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This audio cable business is getting out of hand...

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What's really set a bee going off in their bonnets is the success of ASR and the following the objective community has started to put together. Jim Austin's paranoid rantings in recent "As We See It's" has been the proof of our success. (See the Aug 2020 issue and last Dec).
I've read that article and more importantly the comments below it. Several from Jim Austin. I have to say that his position does not sound too bad. Although it kinda collides with their "Recommended equipment" features (the one about cables is beyond belief, tbh).

For those newer members here, be sure to read Peter's complete Legacy writings
http://www.biline.ca/audio_critic/audio_critic_web1.htm#acl

Also from Issue 26 Fall 2000 read "The 10 Biggest Lies In Audio"
https://www.biline.ca/audio_critic/mags/The_Audio_Critic_26_r.pdf
Thanks for these, much appreciated.
 

Sal1950

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Speakers, not so much. Most speakers & headphones are easy to differentiate in blind testing.
True, also speakers and headphones measure radically different and much about their sound charactor can be determined from that.
 

jsrtheta

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Just got BANNED from Steve Hoffman Forums!

Wow!

Someone started a thread on the SH audio gear forum about having his view changed on audio cables by listening to some Nordost cables in a friend's system.

Naturally there were cable believers chiming in right off the bat. One gave a list of why there is a controversy at all about cables, the final reason "Posters are deaf." (Obviously, those who deny differences are deaf). So the snark started immediately from the cable side.

Another member (who some of us would recognize from an appearance here) chimed in that when people talk of not hearing differences, or about imagination or biases, he thinks they lack experience or a good enough system. (How many times have we heard that one before?).
And on it went.

I jumped in to provide a different view, that those who downplay the role of our biases in evaluating equipment likely haven't had experience testing their own biases (e.g. haven't experienced blind testing their beliefs). I simply defended the idea that without controlling for sighted bias in evaluating between cables, it's possible the conclusions can be in error. Naturally, the pushback started, people taking insult. I said over and over that I was not saying anyone had to become a scientist to enjoy the hobby, no one had to blind test, anyone can have any approach he wants, that I myself do not blind test everything I own etc. Only that there is no good reason, given what we know scientifically about our biases, to think audio is excepted, and that there's plenty of evidence biases play a role. You don't have to do science in building your system, but let's not pretend science has no application to audio evaluations if you want to get more rigorous.

Of course the hostility came pretty thick and fast, saying I'm spouting B.S., being "offensive," arrogant, a "threadcrapper" and on and on.
I kept trying to respond with as much civility as possible, clearing up all the strawmen being thrown my way. But it's just incredible how impossible it was to get anyone to even listen or absorb anything. It's just evade-points-reply-with-ad-hominem, rinse and repeat. (And demands to know my gear and experience).

DaveyF in the thread was noting he was proud about being banned from AVS (was he, or did he just leave?). I noted in my post that he got insulting on AVS and that I wouldn't be proud to be banned from a forum. And then I got banned! (And I'm not proud!).

This is one of the reasons I appreciate this forum. It seems there is no way to voice skepticism about any subjectivist shibboleths without being accused of being a dogmatist, nasty spoil-sport who, in merely voicing a different cautious view, insults the integrity of others who "know what they hear" and just wants to ruin audio for other people. And it's amazing how they do not see the hypocrisy: that so long as a poster is towing the line that cables obviously sound different, you can make as many pissy pot-shots at the skeptical side as you want, calling them "deaf" and "inexperienced" and BSers, threadcrappers...anything...and it's no foul. No moderator jumps in. No one objects to that snark. But if a skeptic as politely as possible gives his view, the skeptic is being the asshole. And you continually walk the line of being banned. A truly rigged game.

The reason I still engage these topics on the other audio forums is to keep representing the fact that not all audiophiles go for the pseudo-scientific thinking, that even in the seemingly more subjectivist-leaning forums, plenty of members are more cautious or skeptical about purely subjective audio claims. (I get lots of likes and messages of support, so I know they are there). I think it's good to push-back on the dogma
and highlight the hypocrisy. Though, with as much civility as possible, taking the higher road.

Where I went wrong if anywhere, I think, was my final post which was meant to highlight the inconsistency, but it did so by criticising a member's behaviour. Probably should have left that out. But, of course, all the criticisms of my character didn't get anyone else banned. Live and learn some more....
I haven't heard the Nordost cables at all, let alone heard them in a DBT, which is the only way to determine if there is an audible difference between them and any other cables.

The Nordost thing got me thinking, though, as those are ribbon cables. So I went here: https://www.biline.ca/audio_critic/mags/The_Audio_Critic_16_r.pdf This issue has Part 2 of a 2-part article on cable tests. Peter Aczel, who was probably, in life, the most emphatic advocate of ABX testing around, and for that, a controversial figure in audio equipment reviewing as well as the arch nemesis of Harry Pearson and the Stereophile crew.

I remembered that the cables tested didn't pass the "audible difference" test, except for the tests of Siltech ribbon speaker cables. Those cables were down about 2.4 dB at 20 kHz. (I should add that I have no idea if the Nordost cables are this much of a lowpass filter, nor do I know if ribbon cables in general explain the frequency response anomalies.)

But I do think it's uncontroversial to say some speaker cables will present an audible difference.
 

MattHooper

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I haven't heard the Nordost cables at all, let alone heard them in a DBT, which is the only way to determine if there is an audible difference between them and any other cables.
I actually have some Nordost RCA cables lying around (I get toss-offs from fellow audiophiles, so I have a few of the boutique cables). The fact they are lying around while my decades old Kimber PBJ cables are doing duty tells you how much I worry about cables ;-)

I should get off my lazy butt and do at least a single blind test between the Nordost and Kimber. I have a Benchmark DAC2L which has two sets of unbalanced outputs, so I could connect it to my pre-amp using Nordost for one set, Kimber for the other (have someone do it) not know which is which, switch between them and see if I hear a difference. I don't have a voltmeter to measure differences at the speaker terminals, but if we are talking about RCA interconnects of the same length between a DAC and pre-amp, there shouldn't be level variance differences of significance, should there?
 

murraycamp

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Is that the first believer forum you got kicked from?
If so you haven't been trying hard enough.
This is so funny because, like all great humor, it has more than a sliver of truth in it.
 
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CDMC

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Have a baseline playlist that ive heard hundreds of times so when something is off in a bad way its easy to tell. Some notes were wrong and i dont even know how its technically possible. If cables were botched then isnt it likely only one side would sound bad? How likely is it that both cables came in botched or is it just that the cables are bad. Wrong thickness of wire or something like that. It does look nice but sounds worse than 1 or 2 eur rca cables.
As others have said, placebo is a powerful effect. I have posted elsewhere, but I just went through this myself. Bought a new DAC/preamp, hooked it up, and swore that something was wrong it with. It sounded super veiled and grainy compared to my current dac. Ran a bit test to check the DAC and it came back perfect. Finally, I took the Dac and ran it through my existing preamp, level matching it to within .5 db of my existing dac. Important here, I used limited band pink noise and a UMIK with REW to level match, doing by ear never gets you close enough. Guess what, when switching back and forth instantly (different inputs selectable with the remote), that veiled and grainy sound was gone. It sounded just like my other DAC. There were a few times I thought that I heard a slight difference, but when going back and playing over and over the same section of the songs I thought I head a difference, at best, I thought it might sound slightly different, but couldn't put my finger on what it might be, or that one was better than the other.

Without doing a level matched comparison, where you can change between the items you are comparing in a few seconds or less, you are just blowing in the wind. Even doing level matched comparisons, you still have significant bias issues, but it at least eliminates one huge variable, which is people always choose the slightly louder sound as better.
 

Billy Budapest

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Matt, that entire thread seems to have been abruptly removed from SH. Your post reminded me that I'd been reading a thread on Nordost over at SH yesterday, so I went back to take a look at the comment that got you banned. I'm assuming it's the thread on "heard-nordost-valhalla-2-makes-me-rethink-cabling." I get an error message now. Is that the correct thread?

What seems to be happening is that the audiophile forums are realigning, with the more technically oriented people coming here. I was a regular reader, occasional poster at AS; came over here a few months back when Chris went full woo. In the long run, I think this realignment is a good thing; it's tiring to constantly explain to the "but I heard it" crowd that Nyquist is not a "theory," it's a theorem (not that they would understand the point).

(To be fair to SH, I think they're somewhere in the middle as far as technical knuckle-dragging. I see their audio hardware forum as basically harmless, with a mostly non-technical audience wondering which Schitt they should buy. SH's real value is that there's always another Beatles thread (and I mean that in a positive way).
I basically quit reading the hardware threads on SHTV because of BS like this.
 

Billy Budapest

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Yes, that's the thread. I can't see that it was removed as I'm banned from even accessing the forum. (Until Aug 5 said the ban notice).

And once again evidence is removed showing that the acrimony in cable-debate threads comes mostly from affronted and irate pure-subjectivists
heating things up, rather than the skeptic side. But it's always blamed n the skeptic.
I’ve never gotten banned from SHTV entirely, although I have been locked out of threads twice in 15 years there. Both times the decisions were quickly reversed when I explained myself—they were simple misunderstandings and not actual infractions of forum rules.
 

Billy Budapest

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David Rich (hometheaterhifi.com) on miscellaneous audio subjects, and a few others in that very sparsely populated club.
Hometheaterhifi is one of the only review sites I can trust—at least, I feel like I can trust their reviews containing bench test data. I like John E. Johnson’s writing style, too—none of that flowery audiophile b.s. language like ”bloom,” “PRaT,” etc.
 

egellings

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It's all belief driving most perceptions of cable difference, and I actually did the standard trick on a fellow cable & tweak believer of swapping out his dream interconnect with a generic cheapie surreptitiously. He continued to rhapsodize over the sound. I lost a buddy when he discovered the cheapie, which I just left in there, weeks later. I noticed no difference between the cables whatsoever, and that test was done before I got drafted into the military and stuck into the occupation of artilleryman. Impact! you got it! The only cable was the lanyard attached to the breach block.
 

Sal1950

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It's all belief driving most perceptions of cable difference, and I actually did the standard trick on a fellow cable & tweak believer of swapping out his dream interconnect with a generic cheapie surreptitiously. He continued to rhapsodize over the sound. I lost a buddy when he discovered the cheapie, which I just left in there, weeks later. I noticed no difference between the cables whatsoever, and that test was done before I got drafted into the military and stuck into the occupation of artilleryman. Impact! you got it! The only cable was the lanyard attached to the breach block.
Thanks for your service and welcome home brother!
 

richard12511

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And the award for Most Ironic Opening To A Cable Review goes to...

Enjoy The Music: Synergistic Research Foundation Cables Review:

"Like with climate change, it's hard to believe there are still cable deniers in this world,...."

http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazi...rgistic_Research_Foundation_Cables_Review.htm
"After all, if high end cables were all snake oil would so many companies exist?"

Uhhh, maybe because it's ridiculously profitable? What other segments of audio reproduction can you sell something that costs $3 to make for $90,000(Nordost Odin 2 3m cable)?
 

ahofer

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ahofer

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It's all belief driving most perceptions of cable difference, and I actually did the standard trick on a fellow cable & tweak believer of swapping out his dream interconnect with a generic cheapie surreptitiously. He continued to rhapsodize over the sound. I lost a buddy when he discovered the cheapie, which I just left in there, weeks later. I noticed no difference between the cables whatsoever, and that test was done before I got drafted into the military and stuck into the occupation of artilleryman. Impact! you got it! The only cable was the lanyard attached to the breach block.
When I was auditioning speakers a couple of years ago, the salesman kept insisting there were differences in Ethernet cables he was swapping, and got very aggravated when I would answer flatly that I couldn’t hear a difference. Then he swapped amplifiers, and I noticed a difference, but he was a little annoyed when I pointed out it was because he had inadvertently swapped channels.
 

3dbinCanada

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I got tired of using my long RCA cables to interconnect small DACs and Amps so decided to get a short one. Saw one on Amazon (by "World's Best Cables') that used Canare Star-Quad cable and Amphenol connectors for just $22 shipped. My time was worth much more than that to make one so I ordered it. It came promptly. When I opened though, I was shocked to see this massive sign in there:

View attachment 27076

Are you kidding me? Even a low-cost cable using proper material spreads such a myth?

It is one thing to see this on multi-thousand dollar cables but on a $22 one?

Inside there is an instruction sheet and it says that again. To their credit they acknowledge that such burn-in will take out of Amazon's 30 day return window so they provide instructions on how to still get a return.

The danger here is that such practices will spread to the general public, not just high-end audiophiles.

Yes, it is also "directional" although here, it is due to the way they utilize the shield at one end so that bit is fine.
Getting out of hand? Its been running amuck, unchecked for the last 50 years with fraudulent unscientific tests claiming how cables, fuses, power cords and receptacles improve the sound, tighten bass, makes highs more airy and mids more life like. I wish there was a governing body that would make the manufactures proove their claims or just shut these fraud artists down period. Its pure and utter BS.
 
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