How do I convince people that audio cables DO NOT make a difference
May 10, 2010 at 2:22 AM Post #541 of 2,696

DonCarr

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LOL  TREE LOBSTERS
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May 10, 2010 at 7:49 AM Post #543 of 2,696

Prog Rock Man

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Until a series of properly executed blind/ABX test of cables show that it is clear which cable is which and that it is clear one cable sounds better than another, I will remain convinced they do not make a difference.
 
May 10, 2010 at 8:06 AM Post #544 of 2,696

cegras

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Quote:
Very loosely, speakers are low impedance, require high current and low voltage.  Headphones are high(er) impedance, require low(er) current and higher voltage.  Consequently, the types of wire used for each is different, though using 18AWG wire, which is just about speaker cable or power cable (!), for headphones, is pretty funny.  The more current, the thicker the wire required, which is why power lines are relatively thick.  It's more likely that large voltage swings would be affected by the quality of audio components, and less so, say, speaker cable that carries a large current.
 
The problem with this kind of discussion on here is that it's pretty far removed from science, involved in proposing theories, methodologies of testing, possible errors, performing experiments and writing them up correctly, but just people arguing about things they read online and taking sides because it suites their desire to be right, not to find out or know the truth.  Unfortunately and presumably as a result, the people who are heavily involved in actual DBT testing and whatnot don't seem to be posting any more because of this.  


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_power_transmission
 
Electrical power transmission lines run at EXTREMELY high voltages to MINIMIZE power loss. Current causes power loss due to RESISTIVE heating.
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_power_transmission#Losses
 
And yeah, stop trying to invalidate this discussion by decrying it as non scientific. This is more about taking what we've learned in physics, chemistry, and other fields and rationally applying it here.
 
Besides, there is no maximum rated voltage for a cable, nor is there a maximum rated current. The cable is rated for ohmic loss as well as a certain joule threshold; voltage and current are LINKED.
 
"^ NFPA 70 National Electrical Code 2008 Edition. Table 310.16 page 70-148, Allowable ampacities of insulated conductors rated 0 throrugh 2000 volts, 60°C through 90°C, not more than three current-carrying conductors in raceway, cable, or earth (directly buried) based on ambient temperature of 30°C. Extracts from NFPA 70 do not represent the full position of NFPA and the original complete Code must be consulted."
 
 
lol broken code.
 
May 10, 2010 at 9:11 AM Post #545 of 2,696
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cegras: thanks for the correction on power transmission lines, I was indeed wrong.  You indeed appear to have a proper background in these matters.  My "unscientific" comment is directed at people who (usually) have little or no background in science who parrot bits of science purely because it validates their belief system and are not interested the truth, nor any science that might disagree. Indeed, the thread was started in the manner of a religious quest, not a search for truth.
 
May 10, 2010 at 10:39 AM Post #546 of 2,696

cegras

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Quote:
cegras: thanks for the correction on power transmission lines, I was indeed wrong.  You indeed appear to have a proper background in these matters.  My "unscientific" comment is directed at people who (usually) have little or no background in science who parrot bits of science purely because it validates their belief system and are not interested the truth, nor any science that might disagree. Indeed, the thread was started in the manner of a religious quest, not a search for truth.


I didn't mean to appear harsh, but to summarize, asking me to believe there is a difference outside of psychoacoustics is as annoying to me as (I presume) me asking you to believe there isn't one. It's like telling me my education is useless, and I guess me telling you your hearing sucks isn't very nice either. Ho hum.
 
May 10, 2010 at 11:40 AM Post #547 of 2,696

aristos_achaion

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There's one thing I'm certain of: there's never going to be a test that convinces everybody. You'd have to have a statistically significant sampling of self-identified audiophiles (since we're seeing if there's a difference *to audiophile ears*, not in the general public) that runs a statistically-significant number of tests on each with each of a statistically significant number of cables (in case some cables are snake oil and others aren't) on a setup that is both standardized and that the audiophiles are previously familiar with. The question of "do audiophiles really hear a difference with expensive cables" is actually quite massive.
 
I'm content to conclude that, while cables may make a difference, they don't make enough of one to warrant my spending on them (unless a headphone I want off the FS forum happens to have been recabled, in which case I simply appreciate the well-built cable). I'm a very happy agnostic.
 
May 10, 2010 at 12:18 PM Post #548 of 2,696

aimlink

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    Quote:
There's one thing I'm certain of: there's never going to be a test that convinces everybody. You'd have to have a statistically significant sampling of self-identified audiophiles (since we're seeing if there's a difference *to audiophile ears*, not in the general public) that runs a statistically-significant number of tests on each with each of a statistically significant number of cables (in case some cables are snake oil and others aren't) on a setup that is both standardized and that the audiophiles are previously familiar with. The question of "do audiophiles really hear a difference with expensive cables" is actually quite massive.
 
I'm content to conclude that, while cables may make a difference, they don't make enough of one to warrant my spending on them (unless a headphone I want off the FS forum happens to have been recabled, in which case I simply appreciate the well-built cable). I'm a very happy agnostic.


What maintains my neutrality on this issue and opting to trust my ears, is that, on many occasions, I've not been able to detect subtle, though meaningful differences straight away.   I'd have to use one can or amp for a long period and then switch to the other for the difference to become apparent. The pesky thing about it is that once I start switching back and forth between them, the difference fades and again becomes difficult to discern.  Note that I'm not referring to cables with that experience.  It's just that my experience has been interestingly the same with two cables, and now when using the Pure Music Server with iTunes as opposed to iTune's own player.  I know that I'd fail an A/B testing exercise with Pure Music since at first, I couldn't detect a difference.  The advice I got, and quite sensibly so since I've lived the reality of that advice, was to use Pure Music for a while and then switch back to iTunes and *then* see if I heard a difference.
 
The mystery in all this that nags the hell out of me revolves around the question of why does it tend to happen only one way around? Why is it that at times, it's easier to tell the difference when I switch back from a new to an old component, as opposed to switching from an old to a new component??  It's never a nice moment when you get the new component and you're not getting the returns you expected.  You use it anyway and one day, for one reason or another, decide to use the older component and BAM, the difference is apparent.  It could well be psychoacoustic and I definitely accept that possibility but.....  
evil_smiley.gif
 ....  I chose to just trust my ears until there's proof that is satisfactory for me.  After-all, I have a problem A/B'ing differences, whose objective reality are not up for discussion.  
 
When I got my ALO K702's I used them re-cabled from the start and then, out of curiosity switched back to the stock cable.  The difference was as distinct for me as moving from the Fubar III to the HeadRoom Micro Amp and SpitFire DAC.  It was more marked to me than the difference between the HD600 and HD650's!!  That was the extent of my surprise after not hearing any real difference between the stock and Cardas cables for the HD650's and then purchasing the ALO K702's to further see for myself if this cable thing was really a farce.  This was on the background of smelling many a farce in high end audio.
 
Finally, right now, I'm not convinced I'm hearing a meaningful change, if any, when using my P51 Mustang to amp my ESW9A's or W3's.  OTOH, this isn't the case when using a Silver Dragon Cable with my HD650's.  However, when you read the forums, the wonders of the P51 Mustang abound. 
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  I'm personally so unimpressed, but who am I to make a general statement about it.
 
All in all, my neutrality is based on my experience indicating to me that this pesky issue of whether or not a particular component makes a difference, and by how much, doesn't at all stop at cables.  I've had as much experiences with other components not making a meaningful difference to my ears as cables doing quite the opposite.  With this uncertainty, I do believe, and that's all I can do until satisfactory proof for me exists, that the truth is somewhere in the middle, i.e., that cables make a difference though not all the time.  The point of diminishing returns do apply as with all things audio, and there's a huge hit and miss involved.  Mixed up with it all, are the psychoacoustics which we so often, conveniently make the scape goat whenever it suites our egos and pockets.
 
May 10, 2010 at 8:37 PM Post #549 of 2,696

eucariote

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Quote:
There's one thing I'm certain of: there's never going to be a test that convinces everybody. You'd have to have a statistically significant sampling of self-identified audiophiles (since we're seeing if there's a difference *to audiophile ears*, not in the general public) that runs a statistically-significant number of tests on each with each of a statistically significant number of cables (in case some cables are snake oil and others aren't) on a setup that is both standardized and that the audiophiles are previously familiar with. The question of "do audiophiles really hear a difference with expensive cables" is actually quite massive.
 

It's much simpler than that.  Using two ears, two cables and a binomial distribution, the following number of correct blind discriminations will be adequate for a statistically significant result (p < 0.05):
 
5 out of 5 : p = 0.0313
7 out of 8:  p = 0.0313
8 out of 10: p = 0.0439
 
Anyone who says that they can clearly hear a difference should be able to clear this absurdly low bar to achieving a universally accepted demonstration of scientifically real effects.  Hypothesis testing is fun, fair and easy!
 
May 10, 2010 at 8:46 PM Post #550 of 2,696
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Quote:
I didn't mean to appear harsh, but to summarize, asking me to believe there is a difference outside of psychoacoustics is as annoying to me as (I presume) me asking you to believe there isn't one. It's like telling me my education is useless, and I guess me telling you your hearing sucks isn't very nice either. Ho hum.


Fair enough. I can't help wondering if people aren't reading things into my posts that aren't there, but anyway.... The problem I have is, I keep seeing all this so-called evidence that the cables I have shouldn't make any difference, yet, when I switch them around, expecting there to be no change, there is.  I don't want to preach to anyone, I want to know what is going that causes it, and not just have people say "you're imagining things".  The video someone posted in another thread where people from a forum demonstrate the numerous ways you can fool your mind is helpful, as it helps me increase awareness of my own limitations when attempting to objectively assess gear. I have a number of theories I'm thinking about writing up that I'd like to test, along with a basic idea of how to test them, which would involve a combination of measurements as well as DBT tests, with the purpose of seeing what we can learn about people and hearing.
 
May 10, 2010 at 9:00 PM Post #551 of 2,696

aristos_achaion

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It's much simpler than that.  Using two ears, two cables and a binomial distribution, the following number of correct blind discriminations will be adequate for a statistically significant result (p < 0.05):
 
5 out of 5 : p = 0.0313
7 out of 8:  p = 0.0313
8 out of 10: p = 0.0439
 
Anyone who says that they can clearly hear a difference should be able to clear this absurdly low bar to achieving a universally accepted demonstration of scientifically real effects.  Hypothesis testing is fun, fair and easy!


That works for proving whether or not audiophile X can hear the difference he claims to hear between cable A and a control with the particular source, amp, and headphones the test is run on. The problem is in convincing people that that applies to all audiophiles with all cables in all setups..
 
May 10, 2010 at 9:31 PM Post #552 of 2,696

eucariote

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^ I think at this point the debate is at a much more fundamental level.  As nick_charles noted, there has not been *any* demonstration of a statistically real effect, aside from between a very short and very long cable with an unamplified signal.  A single demonstration of a real effect would be a better place to start (using whatever ears and setup that could resolve that difference).  The rest is gravy.
 
For example, in my line of work, one person 53 years ago showed one statistically significant effect from one brain structure.  Now there are hundreds of articles every year, and a scientific journal named and dedicated to that structure.
 
May 10, 2010 at 10:13 PM Post #553 of 2,696

Head Injury

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Quote:
^ I think at this point the debate is at a much more fundamental level.  As nick_charles noted, there has not been *any* demonstration of a statistically real effect, aside from between a very short and very long cable with an unamplified signal.  A single demonstration of a real effect would be a better place to start (using whatever ears and setup that could resolve that difference).  The rest is gravy.
 
For example, in my line of work, one person 53 years ago showed one statistically significant effect from one brain structure.  Now there are hundreds of articles every year, and a scientific journal named and dedicated to that structure.


Right. It's much harder to prove that something doesn't exist than to prove that something does. That's why the burden of proof rests on those making the claim.
 
I think someone mentioned leprechauns. It's very, very hard to prove that leprechauns don't exist, because they could just perhaps be evading capture, and there will always be naysayers who believe this no matter the evidence. It's much easier for all involved if it is assumed that they do not exist until someone proves that they do.
 
May 10, 2010 at 11:04 PM Post #554 of 2,696
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One thing I'm interested in is, whether or not it might be possible that a person who can't distinguish, say, the difference in volume between the same tone at slightly different volume, might feel after listening to some minutes of familiar music on their own gear with the same relative amount of difference might be able to distinguish it more readily, as music is bombarding the brain with information repeatedly, and test tones are not.
 
May 11, 2010 at 12:05 AM Post #555 of 2,696

JohnFerrier

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Quote:
As nick_charles noted, there has not been *any* demonstration of a statistically real effect, aside from between a very short and very long cable with an unamplified signal.

 
I wonder how long the cable was and think the results of a DBT with/without a 100 foot $16 headphone extension cable could be interesting . . .
 
http://www.amazon.com/Stereo-Headphone-Extension-Cable-Shipping/dp/B001421ZKM
 
-

Leprechauns . . . don't believe in 'em . . . but they are out there.
 
 
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