not an audiophile) knows that cables do not make any difference. There is no contradiction to face here, but even without reading reviews of cables or seeing any cable ad I heard differences. Cables are not like speech, only in my past few years I learned that cable can actually have (percieved) impact on sound, which is quite contrary to my whole life experience with cables. So, why does my brain is making it up? On what basis? If McGurk effect applies here, then it should actually work against sound of cables.

 

EDIT: I didn't notice few posts before and firther explanation on McGurk but the question remains the same, what actually makes the brain hear differences. It is not belief (at least I don't think so) because many poeple who are sceptic would hear "properly". Did anyone actually resarch it?


Edited by MaciekN - 9/25/11 at 2:16pm
post #60 of 1126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

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

The length varies from 8ft to 15 ft. I actually had some generic 22ga and then switched to JL audio brand in 18ga. The wattage is 650w x4 and 750w x1. I noticed when I changed the wire out the JL was much softer (I like to scrape the strands with an exacto knife before hookup) than the generic, and the insulation was thicker and tougher than the generic. The strands were finer on the JL wire. It makes a difference in how much current the wire can handle if you have finer srands, and a thicker gage. If the wire heats up the resistance increases, and will heat up even more to a point.

 

Notice how your vaccum cleaner plug gets warm. It is just from the wires resistive value, depending on how long it is. The gold plating is great for oxidation prevention, and even though its resistive value is higher than copper, the length (thickness of the coating) is microscopic, so it doesn't matter. I don't think the plating would make a difference since it is so thin. It would be better IMO to use the best anti corrosive metal available (RCAs, etc). You start to see a sort of degradation of "skin effect" on the wire under high wattage. This is why it is always safe to over do it a bit when it comes to speaker wire.

 

For example run some 6in speakers with just one strand of copper wire and start with the vol all the way down, then turn it up, the wire will heat up and eventually burn out. You will also hear the difference also. I used to do this when I was a kid just to see how cool it was to burn up some wire.  

 

  

 

 

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