Originally Posted by JaZZ
[/i]But please (!) don't give up to trust yourself, your ears! It would be a poor world if nobody would believe in his own capabilities, his own senses.
I never for a moment stopped trusting my own ears. If I thought my hearing was poor, I wouldn't ever have bothered with ABX tests in the first place, having written it off as not being able to hear a difference at all. As it stands, I used to do pretty extensive ABX testing on various lossy compression encoders as a hobby. I think that's where a lot of my perspective on this subject is coming from.
When it comes to measurements, I agree with you to an extent, as there's a similar equiv when it comes to lossy compression. A lot of people have mistakenly thought that they could judge quality of compressed sound by spectrum analysis. As someone put it, 'You don't listen to a picture'. A good lossy encoder is supposed to rip out and mangle a lot in the name of compressing -- that's the whole point. Not to say spectrum analysis is completely worthless in this, but given that the only real way to know what's going on is to listen to it, you need a methodology. This is *science*, not an *art*. So, you need a way of confirming what you hear as actually there to better tune what you are working on, else you could be running in circles for the rest of your life.
However, when it comes to the subject of cables, there's just no way around the fact that if it's changing qualities of sound, down to certain frequency ranges as many have claimed, then actual measurements of the headphones themselves in a controlled environment where the same source, amp, etc. are all being used at consistant levels should be able to be detect changes in response. That's a bit foregoing actual measurement of the cables themselves, but instead measuring the final result. If there's nothing noticible as a result, then we can all just go home and use zip cord.
If there's something there, then ABX can come into this to see if we can actually really hear and appreciate such a difference.
I'm not sure how to respond to your assertion that ABXing is not possible nor is it pleasurable. I know it's certainly possible, because I've done blind testing with sound before, what we're discussing is sound and really not any different or special than trying to judge and tune lossy compression. For the pleasure part I think that depends entirely on the person, I happen to rather enjoy experiments and science. I enjoy my music as much as the next person here, but I don't exactly enjoy spending more than I really need to for an optimal (or in some cases, sub-optimal [!]) experience. I could be using that money on more music, instead!
Anyway, I'm going to duck out of this thread and go back to lurking for massive ammounts of time again, since while this has remained a very civil conversation (which I *really* appreciate) this is one of those things that everyone is going to be divergent of opinions on and everyone is 'right' -- myself no exception. Thanks again, guys!