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Biwiring and Cables, A couple of questions on how to
gdougherty
post Mar 14 2003, 11:39
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QUOTE (Annuka @ Mar 12 2003 - 05:06 AM)
Here is an advanced version of the cat5 cable I suggested. It use 7 cables per speaker and it takes forever to braid the cables. Several people has made this cable and  reviewed it.

Annuka, this is exactly what I was talking about before.

QUOTE (gdougherty @ Mar 11 2003 - 12:31 AM)
As to whether using those pairs or doing some of the complicated braiding techniques listed on the web actually makes a difference, I'm going to have to vote that the results are highly subjective here too. The braiding instructions you can find elsewhere certainly make a nicely wound cable that isn't messy and has a unique appeal, not to mention alot of pride marks for the persons patient enough to endure the ordeal. However, after investing several days of my own time suffering through the absolute tedium of constructing these cables on the expectation that they will outperform even the most highly priced speaker cables available, you'd better believe they'll sound better to me.


I'm seconding KikeG's belief that measurement equiment surpassed human abilities a while back. While I agree it might not reveal which result is subjectively better, it should reveal if there is a significant difference. Theoretically, we could hook up several test sets of cables, run a broadband signal (and probably any number of other test signals) through each, and measure whether there is any significant effect on the signal. Since digital signals can be sent down power cables, I'd imagine it might also be possible to simultaneously transmit a high rate timecode like signal to measure the accuracy of the signal on the other end.

[edit: quoted my previous comment to clarify] (thanks for pointing that out SW)

This post has been edited by gdougherty: Mar 14 2003, 12:11
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SometimesWarrior
post Mar 14 2003, 12:03
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QUOTE (gdougherty @ Mar 11 2003 - 12:31 AM)
As to whether using those pairs or doing some of the complicated braiding techniques listed on the web actually makes a difference, I'm going to have to vote that the results are highly subjective here too.  The braiding instructions you can find elsewhere certainly make a nicely wound cable that isn't messy and has a unique appeal, not to mention alot of pride marks for the persons patient enough to endure the ordeal.  However, after investing several days of my own time suffering through the absolute tedium of constructing these cables on the expectation that they will outperform even the most highly priced speaker cables available, you'd better believe they'll sound better to me.

QUOTE (gdougherty @ Mar 14 2003 - 02:39 AM)
As to whether using those pairs or doing some of the complicated braiding techniques listed on the web actually makes a difference, I'm going to have to vote that the results are highly subjective here too. The braiding instructions you can find elsewhere certainly make a nicely wound cable that isn't messy and has a unique appeal, not to mention alot of pride marks for the persons patient enough to endure the ordeal. However, after investing several days of my own time suffering through the absolute tedium of constructing these cables on the expectation that they will outperform even the most highly priced speaker cables available, you'd better believe they'll sound better to me.

...Déjà vu? Or is this proof that gdougherty is a robot? biggrin.gif

(I eventually figured out that this was an intentional self-quote, sans quote tags. But it really sent my head spinning for a minute.)

Is there a database of measurements taken for various speaker cables? Are the measurements all so similar for any cable better than low-grade that a database would be pointless?
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gdougherty
post Mar 14 2003, 12:07
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QUOTE (Dex4now @ Mar 13 2003 - 04:47 PM)
One of the last points I want to make is: my view on the whole "audible effect of speaker wire" debate, comes fundamentally from listening to two "audiophile" speaker cables on a friends system about 20 years ago.  This was in  the analog days.  I can't remember all the specifics of his system, (he owned the audio store, by the way), but I remember it was a Sumiko cartridge on a Rabco arm, can't remember the base, played through an Audio Research pre-amp, Classe' amp, and whatever the top of the line Magnapans were at that time. (They were four panels.)  Anyway, there very definitely was a difference, albeit subtle, between the two cables.  Neither of us had any bias towards either cable, we just wanted to see if there was a difference. 

This is why I take the position I do when these speaker wire discussions come up.  I can't necessarily state why one cable sounds better, or perhaps I should say, different, than another.  I just know they do.  But even that statement needs qualification.  The difference, I believe, will only be realized in a very expensive system. 

Dex

I can't really buy into this. I sincerely doubt the results of your tests simply because I've caught myself claiming there is a difference even when I can't put my finger on it or even really hear it, I simply suspect it must be there. Our memory, touch, hearing, taste, smell and even vision are all so easily confounded by what our brain expects or suspects that I simply can't trust them outside of any blind statistical tests. Test after test, as well as real world experience, bears out that what we think we sense is not necessarily there.

I'm not calling you a liar, an idiot, gulible or any other such insult. I'm simply suggesting that it's more than likely that you, as well as many other well meaning "audiophiles," have been tricked by your brain into believing in a false reality.

Having believed the line about expensive systems for a while myself, I look back on it and see it now as the last refuge of the backpeddaling audiophile. Whenever I couldn't get reality to gel with logic or my own limited experiences, I fell back on the idea that only super high-end, super transparent equipment must reveal the kinds of differences I expected.

As a business graduate, and a business owner, I've come to recognize that often the pricing of a product has less to do with the material and labor cost of manufacture and more to do with the overhead that contributes to the end sale. i.e. a $10,000 speaker, amplifier or whatever, likely costs only a few hundred dollars, perhaps a thousand or so to manufacture. You really pay for the name, the R&D, the marketing, the administration and the low volume of sales at this price level. The final price then is set on all of that, plus the intended profit, and what the targeted market will bear/expects to pay for the supposed level of quality. Pricing is a very complex animal, yet our world generally expects that a more expensive product is better. Certainly we also allow for exceptions, but in the absence of any other information the general rule of thumb is that "you get what you pay for." My own personal subjective experience is that in terms of actual value, most high-end audio equipment does not adhere to this common logic. To clarify, I personally don't believe that a $60,000 speaker buys you $50,000 worth of value over a $10,000 speaker, but I also can't currently fathom spending ten times the value of my transportation on a pair of speakers when I'm rather happy with my B&W's that cost one tenth the value of my vehicle.
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gdougherty
post Mar 14 2003, 12:14
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QUOTE (SometimesWarrior @ Mar 14 2003 - 05:03 AM)
QUOTE (gdougherty @ Mar 11 2003 - 12:31 AM)
As to whether using those pairs or doing some of the complicated braiding techniques listed on the web actually makes a difference, I'm going to have to vote that the results are highly subjective here too.  The braiding instructions you can find elsewhere certainly make a nicely wound cable that isn't messy and has a unique appeal, not to mention alot of pride marks for the persons patient enough to endure the ordeal.  However, after investing several days of my own time suffering through the absolute tedium of constructing these cables on the expectation that they will outperform even the most highly priced speaker cables available, you'd better believe they'll sound better to me.

QUOTE (gdougherty @ Mar 14 2003 - 02:39 AM)
As to whether using those pairs or doing some of the complicated braiding techniques listed on the web actually makes a difference, I'm going to have to vote that the results are highly subjective here too. The braiding instructions you can find elsewhere certainly make a nicely wound cable that isn't messy and has a unique appeal, not to mention alot of pride marks for the persons patient enough to endure the ordeal. However, after investing several days of my own time suffering through the absolute tedium of constructing these cables on the expectation that they will outperform even the most highly priced speaker cables available, you'd better believe they'll sound better to me.

...Déjà vu? Or is this proof that gdougherty is a robot? biggrin.gif

(I eventually figured out that this was an intentional self-quote, sans quote tags. But it really sent my head spinning for a minute.)

Is there a database of measurements taken for various speaker cables? Are the measurements all so similar for any cable better than low-grade that a database would be pointless?

I don't know that such a database exists or that if it did it would contain anything other than resistance and capacitance. The kind of testing I theorized about (if that's what you were thinking) I've never heard of, and I doubt the equipment currently exists to do that kind of testing (though I'm certain the knowledge to create it exists)
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Pio2001
post Mar 15 2003, 00:01
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QUOTE (Dex4now @ Mar 14 2003 - 01:47 AM)
whatever the top of the line Magnapans were at that time. (They were four panels.)  Anyway, there very definitely was a difference, albeit subtle, between the two cables.

Are not Magnepan "ESL" speakers, as refered in the skin effect article ?

QUOTE
Most modern day loudspeakers are relatively benign loads to drive compared to some of the more difficult ESL designs which typically have impedance dips down to about an ohm at 20kHz.
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Guest_Dex4now_*
post Mar 15 2003, 02:48
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QUOTE (KikeG @ Mar 14 2003 - 12:03 AM)
QUOTE (Dex4now @ Mar 13 2003 - 11:47 PM)
The difference, I believe, will only be realized in a very expensive system. 

And will only be reliable if done under blind conditions.

This is a great example of one of the points I'm trying to make about not getting too caught up in this whole "ABX-blind-testing" thing. Lets take a simple hypothetical situation:

A friend has two speakers, one of which has a small tear in the speaker cone. He invites you over and says, "hey, I want you to listen and see if you can tell if that left speaker has a rip in the cone." You know the rip is there, you know which speaker its in, and you have a good idea what a ripped paper cone is going to sound like. None of this invalidates that you do in fact, hear the difference. It is not the testing methodology that creates the variables.

This is part of the reason that I think we're mixing two different subjects into one discussion. On one hand, you may have a cable manufacturer who wants to test whether or not their new product performs like they designed it to. In this case, ABX style, blind-testing is absolutely necessary and critical. On the other hand, you have perhaps, a casual situation where a friend wants to see what you think of his new "audiophile" speaker wire. The fact that its not scientific does not make it impossible that there might be a difference. It just makes that observance invalid so far as convincing others to make the same purchase.

I hope what I'm trying to say here makes some sense. rolleyes.gif

QUOTE (gdougherty @ Mar 14 2003 - 3:07 AM)
I'm not calling you a liar, an idiot, gulible or any other such insult. I'm simply suggesting that it's more than likely that you, as well as many other well meaning "audiophiles," have been tricked by your brain into believing in a false reality.


I hope you, (or anyone else), doesn't worry about this. I'll never take it that way, as I hope no one takes offence at my comments either. I do find your second sentence here, puzzling though. I don't understand why you think its ". . . more than likely. . ." that my brain tricked me into hearing something I didn't. Perhaps I'm grossly over-simplifying the debate here, but it seems to me that this all boils down to one simple contention: That its impossible that speaker wire, regardless of its construction, could have an audible effect on the music being reproduced. (Obviously, gauge considerations aside.) Is that, actually what folks are saying here? If thats not the contention here, if there could be a difference, isn't it not only likely, but obvious, that someone, somewhere would hear those differences? And why, might I not be one of those people?

And, as a slight aside, if you described my listening habits and stereo system to a thousand "audiophiles", I doubt that any of them would consider me a member of the "club". biggrin.gif Most of my listening, these days, is of mp3's or Ogg's played through a Turtle Beach sound card, into a late 70's vintage Sony amp, into equaly as old Yamaha speakers. Goodies, but oldies. I'm hardly a "tweak" and believe that anyone who runs a green marker around the edge of their CD to "improve" its sound, is truly an idiot.

Dex
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Bedeox
post Mar 15 2003, 17:16
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QUOTE (gdougherty @ Mar 14 2003 - 03:07 AM)
Our memory, touch, hearing, taste, smell and even vision are all so easily confounded by what our brain expects or suspects that I simply can't trust them outside of any blind statistical tests.  Test after test, as well as real world experience, bears out that what we think we sense is not necessarily there.

That's how our brain works, so any abudio quality test without double-blinding is useless...
Do you want setup that sounds good only in comparisons and even that only in some conditions?

Placebo is a Strong Thingy™


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Guest_Dex4now_*
post Mar 16 2003, 00:26
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C'mon Bedeox, you couldn't have meant that how it sounds! I can't compare the sound of an
$80,000 Mark Levinson system with a clock radio without "double-blind" testing?

Surely, thats not what you meant, yet it convey's the idea that we're on two different paths here.

Dex
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Pio2001
post Mar 16 2003, 00:32
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In HA, MP3 vs original, with measurable time smearing and lowpass, has been ABXed. Vinyl vs CD with measurable frequency loss has been ABXed too.
In hifi, very few ABX tests has been done. I don't think it would be difficult to ABX two different speakers, but well, I've not heard of ABX tests done between speakers, so I won't speak of it.

On the other hand, differences between cables, or between original CDs and copies, that are not measurable, have not been ABXed.

The amount of ABX tests done in hifi in general is too little to sort out a correlation between what has been abxed and what should be audible.

But my opinion is that as long as no one ABXes any line cable, digital cable, biwiring, or CD copying, the hypothesis that states that what is not measurable is not audible is a good hypothesis.

I recall that an ABX test with positive results is a proof that a difference was heard, and is not difficult to run. So why doesn't anybody who can hear a difference decide himself and perform a properly designed ABX test to end the debate once for all ?
For me, the most probable answer is that its because there is not any audible effect, and that's why all blind tests fail.
I've not heard of any blind tests done in hifi, because I'm not in hifi mailing lists, but if people tell me that most people in audiophile ML say that blind tests doesn't work, what other reason could there be for this than that they tried and failed ?
Why do they fail ? ABXing MP3 is possible, ABXing CD vs vinyl is possible, ABXing analog copies of CD vs digital copies is possible, therefore ABX blind tests do work.

What's the reason why audiophile say ABX is crap ?
In fact I can see two of them : a logical one, and a pragmatic one.
The logical reason is that in theory there should be no difference audible between different cables of same gauge, or between an original CD and a CDR with the same data, so I don't see anything abnormal in the fact that an ABX test between them would fail.
The pragmatic reason is that setting an ABX test between hardwares like cables, or even CDs, requires two people at least, and more time than for ABXing two files in a computer with headphones.

And if placebo doesn't exists, how do you explain that yesterday when a tried to ABX the track Camouflage - That Smiling Face, that I found to be smeared in MP3 APS vs the original WAV, I was sure to have at least 10/12, because I could perfectly hear the difference, while I had in fact 5/12 only ?
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LoKi128
post Mar 16 2003, 00:57
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QUOTE (Pio2001 @ Mar 15 2003 - 06:32 PM)
And if placebo doesn't exists, how do you explain that yesterday when a tried to ABX the track Camouflage - That Smiling Face, that I found to be smeared in MP3 APS vs the original WAV, I was sure to have at least 10/12, because I could perfectly hear the difference, while I had in fact 5/12 only ?

That is EXACTLY what placebo is! You were positive, convinced that you could hear a difference... but in reality you could not. Similar to when someone buys a new expensive set of cables, and they are positive they can hear a difference, but really they cannot.

At the same time, I just wanna make clear that my opinion of the whole audio quality is that you should not trouble yourself over it too much. If something sounds good to you, great! But at the same time, don't try to convince everyone that your way of doing things is the best way. Just keep it to yourself, and be happy.

But if you really want to get into a discussion with someone about audio quality, then you really need hard data, not subjective. That is because since everyone's perception is different, you have to find a common ground between everyone, and that would be the test equipment and methodologies.
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