The Great Cable Debate

Printable View

  • 11-26-2003, 10:14 PM
    happy ears
    The Great Cable Debate
    It would appear that there is two distant views about cables. Those that say there are differences and those that say there are no differences.

    The group that find night and day differences are either exaggerating or they have much more sensitive ears than I do. Maybe they have much more sensitive equipment than me. I have experimented with a few different cables on my stereo and have found some differences, but would not say the change is large. Differences is a more accurate statement than better, as better is very subjective to each listener and set up. Testing for these differences is slow time consuming process listening to selected music over and over and over again. Really do not listen to a type of music versus selected musical instruments and passages. Examples are glass breaking, piano (very revealing), violin, bass guitars, female vocals to name a few. As well, I use solo vocal or solo instrument with no other instruments or vocals being played at the time, a band or orchestra playing has too much information for me to deal with. Basically, I listen to passages of music with a single instrument or vocal that is demanding for range or extremes, looking for what sounds the best and most accurate.

    Yes I have found differences and all are not better, you can spend more and get less. From my experience I have found AR Acoustic Research cables to be very disappointing for their price compared to the competition in the same price range. Noted, this on both interconnects and speaker cables, going to make myself some real fancy battery cables from a pair of AR speaker cables. Would have thought from other equipment that I have heard from AR that they would have been much better in my comparisons. As well have tested a pair of Monster Cables ZR-1 that rolled off the high end but works great on speakers with a sharp top end. But I do not believe that cables should be used as tone controls, a cableís job is to deliver the signal without adding or subtracting from the music. For slightly more money Monster Cables ZR-2 did not have this problem noted and matched other cables of similar quality and cost. So, yes I have heard differences but I would not say that is dramatic or large. Did not test any exotic cables, so there might be more differences than I heard.

    Well the nay Sayers are probably turning over in their graves by now. First, I always thought the same, how can a little piece of wire affect the sound of music. Probably, the biggest impact comes from using shielded wires versus non shielded wires. Although I always thought, why worry about shielded wires if you are not picking up strange or stray noises. No noise therefore no problems. However, today I believe that although we may not hear any strange noises as it is so far in the background, using shielded cables may reduce this noise further. This will be all the only theory I shall put forward, no scientific proof, no measurements just my humble opinion. Yes the famous double blind test, in my testing I have found in some set ups no difference and in others some differences.

    The most distinct results and differences where noted by connecting my CD player directly to my tube headphone amp and using headphones. Using a gold plated metal ďYĒ connector I ran two different sets of interconnects to the headphone amp, which has a three position selector switch. No preamp passive or active are used. Have also compared using speakers through the integrated amplifier and these changes can also be noted but not as dramatic. Using the tape loop in my Integrated amplifier affects the sound more than the cables do, this surprised me. This testing was done to convince myself was there any differences and yes I heard differences, some better some worse. Of all the things one could change in their stereo this will have the smallest affect in my eyes (ears). Changes in sound quality are small, measured I would say less than a 5% change. Using my turntable connected to the integrated amplifier and connecting the ďYĒ connector to the tape out with two sets of cables going to the headphone amp, I heard no differences in the cables. Hmmm, what is going on here? So now I have noted differences and also no differences in different set ups. I do have some thoughts on this but will not discuss them at this time. Reference double blind test which cables or wires would you use inside the switching device. If we are to assume that cables can affect the sound to a small degree wouldnít these wires be a factor in changing the sound. Would we use the cheapest wires or some exotic wires

    For those that do not hear any differences I do not criticize or look down upon you, in fact I envoy you. I wish that I was not blessed with this curse and hear these differences. A thousand dollar stereo is much cheaper than a five thousand dollar stereo and so on. Thatís $4K that can be spent on music instead. At least I can say my music costs more than the medium that I use to play the music and this will not change for me. As well this is a hobby to me and hobbies cost money, if I was to make money from this I would call it my business. Can I make my hobby my business, now thereís a thought. Would I recommend that every one run out and buy cables definitely not, this way my stereo will be better, just kidding. First off, until you hit a set dollar value I do not believe that you can justify spending money on cables. Second, if you do not hear any differences why spend the money, in fact if you buy something that costs more and there is no differences then bring it back to the store. This is why you should not deal with the big chain stores, just imagine telling them I do not want it because I do not hear any differences. For those that spend more time behind the stereo than in front I pity you, this is not what listening to music is all about.

    In order of importance of equipment, speakers followed by source and then amplification and last and least important is cables. Some will dispute the issue about speakers versus source which is understandable, just like computers garbage in garbage out. Where do cables fit into the overall picture, I would say up to 5% to 10% of total system costs is within reasons. Fifty to one hundred dollar of cables on a thousand dollar stereo is reasonable. Those cheap supplied cables have terrible connectors on them that are not very durable. As well that string sized wires supplied with some amplifiers for speaker connection is really cheap. So, I would say head done to Radio Shack and buy some 12 gauge speaker wires as well as better interconnects and do yourself a favor as a minimum. With speaker wires there is also the issue about using spade or banana connectors or bare wires. To me they each have advantages and disadvantages.

    So, in conclusion I have heard differences in both interconnects and speaker wires. However, one should not spend more money on cables than on there equipment.

    Have A Great Day and enjoy the music
  • 11-27-2003, 04:00 AM

    Originally Posted by happy ears
    But I do not believe that cables should be used as tone controls,

    Probably, the biggest impact comes from using shielded wires versus non shielded wires. ..... However, today I believe that although we may not hear any strange noises as it is so far in the background, using shielded cables may reduce this noise further. This will be all the only theory I shall put forward, no scientific proof, no measurements just my humble opinion.

    I would say up to 5% to 10% of total system costs is within reasons. Fifty to one hundred dollar of cables on a thousand dollar stereo is reasonable. Those cheap supplied cables have terrible connectors on them that are not very durable.

    Doesn't seem like there is much to debate. You say you can't hear or measure a difference yet people should spend 5 to 10 percent of their money on something with no benefits. Why? And why pay to further reduce noises if you can't hear it in the first place?

    There are certainlhy many cheap cables available that have fine sturdy gold plated connectors which will not fail unless you deliberately try to destroy them. Should people who buy a $10,000 stereo system spend $1000 for no audible benefits also? Personally, I'd say anyone who spends money on something of no worth when they could take the same money and buy something of real benefit like better speakers or more recordings is a fool.
  • 11-27-2003, 07:29 AM
    happy ears
    Why are there differences?
    Did not realize that buying Radio Shack interconnects where exotic or expensive. In fact I suggested that as a replacement over what is supplied with the average component. Gold plated agree with you there, are Radio Shack plugs more reliable than those supplied. Yep, another reason for heading to rat shack. I believe a record number of one radio shack interconnects have failed on me when I was a DJ, but then there was a lot of use and abuse.

    Was a draftsman for a while and when ever the salesman said the product was indestructible we all smiled and proceeded with the torture test. Every product we tested FAILED and then the salesman complained that this was not normal use. But sir you said it was indestructible!. So yes I can destroy anything I set my mind to, but this is not the same as those cheap interconnects supplied with most stereo components, they are cheap and unreliable. Go to Radio Shack or some other chain store to buy better interconnects, they do not have to be expensive or exotic to be better than what was supplied

    Never said that I could not measure a difference as I have no test equipment to perform these test. Unless you know how to test interconnects with a Fluke 83 multimeter because I do not. I said that I noted differences in one test and not in another, two different tests with different results. Willing to discuss the reasons for the difference in the test results but will stand by that there was differences between the two tests.

    Now, for the tough one, if you do not hear any differences why spend the money, in fact if you buy something that costs more and there is no differences then bring it back to the store. If you do not hear the differences between a $100.00 and a $10,000.00 amplifier why buy the more expensive one, unless you got money to burn.

    If I had a $10K stereo I would spend between $500 to $1000 on cables. Also stated that not all cables that cost more where better, therefore test run before you buy. Just like CD players they do not all sound the same, they should but they donít, if you do not hear the differences why worry about. If you do not want to hear any difference thatís OK too.

    Have A Great Day
  • 11-27-2003, 10:48 AM

    Originally Posted by happy ears
    I said that I noted differences in one test and not in another, two different tests with different results. Willing to discuss the reasons for the difference in the test results but will stand by that there was differences between the two tests.

    Yes, but did you perform this listening test under bias controlled conditions; double blind, in another word. If not, your results are unreliable. Human bias, uncontrolled, will cause unreliable sensory perceptions.

    [QUOTE=happy ears]
    If I had a $10K stereo I would spend between $500 to $1000 on cables.[QUOTE/]

    Why? Just as a prefernece issue?
  • 11-27-2003, 01:38 PM
    The metaphysical debate continues?
    Seems to me a simple straightforward test would be to use only WonderCables on one channel and only plebian cables such as RatShack Gold on the other cannel. Set the signal to mono and use the balance knob to go from the left channel to the right channel and back to the left while you listen for differences. Then switch the cable sets between channels ant try again. Of course you could have someone else install the cables without telling you what they did just to add some mystery to the test. Also listen to both channels with the balance knob centered to see if you get a perfectly centered image. Then let us know if it was worth paying the asking price for the WonderCables.
  • 11-27-2003, 05:15 PM
    That is not a good test
    First of all, the mere fact that the two speakers are in slightly different places can affect their sound. As many audiophiles have noted, room acoustics can play a major factor in the way a loudspeaker sounds and moving one even a few inches or a foot or two can have a major effect. Secondly, two speakers, even of the same make, model, and production run can have slightly different sounds. These can be as great or greater than the differences in the cables under test. And by making the test mono instead of stereo, imaging which is important to many listeners is completely taken out of the evaluation. Sorry, no cigar. Think up a better one.
  • 11-28-2003, 05:09 AM
    happy ears
    Hopefully I answer everybodyís question and comments.

    No this was not a double blind test, however had my son or friend operate the selection switch without my knowledge. Could not see what cables where selected, only had my ears to use. I tend to disagree in the ABC test in which one most determine if C is A or B, it is tough enough getting A or B right all the time, lets keep the test simple. Would we use my biasís or your biasís in the test? Remember to apply the same standards when test results agree with your beliefs, not just mine.

    Mash why are you using Radio Shack cables, should you not be using the cables that came with the equipment. Or did you find some differences, maybe they look nicer. I do not think the mono test is correct, when both channels are playing in mono on the two speakers it would be near impossible to note differences. The interactions of the two speakers within a room would wash out any differences in the cables. Both channels playing with a mono signal should result in a dead center image, if not then I would say that one cable is attenuating the signal in relation to the other (also note room affect). This should be done, but since I do not own any mono records or CDs it was not. Will address this issue in the future. I cannot perform the mono test as none of my equipment has a balance control or a mono switch, the best I could do is use another ďYĒ adapter and only use one channel of two channel sound. Lastly the price, cables are grossly over priced this to me is a given. But them I find most things over priced, if it is not on sale I am usually not interested, also I am a sucker for half price sales. Just love it when the salesman says what will it take to get a sale, standard answer is half price. I will buy it at half price if I need it, sometimes it works or I get 40% off, still not bad. Would this not indicate that stores and salesmen willing to give 40% off the price of something are overcharging to start with. Cannot comment on WonderCables, never seen or heard of them.

    Finally Skeptic, agree with you on placement. People think I am nuts that I use a measuring tape to place my speakers and it doesnít even take inches. Because of speakers interaction within a room most testing and evaluation was done on headphones. However test results where compared between headphones and speakers, if speakers did not show any differences I would not have continued on.

    One last note on price of cables, as I have said they are grossly overpriced but lets tell the average person how much we spent on our stereo. At a $1k most people understand, know tell them $5k or $10k and that much on music as well and the funny looks start. As someone once told me, I do not tell the average person I spent $??,??? I just tell them to much.

    Have A Great Day
  • 11-28-2003, 06:49 AM

    Originally Posted by happy ears
    Lastly the price, cables are grossly over priced this to me is a given. ... also I am a sucker for half price sales. Just love it when the salesman says what will it take to get a sale, standard answer is half price. I will buy it at half price if I need it, sometimes it works or I get 40% off, still not bad.

    One last note on price of cables, as I have said they are grossly overpriced but lets tell the average person how much we spent on our stereo. At a $1k most people understand, know tell them $5k or $10k and that much on music as well and the funny looks start. As someone once told me, I do not tell the average person I spent $??,??? I just tell them to much.

    So all I have to do to sell you something is to tell you the price is double what I actually want for it and then tell you I am having a half price sale. The word sucker is yours not mine.

    Would you buy an amplifier if you didn't know anything about it, how powerful it is, how much distortion and noise it generates, or whether it can drive your speakers? Would you arbitrarily set a price you are willing to pay and take a salesman's word for it if he told you how great it is? A week ago, that salesman might have been flipping burgers for a living. Isn't that how you buy cables? What do you know about them? Do you know anything about their performance parameters or how they are likely to work with YOUR sound system? Do you know anything about what those parameters would signify in terms of likely real benefits if you had them? Even something as seemingly simple as amplifier power is far more complicated than the single number most people want to see. How would you make a judgement to decide what you are getting for your money with something like cables where even electrical engineers disagree and those who advocate them are largely associated with making or selling them? Would you take the advice of professional contractors who install them at the customer's cost or the advice of audio consulting engineers who specify them and live or die by the results? They NEVER in my experience specify audiophile cables for professional installations (I worked for one for one month---most boring job I ever had.) Before Belden got into the business, their sales rep told me that although they made every kind of wire that existed and could make anything conceivable to the customer's specificatons, their position was that this was a total waste of money (their position may have changed seeing how much can be made from people who want to believe in them.)

    The people who make and sell these things would tell you that there are distortions and performance criteria that cannot be measured but are nonetheless very important and can be heard. That is a pile of bunk. The fact that their is no scientific proof of the value of these things either from an electrical measurement point of view or from a DBT point of view is much more than just a mantra. It is an objective way to know for sure that the value of these products is at the very least highly questionable. Engineers who are responsible for other people's money and are open to challenge by their peers, their supervisors, and their customers who want to know why they are being told to spend additional money don't specify them because until there is credible evidence that they do something, they are putting their jobs at risk. While you may think that this point of view puts me in the camp of the naysayers, I am actually a MAYsayer waiting for this industry or at least some of its manufacturers to offer some evidence. I've been waiting for over twenty years now and it appears from what I see that I still have a long wait ahead of me.
  • 11-28-2003, 09:16 AM
    This is one debate I just don't understand
    Everybody seems to get so defensive over this topic. In the big scheme of things, would someone please care to explain to me what the big deal is? If I go out and buy a $1k pair of interconnects, and am happy with my purchase, who's business is it anyway.....MINE!!! If I have the money to spend, I can spend it any way I like. If I think that it makes an improvement in my system through whatever comparison method I choose to use, flawed or not, if it makes me happy, it has done it's job. If I recommend that others TRY it and they like it through their flawed comparison methods and have the money to spend, that is also not an invalid choice. If they decide NOT to purchase that product, THAT is also a valid choice.

    As for the bagging on Jon Risch, he has a right to express what he finds that works for him. Most of his projects are pretty inexpensive, and if they make someone happier with their system, great. I also don't get the personal attacks against him. I see him as a great person to get other people experimenting. Experimentation leads to more interest which only benefits the audio industry and gets people to get their hands dirty and try other things. That not only benefits the industry, it benefits humanity as a whole. People should learn how to do some things for themselves, we as a society are forgetting that. How showing how he has done some things that worked for him and showing other people how to do them is bad is beyond me. I have posted in the past standing up for him and will continue to do so however infrequently I stop by.

    Yes, I have experimented with cables. I have rolled some of my own (my system is wired with homebrew CAT5E interconnect) some of which were dismal failures, the CAT5E stuff works very well. I have compared it to cheap and expensive cables and always seem to gravitate to the CAT5. My boss has a nice little system in his office and I'll bring something in every now and then and we will utilize the dual outputs on his CD player and A/B between them. I have heard stuff that was better in our probably very flawed but useful method, but it tends to be really expensive (we have a group of audiophile people/friends that tend to bring things around) and I'm really cheap. That said, I will admit to having bought some 2nd hand Kimber 4TC speaker wire a couple of months ago. Swapped it in, "deluded" myself into thinking it made my system better but wasn't worth the extra money, and eventually ended up with it anyway. I'm happy, whatzitooya?

    Now, do cable companies probably exaggerate the differences from buying their products? Don't even go there, that is the nature of advertising in any product category. Do they profit from the sale of cables...I sure hope so, companies have to profit to survive, the not too long past .com implosion was driven by companies that could never deliver a profit decades out, but investors wanted to hitch a ride on the next "big" thing. The result has been nearly 4 years of economic upheaval precipitated in large part from "the new economy" that didn't really exist, nor could it. Companies build things that people want to buy that they feel will add pleasure to their lives. Does anybody really need a Rolex? Does my wife need a $2500 diamond ring? Jewelry is at least a big of a waste as high end cables, but is it wrong to buy it? The same could be said for many things.

    I've already wasted too much time on this topic for my tastes. Suffice it to say: Try it, like it, do it; otherwise, don't.
  • 11-28-2003, 09:18 AM
    happy ears
    Doesnít Sears set itís price high so that they can have lots of sales. Yes, one must be careful when purchasing any product. Buyer beware has never been more true than lately. I do realize that people, stores and owners sell a product for a profit, no profit no store.

    Since money for me is in a limited supply I am forced to acknowledge this and hence set a budget or price. Prior to purchasing stereo equipment I tend to look up reviews and specifications of products that I am interested in. Just like salesmen beware of reviewers, I believe that their word can be tainted by advertisements in their product the magazine. Even a site like Audio Review one must be careful about other peoples statements. For me to give a perfect score which has never happen and probably never will. I just wish that the scoring system was broken down in tenths so that I can give a score of 4.6 out of 5.0, which I believe is a more accurate score of what I think. However, when someone runs down a product and says it isnít worth a score of 1 out of 5, I have my doubts. I find that I must read many reviews to find the person that lists what he likes or dislikes, strengths or weakness of a product and gives what I believe is a truthful review. Then there are the people that complain about cheap plastic remotes on a product that costs 500 dollars, really people for 500 dollars do you think that the product will come with a high quality metal remote. So far, ever remote that has come with any electronic equipment I have bought has been made out of plastic, must be that money issue again. Off course there are the ones that state best product ever no matter how much money you spend. Boy that was a detailed review.

    Specifications are great and I do not agree with manufactures that refuse to give any specifications. The specs that I tend to check is power, distortion and impedance and all are of limited value. Two amplifiers with similar specifications such as power output will not be the same, so this is only a guide. My first Sansui integrated amplifier was rated at 75 watts per channel at 4 or 8 ohms continuous output power. Had it tested, left channel output was 87 watts, while the right channel was 88 watts continuous output at 4 ohm load at rated distortion. The technician said that it was underrated compared to other products in the same price range, it was driven for 50 hours without missing a beat. Just wonder what my friends 100 watt rated Sony actually was as it could not get as loud driving the same speakers.

    Salesman, now that is a whole different issue, if a salesman was honest about the products he sells most of them would be fired for telling the truth. When you shop at Best Buy, Circuit City and other big chain stores it is probably true that their last job was flipping burgers. The only burgers that I flip are for myself, family and friends and it usually is a juicy steak. Dealing with these big chain stores tend to drive me nuts, the salesman does not know the products they sell and are not interested in learning it. But they will always tell you that it is the best price and product and you will never be able to do better. The last time that I was in one of these stores the two young lads said I should be using MP3 because it is just as good as CDís. You do not have to pay for your music and their $3,000.00 computers where just as good and cheaper than my stereo. Funny thing is they had spent more on computers in their short life than I have spent on stereo equipment. It turns out that my amplifier lasted as long as 5 to 7 computers and it was not fair to make them add up all the computers that they bought. To each his own I guess. Then they tried to sell me some overpriced speakers, I said sure but let me take them home for a week and test them with my stereo and in my room. If I am not satisfied I will return then for a full refund, no way was the answer, so I said good by. Then three salesman attempted to block my access to the doors by forming a moving line in front of me. Personally I believe this is harassment and should be outlawed.

    Now, when you go to the small independent stereo stores you will at least be treated with respect, usually or hopefully. The salesman are knowledgeable about the products that they sell and test driving is encouraged, just leave a Visa imprint, no charge until you buy. The store that I deal with the salesmenís have never said much about cables, he will not tell you it is better, will not answer what type of cables that they use at home. He will show you the differences in construction and materials and suggest that you take some home to try on your stereo. Try as many different types as you want, they will tell you that some cables will work better with your stereo than others, but you must figure that out for yourself. Some people will prefer one type of cable over another but that is just personal taste. Walk in and ask for a 3 foot interconnect and one of three things will happen depending on the salesman you are dealing with. One salesman will pick the cheapest cable they sell, very expensive I believe it will cost you about $25.00 CDN, however the cables he uses are much more exotic than what he just picked. The second one will ask for what type of equipment is it to be used for, while the third will ask the type of equipment and price range you are looking at. All three will make suggestions but none will force you to buy, take them home test them out and we will take it from there. In fact no matter what I am looking at there is no pressure, just helpful information and test runs. Try before you buy.

    When professionals disagree within their own field why would you except a layman to be able to answer these questions. Hoping one of use will stumble on the answer by luck? I always thought that one hires professionals in their field of expertise for a reason, if I had the answers I would not need to hire them. I believe studios use balanced cables, I understand this, but if there was no differences why would they not use the cheapest non shielded RCA cables available on the market. It also would be nice if there was scientific proof and measurements that would allow us to show these differences. This would make life easy, just simple measurements and we will know which cables to use. Just an off point, when I went first went to school there was protons, neutrons and electrons, the smallest thing known to man was the electron and this was proven scientific fact. How thing change, when I stop learning will be the day I die, hopefully that are still many years left.

    One day I will build some switching boxes for double blind tests, one will be cheap and the other will be considerable more expensive. I wonder if there will be a difference? When testing cables and if we are to assume that cables will affect the sound wouldnít the cables used inside this box be a factor? I fully understand that some people will not or do not want to hear a difference. My sister says I really donít care, I listen to music on a clock radio and as long as it is clear I am happy. There must be a difference when you spend more money it only makes sense. Many people tell me that all and every music making devise sounds the same to them, the cheapest sounds exactly the same as the most expensive. Are we now to assume that these differences we hear are only in our head. When I first mentioned to my friend that cables make a small difference he laughed and had a few choice words for me. So I said bring over your cables and we shall test the ones I have borrowed. Over the period of an afternoon of evaluating cables his final statement was ď**** something else to spend money onĒ We both agreed that differences where small but we both could hear them. His next statement was cables are grossly overpriced, yep tell me something I do not know. The question was there a difference and the answer was yes there was. There shouldnít be, itís just a small piece of wire how can this be. Corvettes are grossly overpriced but people still buy them.

    Have A Great Day
  • 11-28-2003, 10:04 AM
    Monstrous Mike
    Here's the part I just don't get...
    What somebody hears in their own home with their own ears and their own audio system cannot be disputed. However, any actual audible differences should be able to be duplicated under controlled conditions, measured scientifically, and the root cause(s) of those differences clearly explained. Then, this objective testing can be documented and published and should be able to be duplicated by anyone using the same procedures, equipment, etc.

    The fact that this has not yet happened (and no one expects any of us to accomplish this at home) is extremely strong circumstantial evidence that reported audible differences are the result of something other than the cables (assuming the cables in question are not damaged and are appropriate for their application).

    There are numerous examples of people claiming things that have no basis in science nor any scientific support. The best example are ones that are very difficult to disprove like alien sightings. I mean all we really need is one strand of alien DNA or one shred of an unknown metal. Yet, the claims continue on a daily basis likely because it's plain fun to fantasize that we are not alone.

    Once and awhile, science may finally explain something that has been claimed by people but to hope that cable sonics are one of these things is quite a stretch IMHO. There are numerous explanations for people hearing cable differences in their home systems. To conclude that the cables themselves are the cause, even though that would be the most obvious explanation, would require eliminating all of the other causes in a meticulous scientific manner.

    The guy who brings the new audio cable home, installs it and then hears a difference is jumping to a conclusion if he thinks the only possible answer is that this new cable does actually sound better. And it is an expensive conclusion at that.
  • 11-28-2003, 10:10 AM

    Originally Posted by spacedeckman
    Everybody seems to get so defensive over this topic. In the big scheme of things, would someone please care to explain to me what the big deal is? If I go out and buy a $1k pair of interconnects, and am happy with my purchase, who's business is it anyway.....MINE!!!

    The problem lies in what some people consider the spread of misinformation. Many of the debaters have earned degrees in an area that requires "proof of fact" as opposed to acceptence. Peer review is what distinguishes science from marketing. The arguement isn't whether you enjoy your purchase or not, but rather that if you make claims that they offer improvement you be prepared to back up those claims based on science and not opinion. Preference isn't, or shouldn't be questioned, but "widened the soundstage and increased imaging" etc are things that some people believe can and should be tested before they are accepted as fact. When someone uses unproven/unaccepted "facts" as a premise for an arguement it is incumbant upon those who see the flaws to speak up lest the misinformation be acknowledged as something it is not. Without challenges to self appointed experts many of us without training would just accept the voice from on high as gospel.

    Noone is saying not to enjoy what you purchase, they just want others to understand that from a scientific standpoint they might not be necessary to enjoy the music. YMMV.
  • 11-28-2003, 11:02 AM
    happy ears
    Are we alone, I doubt it. If we are alone we should be very careful not to screw up our planet. Do I have any proof none whats so ever, but look at the odds of us being unique. Why would our planet be the only one with lifeforms? Maybe there is a God!

    Have A Great Day and enjoy life
  • 11-28-2003, 11:09 AM

    Originally Posted by spacedeckman
    If I go out and buy a $1k pair of interconnects, and am happy with my purchase, who's business is it anyway.....MINE!!!

    As for the bagging on Jon Risch, he has a right to express what he finds that works for him. ... I see him as a great person to get other people experimenting. ... People should learn how to do some things for themselves, we as a society are forgetting that. How showing how he has done some things that worked for him and showing other people how to do them is bad is beyond me.

    Yes, I have experimented with cables. ... some of which were dismal failures

    Now, do cable companies probably exaggerate the differences from buying their products? Don't even go there, that is the nature of advertising in any product category. Do they profit from the sale of cables...I sure hope so.

    Whose buisiness is it anyway if you get fleeced by false advertising or expectations the manufacturer or merchant created in your mind through unrealistic claims, inuendos or outright lies? The FTC's that whose. At the very least, ALL of the audiophile cable manufacturers who suggest improved audio performance have come very close to the line of what is legal and what is illegal and most if not all have probably crossed over it into felony land. Whether you are happy or not is irrelevant. Whether they are only too happy to give you your money back is also irrelevant. It's been a long while since I posted excerpts of their rules on what constitutes unfair advertising. Perhaps it's time for another one.

    You see Jon Risch as a great person. I see him as a Nazi mind control gestapo enforcing what are clearly censorship rules designed to skew all discussion to create a culture favorable to an industry with nothing of proven value to sell with opinions pretending to unsuspecting newbies that they are giving fair unbiased advice when in reality they are just trying to promote the sale of their unproven products. At least at this site, when someone like happy ears tells you to spend 10 or 15 percent of your budget on audio cables even though he admits he can't hear a difference most of the time, you get to hear another point of view from people like mrtycrafts or me. What can you get from CA where the owner says his mission is to limit discussion to only positive experience with cables?

    As for rolling your own, it's too bad if you waste your money weaving gigantic capacitors from cat 5E telephone wire, send your amplifier into spontaneous oscillation and blow it up. Maybe you'll learn your lesson eventually. It's when they start advocating making your own power cords that it really gets frightening. I've read one horror story after another with guys building power cords from coaxial cable, installing ferrite beads on the ground conductors defeating the safety ground, and countless others. It's a miracle there aren't more accidents and deaths. Who suffers and pays for that? Me and you and everybody else in our insurance premiums. That's who.
  • 11-28-2003, 11:41 AM
    happy ears
    What, Iím not allowed to make my own power cords. Oops, donít tell anyone but in my last job I must have made up 10 miles of power cords over thirteen years. Also, do my own wiring in my house when required, fans, lights etc. Ran a dedicated power cable and breaker for my stereo, this was required as the previous circuit was improperly done. Washing machine on same circuit as recreation (music) room plugs, so I fixed both of them. Had great fun cutting the hole in the drywall for the TV cable and power, then noticed how terrible the drywall job was, so I took all the drywall off one wall. My friend laughed and said another small job turned into a large one. Hey, at least one wall looks like it was done by a top notch professional. Paid the big bucks and bought the proper rated wire, figured that there must be a reason for all those silly numbers, letters and codes. You can buy some pretty descent how to books as well as code books written for those without proper papers. I will put my work up against the pros but I will admit that I am not as fast and efficient as they are. I thought coaxial cable was for my TV signal thatís what I used it for. You know if you want shielded power cords you can buy it off the roll from electrical supply company, ask and you will be rewarded.

    Someone once told me all electronics parts have smoke in them and once you let the smoke out they do not work. If this is true, wires most have enormous quantity of smoke in them. I do not recommend that everyone do there own electrical work, if you do not understand hire a pro.

    Have A Great Day
  • 11-28-2003, 11:50 AM
    You assume the responsibility for the consequences of your actions. If you make your own power cords, your product is no longer UL listed. If I come to your house amd I am injured because I touched your defective power cord, got a shock, and had to go to the hospital, your insurance won't cover you.

    You can legally do electrical work on your own home by technically, you are required to request an inspection by the town's building department to be sure you met the electrical code. Most people don't. Again, if I get hurt at your house because of something I did which should have been perfectly safe and wasn't due to your negligance, your insurance company will not compensate you and when I sue you, I might just wind up owning your house.
  • 11-28-2003, 01:37 PM
    happy ears
    Where I live even it is inspected and approved by the city certified electrican that they employed the insurance will be voided. However the plugs and switches installed by an electrican that says "FOR COPPER USE ONLY" installed on a house that is wired with Aluminum they will only cover you if you did not know. Because I realize that this is incorrect I will be held responsible since I did not have an approved electrican correct this problem. Now I will be honest as my house was used I have no proof that a professional made this error. However the lady down the road that bought her house new and has never touched the electrical system was amased that I found this even with a house inspection. This was easy, hot boxes to the touch and she replied Oh I thought that was normal, some people do not know. Hopefully, she paid someone with the correct qualifications to correct the same problem. The Provincial goverment where I live told me in writing that Aluminum wire has never been used for power, an outright lie. They are trying to cover their butts. Aluminum wire is safe but requires a higher standard of workmanship, it will not allow you to bend the ends one way and the rebend the stripped ends, copper is much more forgiving. Because of workmanship issues Aluminum wire was removed from the electrical code for house and other uses in Canada. We only started using Al wire when the price of copper wire became much more expensive.

    I do understand the responsibilities that doing your own work brings. But unlike our politicians I stand behind my work. I agree that those that are not experienced or do not understand should hire a professional. You will be allowed to visit as long as you do not chew on power or extention cords that you see in my house. As well do not take a bath holding the end of a extention cord plugged in. I find it hard to believe what some people have achieved, listening to an AC radio while having a bath is fine. But people have the radio sitting on the tub is very dangerous. If there was a list of every stupid thing someone did to get zapped by power it would be long and you would be forced to say how stupid are some people.
  • 11-28-2003, 02:22 PM

    Originally Posted by happy ears
    I do understand the responsibilities that doing your own work brings.

    In the United States, a highly litigious society, when a licensed electrician wires a house, manufactures a power cord, or does ANY kind of electrical work, the state acknowledges that he has been trained as an apprentice, passed an exam, and is highly skilled in his field and so awards him the right to be a journeyman. He must take a course every three years when the electrical code changes to be certain he is aware of the current laws. He has been trained to be alert for electrical hazards he encounters in the course of doing his work and avoid creating new ones. If he notices that there is a hazard such as an electrical outlet that is hot to the touch, he will alert the owner and recommend that he or another electrician make repairs to correct the problem regardless of how it was caused. The sole purpose of the National Electrical Code in The United States is to assure electrical safety.

    When I or anyone else enters a home, a place of business, or any public accomodation, I have a right to expect that all electrical installations and appliances are in good repair and are safe for normal use. That doesn't mean putting a table radio or a lamp on the ledge of a bathtub filled with water so that it might fall in and electrocute someone. It does mean that if I come in contact with a wire, insert or remove a wall plug, touch the cabinet of an audio amplifier, I will not get shocked or electrocuted because someone jury rigged a power cord with coax or defeated the safety ground of a metal chasis by installing ferrite beads on the ground wire in the mistaken belief that it would improve the sound of his stereo system. It means that if I fall asleep on your sofa, I will not be killed in a fire because an electrical outlet was overloaded and someone put a penny in a fuse box to avoid the nusiance of a fuse blowing or used the wrong wire which was overloaded to install a new outlet.

    I don't know what codes exist in Canada but they might be similar to those in most of the US (some places like New York City have their own even stricter electrical codes than the National Electrical Code.) In other countries, they are invariably much laxer in my experience. In the US, were someone who cannot demonstrate their legal qualifications to take it upon himself to do their own work as you put it, they assume all of the financial responsibility for the consequences if their work is inadequate and results in damage to property, injury, or death. Now you know.
  • 11-28-2003, 03:16 PM
    happy ears
    Some people do not think
    To my understanding electrical codes in Canada are very similar to those in the US. Do not know if they take upgrading exams on a regular basis. I do however agree in codes and in there enforcement, however enforcement is a key word. Now people that remove grounds always make me wonder, why would they do this. Using cables that where designed for a different purpose, coaxial cable wire for power cords. Me thinks I do not want to visit their place. Yes I agree use the proper devise for which it was designed for, I do give credit to people that have the expertise and knowledge in there chosen field. When I need there advise I have no question about hiring them. Came across a piece of rental equipment once that had been modified, just a minor amount of voltage to the case, only 60 volts AC. Damn that was an eye opener, boy was I pissed off and they tried to convince me that it had CSA approved. Never used their equipment again and never will.

    Alert is another key word. I have come across educated people that make me wonder. While in the Canadian Military I had a solder that supposedly had two Master Degrees, in eight years he never passed one of my demolition safety precaution tests. It was not my teaching ability because those that I had taught a year early passed the same test without notice. People said that he took basket weaving, however an expert in basking weaving would do better. God, did this man scare me when he was on any of my job sites, there was no job that I could give him that would not result in danger to my troops. If we ever had to go to war we would have been forced to remove him.

    Education is not an indication of true intelligence, it is indication of knowledge. Someone with post secondary education that has succeeded in acquiring a diploma or degree has been trained and educated in that particular field. When asked should someone get post secondary education I always say yes, be it a trade, degree or diploma. However education is not a guarantee of employment it is only a stepping stone. Once ran into someone from Newfoundland that had I believe had a grade three education, he could not write read or spell. With these limitations on him, he was forced to memorize everything I taught him. I was truly amazed when I learned about this and even more important convinced him to upgrade his education.

    To experiment is fine, to disregard known information and knowledge is different. Changing the electrical codes are unwise and should not be done, thatís why I buy books and pay for courses. Just wish I could say that I never have made a mistake or only made a couple. Ha, that is not going to happen in my lifetime for myself or anyone else. It is safe to come over my house, just donít step on the cats tail he is getting pretty big. I have never owned an animal that has destroyed any of my belongings, if they did the could have a short life.

    Have A great day
  • 11-28-2003, 05:43 PM
    Lighten up a bit Skeptic
    I've had a Bud or two in my day and no hot women have gathered around me in a bar. Did it improve my life?, Nope, but I wasn't as thirsty afterwards, that's why I bought the beer. I bought my car because it did what I wanted and provided what I needed, not because I wanted to have a different image of myself. I would really like to own a BMW, not because it's a status symbol, but what it is as a car. If people are so brain dead that they believe what they see in an ad, they deserve to get fleeced.

    CAT5 is fairly capacitive, but I have not suffered any dire consequences, meaning that it isn't capacitive enough in the lengths I'm using that it really matters. If something blows up, it's my fault. BTW, Yes, I even rolled some power cords, but don't worry, I used 12/3 SJT and suitable ends. I know it didn't make any difference, but I liked the result and built more.

    Jon Risch isn't a Nazi...I've been to the meetings. I didn't like the speech you gave last week though

  • 11-29-2003, 05:59 AM

    Originally Posted by spacedeckman
    Jon Risch isn't a Nazi

    My words describing Jon Risch as a Nazi mind control gestapo were not chosen lightly but very carefully and I believe that is an accurate description of him.

    Mr. Risch according to his claim has been afforded the enormous benefits and priveleges conferred upon him by an education from an accredited engineering school. He had the opportunity for at least four years and even far longer if he cared to maintain a relationship with any of his professors to freely discuss ANY topic he desired from any point of view. He could ask any questions, express any opinion, and he was taken seriously and treated openly no matter how absurd, naive, or ignorant he may have seemed at the time because that is the nature of a technical education in the United States today and because he was viewed potentially as a future collegue. Yet he is a willing participant in depriving other people, most of whom had no such comparable opportunity, the same rights on even a miniscule basis. I am of course refering to his enforcement of the anti DBT rule at CA and his proactive efforts to further the purpose of that rule by extending his censorship to deleting postings whose opinions he doesn't like even if they haven't violated that rule. Why does he do this? For the same purpose as any tyrannical ideologue, the imposition of a dogma to the exclusion of all others by perpetuating a fabric of distortions, half truths, and outright lies while stiffling all opposition. In this case the dogma may seem relatively benign because its goal is merely the maximizing of financial gain rather than claims of racial superiority and enslavement through military conquest. But the principle is the same. The censorship he exercises at the behest of others is the intellectual equivalent of the jackbooted stormtrooper kicking in the door, beating up the occupants, killing them, seizeing their property and turning them into non entities. It is utterly reprehensible to me.

    So while you may call him a nice guy if you care to, to me he is evey bit the NAZI in his own little world and so is anyone who will not allow someone else to express that opinion including the moderator of this board if it comes to that.
  • 11-29-2003, 06:29 AM
    Dang skeptic, thou art wound a bit tight
    That was humor, by the way, not the purported attempt at censorship. You gotta lighten up a bit or you'll be taking a dirt nap before your time. A body isn't meant to be eaten away from the inside, and your ticker isn't too happy about the arrangement either.

    Take a deep breath, go put on some music, and just enjoy it for a while. It's too early for a cold one, but, there is still a full weekend left.

  • 11-29-2003, 06:52 AM
    happy ears
    Never to early for a cool one. What about those that work the night shift, should they not be aloud to a have a cool one after a hard nights work. Nothing wrong with using 12/3 SJT, can't rememeber what the "T" stands for. As long as one uses the proper cables for what they are designed for I see no problem. Have you tried shielded power cords?

    Being the moderator and a debater on the same issue on the same forum demands a high standard. I think it is wise to avoid situations like this, it is the same as being the policeman and the judge. Those that can seperate them, power to them, however most will fail being in such a conflict, just human nature.

    If CA wishes to and they can enforce the no DBT rule as it is their site. However deleting someone's post because you disagree is unacceptable and low handed. As well this is the cable site so I think it is time to move on, however feel free to start a new thread. Debate and discussion is to be encouraged.

    Have A Great Day and maybe I need a cool one to wash down breakfast
  • 11-29-2003, 11:17 AM
    I have not ever seen a problem with a moderator as a participant except at CA.

    As for their anti DBT rule, in the explanation of their policy, they acknowledge that DBTs are the only way to accurately determine if there are audible differences, even subtle ones between components such as cables. Then why don't they allow it? Their stated position is that it leads inevitably to endless flame wars which go nowhere. However, having visited there occasionally when someone here posted that something was going on there demonstrated to me that they have plenty of flame wars, in fact far far more than we have here and we don't have an anti DBT rule. Anyone who posts here giving a blanket endorsement of an audio cable will be challenged to explain much more than just his preference. He will have to demostrate that he reached a valid conclusion or at least that there is some reason for credibility for his claims and that he's more than just a shill or advertiser looking for new customers. That's not what you get at CA. The only logical conclusion I could reach to understand why they have that rule is that they don't want people to conclude that these cables aren't of any value. In fact, their owner, Rod according to PC Tower's posting some months back had proposed a mission statement restricting postings to only "positive experiences" with cables. Seeing that among their sponsors are cable manufacturers and retailers, I put two and two together and came to the conclusion that what they really want is a protected site to promote the cable industry, not an open discussion or debate. Well that's how I see it.

    I have never used shielded power cables. Why would that do anything for me? I have a large house with many hundreds of feet of unsheilded Romex in the walls. What would shielding three feet of wire between my wall outlet and my amplifier gain me. Besides, I have no RF or other noise in my sound system. So what is there for me to be shielded from?
  • 11-29-2003, 06:00 PM
    happy ears
    I do not Know
    It is good to hear that most moderators do not have a problem being a debater. As long as they keep the two functions separated there should not be a problem. However when they use the power as the moderator to their advantage this becomes underhanded and unacceptable. If this is the exemption we will have to live with it but if it gets out of hand something should be down. Hopefully we will not have to deal with the latter.

    Endless flame wars and name calling achieves nothing for anyone involved with this site. Well maybe some humor at the expense of the debaters. Limiting cable discussions to positive experiences is not debating or discussing an issue, this is a forum for discussions. If I am allowed to comment on my positive experiences I will also comment on my negative experiences, as well as when I note no differences. Anyone that makes blanket statements tend to raise red flags, also anyone that keep pushing one manufactureís name and product is also suspect.

    As I have noted and stated that I have found some differences with interconnects, some better some worse and at other times no differences between similar products. As well, I attempt to explain testing procedures that where used. Using the tape out on my integrated amplifier has a larger affect than the cables do. I suspect that there is an operational amplifier in this circuit and I use the word suspect as I have never opened it and checked.

    Now, if I am to explain why these differences exist, we will need a front end loader because a shovel will be tool small to clean up all the bs. Having a grade 9 electricity course that I took 30 years ago does not make me qualified to offer an explanation. I have read some information on this topic, some of it makes sense, a lot of it is above my level of understanding and some of it sounds like bs. At my limited level of knowledge on this topic I do not appreciate reading garbage, it wastes my time!

    I also understand that many people will not hear the differences that I do, there can be many reasons for this. First off they might not hear the differences, do not care about the differences, are unwilling to pay for the differences or cannot afford the differences. I have never considered myself to have golden ears, if I did some thief would steal them. I do believe that I hear the differences, as other audio nuts like me tend to hear similar differences and this is a very vague statement. I wish I didnít hear the differences as small as they may be at times, maybe I need not to chase audio nirvana. I do not or will not challenge or criticize those that do not hear a difference. I can only tell you what differences I may or may not hear.

    Have to agree with you, how can 3 feet of shielded power cord affect the sound of any audio component. I can understand shielded interconnects with there low level signals, but not power cords. There is 25 feet of standard electrical cable (nomex?) between the circuit breaker panel and the plug my stereo is plugged into. In fact I only tried this when I noticed my MGE UPS used shielded SJT 14/3 power cord. Did not notice any change in sound using a shielded power cord on my CD player. However, using different power cords on my integrated amplifier did show some differences but this may not all be the result of the shield. Mentioned this to my friend and again he had some choice words to explain what I told him, come on over and see for yourself. We preformed a simple test, I just plugged in three different power cords into the integrated amplifier, he could not see what cord. The stock cord was16/3 SJT, the UPS power cord shielded SJT 14/3 and one from an audio store being double shielded and 12/3 gauge. He guessed all three cords by the sound and even commented that he thought the stock cord know sounded substandard, yet the week earlier he thought it sounded fine. The most distinct difference that was noted that when there was no music being played the background sounded darker (blacker) never understood this statement previously. Playing music seamed to have the affect of being faster and more accurate, the difference between the MGE shielded power cord and the exotic audio store cable was small. This differences could be the result of the heavier gauge wires used in each power cord or a combination of the heavier gauge and better shielding. Should there be a difference, not with my limited knowledge always believed wire was wire, is it not. You want an explanation from me you better get a big shovel, a powered shovel would work the best because it will be thick.

    Then the price subject was discussed, his reply was that he could justify the cost increase between the stock cable and the MGE shielded power cord. However, he could not justify the tenfold increase for the exotic audio power cord, although it was the best the price did not justify the improvement. So now again we have noted differences with the integrated amplifier and no differences with the CD player. Positive and negative results, will they work for you. My answer there is maybe, will it be better or worse maybe, will it work with all your components it didnít for me. Is it worth the money, I have always stated fancy audio cables are grossly overpriced. Can I justify the price of the MGE power cord, yep no problem there, finding them is the biggest job. And, as always if you do not hear a difference do not spend your money, this applies to spending ten a hundred or a thousand dollars. I still will recommend purchasing Radio Shack interconnect over what is supplied with stock equipment, reliability is an issue with me.

    Gee, another long winded reply. The scenery may be pretty but having the snow fall everyday or two is becoming a pain in the ass. Makes driving to town extra slow and long, maybe all right for sex but a pain when one needs to drive to town. Thank god that I have my music to sing along to, but I have noticed a problem with one of the mid bass drivers, it has become scratchy and does not play very loud. I think that there may be some water damage to the voice coil, will need to check it out if it warms up.

    Have A Great Day and enjoy the music life is to short.

    Happy Ears