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Ethan Winer Builds a Wire Null Tester

svart-hvitt

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The challenge thread at PS Audio:

https://forum.psaudio.com/t/ethan-winers-challenge/8639/14

«His reference system at home is reported to be a vintage Crown 300A and a pair of JBLs of some vintage type. It’s no wonder he doesn’t hear any differences».
Mr. Mcgowan

And there’s more:

«I believe the null test is a great way to determine if there is or isn’t a difference (not giving much information about what the differences are).

But, Ethan snips a piece out of the context of the whole system and expects there to be something different at the single output. This doesn’t account for any number of possibilities that can affect the system itself.

The only ethical way to do this is through the entire system using a system that you can actually
hear the differences on. I don’t believe he possesses such a system and if he did he’s certainly not doing this test properly.

His findings are meaningless.

He’s not actually attempting to find out why we hear a difference, just working hard at proving his own theory there isn’t one is right.

And, I understand the logic. Which is why I am ignoring him».
 

DonH56

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Accidentally clicked the link. Need to not do that again...

Other comments (not by Paul):

"We occasionally get a new member who tries to get us riled up claiming cables sound the same, or that we are otherwise deluding ourselves - usually after they announce themselves as EE’s or a empirical scientist of some stripe. We respond nicely, are polite, and they lose interest."

"I was once told by an engineer that he believes possibly with audiophile fuses, that the filament oscillates with the demands of the music. That the improvements we hear may have to do with controlling the behavior if the filament, besides using superior conductive metals in the design. And, from my limited knowledge, I believe speaker cables do vibrate on a microscopic level when playing music. So, just sending a pure signal though these in a null test may not be enough to reveal where that product really shines."
 

pkane

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The only ethical way to do this is through the entire system using a system that you can actually hear the differences on. I don’t believe he possesses such a system and if he did he’s certainly not doing this test properly.

His findings are meaningless.
I have to wonder what Paul M. thinks of software null testing then:eek: After all, it can work with not just a simple cable but with the whole system. Is that also meaningless?
 

Blumlein 88

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It really is so simple.

I believe when more than one audiophile gets together, there is a oneness of mind, and purpose. Through a myriad of non-verbal communication the group becomes something of a unity. Heart rates synchonize, and the noise both in SPL and in the minds of the audiophiles is quieted considerably.

Now blind testing is so wrong headed. It blunts or wipes out any non-verbal communication and synchronization. The noise level in SPL and in the mind becomes chaotic and much higher. Plus it puts each audiophile as one unitary being in the world with no help from the pervasive life force. No wonder it seems alien. The differences heard have truly been obscured beyond recognition by such a methodology. The simple logic is an inescapable trap for the simple minded out of touch with themselves and the larger world outside of us all.


In the near future I may be starting the Audiophile Heartbeat. I pledge to earmark 5% of proceeds to combating the scourge of blind testing. I hope you'll join me in this life affirming journey of emotion, satisfaction, and help promote the oneness of all mankind through the magic of music.
 

GGroch

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PERFECT Blumlein 88!

I will be one of your 1st members. ;)
Perhaps Amir and Thomas will let you borrow their software and graphics. Or perhaps this is your last post before your are banned.

You hit on a critical difference in the scientific vs audiophile approach. What I read on PSaudio's forum can be boiled down to 2 key points:

Listening is the gold standard for judging audio gear, not electronic measurement.

If we consistently hear differences, and our electronic measurements do not show the differences, then there is something faulty either in the measurement equipment, or in what we are measuring for.

Both of these statements has some truth to them.

I think they are also both objectively false, when the listening tests are not blind.
Ethan, J.J. and many others have objectively proven how, when, and why our ears deceive us. Proof of this deception is objective and repeatable.

BUT.....there are a lot of things we choose to believe because they give us pleasure even if we know or suspect they are objectively false. That may be something science and measurement cannot address.
 

tomelex

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Fascinate on this folks:

The everything has its own sound brigade, the first thing they do is put together a system where everything, and I mean everything including the home mains wiring adds to and can singularily be heard as each part is added into the system creating the total end sound,

then they swap out one component and now parse its own particular sound out of all those other sounding components and wires and describe that contribution to the overall sound.

My god they must have the least fidelity parts (as opposed to high fidelity parts that do not impart a sound signature) in their systems to be able to do that!!!!!!!

And their hearing is so superior, yet can not submit to a simple blind test!!!!

Yes, each specific gear of theirs has to have a "sound" for them to suggest why its better than the "sound" of another gear, and so since they "hear" a specific gear sound in their system then you must "hear this specific sound by this specific gear " in your system which obviously has different "sounding" components than theirs so the whole thing is damn near pointless even if they could hear each gears sound as far a referring it to your systems "sound".

Their whole gig is based on each component having a readily available "sound" signature....and every year a newly introduced "sounding gear" that is different (excuse me superior) than the last years "sound" and they can never make up their minds when they hear "THE SOUND", its a circus I tell you, a mutual circle jer....

This is the road to audio self disillusionment and audio hell.

Can we hear differences in gear, yes, but only to a point. The "believers" believe there is no endpoint or limits to their hearing or their brains/ears fallability and gullablility.
 

JJB70

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Good to see that Paul has retreated into the classic contradiction of the snake selling end of the business - cables (or name expensive items of choice) make such a difference to sound but you can only hear it in special (read $$$$$$$$$$$s) systems and you can't just test different cables in a system and expect to hear differences. It either alters SQ or it does not.

PS. The idea of audiophile fuses is particularly idiotic even by audiophool standards
 

Blumlein 88

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This a bad sounding amp! Along with the IC150 killed the sale of many good sounding speakers of the era.
Okay, warning for fully anecdotal sighted listening impressions.

I agree. My at the time Acoustat Two speakers sounded with the Crown 300A like it did with the Electronic Kinetics Eagle 7A. Like icy death flowing through your veins. Ooooooh it was brittle, and sharp, and harsh and cold. Both amps had power to play, but maybe they didn't like the electrostatic load. They sounded uber-awful. The very definition of old school solid state icy brittleness.
 

rebbiputzmaker

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Okay, warning for fully anecdotal sighted listening impressions.

I agree. My at the time Acoustat Two speakers sounded with the Crown 300A like it did with the Electronic Kinetics Eagle 7A. Like icy death flowing through your veins. Ooooooh it was brittle, and sharp, and harsh and cold. Both amps had power to play, but maybe they didn't like the electrostatic load. They sounded uber-awful. The very definition of old school solid state icy brittleness.
Not just stats. When the crown stuff came out you could walk into stores ans still listen to horns. The Crown stuff sounded like a death ray.

I am not saying this is related to the wire testing being discussed. Crown was very well made, but bad sounding.

The tape machines were very different, lusted after them, but could not afford them. Found Tandberg, great sound but less solid mechanics.
 

Pluto

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How do you measure something if you don't even know that it exists and are too dogmatic in your view to even consider the possibility of it's existence.
I suppose we have to ferret out those Dark Electrons, the Dark Amperage, the resulting Dark Fields, not to mention the interaction of the Speaker and air molecules with the Dark Matter we already "know" pervades our listening rooms
The great thing about the null approach is that you are testing for the stuff we “don't know about”!

Assuming that the task of a wire is to deliver the signal present at one end to the other end, identically*, a null test reveals any differences for any reason, known or unknown.

* Does anybody actually dispute this?
 
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This whole thing is pretty silly. Ethan's null tester is a voltage source. It's unlikely you'd find any audible differences in cables using a scheme like that.

Out in the field though, where audiophiles use crazy preamplifiers/sources that might have considerable output resistance, you could easily find a combination where Cable A might sound different than Cable B.
Ethan seems to overlook this aspect and Paul doesn't seem to know about it.

Dave.
 

GGroch

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This whole thing is pretty silly. Ethan's null tester is a voltage source.......Dave.
At 20:00 of the video he shows the input box (just a splitter), which would accept any crazy amplifier. In this case he is using a media player. The Tester is not the source.
 
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My point is that if the source is a voltage source everything is hunky-dory. If it's not, the interface gets more complicated. That aspect/variable of the scheme needs to made more clear.
 

solderdude

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What would you consider a crazy high output R for a source and do you have a real world example (brand/model) ?
 
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This whole thing is pretty silly. Ethan's null tester is a voltage source. It's unlikely you'd find any audible differences in cables using a scheme like that.

Out in the field though, where audiophiles use crazy preamplifiers/sources that might have considerable output resistance, you could easily find a combination where Cable A might sound different than Cable B.
Ethan seems to overlook this aspect and Paul doesn't seem to know about it.

Dave.
That's like saying an opera singer sounds different if you smack her/him in the face with a dead fish every few seconds while she/he is singing. Sure.. but it won't make the person a better or worse opera singer. You can't really judge the quality of a cable by torturing it with a crappy implementation.

But even if the cables are forced to transmit a current signal by a badly designed preamp, will it really make them respond differently? As far as I've been told, transmission line effects in a short cable at audio frequencies are pretty much non existent?
 
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Transmission line effects? No. :)

As an example though, I repaired an Audible Illusions Modulus 2 a few years ago. I measured nearly 3k ohms output resistance from the line-amp section. Interface that to a 10k ohm load with a longish cable....say 744pF of capacitance....and you have yourself a divider of about -2.5db and an Fc getting fairly close to the audio range. Maybe the following power amplifier might like/dislike that low-pass filter...depending upon how its designed? Maybe some other weird interfacing variable might come into play?
Cable A and Cable B driven from that preamplifier might sound different. Cable A and Cable B driven from a voltage source won't.

Goofy audiophiles do some weird shit with their systems. It's a remote possibility some cable-related thing like this is audible, but it's not impossible.

Dave.
 

DonH56

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My point is that if the source is a voltage source everything is hunky-dory. If it's not, the interface gets more complicated. That aspect/variable of the scheme needs to made more clear.
His tester has variable resistance to emulate a variety of sources, though it went to only 1 k-ohm IIRC (3k is pretty high, tube output?) In practice I cannot imagine it will matter for an audio cable except those that include passive filter components. Since it is a null test you are simply comparing the result (null depth) using various impedance source and load circuits. I don't have a bunch of different cables and components to test (another of those great subjective cries -- "you can't test everything because you don't own everything") but Ethan's range seems more than adequate. You can calculate the HF rolloff and it is way above the audio band for the vast majority of cases. Of course, plenty claim to hear ultrasonics (you can hear beats if something mixes them down, but hearing 100 kHz? Show me.) You can always speculate about combinations and many audiophiles are convinced (by people like Paul?) that their system and hearing create a special case nobody else can fathom or hear.

Goofy audiophiles do some weird shit with their systems.
No argument there! :)
 
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