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High End Cables
Old 6th October 2015
  #451
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Excellent post.

I would note that, despite asking for the past 30+ years (initially to hi-fi folks), I've yet to get a decent answer to the question - why, when two highly experienced sets of ears, equal in every way, both with decades of professional engineering experience ... enter into a situation where one says they can hear a cable making a huge improvement in the sound, and then the other says, "but there's absolutely no difference"?

I would disagree with your take on perception bias though. I believe folks the world over are predisposed to assorted beliefs for many different reasons. And often that predisposition is simply beyond the predisposed's ability to control.

Perhaps if somebody truly believes cables themselves make a difference in sound, then in their world view, every time they experience somebody swapping out cables, they will reply that they indeed hear a difference in sound ... whether one exists or not (the very definition of perception bias).

In the end though, I also believe that it's impossible for one camp to influence another camp to the degree that personal opinions or predispositions would ever be changed ... Perhaps it's simply important to note (in threads like this one, and on forums like GS) for the record, and for those who may lack the decades of experience that there are many who don't accept the argument related to high end cables improving how something sounds, and that there are indeed two very legitimate (and very different) takes on the entire issue.
Old 6th October 2015
  #452
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
You can't legitimately consider wire outside of a complete system.
Would you consider then that a given piece of 12 gauge zip cord, or a given piece of $500.00 cable-exotica has no inherent "sound" in and of itself?
Old 7th October 2015
  #453
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It's a fact that cables can sound different. The interesting thing to me is why there is an audible difference... in those situations where there's a real difference.

I'm also fully convinced that even long timers suffers from expectation bias. Obviously some are more prone to it than others.
Old 7th October 2015
  #454
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverking View Post
Would you consider then that a given piece of 12 gauge zip cord, or a given piece of $500.00 cable-exotica has no inherent "sound" in and of itself?
I don't think any well constructed cable has an inherent sound however they all can cause different components to interact differently within a system. I don't think more money buys much but different construction can make audible differences and its not unheard of for the cheaper cable to sound better. It's all a moving target.
Old 7th October 2015
  #455
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiop View Post
It's a fact that cables can sound different.
Not a "fact" at all, but a highly personal, and very subjective opinion.

Now if you were to comment that different cables can cause electronic components to change their behavior, and therefore change the sound of those components (the cables being sonically inert), I'd be agreeing with you.
Old 7th October 2015
  #456
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
I don't think any well constructed cable has an inherent sound however they all can cause different components to interact differently within a system. I don't think more money buys much but different construction can make audible differences and its not unheard of for the cheaper cable to sound better. It's all a moving target.
Thanks Bob, for a no nonsense, non-editorialized summation of the issue.
Old 7th October 2015
  #457
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I think I said earlier that tightening all of the AC connections right back to the service entrance will often make cable differences go away. Likewise cleaning connectors can make a surprising difference. It also shouldn't be forgotten that hearing cable differences is an indictment of poor gear and especially power supply design and construction. This is why touring sound companies along with top studios and mastering facilities modify their gear.
Old 7th October 2015
  #458
Gear Addict
An AP analyzer will tell you ( with a few exceptions I'm sure) that all cables are virtually flat. Construction/durability is where most excel and others fail.
Old 7th October 2015
  #459
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpr3 View Post
Brian Lucey, who clearly has one of the best sounding mastering chains in the world, and I am sure his ears are fairly decent as well (cough), comes into this thread and essentially says that cables do matter despite the specs, and you anonymous, no name knuckleheads are going to continue to BS on GSlutz about how ABX proves a coat hanger or Hosa is no worse than Vovox or Evidence?
Someone should ask Ludwig to run some test files through his $100k cables!
Old 7th October 2015
  #460
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
They main problem is the test material which is hard to compare technically.

With proper alignment, we could have taken a closer look at the differences between files, their nature/distribution, etc.



Well, I'm not really satisfied. I'd like to show differences in linear/nonlinear response, they definitely exist at "some" scale. It would have been interesting to find out their exact scale.
I dont posted this files in hope of a final result and to end this debate for all times, so for me it was quite educational. In my view the results are enough for anybody interested to make test on their own in their own environment.
But if you will do a really proper test scenario (whatever it should look like) someday, I think a lot here (incl me) are interested.
Old 7th October 2015
  #461
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSD_Mastering View Post
Someone should ask Ludwig to run some test files through his $100k cables!
I have experience with a pair of these (Transparent Cables). This particular cable had within it a single order, inductor based low-pass filter ...that actually sounded good.

It would be safe to say that this cable did effect the impedance, and impedance can make a difference.

Now, instead of reading this stupid thread If I could only find a way to sell single order, low-pass filters, attached to a decent quality copper wire for $5k+

Last edited by Broyhillio; 7th October 2015 at 08:26 AM..
Old 7th October 2015
  #462
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broyhillio View Post
Now, instead of reading this stupid thread If I could only find a way to sell single order, low-pass filters, attached to a decent quality copper wire for $5k+
Well, you could always start by giving it a cool name. Maybe Monsterlab Cable or something? I mean, what could possibly go wrong with that?
Old 7th October 2015
  #463
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broyhillio View Post
I have experience with a pair of these (Transparent Cables). This particular cable had within it a single order, inductor based low-pass filter ...that actually sounded good.

It would be safe to say that this cable did effect the impedance, and impedance can make a difference.
Not only affect the impedance, the cable itself has an impedance which is part of the transfer function in the chain.
Old 7th October 2015
  #464
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverking View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiop
It's a fact that cables can sound different.
Not a "fact" at all, but a highly personal, and very subjective opinion.

Now if you were to comment that different cables can cause electronic components to change their behavior, and therefore change the sound of those components (the cables being sonically inert), I'd be agreeing with you.
You are mistaken. Cables have resistance, capacitive reactance and inductive reactance. In some situation this will filter the signal audibly.

Typical situations where this can have a significant effect is interfacing passive guitar and bass coil pickups with amps and power amps with loudspeakers.

A long high inductance cable feeding a low impedance speaker can easily lowpass the signal audibly.

What you are mentioning is also a fact, for example: capacitive cables can make life hard for poorly designed output stages or such without a suitable output resistance or zobel network on the output... = oscillation = increased distortion.

These are things easily explained by math and/or simple measurements.
Old 7th October 2015
  #465
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lowend Bump View Post
An AP analyzer will tell you ( with a few exceptions I'm sure) that all cables are virtually flat. Construction/durability is where most excel and others fail.
Not so. The cable itself is sort of neither flat or non-flat. The cable interacts with two devices attached on both ends. The total response may be flat within a certain passband... or not so flat.
Old 7th October 2015
  #466
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Is everyone now going back to what I said earlier, but no one liked much at the time then?
Old 7th October 2015
  #467
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomasE View Post
Well, you could always start by giving it a cool name. Maybe Monsterlab Cable or something? I mean, what could possibly go wrong with that?
Alright smarta$$, I need to have you and Sofia over for dinner!
Old 7th October 2015
  #468
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I did some cable sweeps this morning.

One interesting observation already.
When a cable under test is attached, it does NOT perform the same when cold, as after 5 minutes.

I got this every time I swapped a cable. The difference between the first and second measurement is always noticeable.
Moreover, my sweeps were 8x averaged, so took about 90 seconds each. (meaning the 8th pass the connector would have been warming up already).

- see jpeg1 : this is the freq response of the difference signal (test1-test3 compared to test2-test3). The difference between the two warmed up tests looks like system noise (bottom graph)

This is repeatable, it looks about the same with all three different cables.

- jpeg2 shows the same hot-minus-hot-samecable signal at the bottom, compared to the frequency plots of cable1-cable2, cable1-cable3 and cable2-cable3. (all warmed-up of course)

Now, as to what these difference signals tell us, I do not know.
It seems to indicate that propagation speeds are not identical in all three cables, nor between different frequencies. Weird, considering the length is only 1.5m ?

The IRs are not time shifted, they are all exactly in the same spot, no clock problems, no thermal drift, the converters were on for 24h before the test.
If I zoom in the the maximum of each test signal, the IR is in exactly the same position, which seems counter-intuitive to the frequency behaviour of the difference signals.

It would be my conclusion the difference is not at or near the peak of the IR, but somewhere hidden in the tail.
Attached Thumbnails
High End Cables-cold-versus-hot.jpg   High End Cables-same-cable-versus-different-cables.jpg  
Old 7th October 2015
  #469
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Is everyone now going back to what I said earlier, but no one liked much at the time then?
Sorry to ruin your day dear friend but the concept of impedance and it's parts and math is something I learned in school some 25 years ago. :-)

I'm replying since you wrote "everyone" which should include me.
Old 7th October 2015
  #470
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
I did some cable sweeps this morning.
Yannick, please tell more about the tests, other equipment etc.

Did you switch of any equipment between each cable?

How do you exclude the possibility that the active electronics on each side of the cable is accountable for the "warming up"? I'm asking that becasue I have seen such behaviour in some cases. A convertere at rest, starting a measurement sequence and the results/level changes slightly after a couple of seconds. Could be thermal effects in some (low level) amp stage or unstable voltage reference or something like that.
Old 7th October 2015
  #471
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So it is line level cables from DAC to ADC?

I'd say that most likely it's a question of measurement error or strange behaviour in the active stages.
Old 7th October 2015
  #472
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Line level (balanced) DA-AD.

Read my post: the AD/DA was switched on for 24 H !!!
The test is repeatable, ie every time I pull out a cable and let it cool down, I have the same difference between first and second measurement. Not between later measurements.

This with all types of cable I connected (3 different ones)

So, it is not clocking, not the ADDA, no defect (why would a electronic part only fail the first minute you connect a colder connector, and then magically repair itself ?)

What you see is clearly some thermal effect within the connector.
IMO if this exists, then why should there be no such thing as cable differences ?
Old 7th October 2015
  #473
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
You can't legitimately consider wire outside of a complete system.
Exactly!
Old 7th October 2015
  #474
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Why do you suspect that the current (which is the same thruout the circuit) would develop more heat in the cable (probably 0.1ohm or so) than in the resistor (probably 10k or so) at the input stage of receiver (ADC)?

There will be approx 100000 times more power developed at receiver end compared to wire R.
Old 7th October 2015
  #475
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSD_Mastering View Post
Someone should ask Ludwig to run some test files through his $100k cables!
I know you're just keeping it light, but I had to respond because I think the financial aspect of this is always harped on, by many.

I don't think money should be a major factor as to what is good and what is bad. One can either afford to own something or not. Companies have a right to sell their products how they see fit, as well as you and I sell our services for x-amount of dollars. I have used inexpensive equipment in records that made millions of dollars for record companies, as well as expensive gear too. You simply cannot quantify the net-worth of something until you factor in why it's being used and what the financial expectation is.

$100k cables for Ludwig are probably not that big of a deal, those cables were probably paid for in a years time or less worth of sessions. And I'm sure at the end of the year that was a mighty nice tax right-off as well. Could have been a better business decision to go the uber expensive route than otherwise. Especially if he feels it puts his studio in a league of it's own and can advertise as he see's and hears it.
Old 7th October 2015
  #476
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The biggest problem in ear testing cables is the extreme difficulty in creating a meaningful test. There has to be basically 0 time between sample switching or mind tricks influence things to an invalid degree. I've tested line level cables by recording the passes and having the 2 samples available to instantaneously switch or null test. You can't really do that with speaker cables, so what do you do? Speaker level switches are usually rejected by the audiophile crowd (although theoretically it should be possible to build a switcher transparent enough for the job) and duplicate setups don't work because of the speakers not being in the exact same spot. I could swear I heard differences comparing low priced cables to Transparent Audio cables, but those have a zobel network built in so it may sound good, but is it neutral? No way!
It's kind of like testing multitrack recording sample rates. Everybody has an opinion but almost nobody has set up what I would consider a meaningful test situation.
Old 7th October 2015
  #477
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcsnare View Post
You can't really do that with speaker cables, so what do you do?
You can measure the impedance of the speaker and cable and by looking at the deviation curve the cable will introduce by not being a pure R you can easily see if the magnitude of deviation is likely to be audible judged by what we know about human hearing.

You can also record the voltage at the input to the speaker, right at the terminals and compare the two cables to see what differences there are.

If the cable have significant R C or L this will show up as a voltage drop at the other side of the cable.

A good switchbox will do as well for direct "live" comparisons. Don't pay to much attention to the uber audiopholes.
Old 7th October 2015
  #478
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcsnare View Post
Everybody has an opinion but almost nobody has set up what I would consider a meaningful test situation.
Half the reason I built my console was to set up valid tests. It is an eight channel A/B console. Both the A and B paths are four channels. I can set up long term listening tests on the preview channels of both the A and B paths. Short term A/B switching is of course a piece of cake.

I have never had a setup where I trusted my listening based conclusions. I don't know how anyone does.
Old 7th October 2015
  #479
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
Line level (balanced) DA-AD.

Read my post: the AD/DA was switched on for 24 H !!!
The test is repeatable, ie every time I pull out a cable and let it cool down, I have the same difference between first and second measurement. Not between later measurements.

This with all types of cable I connected (3 different ones)

So, it is not clocking, not the ADDA, no defect (why would a electronic part only fail the first minute you connect a colder connector, and then magically repair itself ?)

What you see is clearly some thermal effect within the connector.
IMO if this exists, then why should there be no such thing as cable differences ?
Actually, this measurement could be from the ADC re-calibrating each time a new connection is made. Depending on the design, this can take up to 20 seconds to stabilize. Being on >24 hours would not matter.

Putting that aside, if there is a thermal effect present I would first suspect the connector rather than the cable. The metal expanding as it warms and making a tighter fit = better electrical connection. Have you measured the temperature difference before/after installation?
Old 7th October 2015
  #480
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiop View Post
Why do you suspect that the current (which is the same thruout the circuit) would develop more heat in the cable (probably 0.1ohm or so) than in the resistor (probably 10k or so) at the input stage of receiver (ADC)?

There will be approx 100000 times more power developed at receiver end compared to wire R.
I never said that. The ADDA have been on for 24h +, so they are running hot, the connectors as well.
When the cable is hooked up for a few minutes, temp goes up - signal or not...

We're talking about 10-12 degrees (C) only...

Or could it be an earthing differential settling after a few minutes ?

Don't know. I only know the test is repeatable, and in the same order of differences as different cables.
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