How do I convince people that audio cables DO NOT make a difference
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gimmeheadroom

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Unsuitable: filamentous earbud cable for speakers, lamp cord between turntable and phono preamp, ribbon cable for 5m ethernet cable...
Defective: cheap manufactured cable with broken connection, dog-chewed wire, a cable my wife uses (she's destroyed about 10 Lightning cables)...
LOL you kinda read my mind with some of those answers
 
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post-16086888
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Roland P

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Unsuitable: filamentous earbud cable for speakers, lamp cord between turntable and phono preamp, ribbon cable for 5m ethernet cable...
I agree. But what about headphones? Is there anything that would alter the sound? I think if it conducts good, and is not short circuited in any way, it will be fine.

[Slightly unrelated] I was looking for some headphone wires to connect my AH-D9200 to my ZX300 with a 4.4mm connector (I know, balanced, therefore questionable in this forum) and I see the most ridiculous designs for the most ridiculous prices. I just want something that's cheap, conducts, and doesn't look ridiculous lol.
 
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post-16087064
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Amrit-R

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I agree. But what about headphones? Is there anything that would alter the sound? I think if it conducts good, and is not short circuited in any way, it will be fine.

[Slightly unrelated] I was looking for some headphone wires to connect my AH-D9200 to my ZX300 with a 4.4mm connector (I know, balanced, therefore questionable in this forum) and I see the most ridiculous designs for the most ridiculous prices. I just want something that's cheap, conducts, and doesn't look ridiculous lol.
something like this?: https://www.amazon.com/NewFantasia-...934744&sprefix=NewFantasia+4.4,aps,238&sr=8-6

Not sure if it fits. I recently bought a cable from this brand for my Audioquest, which has a rather terrible stock cable. Don’t know how it will last, but works great for now.
 
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post-16087071
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old tech

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It's also not a good look to repeat the Randi $1 million nonsense over and over again. I understand what you're trying to do, but there are better ways to do it.

- The $1 million challenge ended in 2015 when James Randi retired from JREF (James Randi Education Foundation - I think)
- For the final several years (7...8...?), they wouldn't accept just anyone off the street. You had to be associated with an organization.
- JREF's three (IIRC) encounters of the audio kind are mixed. One good, one bad, one dodgy.

Why not just say: "If you can demonstrate what you claim, you'd be a hero to subjectivists, and make most objectivists look silly." Just tell him he's not convincing, and don't try to shame him into submission. Won't work, in most cases.
Actually i didnt know the $1 million challenge ended so apologies for giving you a bad look. I remember when one of the high price cable makers agreed to the challenge (Monster i think) but piked out. The fact remains though that in the 40 odd years it operated, not one subjectivist or cable manufacturer making these claims was able to claim the prize.

The fact that until in its final years they wouldnt accept anyone from the street is hardly surprising. The James Randi prize was available to anyone who could prove they had paranormal abilities, those convinced they had paranormal hearing abilities with audio cables were tiny compared to clairvoyants, astrologists and so on, noone has the capacity to test everybody. They had to filter out the more obvious cranks and require claimants to do some basic testing themselves. Requiring them to be part of an organisation was a way to do it.
 
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post-16087084
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Roland P

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something like this?: https://www.amazon.com/NewFantasia-Balanced-Compatible-NW-WM1Z-Stereos/dp/B07Z4V7BNH/ref=sr_1_6?crid=2LE1EZKGJFGGZ&dchild=1&keywords=newfantasia+4.4mm&qid=1609934744&sprefix=NewFantasia+4.4,aps,238&sr=8-6

Not sure if it fits. I recently bought a cable from this brand for my Audioquest, which has a rather terrible stock cable. Don’t know how it will last, but works great for now.
That cable looks incorrect. Well, it goes from balanced to unbalanced, so the 'cold' wires aren't connected I guess.

I settled for this: https://nl.aliexpress.com/item/1005...earchweb0_0,searchweb201602_,searchweb201603_
It's a nice looking cable, I prefer the unexposed wires. Specs say it's made of copper, so it should be good 😁.
 
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post-16090002
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Deolum

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I'm really torn between both sides. I'm a highly rational human being. I studied law and my peer group studies law, maths, physics, IT etc. Ofc my IT friend say what the when i tell them i use 100€ USB Cables because they sound different.

On the other hand i can't deny what i hear. I know much about human psychology and the power how the perceived world is ultimately only created by us because we can't even see the objective reality.

I also think that science can't explain everything and that music is one of those parts.Thinking that science which is discovered by the limited perception of humans can explain everything is imo a quite arrogant attitude.

So why shouldn't music interact with the materials it flows through? If music could really be pictured in a binary code of 1 and 0 it wouldn't create such emotions in people nor have such a large influence on the human kind during all of history. I really like the painting la trahison des images with it's famous subtitle ceci n'est pas une pipe.

What makes me think the most that cables sound different is when i have a system that is at the very peak of treble amount i can listen to before it hurts. When exchanging cables now there are cables that actually make me feel physical pain while i can listen to others way longer.

What i also wonder is why i never met anyone who has a high end system and says cables don't matter. I know a lot of people who have high end systems and everyone of those uses good cables. But of course i can't know everyone.

The two groups who say cables don't matter are in my experience either

a) musicians

They use the music to work with it which is imo a completely different condition than using it to experience the very subtle emotions. I've also never met a musician with a highend setup. Most use DT770 or AKG K701.

b) people who have a really bad setup

like my good IT buddy who uses a 80€ bluetooth headphone and a 150€ Logitech Surround speaker setup. Sadly he never heard mine setup yet because he moved a bit away. However i'd be surprised if he heard a difference because until you notice that you must be very familiar with the setup.

Now if we just create the hypothesis that cables actually sound different but humans don't have the methods to measure that then we can also turn the placebo argument around and say that the people who think cables don't sound different because science can't measure it are the ones who are subject to their placebo.

Why i don't do a blindtest? I think the difference is really subtle. I'd identify the right cable maybe 55-60% of the time. To prove that i'd need a very high amount of samples in an area of 20-100 to get reliable data. Which means someone had to plug und unplug the cable 40-200 times out of my system. I already damaged my old chord 2qute Dac with massive cable plugging and unplugging so i'm not eager to try that again.

However with the treble peak method i consider it to be more likely doable so maybe i will.

There are also two things that don't convince me about the placebo effect:

1. Why are cables so overprominent here? There are so many voodo treats for example schubert resonance generators or laying stones on the amps. If there really wasn't any effect then why would cables and power be accepted widely more than those other things? Maybe the social factor is determining that okay.

2. Why do i so many times prefer the cheaper cable over the more expensive one? Why do i notice (large) improvemens almost everywhere jumping from 10€ to 50€ but almost never when jumping from 50€ to 300€?
 
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Deolum

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Two things i want to add:

1. I see many unconvincing blind tests that people use to say cables make no difference. These blind tests often use a small sample size like 4 tracks or are completely wrong. I remember one test where someone invited 6 people who thought they'd hear cables differences and let them compare two cables 7-10 times. The perception of the audience was highly variating. In the end he said that he just used the same cable all the time. Of course that's completely wrong because the only thing he proofed is that placebo exists and not that cables don't sound different.

2. Why don't high end shop owners say that cables don't make a difference? At least i've never seen one. Usually they even use the very best cables in their own demo room. And they are exposed to six and seven figure systems.

Now you may want so say: because they want to sell the cables. But that makes no sense for me. There are so many highend shops out there and a limited number of clients. Meanwhile according to you audio scientists there should be a decently large number of highend system owners who don't think cables make a difference (which i never met). If there are 100 highend shops in the country and everyone claims that cables make a difference then the 101th shop would have a massive competitive advantage if he states that cables don't make a difference because he'd gain the trust of all those numerous high enders who don't think cables matter (which i never met).
 
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post-16090203
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sonitus mirus

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Find a way to switch cables where you can't tell which one is being used and try your treble test to see if you can really identify a difference between them. Are you guessing or is it obvious to you? Just do that for yourself.
 
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bigshot

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I see many unconvincing blind tests that people use to say cables make no difference.
The purpose of those tests isn't to convince you. If you want to be convinced, set up a simple double blind test yourself. Get a switch box and find out. Most everyone here in Sound Science have done basic controlled tests. It isn't hard, nor expensive. It just takes getting up and finding out for yourself. Once you've done a couple of tests, you might find those blind tests are more convincing.

We don't say proper cables don't make a difference because that is what we believe. We say that because we've made the effort to know.
 
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Roland P

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The two groups who say cables don't matter are in my experience either

a) musicians

b) people who have a really bad setup
There is another group (me): c) people with an electrical background (23 years ago though...)
I see a cable as a passive component that has three properties: resistance, capacitance and inductance

A cable is just a conductor. The capacitance and inductance aren't high enough to be audible. If the capacitance was high, it would short circuit high frequencies and work as a low pass filter. If the inductance was high, it would block low frequencies and work as a high pass filter. Maybe I'm way off, but I think this is how it works.

I think that a very expensive cable, priced much higher than the materials, feels like a scam, and therefore, I don't wan't to put my money in it. Well maybe if it looked really pretty :D
 
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post-16103955
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SennheiserNoob

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I'm sure this has been posted already in the massive 146-page backlog of this thread, but for me one of the more informative posts about this was this page here, where you can listen to a sample of a song with a good USB cable and a bad USB cable: https://archimago.blogspot.com/2014/01/demo-measurements-what-does-bad-usb-or.html

At least for the digital stuff, the signal either makes it through properly or it doesn't, and when things go wrong, the changes are very nontrivial (pops, static-sound, silent parts from bad decoding, etc), and can't change overall "tone" or color of the song (in order to do that, you'd have to make very consistent changes to a variety of bits which is no longer error but something so specific that the probability is near-zero). To my mind, a cable is either good enough to transmit the signal, or it isn't - in other words you either get the correct sound or you get garbage. You don't get a "better" sound somehow past the bare minimum, is the way I see it.

I think it doesn't help either that you can look at pictures of musicians/DJs/etc at big concert venues who can be seen using very high-end cables - but I think if anything, in a big environment like that (where you may have rain, or a huge crowd with lots of cell phones, lots of equipment, large distances between components, etc), at least there it would seem more defensible to me to get something with beefier shielding, or spring for the gold-plating to resist corrosion better, or the better tech for transmitting a clear signal over longer distances that is less prone to integrity issues, whatever.

But for the average joe with a modest in-home setup with things mere feet apart, it's overkill -- and not even in a "diminishing returns" sense, but just straight overkill, zero added benefit.

I suspect that the placebo effect is just extraordinarily powerful. At least when I've looked around on Google, most of the objections tend to center on AB/blind testing as flawed, but I have not really heard a good reason behind that defense. If I can't tell something apart even with the ability to move seamlessly between them, as far as I'm concerned they're perceptually identical, and I don't see why this is a flawed way to approach it.
 
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Take both cables. Connect with them an external hard drive to your computer, and copy a file to it with each cable. Then compare both. If they are the same, it means data is transferred bit-perfect in both cases. Now, do you believe in evidence?. Or maybe you'll think that is fake news?.
 
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Dr Rez

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One amusing part of this subject is that often times on very expensive cans (over 1k) the wires used are very minimally shielded inexpensive copper ones.

So it seems peculiar that the actual creator of the high end cans often put average not special wires in the most crucial part of the headphone yet an expensive outside cable is needed to improve sound...?
 
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fjf

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Just because they have engineers and know a simple copper cable does the job. You dont need a platinum cable. There are ways of showing jewelry better...
 
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