• If you ever spot Spam (either in the forums, or received via forum direct message) please use the Report button at the bottom of each post to make sure a Moderator can handle it quickly. Thanks for your help in keeping things running smoothly!

Placebo Effect

jaxwired

Well-known member
Feb 7, 2009
284
6
18,895
Have you ever gotten up for the day, flipped on your Hi Fi and thought it sounded especially good today? I have and probably most of you have too. Now imagine that the night before you had just installed a new mains power cord for your amp. Voila, you're a believer in mains power cords. We are obviously highly vulnerable to this type of faulty judgement when assessing the differences in Hi Fi equipment.

If you buy a piece of equipment and it actually has zero impact on the sound of your Hi Fi, but you are (wrongly) convinced that your Hi Fi now sounds better, was it still a good purchase? After all, you're happy.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
494
326
19,270
I think its all about WHEN you make changes. I make fairly regular changes to my hi-fi but only when I know I've got plenty of time to listen to the before AND after results in a direct A/B comparison. Changing something and then not comparing until after a night's sleep is never going to tell you anything.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Having done a bit of internet research on the matter, and tried different cables to zero benefit, I would be highly dubious about any cable company claims. The other, vital thing to do, is understand how human hearing works. You can then put any perceived "differences" into context.

The Randi challenge has been mentioned on here recently. Given the fact that many people claim to be able to hear differences between cables, it should be a simple US$1m to pick up. The fact that no cable companies offer scientific proof of their claims, nor are willing to take on double blind tests tells you all you need to know.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I too find that I need to spend time with the hifi before and after making a change to get a good understanding of what, if anything, has changed. When I demo'ed my SA1s I took my Rotel amp and spent about four hours switching between the SA1s and Proac Tab Ref 8 Sigs. In the end it was my initial judgement that was right but I went from gut feeling to knowing why.

At the end of the four hours I asked them to throw on the Primare I30 instead of the Rotel, just for a wee bit of fun (£500 to £1500 int amp comparison). In the three minutes I spent with it I couldn't hear a difference! I was just all listened out. My ears had given up on me. I'm not sure what my point is now, I'm just wittering
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
You're game, jaxwired!

I swapped my speaker cables the other day to the world's best. This morning my gear sounds fantastic, better detail, greater bass extension etc, so should I attribute it to the speaker cable, or to the fact that it's a quiet Sunday morning, I'm by myself for the day, just had a bath so am feeling relaxed?

Power cables are another matter. The ones recommended by the manufacturer are the ones I always use. In some cases (Naim) almost the first thing they ask if you contact their service, apparently, is whether you're using their cables, while Bryston just recommend you use ones meeting the appropriate standard - can't remember which off hand.

There are many companies profiting from the placebo effect in the fantasy world of HiFi, but even if their products have have zero effect in the real world, at least they're employing people and keeping their followers happy.
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
540
1
0
I can't comment on mains cords as I have never used any others than the supplied items but for example a Tacima surge protection block certainly has an effect on sound. It's system dependent, so to dismiss or endorse it is difficult other than for peace of mind when taking a direct hit in a thunder storm ...

As always, I look at cabling (of any kind) as a way to fine tune an otherwise sorted set-up, not as a solution to more fundamental problems such as system mis-matching.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Septicman, I honestly wish I had the same results as you because cables have cost me a lot of cash! Unfortunately my own experience has shown me the benefits to my cable changes. Not wishing to start any cables debates here, just a desire to not hear some changes!
 

idc

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2008
1,043
14
19,195
Septicman: Having done a bit of internet research on the matter, and tried different cables to zero benefit, I would be highly dubious about any cable company claims. The other, vital thing to do, is understand how human hearing works. You can then put any perceived "differences" into context.

That context should include the fact that numerous people report hearing differences. Rreasons for some not hearing any difference include, a clean mains supply, the synergy between kit, a disbelief affecting their perception of any difference, or lack of it.

Septicman: The Randi challenge has been mentioned on here recently. Given the fact that many people claim to be able to hear differences between cables, it should be a simple US$1m to pick up. The fact that no cable companies offer scientific proof of their claims, nor are willing to take on double blind tests tells you all you need to know.

There are people who have accepted the Randi challenge, but when discussion has begun about how the challenge will be conducted it has become clear that both sides are wanting a test that is heavily biased in their favour. The worry is that Randi, the former illusionist is just at it. Russ Andrews have commisioned scientific reports to back up their claims and these reports have been sent for independent verification. I have seen a scientific report that claimed to show how sighted testing was a con, but it did not show any real proof. I and lots of other forum members have tried our own blind tests and they do show that there are differences.
 

idc

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2008
1,043
14
19,195
Tarquinh: .......This morning my gear sounds fantastic, better detail, greater bass extension etc, so should I attribute it to the speaker cable, or to the fact that it's a quiet Sunday morning, I'm by myself for the day, just had a bath so am feeling relaxed?

Good point Tarquinnh. I think that there is a feel good factor with a new speaker or whatever cable, for those who rate such products anyway. So it is more likely that such people will hear benefits and get a placebo effect. But the reverse should also then be the case. So disbelivers such as yourself, who do not rate buying cable and are sceptical about their effects are not going to get a feel good factor and are less likely to hear a benefit or get the placebo effect.

The reason I think that cable changes are not just placebos is down to the fact that my wife notices changes and she hardly listens to music. She can also notice changes I have not told her about. So no placebo there.

Maybe we should have a debate about how important it is to get yourself in the right mood and that actually hifi sounds best on a Sunday morning after a bath. So anyone who listens on a Monday evening after a rubbish day at work, with kids screaming are just wasting their time and money on a hifi.
 

jaxwired

Well-known member
Feb 7, 2009
284
6
18,895
igglebert:Septicman, I honestly wish I had the same results as you because cables have cost me a lot of cash! Unfortunately my own experience has shown me the benefits to my cable changes. Not wishing to start any cables debates here, just a desire to not hear some changes!

Same here. I have done many A/B tests on interconnects and speaker cable and I'm convinced that I can hear a quite noticable difference. I'm rational enough to admit that it could be all in my head.
 

jaxwired

Well-known member
Feb 7, 2009
284
6
18,895
Septicman:

The fact that no cable companies offer scientific proof of their claims, nor are willing to take on double blind tests tells you all you need to know.

Is this true? If it is, I don't understand why. Why won't Chord submit to double blind testing? Surely they have done it themselves and did not like the findings? I really can't believe it given my experience...
 

idc

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2008
1,043
14
19,195
One of the following paintings is by Cy Twombly, the American modern artist and is worth hundreds of thousands. One is by a small child and is worth lots to their parent, but nothing in the art world. One is by an elephant and is worth about £200.



You reactions will be one of, or a combination of, they are all rubbish, wow, whats the point, I would like them on my wall, I would buy them, I would not buy them, I would get pleasure out of them, I would not get pleasure out of them, I like the one on the end but not the other two etc etc.

To someone in the art world, they will have no trouble recognising which is which and putting widely different values on each painting. For them each is significantly different. It is the same case with cables. Some greatly value and see the difference, others do not, your mood has an effect, the setting has an effect. Indeed there are so many variables and subjectivity is such a large part of what we see in art and hear with our music, does science, specifically measurement have any meaningful part to play?
 

Trefor Patten

Well-known member
Mar 31, 2008
40
0
18,540
The assertion that no cable companies will submit themselves to a double-blind test is simply not true. Several have done so in the past and continue to do so. Likewise the claim that the effects cannot be measured. The rejection of Electro-Magnetic Interference is quite easy to measure and has been measured on many seperate occasions.

Anyone who claims that cables cannot make a difference obviously believes (incorrectly) that a piece of wire inside a dielectric has no capacitance, inductance or impedance. Proving cables make a difference is easy. Proving that they make an improvement is rather more difficult, after all, what constitutes an improvement?

Back in the days of minidisc I knew several people who claimed that recording a CD onto this medium improved its sound. I was intrigued, ÿand asked them to demonstrate it. To my ears the minidisc recording was markedly inferior. Acceptable, but not as good. Sony et al, never claimed that MD was superior to CD, but here were several MD enthusiast who clearly preferred the compressed and limited facsimile of their own CDs.

Of course some people cannot hear a difference between cables, they are known elsewhere as tone-deaf or hearing impaired. I myself cannot hear the difference between a Bechstein and a Steinway grand piano, but that does not mean the difference is not there, only that I cannot hear it.ÿ
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
idc, but do you not think science should have an effect?

Your analogy only works if you equate art with music, where you equate a score composed by myself, by mozart or by a 5 year old, with the three works of art. People should indeed be able to tell the difference. We're discussing part of the medium here - can you or an expert tell whether the drying conditions of the material used in the canvas had an impact on the colour saturation of the result?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I like this placebo effect....saved me hundreds by not upgrading. If its all in my head maybe the best upgrade would be to get rat ar$3d.....then everything is better.

On another note....which painting is which?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
We have some friends who when the come round for Dinner always bring a cheap bottle of wine with them. They insist it is a waste of money spending more than a fiver.

It didn't stop them rushing down a bottle of £15, drunk in record time. When we started specially buying in £5 for these occasions it lasts a real long time!

Is that a placebo effect?
 

jaxwired

Well-known member
Feb 7, 2009
284
6
18,895
trevor79:We have some friends who when the come round for Dinner always bring a cheap bottle of wine with them. They insist it is a waste of money spending more than a fiver. It didn't stop them rushing down a bottle of £15, drunk in record time. When we started specially buying in £5 for these occasions it lasts a real long time! Is that a placebo effect?

Trevor, you seem like a nice guy, but I really don't see your point. Are you saying that if more expensive wine is worth the money, so are mains cables? Hard to see the connection... Or are you saying that because no placebo effect exists for good wine, it does not exist for any other product?

I think we can all agree that placebo effect does exist and it does color our perception on occassion.
 

JoelSim

New member
Aug 24, 2007
767
1
0
idc:
One of the following paintings is by Cy Twombly, the American modern artist and is worth hundreds of thousands. One is by a small child and is worth lots to their parent, but nothing in the art world. One is by an elephant and is worth about £200.

ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ

ÿ

You reactions will be one of, or a combimation of, they are all rubbish, wow, whats the point, I would like them on my wall, I would buy them, I would not buy them, I would get pleasure out of them, I would not get pleasure out of them, I like the one on the end but not the other two etc etc.

To someone in the art world, they will have no trouble recognising which is which and putting widely different values on each painting. For them each is significantly different. It is the same case with cables.ÿSome greatly value and see the difference, others do not, your mood has an effect, the setting has an effect. Indeed there are so many variables and subjectivity is such a large part of what we see in art and hear with our music, does science, specifically measurementÿhave any meaningful part to play?

ÿ

I'd quite like the one that's worth hundreds of thousands as I could sell it on an art lover, and buy myself a whole load of expensive cables. And yes there are distinct differences in cables as I've heard them.

ÿ
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
JoelSim:idc:
One of the following paintings is by Cy Twombly, the American modern artist and is worth hundreds of thousands. One is by a small child and is worth lots to their parent, but nothing in the art world. One is by an elephant and is worth about £200.



You reactions will be one of, or a combimation of, they are all rubbish, wow, whats the point, I would like them on my wall, I would buy them, I would not buy them, I would get pleasure out of them, I would not get pleasure out of them, I like the one on the end but not the other two etc etc.

To someone in the art world, they will have no trouble recognising which is which and putting widely different values on each painting. For them each is significantly different. It is the same case with cables. Some greatly value and see the difference, others do not, your mood has an effect, the setting has an effect. Indeed there are so many variables and subjectivity is such a large part of what we see in art and hear with our music, does science, specifically measurement have any meaningful part to play?

I'd quite like the one that's worth hundreds of thousands as I could sell it on an art lover, and buy myself a whole load of expensive cables. And yes there are distinct differences in cables as I've heard them.

Good point, and that's my problem. If someone offered me a Raphael or a Da Vinci for all the hi fis and cars I've owned, I wouldn't hesitate. One la belle ferroniere is worth a million Krells and jaguars!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
jaxwired:
trevor79:We have some friends who when the come round for Dinner always bring a cheap bottle of wine with them. They insist it is a waste of money spending more than a fiver. It didn't stop them rushing down a bottle of £15, drunk in record time. When we started specially buying in £5 for these occasions it lasts a real long time! Is that a placebo effect?

Trevor, you seem like a nice guy, but I really don't see your point. Are you saying that if more expensive wine is worth the money, so are mains cables? Hard to see the connection... Or are you saying that because no placebo effect exists for good wine, it does not exist for any other product?

I think we can all agree that placebo effect does exist and it does color our perception on occassion.

Naw, just my clumsy attempt on humour.

But seriously, sometimes people need to look at the price tag/label before making up there minds if it is good or not.
Some are able to trust there judgement based on knowledge, experience and evaluation.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I recently changed my speaker cable from Qed silver bi wire to chord silverscreen and there is a marked differnce in sound and imo a quantifiable differnce! Siblance on some CD's with the QED none with the chord.....ive tryd this back to back with the same cd and it siblance/ no siblance. A very easy thing to spot and a clear differnce
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts