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Thread: Audiophiles beware, the other senses are more connected than you think.

  1. #51
    3db
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    Your analogy isn't correct, more like whether you have a Civic or Porsche you can choose to drive on donuts or expensive Michelan, both the donut or Michelan will get the vehicle down the road but one will do a much better job while the other has limitations. Most audiophiles I know with reasonable quality gear who have actually compared cables agree there are not only differences in sound but improvements to be had. And, you do have to compare, there are so many cable companies popping up out of the woodwork these days.
    If these findings were based in an uncontrolled environment with knowledge of which cables/interconnects were being used, then too much bias from the other senses would have interfered with the listening and skewed the results. Anyone claiming that cables/interconnects has more influence on sound than speakers, room acoustics, and the listening position with respect to room/speakers doesn't should take some time to read Dr Floyd Tool's work in audio and the human perception of hearing and the influence of the other senses on hearing.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi View Post
    So if cables are out of the question as tone controls, are Tone Controls OK to engage?
    If yes, what do I do with units that do not have tone controls in the signal the path?
    If tone controls make the sound more appealing to you, by all means go and do that. Audiophile purists poo-poo the idea but who cares what they think. As long as it makes things more palatable for you in your listening environment, then go for it.

  3. #53
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    So you admit you hear differences on the subjective level, albeit you hear these differences under rigorously controlled conditions. Also you admit that these subjective sound differences are a factor, (along with measurement), in you choice of cable. Can you personally usually correctly identify your chosen vs. rejected cables in blind testing?
    I would answer this question another way. Could I identify the well made cables from the poorly made ones? Absolutely. Could I distinguish which cables are which amongst the better made ones? Nope. Why, because unlike the yeasayers here, I listen through cables(not to) in a ultra quiet room, with tightly controlled acoustics, ultra clean power going into the system, on a hair north of half a million dollars worth of audio equipment that was designed from the ground up for critical listening(my music mixing studio). Can anyone here say this? So far, no!

    The cables I chose sounded as neutral, uncolored, and transparent as a live voice going through a microphone, through the straight wire busses of my mixing board, and out of the speakers. There were other cables I measured and listened to that had similar qualities of the cables I chose, but they cost 10-15 times as much. The difference between the best cables, and the poorly made ones is subtle, but noticeable. However I would highly doubt those difference could be heard over a noisy room, over a system with at best medium resolution, or a room with poor acoustics like most folks living rooms.

    I think you do audiophiles here too little credit implying that they are deceiving themselves about sound differences. Carefully controlling listening conditions might ensure more accurate results but certainly various people here have equipment that has the resolution to make differences audible. Furthermore from personal, granted, subjective experience I can hear sound difference anywhere in the audio chain regardless of whether the changes being auditioned at strong or a weak point in the chain.
    Subjective differences without measurements are useless. Sorry Bill, but everyone has an opinion based on their own taste. When it comes to cables, I don't want to taste anything. Sorry, but I don't see any real audiophiles here. What I see are casual music listeners, and that is pretty much it.

    For my part, I have consistently advised that cable differences are very small and that most people, i.e. those with entry to mid-range equipment, ought to buy reliable, cheap cables, (e.g. Blue Jeans Cable), and spend the difference on improving other components. This is rational advice, but though cables can be overpriced, (they have the highest markups of all components), they are usually cheaper than the components and there is a temptation to look there for improvements.
    I think this is great advice...really!

    I personally think this whole obsession with cables is stupid as he!!, and majors in minors profoundly. Why? Because the real issues are not wire, but the speaker/room interaction - an area that almost nobody here wants to touch because they don't understand much of anything about it. If you want to really hear the differences in cables(if there are any), then it would require a far more costly infrastructure and equipment than those who claim to hear differences have.
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  4. #54
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Mr. P hit the nail on the head stating the average person can't tell the subtle differences in high end. I think that you need to be a person who listens to music all the time and is in tune with the nuances.
    Then the argument goes back to if the average listener cannot tell between high end, then how can they tell the differences between the cables that tie it together. The system (and room) itself is 98% of the experience, and the cables at best are 2%.

    Sir T, I agree that for the most part you need a high end system to be able to tell the differeces between cables. But, my son and I were easily able to tell the difference between a pair of BJC IC's and a pair of AudioQuest Corals in his system which consisted at the time of a Class D Audio CDA254 digital amp, a modded cheap Maverick Audio Tube Magic DAC/Preamp and a pair of PSB B6 speakers. The BJC's was too bright sounding while the AQ's were less bright and more pleasing with out sounding rolled off. The difference was not subtle. That system cost about $1300 and sounded awesome.
    This was probably a sighted test with all of the biases that go with it. Subjective listening test are not all that credible. Testing cables requires a much more rigorous listening process, and certainly needs equipment with better resolution than a $1300 dollar system can provide.

    I have to say, any test made with equipment with tubes is automatically rejected. Too much seasoning added to the soup makes drastic changes its taste.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMichael View Post
    But cables do tune a system. So if you buy a cable that makes your system sound bright you should just live with it? I would find a cable that makes my system sound balanced. Which I call tuning the system. I also find purchasing a new cable if the sound is bright than buying dark sounding amp just to use the much less expensive IC.
    Cables do not tune a system, and if one understands the function of cables they could not make this claim. If a cable sounds bright, get rid of it. If the cable sounds neutral and revealing, keep it. If you are interested in bright or dark sound(or anything in between), add EQ or add or remove acoustical panels, not cables.

    Tuning requires a function of control...cables offer no controls which makes them to crude and unsuitable for tuning. Adapting the speakers to the room requires EQ and acoustical panels which do have controls.
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  6. #56
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    I listen to music as well but I want the best presentation from my system I can get.
    Then it would probably be better to pay attention to your room acoustics than to a piece of cable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi View Post
    Some people have done all they can do to their rooms and the way seating is setup. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a dedicated listening room where they can set all that up optimally so what is left? Tweaks and Cables.
    How can anyone possibly hear any differences between anything in a non-optimized room? They can't, hence my skepticism on this topic coming from these sources.

    Sometimes all you can do is not always good enough.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    I like cables who have a rep for being neutral but that's even a moving target as who knows what "neutral" should really be.
    For those who "listen" to cables might not know what "neutral" cables should be or sound like, but there alot of professionals in audio world that their cables should be neutral or transparent.

    Poeple like musicians, studio engineers or record producers (or those who seek "true to source" sound) seek a neutral cables so they can tune or calibrate their equipments. And I let you guess how those poeple choose their cables
    Last edited by Smokey; 06-05-2014 at 07:34 PM.

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    Sir T said, "The cables I chose sounded as neutral, uncolored, and transparent as a live voice going through a microphone, through the straight wire busses of my mixing" etc.

    I think we'd all be interested in knowing which cables a hotdogger like yourself uses.

    You are surprisingly off base on this topic by a long shot.

  10. #60
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    Subjective results are irrefutable to only that listener claiming the results. However, these same results are also non admissible as concrete evidence to the rest of the world because the tests are most likely conducted under sighted conditions. These subjective tests are also flawed based because the tests aren't configured for instantaneous swapping on cables thus relying on audible memory which Dr Floyd Toole prooved to be inaccurate at best and is required to remember the subtle nuances that different cables are purported to produce. I'm sorry buts its all snake oil and the audiophiles are slathering this oil on like sun screen.
    Last edited by 3db; 06-06-2014 at 04:26 AM.

  11. #61
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible View Post
    Then the argument goes back to if the average listener cannot tell between high end, then how can they tell the differences between the cables that tie it together. The system (and room) itself is 98% of the experience, and the cables at best are 2%.



    This was probably a sighted test with all of the biases that go with it. Subjective listening test are not all that credible. Testing cables requires a much more rigorous listening process, and certainly needs equipment with better resolution than a $1300 dollar system can provide.

    I have to say, any test made with equipment with tubes is automatically rejected. Too much seasoning added to the soup makes drastic changes its taste.


    I have to disagree with your comment about my son and I being biased. We did this without any preconceived notions about which cable would sound better. In fact, I swapped the cables without my son knowing that I had done so (although he did know that we were going to do the swap as some point). I was listening to the system with music that he was very familiar with and he walked into the room and he immediately said why does it sound so bright. He actually thought I swapped a tube as I had bought a couple of new tubes to try in his preamp.

    You don't need a double blind test and a recording studio to be able to tell the difference between the 2 cables that we tested as the difference was not subtle. The BJC's were very fatiguing and bright while the AQ's were pleasing with no fatigue and a warmer sound.

    And you should not be so quick to judge a system that you have not heard in person. That $1300 system is detailed with pretty good resolution, in fact it is astounding at how good it sounded. But you don't need excellent detail and resolution to hear the difference of a bright system and warm system and fatigue and non fatigue. Now if you want to listen for other nuances of cable differences then I am in total agreement with you.

    It was an eye opening experience for me as I was a skeptic about cables sounding different.
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  12. #62
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    ... The BJC's were very fatiguing and bright while the AQ's were pleasing with no fatigue and a warmer sound.
    ...
    It was an eye opening experience for me as I was a skeptic about cables sounding different.
    Curiously I found my BJC's slightly rolled off vs. the Transparent The Link. Mine are the Belden 1505F-based version; are your BJCs the LC-1?

    What AudioQuest cables are you using?

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    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    Curiously I found my BJC's slightly rolled off vs. the Transparent The Link. Mine are the Belden 1505F-based version; are your BJCs the LC-1?

    What AudioQuest cables are you using?

    I have the LC-1's and the Audio Quest cable is the AQ Coral which unfortunately broke. The ground wire broke and it blew out a tweeter in the PSB's which cost $60 to replace.

    http://hcmaudio.com/comp.asp?compID=498

    The HCM Coral is a little different than the standard AQ Coral. It came free with my Music Hall CD player along with an AQ power cord.

    I am thinking about buying another pair as it cut down on sibilance from my Magnepans on sibilant recordings.

    By the way, I think that Mr. P's system qualifies as audiophile. Mine is getting there. I need an upgrade of my speakers and DAC. I had a glimpse of what my system can sound like when the Wyred 4 Sound DSDse DAC was in my system.
    Last edited by blackraven; 06-07-2014 at 07:40 AM.
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  14. #64
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    I have the LC-1's and the Audio Quest cable is the AQ Coral which unfortunately broke. The ground wire broke and it blew out a tweeter in the PSB's which cost $60 to replace.

    http://hcmaudio.com/comp.asp?compID=498

    The HCM Coral is a little different than the standard AQ Coral. It came free with my Music Hall CD player along with an AQ power cord.

    I am thinking about buying another pair as it cut down on sibilance from my Magnepans or sibilant recordings.

    By the way, I think that Mr. P's system qualifies as audiophile. Mine is getting there. I need an upgrade of my speakers and DAC. I had a glimpse of what my system can sound like when the Wyred 4 Sound DSDse DAC was in my system.
    Thanks for that info. AudioQuest options have always been confusing to me. Not only are there seemingly too many different models shown on their website but it's possible to find a plethora of discontinued and "retailer exclusive" versions available.

    I'd say your system is indeed "audiophile" in the sense that you mean it (as is Mr Peabody's). For my part, an audiophile is a person who seeks the best sound he/she can find within his/her budget, and therefore an audiophile system is really just a system the belongs to an audiophile regardless of price. So even my system is audiophile too, despite that I can think of a number of improvements that could be made to it.

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    So why do people feel that differences cannot be heard now unless the room is optimized. First we had "There cannot be any difference" then we get "I can hear subtle differences" and then "nobody can hear differences unless the room is treated".

    I know a well treated room sounds better than a non-treated room, but if the only thing being changed in the system is the cable, and whatever room it is stays static, then there is no reason the same or similar differences cannot be heard in a non-treated room. If the room was treated, the differences may be more profound and easier to hear, but I disagree that one needs a fully treated room to notice a difference in some cables, maybe not all.

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    My experience with BJC was the same as Feanor's.

    Hyfi, I hope I've been consistent as my mind hasn't changed on anything. I also agree with you that once you hear a system, no matter where it's at, then if something is switched out whether cable or component that one should be able to hear the difference in that same set up and room. That's provided the change makes enough difference to detect. There may, or may not, be much difference between similar priced or constructed cables, or one $299.00 CDP vs. another. I am confident I'm fully capable of using my ears to judge. A living room may not be as optimum as a studio but it doesn't mean differences don't exist nor does it mean they can't be detected.

    If what Sir T says is true he wouldn't even need speakers, just a bank of test equipment. Who needs to hear to be an AUDIO engineer, we just measure. The bottomline no matter what they say they still use their ears at some point for subjective listening. And subjective listening is just as effective in a studio as in a living room as on the beach tunig an acoustic guitar.

    According to 3dB Eddie Van Halen can't tune his guitar by ear as good as Stevie Wonder because Eddie can see. Eddie would need to be blind folded in order to approach the tuning ability of Stevie. For every professional with an opinion there's a hundred more with an opposing opinion, so just because it's written by a doctor certainly don't make it a definite.

    The cable industry has blown up so either there's something there or the good doctor better starting writing about mass hysteria.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3db View Post
    These subjective tests are also flawed based because the tests aren't configured for instantaneous swapping on cables thus relying on audible memory which Dr Floyd Toole prooved to be inaccurate at best and is required to remember the subtle nuances that different cables are purported to produce.
    I'm not familiar with Dr Floyd's writings, but I agree. For valid results that everybody can agree on, the memory factor have to be taken out of equation.

    With memory factor out, then it doesn't matter if test (instantaneous swapping) is sighted or unsighted. The results will be the same
    Last edited by Smokey; 06-06-2014 at 09:34 PM.

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    I made an important discovery this morning. My stereo is much more musical and enjoyable with cables than it is without. It seems cables in a system makes it more communicative. I did not need to DBT this since it was so readily apparent.
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    No kidding, there's no way I could go back to generic cables, if the disbelievers couldn't hear that difference there should be an appointment made to check hearing.

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    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    Sir T said, "The cables I chose sounded as neutral, uncolored, and transparent as a live voice going through a microphone, through the straight wire busses of my mixing" etc.

    I think we'd all be interested in knowing which cables a hotdogger like yourself uses.
    Sorry, not a hotdogger. I hate hot dogs.

    You are surprisingly off base on this topic by a long shot.
    Right, and you are on base. The claims you make have yet to be proven, and your subjective experience just doesn't cut it as proof. Sorry......
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    If what Sir T says is true he wouldn't even need speakers, just a bank of test equipment. Who needs to hear to be an AUDIO engineer, we just measure. The bottomline no matter what they say they still use their ears at some point for subjective listening. And subjective listening is just as effective in a studio as in a living room as on the beach tunig an acoustic guitar.
    Mr. Peabody, either you cannot read, or you have not been reading what I post. I said pretty clearly that I listen first, and then correlate what I hear to what I measure. There is no point in measuring if you don't listen to WHAT you measure. Much like there is no point in just listening subjectively without measurements to correlate what you hear.

    Any claim that listening in a living room contaminated with high ambient noise levels and poor acoustics is as good as listening in a studio with tightly controlled acoustics and NO audible ambient noise has obviously never been in a quality studio in their life.
    Pretty hard to make that claim with no reference whatsoever.
    Last edited by JohnMichael; 06-07-2014 at 06:13 PM. Reason: remove insult
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    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi View Post
    So why do people feel that differences cannot be heard now unless the room is optimized. First we had "There cannot be any difference" then we get "I can hear subtle differences" and then "nobody can hear differences unless the room is treated".
    Since I alway knew you could not read, I expected this kind of response. I never said there could not be any difference, I said that the differences ARE TOO SMALL to make such a big deal. I also said with all of the noise of a typical living room(ambient level) it would be pretty damn difficult to hear the differences, and when you combine that with poor acoustics, you really cannot be sure what you are hearing.

    Going into the "science" of why I think your claims are bogus would be futile. Since I can see you know nothing about the science of anything(my ears tell me everything mentality), then going into detail about why I think you are hearing things would be a waste of breath.

    I know a well treated room sounds better than a non-treated room, but if the only thing being changed in the system is the cable, and whatever room it is stays static, then there is no reason the same or similar differences cannot be heard in a non-treated room. If the room was treated, the differences may be more profound and easier to hear, but I disagree that one needs a fully treated room to notice a difference in some cables, maybe not all.
    Thank you for making my point about your lack of scientific knowledge - especially when it comes to audio. It is not just about treating the room, that is another layer of performance enhancement. It is also about eliminating ambient noise so you can truly detect subtleties and nuances which make up the differences between good cable designs, and the lesser designs. Cables should never sound "dark" or "bright" as some of you insist. Cables should be neutral of any sonic character, and the best cables are very revealing of nuances and subtleties - things that cannot be heard on a mediocre system, in a room with resonance and modal ringing, and with ambient levels so high it buries the those details.

    Sighted tests are useless, and this link tells exactly why I believe this;

    Audio Musings by Sean Olive: The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

    This might be too much science for you, but give it a try. You just(and I mean JUST) might learn something for a change.
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  23. #73
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    I have to disagree with your comment about my son and I being biased. We did this without any preconceived notions about which cable would sound better. In fact, I swapped the cables without my son knowing that I had done so (although he did know that we were going to do the swap as some point). I was listening to the system with music that he was very familiar with and he walked into the room and he immediately said why does it sound so bright. He actually thought I swapped a tube as I had bought a couple of new tubes to try in his preamp.
    It took time for you to swap that cable. During the time it took you to do so, your auditory memory was either dulled or erased in that time. The only way to do a cable test, a speaker test, an amp test, or any other test is to have instantaneous switching to provide an instantaneous comparison.

    If your son step into the room and asked "why does it sound so bright?", then your son could have walked in on a bass node(suck out) that changed the perceived spectral content of what you are listening to. When you do a cable test(even if it is a useless subjective one), then one has to sit in the same place, make sure ALL of the source material is of equal level(level matching because louder sounds better to the ears than softer), and a whole host of other things or your results are contaminated.

    You don't need a double blind test and a recording studio to be able to tell the difference between the 2 cables that we tested as the difference was not subtle. The BJC's were very fatiguing and bright while the AQ's were pleasing with no fatigue and a warmer sound.
    If the difference was not subtle, then one of the cables(or both) are not well made. Bright and fatiguing would mean an excess of upper treble energy, and this is measurable. If I measured that cable, and the response was flat across the board, then I would say your are hearing things. If a cable sounds "warmer"(which is quite frankly a non-term when evaluating cables and wire) then that wire would have excessive mid-bass, which is also measurable. The deviation from a flat frequency response would have to be more than 3db's before the ear would hear it, as anything less would be masked. I have never measured a cable(even cheap ones) that had a 3db deviation at any frequency audible to the human ear. Some poorly made cables had a slight roll off near or above 20khz, but our hearing is so insensitive at that frequency we would not even notice it. I have never measured a cable that had a mid-bass bump of 3db(or more) as that would be a frequency shaping device, not a piece of passive wire.

    And you should not be so quick to judge a system that you have not heard in person. That $1300 system is detailed with pretty good resolution, in fact it is astounding at how good it sounded. But you don't need excellent detail and resolution to hear the difference of a bright system and warm system and fatigue and non fatigue. Now if you want to listen for other nuances of cable differences then I am in total agreement with you.
    I don't think I wrote anything that could be passed as a judgement against your son's system - I have not heard it. However, it would take a system with more resolution than just "good" to reveal the differences between cables. If the "system" is bright, you don't change the cable, you change the room acoustics. A warm system is not accurate, and unfit as a reference to judge cables.

    It was an eye opening experience for me as I was a skeptic about cables sounding different.
    Now try it DBT and watch how closed eyed you get from your eye opening experience.

    What you guys are telling me here is that you guys have figured out a way to make a silicon chip in a dirty room. Since I know this is not possible, my suspension of belief is torn to shreds.
    Sir Terrence

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  24. #74
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    I borrowed this from TAS, this is from report of T.H.E. audio show. Notice the last sentence and then my sig. Those cables seem modest in company of such gear.

    "Picking up where it left off at CES was the peerless Focal Grande Utopia EM ($195k). It was a personal highlight of the show it was playing in the company of two other Focal Utopia speaker, the slightly smaller Maestro (pictured above) and Stella (D’Agostino power). The Maestro was powered by McIntosh gear while the Grande U was driven by an all Boulder “semi-mega” setup (the flagship Boulder gear is another discussion altogether) which included the 1021 Network Player streaming via UPnP 2110 Preamp ($54k) 2150 Mono Amps ($98k). My hosts cued up Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” track in high res on both systems. My best prediction was that the Maestro would own the speed and transient departments while the big Grande would overwhelm with dynamic and low end energy but sputter a bit trying to maintain the pace and jump of this iconic dance track. Once again my prediction was stone-wrong. The square-shouldered Grande U sounded both bigger, weighter yet more sensitive to low level detail and delicate micro-dynamics than the McIntosh powered Maestro. Room setup, amplifier character? The unshakable grip and inner detail of the Boulder gear? Is there anything the Subzero-scale Focals won’t do? Yes-they won’t fit in my room. Anchored by XTC racks (all prices custom) and all Clarus Crimson cabling."

  25. #75
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible View Post
    It took time for you to swap that cable. During the time it took you to do so, your auditory memory was either dulled or erased in that time. The only way to do a cable test, a speaker test, an amp test, or any other test is to have instantaneous switching to provide an instantaneous comparison.

    If your son step into the room and asked "why does it sound so bright?", then your son could have walked in on a bass node(suck out) that changed the perceived spectral content of what you are listening to. When you do a cable test(even if it is a useless subjective one), then one has to sit in the same place, make sure ALL of the source material is of equal level(level matching because louder sounds better to the ears than softer), and a whole host of other things or your results are contaminated.



    If the difference was not subtle, then one of the cables(or both) are not well made. Bright and fatiguing would mean an excess of upper treble energy, and this is measurable. If I measured that cable, and the response was flat across the board, then I would say your are hearing things. If a cable sounds "warmer"(which is quite frankly a non-term when evaluating cables and wire) then that wire would have excessive mid-bass, which is also measurable. The deviation from a flat frequency response would have to be more than 3db's before the ear would hear it, as anything less would be masked. I have never measured a cable(even cheap ones) that had a 3db deviation at any frequency audible to the human ear. Some poorly made cables had a slight roll off near or above 20khz, but our hearing is so insensitive at that frequency we would not even notice it. I have never measured a cable that had a mid-bass bump of 3db(or more) as that would be a frequency shaping device, not a piece of passive wire.



    I don't think I wrote anything that could be passed as a judgement against your son's system - I have not heard it. However, it would take a system with more resolution than just "good" to reveal the differences between cables. If the "system" is bright, you don't change the cable, you change the room acoustics. A warm system is not accurate, and unfit as a reference to judge cables.



    Now try it DBT and watch how closed eyed you get from your eye opening experience.

    What you guys are telling me here is that you guys have figured out a way to make a silicon chip in a dirty room. Since I know this is not possible, my suspension of belief is torn to shreds.

    You are so off base here and are making suppositions with out even being present to hear the differences. I guess we are not able to tell the differece between speakers, preamps and amps. I said the difference was night and day, not I think we can hear a difference. Its easy to be an arm chair quarterback from your perspective. I guess we were imagining listening fatigue and brightness. I was also imagining the decrease in sibilant's with the AQ cable vs the BJC.
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