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Why pick on cables ?  

post #1 of 403
Thread Starter 

First thing, my position on cables is that i have never tested enough to say for sure that they do or do not make a difference, but the scientist in me makes me wary of the claims made by the sellers.

 

However are the arguments about the difference between a £30 cable and a £300 cable really that different from for example a £200 amp and a £2000 amp?

Is the difference between a HD800 and a HD600 really worth £750?

I have tested tons of headphones, i currently have the HD600 at home and use a HD439 on the move, I have home tested the HD800 with what i consider to be a good amps for it (black cube and MDAC) and while i did like it , it is not 4x better than the HD600 and certainly not 15x better than my HD439.

 

Ok now i know the law of diminishing returns , i know that cost does not equate to performace directly, people try to break it down into percentages (which is ridiculous imo).

 

I dont see people screaming out for DBTs of amps , dacs , preamps or even cd players, but dare open a thread about cables and people don their smug suits and start attacking people.

These people attacking the cable guys are sitting at home with amps , dacs etc that you cant prove are "better" than many cheaper options but they seem to accept the price/performance ratio on them without to much thought.

 

Anyway all i am saying is that its pretty hard to apply your "science and measurements" to any hifi equipment and prove its "better" , i mean can you really hear the difference between  0.0003% THD and 0.003% ??


Edited by astroid - 8/29/12 at 12:24am
post #2 of 403

It is probably more obvious to see for most people that a piece of wire does not magically improve the sound quality, than a complex device like a DAC or amplifier. However, you are right that the importance of the latter is commonly overrated, and the point of diminishing returns can be reached at a fairly low price.

An HD800 is probably not as much better than an HD600 as the price tags suggest, but at least it makes some real difference.

post #3 of 403
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

It is probably more obvious to see for most people that a piece of wire does not magically improve the sound quality, than a complex device like a DAC or amplifier. However, you are right that the importance of the latter is commonly overrated, and the point of diminishing returns can be reached at a fairly low price.

An HD800 is probably not as much better than an HD600 as the price tags suggest, but at least it makes some real difference.

 

If i asked  a "scientist" how the HD800 is better than the HD600 , what would he say or show?

 

Would it be a square wave response? Is that representative of an improvement or just a difference ?

 

Measuring differences is easy enough but then how does one decide if that difference is a + or - ? 

post #4 of 403
Quote:
Originally Posted by astroid View Post

If i asked  a "scientist" how the HD800 is better than the HD600 , what would he say or show?

 

Well, based on the InnerFidelity PDF files only, the HD800 has a more accurate bass response (less mid-bass resonance and better extension), lower distortion, faster decay and less ringing (this would be confirmed by CSD graphs), and better matched response between the stereo channels.

post #5 of 403
Thread Starter 

Coolio , some measurements that show the technical superiority of the HD800.

 

a more accurate bass response - what is the target for this ?

 

lower distortion - can distortion on HD600 be heard ?

 

faster decay and less ringing - good, again could you ABX it?

 

Better matched - Again , has anyone returned the HD600 because of the poor matching.

 

My point is , does any of the above translate into a better listening experience , has anyone ever posted "wow the drivers are so well matched on this 800" or "the decay on the guitar disappears so much faster on the 800".

 

Can you hear it?

post #6 of 403

the debate isn't over subjectively better/worse - the debate, especially re most cable claims is whether differences are audible by human hearing alone - Blinding protocols are to eliminate expectation, unconscious biases

 

researchers in psychoacoustics use DBT test to determine thresholds for audibility - as the 1st fundamental hurdle - if an effect can't be demonstrated in DBT listening tests many here can't accept subjective value judgments about what can't be heard Blind

 

all different models of  headphones, probably many serial production pieces of the same model headphone have frequency response differences well above DBT ABX thresholds - there is no controversy over whether they sound different

 

many instances of moderately competent cable construction, used in "reasonable" systems do not give measurable difference above previously tested frequency response variation DBT ABX thresholds, when tested in Blind, controlled manner even the Golden Eared proponents can't statistically reliably identify the difference by listening alone


Edited by jcx - 8/29/12 at 8:54am
post #7 of 403

+1

 

se

post #8 of 403

Astroid,

I've mentioned this few times in my vast and storied Head Fi epic adventures.....................why not pick on tubes?

Some folks claim there is a difference between this 6SN7 tube and that 6SN7 tube, if you can say this, then may as well say cables sound different while you are at it?

Hmmmm, maybe start a "Pick on Tubes" thread?confused_face_2.gif

C-Dawg

.

post #9 of 403
JCX nailed it.

I'll add that the way to judge whether a headphone is better or worse is by the specs. Audibly better frequency response (ie flatter), audibly lower distortion and a wider dynamic range that can be taken advantage of at normal listening levels is better.

The increased cost of one headphone over another is not related to how much better the sound is. That's your determination.
Edited by bigshot - 8/29/12 at 10:48am
post #10 of 403

In my opinion, having more accurate response, or less distortion, or better decay all will equal to make us listen to the recording the exact way it was recorded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by astroid View Post

Coolio , some measurements that show the technical superiority of the HD800.

 

a more accurate bass response - what is the target for this ?

 

lower distortion - can distortion on HD600 be heard ?

 

faster decay and less ringing - good, again could you ABX it?

 

Better matched - Again , has anyone returned the HD600 because of the poor matching.

 

My point is , does any of the above translate into a better listening experience , has anyone ever posted "wow the drivers are so well matched on this 800" or "the decay on the guitar disappears so much faster on the 800".

 

Can you hear it?

 

 

We may not be able to consciously hear those things, but put together, they would surely make the listening as close to reality as possible.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by digger945 View Post


I was reading this morning and came across this and posted it elsewhere in response to another member's question.

======================================================================================

 

DefaultPossibly the worst assumption in audio electronics

Wrong assumption -> people who study audio electronics know very little about human hearing, but assume they know more about it then they really do.

I guess I wrongly assumed most people knew this information, but then decided this must be one of the main reasons so many people have disagreements about audio electronics. Here's the great revelation. Human hearing is incredibly sensitive. Even though a lot of our hearing apparatus is mechanical it is far superior to most electronics on the market, ie. our hearing can detect more flaws in the electronics then those who parrot electronic theory realize. Its well known that real electronic components differ from theoretical electrical theory used to teach it. Of course, some people may have better hearing than other people. I read about these incredible numbers in the links below in reference to human hearing years ago.

There also seems to be a number prejudice, ie. when someone sees .1 % THD or even .01 or .001 % THD those that know nothing about human hearing assume that those numbers are so small they must be insignificant.

Read the great truths here about human hearing that most of you never knew.

Quote:
The human ear is one of the greatest marvels of nature: the inner ear or cochlea performs at least 1GFLOPS of real-time sensing, filtering, amplification, gain control, and data-compression computations in a tiny volume. The ear consumes about 14 μW of power while running on a 150mV battery; it could run on a pair of AA batteries for 15 years. The ear can sense 0.05 angstroms of eardrum motion at its best frequency and has an input dynamic range that spans 12 orders of magnitude in sound intensity. The ear operates over a frequency span of about 3 decades (10 octaves). Our ears report information with enough fidelity such that the auditory system can make a sound-location discrimination that corresponds to an inter aural time difference of a few microseconds even though the component parts of the system have 1-10 millisecond time constants. These impressive specifications were produced by at least 220 million years of evolution.
http://www.rle.mit.edu/avbs/document...NRFCOCHLEA.pdf

---------------------------------------
Quote:
How sensitive is hearing?

Extraordinarily so. The ear can detect a sound wave so small it moves the eardrum just one angstrom, 100 times less than the diameter of a hydrogen molecule. Murray Sachs, director of biomedical engineering, likes to say that if there were nothing between you and the airport, 10 miles away, and if there were no other sounds, nothing for sound to reflect from--then theoretically, you could hear a piece of chalk drop at the airport.

Johns Hopkins Magazine - September 1996 Issue

There's more examples. Just use Google.

 

===========================================================================================

 

I found it here....  http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/lounge/171623-possibly-worst-assumption-audio-electronics.html

 

 

 

However, all of these points vanish if your point in listening is enjoyment and "fun" instead of accuracy. In which case, cables are no longer "better", but as you said, merely different.


Edited by Lazwarth - 8/29/12 at 11:06am
post #11 of 403
Lazwarth, that last article you quoted would have been better had it used the same way of measuring sound as audio equipment does. How does an angstrom of movement of the eardrum relate to decibels? What frequency response is ten octaves? How much is 12 orders of magnitude of sound energy?

This is one of the biggest problems with home audio. No one ever relates the spec sheet to the specs for human ears. This guy says that, then avoids doing it himself. It is possible to find it out through googling. I spent a day doing that a long time ago, and I use that info whenever I evaluate sound specs.
post #12 of 403
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Lazwarth, that last article you quoted would have been better had it used the same way of measuring sound as audio equipment does. How does an angstrom of movement of the eardrum relate to decibels? What frequency response is ten octaves? How much is 12 orders of magnitude of sound energy?
 

 

This is an old canard.

 

Yes, our ears are very sensitive. So sensitive that we can effectively hear down to the thermal noise limit of the air itself.

 

But what's left out of the propaganda is that we can only achieve such sensitivities after being placed in an anechoic chamber and left there for 20-30 minutes to acclimate. You have to acclimate because just being exposed to relatively low levels of ambient noise reduces the sensitivity of our ears. So just because we can hear the air molecules beating against our eardrums doesn't mean we can hear them when we're listening to music at 90+ dB. In fact, listening to music reduces the sensitivity of our hearing further still.

 

Oh, and an angstrom of movement of the eardrum relates to 0dB SPL as that is the reference for the threshold of hearing.

 

se

post #13 of 403

"Even though a lot of our hearing apparatus is mechanical it is far superior to most electronics on the market, ie. our hearing can detect more flaws in the electronics then those who parrot electronic theory realize. Its well known that real electronic components differ from theoretical electrical theory used to teach it."

 

This is a load of bollocks.

It is one of those statements that looks objective but is actually subjective.

What is there to support this statement?

In addition, any designer will model in as many parasitic components as they possibly can.

post #14 of 403

Personally, I think people are put off more by cable marketing's pseud-science, outrageous pricing and the push to get consumer to pay more on their cable. I remember one time when I am at a store. The salesman continued to sell me this piece of cable and insisted I should put 10% of my money in cable. He got really mad when I told him I can't hear the difference.

 

This applied to not just interconnect., but also to power cable, USB cable, fuse. It's a wonder that we're not seeing audiophile SATA cable, drives, memory or reflow service to resolder your equipment with silver based solder.

post #15 of 403
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvw View Post

I remember one time when I am at a store. The salesman continued to sell me this piece of cable and insisted I should put 10% of my money in cable. He got really mad when I told him I can't hear the difference.

 

 

Now that is funny!biggrin.gif

And what a great sales tactic!

I'm sure he sold a lot of cable by getting mad at people!

Maybe McDonalds should go crazy on people if the DON'T Supersize their Fries or Shakes.

 

BTW, It's been a while since I was in McDonalds so I don't know if they still Supersize, Spurlock may have beaten that out of them.

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