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Dilemma: Should I not believe any reviewers who talk about cables or just ignore that section of their review? - Page 3

post #31 of 1790

Well fit comfort and external ear comfort is very real, as any should now. I guess I didn't clarify much what I meant as listening fatigue in my experience. At least for me, listening fatigue is my eardrums in pain after a while listening to a particular headphones.

post #32 of 1790
Quote:

Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post

You could view Ethan Winer's (the same Ethan who has replied to your thread) AES Audio Myths Workshop on YouTube:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYTlN6wjcvQ. This doesn't consist of reviews, but the material provides a sound basis for evaluating reviews and reviewers.


Thanks very much. Not to be too much of a shill, but my new book explains all of this in far more detail:

 

The Audio Expert

 

--Ethan

post #33 of 1790
Quote:
Originally Posted by EthanWiner View Post


Thanks very much. Not to be too much of a shill, but my new book explains all of this in far more detail:

The Audio Expert

--Ethan
I've been hoping for a long time that a book like that existed. Now I know it does.
If only it weren't that expensive, since I would absolutely love to read it.
post #34 of 1790
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgray91 View Post

IMO "fatiguing" still counts if it's in a review. I don't know about you wakibaki, but for some that are sensitive to treble, me including, using a treble forward can tire their ears, and sometimes are painful. Maybe I should word that better to indicate only me. I am still learning a lot, and would be happy to be proved wrong in a polite manner. ;-)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post


No, I agree with you. I have the same issue with cans that are bass heavy. It really bothers my eardrums after a while.

 

So here is a case in point.

 

jgray91 finds 'forward treble' fatiguing.

 

Magick Man finds cans that are 'bass heavy' fatiguing.

 

So wtf does 'fatiguing' mean when I read it in a review with no qualification? One place I have often seen this is when some forum pundit says that he finds amplifiers with a lot of global feedback fatiguing.

 

It means that the reviewer wants to discourage you from liking or buying that product in favour of another product, we know that anyway. What we don't know is why and whether there is any basis for his remarks in reality, and we do know that either jgray91 or Magick Man has (or both have) been incorrectly advised against the product.

 


Edited by wakibaki - 5/7/12 at 1:24pm
post #35 of 1790
It means my inner ear starts hurting. That's all.
post #36 of 1790
Thread Starter 

Hey look, I learned (or unlearned) what fatiguing really means now. I always thought it meant too much treble energy which apparently was fatiguing to some reviewers while others didn't say specifically why it was fatiguing so I always assumed it was too much treble.

 

 

Yes, this makes it extremely hard for me to tell what part of reviews are actually accurate and which parts are psycho acoustics. There is absolutely no reason why psycho acoustics would be limited to just cables. If someone finds such dramatic differences where none should exist, how do I know that his musical enjoyment isn't as directly affected by the advertising, the brand (and what they are known for) or even the color of the headphones. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tilpo View Post


This.
Also most equipment uses relatively low gauge copper hookup wire, and most of the wiring inside the headphone is just ridiculously low gauge.
Also from a psychological point of view it is also very easy to explain why people are hearing difference while there are none.
 
post #37 of 1790
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgray91 View Post

IMO "fatiguing" still counts if it's in a review. I don't know about you wakibaki, but for some that are sensitive to treble, me including, using a treble forward can tire their ears, and sometimes are painful. Maybe I should word that better to indicate only me. I am still learning a lot, and would be happy to be proved wrong in a polite manner. ;-)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post


No, I agree with you. I have the same issue with cans that are bass heavy. It really bothers my eardrums after a while.

 

So here is a case in point.

 

jgray91 finds 'forward treble' fatiguing.

 

Magick Man finds cans that are 'bass heavy' fatiguing.

 

So wtf does 'fatiguing' mean when I read it in a review with no qualification? One place I have often seen this is when some forum pundit says that he finds amplifiers with a lot of global feedback fatiguing.

 

It means that the reviewer wants to discourage you from liking or buying that product in favour of another product, we know that anyway. What we don't know is why and whether there is any basis for his remarks in reality, and that either jgray91 or Magick Man has (or both have) been incorrectly advised against the product.

 

 

Woah woah, hold the freaking phone. What is it with you and "reviews" anyway. Calm down. 

 

Okay you seem to have just ignored some things that other member(s) have pointed out to me what could be a factor for listening fatigue. There's this one that Tilpo showed me. Then there's Magick Man showing that listening fatigue is not only exclusive to forward treble, despite my understanding before. This to me that this "imagined problem" is differently affecting some people.

 

I also described what my understanding of ear fatigue is to me, in addition to me sensitivity to forward treble, here.

 

Yes I know there's quite a lot of shoddy reviews out there, especially the ones that read as a poem or a romance novel. I don't read those kinds of things. Heck I wish I could write as imaginative like them but for non-audio stuff.

 

Overall, IMO this just shows me that I am sensitive to forward treble, and I have to be a little bit more cautious of that aspect as that could sully my enjoyment of any gear I decided to survey out. I'm just trying to understand what makes me (and others) tick a little bit more. I can't help it to be a bit more guarded with my spending regarding this hobby, since I have no practical way to audition headphones here and so people's review is the only way to gamble on things. So far, I already have mentally listed those who I can less sceptically trust of their reviews, and the way they recommend stuff when asked is also very deliberately thought out.

 

I'm also perplexed at the implied amount of venom regarding this. My god. I'll just follow this thread quietly from now on.


Edited by jgray91 - 5/7/12 at 1:38pm
post #38 of 1790

Interesting thread..............popcorn.gif

post #39 of 1790
I have done a tiny bit of research on what actually causes listening fatigue, and what I found is that there is a physiological and a psychological form of listening fatigue, both very different.
The physiological 'auditory fatigue' is related to over exposure to loud and/or high frequency sound which causes temporary damage to the ear.
The psychological 'listening fatigue' is related to our brain spending too much effort on processing the sound. Most often the cause of this is stated as (high frequency) distortion.

Then there is also comfort of the headphones physically causing (minor) pain or irritation to the pinna and the surrounding skin.



Some relevant quotes

Wikipedia article on Auditory Fatigue (source)
Quote:
Auditory fatigue is defined as a temporary loss of hearing after exposure to sound. This results in a temporary shift of the auditory threshold known as a temporary threshold shift (TTS)


(source) The entire thread is quite interesting and relevant
Quote:
Easy as pie to explain. And you know what's coming: too much low level, high frequency distortion being spat out of the speakers, and your ear/brain can only take so much of trying to digest it before calling it a day. If you put on a difficult recording and it sounds pretty mediocre then your system is producing this muck whether you can pick it otherwise or not, playing your "good" recordings; here it is largely disguised because the system seems to sound so good. But this disturbing quality is still there, and your ear/brain does a good job ignoring it for quite some significant time, until finally the mental muscle doing the heavy lifting of filtering out this unwanted addition has had enough, and then you have it, listening fatigue.
Quote:
Too much of just about anything can make ponies tired. Get enough of it, you'd probably suffer from sex fatigue. The simplicity of that, however, will not deter audiophiles from declaring "listening fatigue" to be a very specific disease of that which they do not prefer, which is immediately cured by that which they are invested in. For reference, see Frank's posts - any of them, really - in which all problems pour forth from the same well of low level high frequency distortion which can be eliminated, making even your clock radio sound like Steve's Lamm/Wilson system, by any number of mysterious methods involving solder, concrete blocks and unplugging all the hair dryers from your neighborhood's power grid.

From the same thread I mentioned earlier to jgray (source)
Quote:
However, in addition, there is also ear fatigue This happens when the nerve endings in the ear have been so overwhelmed by loud sounds that they can no longer respond properly to the frequencies received.

Either "mental fatigue" or "ear fatiguge" should not be confused with a simply annoying sound system, whether caused by the original recording, the mix, the mastering or the playback system. Even aside from distortion factors (there are actually some times of distortion that our brains "like" - more on that below), if a system is very "peaky" in the 2-4KHz range, that can be very annoying. And sometimes a very unbalanced system, one that drops out the entire midrange, can sound quite pleasant.

A reasonable explanation by a fellow forum member (source)
Quote:
I think that fatigue stems mainly from what your ears are not used to, if you experience a new and unfamiliar headphone sound, it is more likely to be fatiguing.

Listening fatigue manifests in many ways depending on how wide one casts the net of its definition. The mane catagory would be that your ears or head start to hurt or feel acutely uncomfortable during listening. Discomfort or pressure from headphones which do not fit suitably, irritation from prolonged wearing. All of these are types of fatigue.

Edited by Tilpo - 5/7/12 at 1:58pm
post #40 of 1790

If cables didn't make any difference at all I would not have went to the effort of making my own when I had my seperates setup (Amps, preamp & sources). They did make a difference there for the reasons I gave & i said what the differences were. My current setup is not cable sensitive again for the reasons I gave. Why do you guys have such a problem with that. By the way I'm not talking of speaker wire that has adaquate dimentions as those can be quite long though bear in mind some poorly made amps can be very sensitive to some speaker wire configurations as well & some amp companies will only warrantee thier amps if you use thier speaker wire as a result as other wire can cause them instability. Kimber cable speaker wire has been known to cause stability issues with some amps for example.

 

So the verdict in my head anyway is that wire can make a difference at least in some cases, not just sonically but with some speaker cable even loss of stability.

post #41 of 1790
Quote:
Originally Posted by germanium View Post

If cables didn't make any difference at all I would not have went to the effort of making my own when I had my seperates setup (Amps, preamp & sources). They did make a difference there for the reasons I gave & i said what the differences were. My current setup is not cable sensitive again for the reasons I gave. Why do you guys have such a problem with that. By the way I'm not talking of speaker wire that has adaquate dimentions as those can be quite long though bear in mind some poorly made amps can be very sensitive to some speaker wire configurations as well & some amp companies will only warrantee thier amps if you use thier speaker wire as a result as other wire can cause them instability. Kimber cable speaker wire has been known to cause stability issues with some amps for example.

So the verdict in my head anyway is that wire can make a difference at least in some cases, not just sonically but with some speaker cable even loss of stability.
Don't feel offended or insulted, but my personal interpretation of the reason people hear differences between different cables is because of psychological factors related to sighted listening tests, esp. expectation bias.
How can you be sure that whatever differences you may be hearing aren't caused by the fact that you expect differences to be there?

This effect readily explains why even large changes that are reported during sighted listening tests suddenly disappear when done blind, even when switched by hand without a switch box. Additionally, the effect of expectation bias is so big it can even make unreactive substances measurably improve a medical condition, i.e. the well known placebo effect.

The fact that you hear differences does not mean there are differences. So out of honest interest I'm wondering how you are able to assert the differences you perceive as 'true', and not as a result of expectation bias.


Edit: and as liamstrain pointed out there are indeed cases where the cable has measurable negative effects on the system because it is not used as intended. But I think it's a fair assumption to make that those kind of situations don't occur in a normal audio chain with headphones.
Edited by Tilpo - 5/7/12 at 2:25pm
post #42 of 1790

Sorry Germanium - you have not presented any evidence at all to support your assertion. There is no evidence that has been presented by anyone, ever, to support that cables ever have, or are even capable of making a difference.* That you believe you heard differences does not mean that the cables actually made a difference. 

 

* except for those instances where they are of insufficient gauge for the application, or otherwise made incorrectly and generating ground loops or etc.

post #43 of 1790
We all start off not believing because audio language is foreign and no references common to us noobs exist. It's when you start doing your own investigation that you begin to learn the language and magnitude of impact (if any).

I have found cables and power cords to have some impact. The things it impacted was not what I had experience listening for. When I went from a test cable back to my baseline cable, I could tell some slight variances. I would say that ICs are like tone controls. And as has been mentioned, not every component will have the same impact using that IC. Power cords also have an effect on some devices, in particular amps.

The big issue is whether the cost is worth the difference. The vast majority will conclude that no, it's not worth the cost. But taking price out of the equation and having the opportunity to try different setups at your leisure and with your gear is the only way to learn. I certainly wouldn't spend my money trying to find out. But if you get an opportunity to try some different items, it's worth trying for your own peace of mind. If the article or review has financial implications, keep that in mind. If a hobbyist is giving their experience and it's like a component upgrade, they are embellishing their purchase. But there are a lot of us that have found a difference worth change that don't have a bias other than liking the sound better. For those who need empirical data to tell them what to do or how to spend their money, buy a radio shack set and let live. Superman was a comic book character and couldn't save the planet, don't try.
post #44 of 1790
Quote:
I have found cables and power cords to have some impact. The things it impacted was not what I had experience listening for. When I went from a test cable back to my baseline cable, I could tell some slight variances. I would say that ICs are like tone controls. And as has been mentioned, not every component will have the same impact using that IC. Power cords also have an effect on some devices, in particular amps.

 

 

Do you have any testable evidence to back this up? Objective data of any kind? 

post #45 of 1790
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post

We all start off not believing because audio language is foreign and no references common to us noobs exist. It's when you start doing your own investigation that you begin to learn the language and magnitude of impact (if any).
I have found cables and power cords to have some impact. The things it impacted was not what I had experience listening for. When I went from a test cable back to my baseline cable, I could tell some slight variances. I would say that ICs are like tone controls. And as has been mentioned, not every component will have the same impact using that IC. Power cords also have an effect on some devices, in particular amps.
The big issue is whether the cost is worth the difference. The vast majority will conclude that no, it's not worth the cost. But taking price out of the equation and having the opportunity to try different setups at your leisure and with your gear is the only way to learn. I certainly wouldn't spend my money trying to find out. But if you get an opportunity to try some different items, it's worth trying for your own peace of mind. If the article or review has financial implications, keep that in mind. If a hobbyist is giving their experience and it's like a component upgrade, they are embellishing their purchase. But there are a lot of us that have found a difference worth change that don't have a bias other than liking the sound better. For those who need empirical data to tell them what to do or how to spend their money, buy a radio shack set and let live. Superman was a comic book character and couldn't save the planet, don't try.

I think you are missing the point. I am not attacking people who believe in cables as long as it gives them a better sound.

I am talking about the REVIEWERS on this forum and otherwise. Respected individuals who influence the popularity of products and where people spend their hard earned money. If these reports are based on psycho acoustics more than reality then it reduces the credibility of the audio industry. There is a difference between one person not liking a certain bass presentation while another does. This is reporting on differences that don't even exist which is false reporting.

 

Many of the blind test subjects who were audio professionals went completely back on what they said previously after blind tests and many choose the cheaper cables as the superior ones.

 

An example of this issue that I have come across (and large part of why I made this topic as well):

 

Reviewer reviews IEM X. Claims a $200 cable makes great differences and that the sound went from sibilant, fatiguing and thin to amazing so it is worth upgrading. Reviewer reviews another IEM that is supposedly better than the previous IEMs and cleans up on its faults including many listed to be solved by re-cabling. Those IEMs only cost $100+ more. If I never happened to stumble on the whole cable topic, I would have thought that cables were turning my headphones into the next price bracket. Also, what happens when someone else who also owns those headphones but non-recabled notices no differences and I am humiliated by how much I spent if he tries to blind test me? 


Yes it is humiliating to realize you have been suckered...


Edited by DNZGamer - 5/7/12 at 3:23pm
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