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Audiophile cables - is this really a thing?
Old 13th September 2020
  #61
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esldude's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitsmith View Post
i will only trust decisions i make where my perspective was radically altered - i.e. where i was expecting something to be inferior when it was the opposite etc.at least that way you can tune out your own bias, should there be any. Often i walk into a demo situation not knowing what to expect at all or (trying) not to have preconceived notions. I'm more willing to trust a result that changes my point of view - either for the better or worse. Is there a term for that? reverse confirmation bias? ;p
Your mind is a fickle thing with perception colored by many things other than just what your sense organs perceive. I've heard of others with an approach like yours. Sorry, it still doesn't prevent you from becoming influenced by something peripheral to actual hearing.
Old 14th September 2020
  #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
Your mind is a fickle thing with perception colored by many things other than just what your sense organs perceive. I've heard of others with an approach like yours. Sorry, it still doesn't prevent you from becoming influenced by something peripheral to actual hearing.

it doesn't really leave much room then for making aesthetic choices when it comes to recording and mixing does it, if we are so irrational ...? i guess we should best leave such jobs to computers and the realm of numbers ...
Old 14th September 2020
  #63
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Bob Ross's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitsmith View Post
it doesn't really leave much room then for making aesthetic choices when it comes to recording and mixing does it, if we are so irrational ...? i guess we should best leave such jobs to computers and the realm of numbers ...
Many years ago, in the midst of yet another online debate over perception, confirmation bias, the value of double-blind ABX testing, etc. -- I think this might have been on the rec.audio.pro listserv -- George Massenburg chimed in with a very astute observation:

He said (I'm paraphrasing) that, irrespective of all the scientifically valid reasons for acknowledging perception, confirmation bias, the value of double-blind ABX testing, etc. in audio, the time for embracing those "truths" is NOT when you are recording or mixing...because recording and mixing are inherently creative processes, and so are by definition subjective.

E.g., it doesn't matter whether this mic really sounds more accurate than that mic, or if you only think this mic sounds more accurate than that mic; in the middle of a recording session you're getting paid to make decisions that will help the artist achieve their goal, regardless of whether This Is Better Than That can be proven [sic] to be true or false.
Old 14th September 2020
  #64
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTheMan06 View Post
These are the data that we should measure for a cable:

1- Dispersion: Are all frequencies traveling at the same velocity? If not the shape of the signal will degrade, but this is usually with larger distance than few meters

2- Are all frequencies with the same attenuation when traveling in the cable?

3- Is there some noise produced by the cable?

4- Capacitance and DC resistivity

I think that these 4 points should cover most aspects of audio signal transmission But no salesman can answer these questions even when you buy very expensive cables!! At such high prices I wold expect better.

Dan
Many of the cables we're talking about are designed to have sonic artifacts. It might be due to parasitic capacitance or inductance, it might be due to distortion effects. And yes, all of these things can be measured. It is very interesting to compare a 1kc square wave through a reasonable audio cable and through copperclad RG-174. An AP test set will show you a very different spectrum due to rectification effects in the RG-174. As I keep saying, it's easy to make cables that change the sound.... and a lot of people seem to want that.

I am very much not a fan of fancy audiophile cables, but I won't in any way deny that they sound different. I will deny that this is a good thing in any way.
--scott
Old 14th September 2020
  #65
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esldude's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio View Post
Many of the cables we're talking about are designed to have sonic artifacts. It might be due to parasitic capacitance or inductance, it might be due to distortion effects. And yes, all of these things can be measured. It is very interesting to compare a 1kc square wave through a reasonable audio cable and through copperclad RG-174. An AP test set will show you a very different spectrum due to rectification effects in the RG-174. As I keep saying, it's easy to make cables that change the sound.... and a lot of people seem to want that.

I am very much not a fan of fancy audiophile cables, but I won't in any way deny that they sound different. I will deny that this is a good thing in any way.
--scott
Going from memory, but I believe RG174 is copper cladding over a steel stranded core with relatively low propagation velocities and high parallel capacitance. There is a milspec variant that uses silver clad steel and all teflon insulation.

I don't think it is any rectification altering the properties of the cable. Just all the LCR effects.
Old 15th September 2020
  #66
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vernier's Avatar
I like the look of cheap cords and use them sometimes.
Old 15th September 2020
  #67
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
Going from memory, but I believe RG174 is copper cladding over a steel stranded core with relatively low propagation velocities and high parallel capacitance. There is a milspec variant that uses silver clad steel and all teflon insulation.

I don't think it is any rectification altering the properties of the cable. Just all the LCR effects.
Could be. I think a lot of people have suspected that the steel center core is an issue because a similar cable with solid copper center core measures and sounds differently. Rectification effects may not be responsible but were one of the less crazy suggestions thrown out to explain it.

Of course, RG-174 was never designed for audio frequency use, but people have used it...
--scott
Old 15th September 2020
  #68
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
This is a common, but sometimes ridiculous viewpoint. In the case of cable ridiculous.
Why? Not crazy to be talking about stuff you know about than stuff you don’t.
Ridiculous is a strong word so you may want to tone it down...
Old 15th September 2020
  #69
Quote:
Originally Posted by henchard View Post
Worth the watch IMHO about how hard it is to measure and assess audio equipment scientifically.

/END OF THREAD/


This thread has it all:
Inability to discern subjectivity from objectivity.
Pro audio snake oil vendor preaching his dogma.
Little or no understanding of even basic physics.
Cognitive bias? No idea.
WYSIATI? yep, lots of that.

Thankfully a few have pointed out the fallacies- cable type not defined, possible sock puppetry, cognitive bias.

Expect all of this from a fundamentally consumerist forum where the asking price of the gear is unquestioningly used as a yardstick and creates blindness.

Last edited by Tomás Mulcahy; 15th September 2020 at 06:17 PM..
Old 15th September 2020
  #70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomás Mulcahy View Post
/END OF THREAD/


This thread has it all:
Inability to discern subjectivity from objectivity.
Pro audio snake oil vendor preaching his dogma.
Little or no understanding of even basic physics.
Cognitive bias? No idea.
WYSIATI? yep, lots of that.

Thankfully a few have pointed out the fallacies- cable type not defined, possible sock puppetry, cognitive bias.

Expect all of this from a fundamentally consumerist forum where the asking price of the gear is unquestioningly used as a yardstick and creates blindness.
We just need someone to pray over the cables to unlock their quantum potential and then we'll have a royal flush!
Unfortunately as powerful as our minds are, they are also powerful in their ability to mislead us.
Believing is seeing.
Old 15th September 2020
  #71
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy.c. View Post
We just need someone to pray over the cables to unlock their quantum potential and then we'll have a royal flush!
ROFL coz it's true
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy.c. View Post
Unfortunately as powerful as our minds are, they are also powerful in their ability to mislead us.
Believing is seeing.
A.k.a. WYSIATI
Old 17th September 2020
  #72
Yes, it’s a thing. A very snake-oily, scammy sort of thing. Buy decent cables and make sure you get balanced or unbalanced types/connections as needed. That’s about it.

Now, cleaning power with toroidal transformer based devices: that’s a real thing and worth the money to some depending on their sound quality without it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ihavelostmykeys View Post
I'm testing a new pair of monitors and the dealer was awesome enough to also lend me 2 pairs of audiophile cables. They both cost ridiculous money, over $1000 for a pair. When I'm reading all these audiophile reviews about how a cable makes your vocals sound more sophisticated, instruments are more separated, bass is quick, mids are smooth and highs are silk etc. I'm hitting 'close' button in my browser instantly. I tried to compare my old speakers to the ones I'm testing using these cables with one set of speakers and cheap cables with another one. The difference is tremendous. Unfortunately, I don't have a 'decent' pair of cables in comparable size to compare those turbo cables with some 'studio standard'. I don't want to start another 'audiophile bull**** whiplash' thread. What I really like to know is how much of their sales slogan is being covered in physics and real performance.
Old 17th September 2020
  #73
Jeez don't say that. Now they'll want to replace all the trafos in all their gear to achieve a better sound stage and more crystalline vocal performances.
Old 17th September 2020
  #74
All I was getting at, Tom, who mysteriously deleted his comment, is my own experience in multiple studios that have seemed to lower the noise of their equipment by using various forms of balanced power.

I use a Furman Discrete Symmetrically Balanced Power unit, but I know others who use Equitech units. Both make a noticeable difference, and I don’t need to be a designer or engineer to hear the difference.

For some people, it may not make much of a difference. I also couldn’t vouch for why this would be.

But if you’re asking what has a greater chance of affecting sound quality—$1,000 cables or a unit that provides cleaner power (for whatever technical reason)—I vouch for power conditioning (if that’s even the right word) that typically employ beefy toroidal transformers, which supply power to all other devices.
Old 17th September 2020
  #75
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by YRLK View Post
All I was getting at, Tom, who mysteriously deleted his comment, is my own experience in multiple studios that have seemed to lower the noise of their equipment by using various forms of balanced power.

I use a Furman Discrete Symmetrically Balanced Power unit, but I know others who use Equitech units. Both make a noticeable difference, and I don’t need to be a designer or engineer to hear the difference.
Balanced power reduces hum caused by chassis leakage. It halves the chassis leakage currents, and that is a good thing but the degree to which it helps depends entirely on how badly designed your equipments power supplies are. Also, of course, you get the low-pass filtering benefit of having an isolation transformer in your power line, which probably has more to do with reduced noise than anything else.

It's a thing that fixes a problem and if you have that problem you should use it, but if you don't have that problem there is no need to.
--scott
Old 17th September 2020
  #76
Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio View Post
Balanced power reduces hum caused by chassis leakage. It halves the chassis leakage currents, and that is a good thing but the degree to which it helps depends entirely on how badly designed your equipments power supplies are. Also, of course, you get the low-pass filtering benefit of having an isolation transformer in your power line, which probably has more to do with reduced noise than anything else.

It's a thing that fixes a problem and if you have that problem you should use it, but if you don't have that problem there is no need to.
--scott
100% agree.

Again, all I was suggesting is that insanely priced cables (and that adverb seems accurate) aren't worth it. What I have found worth it are investments like cleaning up one's power—in terms of things that CAN increase sound quality across the board.

But we could just as easily get into better and worse ADC/DAC comparisons, room treatments, etc., all of which are subjective and situationally relevant.
Old 17th September 2020
  #77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomás Mulcahy View Post
/END OF THREAD/


This thread has it all:
Inability to discern subjectivity from objectivity.
Pro audio snake oil vendor preaching his dogma.
Little or no understanding of even basic physics.
Cognitive bias? No idea.
WYSIATI? yep, lots of that.

Thankfully a few have pointed out the fallacies- cable type not defined, possible sock puppetry, cognitive bias.

Expect all of this from a fundamentally consumerist forum where the asking price of the gear is unquestioningly used as a yardstick and creates blindness.
Then why do you hang out here?
Old 17th September 2020
  #78
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTheMan06 View Post
Dispersion: Are all frequencies traveling at the same velocity? If not the shape of the signal will degrade, but this is usually with larger distance than few meters
Signal has a shape? What is the normal shape for a signal in a cable?
Old 18th September 2020
  #79
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Shaggy2039's Avatar
Is Grimm TPR considered audiophile cable? Because all I know is that when I plugged them into my Amphion Amp 700 the signal hit another level of awesomeness that wasn’t there with my Redco cables. And Redco is solid AF btw.
Old 18th September 2020
  #80
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Bob Ross's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaggy2039 View Post
all I know is that when I plugged them into my Amphion Amp 700 the signal hit another level of awesomeness that wasn’t there with my Redco cables.
Yeah, but could your wife hear the difference?
Old 18th September 2020
  #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaggy2039 View Post
when I plugged them into my Amphion Amp 700 the signal hit another level of awesomeness
OK! There’s a report with some science in it!
Give us the details. Exactly what maximum level did you reach? Were you using the NAB awesomeness scale or the European scale?
Old 18th September 2020
  #82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaggy2039 View Post
...all I know is that when I plugged them into my Amphion Amp 700 the signal hit another level of awesomeness that wasn’t there with my Redco cables. And Redco is solid AF btw.
Quote:
Originally Posted by YRLK View Post
All I was getting at, Tom, who mysteriously deleted his comment, is my own experience...
The above are two good examples of WYSIATI
https://jeffreysaltzman.wordpress.co...04/08/wysiati/
Turns out it is not all as you both all too humanly assume .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Dawkins View Post
Then why do you hang out here?
Great question. Several reasons.
1. I normally don't. Well, not in the audio part of the forum. I clicked on the "Hot Threads". Glad I did, the Floyd Toole video is great. When @ henchard does post it's usually quality, it seems.
2. This thread: Lets do it: The Ultimate Plugin Analysis Thread
3. Since Vintage Synth Explorer is dead, the EM production forum here is a substitute. We have some great mythbusters there- @ acreil and @ EvilDragon among others.
4. The Ignore List is reasonably good for noise reduction. Mine's almost at 100 I must do a feature request so you don't get notifications when someone you're ignoring posts in a subscribed thread.

Now I've shared- why are you here @ Russell Dawkins ?
Old 18th September 2020
  #83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomás Mulcahy View Post
The above are two good examples of WYSIATI
https://jeffreysaltzman.wordpress.co...04/08/wysiati/
Turns out it is not all as you both all too humanly assume .


Great question. Several reasons.
1. I normally don't. Well, not in the audio part of the forum. I clicked on the "Hot Threads". Glad I did, the Floyd Toole video is great. When @ henchard does post it's usually quality, it seems.
2. This thread: Lets do it: The Ultimate Plugin Analysis Thread
3. Since Vintage Synth Explorer is dead, the EM production forum here is a substitute. We have some great mythbusters there- @ acreil and @ EvilDragon among others.
4. The Ignore List is reasonably good for noise reduction. Mine's almost at 100 I must do a feature request so you don't get notifications when someone you're ignoring posts in a subscribed thread.

Now I've shared- why are you here @ Russell Dawkins ?
As much as I’m all about philosophy, especially when it comes to examining the emotional and spiritual nature of creating art, experience is experience, and what lowers noise for some lowers noise for some.

I’m sure that some cables do improve performance versus others. Mildly. I’m equally as sure—based on trial and error—that so many other factors matter more than spending a sh*t ton of money on cables going from an amp to a speaker.

Noticeably lowering the operating self-noise of equipment—however it’s accomplished—is another thing. My entire system—based on actual tests I’ve recorded using multiple microphones in the same position—is quieter since investing in balanced symmetrical power.

I’m not suggesting that everyone needs what I’ve got. I’m suggesting that it makes a bigger difference when you’ve got noisy components or power than upgrading from a solid, reputable cable to a cable that is supposedly botique and made from a rare metal from Madagascar or some such place.

People are free to invest their funds into whatever they want to; quieter sound was worth it in my case. And now, I’ve spent the amount of time that I feel is worthy of spending on this comparison.

We all have our confirmation biases, but my objective, thorough, before and after testing was all I need to know that I made the right choice for me. No confirmation bias was required.

Appreciate everyone’s time and yours, Tomás.
Old 18th September 2020
  #84
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Shaggy2039's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
OK! There’s a report with some science in it!
Give us the details. Exactly what maximum level did you reach? Were you using the NAB awesomeness scale or the European scale?


Seriousl question - Have you personally compared Grimm TPR, Mogami and Redco cables? Do you have an Amphion Amp 700? If the answer is NO to any one of these than your little lab coat and little pen in your pocket can't really say too too much here. I understand the general thinking in $1000 is snake oil and I'd agree on that based on the pricing but between 3 somewhat even priced cables like the ones I mentioned (redco being much cheaper but in the ballpark), there was a noticeable difference between the three working in this system.
Old 18th September 2020
  #85
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Shaggy2039's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomás Mulcahy View Post
The above are two good examples of WYSIATI
https://jeffreysaltzman.wordpress.co...04/08/wysiati/
Turns out it is not all as you both all too humanly assume .


Great question. Several reasons.
1. I normally don't. Well, not in the audio part of the forum. I clicked on the "Hot Threads". Glad I did, the Floyd Toole video is great. When @ henchard does post it's usually quality, it seems.
2. This thread: Lets do it: The Ultimate Plugin Analysis Thread
3. Since Vintage Synth Explorer is dead, the EM production forum here is a substitute. We have some great mythbusters there- @ acreil and @ EvilDragon among others.
4. The Ignore List is reasonably good for noise reduction. Mine's almost at 100 I must do a feature request so you don't get notifications when someone you're ignoring posts in a subscribed thread.

Now I've shared- why are you here @ Russell Dawkins ?
This thread is funny...Tomas I especially got a good laugh at your sock puppetry comment earlier.

Some of these posts from you guys remind of a person who recently stormed into the "Amphion...Beautiful" thread claiming emphatically that the Two series Amphions are quote "FAR WORSE!" then the smaller One series Amphion monitors because they use the MTM format and then cited a ton of data and physics examples of why that is so but never ACTUALLY used them. Never once listened to them. When asked why he hasn't tested them his answer was "I don't need to test them! It's science!". LMAO. Meanwhile, the biggest album of 2019 was mixed on the Two 18's along with countless others.

Have any of you actually used the $1000 cable that your railing against? Are you guys all running Hosa cabling then?

If you haven't personally used any "audiophile" cabling, then there's literally no way of you knowing if there's a difference. It's all conjecture.
Old 18th September 2020
  #86
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Bob Ross's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaggy2039 View Post
If you haven't personally used any "audiophile" cabling, then there's literally no way of you knowing if there's a difference.
I believe the official position of the little-lab-coat-and-pen-in-the-pocket crowd is that if you haven't personally done a double-blind ABX test with any "audiophile" cabling, then there's literally no way of you knowing if there's really a difference...or if it's just confirmation bias.
Old 18th September 2020
  #87
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Shaggy2039's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
I believe the official position of the little-lab-coat-and-pen-in-the-pocket crowd is that if you haven't personally done a double-blind ABX test with any "audiophile" cabling, then there's literally no way of you knowing if there's really a difference...or if it's just confirmation bias.
Nah. It's actually more like they're assuming people are idiots and can't use their own ears in their own studio and make decisions based on using the actual piece of equipment in discussion.

There is 100% a difference between my Grimm TPR and Mogami in my Amphion system.

And again, unless Tomas or Bushman or anybody has used this exact system then why should I or anyone else for that matter ever listen to them? It's all conjecture.
Old 18th September 2020
  #88
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DistortingJack's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ihavelostmykeys View Post
I am perfectly aware of how rotten is audiophile industry. When I was at university we even had a lecture about audiophile bull**** like a paste for transistors to make it sound more lika a valve etc. But this time I can't tell if it's fake or not. He was saying a lot about 'mono-crystals' that the cables are build from. One of them is tinned copper and another one silver with no shield(!). However, I cannot find any hard data like capacity, impedance or inductance.
It depends on the kind of signal you're running through the cable.

An unbalanced, reactive, high-impedance signal like an electric guitar is fragile and lossy. Run that through 100 feet of crappy cable and you'll end up with an AM radio version of the original sound. In that case, shorter is better, lower capacitance is better, better shielding is better. You can hear differences between silver and copper (even though length is usually the biggest change) because it even changes the resonant frequency of the guitar pickups. This is very obvious and very measurable.

On the other hand, you can run literally a mile of balanced line cable through any decent cable and get pretty much no degradation on the other end. This is because the way balanced line signals work is very clever and pretty much negates the need for high-end cable. You just need a decent bit of copper to carry it. Mic signals are a bit more fragile because they're way quieter, but the principle is the same.

I once had someone grab a budget 32-channel 100-foot snake, and plug each output back into its input to make a monstruous 3200 foot connection, with 64 intermediary connectors. Then he plugged an SM58 on one end, then another cable to a desk. Maybe it was quieter than a short cable, maybe it lacked a bit of top or bottom end. All I can say is, he turned up the fader and spoke to the mic, and it sounded exactly like what an SM58 is supposed to sound like.

Guitar cables make a large difference. Very long or very thin speaker cables make a small difference. Normal-length balanced line or mic cables make no difference unless they're broken, or you're doing something weird like running them alongside power lines (in which case a quad-core version will work fine anyway).
Old 18th September 2020
  #89
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaggy2039 View Post
Have you personally compared Grimm TPR, Mogami and Redco cables? Do you have an Amphion Amp 700? If the answer is NO to any one of these than your little lab coat and little pen in your pocket can't really say too too much here. I understand the general thinking in $1000 is snake oil and I'd agree on that based on the pricing but between 3 somewhat even priced cables like the ones I mentioned (redco being much cheaper but in the ballpark), there was a noticeable difference between the three working in this system.
I have tried the Grimm TPR against Belden 1800F, which measures very similarly as a lumped-sum element and which to my ears sounded identical in a studio test. What was different between the two was that the Grimm cable had much better shielding (as you'd expect from the design). So if you're hearing huge differences between the TPR and a more conventional cable, I'd suspect an RFI issue in your area. (Which isn't that surprising... it's why Grimm builds their cable the way they do).
--scott
Old 18th September 2020
  #90
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaggy2039 View Post
there was a noticeable difference between the three working in this system.
“Noticeable difference” seems way down the rah-rah scale from hitting “another level of awesomeness”. Travel a tiny bit farther in that direction and you get to “I need to believe I hear a difference”. This thread, and many like it, are brimming with “sciency religion“ and nearly empty of empirical science.
Believe what you want, but don’t be so cranky when others don’t join in conflating your belief system with reality.
I’ve never owned a lab coat or a $1,000 cable. I try not to buy things I don’t really need.
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