How do I convince people that audio cables DO NOT make a difference
Aug 28, 2018 at 4:13 AM Post #886 of 2,686

castleofargh

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Yet I personally lower the value of most blind tests when they involve the components of "uncertainty"..

Uncertainty is a mental condition that can ruin the perception of the mind, and to me invalidates the full potential of a person's perceptions..
IMHO...
and I get why you have that position. after all, believing in ourselves is often the first step toward success in anything. when being overconfident will help make you a creative artist or a talented athlete, the side effect is "only" that you tend to become a bit of a jerk. as the target is success and is helped by confidence, of course confidence becomes a positive force and even a requirement at some point.
now back to our situation. a random audiophile is affected by a wild range of biases and senses other than hearing. he has no tool in his brain to isolate completely any of those non audio factors, to the point that vision or touch can and will alter what he thinks he's heard. we have all the research demonstrating that in so many ways. our random audiophile also has no reign over his memory, or maybe too much depending on how you look at things. and again research has demonstrated that we can start altering our memory of sound as soon as 6 to 10s later(depending on the research) and that the more time passes the less reliable we are. just replacing cables manually tends to take more time than that and will be advised against by any half descent expert in audio research.
so we're in a situation where a great many things can influence our impressions of sound and make us get the wrong idea. in that context, being confident will only make the listener dismiss the very real issues and trust his guts more. so he won't think he has any reason to try and mitigates the various problems of his "test". that in turn will make him wrong more often and claiming false stuff with great confidence. in that situation, confidence in our impressions directly opposes success.
if the situation was confident people vs self doubting people going through the same experiment, I'd be tempted to root for the confident people more often. but we're not talking about that situation. we're talking about confident/ignorant people doing it wrong, and other people doing it less wrong because they don't overestimate themselves so they adapt the test for it to be less biased. once I've set up a serious listening test, I'm actually pretty confident in my hearing abilities.
if I had to use a crappy analogy to your point, it would be arguing that wearing a seat belt and replacing the flat tire is bad because it makes you doubt your driving skills. biases are real, they do affect our impressions, looking the other way with confidence makes us wrong more often, not better at hearing.
and the feeling that we can notice more details when in a sighted tests is yet another fallacy. of course we feel like we notice more details, the brain is processing all the crap we already know and all the crap we're looking at like which cable is used, how it looks, the price, the marketing that convinced us to purchase it... the brain is using all that while making up an impressions of "sound". we do get more details, but they're not acoustic.
 
Aug 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM Post #887 of 2,686

gregorio

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I am of belief that the complexity and sensitivity of the human ear can be trained to hear more variables than we currently are focused on in the measurement areas.

This is the Sound Science forum, where we rely on facts, not beliefs and you while you are perfectly entitled to your own beliefs, you are not entitled to your own facts. The facts are:
1. We cannot train the human ear, what we can train is the human brain. We can train the human brain to focus on different aspects of the sound the human ear picks-up, train it to change it's perception.
2. EVERYTHING that we "hear" is a perception and there are potentially an enormous number of variables which can affect that perception. However, this fact has NOTHING to do with the reproduction of sound, which is simply the reproduction of an electrical current and the conversion of that electrical current into sound pressure waves. "Measurement areas" therefore cover the measurement of this electric current and the resultant sound pressure waves.
3. In other words: Today's recording technology is the act of measuring amplitude and time. If there is ANYTHING which is not covered by these two "measurement areas" then it CANNOT be recorded or reproduced and therefore it doesn't exist in any recording you're trying to reproduce!!

Their is another aspect or field that takes things with certainty.
The Audio Engineer must be certain about "how things sound" when he is mixing on the board, or placing the microphones position for best perceived sound.
The musician "must" know his keys if he is out of tune, or his/her timing when playing notes, and how to give the instrument "emotion".
These things are based on certainty.

This is the reason why we need a science/fact based forum! Audiophiles tend to have an unquestionable belief in their observations of their perception (of hearing) and because this belief is unquestionable, anything, any actual facts or demonstrated science which disagrees with those observations of their perception MUST be wrong. Unfortunately, they will manipulate, misrepresent or simply make-up facts, no matter how ridiculous, in order to maintain the unquestionability of their belief. The quote above is such an example, you've simply just made-up some facts to support your belief. An audio engineer is almost never "certain about how things sound", because any decent audio engineer knows that "how things sound" is entirely dependant on human perception (rather than human hearing) and as perception varies from person to person, an audio engineer can NEVER be "certain" how everyone will perceive his/her recording or mix. All an audio engineer (or musician) can have is a level of confidence, NOT certainty.

What can often be very annoying is that many of these made-up or misrepresented facts can be easily be checked. For example, rather than just make-up the above quote, you could simply have asked some audio engineers and musicians. A musician for example only knows if they are out of tune or time to a certain fairly loose tolerance and they only know how to perform their instrument in a way which creates "emotion" for some people. Likewise, an engineer only knows/guesses how some people will perceive their mix/recording. An engineer could for example create the most perfect mix of a piece of heavy metal that there's ever been, some people will perceive that fact but others won't be able to perceive that it's even music!

What's particularly frustrating about many audiophiles and their beliefs is that they will not question their unquestionable beliefs but will question pretty much every unquestionable fact. This of course is logically backwards and to make matters even worse, they'll then typically state that we should "keep an open mind". We should keep an open mind that proven/unquestionable facts are wrong but audiophiles should not keep an open mind that their beliefs are wrong? It's hard to think of a more hypocritical stance to take!

[1] Wire is not perfect or uniform.
[2] In an electrician field, wire can heat up in spots and break in other spots and corrode in other circumstances.

1. True, no one would rationally argue with that fact. But, that's NOT the fact we're arguing, the fact we're arguing is whether those imperfections or non-uniformities create distortions or some sort of differences which are audible. Maybe they can, if we look at cables made a century or more ago but today, we can not only can reduce those imperfections to well below the limits of audibility but we achieve this feat so routinely and on such a large scale that it only costs a few cents a foot.

2. Sure, if you run 20amps though a cable designed for 1amp it will heat up, even to the point of breaking and/or catching fire. HOWEVER, firstly we never that level of power with an audio signal and secondly, NO ONE is saying there is NOT any difference between cables. We are saying there is not any audible difference between different cables designed for the same task or has the same basic properties as a cable designed for that task.

[1] So the "real world" usage is not what's on paper.
[2] So similarly also in a micro-level there must be variables going on.
[3] Why does a cable manufacturer choose a specific winding or different materials aside from the insulation type, like cloth and such.

1. Obviously it must be, if it wasn't the modern world would not exist.
2. There are micro-level "variables going on", the question is: How do those micro-level variables relate to audibility? Andthe answer is: They do not relate at all, they are inaudible and not just inaudible but many times below audibility.
3. One of two reasons: A. Because scientific testing has demonstrated certain desirable properties from doing so or B. Appearance/marketing.

[1] I believe the sound-science forum is instrumental to knowing the many variables that can take place when your mind is interpretating all the information from the ears.
[2] My view is that a member must use all his/her audible "tools" they have to be certain, not uncertain.
[2] They just need to realise alot goes into play, (even placibo) at determining their outcome.
This "self-aself-awarness" will keep them more grounded.

1. Hmm, not sure I can entirely agree with this. Science has identified, demonstrated and proven that there are many variables involved in the creation of a perception but it's unclear if it has identified all the variables and it cannot measure or accurately predict what variables will come into play for each person.

2. Do due all the variables, most of which are sub-conscious biases and pattern matching processes, the only rational position to take is one of uncertainty!

3. Again, I cannot entirely agree with this. The facts and reality is that perception doesn't sometimes include "even placebo", perception is based on placebo! Taking the usual meaning of the term "placebo" (as used in the audio world) to mean anything created by the brain rather than inherent to the audio signal/sound waves, then without placebo there is no music in the first place and what is it that audiophiles are listening to, just semi-random noise?

The issue always comes back to what is unquestionable fact and what is unquestionable belief. It's easy to sit on this side of the fence and condemn audiophiles as just delusional and/or complete idiots but that's not entirely fair. Most, if not nearly all audiophile marketing in effect questions the unquestionable facts. If one exclusively inhabits the world of audiophile marketing and reviews, it's therefore virtually impossible to correctly identify what the actual facts are, how they relate to human audibility and therefore what facts are unquestionable. Most audiophiles are NOT complete idiots, they're just somewhat gullible. However, coming to a science/fact based sub-forum and then arguing for fallacious beliefs over the actual science/facts and even misrepresenting the science/actual facts to support their fallacious beliefs, is somewhat idiotic.

G
 
Aug 28, 2018 at 11:04 AM Post #888 of 2,686

JaeYoon

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@gregorio I agree with the advertising in audiophile world. I see audiophiles mentioning they usually don't have access to audio equipment they can test.

People in India and Singapore and Asia in general tend to be able to find equipment to test before they buy.

So audiophiles elsewhere must rely on advertising and reviewers (either bought themselves or given audio equipment to review to keep or give back).
Now there are a lot of incentives to give free audio equipment to well known reviewers, it can ensure their loyalty to giving 5 star glowing reviews to encourage sales. Put in some subjective downsides such as "well the bass is just a little bit more than average in quantity which is a downside for me. But compared to other products in this price range! This is a beautiful bargain!". So it leaves a positive note to get others to buy it to give it a try.

Now I won't say the company name, but a long time ago I remember the representative advertised their DAC would sound "musical and warm". A well known reviewers mentioned it sounded accurate and reference. The rep immediately changed his tune and said "yes we also tuned it to sound reference for the audiophile too. We balanced warm and neutrality".

Beautiful smokescreen. People bought it and repeated it too. I never purchased I, but it definitely influenced the buyers decision on what it sounded like.
 
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Aug 28, 2018 at 11:12 AM Post #889 of 2,686

seamon

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People in India tend to be able to find equipment to test before they buy.
This is 100% unadulterated bull. There is not one high end Audio Shop in India. There is just one website which is good but other than that Head Fi scene in India is pretty much dead and the most people would spend on a pair of headphone is $10 and even that "too expensive" for most people.
 
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Aug 28, 2018 at 12:09 PM Post #890 of 2,686

bigshot

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There's really no need for a high end audio shop if you have Amazon. Just order, test and return if necessary.
 
Aug 28, 2018 at 1:47 PM Post #891 of 2,686

Kammerat Rebekka

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Indeedio Amazon. They are pretty handy if one wishes to testdrive a couple of cans before making a decision. I believe amazon exist in India as well?

On another note. It is rather peculiar to see audiophiles go to great lengths trying to disprove blindtesting without ever having the balls to actually try it for themselves. To me that says it all really.
Why risk basically annulling the thousands of posts and reviews under one's belt with a swift pull of the rug?

P.S. That thing about blind testing basically rendering the subject blind really grinds my gears! What!?!!?! If you think you hear something late at night but can't really be sure you close your eyes and listen again. You take away any superfluous senses in order to focus entirely on the subject at hand ie 'What was that sound!?!!'.
In a music situation I'd bet a couple of beets that most folks do the same thing. Close their eyes either when the music really hits home or if they want to concentrate on something very specific.
Why would you need your eyes in order to judge sound? Do you also need your tastebuds in the gym?
 
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Aug 28, 2018 at 2:32 PM Post #892 of 2,686

bigshot

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Audiophiles object to blind testing because their mind is already made up and the truth would be a blow to their ego.
 
Aug 28, 2018 at 3:56 PM Post #893 of 2,686

seamon

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There's really no need for a high end audio shop if you have Amazon. Just order, test and return if necessary.
Yeah no. Amazon India mostly does not sell High end headphones or IEMs.

Also, I was calling BS on his assumption that you can readily test headphones out in India
 
Aug 28, 2018 at 3:57 PM Post #894 of 2,686

seamon

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Audiophiles object to blind testing because their mind is already made up and the truth would be a blow to their ego.
On that note, I once did a blind test between a $10 USB wire and $150 Cabledyne Pure Silver USB wire. Couldn't tell jacksht which was which xD
 
Aug 28, 2018 at 6:54 PM Post #895 of 2,686

JaeYoon

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This is 100% unadulterated Bull****. There is not one high end Audio Shop in India. There is just one website which is good but other than that Head Fi scene in India is pretty much dead and the most people would spend on a pair of headphone is $10 and even that "too expensive" for most people.
Well that was my mistake about the hi-fi market in India.
 
Aug 28, 2018 at 8:23 PM Post #896 of 2,686

bigshot

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I just checked Amazon and I see headphones that cost over a grand. How high end do you mean by high end?
 
Aug 29, 2018 at 2:45 AM Post #898 of 2,686

bigshot

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They have high end Senns and Oppo PM-1s through third party sellers.
 
Aug 29, 2018 at 11:33 AM Post #899 of 2,686

Maxx134

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All an audio engineer (or musician) can have is a level of confidence, NOT certainty
Good point.
Probably both at different levels depending on situation.
Let's say your spouse called you while you were watchn TV...
Are you going to tell them you were "uncertain" it was their voice?
Ha

Audiophiles object to blind testing because their mind is already made up and the truth would be a blow to their ego.
Another good point.
It's sad these things of "ego" happen, both ways.

I for one di think blind testing can be useful but needs to be improved for the condition of "doubt" to be negated.

Like, giving the control (in whatever way) to the listener.

There is a quote;
"A doubt is a stumbling block in your journey to an answer"
Ravi Zacharias

So its important we do need to know the technical aspects (science & facts) to find out "why", if there is a difference.
Could even be a simple reason like a mistake in settings.

I do realize many circumstances can be a result expectation bias but this whole thread is a "generality" statement.
It is reliant not only on a person's ability at the given time, but his well being to perceive it.
In these cases very much can be negated as most people do not bother to consider the tiniest 2-10% differences in sound.

Wire differences are most probably lower than that range, so its a valid point in this thread to say wire should not be a concerning factor..

I haven't seen a mention of possible answers such as headphone or component interaction with cable which could be the culprit.

I think the solutions of A-B testing are a good "procedure" which can narrow all the possible parameters.

To me, But blind testing is fundamentally flawed and sadly the main type of proof that comes up.

Better to come up with scientific or measurement proof than a "blind test" wich in itself is just a test, not a proof.
 
Aug 29, 2018 at 12:35 PM Post #900 of 2,686

bigshot

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I for one di think blind testing can be useful but needs to be improved for the condition of "doubt" to be negated.

The way you do that is by repeating the test with different people and different equipment. When it comes to cables, the tests have been done so many times, it's just plain foolish to claim that they make a difference. A properly manufactured cable used for the purpose it was designed for is audibly transparent. For all intents and purposes, it is exactly the same as any other audibly transparent cable. You can get perfectly transparent cables for a few bucks at Amazon. Why spend more?

Now if you know a specific cable that isn't audibly transparent, and you've done a controlled test to verify that, I would be very interested to hear about it. I am always looking for evidence that I might be wrong. I have nothing invested into this, except to know how to put together a great sounding stereo system. If I'm wrong about something as fundamental as this, I want to know it.
 
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