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Cables made a difference


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Very interesting to see two camps exchanging their reasons (or arguments). The subjective level is so important because we are subjects.  
On the other side we see the scientific approach. Much is logically understandable and technically analyzable and I respect this point of view as well. At least it is the first that I am looking for reasons of sound hearing. And most of it is explainable, as captainheartbeef thankfully does in this thread and in this forum. BTW I am always very grateful when people like him take the trouble to share their knowledge background with all forum members. I can't appreciate that enough because there aren't that many people who are at this recognizably high level of technical expertise. 

I always find the explanations of the scientific camp very important as the first justification of the things of sound experience.
We buy a great expensive cable, everything sounds better, but we do not always know why that is so, from the belief in the better because it was expensive, or interactions with the amp or speaker that make explainable differences, or other nature of the cable properties like inductance capacitance etc...but can there still be a residual that is not so easily explainable? Maybe in the future there will be new additional insights.

 

It is sometimes childish to divide into camps. For example, I find the critical question very justified why a horn should sound softer and better if you connect a different power cable to the amplifier. If the phenomenon is true and a group of people would unanimously hear it as better then a change has taken place. Maybe the manufacturer of the cable doesn't need to know the reasons himself, maybe the manufacturer worked intuitively, maybe scientists need to analyze this thing.
 

Sometimes it's all about the new color coating of the theater stage on which our music takes place. Then change might be more important than truth (whatever that is:)

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12 minutes ago, KT88 said:

And most of it is explainable, as captainheartbeef thankfully does in this thread and in this forum.

 

Someone on this very forum stated the following:

 

"Many people like to think that there are deep mysteries in the world whose understanding is beyond the reach of science and logic. But to imagine that there is so much beyond the reach of science in a little home stereo system is really going a bit far."

 

I hope that this person will identify him/herself so that I can give proper credit.

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3 hours ago, KT88 said:

For example, I find the critical question very justified why a horn should sound softer and better if you connect a different power cable to the amplifier.

 

I can see why people would draw the conclusion that a power cable would make a difference, it is bringing power to your equipment right? The better it can do this the better the amp works right? Totally reasonable assumptions of deduction and logic. Until you understand exactly how your power supply works and then it makes zero sense.

 

Let's think about your 120v household power. Does it remain the same 24/7? Hardly, in fact it jumps around as much as 8%. Not to mention noise and harmonic distortion brought in on the line also. All a power cable can do is increase or decrease it's resistance by conductor size, no other variable in the model can effect anything. For changing loads within the amplifier you will get a drop across the resistance of the cable, more drop (loss) the more current, so ideally you want a large enough conductor to not drop much across it. Still with me? Ok, well run the numbers and you will see the amount of drop is nothing compared to the normal voltage fluctuation of the main power normally that the cable can never change. The cable cannot change the noise or the harmonic distortion either. We engineers know all of this so we design the power supply to not even care about what is happening on the mains or from the mains power. The active components in your gear modulate the DC power supply, that's it, that's literally all we are doing. We make the DC supply from the AC and if you have ever looked at the 120v AC 60Hz sine wave on a scope before and after the rectifiers you would see why nothing on the mains side would ever matter. First we filter out the garbage on the AC side anyway but the rectifiers are grossly non-linear loads, they chop up the 120v 60Hz which produces nasty harmonic distortion, but it doesn't matter because we filter all that out also. After filtering and smoothing we then REGULATE (if a good design) the DC supply in the device so no matter the load we have low impedance source that remains a constant voltage no matter the load.

 

There is absolutely no way a power cable can do anything that many people claim they hear. The only thing the power supply will not fix is if there is too much distortion on the line or DC, that makes the power transformer very unhappy. I would love for anyone to show any sort of correlation between output of amp and it being different with different power cables.

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6 hours ago, PrestonTom said:

I am afraid you are trying to use logic. Some are believing in using magic.

You will have problems if you try and take away the magic.

 

 

 

  • The problem is trying to convince a bunch of nerds with slide rules that there just might be something beyond THD and RMS. I swear some of you should have stuck with that Sears combo stereo your parents gave you in grade school.😄
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1 hour ago, Shakeydeal said:

The problem is trying to convince a bunch of nerds with slide rules that there just might be something beyond THD and RMS. I swear some of you should have stuck with that Sears combo stereo your parents gave you in grade school

 

If it wasn't for the passionate engineers you wouldn't have the great gear you have, it is practically a known rule that THD and "RMS" whatever is meant by that (I think you mean power and low distortion) is not indication of how an amplifier will actually perform or sound good. We are the ones taking it further and making all the correlations between what we hear and the in and out characteristics of a device.

 

I can't speak for others, I only wish to help explain the mechanisms behind the gear that way there people can become more educated consumers. Engineers that dismiss correlations like low THD isn't an end all spec to weigh an a devices prowess, but it should be on the list as it shouldn't be ignored either are just as guilty as the audiophiles that dismiss psychological influence as part of the equation.

 

Cables are of course important, many are on the right track that purchase good quality products at a fair price knowing the point of diminished returns. Hell I don't care if you have so much money to burn that you just need somewhere to spend it, but at the end of the day just acknowledge what it still is, a conductor with predictable equivalent models that adhere to the laws of physics just like everything else. I have mentioned many times that you can hear a difference with examples and explanations. Education is paramount for consumers, wouldn't you like to know that it may not be the conductor making the sound change but the RC network the company hides inside the speaker cable to change the loading on your amplifier? If not that's fine, ignorance can be bliss or hey not everyone cares how things work but if we are going to jump on the internet and discuss these things people will read it and so more information is always best in my book. When someone says speaker cables really smoothed out my harsh bright horns so these $5,000 speaker cables are the best upgrade ever, huge difference!! Wouldn't it be best if everyone knew it was just the $1 worth of resistors and capacitors hidden in the cable that made the sound difference and anyone with $1 can try this on ANY of their cables to see if it improves harsh treble? I personally think that is best for everyone in the hobby to make everyone's life better and easier.

 

It is overwhelming to think that you can only find what is good for you by trial and error, this is the approach many take. Read a review, talk on a forum or two, purchase or take a demo home and listen. The combinations are endless. I prefer to deduce everything down to equivalent models with input and output characteristics. Make correlations between these characteristics and what I hear, or what everyone hears for that matter in regard to "good sound". Then find the best way to achieve the goal with least amount of effort and waste.

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I am a devoted Nelson Pass follower and read and watch most every I can find that he has done and does. He has said that there is a difference and improvement in sound with boutique cables but minimal. Where the rubber meets the road has the most benefit, the amplifier. Sure one can dive into the world of seeking the next fraction of and inch but that will cost much more for just a bit of difference. He also says hearing is a very complicated subject that we do not fully understand and no two people hear exactly the same much as no one has the same fingerprints. He used a friend to test his amplifiers before he died that could hear the difference between negative phase 2nd harmonics and positive phase 2nd harmonics. A feat I would never be able to hear. Something most would never be able to hear unless one has exceptional hearing and probably training to do so. Engineers see things different then the average person. Becoming an audio engineer is not an easy task and is to be admired as I do. Take the "Crash course electronics and PCB design by Udemy" and get a taste of what is involved becoming and engineer. https://www.udemy.com/course/crash-course-electronics-and-pcb-design/

I am glad we have an engineer on this forum giving his opinions being most engineers do not have or take the time for social media platforms. One side will never win when talking about what one hears and the other does not. Reminds me of talk between vinyl vs digital. I prefer vinyl thinking I can hear a difference between the two.  

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4 hours ago, Shakeydeal said:

 

  • The problem is trying to convince a bunch of nerds with slide rules that there just might be something beyond THD and RMS. I swear some of you should have stuck with that Sears combo stereo your parents gave you in grade school.😄

I don't see why you had to resort to personal insults, smiley face notwithstanding.

 

Trust me, we engineers know a whole lot more about signals than THD and RMS, and we put it to work every day. We notice the things that people hear (or at least claim to hear), and we try to figure out why they hear them (assuming that they actually do). That is why sound quality continues to improve all the time. We recognize that there are things that we should but don't measure, and once we figure out what they are, we measure them. 

 

I have no problem with people attributing sonic differences to "things that we don't yet understand", though I do have a problem with attributing huge sonic differences to them -- if the effects were that large we would have noticed and investigated them long ago. But for anybody to claim that there is magic involved is naive. Attributing things that one doesn't understand to magic belongs in the Dark Ages.

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I am not going to tell anyone what they can and cannot hear. But what I know is THE most important part in the reproduction chain is the part that transforms transduces electrical energy into acoustical energy...the LOUDSPEAKER. Isn't that why we all(well most) like and have Klipsch speakers?

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I think cable management is key. As my visitors know I pay careful attention to how the 12g zip cord is strewn about the concrete floor and the loops crossing each other have been carefully calculated. They all agree the resulting sound is superlative.

cable management.jpg

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20 hours ago, captainbeefheart said:

The 18awg you were using was 4x more resistive vs the the 12awg per same run distance of 50'

 

Thank you for showing a clear example of when speaker wire can make a difference. Remember the longer the run the larger the gauge you want as that will have the biggest impact on sound.

 

& I get mocked every time I opine on cabling B), I don't care.

 

Down to 35' each side with a 15 gauge equivalent cable. Speaker A goes to HF, B to LF so maybe it's 7.5 g now... whatever. I compared & can hear this difference also.


"Don't tell me my cabling is snake oil unless you've made direct comparisons yourself and couldn't discern the difference." And if you can't?.... "Why you need Klipsch Willis?"

 

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1 hour ago, babadono said:

I am not going to tell anyone what they can and cannot hear. But what I know is THE most important part in the reproduction chain is the part that transforms electrical energy into acoustical energy...the LOUDSPEAKER. Isn't that why we all(well most) like and have Klipsch speakers?

 

I'm not sure I'd completely agree with that sentiment. Although the loudspeaker is very important, the source and amplification are almost neck and neck with speakers. I have heard some amps with horns and my conclusion was if that was the only amp available, I would be seeking out a different speaker. Fast forward to a different amplifier and the sound is transformed.

 

Now I won't say that speaker cables and interconnects will make or break a system. But when you get all the other pieces of the puzzle right, they are the icing on the cake and allow you to hear better what you paid for.

 

Shakey

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3 minutes ago, Shakeydeal said:

 

I'm not sure I'd completely agree with that sentiment. Although the loudspeaker is very important, the source and amplification are almost neck and neck with speakers. I have heard some amps with horns and my conclusion was if that was the only amp available, I would be seeking out a different speaker. Fast forward to a different amplifier and the sound is transformed.

 

Now I won't say that speaker cables and interconnects will make or break a system. But when you get all the other pieces of the puzzle right, they are the icing on the cake and allow you to hear better what you paid for.

 

Shakey

I think speakers are the most important part as you can't make speakers sound any better than they are capable of. I think a number of people are not quite happy with their sound and figure it is anything but the speakers and off down the tinker road they go. I can testify to different amps sound different and so do PC's if you are using them for sound source. But you can't fix speakers that are fundamentally lacking in the sound you are seeking. I see people agonize over getting that last 5% of fidelity out of their speakers with lots of time and money and infinitesimal and expensive tweeks. If 95% does not work for me on a set of speakers I am looking for a different set of speakers that won't require all that hassle and money to get to my goal. 

 

  There can be fun in fiddling with things and I am certainly a proponent of that. If I have to sit there and struggle to hear improvement from my latest tweak I figure it was not worth it. Cables fall into that category and I have had repeat visitors tell me I need blah blah cables. Fine I say, bring yours next time and lets see. They never bring them.

 

  Sitting in Roy's class two years ago listening to speakers and if I remember right he had an old DX38 + a four channel QSC theater amp and wires strewn about on the floor.  I don't remember if there was other gear in the audio stream but I do remember seeing these and thinking simpler is better.

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Quote

you can't make speakers sound any better than they are capable of.

 

I agree with this. But many aren't using the speakers to their full (or even close) capability. Wouldn't you rather have 98% of the performance than 68%? And I guarantee you that better source components and amplification are going to give you more of what the speaker is capable of.

 

 

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32 minutes ago, Shakeydeal said:

I'm not sure I'd completely agree with that sentiment. Although the loudspeaker is very important, the source and amplification are almost neck and neck with speakers.

 

Like it or not the transducers (speakers) will always have the most distortion in the chain and the hardest to get "accurate".

 

It is far easier to get the electronics accurate compared to any speaker. Horns are known for low distortion but also create their own problems.

 

From a technical stand point it is impossible to beat the price to performance ratio using zip chord for speaker wire because nothing else is needed in terms of variables so long as you size them correctly for the run length. You do reach a point where the length is so long it just adds too much resistance and kills the damping factor. The other variables like series inductance and shunt capacitance in the speaker wire do not make "huge" differences and the vast majority of the time the frequencies that come into play are above what humans can hear anyway. This is where the companies get sneaky, of course there may be a difference at 50kHz but who cares about 50kHz? I don't because music doesn't reside up there. So when talking 20Hz-20kHz very little changes if nothing with anything other than zip chord. Just do not tell people they do not have a good enough ear or system to not hear it because nobody can possibly hear it unless your parents were bats. This is why I ALWAYS recommend to keep the speaker wire run length as short as possible because that is the easiest way to make sure you get the best performance. If you are running over 20' of speaker cable then possibly the parasitic properties may start to come down and effect the music frequency range (<20kHz) then try and pick a low inductance cable with enough gauge to reduce losses and keep damping factor high enough.

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