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Skeptico Saloon: An Objectivist Joint - Page 39  

post #571 of 1671

If you use a program like ABXer you don't need the files to be equal size.

 

XLD have never given me any grief, but if you're paranoid, and like command-line interfaces, SoX would be the thing. Available trough MacPorts for convenience.

post #572 of 1671
Quote:
Originally Posted by limpidglitch View Post

If you use a program like ABXer you don't need the files to be equal size.

XLD have never given me any grief, but if you're paranoid, and like command-line interfaces, SoX would be the thing. Available trough MacPorts for convenience.
I totally forgot about that program. Thanks!

The link is down, but fortunately I had a backup of my previously-used apps, including ABXer.
post #573 of 1671
post #574 of 1671
Quote:
Originally Posted by miceblue View Post

I just saw this. What do you all think about it?
http://www.crystalcable.com/CMS/ckfinder/userfiles/files/HIFI+96_EqRev_Crystal%20HR.pdf

I think they are beautiful cables.... 

 

 

But they won't sound any better than standard cheap ones :)

post #575 of 1671
Quote:
Originally Posted by dclaz View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by miceblue View Post

I just saw this. What do you all think about it?
http://www.crystalcable.com/CMS/ckfinder/userfiles/files/HIFI+96_EqRev_Crystal%20HR.pdf
I think they are beautiful cables.... 


But they won't sound any better than standard cheap ones smily_headphones1.gif
Mmk that's what I thought too.

So then what could explain the findings in this article?
http://www.crystalcable.com/CMS/ckfinder/userfiles/files/Hi-Fi+%20februari%202012%20Crystal%20Cable%20USB.pdf
post #576 of 1671
Quote:
Originally Posted by miceblue View Post


Mmk that's what I thought too.

So then what could explain the findings in this article?
http://www.crystalcable.com/CMS/ckfinder/userfiles/files/Hi-Fi+%20februari%202012%20Crystal%20Cable%20USB.pdf

Dishonesty and poor 'experimental controls', mostly. 

 

I think it's extremely reasonable to be sceptical of perceivable differences in a digital cable.


Edited by dclaz - 3/17/14 at 8:35pm
post #577 of 1671
Quote:
Originally Posted by dclaz View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by miceblue View Post

Mmk that's what I thought too.


So then what could explain the findings in this article?
http://www.crystalcable.com/CMS/ckfinder/userfiles/files/Hi-Fi+%20februari%202012%20Crystal%20Cable%20USB.pdf
Dishonesty and poor 'experimental controls', mostly.

I think it's extremely reasonable to be sceptical of perceivable differences in a digital cable.
Sure it's simple to say that one should expect to be skeptical, but what if the results are true?

Should they be false, someone should jump on them for being phoney, marketing scum, and whatnot, no?
Edited by miceblue - 3/17/14 at 8:41pm
post #578 of 1671
Quote:
Originally Posted by miceblue View Post


Mmk that's what I thought too.

So then what could explain the findings in this article?
http://www.crystalcable.com/CMS/ckfinder/userfiles/files/Hi-Fi+%20februari%202012%20Crystal%20Cable%20USB.pdf

 

Problems with test:

 

1) 5 is not a large sample number.  If 5 people randomly picked numbers between 1 - 5 you'd be surprised to find how often 3 or more of them had the same number.  I think they usually pick #3.

 

2) Bias from test administrator, if all 5 of the subjects used the terms "cheap and nasty" to describe one cable it is very likely the test administrator influenced them on that trial.  Often with tone of voice.  This is why good studies use double blind procedures.

 

3) Test subjects influencing each other.  Sounds like the test was performed on all subjects at once, meaning they likely were influenced by what the other testees reported.

 

4) Testing methods not specified.  Was each cable played only once?  Did the test adminster ever lie about switching cables?  That's important.   They should lie and claim they switched cables while actually keeping the same cable.  That would validate the testees ability to actually hear a difference. Cause people hate to say they sound the same.  They will often guess as to what's different.  Sometimes say it's cable A, when it's really cable B, that prevents testees from forming their own bias during the testing.

 

5) Test is not reproduced.  Should be redone with different administrator, different test subjects, and the results should be compared.  I think it's called a t-test, and the goal is to determine how likely the results of the studies can be attributed to chance.

 

Basically it's not a scientific test and should not be considered as such.  It's actually really really hard to preform good tests.  Even in lab settings with experienced professors its really really hard. Even the best, most rigorous scientific studies must be independently reproduced before the results are considered meaningful.  

 

And, of course, it's a magazine with a vested interest in selling you stuff....  so it could all just be total ********!  I mean... it's kind of convenient that the most expensive cable sounded the best, but if you can't afford it, don't worry!  Nearly half of the people preferred the 2ND most expensive cable...... but the only cable that isn't available to buy at a fancy store?  That one is "cheap and nasty".

post #579 of 1671
Quote:
Originally Posted by miceblue View Post


Sure it's simple to say that one should expect to be skeptical, but what if the results are true?

Should they be false, someone should jump on them for being phoney, marketing scum, and whatnot, no?

 

The results may be true, the sample size was small and the conditions may have lead to some bias, so it's entirely possible the participants identified the cables in that way. However, every proper and controlled trial and test will show that there is no perceivable between digital cables (provided they meet spec).

 

As for them being false, audio magazines are constantly filled with such material. It wouldn't be much of a magazine and a vehicle to sell adds if every month every article said 'sounds exactly like the other cables we've used' year after year after year. These are articles in these magazines that claim audiophile SATA hard drive cables make a difference - they just don't.

post #580 of 1671
Quote:
Originally Posted by miceblue View Post


Sure it's simple to say that one should expect to be skeptical, but what if the results are true?

Should they be false, someone should jump on them for being phoney, marketing scum, and whatnot, no?

 

Well, some people probably will jump on them and call them phoney.  But no one will pay attention.  And none of the skeptics will spend $2000 on a USB cable and waste a weekend performing proper testing.  I wish someone would.  It would make it a little harder to sell BS!  But I ain't got no $2000 and my weekend is for sleeping in and playing videogames.  No help here.

post #581 of 1671
Quote:
Originally Posted by RapierApe View Post
 

 

Well, some people probably will jump on them and call them phoney.  But no one will pay attention.  And none of the skeptics will spend $2000 on a USB cable and waste a weekend performing proper testing.  I wish someone would.  It would make it a little harder to sell BS!  But I ain't got no $2000 and my weekend is for sleeping in and playing videogames.  No help here.

The testing wouldn't make a difference anyway. People who want to spend that much money on a cable don't believe in ABX testing, and probably don't care much for 'measurements.' 

post #582 of 1671
Hm, mmk. Those all make sense to me then, and those were very good points that were brought up.

If I make my own headphone cable, do you all have any suggestions for where to start? I was planning to make a balanced cable for a future amp (it'll probably be a 1-time thing for me, just to see if balanced can do much for me), but I'm not sure how to re-wire things in my current headphones. Some of the DIY cables look pretty cool actually.

I have the AKG K 701 as my main dynamic headphone (my other main headphone is my STAX). I'm not planning to re-cable my V-MODA M-100 since I pretty much use that exclusively for mobile listening.

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/headphone-cable-measurements-wrap
Quote:
DIY Opportunity - Recabling headphones is a great way to express your DIY skills. I would strongly recommend spending quite a bit of time building interconnects and headphone extension cables before attempting to re-cable a pair of headphones, but re-wiring your cans is a really fun mid-level DIY project for those interested and properly skilled.


And I just came across this thread too.
http://www.head-fi.org/t/564978/19-custom-iem-tf10-shure-ie8-cables-reviewed-effect-pearl-apollo-odin-added-3-20-13
http://gizmodo.com/5210904/giz-explains-why-analog-audio-cables-really-arent-all-the-same
Quote:
When proving his theory of skin depth, Professor Hawksford wrote, "I am not trying to say that this effect is necessarily significant, only that an error component is predicted by our theory and is shown by the measurements to exist." I think that sums up where the real division lies in the audio cable debate. Some people say they can hear it, others refuse to buy that these proven tweaks of electricity and electromagnetism are audible.

You're not going to hear it on a $350 home-theater-in-a-box system that came with speakers thrown in. But if you spend a few grand per speaker, and a fair amount on a receiver, you just might stand a chance of hearing some differences. If you spend $100,000 on a home-theater setup, well, you've probably got the cash to buy any audio cables you want, so I'm not sure I give a damn what you buy.

I don't think I've seen any scientific tests with super-expensive cables. Have you guys?
Edited by miceblue - 3/17/14 at 9:17pm
post #583 of 1671
Quote:
Originally Posted by miceblue View Post

Hm, mmk. Those all make sense to me then, and those were very good points that were brought up.

If I make my own headphone cable, do you all have any suggestions for where to start? I was planning to make a balanced cable for a future amp (it'll probably be a 1-time thing for me, just to see if balanced can do much for me), but I'm not sure how to re-wire things in my current headphones. Some of the DIY cables look pretty cool actually.

I have the AKG K 701 as my main dynamic headphone (my other main headphone is my STAX). I'm not planning to re-cable my V-MODA M-100 since I pretty much use that exclusively for mobile listening.

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/headphone-cable-measurements-wrap
And I just came across this thread too.
http://www.head-fi.org/t/564978/19-custom-iem-tf10-shure-ie8-cables-reviewed-effect-pearl-apollo-odin-added-3-20-13
http://gizmodo.com/5210904/giz-explains-why-analog-audio-cables-really-arent-all-the-same
I don't think I've seen any scientific tests with super-expensive cables. Have you guys?

 

Super expensive cables often test terribly by all the measures that Gizmondo article mentions.  That's why they rarely make any objective claims with their products.  They don't say it conducts electricity better.  They go for arguments that try to shame the buyer.  If you spent enough money on your system than you MAY be able to hear a difference. Really?  If I don't hear a difference I should spend more?

 

I worked for an audio retailer for years from sales to marketing.  I found with cables that all which really mattered was how secure a connection they made, flexibility and weight, and the gauge and length of copper.

 

A weak connection meant it might distort the sound or drop signal in and out.  Many expensive cables had overly tight connections because of this.  To the point that you would damage your equipment if weren't careful removing it.  The extra weight and lack of flexibility of many expensive cables made this problem worse.  Look for a nice tight fit that comes undone when you want it to.

 

Gauge and length, well there's math to that.  I don't remember it anymore. It makes a big difference when hooking up DC powered amps in car audio.  Amps won't turn on if they don't sense a strong enough ground.  With speaker wire as long as it's thick enough not to break when crimped than I never heard a difference.  I have connected my speakers with everything from "garbage wire" to DIY CAT5 cable to Monster THX TOTL whatever it was called.  All sounded the same.  I ended up using my DIY Cat5 cable because it is beautiful in a geeky way to me.  All rainbow colored.  Very stiff and hard to work with.

 

The only time I heard audible distortion due to interference was in car audio.  Run the signal near power and you could hear distortion directly related to the alternator.  I'm not sure if the fanciest cables would have helped.  It was cheaper to run the signal separated from the power.  Some cables might provide better shielding, I've never noticed it to be an issue in home audio.

 

If you can show me reliable measurements that a product performs better I will probably pay for it.  If I can hear a difference with my eyes closed I might pay for it.  And I only want to pay the smallest amount I can get the performance for!   I'm certainly open to the possibility that all kinds of cables affect the sound.  The world is very complex.  But until you find a good way to measure it, I'm not gonna buy it on blind faith.  And unless I can hear it with my eyes closed, I'm not gonna think it's worth my money.

 

I have found most cables to perform the same.  I've seen expensive cables damage demo equipment due to tight connections and heavy weight.  I have seen real cheap cables that fail to connect and/or break.  A good cable is nice and thick, but not too thick or heavy, with solid connectors.  I like making my own from Cat5 cause I got bunches around and I think it's sexy. 

 

I have no measurements to back up the sexy claim on my DIY cables.  I'm afraid if I did a double blind test my friends would tell me they are, in fact, ugly ugly.  So I'll just keep telling myself they are glorious to behold, and I'm fine with the lie.     

 

I guess I should mention I'm relatively new to headphones, so my cable and wire experience is all home audio.  I will recable the first set of headphones I break and use whatever cheap wire I can find suitable for headphones.  Even though I admit silver wire in a see through sleeve looks AWESOME!


Edited by RapierApe - 3/17/14 at 10:49pm
post #584 of 1671
Interesting. If I make my own DIY cable, how do I know if the connection is too tight or too loose?

Also, what do you make of this?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_pattern
http://6moons.com/audioreviews/lightharmonic/2.html

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue70/ramblings_2013.htm
Interesting to note, and I find this to be true too.
Quote:
Measurements allow us to create a representative abstraction with which to try and understand aspects of performance, some of them very fine aspects—but just because the measurements can represent all that we know about these phenomena doesn't mean that they, perforce, represent all that is there, all that we will ever know about it.

The limitation of measurement is simple: measurements cannot account for what they cannot account for. And to pretend, as it seems you do, that perceptible phenomena are limited by the limits of measurement (and the paradigmatic contexts that lend them and limit their meaning and usefulness) is to work an equation from the result, backwards. If you're missing a variable in the equation, your assumptions about the operators may be correct ... but incomplete.

Take so-called driver burn-in for example. Tyll at Innerfidelity attempted to measure it and his findings were inconclusive about its existence. Objectivists always say no, driver burn-in doesn't exist, but many people clam it exists. You can't really blind test it either because you get unit variance with different headphones.
Edited by miceblue - 3/17/14 at 11:10pm
post #585 of 1671

the only time I actually spent time(a lot actually as one article leads to another) reading about what made one of those expensive cable so unique, there was luckily enough, a very nice and complete description of what was done to the cable and why(don't remember the brand right now cause I'm old and also a liar, scared of how an admin might react if I actually tell that the brand is ********ting people "fox news style"):

 

-there was some teflon involved. obviously so very rare in cables... almost as rare as it's expensive I guess ^_^.

 

-then there was something done to the cable, some very meticulous and said expensive cryo stuff with temperature stages and all. that was supposed to add everything, strength, soundstage ...

when looking up the technique they described, it was actually proven to do what was told. it had a purpose in making iron based components sturdier due to something special in iron, too bad the cables were copper and silver made I guess ...

 

-and lastly of course the way it was braided that again made all the difference in sound and had again the purpose described, as it's actually effective on high frequencies. only it's done for radio signals frequencies, not audio range ones. the closest thing I could find trying desperately to give them a point, and after hours of the web telling me it was idiotic, there was this one paper telling that the effects were starting to be really measurable from around 15khz and above(ofc it was a cable for a multi driver IEM that rolled off long before 15khz but let's dismiss that one joke for science).

 

suffice to say that it didn't help me become a believer of magic cables.

so my conclusion was that impedance difference would mostly make the signal a little louder or quieter but absolutely not better or worst, unless you take into account that louder is better for us poor humans. thus all the bias and people saying they heard all the differences. 

the only actually useful thing I learned was to braid the cable, if only for EMI/RFI protection. from that I concluded that I could braid a 5bucks cable myself and be the kind of the world(with zero Oscar).

I keep buying cables, probably more often than most. as I have countless ways to kill them(hulk smash). but I pick them for how pretty they are, how cheap they are, or how they're known to be comfy and low on "microphonics". and anytime I see a seller talk about how the sound gets warmer with gold, I close the tab and go buy somewhere else.

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