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Ethan Winer Builds a Wire Null Tester

GGroch

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Perhaps we could agree to set aside null testing of every "breakthrough technology" cable that is advertised with the bold disclaimer,
"It is possible but not likely that this cable could make a positive difference in a few poorly designed audio systems." ;)
 

mansr

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Perhaps we could agree to set aside null testing of every "breakthrough technology" cable that is advertised with the bold disclaimer,
"It is possible but not likely that this cable could make a positive difference in a few poorly designed audio systems." ;)
Make that "this poorly designed cable."
 

dreite

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Perhaps we could agree to set aside null testing of every "breakthrough technology" cable that is advertised with the bold disclaimer,
"It is possible but not likely that this cable could make a positive difference in a few poorly designed audio systems." ;)
Now you're just being a smart ass.
Out.
Dave.
 

GGroch

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Not at all Dave. I am dead serious.

Your argument has shifted from "the null test is invalid because it provides it's own source", (which it does not), to "there may be some circumstances in which electronically odd pre-amps, like the Audible Illusions Modulus, behave differently than the media player source used in this test."

Others here who know more than I doubt that there is a difference.

Regardless, Even if you are right, you have already undercut the argument made by Paul, the posters on the PSAudio forum, and virtually every other high end cable manufacturer.

They never qualify the benefits of their cables. They never limit the benefits to unusual situations. They just say "Listen".

Then if you do not hear the benefits they blame it on your poor or untrained hearing, your damn scientific agenda, or your use of a lousy Crown amplifier.

That's B.S., and we both know it.
 

rebbiputzmaker

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Not at all Dave. I am dead serious.

Your argument has shifted from "the null test is invalid because it provides it's own source", (which it does not), to "there may be some circumstances in which electronically odd pre-amps, like the Audible Illusions Modulus, behave differently than the media player source used in this test."

Others here who know more than I doubt that there is a difference.

Regardless, Even if you are right, you have already undercut the argument made by Paul, the posters on the PSAudio forum, and virtually every other high end cable manufacturer.

They never qualify the benefits of their cables. They never limit the benefits to unusual situations. They just say "Listen".

Then if you do not hear the benefits they blame it on your poor or untrained hearing, your damn scientific agenda, or your use of a lousy Crown amplifier.

That's B.S., and we both know it.
Conversations like this always degenerate, they don't have to. Why is there such a powerful desire to prove someone wrong?

An open question, not that it belongs here but... Nor discussed here. but, How can engineers believe in religion?
 

GGroch

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Conversations like this always degenerate, they don't have to. Why is there such a powerful desire to prove someone wrong?
You make a good point. If one can have a reasoned civil conversation about test methodology, it should be here. I may have been overly emphatic at the start, and apologize if that is the case. However.... dreite's first post calls the discussion "silly" because Ethan's test was invalid due to using a "voltage source".

Perhaps I do not know what distinguishes a "voltage source" from the media player that was actually used, but this, was in the context of the immediately preceding posts (the links to the PSAudio forum) that are a list in which the Null tests are deemed invalid for spurious reasons. And dreite's 1st post seemed to me to be another spurious objection based on not understanding the test.

Dietre is right that the test as shown in the video does not simulate every real world situation. But, Ethan's device is designed to use ANY preamp as a source...and it is good science to determine the circumstances in which cables might matter. I would be surprised if Ethan would not be open to using different sources, especially those in which there is a possibility cables have an impact. It appears that is exactly why he designed the tester the way he did.

My "Smart Ass" reply was because a scientific determination of whether there are some circumstances in which a cable might matter is not at all what Paul and other cable vendors are talking about.

Rather (and I admit being riled up by reading the PSAudio forum...including several authored by Paul himself that are not reasoned, civil, or valid.) they rely on ad hominem attacks about Ethan's hearing, motivations, and biases. My smart ass vitriol was aimed totally at them, not dreite.
 

DonH56

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An open question, not that it belongs here but... Nor discussed here. but, How can engineers believe in religion?
Unlike subjectivist audiophiles, we know we do not know everything, and do not have all the answers. "Knowledge from books and teachers; creativity from God." Interestingly, some of the very smartest engineering friends I have, are also quite religious.

Have some faith... ;)
 

dreite

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Did I say Ethan's test was "invalid?" I think you better re-read my posts again. :)
And you also seem to like putting quotation marks around incorrectly para-phrased comments. (Rather irritating.)

For the record, I think Ethan's test is perfectly fine and well executed
But maybe you didn't catch the fact that my premise was playing devil's advocate highlighting potential pitfalls that might be found in real-world systems and not with a null-tester.

Dave.
 

amirm

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But maybe you didn't catch the fact that my premise was playing devil's advocate highlighting potential pitfalls that might be found in real-world systems and not with a null-tester.
I thought you made a good point regarding gear with high output impedance. I suspect though vast number of subjective fidelity differences of cables is with gear with low output impedance. Still, would be good to have a positive control with high source impedance device.
 

SIY

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If memory serves, the AI preamp just used a pair of 6DJ8 sections in parallel in common cathode with the output taken from the plate. So its gain and distortion are completely dependent on the load- a 250K input impedance power amp will give totally different results (gain, bandwidth, distortion) than a 20k input impedance power amp. So an incompetent design where the cables will be almost the least of your problems.

Fortunately, this kind of thing is a minuscule niche. Any engineered source (99.9% of what's out there) will much more closely approximate a voltage source.
 

solderdude

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Dreite may have a point when he states that some really high output resistance gear (this excludes about 99.9% of gear most people own) when using long or very high capacitance cables versus 'standard' or low capacity cables may indeed cut into the audible band.
That would make someone hear differences in this situation.

But as GGroch already mentioned... folks are hearing (sorry.. report) cable differences on all kinds off gear, ranging from cheap to high-end.
It is highly unlikely all of these folks are using unusually high output R devices that affect the upper limit of our hearing.
 
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Why do some people find it so difficult to simply accept that there are differences we cannot account for scientifically (yet)? Is that just not possible?
 

svart-hvitt

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Why do some people find it so difficult to simply accept that there are differences we cannot account for scientifically (yet)? Is that just not possible?
Strawman!

Every scientist is a curious person. If he can find anything new, undiscovered it would be celebrated.

The thing is, factors that disappear in blind tests, and cannot be measured, will not be celebrated. Science is a robustness check to filter signal from noise.
 

March Audio

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Why do some people find it so difficult to simply accept that there are differences we cannot account for scientifically (yet)? Is that just not possible?
Because electrical theory and engineering is extremely mature, developed and proven.

We don't have to know everything to know enough to be confident in the conclusions.

Why do some feel the need to believe in fairies?
 

solderdude

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Why do some people find it so difficult to simply accept that there are differences we cannot account for scientifically (yet)? Is that just not possible?
We certainly do not know everything on how the brain actually 'hears' and how that varies from person to person.
That's the area where 'science' does not know every thing for sure.
Even acoustics is a field of science where we don't know everything, but at least we know more of this through (repeatable) measurements.

On the electric side, where signals are concerned, we DO know everything and can measure each aspect in great detail.

When considering the above .. where do you reckon most 'perceived' differences may come from ?
The brain's interpretation + acoustics or the measurements ?
 

Killingbeans

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Why do some people find it so difficult to simply accept that there are differences we cannot account for scientifically (yet)? Is that just not possible?
I'm a relatively open-minded person, but I also accept that some possibilities are so vanishingly low, they can safely be disregarded. This is IMO one of them.

Those, who believe these things, have a way, way too high regard for the technical complexity of audio equipment. I would imagine that most people working with RF technology will find the problems, that hi-fi designers face, laughably simple.

We can build things like ITER and CERN, but we can't accurately measure the tiny spectrum between DC and RF?

I can't help seeing these claims as arrogance, but I hope they are just ignorance... no offence.
 
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JJB70

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Why do some people find it so difficult to simply accept that there are differences we cannot account for scientifically (yet)? Is that just not possible?
Scientists and engineers tend to be much more aware of the limitations of human scientific knowledge and invention than most. In fact one of the whinges often directed at engineers is that they insist on caveating answers to questions and won't just offer straight yes or no answers. However when it comes to wires and electricity transmission it is such a basic aspect of knowledge and so well understood that it is not really credible to think that there are great unknown mysteries just waiting to be solved which will transform everything we think we know and explain why those Nordost, Furutech, PS Audio etc gizmos actually work and are top value. Think about it for a moment, almost everything around us, everything we do, sending people into space, harnessing nuclear energy, our entire transport infrastructure, weapons systems and everything else is predicated on the efficacy of Ohms Law and the other elemental relationships of electrical engineering yet people who want us to buy $1000 power chords want us to believe that we don't really know how wire works?
 

RayDunzl

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I don't get out much.

Do folks on (just for an example) the Video Display forums get all choked up with their choice of display and argue like this about unknown qualities of the light waves (and other unknown phenomena) they emit?
 

GGroch

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Do folks on (just for an example) the Video Display forums get all choked up with their choice of display and argue like this about unknown qualities of the light waves they emit?
I don't think so Ray. Audio is different somehow. I would love to see a thread on ASR about why that is. I have some ideas, but I would like to hear the opinions of those who have considered it more thoroughly.
 

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