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  1. #51
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Eddy
    Yes, including my own (I'm a cable manufacturer and just now updated my signature after getting some clarification from Adam).



    Yes, I perceive differences. Though I can't say whether they're do to actual audible differences. I'm human same as everyone else and just as susceptible to human weaknesses such as those which can cause us to perceive differences even when there are none.

    But at the end of the day, I don't care whether they're due to actual audible differences. I'm only interested in the pleasure and enjoyment I derive from listening to reproduced music.
    se
    So you sell cables that cost $300 for half a metre, but you're not convinced they sound any better than $3 zipcord?

    OK then...

  2. #52
    Suspended atomicAdam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Eddy
    Shhhhhhhhhhhh! That information's classified.

    se

    And they are free!

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    So you sell cables that cost $300 for half a metre, but you're not convinced they sound any better than $3 zipcord?
    Oh no, I know they sound better to me.

    What I don't know is whether or not they sound better due to any actual audible differences.

    And unless they're sitting on some monumental secret, neither does anyone else out there selling cables.

    I just prefer to be honest with myself about it, that's all.

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  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by atomicAdam
    And they are free!
    Now you've done it.

    Better find some parallel universe to hide in. The black helicopters are on their way.

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  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Eddy
    Why would you buy any cable if it didn't sound good to you?
    Because it is not job of a cable to make system sound good as cable should not alter the sound for better or worse. I know that sound very primitive, but there are alot of hidden meanings there.

    What's the goal here? Winning some numbers game or enjoying reproduced music?
    Well, since we can't have "accurate" music reproduction without good numbers, I guess the goal would be to win some numbers. My advice for buying cables would be to first find cables with good numbers, and then compare them sonicaly.

    Transparency is the main goal and you can't have that without cable having good numbers

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    Well, since we can't have "accurate" music reproduction without good numbers, I guess the goal would be to win some numbers.
    Ah, but what exactly is "accurate" music reproduction?

    What is the reference?

    My advice for buying cables would be to first find cables with good numbers, and then compare them sonicaly.
    What numbers do you mean? You mean like resistance, inductance and capacitance?

    Transparency is the main goal and you can't have that without cable having good numbers
    Really?

    Remember those Harmonic Technology CyberLights I mentioned previously? You know, the ones that measured so bad that JA said that if he was measuring a conventional component he'd dismiss it as being broken?

    Here's what Michael Fremer had to say about them:

    If you hear what I heard, for the first time in your life you'll hear no cables whatsoever. When you switch back to any brand of metal conductors, you'll know you're hearing cablesóbecause what's transmitted via CyberLight will be the most gloriously open, coherent, delicate, extended, transparent, pristine sound you've ever heard from your systemóat least if you hear what I heard.

    So it would seem that you can indeed have transparency with very VERY bad numbers.

    se
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  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Eddy
    Ah, but what exactly is "accurate" music reproduction?

    What is the reference?
    We don't know what "accurate" music reproduction is since we don't have a reference. That is why we have to keep the audio components in audio chain as transparent as possible. We don't have much control over how amps and speakers handle the signal, but cable is one area we can have conrtol as to keep it as transparent as possible.

    What numbers do you mean? You mean like resistance, inductance and capacitance?
    Yes. Also having decent cable geomerty, insulation, dieletric and shielding can effect cable numbers.

    Remember those Harmonic Technology CyberLights I mentioned previously? You know, the ones that measured so bad that JA said that if he was measuring a conventional component he'd dismiss it as being broken?

    Here's what Michael Fremer had to say about them:

    If you hear what I heard, for the first time in your life you'll hear no cables whatsoever. When you switch back to any brand of metal conductors, you'll know you're hearing cablesóbecause what's transmitted via CyberLight will be the most gloriously open, coherent, delicate, extended, transparent, pristine sound you've ever heard from your systemóat least if you hear what I heard.

    So it would seem that you can indeed have transparency with very VERY bad numbers.
    How can you have transparency when signal is converted to light wave and then converted back to eletrical wave and it is done in analog domain. The conversion itself will alter the integrity of signal.

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    We don't know what "accurate" music reproduction is since we don't have a reference.
    Wouldn't the reference be what was heard in the mastering studio?

    How can you have transparency when signal is converted to light wave and then converted back to eletrical wave and it is done in analog domain. The conversion itself will alter the integrity of signal.
    It would seem that "transparency" is in the ear of the beholder.

    se
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  9. #59
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    the problem with trying to establish a reference is there are no standardized methods for making a recording. yes some aspects of the process are nearly universal, but the final product is determined by a combination of intent of the artist(s), producer(s) and engineer(s), and everyone has their own goal in mind and gets there in various ways using different equipment and recording space. the best one can hope for is that the process is influenced by artistic and creative goals rather than financial.

    in regards to amps and wire, there are really no mysteries there as far as far as science is concerned. these are known entities that can be made to do whatever the designer/manufacturer wants within the limits of physics. its microphones - where compression is introduced into the recording, and speakers - that cannot reproduce a waveform with true fidelity, that science has yet to fully figure out.

    given that construction and material are of good quality, does wire matter? to the objectivist, differences in wire are going to be less significant than to the subjectivist. imo, neither point of view is more right or wrong on the issue. i've gone down the wire road long enough to believe that we are making a mistake and get side tracked when we start listening to the equipment rather than listening to, and enjoying, the music. the former leads to frustration, the latter to satisfaction.
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  10. #60
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    the reference is the source media.

    you can sample in that data - especially on CD - straight into something like ProTools or what have you.

    Make a recording or several - to find an average or something - and lay over the recorded over the digitally imported source - now you know the distortion from the amps/cables/speakers and mic, cables, ext.

    by passing in some simple wave forms and some math - i'm sure someone could figure out the distortion of the system and recording.

    than you know.

  11. #61
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    interesting. i wonder if anyone has done that, and if there were any variations found in using different recordings as a reference. still, i wonder if the end result would change anything. generally speaking, we like the sound of distortion (to varying degrees) and such a test leads back to the preference of the individual listener.
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  12. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by dingus
    interesting. i wonder if anyone has done that, and if there were any variations found in using different recordings as a reference. still, i wonder if the end result would change anything. generally speaking, we like the sound of distortion (to varying degrees) and such a test leads back to the preference of the individual listener.

    How a bout a test where you use a mic and recorder and record the same music with different cables in same system, then play back both recordings on other system.

    Should you hear the difference if there was one?

  13. #63
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    as i see it, the article in the OP takes an objectivist view in regards to IC's. i just dont see that he's any more right than those who disagree with him. the data used in his assertion is correct, but is it complete, and how important is that to the end listener who has different criteria for a satisfying listening experience?
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  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by atomicAdam
    the reference is the source media.
    Ok.

    But why?

    Let's consider what's actually on the source media.

    All of the decisions made in the recording, mixing and mastering processes are made based on what's heard through the monitoring systems used throughout the process as well as the environments those monitoring systems are used in.

    If we simplify a bit and ignore the environments, that leaves us with the monitoring systems.

    There's no such thing as a perfect loudspeaker and there are can be huge variations between the performance of one loudspeaker compared to another.

    In other words, each loudspeaker has its own "transfer function" if you will.

    And the decisions made in the recording, mixing and mastering processes will be effected by the transfer function of the monitoring systems used.

    So what ends up on the source media is, in effect, an inverse transfer function of the monitoring system.

    To give a gross example, let's say a particular monitoring system is a bit hot in the midrange. This can result in using different mic technique or placement, perhaps even a bit of EQing.

    So what gets on the source medium ends up being a bit diminished in the midrange.

    And if the source medium is to be the reference, that's precisely what you get rather than what was intended when the recording was made.

    So to that end, I don't see being faithful to what's on the source medium as being terribly meaningful when it comes to a "reference." I mean, how meaningful is it to perfectly reproduce that which is inherently imperfect?

    The only meaningful reference would be what was heard in the same studio using the same monitoring system.

    Here's the way I look at it.

    Recordings aren't made with nothing but numbers. There's a tremendous amount of subjectivity involved. And not just with the recording but all the way back to the making of the instruments, to the performance itself.

    Why must that subjectivity end once the recording is made?

    I don't think that it should. I think the listener making decisions based solely on their subjective experience, which may involve using components that don't necessarily have the "best numbers" are just as valid as all the other subjective decisions made upstream.

    And if someone has the greatest satisfaction by following the numbers, that's fine too. But that approach shouldn't be passed off as somehow being inherently and universally superior to other equally valid approaches.

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  15. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi
    How a bout a test where you use a mic and recorder and record the same music with different cables in same system, then play back both recordings on other system.

    Should you hear the difference if there was one?
    That would be kind of pointless as there's no argument that loudspeakers are audibly different. The debate concerns the upstream electronics.

    se
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  16. #66
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Eddy
    And the decisions made in the recording, mixing and mastering processes will be effected by the transfer function of the monitoring systems used.

    So what ends up on the source media is, in effect, an inverse transfer function of the monitoring system.
    Wouldn't the engineers be aware that fact when recording and compensate accordingly?

    I imagine there are some reference points when recording is done and be surprise if there is none. For example, in video industry they use 6500k color temperature as reference point when shooting, mastering and recording. There must be some type of similiar guide lines in audio world also.

    Recordings aren't made with nothing but numbers. There's a tremendous amount of subjectivity involved. And not just with the recording but all the way back to the making of the instruments, to the performance itself.

    Why must that subjectivity end once the recording is made?
    Because then we will have too many variables to deal with if the intent to hear what is on the record.

    Can you imagine what kind of nightmare we would have if everybody put their own twist as what sound good in a system: the amp company will put its own twist, and then speaker company put their own twist, and then CD/LP player company will put their own twist and finally cable company put their own twist.

    And then after all the twisting we have our own room acoustic which will put addition twist on sound. I hate to hear what end result would sound like from such a system

  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    Wouldn't the engineers be aware that fact when recording and compensate accordingly?
    Yes.

    But that's precisely my point.

    If the recording is compensated for a given monitor, then the recording itself is the inverse of that compensation.

    In other words, the recording is optimized for that given monitor.

    So playing that recording back on any speaker other than that particular monitor wouldn't give you the same result as what was intended and heard in the studio.

    Because then we will have too many variables to deal with if the intent to hear what is on the record.
    No there aren't. Just build your system "by the numbers."

    Can you imagine what kind of nightmare we would have if everybody put their own twist as what sound good in a system: the amp company will put its own twist, and then speaker company put their own twist, and then CD/LP player company will put their own twist and finally cable company put their own twist.
    What do you think we have right now?

    And then after all the twisting we have our own room acoustic which will put addition twist on sound. I hate to hear what end result would sound like from such a system
    Apparently you don't care what something sounds like. You only care about the numbers, right?

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  18. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    Wouldn't the engineers be aware that fact when recording and compensate accordingly?

    I imagine there are some reference points when recording is done and be surprise if there is none. For example, in video industry they use 6500k color temperature as reference point when shooting, mastering and recording. There must be some type of similiar guide lines in audio world also.

    Because then we will have too many variables to deal with if the intent to hear what is on the record.

    Can you imagine what kind of nightmare we would have if everybody put their own twist as what sound good in a system: the amp company will put its own twist, and then speaker company put their own twist, and then CD/LP player company will put their own twist and finally cable company put their own twist.

    And then after all the twisting we have our own room acoustic which will put addition twist on sound. I hate to hear what end result would sound like from such a system
    Yes Sir, this is, what we have. sometimes though you put those variables together and it's a dream rather than nightmare. There may be some base standards for recording, I'm not sure, I do know for sure that recordings vary wildly in quality whether CD or LP. So even if your system is set up the way you prefer there's no guarantee every album will sound good.

  19. #69
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    I was taught it this way:

    Film is the directors medium, you see and hear what the director wants you to see and hear - camera angles, lighting, cinamtography, special effects (visual and auditory), dialog, sound.

    Live Theatre is the actors medium - you see the spectacle the actors produce - the director is not in control of what you see live - ultimately, the actor is in control.

    Music is much the same - Live music is the musicians medium within reason - of course in a large venue the sound system and engineer play a role and are a part of the overall equation.

    Reproduced music, stored music is the engineers medium. What you hear is largely a product of the engineers work. He records the tracks and his signature is even on that - microphone choices, placement, eq settings, effects. Then comes the mixdown. All the while, the engineer works in a different room, separated from the performance. The engineer may blend 60 tracks to sounds together to make the final composite stereo product.

    There are many popular studio monitors - and also custom monitor systems.

    With a good playback system it's easy to hear the quality of the mix.

  20. #70
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    I do believe that some cables sound different than others. For me it is a question of whether those differences are worth the investment. During my studio's great cable hunt of 2009, I heard 17 different cables in two of my high end studio rooms. The best sounding cable would have set me back $76,000 in cash to outfit one room. The second best sounding cable $25,000 to outfit the entire room. I had to decide if the minuscule sonic difference between the two was worth $50,000 dollars. The 10 of us audio engineers that participated in the test all agreed it was not worth it, and the cheaper gave us about 98% of what the more expensive cable gave.

    I say buy the best made cable your budget will allow, because the sonic differences are not huge between cables, and probably far more subtle than many care to mention.
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  21. #71
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Eddy
    Yes.

    But that's precisely my point.

    If the recording is compensated for a given monitor, then the recording itself is the inverse of that compensation.

    In other words, the recording is optimized for that given monitor.

    So playing that recording back on any speaker other than that particular monitor wouldn't give you the same result as what was intended and heard in the studio.
    Ofcourse you are asssuming that studio monitors have not beeen calibrated. As I said before, I be surprise if ther are no standards regarding how studio montor should sound or be calibrated.

    If ther are no standard or guidelines, then you are right. Recording back on any speaker other than that particular monitor will not give the same result as what was intended and heard in the studio.
    Last edited by Smokey; 03-25-2011 at 09:06 PM.

  22. #72
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Reproduced music, stored music is the engineers medium. What you hear is largely a product of the engineers work. He records the tracks and his signature is even on that - microphone choices, placement, eq settings, effects. Then comes the mixdown. All the while, the engineer works in a different room, separated from the performance. The engineer may blend 60 tracks to sounds together to make the final composite stereo product.
    What if I choose to do a direct to disc recording with no EQ and no processing aside from just balancing the mix. Who's medium is that? It is not being stored anywhere in the studio, and you are not getting the engineer's artistic impression on the mix itself, just the balance.

    Microphone choices are not an engineers signature, it a equipment signature. Some microphones don't have a signature at all. Microphone placement is not a signature, as it is not changing the sound of the instrument.

    Some live recordings are done with the audio engineer in the same room as the musicians, so all that you mention here does not always happen as a practice.
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  23. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    What if I choose to do a direct to disc recording with no EQ and no processing aside from just balancing the mix. Who's medium is that? It is not being stored anywhere in the studio, and you are not getting the engineer's artistic impression on the mix itself, just the balance.

    Microphone choices are not an engineers signature, it a equipment signature. Some microphones don't have a signature at all. Microphone placement is not a signature, as it is not changing the sound of the instrument.

    Some live recordings are done with the audio engineer in the same room as the musicians, so all that you mention here does not always happen as a practice.
    Cmon T. Mic choice and placement mic'ing up a drum kit are what make the sound. The engineer chooses the mics and placement most of the time - sometimes the artist will have a preference - most don't.

    Just the balance, is just the balance. "Just the balance"? That is the engineer. Pure and simple.

    Mic's are chosen for the sound by many, many engineers. No, not every engineer - but most I know do.

    What are you suggesting here? Take each individual instrument into an anechoic chamber and record them there?

    There are too many variables to list in the making of a music recording.
    Last edited by Dual-500; 03-25-2011 at 08:23 PM.

  24. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Microphones capture sound, they don't make it. Mike placement is about capturing the best sound, not creating a sound signature.

    Balancing is just making sure all of the instruments are heard equally. There is no sound signature in balancing an ensemble. There is no personalization in balancing an ensemble...plain and simple.

    Only in the pop and rock world are mikes chosen for their sound signature. For more acoustical situations, mikes are chosen for their neutrality, not their sound signature. You know audio engineers, I am one and have been for 25 years.

    I don't believe I said that anywhere, where did you read that? How could you even interpret what I wrote into this?

    The amount of variables depends on the complexity of the what you are recording. Some recordings are a simple as two microphones going through a pre-amp and straight to hard drive, no board, no processing. Others can involve 85 microphones mixed to 5.1 or 7.1 with a wide variety of processing.
    Very good. If you mic up something and record it. Then I go mic the same think and record it, what will the results be? Identical? No, never. Similar? Probably. But never identical. Why? Because along the way we will make different decisions. The final product you created will have your signature on it and the final product I created will have my signature on it.

    Cheers to ya!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    Ofcourse you are asssuming that studio monitors have not beeen calibrated. As I said before, I be surprise if ther are no standards regarding how studio montor should sound or be calibrated.
    About the only calibration would be perhaps a bit of EQing to get a bit flatter response.

    But a flat response doesn't give you a speaker that sounds like every other speaker with a similarly flat response.

    No matter what you do with the frequency response, a B&W 801 isn't going to sound like a JBL 4350, or a Westlake HR-1, etc.

    They each have their own characteristics beyond frequency response.

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