The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
"Magic" Mains Cable!!!!
Old 23rd May 2006
  #1
Lives for gear
 

"Magic" Mains Cable!!!!

I thought that it was only in the "audiophile" world where rich lawyers, doctors and other un-informed, but deep pocketed individuals bought into concepts like "high grade AC mains cables."

No..I'm wrong... there it is in TapeOp.
The interview with (an un-named) gear builder who also builds and sells "special" AC cables. He finally saw the light!

People.... if you think that using a rediculously expensive AC cable for the few feet between the wall outlet andyour gear is going to help anything you are seriously naieve! (sp?)

Does it fix the "bad" AC coming from the miles of cable before it?
After all of the wire and equipment that your AC travels through is a plain old everyday IEC cable going to degrade the AC?
How can a few feet of cable make any difference after all the other wiring?
It can't and doesn't!

What will it do?
(the super cable or the plain cable)

People buy into some goofy sh*t, but I thought that audio professionals were smarter than this.

Feel free to share you reasons why I'm wrong.

Danny Brown
Old 23rd May 2006
  #2
Lives for gear
 
frans's Avatar
The theory says it's what this last few feet of AC cable will NOT let through, depends if you are in an industrial neighbourhood that is prone to AC with lots of spikes, whatever. So do YOU hear a difference with or without a special AC cable? If you don't hear a difference, then all's fine.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #3
Gon
Gear Head
 
Gon's Avatar
 

I remain highly skeptical about audiophile remedies that either don´t have basis in proper scientific theory or can´t be verified in a controlled double blind test. If someone can back up their claims with proper science, I´ll be the glad to adopt it. Personally, I really can´t hear a difference.

So far, I don´t think there´s much data to back up the use of audiophile grade mains cables, ridiculously expensive loudspeaker cables, shakti stones, hallographs (make nice coat racks, though), demagnetizing CDs, bybee filters (so-called "quantum purifiers") etc.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Harley-OIART's Avatar
 

My favourite is the story about the 'Top-Dog' Engineer who kindly invited many big name players in the audio world (best ears in the biz if u want to call it that,) down to his studio, and told them to bring they're "Perfect" Speaker Cable (Zillion Dollars per foot stuff.)

This guy was well respected, and everyone was having a great time listening to tunes and chatting it up in this great studio. Then came time for the real fun... A Double-Blind A/B test comparing they're favourite Super Expensive All Silver or whatever Speaker wire, to an old, very cheap, length of 18 Gauge Lamp Cord. When the best ears in the biz couldn't tell the difference between crappy lamp A.C. cord, and Uber-Expensive Speaker Wire, he knew the myth was busted right there.

Yet when he told all these people what they were really A/B'ing....

Well lets just say there were more than a few deflated egos and bitter impressions of that man and his studio.


-For the record I can't recall the source of that story, heard it from a reliable source years ago tho.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba

People.... if you think that using a rediculously expensive AC cable for the few feet between the wall outlet andyour gear is going to help anything you are seriously naieve! (sp?)

Does it fix the "bad" AC coming from the miles of cable before it?
After all of the wire and equipment that your AC travels through is a plain old everyday IEC cable going to degrade the AC?
How can a few feet of cable make any difference after all the other wiring?
It can't and doesn't!
I have followed some discussions on this in other forums and some more knowledgable types have entered the discussion to clear up some issues on this. As I understand it, one really needs to view a power cable as an extension of the power supply with regards to it's interaction with the system...not an extension of the cable in the wall.

I will have to admit that, prior to getting more into recording, I was a fairly serious audiophile. Though I didn't prescribe to all the hardcore audiophile zaniness, and was amused by some of the extremes folks go to, I was also intrigued and open minded enough to dabble with a few things. I tried a few things which genuinely surprised and baffled me with regards to the effect (good and bad) they had on sound. I'm not an EE, but do believe that their is a lot of interaction with the connectors, parts, transformers, tubes, cables, etc. that can provide synergy or lack thereof that would be difficult and not even worthwhile to scientifically analyze. I guess we just need to listen and trust our judgement. I was/am always amazed at the near-religious fervor that people revert to when defending their viewpoint on cables. For some folks, it seems the mere act of putting forth the notion that a cable could actually change the sound shakes and disrupts the core of their belief system and the reality they exist in to such a degree that they feel compelled to lash out, sometimes in a nearly violent fashion. Than those who DO believe get hostile and on and on and on... I always just thought the discussions made great reading and were, at the least, a very interesting observation on human behavior.

For what it's worth, I have found power cables to make a difference (not always good) in my audio systems, sometimes more so than any other cable...sometimes not at all too. This is just what I hear. Feel free to disregard my opinion. It won't bother me...really! As always, YMMV.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #6
Dismissing something one hasn't tried yet is like watching a blind man describe colors.

Until you try them, don't dismiss those that have.

BTW, I use them. No, I can't measure the difference. Yes, it also makes a difference when patched from a wall strip. No, I can't explain why.

It's all about results, not theory.

Try them. Report your findings. Offer an opinion after you've had a chance to experience them, not before.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 23rd May 2006
  #7
Lives for gear
 
max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gon
I remain highly skeptical about audiophile remedies that either don´t have basis in proper scientific theory or can´t be verified in a controlled double blind test. If someone can back up their claims with proper science, I´ll be the glad to adopt it. Personally, I really can´t hear a difference.
Here's an important point. I think this is worth mentioning.

One one side are the audiophiles who will try virtually any tweak to keep from having to actually listen to the music. For them, the gear itself is the point, not the music. If they ever built the 'perfect system' they'd be crushed because there would be no reason to live.

On the other side are engineers who believe that if you can't see it on your test equipment, it doesn't exist.

I've heard two lengths of wire sound very different, and I don't doubt that on a meter they would read exactly the same.

But many people are too ready to discard things out of hand without ever having tried them.

Remember the seventies? The only kind of audio cables were those grey Radio Shack kinds of things. Guess who started making upscale cable first? Monster Cable, followed by Vampire Wire. After it got rolling, it was everybody.

Am I ready to go out and buy a bunch of mainscables? Nah. But I'm not gonna pass judgement on the whole thing without checking it out.



edit: [Jim, you type faster than me.]
Old 23rd May 2006
  #8
Gon
Gear Head
 
Gon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams
Try them. Report your findings. Offer an opinion after you've had a chance to experience them, not before.
Who here hasn't been fiddling with the parameters on an EQ or a compressor and imagining hearing changes in the sound, only to discover that the unit was bypassed?

I think the only really sound (no pun intended) way to control the objective validity of the claims presented, are controlled, double blind tests.

Not to put off people's experiences of course, which are invaluable - but the realms of psychology are large, and I consider it prudent to look at claims of the unexplicable with a healthy portion of skepticism.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #9
Lives for gear
 
max cooper's Avatar
 

While I agree with double-blind testing, for my purposes, if I wanna know if something really makes a difference, I use it for a couple of weeks, and then I put the old 'whatever' back in the chain.

That usually makes it really obvious. If you're just as happy with the old 'thing', then obviously it doesn't matter.

I've A/B'd speakers and double-blind tested stuff before only to be more confused than when I started.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #10
T9c
Gear Maniac
 
T9c's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams
BTW, I use them. No, I can't measure the difference. Yes, it also makes a difference when patched from a wall strip. No, I can't explain why.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Well there ya have it. If it can't be measured, it must be fiction. That's the basics of modern science. Like these guys:
Old 23rd May 2006
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Bob Ross's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
While I agree with double-blind testing, for my purposes, if I wanna know if something really makes a difference, I use it for a couple of weeks, and then I put the old 'whatever' back in the chain.

That usually makes it really obvious. If you're just as happy with the old 'thing', then obviously it doesn't matter..

The problem with that methodology is that you've done nothing to eliminate Expectation Bias, the psychological phenomena where your brain fabricates sensory data just because you expect to hear/see/feel a difference after knowingly changing your environment. That's the whole purpose of double-blind tests: if you don't know you're listening to the new gizmo now, and/or you don't know when you've switched back to the old gizmo, your brain is less likely to manufacture non-existant data. If and only if Expectation Bias is eliminated can you be unequivocally certain that what you're hearing is "really" an audible difference between the two gizmos.


Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
I've A/B'd speakers and double-blind tested stuff before only to be more confused than when I started.
Exactly. Sure is a lot harder to hear a difference between, say, a Mogami XLR cable & a Canare XLR cable when you A) don't know which you're listening to at any given point; and especially B) don't know that Mogami & Canare are the 2 brands you're comparing. Some ABX testing aficianados would even go so far to point out the importance of C) where you don't even know that you're "supposed" to be comparing the sound of one XLR cable to the other. (I.e., would you even notice an audible difference between 2 devices if you weren't aware that you were participating in a double-blind test?)
Old 23rd May 2006
  #12
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gon
Who here hasn't been fiddling with the parameters on an EQ or a compressor and imagining hearing changes in the sound, only to discover that the unit was bypassed?

Very good point ! Probably everyone has experienced this but not everybody takes this in account when doing comparisons.

Hans
Old 23rd May 2006
  #13
Lives for gear
 
max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Ross
The problem with that methodology is that you've done nothing to eliminate Expectation Bias, the psychological phenomena where your brain fabricates sensory data just because you expect to hear/see/feel a difference after knowingly changing your environment.
Of course, but I start with the idea that I don't want to spend the money, and therefore am hoping the difference isn't enough to warrant the cost.

But I think a good way to know if you really are getting something out of it is when you miss it enough to bust out the credit card.

My problem with A/B listening is that I always end up focusing on the music, performance, composition, lyrics, and I forget that I'm listening to gear. I wouldn't want to be any other way, but it makes gear shootouts tough.

I was just comparing some stuff last night, and it occured to me that instead of "A/B" testing, I think I prefer "A" testing. I mean, what does it really matter if gear 'A' sounds better or worse than gear 'B'. The real question is "Can I make a good sound with it?"

I think with A/B testing, it's easy to get carried away with the fact that two items sound different. "Wow, I heard the difference between two cables!" Well, did either sound 'good'? Or did they just sound different from each other.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by frans
The theory says it's what this last few feet of AC cable will NOT let through, depends if you are in an industrial neighbourhood that is prone to AC with lots of spikes, whatever. So do YOU hear a difference with or without a special AC cable? If you don't hear a difference, then all's fine.

I think that's the issue.

These products are designed to help subsidize the industry (or at least the manufacturer) at the expense of people who can't be bothered to use the brains nature gave them.

If they "hear" the difference, then by all means, let them throw their bucks into the void.


And if they hear from my late Aunt Tillie, I hope they'll tell her hello for me.

___________

I should probably hasten to add that I am in no way discounting the importance of a clean, steady supply of power. While some modern gear can perform at spec with a wide variety of power supply quality and voltage ranges, some gear can be profoundly affected by anomalies in the supplied power. (And, it has to be noted, that there can be wide variations in supplied power -- particularly in the industrial parks many studios find themselves in, these days.)

But the solution there is in the form of dedicated "power conditioning" -- a well-designed and adequate buffer that will insulate one's gear from the "insults" of inconsistent power supply to one's facility -- not super-duper, platinum plated power cables.

It's my firm belief that a properly made power cable adequate to the amount of current to be carried is not anything close to rocket science.
Old 24th May 2006
  #15
When I first tried these ac cables, I too had an expectation bias.

I expected no difference, all my training told me this was snake oil in a nice package.

I expected that these cables would make zero difference.

Tests through the Audio Precision showed no difference.

Everyone in the room heard the difference. No A/B/X tests were needed as the difference was too easy to pick up on.

So I use them.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 24th May 2006
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Bob Ross's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
I think with A/B testing, it's easy to get carried away with the fact that two items sound different. "Wow, I heard the difference between two cables!" Well, did either sound 'good'? Or did they just sound different from each other.

Yes, I think A/B testing is useful to determine *if* a difference is audible; once you've determined it is, A/B testing becomes much less useful for determining *what* that difference is.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump