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Throwing the cable cat amongst the pigeons!

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Because something isn't perfect, doesn't mean its imperfections can or should be analysed using the human ear. The human ear is the worst measurement instrument imaginable, because it's connected to a fallible human.
Then if cables aren’t perfect, surely there’s degrees of imperfection? Ergo, cables can sound different?

I do think you’re underestimating the capabilities of the human ear.
 

Mike Hunt

Well-known member
Jan 22, 2020
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Then if cables aren’t perfect, surely there’s degrees of imperfection? Ergo, cables can sound different?

I do think you’re underestimating the capabilities of the human ear.
Yes, of course cables can 'sound different', but the difference between cables that aren't badly designed will be imperceptible to the human ear.
Like I said earlier. The problem with the human ear is that it's connected to a human, and. therefore, cannot be trusted.
 
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12th Monkey

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Aug 31, 2015
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I really do understand the technical arguments, and I'm a great respecter of science and the scientific method. Where it gets fuzzy for me (and where I choose to trust myself, even if I don't expect others to) is that my expectations and my experiences do not always tally - if I am 'leading' myself (which I don't believe - but then I wouldn't, would I?!) then I would expect what I think will happen to tally with my subjective experience. But it often doesn't.

I've gone into some things hoping for benefit and sometimes found it, sometimes not. And I've gone into other things expecting deterioration and also not found it.

I'm not sure where this leaves us, but maybe it's best to accept that some don't believe cables make much if any difference and others do - it may be that it's the trying to tell the other camp that they are wrong that causes the issue to be so heated. Maybe it's just time to accept each others' foibles?
 
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abacus

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Sep 24, 2008
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I 'liked' your post, because it's mostly factually correct, but cables can "sound different". I put that in quotes because cables don't sound of anything, or make any sound, but badly designed cables can alter the sound that arrives at your ears.
There are three important factors in speaker cable construction. Impedance, inductance and capacitance
I've tested lots of different cables. I've mic'd speakers and used a frequency sweep to analyse and compare their output, and one thing that shocked me was that a set of cables I used with ridiculously high capacitance, sounded better (to my ear) whilst listening to music. When I compared the results on the computer, these cables seemed to accentuate some of the higher frequencies. If I'd believed my ears, I would have said these cables were better, when, in fact, they were shyte.
This is why I always say “quality cables” from memory there was a cable in the 70/80s that had such a high capacitance (Not mentioned in the advert but just that it sounded better due to its unique design) some amplifier manufactures told their dealers to avoid it as it could cause oscillation in the output stages and damage them.

Bill
 

Al ears

Moderator
Because something isn't perfect, doesn't mean its imperfections can or should be analysed using the human ear. The human ear is the worst measurement instrument imaginable, because it's connected to a fallible human.
True but ultimately it is that fallible human that's going to be listening to the music not a computer.... :)
 

Mike Hunt

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Jan 22, 2020
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This is why I always say “quality cables” from memory there was a cable in the 70/80s that had such a high capacitance (Not mentioned in the advert but just that it sounded better due to its unique design) some amplifier manufactures told their dealers to avoid it as it could cause oscillation in the output stages and damage them.

Bill
Apologies, I somehow missed the 'good quality' part of your post. In that case, I agree with you 100%.
 

Mike Hunt

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Jan 22, 2020
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True but ultimately it is that fallible human that's going to be listening to the music not a computer.... :)
But then the fallible human invites his mates around to listen to his new speaker cables. He removes the cheap old Chord cables, inserts his new NordQuestReferenceResearch Plutonium XL cables, then gently lifts Dark Side Of The Moon from its demagnetiser, and places it on the polymer-hybrid-mat donning platter of his Linn LP 12, like a midwife handing a newborn baby to its mother. He selects the Oyaide STB-MSX from his display cabinet of record pucks, blows the fluff off his Goldring Ethos and gently lowers the Ittok at the start of track 3, then looks across at his mates, with a big grin on his face, and 45 seconds later he's nodding in time to the beat of 'Time', with a now manic grin, like he has a coat hanger stuck in his mouth, and eyes like a startled lemur. This continues for a further 6 minutes, while his mates exchange puzzled looks, then, shaking like a sh1tting dog, Brian lifts the tonearm and asks in an excited, questioning voice "Well, what do you think?". His mates exchange eye contact, until one of them sheepishly says... "Well it kinda sounds the same as it did when you played it to me yesterday". Brian gives Steve a look, like he's just run over his favourite cat, and loudly exclaims "It sounds nothing like! It's much better. These cables cost me £3k!" Then Brian catches Dave making 'let's leave' eyes at the others, and halts them in their tracks before they can escape, then insists on auditioning both sets of cables back-to-back, again, and again, until his mates finally cave in and tell him what he wanted, nay, needed to hear, that yes, his new cables do sound better.

Brian got the validation he needed, although that was the last time Brian saw his mates.

:LOL:
 
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Roby

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Jan 17, 2012
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Ok Technically taken apart

Its a question of feeling an enjoyment taste an it is an stays highly personal because if you want it or not there are differences.

An I not completely agree with the argument as we hear a brand as for example the brain is conditioned to believe it should be good

I mean my dealer switched cables I had no clue they where from Linn not I knew what Linn was or stand for it was the beginning of my journey an had no knowledge about all the brands that existed

few years later I admit I have preferences an they are provably not always objective...
 

simonali

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Aug 8, 2006
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But how do we all know that these expensive bits of wire aren't actually making the sound worse, but somehow more pleasing to your ears anyway?

There could be some frequencies in the recording that aren't being transmitted by cable x that cable y did, so technically that's a degradation in sound, but it might sound better anyway...
 
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chris661

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Oct 30, 2019
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That would be incredibly easy to measure - just compare the frequency response of the system with different cables in place.

Edit - If it's of interest, I can give it a try. I can measure frequencies up to 96kHz, although I've no idea how my measurement mic does up there.
Still, if we're just looking for differences by swapping cables, we'll just find differences in the graphs.

Chris
 

Mike Hunt

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Jan 22, 2020
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That would be incredibly easy to measure - just compare the frequency response of the system with different cables in place.

Edit - If it's of interest, I can give it a try. I can measure frequencies up to 96kHz, although I've no idea how my measurement mic does up there.
Still, if we're just looking for differences by swapping cables, we'll just find differences in the graphs.

Chris
If you have the time, equipment and inclination, I'd like to see your results.
I did this around 10 or 12 years ago, but I've been through a few computers since, and the results have long since disappeared.
 

Mike Hunt

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Jan 22, 2020
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A little anecdote, to pass the time... :)

A friend of mine worked at the Audio Counsel in Manchester in the mid to late 80s, where he used to do his own 'blind testing'... well, sort of...

The shop sold all the best audio gear and was always packed with audiophiles at the weekend. One Saturday morning, whilst recovering from a night out, my friend decided to test a theory. He went into the audio room and swapped around some of the interconnects and speaker cables, and waited for the usual crew to come in and test the latest and greatest in cables, and he had a little giggle to himself as customers went into great depth to explain how much better these new speaker cables were and how the placement on the sound stage was so much more defined with these new interconnects, when, in fact, instead of £300 bits of wire, they were actually listening through £10 bits of wire.

He also made a 'wheel of bullsh1t' thing, and placed it beside the phone (kinda like a wheel of fortune thing). It was a piece of paper, cut into a circle and stabbed onto one of those sharp stabby things with a wooden base, that office desks used to have on them for holding invoices and such. On the paper were all the usual buzzwords, like 'soundstage', 'transparency', 'noise floor', 'dynamic range', etc, and whenever the phone rang and someone started asking about the latest and greatest cables, he'd spin the wheel of bullsh1t and whichever buzzword pointed at the phone, that would be the keyword for the entire conversation and his goal was to drop it into the conversation as many times as possible.
 

Mike Hunt

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Jan 22, 2020
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I just found this glowing review, of a Russ Andrews C7/figure 8 power lead. :ROFLMAO:

The solidly chunky PowerKord-8 feels like a distinct upgrade. Giving our review sample the twisting Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, it let our kit produce sharp, detailed images.

Colour was natural, with convincing skin tones, while sonically this mains lead gave our setup a wide, revealing sound that's tonally integrated and kicks like a mule when required.
 

simonali

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Aug 8, 2006
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That would be incredibly easy to measure - just compare the frequency response of the system with different cables in place.
Measuring the differences is easy, yes. I refer to people categorically stating that cable x sounds better than cable y just by using their ear holes. Should be an article about it on this website somewhere. I hope!

 

Mike Hunt

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Jan 22, 2020
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If they write that about something that doesn't make any difference how can we trust their reviews of anything else?
Given where the review came from, I'd better not answer that.

But FFS... :ROFLMAO:


Our Verdict
A pin-sharp cable that will make an excellent upgrade

For
  • Natural colours
  • sharp, detailed images
  • wide, revealing sound
Against
  • Nothing
 

12th Monkey

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Aug 31, 2015
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Sorry, that wasn't aimed at you, it was aimed generally. There's a lot of scepticism about people's ability to hear differences, and I was just pointing out that this leaves a fairly small set of sources of guidance.
 

12th Monkey

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Would you trust reviews from somewhere that published that review of a figure 8 lead for a DVD player?
I have to admit I wouldn't. Doubly so as my scepticism about RA is boundless. Someone I knew years ago worked in audio electronics and was dismayed (but not desperately surprised) when he took a bit of RA kit apart and found the content (in relation to price) to be what might politely be called 'underwhelming'.
 

Mike Hunt

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Jan 22, 2020
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I have to admit I wouldn't. Doubly so as my scepticism about RA is boundless. Someone I knew years ago worked in audio electronics and was dismayed (but not desperately surprised) when he took a bit of RA kit apart and found the content (in relation to price) to be what might politely be called 'underwhelming'.
An ex friend of mine was an electronics engineer. I met him through a Satellite TV forum. Looking back, and IMHO, he was a lot like RA
When I first met him, he was selling LNBs for satellite dishes. They were actually very good LNBs, with very low noise, but he wasn't manufacturing them, he was buying pallets full of a very well known LNB from its manufacturer, replacing the DC/DC converter for one that cost 15p but was much cleaner with less noise, then sticking his own label over the manufacturer's label, and selling them on at 500% profit. The job took ~5 minutes if you weren't in a hurry, so when he was bored, he'd sit down with his screwdriver and soldering iron, earning £1000/hour, but, in fairness, he was actually making the product better, and if people want to pay for it... Then he decided to up the ante. Instead of wasting all that time soldering in a new DC/DC converter, He realised that because he was well established, and known for 'his' wonderful LNB, he could make a lot more money by simply removing the LNB from its box, putting his sticker on it, then boxing it up again and reselling it. I discovered he was doing this when I went to visit him one weekend, and he asked me step in and do it for him, as he was very busy with other work. That's when I told him to GTF, and he became an ex friend.
The reason he didn't have time to spend on soldering in the new DC/DC converter, was because he was busy 'manufacturing' a new satellite receiver. It was a very expensive satellite receiver, with a load of world firsts*, like recording one channel whilst watching another. What was actually inside the case was a cheap Panasonic receiver board connected to cheap Amstrad receiver board. The most expensive part of the system was the touch screen remote, which cost almost as much as the two boards and the case combined.
The receiver was featured in loads of magazines and on loads of websites, with everyone singing its praises, and in awe of its features, when, in fact, it was just a few bits of crap, cobbled together by a con man who happened to be a decent electronics engineer. Most of the receivers crapped themselves after a few weeks.

*Most of the 'world firsts' didn't actually work or didn't work correctly. Fixes were promised in a future firmware update, which never materialised, as once he'd sold enough of the boxes to buy himself a nice house, he shut up shop.

I guess the moral of the story, if there is one, is that you don't have to make anything decent or even anything that works as advertised, you just have to have a big enough price tag and find enough gullible people to pay that price, and you're laughing all the way to the bank.
 

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