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Ultimate List of What Matters and What doesn't Matters or Audible Differences

highender

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Isn't most storage solid state these days?
I have no idea to be honest, I used to use a 10TB external noisy USB drive, and one voor backup, fully loaded. Now I am using Qobuz, and I like it, but I have to switch to my HDD for the stuff they don't have in their catalogue.
 

Julf

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Ok. Reasonable limits, I see. I don't mind paying for a cable that does all this strictly and without wide variance. I feel it all may add up to something meaningful if all the engineering went to such level of care.
Pretty much all cables intended for audio fit the "reasonable" description - the exception are exotic audiophile cables (some of which even contain components to influence (as in "color") the sound on purpose.

Remember that there is a limited number of actual cable manufacturers - most "audiophile" cable vendors just cut cables to length and attach connectors.
 

Zapper

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Cables are caracterized by their resistance, capacitance and inductance. As long as they are within reasonable limits, the electronics don't care (unless they have serious deign flaws, like the Nait amps that require special cables in order to avoid oscillation).
Cables do vary in EMI susceptibilty. That isn't an issue most of the time, but if one has EMI problems (e.g. live next door to radio station or cell tower, or electrically noisy switching power electronics nearby) then better shielded (and more expensive) cables may be worth it. Converting to balanced signals and cables yields benefits in this situation.
 

Julf

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Cables do vary in EMI susceptibilty. That isn't an issue most of the time, but if one has EMI problems (e.g. live next door to radio station or cell tower, or electrically noisy switching power electronics nearby) then better shielded (and more expensive) cables may be worth it. Converting to balanced signals and cables yields benefits in this situation.
Better shielded doesn't neccessarily need to be more expensive, but yes, balanced connections are definitely the way to go if you have to deal with an electrically noisy environment.
 

DonR

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Ok. Reasonable limits, I see. I don't mind paying for a cable that does all this strictly and without wide variance. I feel it all may add up to something meaningful if all the engineering went to such level of care.
Almost any cable is sufficient for audio. It is not a demanding part of the spectrum.
 

MoreWatts

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Cables do vary in EMI susceptibilty. That isn't an issue most of the time, but if one has EMI problems (e.g. live next door to radio station or cell tower, or electrically noisy switching power electronics nearby) then better shielded (and more expensive) cables may be worth it.

Shielded RCA cables are commonly called 'subwoofer cables,' and are such a commodity that they are actually cheap. I recently purchased two 35-footers for ~$16 each on Amazon. :cool:
 

Angsty

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Cables do vary in EMI susceptibilty. That isn't an issue most of the time, but if one has EMI problems (e.g. live next door to radio station or cell tower, or electrically noisy switching power electronics nearby) then better shielded (and more expensive) cables may be worth it. Converting to balanced signals and cables yields benefits in this situation.
I’d love to see @amirm validate or invalidate the results of this cable noise rejection test:

 

RDoc

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I'm pretty unconvinced that there's a lot of practical difference in speaker cables since the signal voltage is so high. However, I did have a system running unbalanced preamp out signals about 30' to a remote amplifier and did pick up audible noise from a local radio station. Replacing the cables with shielded cables, still unbalanced, fixed it.
 

Count Arthur

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I've often thought that quality of an album or track's production/mastering/mix should be very high on the list.
A well produced track will sound great pretty much anywhere on pretty much any system. A poorly produced, compressed track is unlikely to ever sound great no matter how many of 1 - 6 above are sorted
This.

I have quite a few punk and indie CD albums that are just really poorly recorded/produced/mixed/mastered, probably done cheaply in low cost studios, and sound pretty bad. If the recording isn't good to start with, there's nothing much you can do subsequently to improve the sound. You can't reproduce what wasn't captured in the first place.
 

RDoc

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This.

I have quite a few punk and indie CD albums that are just really poorly recorded/produced/mixed/mastered, probably done cheaply in low cost studios, and sound pretty bad. If the recording isn't good to start with, there's nothing much you can do subsequently to improve the sound. You can't reproduce what wasn't captured in the first place.
Yes. As I've improved our system I find more and more tracks that don't really sound very good. Unfortunately a lot are from early jazz albums.
 

RDoc

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I'm pretty unconvinced that there's a lot of practical difference in speaker cables since the signal voltage is so high. However, I did have a system running unbalanced preamp out signals about 30' to a remote amplifier and did pick up audible noise from a local radio station. Replacing the cables with shielded cables, still unbalanced, fixed it.
I meant to say NOT a lot of practical difference
 

blackgate

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I would change number 2 in what kind of matters from ample voltage to ample current. The voltage is determined by the Amp power (all 100 watt power amps will have similar voltage output), it only drops if there is not enough current. The current reserve is circuit specific. This is one of the differences between power amps with the same power rating.
I also think dampening factor is important when it comes to power amplifiers.
 

Julf

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I also think dampening factor is important when it comes to power amplifiers.
It is important that the damping factor is reasonable - but most modern solid state amps have a low enough damping factor. Tube amps with output transformers are a different story.
 

Mikig

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I think that at the top of the list should be:

read the instructions for use of the devices correctly and learn the general instructions on how to correctly configure a HiFi system in an adequate space.
I have already written this elsewhere, but I insist on these points.
The stubbornness of audio enthusiasts in wanting to combine unlikely components, or in wanting to use imaginative configurations and in underestimating the importance of the listening room with systems unsuitable for its physical characteristics, often leads to macroscopic errors.
Errors that are normally faced with the compulsive change of electronics or with various positioning theories that have little to do with the reality of things. Or worse yet the trespassing into the land of snake oil….
 

Julf

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My spellchecker insists it’s “dampening.”
Dampening is "to make something slightly wet". Damping, on the other hand, is "restraining of vibratory motion, such as mechanical oscillations, noise, and alternating electric currents, by dissipation of energy".
 

TSX

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You can have the most expensive best measuring state of the art hardware available on the planet, but if your room has room modes or general bad acoustics, all of the above does not matter. Priority number one should be the listeningroom imho. But it's not a sexy topic for audiophiles, and not something you can fix with a new shiny box.

Thanks
 
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