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  1. #1
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    Illuminati coax digital cable

    A few years back, I purchased an "Illuminati" digital cable to go from my CD player to the D/A converter. I bought it from a dealer friend who sold it to me at his cost, but it still cost a small fortune - I mean $310 for a half meter cable at retail?

    I have to admit that it sounds better than two other cables (one from Audioquest, and the other from Monster) but I seriously have to question the dollar/value ratio. I'm curious as to whether any other AR members out there have any experience with this cable, and what your thoughts are.

  2. #2
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    A few years back, I purchased an "Illuminati" digital cable to go from my CD player to the D/A converter. I bought it from a dealer friend who sold it to me at his cost, but it still cost a small fortune - I mean $310 for a half meter cable at retail?

    I have to admit that it sounds better than two other cables (one from Audioquest, and the other from Monster) but I seriously have to question the dollar/value ratio. I'm curious as to whether any other AR members out there have any experience with this cable, and what your thoughts are.
    Actually, with all the error correction applied to the digital feed, I'm quite skeptical about any purported "Sound differences" between digital cables.

  3. #3
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    I haven't the faintest idea why or how one cable should sound different than another, no matter for what purpose, but I have to admit I did indeed hear a difference here, and so did some "non" audiophile friends with whom I did a blind listening test so that they had no idea what they were listening to. Despite whatever manner in which I played the system, everyone selected the Illuminati over any other, and by a considerable preference too.. My only question is whether it was worth the expenditure. For what I paid, that answer is a definite, "maybe," but for one stuck paying $310, I don't think the answer's even that clear.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    I haven't the faintest idea why or how one cable should sound different than another, no matter for what purpose, but I have to admit I did indeed hear a difference here, and so did some "non" audiophile friends with whom I did a blind listening test so that they had no idea what they were listening to. Despite whatever manner in which I played the system, everyone selected the Illuminati over any other, and by a considerable preference too.. My only question is whether it was worth the expenditure. For what I paid, that answer is a definite, "maybe," but for one stuck paying $310, I don't think the answer's even that clear.

    Can you give any details on the blind testing you did? How was it conducted to ensure it was truly double-blind? Was it randomized properly? Did you compute statistics, i.e. a p-value?

    I'm interested to hear, because I'm trying to decide whether I should spend the money for a better coaxial cable myself. If you can convince me your test was valid, I'll bite.

    Thanks.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Anderson
    Can you give any details on the blind testing you did? How was it conducted to ensure it was truly double-blind? Was it randomized properly? Did you compute statistics, i.e. a p-value?

    I'm interested to hear, because I'm trying to decide whether I should spend the money for a better coaxial cable myself. If you can convince me your test was valid, I'll bite.

    Thanks.
    From the tone of your posting, I can't tell if you're really seriously interested in purchasing this (or any other) cable, or just ridiculing me for being one of those "nutcases" who claims to hear a difference between cables. So, sorry, no answer to your questions.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    From the tone of your posting, I can't tell if you're really seriously interested in purchasing this (or any other) cable, or just ridiculing me for being one of those "nutcases" who claims to hear a difference between cables. So, sorry, no answer to your questions.
    No, I'm not ridiculing you - I'm seriously asking you the question, because I want to know. I have a fairly cheap digital coax cable I use in my rig, and I'd like to know if its worth spending money on a better one.

    I'm also a statistician by trade, in addition to having an interest in high quality music, so I have an interest in double blind tests.
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  7. #7
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    My "test" was hardly done in a scientific manner, but one whose results seem legit. All I would do is play a CD with a given coax cable, which I called , "A," and then I switched the cable to another (without letting anyone know which was which) and deisgnated it as "B" and played the same material. Once a conclusion was made between the two, I took the winner and compared it to that which I designated "C," again with the same material. And then, just to confuse the issue, I'd compare "C" to
    "A," and still wound up with the same result. The cable of choice was always the Illuminati, but everyone was aghast at the price tag, and NO one felt it was worth it.



    What the perceived differences were:

    better clarity
    more precise soundstage
    wider and deeper soundstage
    "sweeter" sound on strings
    better defined bass line
    better distinction between sections of a large chorus (soprano's from altos, tenors from basses)

    Why not just go out and buy one from a retailer with a fair return policy, and if you don't think it's worth the money, return it and get your money back? There's always the possibility you'll want to keep the cable too.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    ^^ OK, thanks.

    Just so you know -- and this is not meant to be ridiculing you -- if you wanted to perform these tests in a scientific fashion, you'd need to:

    1) Randomize the order in which you select cables to play;

    2) Be fairly rigorous about hiding the cable brand from the listeners, and very careful/systematic in your conduct so as not to cue them (which you might even be doing subconsciously);

    3) Do multiple trials to ensure your results are statistically significant (exactly how many would depend on how easy it is to tell the cables apart).

    Only then can you really back up your statement by saying you've done a blind test. Otherwise, there are all kinds of things that could have gone wrong, so it's not "legit".

    For example, for any one-time comparison between two cables, there's a 50/50 chance they selected the "better" cable just by more or less randomly choosing it (or arbitrarily fooling themselves into thinking it was better). If you play cable A for me, then cable B, and B is the "better" one, there's a 50/50 chance I'll select the "better" cable just by tossing a coin to make my choice. See my point?


    That's why you have to do multiple trials -- to eliminate the element of chance..
    Last edited by Mike Anderson; 02-11-2006 at 11:55 AM.
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