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Would cables actually make my headphones sound better/different? - Page 3

post #31 of 86
You're right, but let's put in this way: what do you think of those buying expensive headphones' stands for cheap headphones?
post #32 of 86

But he's right. Audiophiles buying such expensive cables have lost all perspective.

post #33 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by squallkiercosa View Post

You're right, but let's put in this way: what do you think of those buying expensive headphones' stands for cheap headphones?

I don't have an opinion on expensive headphone stands for cheap headphones. I don't care how people spend their own money.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

But he's right. Audiophiles buying such expensive cables have lost all perspective.

Most people outside of head-fi think anyone who spends more than $25 on headphones have lost all perspective.

post #34 of 86
In any case, the last thing I want is to argue about cables. I present my apologies, but next time please mention that you bought the cable for the mad dogs from the beginning. You sounded like a seller to be honest.
post #35 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by squallkiercosa View Post

In any case, the last thing I want is to argue about cables. I present my apologies, but next time please mention that you bought the cable for the mad dogs from the beginning. You sounded like a seller to be honest.


Fair enough.

post #36 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonbmet View Post

 

Most people outside of head-fi think anyone who spends more than $25 on headphones have lost all perspective.

Yes, outside of head-fi. Now guess how most of these people think about $200 headphone cables. wink.gif


Edited by xnor - 8/17/13 at 1:05pm
post #37 of 86

The cables on my Sennheiser headphones shorted out, so I looked for an easy third party cable to replace it. They were all ridiculously expensive, so I emailed Sennheiser. They sold me a replacement cable for $8.

post #38 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

Yes, outside of head-fi. Now guess how most people of these think about $200 headphone cables. wink.gif

I'm sure they wouldn't approve of expensive amplifiers, DACS, turntables, cd transports, and every other piece of audio equipment I own. I guess I should sell everything off and revert to the free ear buds apple sent with my phone. Then everyone would approve of how I spend my money and the world would be righted again.

 

Anyway....I'm currently reading a book on pyschoacoustics. I haven't finished it yet (on the third chapter actually), but the book presented some graphs during the introduction of various tests of people's hearing. One of the graph's showed test results of people's ability to determine a change in intensity for a single tone. The test worked in that they'd play a control tone....and then play the same tone 1db higher. Then they'd play the control tone again....and then play the same tone 1.5db higher and so on...until the listener could detect a difference. After that test they reversed it.....Starting with the control tone and then playing the tone 6db higher....then 5.5db...etc etc....until the listener couldn't discern a difference between the control and altered tone.

 

What was interesting is that there was some amount of 'hysteresis' between the two tests.  Logic would tell you the delta in tone intensity that listener could distinguish would be the same no matter which direction the test was performed in. However, that wasn't the case. At least not based on the listener's responses. I think humans second guess themselves in these sort of tests.....even if the listener thought they could hear a step up or down in intensity they may not indicate it for fear of being wrong and wait until the difference is more certain. In reality the threshold for discernible differences in amplitude should be the same. Seems like there's a good deal of psychology involved in listening tests.

post #39 of 86
Some kinds of equipment (speakers, headphones) are worth investing large amounts of money in. Some (CD players, cables) are not. Money does not automatically buy quality. You have to be a smart shopper with smart priorities.
post #40 of 86

@jonbmet: It's not about approving expensive purchases or getting people to approve of your buying behavior, but putting things into perspective.

 

A really simplistic experiment:

a) take the $200 headphone away and replace it with a $5 one - how much worse does your system sound now?

b) take the $200 cable away and replace it with a $5 one - how much worse is it now?

 

edit: bigshot also nailed it.

 

---

 

I am all for (blind!) listening tests. They are the only way to tell if you can really hear a difference.

 

As for going increasing/decreasing volume, playing the softer/louder tone first etc.: human hearing isn't perfect, it has nonlinearities, loud tones mask following silent tones, a loud tone can mask a simultaneous quiet tone even if it has a lower frequency, and so on..

Lossy codecs make heavy use of these scientific findings resulting from blind listening tests.

 

*thumbs up* for reading something about psychoacoustics. It is really important to have a rough idea of how our hearing works, what its imperfections/quirks/limits are.


Edited by xnor - 8/17/13 at 2:03pm
post #41 of 86

I'd like to get back to the original purpose of this thread. It seems there is some difference between cables. Granted they may not be the best-bang-for-your-buck....if possible, can we discuss cables without reference to cost? I read through a report today (http://www.apiguide.net/04actu/04musik/AES-cableInteractions.pdf) published by AES where they compare several cables. A good deal of it is over my head to be honest, but they were able to find differences between them. Number of conductors, resistance, capacitance, inductance of cables plays a role in transmitting audio frequencies.

 

What are your thoughts?

post #42 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonbmet View Post

It seems there is some difference between cables.

 

Based on what?

 

Are we talking between 1000 ft of 75 micoron diameter steel wire vs 3 ft 16 AWG interconnects? Or between $25 reasonably well made 3ft copper conductors vs $14,000 9 sigma 10 AWG single crystal alien technology AudioQuests?

 

It's very helpful when you start the discussion to be precise about what's being compared. If we're discussing quality, yet inexpensive cables connecting "typical" headphones to "typical" amps, cable differences are below an measurement threshold and certainly below any audible threshold at frequencies within an order of magnitude of human hearing. Hear is your chance to define "typical" headphones, "typical" amps, and the conditions you are considering.

 

A cable needs to transmit voltages from a source (i.e. amp output) to the destination (i.e. across the terminals of the speaker coil). The speaker, connectors, cables are all passive components, so voltage is equivalent to current via Ohm's law. The primary variables that can matter are capacitance, inductance, resistance. Skin effect and transmission line effects are secondary, and you need to decide if those matter. Define your problem, and we can discuss it. I promise you, unless you choose some bizarre combination of equipment in a bizarre configuration, there will be no difference between a high end cable and a quality boring-old-common-copper one.

 

If you have credible information that says otherwise, I'd be interested in some links, please! If you don't support your arguments with third-party, unbiased, credible sources, then the whole internet debate turns into one anonymous username's word against another's, in which case the whole thing goes nowhere.

 

Cheers

post #43 of 86

I believe you can compare the paper's plots to the ABX just noticeable difference curves from Clark's paper that I posted earlier - with the result that loudspeaker cable effects are all below Clark's curves

 

cable effects can be predicted, measured in current technology with good agreement between the 2 - audible effects have to be compared to DBT established thresholds or controlled listening tests have to be ran for every situation

 

loudspeaker cable is often physically large enough that skin/proximity effect can (just barely) play a role by 20 kHz - not the case in headphone cabling where the weight/stiffness means we use much smaller diameter wire

 

 

dynamic single driver headphones are much simpler loads than multiway loudspeakers - headphone impedance curves are generally smoother - the bass bump, voice coil impedance rise are at frequencies we are relatively insensitive to

 

for our most sensitive hearing region many dynamic headphones look like pretty flat near resistive loads - often 100x larger than the cable R so effects are already at/below the 0.1 dB frequency response threshold before correcting for the small flat with frequency level difference that could be eliminated by bumping the volume control

post #44 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonbmet View Post

 

Most people outside of head-fi think anyone who spends more than $25 on headphones have lost all perspective.

You'll be surprised. I read a business article. The fastest growing segment of the headphone market is the high end market. high end is defined as >$100. That's because of Beat Audio, They now owned more than 50% of the market. My 10 years old son was asking for a pair because it's cool. It's a new world my friend. I almost dropped on the floor when I saw Beat is almost 3X Sennheiser market share and they just started a few years ago. It's either great marketing or Dr. Dre is a great engineer. 


Edited by dvw - 8/17/13 at 4:19pm
post #45 of 86

Even if you ignore cost there's only so much you can do to carry a low frequency signal with a cable. If you measure the output of a cheap cable and compare it to the input and it's within 0.0x or 0.00x or 0.000x dB then you know what's going on.

 

Fancy cables, even the most expensive ones, can by logic alone only improve on that by a ridiculously small amount (then again you could have chosen a slightly thicker or better but still cheap cable with lower resistance or capacitance), but they could also make things worse.


Edited by xnor - 8/17/13 at 4:22pm
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