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Comparing my three XLR cables from DAC to amp

LightninBoy

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Hi Blumlein 88,
Thanks for showing the result.
Yes, it is a funny feeling. And, how to say, somewhat refreshing, too. :)

You are in good company. Here's a thread if you want to read how several of us have been humbled ...

 

Holmz

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Hello LightninBoy, thanks for the testing and the nice comments. :)
I am convinced that I'm another ordinary person. :)

B.S.
…the ordinary person would be more resistant to testing and admitting to the possibility of being wrong.

An EE would dismiss it out of hand (after ascertaining no physical problem with the cables) knowing the same signal type XLR and 1.5' long cable could not possibly make a difference. It defies all basic concepts and the physics.

I can be fooled easily, but not convince myself I hear something knowing what the system and change was.
Perhaps in a blind test.
I might hear a change but not provide detailed nuances of them in specific terms and frequency ranges.
"It sounds different" would be the extent, even if that.

Now he knows.

I’ve not really seen that from my experience.
If anything it has been that the physics based generally want to know the nature of how it works.
And there are a variety of EE sub disciplines.
(EE seems more like the application of the physics.)

If the output impedance of the D90 was high and the input impedance to the A90 low, then we could easily have a filter from the cable.
If that was not possible, then why does both Magomi and Canare published the capacitance and inductance of these cables per meter or foot?

I would assume it is so that the EE types can work it out exactly… It is not a hand waving thing that a EE is imbued with, like Luke Skywalker has the force… as these cables get longer and longer then the EE can workout the effects and how to ameliorate them.
 
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Holmz

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Just get blind... drunk and forget about the cables. :cool:

What is the rated impedance of each cable?


JSmith

In post #12 I mentioned that Mogami publishes their specs.
The length was stated as 5’ in post #1.
 

voodooless

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if the output impedance of the D90 was high
It’s not: 200 ohm.
and the input impedance to the A90 low
2k balanced, 10k singles ended. High enough.
then we could easily have a filter from the cable.
If that was not possible, then why does both Magomi and Canare published the capacitance and inductance of these cables per meter or foot?
Because it can be relevant in certain cases and especially with long lengths of cable.

And even then, there is no magic here. Any possible effect can be fixed with a tiny bit of EQ.
 
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solderdude

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For those who commented and help me to test further, I thank you very much.

Can be a sobering experience.... I started 'testing while removing the knowing' bit and level matched about 30 years ago.
I can tell you I still am easily fooled, even to this day.
The object of the testing game is to remove the 'knowing' part. This is why people hearing a clear difference hate this methodology and believe the test method is flawed and its the method that makes everything sound the same.

In the end... I don't mind if people state cable A is better than B. When it brings them more enjoyment and they don't mind spending the cash on it then I am all for it. As long as I don't have to pay for it :)
Downside is the misinformation it leads to. To that I say: it is up to each individual to research what they plan to buy. Proper info is out there.
 

voodooless

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In the end... I don't mind if people state cable A is better than B. When it brings them more enjoyment and they don't mind spending the cash on it then I am all for it. As long as I don't have to pay for it :)
Downside is the misinformation it leads to. To that I say: it is up to each individual to research what they plan to buy. Proper info is out there.
As a general rule, I'd agree. The problem is that to understand any of this, you'll need a bit of knowledge about physics, psychology and marketing (among other things). Most "normal" people don't have this knowledge, nor do they have any idea where to get the correct information, and even if they do find something, how do they validate it?
 

solderdude

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Yep true for just about any product people are wanting to buy.
 

Holmz

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It’s not: 200 ohm.

2k balanced, 10k singles ended. High enough.

Because it can be relevant in certain cases and especially with long lengths of cable.

And even then, there is no magic here. Any possible effect can be fixed with a tiny bit of EQ.

If you review my actual post that those quote came from, it was something akin to an “Ishikawa diagram like” description of things that could cause a difference.

And the OP went and measured the system with all three cables.

One usually starts with something like an Ishikawa diagram and works through what to check out.
We all sort assumed that one of the fish bones would be psycho-accoustic, even if that was not stated in my description of “how it could be different”.
I was focused on how it could physically have cable differences that could produce a difference in sound.

We already (most of us) knew it was not likely that the input and output impedances would be out of whack.

So please read the message in the spirit of how we check these things, and not as something to pick apart as an “advocacy for” (or belief of) the system having a different sound from cables.


As a general rule, I'd agree. The problem is that to understand any of this, you'll need a bit of knowledge about physics, psychology and marketing (among other things). Most "normal" people don't have this knowledge, nor do they have any idea where to get the correct information, and even if they do find something, how do they validate it?
Well the OP did it.
So we have one person now.
 

Ingenieur

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B.S.
…the ordinary person would be more resistant to testing and admitting to the possibility of being wrong.



I’ve not really seen that from my experience.
If anything it has been that the physics based generally want to know the nature of how it works.
And there are a variety of EE sub disciplines.
(EE seems more like the application of the physics.)

If the output impedance of the D90 was high and the input impedance to the A90 low, then we could easily have a filter from the cable.
If that was not possible, then why does both Magomi and Canare published the capacitance and inductance of these cables per meter or foot?

I would assume it is so that the EE types can work it out exactly… It is not a hand waving thing that a EE is imbued with, like Luke Skywalker has the force… as these cables get longer and longer then the EE can workout the effects and how to ameliorate them.

I'm saying the notion of a difference won't manifest in someone who understands these things when he knows only that a 1.5' cable of the same type was exchanged.

They would not expect an outcome, predisposed to influence, because they know it could not, they would not be open to the possibility.

They would expect the result as plugging a lamp in with 3 different extension cords. Once the fluff is blown away it is the same thing.

Yes, multiple EE subject areas, but all built on the same fundamentals, same first 2+ years of course work.

You can model the cable 'filter', never less than xxx kHZ.
 
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Holmz

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I'm saying the notion of a difference won't manifest in someone who understands these things when he knows only that a 1.5' cable of the same type was exchanged.

Again BS.
  • The OP (to his/her great credit came here asking.)
  • They have a degree in physics.
  • They did the test and found it was likely psychological.
Many of the “normal persons” just dig their heels in, ad say a bunch of things ad nausem.

Or maybe my “normal persons” crowd is more gullible than yours?


You might be right, but I am bouyed that the OP actually did the work.
It seems rare to me.
 

earlevel

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Sidenote: never read a discussion that vocals sounded completely different by using a different microphone cable in the studio. This fixation on cables seems to be an 'audiophile' thing only.
This is a very good point.

Cables are a frequent topic for audiophiles, who are largely amateur listeners (some are professionals—sell audio products, write about them, or create them).

Cables are a rare topic on forums filled with recording industry professionals. When they pop up, they don't last long and contain suggestions to search for "monster cable versus coat hanger", etc. These are forums that will discuss 24-bit dither daily for years in a single thread, the merits of various tube brands and new versus "new old stock". This should tell you something, when $8k mics (often a locker of them) and $4k compressors and preamps are routine fair. And no one is spending $500 on a cable.

Even a small recording studio has far more cables than any audiophile listening environment, and they're typically much longer than used by audiophiles, which are usually a clump of components that are very close to each other, the speaker cables are usually the longest and are carrying relatively high voltage and current.

In the recording studio, that $3k, $5k, $12k mic with a tiny signal is traveling perhaps dozens of feet from the sound room to the preamp, maybe another long stretch to the console. And the cable is likely $1.59 a foot (Mogami 2534) and a couple of $3 Neutrik XLR connectors—not because they sound sweet, because they are high quality and reliable. And there may be dozens in play at the same time in a recording session (miking drums, piano, etc.).

And when a heavyweight recording or mix engineer (Chris Lord-Alge, etc.) is brought in, he has no concerns about those cables whatsoever. Never heard of someone wanting to record at a certain studio because they had "premium cables". :p
 

jensgk

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I'd like to credit @solderdude for his anecdote for showing how our brains can be fooled.
Here is another anecdote, that I found. It is a report from a meeting at the Copenhagen HIFI Club a few years back (in Danish, - use Google Translate): http://kbh-hifi.dk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/140208-Klubmøde-Kabler.pdf

Here is an unmodified Google Translate translation of the most important paragraph of the report:

To kickstart the test again, we switched to Martin's Acoustic Zen. A Japanese cable with box
and electricity and a nice transport bag. There were a few who preferred this over the red LAT.
For fun, we plugged in the club's Northeast cable again and this time there was full output. That
must have been a loose connection.
While it was discussed whether it was the club's or LAT that was best sneaked Dennis
around the plant. He had helped line up and could watch
the input selector that there was something not connected. He could see that we were on
the balanced entrance which was not the one we used for the dacen.
It turned out that we had listened to the club's Sony player directly in all the previous ones
tests! There were collective red ears because we had all heard differences between the cables,
the referee included.

We quickly switched to the right input and double-secured by peeling the plugs from the CD
out. We rotated the cables again, but it was a bit thin with comments this time .
 

voodooless

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There were collective red ears because we had all heard differences between the cables,
the referee included.

We quickly switched to the right input and double-secured by peeling the plugs from the CD
out. We rotated the cables again, but it was a bit thin with comments this time .
And going right back into sticking their heads back into the sand :facepalm: They could have just stopped after "the finding" ;)
 
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maty

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Thanks a lot, Blumlein and solderdude.
I reduced to ~15 sec in FLAC format.

I used the sound card in my desktop (RealTek) using 3.5mm-to-RCA cable by blue jean. Hope this answers your question.

* With JRiver MC, 2 sounds better, with more impact of percussion than 1 but the difference is very small.

* With foobar2000, I can not differiantate.
 

kongwee

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Cables are a rare topic on forums filled with recording industry professionals. When they pop up, they don't last long and contain suggestions to search for "monster cable versus coat hanger", etc. These are forums that will discuss 24-bit dither daily for years in a single thread, the merits of various tube brands and new versus "new old stock". This should tell you something, when $8k mics (often a locker of them) and $4k compressors and preamps are routine fair. And no one is spending $500 on a cable.
They buy bulks and make themselves. If factor their work man hours, it can be over $500.
 
D

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I have Topping D90 MQA and Topping A90, together with Hifiman Ananda. So, I wanted to have a good enough (but not expensive) XLR cables to connect D90 and A90.
- First, I ordered one from Markertek. (Canare's premier L-4E6S Star-Quad cable) https://www.markertek.com/product/s...in-xlr-male-to-3-pin-xlr-female-gray-1-5-foot
- Since the delivery time was long at that time, I bought another from Monoprice. (Again, Star-Quad.) Stage Right by Monoprice STARQUAD XLR Microphone Cable, Optimized for Analog Audio - 24AWG

When comparing the two, I was surprised by how different the two XLR's sound.
- I became curious, and so, googled to buy another one by WBC. (This time, Mogami 2549) https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0979LF3Y6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Before expressing what I found in more detail, FYI,
- I majored in Physics, and I am an engineer. So, I think I roughly understand the articles in ASR and in other sites on the basics of XLR cables in room environment with short distance (<10 ft). In my case, the length of all three cables was 1.5ft. So, I think, in principle, the three cables should not show noticeable difference in sound.

Stilllllll, I can't but say that the sounds from the cables are different. I really don't understand why, thought.

- WBC one became my baseline since the frequency balance is the best among them, and still, treble is accurate and not confined.
- I love the airy and clear treble by Monoprice Stage Right. The sound by female vocal or by guitar picking is fantastic. (Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, Acoustic Alchemy, Dave Grusin, etc) But.. it lacks kicking in the bass.

I ended up spending ~$100, but it was a fun comparison. :)
I am still curious why they sound so different.
Can you say placebo? Now let’s use this in a sentence… Every XLR cable you used after the first one had a placebo effect on you. All I know it’s convincing that placebo, but it’s placebo nevertheless. Been there done that 1000 times over.

The only way, I repeat the only way that the sound is going to change from any wire/cable/interconnect is if it’s not made properly or broken. Why do people continue to make mountains out of mole hills? I’ll tell you why, because it’s money driven by much of the audio industry. I got baited, warning warning danger danger Will Robinson Clickbait ahead, or behind in this case.

I don’t mean to be condescending, and in all seriousness I’ve never heard a difference in any cable I’ve had. You should see my cable corner, it’s full of $600 or $800 worth of cables that all sound the same.
 
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earlevel

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They buy bulks and make themselves. If factor their work man hours, it can be over $500.
[Context, you replied to me saying, about recording industry professionals: "This should tell you something, when $8k mics (often a locker of them) and $4k compressors and preamps are routine fair. And no one is spending $500 on a cable."]

No. Mogami W2534 Neglex Quad, very popular in studios, is $1.59 by the foot, or just over a buck a foot for a spool (Canare is also popular, much cheaper). A few bucks for connectors, whether XLR or phone (Neutrik XLR ~$3 each end, single price, some like Switchcraft).

I bought a spool of the Mogami decades ago for $250 if I recall correctly, and buy Neutrik connectors on Amazon when they are a good price, sometimes under $2. So, a professional-grade 25 ft mic cable costs me under $30 and a few minutes time, the Neutriks are really easy to use. Even at what I bill per hour, we're talking maybe $50, not $500.

I've been in a number of studios over the years, including Capitol Records. They require a lot of cables. I've never been in one where there is any indication whatsoever that they used $500 cables, it's unnecessary and would dent the budget for actual good stuff like mics. The most expensive 30 foot mic cable I can find on Sweetwater is $125 (Mogami cable with Neutrik connectors—basically the same as I make, but this one is for stage and probably uses braided cable, similar cost).
 

jensgk

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Sound is like trouble. If you go looking for it you will find it. You are looking for a difference so you are finding it. No more, no less. We have all fooled ourselves.
That is a great way of saying it. I will surely quote you :)
 
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