SH Spotlight FYI, How to judge interconnects, power cords, speaker cable, etc. Let's share techniques together..

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Jan 31, 2019.

  1. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    Interesting topic. Not sure if it has been informative enough for me from a practical sense.

    Was surprised to find no one mentioned the effects of adaptation on human hearing in A/B comparisons such as this. How long does one have to listen for the differences between cable change ups to stick in memory and not be affected by the adaptive nature of human hearing after the time it takes during the swap.

    This effect happened to me today trying out a multiband compressor to juice up some flat CD music (listening on headphones) and my better judgement established from previous experiments that told me this was a worthless tool reminded me how adaptation twiddling knobs making me think this tool is the best thing since sliced bread only made me realize as before that I needed to walk away from my DAW and come back to hear what I thought sounded SPECTACULAR to now sound like garbage. And that's because my ears adapted to the multiband compressor's effect at FIRST LISTEN. After some time twiddling knobs and sliders I thought it sounded the best it could only to come back after my ears adjusted to the silence to realize again I wasted my time.

    Has anyone here including the OP tested for this adaptive effect and if so how do you know that isn't what's changing your perception?
     
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  2. I was in the same camp for a long time. And until today, I haven't even experimented with different power supplies. But I have heard an argument that made it very plausible to me that such differences can very well exist, and probably do.

    Why would you install a water filter for your tap water, when you have all those old, rusty or dirty water pipes running up to your house (for those who have city water)?
     
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  3. Ezd

    Ezd Forum Resident

    Not my intention to get the discussion off track, but I have to disagree... Perhaps you or I would do poor job of explaining how a lightbulb works, but I suspect it is an easy task for an electrical engineer.
    I have difficulty in understanding opposition to blind audio testing. I can think of no reason of why one's eyesight is required when judging audio quality...
    My technique is to use music that I have been listening to for decades when evaluating something different
     
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  4. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Basic Member

    Location:
    Ohio
    I’m not saying anything about double blind or Controlled experiment, that’s fine. I’m really taking about the guys that say, “I’m an electrical engineer, I know science and Can therefore have an opinion about all cables without hearing them.”

    It happenes all the time. My favorite are the guys that are electricians or work for the power company. I can promise you the guy that ran 220 line to my hot tub has an opinion about power cords to stereo equipment but doesn’t have a trained ear to evaluate a double blind experiment in sound.

    What I don’t understand is why people get so hot and insulting about the topic. I have no problem believing people when they tell me that can’t hear a difference. That doesn’t mean that others can’t. As Steve said in his fist post, it takes some time, some effort and knowing what to listen for. You can know everything in the world about electricity but if you don’t know how to listen, that double blind test isn’t going to be very helpful. A sound engineer has a different skill set from an electrical engineer.
     
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  5. Buddys Dad

    Buddys Dad Forum Resident

    Location:
    melton mowbray
    As a (former) senior mod on a well known UK hifi forum we'd don the tin hats and alert the mod team whenever someone lit the fuse, yelled Fire In The Hole & got a cable discussion going.
    Heated argument/ colourful language/advanced physics/quantum theory/blind testing/decades of experience/gallons of snake oil were guaranteed.
    Then we'd all meet up at Bake Offs like it never happened.

    Despite building pure silver speaker cables myself, and having a dedicated power supply installed... I'm a sceptic.
    But I agree what does work is some often overlooked, well implemented room treatment.
     
  6. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Basic Member

    Location:
    Ohio
    Cable discussions always suck. It’s weird and it always makes me think “Am I really a part of this, what has become of my life?”
     
    Ezd likes this.
  7. Philip Begley

    Philip Begley Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ireland
    I can understand how installing a a decent copper earth rod or/and power conditioner/filter might improve things but the mere changing of an IEC cable........ sounds like ju-ju magic to me!!
     
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  8. BIGGER Dave

    BIGGER Dave Forum Resident

    I believe changing IEC cables can help under certain conditions. For example, if the Romex cable in your walls is 12/3 (three 12 gauge conductors), and the IEC’s to your audio components are 18/3 (or 16/3 or even 14/3), then I believe there is a potential there for a bottleneck. Does it create a perceptible difference? Maybe, maybe not, as everyone hears things differently. In the end, I believe people should do what makes them happy!
     
  9. StateOfTheArt

    StateOfTheArt Beatle Know-it-all

    Location:
    Greenville, SC
    If you can't measure it, it isn't there. I'm sure Steve has the gear to measure the differences no?
     
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  10. Kimiimacman

    Kimiimacman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Berkshire UK
    Seriously?
     
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  11. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Oh, I have noticed this when changing components. Sometimes hearing something new is perceived as better. Then when you come back to it later it sounds like crap. This has led me to believe if I had only stuck with the stuff I bought back in the 80s, I would have saved TONS of money as I eventually came back to owning the same equipment today.
     
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  12. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Every electronics repair technician I have ever known does not think cables, capacitor or resistor change, or just about any upgrade makes one iota difference in sound quality. I have asked all of them what kind of stereo they have and they tend to have either none or some department store rack system like Soundesign or Sanyo etc.
     
  13. wwaldmanfan

    wwaldmanfan Born in the '50's

    Location:
    NJ
    Not to be argumentative, but perhaps not a good analogy. An AC power cord from wall socket to amp does not "filter" anything.
    I'm sure transformers, power conditioners, etc, have some effect. But, strictly speaking, changing out a generic, $10 14AWG SJT power cord for a fat, expensive one is not going to change the SQ of your stereo.
     
  14. StateOfTheArt

    StateOfTheArt Beatle Know-it-all

    Location:
    Greenville, SC
    This.
     
  15. Tullman

    Tullman Senior Member

    Location:
    Boston MA
    I agree, but system burn it is important as well, especially break-in using your speakers. I put some Vahalla's in my system that were burned in using the Vidar cooker for five days. It still took many hours for them to settle into my system.
     
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  16. Tullman

    Tullman Senior Member

    Location:
    Boston MA
    I agree that making judgements after the first listen is not a good idea. I don't agree with the ears adapting. I hear what I hear, each time I listen.
     
  17. Tullman

    Tullman Senior Member

    Location:
    Boston MA
    I used to think everyone could hear what I hear, but after reading some people on this forum over the years I believe that some people need ear training or never will be able to hear as well as other people do. Of course, some systems can't resolve enough for some cables to make a huge difference.
     
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  18. jonwoody

    jonwoody Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC
    I am a pretty terrible audiophile, it seems every time I drop a new cable in the system rather than go to a few favorite tracks/albums I just blithely go about listening to whatever I want. Blame streaming perhaps? So I end up assessing more based on my mood and my ability to relax and connect with the music. My system has been pretty stable for a while so I feel like I have a good handle on how it can sound.

    Oddly enough most recently a cable that had a pretty profound effect and really surprised me was the digital coax cable running from streamer to dac. I had a cable I really liked knocked my streamer off a shelf trashed the cable. Whilst it was off getting repaired I threw an old Monster digital cable into the system, at first was like ok this works. After a few days I was losing my mind and bought a used cable to replace it definite improvement, my original cable came back and when I inserted it I just had a huge aaaaaahhh moment. This I will admit quite surprised me but I guess as they say everything matters!
     
    Dave likes this.
  19. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    I really do wish people had read the article I posted. This was Roger Nichols, the man who recorded Aja, Gaucho and Two Against Nature and won a bunch of Grammies. Here's the link again:

    Roger Nichols: Across The Board |

    From the article:

    I have been using balanced power for about 10 years. I have had fewer digital errors when transferring signals between equipment. Electrical AES and S/PDIF work as well as optical now. On the analogue side, my transformerless tube mic preamp is 15dB quieter. As an average, all analogue equipment has measured 12 to 16 dB quieter just because of the balanced power.​

    The reason why wired digital connections might not work as well as optical is because of differences in ground potential between two pieces of equipment, introducing errors that have to be corrected.

    Electricity is the original "garbage in/garbage out."
     
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  20. jonwoody

    jonwoody Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC
    I wasn't comparing spdif and optical digital cables all three cables I used were spdif so not sure how this is applicable to my post?
     
  21. StateOfTheArt

    StateOfTheArt Beatle Know-it-all

    Location:
    Greenville, SC
    Did you? Not a smart idea. Here's the follow up article. Extremely dangerous folks.
    Crosstalk: Readers' Writes |
     
  22. Norco74

    Norco74 You can tell me by the way I walk...

    Not this!
     
  23. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    Different quality of ground connections.

    The shield on any SP/DIF or AES connection is connecting the ground planes of two components, that may have different electrical potentials. Nichols pointed out that this can cause errors in the data stream that have to be concealed.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019
  24. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    I read that, and the gist of it is fuses and switches on most equipment are only protecting the traditional hot wire. The Equi=Tech equipment in the audiophile review I posted has ground fault interrupters on every circuit which protects both sides.

    That poster had legitimate points, but it's mostly a warning to not fiddle with this if you don't have someone knowledgeable to help.
     
  25. unclefred

    unclefred Coastie with the Moastie

    Location:
    Oregon Coast
    It's really important to plug your ears when comparing Blu ray to dvd 's, otherwise it's just confirmation bias. Of course, some people need glasses...
     
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