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Would cables actually make my headphones sound better/different? - Page 2

post #16 of 86

I've always wondered: Let's say an amp has X ohm output impedance. Wouldn't X ohm resistors to ground on the jack side (could be even inside a normal TRS jack) be enough to balance impedances and therefore reject noise?

Isn't bridging completely superfluous?

post #17 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

I've always wondered: Let's say an amp has X ohm output impedance. Wouldn't X ohm resistors to ground on the jack side (could be even inside a normal TRS jack) be enough to balance impedances and therefore reject noise?

Isn't bridging completely superfluous?

 

Yeah, you could do that. But "balanced" output headphone amps were never about rejecting noise. It was all about "doubling output voltage," "quadrupling the power," "doubling the slew rate," and "bypassing ground."

 

se

post #18 of 86

I understand what you mean but don't really see a practical advantage. +6 dB, slew rate - usually not a problem.

And what's wrong with the ground? ;-( Only "problem" I can see is when the ground wires are connected near the drivers instead of at the jack side.

post #19 of 86

I'm speaking a bit out of turn since I'm a mechanical engineer and not electrical or acoustics. I've worked in a material test lab and have a pretty good understanding of metal crystalline structures, inclusions of impurities, material science, etc etc....but no experience on how these would affect transmission of electrical signals.

 

After reading the arguments of either side of the cable debate and still not able to come to a conclusion on the subject I decided to purchase a cable from moon audio for a pair of Vmoda M80s. I was sceptical that any difference could be heard, however, I do think that some detail was gained in the high and low frequencies.

 

After giving it some thought I have assumed the higher quality of the connectors and workmanship of Drew Baird are what resulted in a different sound from a stock cable. I assume Drew is a pretty good cable maker considering he is a PE and the connectors are probably held to better dimensional tolerances. Better tolerances could possibly result in better engagement of contacts in the respective jacks.

 

So is there any validity to my assumptions?

post #20 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonbmet View Post

I'm speaking a bit out of turn since I'm a mechanical engineer and not electrical or acoustics. I've worked in a material test lab and have a pretty good understanding of metal crystalline structures, inclusions of impurities, material science, etc etc....but no experience on how these would affect transmission of electrical signals.

 

After reading the arguments of either side of the cable debate and still not able to come to a conclusion on the subject I decided to purchase a cable from moon audio for a pair of Vmoda M80s. I was sceptical that any difference could be heard, however, I do think that some detail was gained in the high and low frequencies.

 

After giving it some thought I have assumed the higher quality of the connectors and workmanship of Drew Baird are what resulted in a different sound from a stock cable. I assume Drew is a pretty good cable maker considering he is a PE and the connectors are probably held to better dimensional tolerances. Better tolerances could possibly result in better engagement of contacts in the respective jacks.

 

So is there any validity to my assumptions?

It's always good to have people from different discipline to join the discussion. This gives different perspective on things. Your background comes in very handy when there are claims in metal crystal structure and so on.

 

I've checked Moon Audio out. They represent a new breed of cable manufacturers that does not make claim or offers any theory why their cable sounds better. The only claim is they make high end cables or more appropriately high priced cables. They let other guys make claims for them. They claimed their cable provide 3dB more sensitivity to the headphone. And their USB cable increased battery life, (lower power consumption). These seemed improbable. Any way, they did not make the claims. Somebody else made it for them.

 

I'm from a manufacturing background. So my key things is how do you ensure gets the quality you claim. Since they makes no claim it's better only more expensive, I guessed you don't need any QA for it. As a matter of fact they made no claim whatsoever that it's better than your stock cable. So what is the difference? The only difference is they used stock silver or silver plated copper. So there is no proprietary engineering design here. I think you concluded that as well. You deduction is it must be the tighter tolerance of the plug or is it. From a electrical conductivity stand point, it could not be. I think the only way to find out for sure is to do a ABX. Make sure you have the level matched since the cable supposedly have 3dB more volume.

post #21 of 86
Did they post the claims other people made for them on their own website? If so, they are endorsing the claims as far as I'm concerned.
post #22 of 86

Thanks for the response DVW. Moon audio does make some claims to the performance of their cables. Here's a quote from moon audio's website for the cable I purchased:

 

"The Blue Dragon is a neutral, very natural sounding headphone cable which is great for vocal performances.

The Blue Dragon V3 is a good fit if you do not want to add coloration but want to improve clarity and dynamics in your headphones."

 

The funny thing is that if there is no discernible difference between cables then most of the above quote could be used to describe any cable....no coloration, natural sounding, neutral, etc. Performance could be attributed to larger gauge of wire as well.

 

I'm still not 100% convinced there isn't some difference and maybe an abx test is what I need to do to make up my mind.

post #23 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Did they post the claims other people made for them on their own website? If so, they are endorsing the claims as far as I'm concerned.

Yes they do have it on their website,

post #24 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonbmet View Post

Thanks for the response DVW. Moon audio does make some claims to the performance of their cables. Here's a quote from moon audio's website for the cable I purchased:

 

"The Blue Dragon is a neutral, very natural sounding headphone cable which is great for vocal performances.

The Blue Dragon V3 is a good fit if you do not want to add coloration but want to improve clarity and dynamics in your headphones."

 

The funny thing is that if there is no discernible difference between cables then most of the above quote could be used to describe any cable....no coloration, natural sounding, neutral, etc. Performance could be attributed to larger gauge of wire as well.

 

I'm still not 100% convinced there isn't some difference and maybe an abx test is what I need to do to make up my mind.

I read it as non-performance because every cable to me is neutral or should be. The way I see it is if they make a claim then they will need to support it. You should ask them how do they design their cable to be more neutral than the others and how do they ensure the cable they shipped has this neutral quality. What kind of QA method did they use? If there's a QA miss, will they accept a non-neutral cable RMA. Without a valid theory, there can be no valid design.

 

A little trivia, (I like to do trivia) on how the brain works. This has nothing to do with audio. Based on physics, the image we see at the back of our eyes should be inverted. However, we're not seeing the inverted image. Our brain has corrected and so our perception of the image is non-inverted. Brain can make some powerful suggestion to our perception.

post #25 of 86

Yes, fancy cables will probably sound better. Psychology! Most of that difference is due to placebo, but placebo matters as it contributes to music enjoyment. That's what I preach here. Embrace placebo! It makes us happy. smily_headphones1.gif

 

Anyway... assuming that you have good build quality and ergonomics, and if you need it, proper shielding (probably not needed in home settings for headphone cables unless you live next to HAARP or have a GSM microwave broadcast antenna outside your living room window, or something), you'll be fine. And you must like the aesthetics. That's important. Coolness counts. 

 

The weird  mumbo jumbo like "skin effects" and other exotic terms that you see around here usually only apply to very high voltages (kV levels) or extremely high bandwidth (GHz). Just remember that headphones (non electrostatic) as a whole use a max of 20V or so, and 100mA. The bandwidth is less than 1 MHz. The SNR of the ear is far less than 80db at best, and is usually closer to 60db. The demands aren't that high. We aren't talking about Thunderbolt cables here. 

 

And the silver vs copper stuff, that's just for appearance, awesomeness (completely subjective), and corrosion resistance. There's absolutely no scientific evidence that at these lengths and bandwidths, that those two materials will make any difference that can be theoretically perceived by even the most "Golden" ears.  

 

Side note: I kind of really wish that I was more susceptible to placebo, as it would make my life so much easier. Think about it. Example: Ginko is much cheaper than Prozac! 


Edited by Chromako - 8/16/13 at 8:36pm
post #26 of 86
Thread Starter 

Well...I asked for scientific answers and I definitely got them lel. I can't really understand half of these things despite training to be an engineer.
Must be the whole summer mode.

So the one thing I picked up was that balanced cable outputs are actually meant to increase voltage between the speakers and amp? 


Also I should probably tell another reason why I brought this question up. I just thought it was funny that on another thread people were discussing the "new" hd650 vs the "old". Some people said their "modded" old hd650 still sounded more veiled and dark than a new stock one.

The difference new cables make, balanced or not must be extremely minor when just a small quirk/alteration with the sennheiser manufacturing process is more noticeable.


Edited by wafflezz - 8/16/13 at 10:45pm
post #27 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflezz View Post

Well...I asked for scientific answers and I definitely got them lel. I can't really understand half of these things despite training to be an engineer.
Must be the whole summer mode.

So the one thing I picked up was that balanced cable outputs are actually meant to increase voltage between the speakers and amp? 


Also I should probably tell another reason why I brought this question up. I just thought it was funny that on another thread people were discussing the "new" hd650 vs the "old". Some people said their "modded" old hd650 still sounded more veiled and dark than a new stock one.

The difference new cables make, balanced or not must be extremely minor when just a small quirk/alteration with the sennheiser manufacturing process is more noticeable.

As I stated before, the difference is minimal and if you didn't intimately know how your rig sounds before you'll never know the difference. The only reason I could hear a difference with my guitar cable is because it's a long run of cable and I was able to ABX test the cable rapidly. Even so the difference in sound almost wasn't worth the price.

post #28 of 86

wafflezz, you have to distinguish between balanced signaling (to reduce interference) and bridged amplifiers (to increase power output). (I accidentally was mixing those above as well.)

 

Balanced lines can (and often do) carry differential signals, but that is not a requirement. There's also parallel amplifiers, like in the O2, which also increases output power but doesn't force you to recable/terminate.


Edited by xnor - 8/17/13 at 6:02am
post #29 of 86
LOL buying a 200$ cable for <200$ headphones... Sounds legit...
post #30 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by squallkiercosa View Post

LOL buying a 200$ cable for <200$ headphones... Sounds legit...


And you sound like an....

 

I use the cable on my maddogs too.

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