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Why do the 'pro-cable' side refuse to accept the science and do blind tests?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by prog rock man, Aug 12, 2010.
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  1. fzman Contributor


    I agree that if there are audible differences then they should be discernable with only auditory cues.  I also think that there may be revealing measurements that might point to potentially audible differences in cables.  I lack the technical expertise to say precisely what those might be- just that we cannot rule out, a priori, that there are not physical/electrical phenomena in operation here that we have yet to quantify.
    My issue with blind tests has a lot to do with things like test anxiety, and being in a different receptive state when listening to music for enjoyment, vs. being tested for 'hearing acuity', for lack of a better term.
  2. Prog Rock Man
    I can certainly understand the anxiety of testing. I think that can be overcome by numerous blind tests so as to get results from different people and take into account the likes of hearing differences and any testing stresses.
    However, I do think that your last sentence is a bit of an admission! You speak of 'anxiety', 'receptive state' and 'enjoyment'. That to me is an acknowledgment the brain is a huge factor in this. 
    My view of the evidence is that if you rule out the likely then the unlikely, no matter how unlikely it is, becomes a distinct possibility. So having ruled out any unknown cable properties and hearing, we are left with the brain.
    If anything, speaking to a layman, they would think that the likely are hearing and the brain and the unlikely is an unknown cable property. But that is what the pro-side are working from. So to achieve that they need to rule out hearing and the brain to be left with unknown cable properties.
  3. fzman Contributor

    Let's try this.  Suppose you did win the Kimbers. or some other well-regarded exotic cable (maybe even one that is expensive, but price is something of a red herring in debates about cable differences per se).  You put them into your system, and go about listening to and hopefully enjoying music when they are your system.  Behind the gear, they may even be out of sight....
    Every once in a while, go ahead and switch back to your diy cables.  rather than trying to see if you can hear a difference in the two cables, pay attention to things like...
    does the system sound more like a live performance is occuring, when you are in another room, and "eavesdropping"?
    does the system make you switch from track to track, or grab a book/magazine/go on line etc... more while you are listening to music thru one cable vs. the other?
    do you find that you listen longer with one cable or another?
    again, pay less attention to which cable is in the system, and more to how the system is effecting you/how you are reacting to your system as a source of musical/emotional communication.
    Not scientific, not quantifiable per se, but i think it would be highly revealing.

  4. fzman Contributor
    c'mon, so now you are, in effect, saying that if there are differences, that they have to be "neutralized" before trying to hear differences?
    I'm not even saying your speculation of volume differences is wrong- only that a cable which permitted better dynamics and "louder" volumes may do so without discernable differences in basic l-c-r measurements- then what would explain it?

  5. Prog Rock Man
    I often do notice differences such as you describe, but it is down to my mood and the time of day. Thinking back with all of the cables, such mood swings and time of day differences happened all the time. Most recently I had a problem with my laptop, the screen had gone dull and my music sounded dull. I then found out what had caused the problem, brightened the screen again and I swear my music brightened with it.
    I can't imagine your suggestion working as I would have sight and knowledge of what had happened. So if I hear differences now I put them down to mood and the time of day. I have probably conditioned myself not to hear any differences anymore.
  6. Prog Rock Man

    You either 'neutralise' volume differences, or you can only claim that a cable makes a difference in volume. If you have a volume issue with your amp, you would be better off spending the money you would have spent on a cable on getting a better volume control.
  7. nick_charles Contributor


    All cables attenuate the signal they are given, that is a matter of physics. Some cables attenuate less than others, that is a given. If one cable attenuates so much less than another (especially when dealing with mV levels) then that may be audible, if so it will be due to electrical properties, there is no need to invoke mysterious forces. Louder is most often perceived as better, that is a matter of psychophysics. So super cable A sounds better than cable B. But if that is the only property that is changed, i.e the noise, distortion and FR are all the same then it seems reasonable to ask what if we equalize the volumes so that both are at the same level. Are there any other audible differences left. A is still superior in terms of less attenuation but if that is all and that is a superiority that can be removed by volume matching then is it really superior in any pragmatically meaningful way ?
  8. TigzStudio
    Every time I listen to my system it sounds great.  I never have a feeling it sounds any different.... the only time would be if I play a crappy recorded album vs. a great one.  To each his own I guess.  

  9. goraman
  10. Steve Eddy
    Thanks, Jeff!
    Even had some kitties in it!
  11. Prog Rock Man


    Maybe you are less 'moody' than me! Since I often work evenings and even nights, I listen at different times of the day. When it is quieter inside the house, the music is better. I also think that the noise in the mains has an effect as well. The voltage rises and noise reduces at night as there is less demand.
  12. TigzStudio
  13. dura
  14. Prog Rock Man


    Interesting, but it (the poster admits this) runs into one of the single biggest issues for cable claims which is correlation between build and effect. Then, it does not make the link to audibility which blind testing achieves.
  15. dura


    True, but he describes measurable effects due to the powercord. Which is  one of the two 'objective' ways to determine wether cables make a difference, the other of course being DBT.   
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