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Streaky - he can hear a difference in power cables?
Old 29th September 2019
  #1
Streaky - he can hear a difference in power cables?

I enjoy the videos from the British mastering engineer Streaky - he is a really down to earth geezer and has a great channel on youtube.

However, I stumbled across his video on the differing sound of cables. He says there are minute differences between audio cables and even power cables. I would generally ask 'did you blind test it' and apparently he has blind tested it, although there are no results or insights into the tests presented.

Is there any evidence out there from properly conducted blind tests, and a theoretical reason this could be? I was under the impression that within reason (well constructed cable, not super long length and with good conductive materials) there should be no detectable change in the signal through the cable.

Rather than be impressed when someone says they can hear differences in cables - I start to wonder if they are mad and question their other opinions...perhaps I am wrong?

Old 29th September 2019
  #2
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X-Pand Sound Mastering's Avatar
 

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I changed all my wiring from Canare to Mogami, and instantly heard a difference.
(for the better)
I did a quick record of a song through the Canare before I unplugged them at the time, and then did the same recording through the Mogami's. It was visible in the audio file I remember, some peak didn't had the same "shape". All in all the sound seems more "open" hence more highend accuracy.
Same goes for the power supply, it IS changing the sound of gears drastically. Now to hear a difference in sound from a Power cable...if it's between different Euro style plug, well I'd find that hard to believe aswell but I'm still open to see some test to proving it.
Old 29th September 2019
  #3
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If the power supply is up to par, there should be no difference. Same goes for audio cables, if the design of the processor is up to par, no difference between cables with the same specs. The tests I did about 15 years ago showed absolutely no difference between a Hosa and a Mogami cable in a ad/da loop. But the topic is toxic, I recommend you do your own tests.
Old 29th September 2019
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by X-Pand Sound Mastering View Post
I changed all my wiring from Canare to Mogami, and instantly heard a difference.
(for the better)
I did a quick record of a song through the Canare before I unplugged them at the time, and then did the same recording through the Mogami's. It was visible in the audio file I remember, some peak didn't had the same "shape". All in all the sound seems more "open" hence more highend accuracy.
Same goes for the power supply, it IS changing the sound of gears drastically. Now to hear a difference in sound from a Power cable...if it's between different Euro style plug, well I'd find that hard to believe aswell but I'm still open to see some test to proving it.
I'm not saying you didn't hear a difference, because you might well have...but to be sure - you would have to have someone changing the cables blind to know if you were really hearing a difference...the power of the brain to subconsciously hear a difference is huge...for anyone...

Quote:
Originally Posted by philip View Post
If the power supply is up to par, there should be no difference. Same goes for audio cables, if the design of the processor is up to par, no difference between cables with the same specs. The tests I did about 15 years ago showed absolutely no difference between a Hosa and a Mogami cable in a ad/da loop. But the topic is toxic, I recommend you do your own tests.
thats actually a much easier way of blind testings rather than have someone switch the cables - do some converter loops then use a blind test software to playback the files...I like this one

https://lacinato.com/cm/software/othersoft/abx

Last edited by SWAN808; 29th September 2019 at 06:37 PM..
Old 29th September 2019
  #5
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyWt3kANA3Q

You should watch this
Old 29th September 2019
  #6
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by philip View Post
If the power supply is up to par, there should be no difference. Same goes for audio cables, if the design of the processor is up to par, no difference between cables with the same specs. The tests I did about 15 years ago showed absolutely no difference between a Hosa and a Mogami cable in a ad/da loop. But the topic is toxic, I recommend you do your own tests.
There's that word "should."

Unfortunately, we live in a real-world of products that can sound better than others without actually being "up to par" in some respects. We also live in a real-world of very old AC wiring infrastructure. For this reason, audio and even AC cables can make subtle audible differences when using very high-quality monitoring.

I've heard power cables make surprising differences in some rooms and little or none in others. My favorite audiophile "tweak" is having every AC connection in the building cleaned and tightened up. This makes a lot of wire differences go away. It suggests this is mostly about RFI sensitivity in equipment.

Mastering involves making blind comparisons all-day long. Unfortunately, gear manufacturers (aka advertisers) want to divert attention from the shortcomings of their gear to the ability of the person who is hearing cable differences.

I should add that simply using shielded power cables can get you most of the way there. You don't need to spend a fortune.
Old 29th September 2019
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartacus View Post


Ethan is pretty robust on these topics, and I respect and enjoy his forthright attitude on it...I tend to agree with him although not on everything...one example is his 'mojo maestro' box - creating pleasing harmonics is easy according to this box. Having demoed his circuit - he and I have a differing idea of what is audibly pleasing.

That said - it doesn't mean he is wrong about this. Thanks I didn't see this video before - looks bang on...
Old 29th September 2019
  #8
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
I enjoy the videos from the British mastering engineer Streaky - he is a really down to earth geezer and has a great channel on youtube.

However, I stumbled across his video on the differing sound of cables. He says there are minute differences between audio cables and even power cables. I would generally ask 'did you blind test it' and apparently he has blind tested it, although there are no results or insights into the tests presented.

Is there any evidence out there from properly conducted blind tests, and a theoretical reason this could be? I was under the impression that within reason (well constructed cable, not super long length and with good conductive materials) there should be no detectable change in the signal through the cable.

Rather than be impressed when someone says they can hear differences in cables - I start to wonder if they are mad and question their other opinions...perhaps I am wrong?

You are wrong. ;-)
Old 29th September 2019
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
You are wrong. ;-)
any evidence?
Old 29th September 2019
  #10
Ok thanks @ Spartacus for the video it answers the question for me quite well having finished watching it. It does not involve mogami or other but I think it is broadly convincing.

Unless anyone has footage of a blind comparison with someone correctly getting blind tests right, or some better evidence.

Old 29th September 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X-Pand Sound Mastering View Post
I changed all my wiring from Canare to Mogami, and instantly heard a difference.
(for the better)
I'm not so convinced there's an actual audio difference in cable, but assembling the cables -- oh yeah, the Mogami is so much easier to work with. Also, I've found a lot of the issues I used to have weren't so much the cable, but the connectors. All I can say is that after 25+ years of Mogami cables with Neutrik connectors, I've never had a problem with cables.
Old 29th September 2019
  #12
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
any evidence?
None I can share with you. But Bob O's post is a good'un. As always.
Old 30th September 2019
  #13
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SASMastering's Avatar
Not something I lose sleep over but I am fairly sure heard a difference between mic cables on the same mic years ago where of course generally much smaller than line levels signals exist (one made with Studiospares cheap mic cable roll and something that looked and felt better quality, cannot recall what precisely.) Also have used a shielded mains cable that killed a very small hum dead on a power amp.

If there is a difference (other than noise/hum) this should really be measureable. We can eq 0.1's of dB's and hear it so if there is a difference it must be measurable, or at least residual in a null test I would have thought. In fact it should be quite easy to test and hear the differences through both audio tests and null tests.

I just use good quality cables (Van Damme Tour Grade XKE silver plated/Neutriks - quite fond of a gold plated connector, just feels right.) about £25.00 a pair and I am perfectly happy.

If you have the wedge and can hear it and it makes you happy go for it. If not rest in the knowledge that moving your head 1 cms up/down L/R from where you first hear a sound is likely to make a bigger difference.
Old 30th September 2019
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
My favorite audiophile "tweak" is having every AC connection in the building cleaned and tightened up. This makes a lot of wire differences go away. It suggests this is mostly about RFI sensitivity in equipment.
Not just AC, everything.

It's a good idea to regularly exercise every plug-in connection in your place. Gently with the junky Hosa stuff, but still do it. At facilities where they run AC (as in air conditioning) full blast Monday through Friday and then let the place steam up on the weekend, this is an especially big deal.

And if someone is truly hearing a difference when AC cables are swapped, it's because the the unplugging and replugging is cleaning up the connection.

Last edited by Brent Hahn; 30th September 2019 at 04:12 PM..
Old 30th September 2019
  #15
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teebaum's Avatar
the point is this way - if i tell someone who has just spent a lot of money on audiophile power cables that he has been fooled, i make him unhappy & the messenger of the message is often swapped with this one - so i prefer to leave things as they are and if he now feels better with his expensive new cables, then at least it has had a positive placebo effect.
on the other hand, that there are situations where cables have a noticeable influence on the sound is just as much a fact.
Old 30th September 2019
  #16
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X-Pand Sound Mastering's Avatar
 

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Science is great, measurements are great, but to claim that we can measure ANYTHING is just false. There are people working everyday to devellop some new (better, more accurate) ways of measuring the Audio signal.
If you measure say a + 2db High shelf boost (in the time domain) between a Massive Passive and a Knif Soma, even if you closely match the curve it won't sound the same. That's because of so many other parameters like phase shift, Harmonic distortion (and addition) etc, as we all know. I believe we can measure A LOT of things, but EVERYTHING ?

Also look at this video, 3:56 m :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lm1qdxxksTY&t=11s

Imo, and to my ears even on a Youtube video that's not a placebo effect.

Ok now I'm gonna prepare my armor, my sword and my shield, be right back
Old 1st October 2019
  #17
I think this topic has to seperate poor designed power grids / supplies and cables, which could create problems as have been described...(poor connection, noisy power supply, bad AC etc...)...with the difference in sound between two functionally effective cables of differing expense...

Streaky was essentially talking about different brands of effective functioning pro audio cables, and different power supply cables used in a professional studio with good UK power supply...let's be clear - he meant a different 3 pin power cable plugged into a working power supply, could affect the sound of his processing.
Old 1st October 2019
  #18
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I just wanted to say that it's nice to have a thread about this topic without the usual polarisation.

I also appreciate people identifying the range of variables that can influence the effect of power cables. I feel like this has actually brought some clarity to the subject.

Cheers!
Old 1st October 2019
  #19
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SASMastering's Avatar
Life is short, unlike Greg Calbi's patch cables.

I wonder if having 2M of that cable imparts more of the qualities of that cable as opposed to say... 0.4m of it ?

At what length does the perceived benefits of the cables qualities such as "more bass and less constriction" as were mentioned are offset by the negative ones such as increased capacitance.

One day I might get a set of Vovox or something of this price range and just listen to them, it would have to be on an approval basis, cause if I don't hear jack difference they would have to go back.

Other questions then arise such as.. at what point are you using different cables for different tracks. i.e. if I a track has a lack of bottom you select cable X before you eq ? That would be logical of course I suppose you need to use them as audio processors in essence, like we do analogue equipment pass through characters.

It is only "better" if it changes tone/quality in a way that suits a specific track, surely. It could work out that cable X is worse on track Y. Which beckons the question of where does it end ? Mastering typically requires transparency and accuracy, so which of the cable is most neutral that is the important question.

And if the cable neutrality depends on system, as does analogue gear chains depend on your system (impedance of I/O interactions etc.), the neutrality benefit is lost and you should just use basic good quality cables and save some money for something that does add to your toolset.

Last edited by SASMastering; 1st October 2019 at 09:26 AM..
Old 1st October 2019
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SASMastering View Post
Life is short, unlike Greg Calbi's patch cables.

I wonder if having 2M of that cable imparts more of the qualities of that cable as opposed to say... 0.4m of it ?

At what length does the perceived benefits of the cables qualities such as "more bass and less constriction" as were mentioned are offset by the negative ones such as increased capacitance.

One day I might get a set of Vovox or something of this price range and just listen to them, it would have to be on an approval basis, cause if I don't hear jack difference they would have to go back.

Other questions then arise such as.. at what point are you using different cables for different tracks. i.e. if I a track has a lack of bottom you select cable X before you eq ? That would be logical of course I suppose you need to use them as audio processors in essence, like we do analogue equipment pass through characters.

It is only "better" if it changes tone/quality in a way that suits a specific track, surely. It could work out that cable X is worse on track Y. Which beckons the question of where does it end ? Mastering typically requires transparency and accuracy, so which of the cable is most neutral that is the important question.

And if the cable neutrality depends on system, as does analogue gear chains depend on your system (impedance of I/O interactions etc.), the neutrality benefit is lost and you should just use basic good quality cables and save some money for something that does add to your toolset.
Back in the 80's, we tested a 120 foot [4-30 foot mic cables] of Monster Cable compared with the studio standard Beldin mic [balanced] cable.

Also tested out early versions of Mogami cable. [don;t recall the lengths tested].

To the chagrin of the Studio Owner ... they went with the Mogami and the Monster Cable.

Six Engineers were involved, as well as people from the general public. The 'tests' were as blind as we could make them. Most didn't even know that Cables were being tested ... and probably wouldn't have believed to test something like that.

I also took part in several other Studio's testing the same ... with similar conclusions.

Today, my Mastering Room is wired with Monster Cable ... and still have the 4 mic cables from the 80's ... working flawless.

i don't even want to test 'power cables'.....
Old 1st October 2019
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SASMastering View Post
Life is short, unlike Greg Calbi's patch cables.

I wonder if having 2M of that cable imparts more of the qualities of that cable as opposed to say... 0.4m of it ?

At what length does the perceived benefits of the cables qualities such as "more bass and less constriction" as were mentioned are offset by the negative ones such as increased capacitance.

One day I might get a set of Vovox or something of this price range and just listen to them, it would have to be on an approval basis, cause if I don't hear jack difference they would have to go back.

Other questions then arise such as.. at what point are you using different cables for different tracks. i.e. if I a track has a lack of bottom you select cable X before you eq ? That would be logical of course I suppose you need to use them as audio processors in essence, like we do analogue equipment pass through characters.

It is only "better" if it changes tone/quality in a way that suits a specific track, surely. It could work out that cable X is worse on track Y. Which beckons the question of where does it end ? Mastering typically requires transparency and accuracy, so which of the cable is most neutral that is the important question.

And if the cable neutrality depends on system, as does analogue gear chains depend on your system (impedance of I/O interactions etc.), the neutrality benefit is lost and you should just use basic good quality cables and save some money for something that does add to your toolset.
I remember Mr Lucey started a thread about using cables to affect the sound and asserted that cable length doesn't make a difference.

I think this can't be true and it only takes a very simple thought experiment to disprove it.

If you have a 1m cable and do a recording or loopback test, and then cut the cable in half and join the ends and repeat the recording, you will obviously get an identical result.

Now, the interesting bit. If Mr Lucey's assertion is true, you would also get the same result if you were to use just one of those 0.5m lengths.

However, if the primary assertion that the cable is affecting the sound is to be taken as true, then you are essentially saying that the first 0.5m length affects the sound, but the second 0.5m length doesn't.

The two statements contradict each other, so at least one assertion must be false.

I am not saying that cable can't affect the sound. What I am saying, is that if and when they do make a difference to the sound, length also has to make a difference too.
Old 1st October 2019
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
Ok thanks @ Spartacus for the video it answers the question for me quite well having finished watching it.
you welcome
Old 1st October 2019
  #23
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Check if you have earwax, it will make more difference than the power cord.

Old 1st October 2019
  #24
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@ Conundra , yes the laws of physics suggest length does make a difference, I'll take that as it does. As far as differences heard yes maybe there is a minute difference and if anyone will hear it, it will be mastering engineers with top monitoring. But compared to literally anything else the difference must be miniscule, even head position.

I mean just chin up in front of your monitors a couple of cms, clearer high end no ?

Surely one must listen to cables with the assistant changing the cables over and your head (as listener) in a vice so your ears cannot move at all.

If not the difference between 2 sets of quality cables can really easily fall into category of error. I suspect that a heard difference is as likely to be error as the cable itself. I watched Streaky's video just now (probably should have watched it earlier) but I roughly predicted what was said as it is all pretty well worn. He said that Van Damme cabling produces a slightly hard sound, which suggests if you use that you are likely to deliver a marginally smoother master in the mids and highs (in his exact system).

As such this is purely subjective, i.e. what you like, but does what you like make a better master is the question ? Or does most neutral make a better master and without scientific measurement how can one determine the neutrality of a cable. And if you cannot then spend time on something else, like the miracle of breathing.
Old 1st October 2019
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Not just AC, everything.

It's a good idea to regularly exercise every plug-in connection in your place. Gently with the junky Hosa stuff, but still do it. At facilities where they run AC (as in air conditioning) full blast Monday through Friday and then let the place steam up on the weekend, this is an especially big deal.

And if someone is truly hearing a difference when AC cables are swapped, it's because the the unplugging and replugging is cleaning up the connection.
I clean my cables ect on a regular basis, De-Oxit..
Old 1st October 2019
  #26
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X-Pand Sound Mastering's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conundra View Post
I remember Mr Lucey started a thread about using cables to affect the sound and asserted that cable length doesn't make a difference.

I think this can't be true and it only takes a very simple thought experiment to disprove it.

If you have a 1m cable and do a recording or loopback test, and then cut the cable in half and join the ends and repeat the recording, you will obviously get an identical result.

Now, the interesting bit. If Mr Lucey's assertion is true, you would also get the same result if you were to use just one of those 0.5m lengths.

However, if the primary assertion that the cable is affecting the sound is to be taken as true, then you are essentially saying that the first 0.5m length affects the sound, but the second 0.5m length doesn't.

The two statements contradict each other, so at least one assertion must be false.

I am not saying that cable can't affect the sound. What I am saying, is that if and when they do make a difference to the sound, length also has to make a difference too.
Cable length WILL make a difference, because of more capacitance and other mystic stuff, but primarily because the longer the cable the more the following gear will be affected. And that's easily measurable. An electronically balanced unit (opamp based) will start to slew (slew rate effect) and that will greatly affect the highend of the spectrum, wich in turns will affect the overall signal as it is "fed back" into the original path (opamp feedback topologie).
A transformer based input gear won't react the same at all, and are usually better suited where long cables will be used, like on stage etc.
Old 1st October 2019
  #27
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Bob O’s post is correct!

If the electrical service isn’t up to par, then any cable changes downstream don’t make a big difference.

i recently had the electrician out for two days in my new room,

putting in an isolated “hospital” ground on my main outlets for connecting the gear.

it made an instant huge difference.

and he tightened up all the other connections.

then changes in various audio connection cables make small differences,

how you judge & quantify those differences is a matter of taste.

soundstage differences, depth, width, height, bandwidth, & musical vibe... which may be the most important thing.

observation & expectation bias comes into play as well... these expensive cables just “look” like they sound better!

as usual i’d recommend a high quality copper cable, Belden, Canare, Mogami, even Monster for unbalanced.

and Neutrik or Switchcraft connectors, with top grade soldering work.

there are so many variables, you could drive yourself mad switching combinations, and asking yourself “did i really hear a difference?” and possibly waste a lot of time in the process, while mastering projects sit in your downloads folder!

ive got a mixture of expensive and ordinary IEC power cables in my analog EQ path, i like to keep the fat expensive ones on my primary analog units.

there again refreshing the Caps every few years on your analog units can make huge differences.

but the famous Richard Feinmann quote certainly does apply here.

best, JT
Old 1st October 2019
  #28
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Cable lengths make a difference especially with Canare Quad Star cables. You’d never want to go over 15 (or so) feet with them.

Most of my cables are under two feet in length, some are three feet but that’s about it. Now that I think about it I do have some 6’ cables run to the BG2 limiters.

Now I do have 50’ Gotham audio cables that I would use for recording choirs and string quartet in churches and such. They have the thinnest cover on them yet preform phenomenal. They were designed for long runs.
Old 1st October 2019
  #29
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TS-12's Avatar
that’s total b.s. about “not all things can be measured” ,
audio and acoustics are physical and not spiritual matter, and everything in the physical world is measure-able,
Old 1st October 2019
  #30
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I can hear the difference between an australian dollar and an us dollar.

I can hear the difference between two power cables unplug.
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