How do I convince people that audio cables DO NOT make a difference
Aug 31, 2018 at 4:03 AM Post #916 of 2,686

Maxx134

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Can anyone point me to a test on headphone cable?

Of All the abx & blind tests I have seen, I haven't noticed any that involve headphone cable.

I believe this area is a reason where people still believe cables matter.

I am thinking the culprit may be the headphone impedance interaction to the amp..
For instance , the HD800 midrange changes with higher impedance amp.

Most dynamic headphones have driver motor being basically inductive coil would have impedance vary according to frequency and so amp damping factor come into play.

Planar headphones don't get away with issues as they may be constant impedance over frequency but always demanding and sounding better with more power so they tax the amp.

I see wire issues as actual component issues, but with headphone cable there may be more interaction at play.

I have opened expensive silver cable (silver dragon), that upon inspection was so severely thin wire (to get away with touting silver) that I was shocked and certain that a good gauge copper would been better.
It was such a thin strand that it looked thinner than IEM cable. Like one fourth thickness.
Sad.
 
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Aug 31, 2018 at 8:13 AM Post #917 of 2,686

ExpatinJapan

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Gentlemen. If I may summarize the banter up to this point of the discussion.

F0249163-3193-476E-810F-1F7B1044723B.jpeg

Carry on chaps. God speed!
 
Aug 31, 2018 at 11:38 AM Post #918 of 2,686

castleofargh

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Can anyone point me to a test on headphone cable?

Of All the abx & blind tests I have seen, I haven't noticed any that involve headphone cable.

I believe this area is a reason where people still believe cables matter.

I am thinking the culprit may be the headphone impedance interaction to the amp..
For instance , the HD800 midrange changes with higher impedance amp.

Most dynamic headphones have driver motor being basically inductive coil would have impedance vary according to frequency and so amp damping factor come into play.

Planar headphones don't get away with issues as they may be constant impedance over frequency but always demanding and sounding better with more power so they tax the amp.

I see wire issues as actual component issues, but with headphone cable there may be more interaction at play.

I have opened expensive silver cable (silver dragon), that upon inspection was so severely thin wire (to get away with touting silver) that I was shocked and certain that a good gauge copper would been better.
It was such a thin strand that it looked thinner than IEM cable. Like one fourth thickness.
Sad.
it's complicated because you can hardly set up a condition that will be considered representative of using headphones in general.
when dealing with interconnect cables, the possible variables involved will tend to be constrained around a standard. so changing the DAC for another one is unlikely to create massive changes in stuff like impedance or voltage output. same thing for amplifiers' input. there are variations of course, but they tend to stay in the range of a few thousand ohm. 10kohm is a fairly common input value. nobody is going to complain if you use that to test the cable coming out of a DAC. it's much easier to set up a system, measure it and extrapolate that the results will probably align with most other gears while using those interconnect cables.
it's also much easier to determine that something is wrong with a cable as we already know what standard it's supposed to follow.

but with headphones and amplifier outputs, the range of specs can possibly span over several magnitudes. the output of a headphone amplifier can go from maybe a tenth of a ohm to more than a hundred ohm. a headphone can be 600ohm or super small. I remember the Momentum to be around 18ohm. and it goes as low as a handful of ohm for some IEMs.
so from a headphone cable's perspective, this is real close to total chaos. you can have anything and everything on each side and if you know anything about electrical circuits, you know they all interact. which set up should we pick that could possibly count as a representative of standard headphone cable use? the very lose standard on this only suggests impedance bridging, so picking a low impedance amplifier and a relatively high headphone impedance. but that's the one situations where cables are really unlikely to affect sound significantly. because it's a stable situation where cable variations will stay small relatively to the headphone's own specs, minimizing the actual electrical impact.

but the IEM world gives zero frack about impedance bridging. and there are still amplifiers so unstable with low impedance loads that even 1ohm or 2 added or removed from a cable could end up having a noticeable impact with extreme IEMs. and with the renewed hatred for negative feedback without really understanding why, we're getting even some "modern" amplifiers with fairly high impedance.

that leaves us with cherry picking the setup we will measure and under such conditions, we can make the measurements at the output of the headphone/IEM say pretty much anything we like so long as we put enough care in picking them for that purpose. not super legit science. ^_^
we could also measure the cable alone, but as most possible impacts on sound will come from the interaction with the amp and headphone, it's not going to mean anything to audiophiles. having the gauge and material is probably going to tell you almost as much.
 
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Aug 31, 2018 at 11:55 AM Post #919 of 2,686

JaeYoon

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"For highly priced stuff that doesn't make a difference in sound quality like amps, DACs, and cables". Where did I mention that the transducers didn't make a difference in sound quality? They make the MOST difference in sound quality.
To make things clear I meant to quote the second half of your post. No way am I saying transducers do not make any difference.
 
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Aug 31, 2018 at 12:04 PM Post #920 of 2,686

castleofargh

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Gentlemen. If I may summarize the banter up to this point of the discussion.



Carry on chaps. God speed!
no that only summarizes the strawman pushed all the time by extremists(on both sides, they're ultimately very similar people). they have no evidence or scientific knowledge to support their own claims, so they put their efforts in trying to discredit the opposite side and making it look as irrational and extreme as they are themselves.
 
Aug 31, 2018 at 12:26 PM Post #921 of 2,686

JaeYoon

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After a while, I no longer an axe to grind against cables. I'm probably going to end up joining both camps.

I've purchased some 3rd party audio cables for my earphones and they can have different changes in the source frequency, but that is due to the specs of the earphone that were designed, and the differences for the specs of the hardware that is connected.

But for headphones that isn't as sensitive with low ohm/impedance and a good match to an amp that, any small differences between my 3.5mm aftermarket cables could probably exist but I cannot pick them up for certainty.

I think this debate is kinda silly now. There's too much stuff we need to know before we can make judgements on people's hardware.

When someone says audio cables do make a difference, we need to know what kind of headphones/earphones they have/
What loads are their amp pushing out, what are the specs of the audio cable that resistance, etc. There is just too many variables to say something like well they make no differences, I wouldn't even know until I make measurements on the audio cable itself and see if it really is similar to manufacturer's specifications.
 
Aug 31, 2018 at 12:34 PM Post #922 of 2,686

PointyFox

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It ultimately comes down to one side telling the other to prove that something DOESN'T exist, which is impossible.

"According to what we know about physics and biology, there shouldn't be an audible difference except in the following cases:...”

"My case doesn't apply and I hear a clear difference in the PRAT, dryness, and plankton. It might be due to magic, which science doesn't cover. Prove magic doesn't exist"
 
Aug 31, 2018 at 12:51 PM Post #923 of 2,686

sonitus mirus

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After a while, I no longer an axe to grind against cables. I'm probably going to end up joining both camps.

I've purchased some 3rd party audio cables for my earphones and they can have different changes in the source frequency, but that is due to the specs of the earphone that were designed, and the differences for the specs of the hardware that is connected.

But for headphones that isn't as sensitive with low ohm/impedance and a good match to an amp that, any small differences between my 3.5mm aftermarket cables could probably exist but I cannot pick them up for certainty.

I think this debate is kinda silly now. There's too much stuff we need to know before we can make judgements on people's hardware.

When someone says audio cables do make a difference, we need to know what kind of headphones/earphones they have/
What loads are their amp pushing out, what are the specs of the audio cable that resistance, etc. There is just too many variables to say something like well they make no differences, I wouldn't even know until I make measurements on the audio cable itself and see if it really is similar to manufacturer's specifications.

That is why it makes sense to claim that there is no difference unless the measurements would indicate it. Show us the properties, and we can do the math and find the potential signal loss or cutoff frequency or any other characteristic that might impact that performance. Since this data is rarely ever provided by those making such claims, I can only reply by stating that no difference should be heard unless something is defective or improper for the intended use. We would need to know more details to find out what is inappropriate or inadequate.

If tiny transducers are impacted by using various cables, this can be measured and would not fall under the topic where we are mostly discussing outrageous claims where silver vs copper with a 1 meter interconnect from a source to DAC or DAC to amp lifts veils and widens the soundstage or makes things more peachy and musical.
 
Aug 31, 2018 at 1:02 PM Post #924 of 2,686

bigshot

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Can anyone point me to a test on headphone cable?

Have you checked the first post in the Testing Audiophiles Myths thread? A wire is a wire. I don't see how a headphone cable would have different physics than an interconnect. As long as you're using the type of wire that the equipment was designed to be used with, all cables should be equal and none can be any better than each other. It's kind of obvious that using a defective or improper cable can sound worse, but that goes without saying. Thankfully, all you have to do is go to Amazon or Monoprice and there's an abundance of different kinds of cables that can do the job for a few bucks apiece.

When someone says audio cables do make a difference, we need to know what kind of headphones/earphones they have

I think it would be pretty safe to generalize that as far as the conducting of electricity goes, the wire that came with the cans is probably as good as you can do. If you want fancy cloth coverings or gold plated hardware, that would be the only reason to choose a third party cable. I really don't care much about that jewelry stuff myself.
 
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Aug 31, 2018 at 1:20 PM Post #925 of 2,686

moriez

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no difference should be heard unless something is defective or improper for the intended use.

Apologies if I'm really off from understanding the matter. It's that @bigshot responded earlier along those lines so I've become curious about if the above implies that you do not hear differences between whatever gear you're using. Or does it mean you do hear differences but it's unlogical to you because for example measurements or some type of research indicates there should be no differences?

@bigshot, please feel free to reply. Could have asked you the same.
 
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Aug 31, 2018 at 2:19 PM Post #926 of 2,686

JaeYoon

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That is why it makes sense to claim that there is no difference unless the measurements would indicate it. Show us the properties, and we can do the math and find the potential signal loss or cutoff frequency or any other characteristic that might impact that performance. Since this data is rarely ever provided by those making such claims, I can only reply by stating that no difference should be heard unless something is defective or improper for the intended use. We would need to know more details to find out what is inappropriate or inadequate.

If tiny transducers are impacted by using various cables, this can be measured and would not fall under the topic where we are mostly discussing outrageous claims where silver vs copper with a 1 meter interconnect from a source to DAC or DAC to amp lifts veils and widens the soundstage or makes things more peachy and musical.
I should've been more clear.
Yes, my statement is just for the various cables effects for tiny transducers, sensitive ones especially like Andromeda's graphs can cause it's measurements to change.
It has for instance
10Hz–28 kHz Frequency Response
112.8 dB SPL/mW Sensitivity
12.8 Ohms @ 1kHz Impedance
Most of my portable headphones do not even have anywhere near as low as 12.8 ohms.

But as you mentioned, about copper vs silver, I certainly do not uphold silver vs copper or gold purity anti-oxygen, or push that gold plated cables an such increase warmth and accuracy, makes treble sparkle without being too hot, increase soundstage and fresh breath of air, etc.
 
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Aug 31, 2018 at 2:23 PM Post #927 of 2,686

PointyFox

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I think the only change you'll find is due to different resistance.
I have Andromedas and I think higher resistance cables decrease the bass and make the treble response peaky.
 
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Aug 31, 2018 at 3:42 PM Post #928 of 2,686

Maxx134

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Have you checked the first post in the Testing Audiophiles Myths thread? A wire is a wire. I don't see how a headphone cable would have different physics than an interconnect
Not yet,
But I did check the (AES Dam lies) link in your sig and found it VERY good and a vid all should check out.

The difference I believe with headphone cable is the long length of thin wire.
Sort of vulnerable to issues like microphone cable deals with, but solve with their winding and XLR format.
Unfortunately I can only mention that as speculation for possible reasons as to why.
Otherwise we would have to conclude insanity lol.

Yes, my statement is just for the various cables effects for tiny transducers
Tiny wire can introduce resistance.
I measured a super tiny wire that HD800 has between the interconnect and the driver, which had measurable resistance..

think the only change you'll find is due to different resistance
No the video Big shot has in his sig points out aspects that are measurable in null testing and I believe crosstalk and noise may play a factor depending on length and how it braided or wound.
Since I not a cable manufacturer I cannot state any conclusion just point out possibilities.
 
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Aug 31, 2018 at 4:26 PM Post #929 of 2,686

bigshot

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Apologies if I'm really off from understanding the matter. It's that @bigshot responded earlier along those lines so I've become curious about if the above implies that you do not hear differences between whatever gear you're using.

Yes, every cable, amp, DAC and player I own sounds the same. I have a carefully calibrated system. I am very picky about EQ. I need all of my equipment to be audibly transparent, otherwise I would need to have a different calibration for each unit in the system. Whenever I buy a new piece of gear, I do a comparison test with other equipment I already own. I've done this with a high end headphone amp all the way down to a $40 Walmart DVD player. If I buy anything that isn't audibly transparent and it sounds different, I will box it up and send it back as defective. It's been decades now and I've haven't had to do that yet. Midrange equipment is very consistent and dependable. I don't see any need to go to the extremes of the market. Super high end stuff is for people who view their equipment as status symbols. That isn't me.

Of course this doesn't apply to transducers. Speakers and headphones do sound audibly different, even from sample to sample of the same make and model. But transducers are the end of the chain. Everything upstream is calibrated to suit them. When I buy new speakers, I spend a week or two recalibrating.
 
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Aug 31, 2018 at 4:32 PM Post #930 of 2,686

bigshot

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I measured a super tiny wire that HD800 has between the interconnect and the driver, which had measurable resistance.

Measurable doesn't necessarily mean audible. We can measure far further than we can hear. To make sense of measurements, you need to relate them to the specs of human hearing. Very few audiophiles have any clue about the thresholds of perception in the areas that are measured in home audio. Just about every home audio electronics you can buy exceeds our ability to hear by an order of magnitude or more. People who worry about cables sounding different point to measurements that no human could detect.
 

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