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Hifi is all the same?

Page 3 - Seeking answers? Join the What HiFi community: the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products.

plus 1

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Hi,
The changes heard will be the placebo effect. Whenever people are asked to do a blind test, they always say they need to see the change (which cable) for them to re-affirm their subjective opinion. If you did a blind test, you will not have been able to determine the difference.

Many subjectivists state that they are immune to the placebo effect.

The reason no one responded to the cable thread is because it has been done many times - it causes vociferous arguments.

I have tried everything - bi-wiring, expensive interconnects, the green pen on the side of a CD, and no difference what so ever.

I designed and built my own DAC - and no different to the Cambridge Audio DVD player i have (which has excellent DAC IC's).

Regards,
Shadders.
the thing about blind tests though is i have seen posts where people state such tests hide the differences, real or imagined, when hardware such as amplifiers are compared !
another view, that was regularly posted on this forum, was that all solid state amplifiers, if level matched, sounded the same. it was a member on the mk1 version of this forum which i believe used to be an ex hifi salesman i think he claimed. the cable test thread i mention was specifically pointing out the test described mid video as regards to hooking 2 different speaker cables up to the same system, playing a mono recording, and switching back and forth via the amplifiers balance control to monitor the difference(s).
 

shadders

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the thing about blind tests though is i have seen posts where people state such tests hide the differences, real or imagined, when hardware such as amplifiers are compared !
another view, that was regularly posted on this forum, was that all solid state amplifiers, if level matched, sounded the same. it was a member on the mk1 version of this forum which i believe used to be an ex hifi salesman i think he claimed. the cable test thread i mention was specifically pointing out the test described mid video as regards to hooking 2 different speaker cables up to the same system, playing a mono recording, and switching back and forth via the amplifiers balance control to monitor the difference(s).
Hi,
The blind test can be simple for cables.

For amplifiers - i think there can be differences, but again blind testing is key to obtain a valid result. If you need to see the amplifier being used to confirm what you are hearing, then surely logic tells you there cannot be the difference you expect ? The differences will be due to the amplifier design - a well designed solid state amplifier can sound the same as another well designed amplifier.

For speaker cable testing with a mono track and using the balance - this is an instant fail since even left and right speakers can sound different due to driver and crossover differences between speakers, and also their position in reference to your ears - head movement has a considerable effect too.

Again, any vendor video - i would never trust.

Regards,
Shadders.
 
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plus 1

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Hi,
The blind test can be simple for cables.

For amplifiers - i think there can be differences, but again blind testing is key to obtain a valid result. If you need to see the amplifier being used to confirm what you are hearing, then surely logic tells you there cannot be the difference you expect ? The differences will be due to the amplifier design - a well designed solid state amplifier can sound the same as another well designed amplifier.

For speaker cable testing with a mono track and using the balance - this is an instant fail since even left and right speakers can sound different due to driver and crossover differences between speakers, and also their position in reference to your ears - head movement has a considerable effect too.

Again, any vendor video - i would never trust.

Regards,
Shadders.
once again some good points made. my sony amplifier i had 20 years ago had a balance control on it so i could of tested this with the 2 speaker cables i mentioned. i have noted the flaws in this test you have highlighted but surely you could just then swap the cables over and repeat the test ?
 
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shadders

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once again some good points made. my sony amplifier i had 20 years ago had a balance control on it so i could of tested this with the 2 speaker cables i mentioned. i have noted the flaws in this test you have highlighted but surely you could just then swap the cables over and repeat the test ?
Hi,
Yes, you could swap the cables, but then you will be aware of the change, and which cable is on which speaker - the test does need to be blind.

Also, theory is very solid on the electrical properties of speaker cables, and there is no effect to scientifically describe any differences heard, but there is science behind the placebo effect. This is why blind testing is critical for any testing of differences.

Regards,
Shadders.
 

plus 1

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Hi,
Yes, you could swap the cables, but then you will be aware of the change, and which cable is on which speaker - the test does need to be blind.

Also, theory is very solid on the electrical properties of speaker cables, and there is no effect to scientifically describe any differences heard, but there is science behind the placebo effect. This is why blind testing is critical for any testing of differences.

Regards,
Shadders.
one final question for the evening !
(i have really enjoyed reading all your replies today). could it be argued that russ, in this video, is describing a cure for a problem that does not exist ?
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGWu5bxX0Bw
 

shadders

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one final question for the evening !
(i have really enjoyed reading all your replies today). could it be argued that russ, in this video, is describing a cure for a problem that does not exist ?
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGWu5bxX0Bw
Hi,
I opened the chrome browser and listened to the dialogue - the video stated that there are two white papers to describe the cable as proof of the RFI reduction with links provided at the end of the video - no links to the white papers.

Russ Andrews website - talks about the rotating and interwoven design reducing RF pickup, but nothing about the blocking of transmission along the cable. No white papers.

Kimber website - no white papers, clicked on a few links on their power products, no description of the cable woven sheath that stops RF transmission.

Video seems to be from 2009, despite uploaded 2014. Is this correct.

So, as per RMAF where a vendor claims they have discovered a never seen before distortion, nothing forthcoming and no demonstration due to a power outage, yet hotel lights were working as was video etc.

As with all these vendor videos, a lot of promises, yet they never present proof that they state exists.

I agree that the new thing is now RF or EMI causing a problem which accounts for the differences in sound. RF/EMI is not an issue, unless you live close to a transmitter.

It is easy to show - just use an oscilloscope or spectrum analyser on the component that is stated to be the problem and you can see the issue - but for some reason, these measurements are never presented. You can only hear the issue.

Regards,
Shadders.
 
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stereoman

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The HiFi actually is a trap itself. I mean - you need to be really careful - the biggest impact is your room acoustics on a given piece of HiFi especially loudspeakers. You can buy a 50 pound stereo and be totally glad with it whereas you can buy a 3000 pound stereo and be totally put off by it. After many years of listening to HiFi I understood that actually it is not about the source so much as about the acoustics itself. The problem , the biggest problem are lateral reflections that in comparison to a car or any other technology behave differently in every house. These reflections can spoil your whole HiFi and sometimes just need a bit of a adjustment. This goes at most about tweeters' reflections - that is why it is so bad that so many companies do not inlcude crossover switches or knobs where it used to be - they think it should be in an amp but this is not the same at all. You need to be able to "bend" the tweeter frequency and dispersion to a given room only then you can enjoy the music, otherwise component change will not help at all. So to sum up - speakers adjustments but not the positions themselves but rather tweeter response is the biggest problem in any HiFi - this is my experience. For this reason start to buy average HiFi and try to manipulate the speakers first !
 
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plus 1

Well-known member
Dec 5, 2019
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Hi,
I opened the chrome browser and listened to the dialogue - the video stated that there are two white papers to describe the cable as proof of the RFI reduction with links provided at the end of the video - no links to the white papers.

Russ Andrews website - talks about the rotating and interwoven design reducing RF pickup, but nothing about the blocking of transmission along the cable. No white papers.

Kimber website - no white papers, clicked on a few links on their power products, no description of the cable woven sheath that stops RF transmission.

Video seems to be from 2009, despite uploaded 2014. Is this correct.

So, as per RMAF where a vendor claims they have discovered a never seen before distortion, nothing forthcoming and no demonstration due to a power outage, yet hotel lights were working as was video etc.

As with all these vendor videos, a lot of promises, yet they never present proof that they state exists.

I agree that the new thing is now RF or EMI causing a problem which accounts for the differences in sound. RF/EMI is not an issue, unless you live close to a transmitter.

It is easy to show - just use an oscilloscope or spectrum analyser on the component that is stated to be the problem and you can see the issue - but for some reason, these measurements are never presented. You can only hear the issue.

Regards,
Shadders.
i'm not sure when the video was made (?) and as for the white papers i can not find them either ! i do think they were available for some time but were removed strangely.
one thing that is claimed now is that the signal from wifi affects your hifi too. i noted that there was never a follow up video despite it being agreed. i wonder if russ knows this video is still on youtube (?).
once again thanks for all the detailed replies today fully appreciated.
 

shadders

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i'm not sure when the video was made (?) and as for the white papers i can not find them either ! i do think they were available for some time but were removed strangely.
one thing that is claimed now is that the signal from wifi affects your hifi too. i noted that there was never a follow up video despite it being agreed. i wonder if russ knows this video is still on youtube (?).
once again thanks for all the detailed replies today fully appreciated.
Hi,
For EMI, or specifically wifi affecting your hifi, this is not an issue either. All interconnects have a screen, the PSU has sufficient components to reject any wifi signal induced in the power lead. Most equipment cases are metal which naturally rejects any wifi signal.

If anyone is really worried about wifi and their equipment, or cables, just wrap them in tin foil. No need to buy £1k+ special cables, just a normal cable with bacofoil, and you are sorted.

OK, the last sentence is sort of comical, but a few quid on tin foil will block any EMI. Just to be sure, you could double wrap it.

Regards,
Shadders.
 
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12th Monkey

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thing is we all heard the difference !
Same with the two examples I cite. Must have been a mass hallucination, brought about by my domineering demand that others hear what I pretend to. Etc.

Not intending to steer the thread towards argument though. It's just that 'you're deluding yourself' and 'the cable must have been badly-made' are not unusual responses - and they can't be properly debated.
 

plus 1

Well-known member
Dec 5, 2019
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570
Hi,
For EMI, or specifically wifi affecting your hifi, this is not an issue either. All interconnects have a screen, the PSU has sufficient components to reject any wifi signal induced in the power lead. Most equipment cases are metal which naturally rejects any wifi signal.

If anyone is really worried about wifi and their equipment, or cables, just wrap them in tin foil. No need to buy £1k+ special cables, just a normal cable with bacofoil, and you are sorted.

OK, the last sentence is sort of comical, but a few quid on tin foil will block any EMI. Just to be sure, you could double wrap it.

Regards,
Shadders.
morning ! i found this regarding the tests russ andrews conducted - "measuring or superkords". its the closet thing to the white papers mentioned in the video but i dont believe they are the ones hes referring too. may i ask what are your opinions on this test ?
 

abacus

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Sep 24, 2008
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morning ! i found this regarding the tests russ andrews conducted - "measuring or superkords". its the closet thing to the white papers mentioned in the video but i dont believe they are the ones hes referring too. may i ask what are your opinions on this test ?
This article has been posted before and if you read it carefully they are not saying that it will make a difference, just that it might make a difference. (Measurements are like statistics, if you know how to interpret and understand them they are very helpful, but can be easily used as spin to convince those that do not have the relevant knowledge that it is relevant to them, even if it isn’t)

Bill
 
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shadders

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morning ! i found this regarding the tests russ andrews conducted - "measuring or superkords". its the closet thing to the white papers mentioned in the video but i dont believe they are the ones hes referring too. may i ask what are your opinions on this test ?
Hi,
From the graphs, there is a reduction in transferred EM energy from one end of the cord to the other.

When i designed my DAC, the IEC mains inlet connection has RF rejection components. Then the subsequent power supply will remove the RF signal, as will any voltage conditioning that uses capacitance or ferrite beads etc.

They do caveat their test with the statement that they "believe" it is RF noise causing issues with audio equipment, and although the EMC engineers state common mode is the problem for audio equipment, Russ Andrews Ltd state they believe it is differential noise that is the problem - the graph for common mode shows that a simple kettle lead is really no worse than the super kords - so maybe this is why they "believe" differential mode is the issue because the graph has a bigger gap. They also state that they are not claiming that the cable will reject the RF in the domestic setting.

Current competently designed equipment will have no issues with noise on the mains - and the paper you referred to has a requirement for quite a lot of "belief".

Regards,
Shadders.
 

plus 1

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This article has been posted before and if you read it carefully they are not saying that it will make a difference, just that it might make a difference. (Measurements are like statistics, if you know how to interpret and understand them they are very helpful, but can be easily used as spin to convince those that do not have the relevant knowledge that it is relevant to them, even if it isn’t)

Bill
yes i posted it before but have now asked shadders for his opinion.
 

plus 1

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Dec 5, 2019
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Hi,
From the graphs, there is a reduction in transferred EM energy from one end of the cord to the other.

When i designed my DAC, the IEC mains inlet connection has RF rejection components. Then the subsequent power supply will remove the RF signal, as will any voltage conditioning that uses capacitance or ferrite beads etc.

They do caveat their test with the statement that they "believe" it is RF noise causing issues with audio equipment, and although the EMC engineers state common mode is the problem for audio equipment, Russ Andrews Ltd state they believe it is differential noise that is the problem - the graph for common mode shows that a simple kettle lead is really no worse than the super kords - so maybe this is why they "believe" differential mode is the issue because the graph has a bigger gap. They also state that they are not claiming that the cable will reject the RF in the domestic setting.

Current competently designed equipment will have no issues with noise on the mains - and the paper you referred to has a requirement for quite a lot of "belief".

Regards,
Shadders.
thanks for the detailed reply. noted how you made a dac with rfi rejection components in the iec socket plus how you state current competently designed equipment makes such mains filtering cables basically obsolete. the question is do all manufacturers "competently" design their equipment to make mains filters / conditioners and the like obsolete ? is this one of the main differences between hi-end kit and budget entry level products - the power supplies have proper "mains noise" rejection components built in ?
 

plus 1

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It's going to take a hell of a lot more "belief", to get me to pay for a SuperKord 500 at ₤2135 to ₤2140...
how about one on these instead ?
 
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shadders

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thanks for the detailed reply. noted how you made a dac with rfi rejection components in the iec socket plus how you state current competently designed equipment makes such mains filtering cables basically obsolete. the question is do all manufacturers "competently" design their equipment to make mains filters / conditioners and the like obsolete ? is this one of the main differences between hi-end kit and budget entry level products - the power supplies have proper "mains noise" rejection components built in ?
Hi,
Budget (entry kit) has to meet CE certification etc., so EMI compatibility is part of the design. That is, the current EU regulations and requirements mean that the equipment will reject RF etc.

The difference between high end kit and other normal hifi is the price - nice case work etc., You can build high end kit for the fraction of the price. There are no special components that are not available from Farnell, RS, Digikey, Mouser etc.

You may find a piece of equipment that is poorly designed - but in all of this - one question :

Have you ever seen a report or white paper showing the RF noise on a voltage rail feeding the equipment analogue stage ?

The answer is no. This would be so easily shown using an oscilloscope or spectrum analyser, yet every purveyor of such belief based goods never provides the proof. I wonder why........

Regards,
Shadders.
 
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plus 1

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Dec 5, 2019
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Hi,
Budget (entry kit) has to meet CE certification etc., so EMI compatibility is part of the design. That is, the current EU regulations and requirements mean that the equipment will reject RF etc.

The difference between high end kit and other normal hifi is the price - nice case work etc., You can build high end kit for the fraction of the price. There are no special components that are not available from Farnell, RS, Digikey, Mouser etc.

You may find a piece of equipment that is poorly designed - but in all of this - one question :

Have you ever seen a report or white paper showing the RF noise on a voltage rail feeding the equipment analogue stage ?

The answer is no. This would be so easily shown using an oscilloscope or spectrum analyser, yet every purveyor of such belief based goods never provides the proof. I wonder why........

Regards,
Shadders.
i'm literally out of questions now - all credit to you for your patience answering them ! noted your comment on cost of hi-end kit (totally agree) and how it can be made for a lot less. may i ask do you / have you thought of building your own kit and selling it as one off type units ? for example i never needed the multiple inputs on the integrated amplifier(s) i owned as i only ever used a single source / cd player. i'm guessing that's a cost saving, removing multiple inputs, in itself ?
 

shadders

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i'm literally out of questions now - all credit to you for your patience answering them ! noted your comment on cost of hi-end kit (totally agree) and how it can be made for a lot less. may i ask do you / have you thought of building your own kit and selling it as one off type units ? for example i never needed the multiple inputs on the integrated amplifier(s) i owned as i only ever used a single source / cd player. i'm guessing that's a cost saving, removing multiple inputs, in itself ?
Hi,
I had thought many years ago about building to sell, but a large part of selling the equipment is the marketing ability of describing why the kit sounds better than others etc. Those interested in hifi are for most part, have a subjective approach. I would never be able to talk the subjective impressions of what i have designed, because i know it is rubbish.

An example - i used van damme blue for my speaker cabling internally, and there will always be someone who says there is a better sounding cable. How do i respond ? I would have to use a lot of subjective BS to state why my cable choice is optimal. I would find it tiring, as i do not believe that cables sound different. You have to pander to the future customers preferences and beliefs.

For your specific requirement - you may find an integrated with few inputs, or just use a power amplifier. You will not save much money by creating an amplifier with minimal number of inputs.

Regards,
Shadders.
 

plus 1

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Dec 5, 2019
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Hi,
I had thought many years ago about building to sell, but a large part of selling the equipment is the marketing ability of describing why the kit sounds better than others etc. Those interested in hifi are for most part, have a subjective approach. I would never be able to talk the subjective impressions of what i have designed, because i know it is rubbish.

An example - i used van damme blue for my speaker cabling internally, and there will always be someone who says there is a better sounding cable. How do i respond ? I would have to use a lot of subjective BS to state why my cable choice is optimal. I would find it tiring, as i do not believe that cables sound different. You have to pander to the future customers preferences and beliefs.

For your specific requirement - you may find an integrated with few inputs, or just use a power amplifier. You will not save much money by creating an amplifier with minimal number of inputs.

Regards,
Shadders.
thanks, yet again, for the detailed reply. posters like you are the reason i joined the forum. noted your points on marketing - spot on ! i used to own a sony cdp-xb930e qs uk tuned cd player. this unit had a volume control on it that i could never fathom why (?) now i understand it could be linked direct to a power amplifier or a set of active speakers which is how i would have used it today if i still had it...it also had 4 filter settings but i could never hear any differences with that feature whilst connected to the matching 930 sony amplifier and b&w 601s2 speakers that comprised my 1st system 20 years ago. i believe if i connected that cd player now, to a "proper" accurate pair of active loudspeakers, i would be able to tell the differences between the filter settings easily...
 
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shadders

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thanks, yet again, for the detailed reply. posters like you are the reason i joined the forum. noted your points on marketing - spot on ! i used to own a sony cdp-xb930e qs uk tuned cd player. this unit had a volume control on it that i could never fathom why (?) now i understand it could be linked direct to a power amplifier or a set of active speakers which is how i would have used it today if i still had it...it also had 4 filter settings but i could never hear any differences with that feature whilst connected to the matching 930 sony amplifier and b&w 601s2 speakers that comprised my 1st system 20 years ago. i believe if connected that cd player now, to a "proper" accurate pair of active loudspeakers, i would be able to tell the differences between the filter settings easily...
Hi,
Maybe your system was acceptable, and the filters made such a small difference it could not be heard. I would not confuse price with better. In the end, if you like the speakers playing in your environment, then that is ok, regardless of the cost.

Hifi does seem to be an OCD type pastime.

Regards,
Shadders.
 
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plus 1

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Hi,
Maybe your system was acceptable, and the filters made such a small difference it could not be heard. I would not confuse price with better. In the end, if you like the speakers playing in your environment, then that is ok, regardless of the cost.

Hifi does seem to be an OCD type pastime.

Regards,
Shadders.
i often wonder why more (digital) source components did not feature multiple filter settings a bit like the colour, contrast, sharpness etc settings as found on tv's. you could then select a pair of loudspeakers that simply play what's fed to them, an amplifier that simple "amplifies" the signal (or just skip to a set of actives !) and then use the 20, 30 or maybe 50 different filter settings present on the cd player as a kind of tone control to adjust or "shape" the sound of a system. does such a set up exist ?
 
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shadders

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i often wonder why more (digital) source components did not feature multiple filter settings a bit like the colour, contrast, sharpness etc settings as found on tv's. you could then select a pair of loudspeakers that simply play what's fed to them, an amplifier that simple "amplifies" the signal (or just skip to a set of actives !) and then use the 20, 30 or maybe 50 different filter settings present on the cd player as a kind of tone control to adjust or "shape" the sound of a system. does such a set up exist ?
Hi,
If you do use a CD player, or streamer option with a volume control into active, then you will be reliant upon any filters available in the equipment.

Room correction is one of the current popular approaches to hifi, so i think that would be the most beneficial approach, where you can tailor the sound according to the room and your preferences, with much more granular control than a CD filter setting, or tone controls.

i do not have room correction, but others may be able to assist in their experiences.

Regards,
Shadders.
 
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Friesiansam

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how about one on these instead ?
Perfect for those rich spods for whom hifi is for showing off their super expensive kit to their rich mates, rather than for listening to music.

As for filters, my M-DAC had 7 filters which were hard to tell apart. I just ended up using the one recommended in reviews. My Pathos Converto has no user selectable filters, it just works and, I don't feel as though I'm missing out by not having filters.
 

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