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Audiophile cables, an interesting question. - Page 46

post #676 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by daviemcc View Post

So all the people who upgrade their headphone cables are wasting their time?


That all depends on the reason for changing cables. If it's to improve sound then yes they are wasting their time (and money).

 

If they need a different length or if they simply like the look and possibly increased "toughness" of the new cable then fine.

post #677 of 1186
It just seems to be a bit crazy. All the iem threads talk about cables opening up the soundstage and bringing the headphones to life etc.People hating their headphones and then loving them when the new cables sorted out all the problems.They are spending lots of money on this. After a while you begin to think it must be true.
post #678 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by daviemcc View Post

It just seems to be a bit crazy. All the iem threads talk about cables opening up the soundstage and bringing the headphones to life etc.People hating their headphones and then loving them when the new cables sorted out all the problems.They are spending lots of money on this. After a while you begin to think it must be true.

 

Well, perhaps they had badly built cables to begin with, but hey, I was in your shoes at some point too. Then I tested for myself, did some ABing between my "gold, thousand dollars" interconnects, "silver, hundreds of dollars" interconnects and a cheap pair of standard RCA red/white cables, and I couldn't tell one apart from the other in blind testing. Sold most of them, lost quite a few bucks in the process, but came out less stupid in the end. The best thing to do is just test things out for yourself (preferably in a blind test so expectation bias can't have an influence) and see whats what.

post #679 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjl View Post


Balanced doesn't help sound quality. You do get slight gains going from a TRS connector to a connector that doesn't use a shared ground (since the shared ground connection on the TRS does lead to a bit of crosstalk, though almost definitely not at an audible level), but aside from that, there's really no benefit at all.
A balanced amp design will also deliver more power with the same voltage rails and potentially solve ground path problems. It's not necessarily a matter of balanced being better or worse than single ended--that still comes down to the design--but different tools will deliver different results.

My original point was that switching from a single ended path (components, cable, and headphones) to a balanced one will (probably) change the quality, but the change comes from the complete package and not just the cable (but the cable is important because it actually lets you use balanced sources).
post #680 of 1186

In over thirty years of listening to audio through more systems than I can count I have never run into a single one with "ground path problems"........maybe I'm just lucky.

post #681 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by daviemcc View Post

It just seems to be a bit crazy. All the iem threads talk about cables opening up the soundstage and bringing the headphones to life etc.People hating their headphones and then loving them when the new cables sorted out all the problems.They are spending lots of money on this. After a while you begin to think it must be true.


for a lot of IEMs changing the cable(with a different impedance than the default one) will have the amazing effect of an equalizer set at a fixed value depending on source+cable+IEM impedances. it's particularly true for multi BA drivers.

for an IEM with high enough impedance or at least flat enough over frequencies, changing cables will at best change the volume a little. (going silver on the same kind of cable should be slightly louder. maybe that's enough to make people go hallelujah on soundstage and other stuffs.

the better the damping factor, the less the chances to mess up the IEM signature by changing cable. this is mainly why objectivists don't have changes, because they first by stuff with a not too bad damping factor.

 

the thing is, that the further you are from respecting a good damping factor between amp and IEM, the more chances you have to get a weird result(what people call "better sound"). getting the 22ohm version of ak100 and some low impedance customs is probably the best way to "prove" that cables have huge effects on sound.

you can also prove that electricity is bad for computers by putting 2 wires in the usb slot of the motherboard, and plugging the other end into a wall outlet. your conclusion is not wrong as long as you do all the bad things that lead to that result.

post #682 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by superjawes View Post


A balanced amp design will also deliver more power with the same voltage rails and potentially solve ground path problems. It's not necessarily a matter of balanced being better or worse than single ended--that still comes down to the design--but different tools will deliver different results.

My original point was that switching from a single ended path (components, cable, and headphones) to a balanced one will (probably) change the quality, but the change comes from the complete package and not just the cable (but the cable is important because it actually lets you use balanced sources).

Sure, but it's trivially easy to get more than enough power for any headphone on the market using a single ended design, and ground path problems are extremely rare. If you were talking about driving a bunch of high-power speakers for a concert, I'd agree about the power benefits (and we'd be calling it a "bridged" setup rather than a "balanced" one), but there's really no point for headphones. Strangely, audiophiles seem to love "balanced" headphone amps and hate "bridged" power amps, even though they're using the exact same concept.

 

(I'm not saying that a balanced/bridged amp can't sound amazing - it absolutely can. It just won't sound any better than a well-designed, comparable power single ended design)

post #683 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by castleofargh View Post
 

 

you can also prove that electricity is bad for computers by putting 2 wires in the usb slot of the motherboard, and plugging the other end into a wall outlet. your conclusion is not wrong as long as you do all the bad things that lead to that result.

 

+1000

 

Cheers

post #684 of 1186
…….

 

Appears someone already said what I wanted to already. Darn my browser...

 

Anyway, the whole iem impedance thing I totally agree with. It's kindda scary the number of devices which by the looks of things appear to be designed for IEM's but have really high output impedances. The Meridian Explorer, the original AK100, plus a few others. Even the Sony PHA-1 has about 10 Ohms of output impedance and you see people using commonly available IEM's (with low impedance) with them all the time...


Edited by x838nwy - 5/22/14 at 1:10am
post #685 of 1186

I was just convinced that power cables do change the sound. I brought home a 2m Nordost Blue Heaven Power Cord (I did not pay anything for this, so no reason to justify this to myself), and hooked it up to my Schitt Lyr w/ HD600s. I feel that it would have made a larger impact on the sound with a speaker amplifier drawing 100s of Watts, but nevertheless, I noticed a cleaner sound. I could hear a lot more details in strummed instruments like the upright bass and acoustic guitar. It just felt run through a filter. Was it a massive difference? No. It's nothing like replacing a DAC or an Amp or even tubes. However, once I settle on a system, swapping the stock power cords for something like these will help me squeeze out the last 5%. 

post #686 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by lids369 View Post
 

I was just convinced that power cables do change the sound. I brought home a 2m Nordost Blue Heaven Power Cord (I did not pay anything for this, so no reason to justify this to myself), and hooked it up to my Schitt Lyr w/ HD600s. I feel that it would have made a larger impact on the sound with a speaker amplifier drawing 100s of Watts, but nevertheless, I noticed a cleaner sound. I could hear a lot more details in strummed instruments like the upright bass and acoustic guitar. It just felt run through a filter. Was it a massive difference? No. It's nothing like replacing a DAC or an Amp or even tubes. However, once I settle on a system, swapping the stock power cords for something like these will help me squeeze out the last 5%. 


These assertions lack evidence, which won't fly here in the sound science forum.

 

Your schiit Lyr has a huge, over-designed power supply section, especially considering the HD600's don't require a lot of power (high impedance, low current). If you want to claim that your power cord is actually causing and audible change the the sound reproduced by your amp and headphones, then you will need to get a friend to help you perform an double blind test to prove that you can discern an audible difference when swapping cords.

 

Did your cat chew through your last power cable by any chance? Unless your power cable is malfunctioning, it has no impact on the sound of a headphone amplifier.

 

Cheers

post #687 of 1186

Fail.

Step 1: Arrange your system so that you can't see which power cable is plugged in. For example, a sheet of cardboard taped over the power socket area.

Step 2: Listen to the cables in turn until you're confident you can tell which one is in use.

Step 3: Leave the room.

Step 4: Get someone else to switch the cables (or not) and record which one is in use.

Step 5: Listen. Decide which cable you're listening to. Write it down.

Step 6: Repeat from Step 3 for a statistically significant number of tries (Greater than 10, the more the better.)

Step 7: Compare your list of choices against the cable switcher's list.

 

If you get significantly more than 50% right (95% to be pretty sure), you might really be hearing a difference.

post #688 of 1186

Browsing through the Nordost website, I found it terrifying that a company known for selling very expensive pieces of wire apparently lacks fundamental understanding of electricity and magnetism principles.

 

here is a link to their FAQ: http://www.nordost.com/faqs.php

 

Either the folks at Nordost have a middle-school level of science comprehension, or they're being incredibly deceitful.

 

Ignoring their subjective claims, I want to point out a few of the physical misinformations they're perpetrating

Quote:
 

How can cables be directional?

When cables are manufactured they do not have any directionality. However, as they break in, they acquire directionality.
Although the cable signal is an alternating current, small impurities in the conductor act as diodes allowing signal flow to be better in one direction over time. This effect is also called quantum tunneling, which has been observed in experiments over 25 years ago. Regardless of the purity of the metal used, there are still diode effects in all conductors. In addition, the insulation material will change when it is subjected to an electrical field.

 

directional electrical cables exist only in the imagination of their marketing team. The reoccuring theme throughout this website (and any other exotic cable manufacture site  that i've seen) is the complete absence of references to peer-reviewed scientific literature which supports the claims.

How long do my cables have to break in?

Normally, we recommend at least 168 hours.  However, our Reference level cables require at least 336 hours. 

 

cables need breaking in? no, they don't.

What happens during break in?

Considerable changes occur in the cable during the break in process. Any gases that were trapped between the insulation and the conductors during manufacturing are dissipated. Additionally, the insulation material charges up. The diode effects of the conductor will be more pronounced after 168 hours of break in.  During this time the cable takes on a direction.

 

diode effects in cables?!? what?!

How long does break in last?

If the cable has not been used for more than one month, it will benefit from being broken in on the VIDAR. It is a good idea to bring your cables back to your local dealer every year and have them broken in again.

 

what are they talking about?

What minimum cable lengths do Nordost recommend?

The minimum recommended lengths of Nordost cables are as follows:
Power cables – 2 meters
Analog interconnects – 1 meter
Digital interconnects – 1.5 meters
Tonearm cables – 1.25 meters
Loudspeaker cables – 2 meters

 

electrically, shorter is better. is selling shorter cables going to hurt their bottom line?

 

What is better: short interconnects or short loudspeaker cables?

The signal loss on Nordost cables is very low due to the use of extruded FEP insulation and Micro Mono-Filament technology.
Nordost cables can run over longer distances with less signal loss than regular cables. However, when planning a system set up, it is wise to keep lower level signals such as tonearm cables and analog interconnects relatively short.  It is better to use longer loudspeaker cables as these typically have much more current and voltage being provided by the power amplifier.

 

the reason to keep interconnect cables short is the susceptibility to pick up noise. having high current in wires is precisely the reason why you want to keep high current wires short! the resistive losses grow with increasing current. furthermore, the speaker impedance is significantly lower than line level inputs, and the resistance of a long cable  can become non negligible compared to the speaker impedance. the speaker cables need to be much heavier construction and probably cost more than interconnects (plus, in 5.1, 7.1, 9.1, etc.. require a lot more speaker cable leads!) , so doesn't selling long speaker cables generate more profit?

post #689 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by ab initio View Post
 

Browsing through the Nordost website, I found it terrifying that a company known for selling very expensive pieces of wire apparently lacks fundamental understanding of electricity and magnetism principles.

 

here is a link to their FAQ: http://www.nordost.com/faqs.php

 

Either the folks at Nordost have a middle-school level of science comprehension, or they're being incredibly deceitful.

 

Ignoring their subjective claims, I want to point out a few of the physical misinformations they're perpetrating

 

FYI, "VIDAR" is a machine Nordost uses to break-in their cables. Some of their dealers have one. I think there's one selling on ebay for about $3,500.

 

Also, isn't there an article somewhere that says that s/pdif cables can actually be too short, specially if there an impedance mis-match or something like that? I'll look for it...

post #690 of 1186
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