Were each of the tracks played all the way after each change? Or how else did it work?
To the best of my memory, sometimes a group of songs were compared, but more often than not, the same song was played after each change in its entirety. I had a notepad pad and jotted down what I heard. It's not perfect, but it was my initial gut impressions. The idea is not to take my word as gospel, but mark it down as an interesting product, that is worth hearing if the chance arrives.
Thanks for the reply Cno. I was just struggling to think of a way I'd trust my own judgment as to small ('incremental') changes in SQ when listening to unfamiliar music played through an unfamiliar system in an unfamiliar room. This is how I would choose to demonstrate such a product if I had one. Anyway, I'm glad you had what sounds like a very fun evening. I don't have much time even for listening to my own hifi at the moment, let alone demoing, let alone demoing cables, but I'm sure someone will be inspired by your experiences.
HiFi / A/V / Bedroom
You are not wrong.
I have found in the past that my initial gut instinct is often right....though saying that, I am certainly not claiming an infallable report. Taken at its most basic level, I heard enough to believe that people will be hearing more about Vertere in the not too distant future.
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
From my limited experience these cable demonstrations always seem to be of the incremental variety, add another cable or swap for the cable for the next one up. Have you been to any where they do the whole shebang in one go? Ie here's the basic system with no name cables, now we're putting in the best interconnects between each component and the best speaker cable?
Every cable dem I've been to has had the same "incrementally better" approach. In the case of the TCI one that I went to at the Belfast Audio show, the sound to my ears, was so bad at the early stages that I could hardly sit in the room.
As the cables got better, it became tolerable, but not good. TBF it was at the start of the show and they had equipment failure and had to borrow some, which didn't help....though it made the changes easy to hear.
Most companies won't use other brands to make themselves look good. This has to be done by the potential buyer, if he likes what he hears.
My point's probably clear, but I will state it. If there indeed were incremental improvements with each change / addition at one of these events, then it follows that there must be a very substantial improvement between the 'start' system and the 'end' system (and people usually claim this to be the case). I would be most impressed, and less concerned that any perceived improvement was down to me rather than the gear, if the demonstrators simply did the start system followed by the end system. Obviously they could show the intermediate systems after that. The fact that it never works like this makes me suspicious. Using generic cables would not involve 'using other brands to make themselves look good'.
The problem (and root cause of this debate) is that any views expressed on incremental "improvements" remain entirely anecdotal. I agree that a more effective demonstration would have toggled between low and high-end systems. Any differences might therefore have been more apparent. However, I use the word "differences" rather than "improvements" very intentionally. Who's to say what constitutes "better" sound?
Since there's no such thing as a perfectly transparent audio system, or indeed recording, we are left with highly subjective choices about different tonal characteristics. Some may prefer a warmer sound, others a more aggressively bright sounding system. Moreover, while we can grapple with loose definitions of what these terms mean, the terms remain highly intangible. The best we can conclude is that Cno believed there were perceptible differences and that the more expensive option sounded "better" to him. Another party may have had a different view entirely. I mean no disrespect to the OP in making this statement, which is not to belittle his cultured audiophile sensibilities. As enthusiasts, we have been conditioned/acculturated by industry rhetoric and journalism, and our interactions on fora such as this. Nevertheless, within these tighter interpretive parameters there remains great latitude for divergence of opinion.
Amid confusing rhetoric and hyperbole, space exists for the financial exploitation of our far from exacting standards of evaluation.
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This is totally right, but at least the anecdotal comment was first hand, rather than hearsay. Your point about differences vs improvements is a valid one.
Where I could hear more bass control/depth, detail in the treble, a more defined leading edge or a less boxy (more natural) sound to the mid-range, I put that down as an improvement. If the presentation of tone/timbre had changed without the above happening, I would count that as a difference (ie. Arcam vs Naim vs Cyrus or Kef vs B&W vs Sonus Faber)
Since there's no such thing as a perfectly transparent audio system, or indeed recording, we are left with highly subjective choices about different tonal characteristics. Some may prefer a warmer sound, others a more aggressively bright sounding system. Moreover, while we can grapple with loose definitions of what these terms mean, the terms remain highly intangible.
Since the two systems remained the same, and the cables had a very similar (house) sound, imo it was possible to comment on the (perceived) changes within the tonal qualities of the system. In other words (imo) it would bring those improvements, whether the system was smooth or bright.
The best we can conclude is that Cno believed there were perceptible differences and that the more expensive option sounded "better" to him. Another party may have had a different view entirely.
During my interminable ramblings, I tried to make every effort to get across the fact that it was my opinion (as I have no monopoly on the truth)......and I have actively encouraged other parties to go and listen, and then report back with their findings - what ever they are.
I mean no disrespect to the OP in making this statement, which is not to belittle his cultured audiophile sensibilities. As enthusiasts, we have been conditioned/acculturated by industry rhetoric and journalism, and our interactions on fora such as this. Nevertheless, within these tighter interpretive parameters there remains great latitude for divergence of opinion.
I have yet to find disrespect in any of your comments, which are always literate, thoughtful, polite and fair....and as for "belittling my audiophile sensibilities", you will have to try much harder than that.
Given the topics I launch into, I have had to develop a thick skin and a slow temper. I don't take myself too seriously, and am happy for people to take or leave my advice - It's only hifi....not life and death.
I am not affiliated to any dealer, brand or magazine....so as a simple enthusiast, am completely free to give my opinion, as there is nothing in it for me, and I have no axes to grind.
I have made it my goal to bring what I consider interesting products to the attention of the forum, in the hopes that some will get benefit from them.
Cno, you're a gent. I must also acknowledge that you're better situated to comment on the cables in question than I, since I haven't heard them in operation.
Likewise, I find your posts consistently erudite and cordial and I don't mean to question your ability to discern tonal differences through subtle changes to system components. Nor would I ever imply that you have a vested interest in espousing the merits of equipment.
By anecdotal, I'm referring to our incapacity to evaluate sound "quality" in empirically verifiable ways. My post was really commentary on the rather abstract ways in which we perceive value rather than a more specific reference to your personal observations.
Perhaps the most important thing is that the cables in question were of value to you. In addition, others previously unaware of these cables' existence might track them down and form their own opinions.
I still maintain that audiophile standards are far from precise or consistent...
Hi Cno. I agree with the others in this thread that have said you're a very nice and friendly chap, so I hope you don't take offence to what I have to say, it isn't intended to cause any
Anyway, here's how I see it.
Some people join HiFi forums because they want to interact with other HiFi/music enthusiasts, share their views on all things HiFi and hear others views. Some join because they want advice, they want to know how best to spend their money, and to get good value for money.
Of course, because of the subjective nature of defining what sounds good and what doesn't, the effect of room acoustics, budget constraints and peoples personal preferences, it's impossible to know you're giving the right advice, one can only give what they feel is the best advice, based on their own experience, and knowledge.
Now, I feel that more experienced members of forums that regularly give advice, have a little bit of responsibility to try to ensure that it's the best advice that they can give - especially when it comes to things like cables.
Sure, nobody is told that they should buy this cable or shouldn't buy that one, etc. Nobody is forced into anything, and I have no doubt that the people on here that are not inextricably linked to the sales of expensive cables - like yourself, give advice for the right reasons, because they're trying to be helpful, as you always do, undoubtedly.
But, I really do feel that given the wealth of knowledge about cables that's freely available on the web, the more experienced forum members like yourself - that defy all this knowledge, really owe it to themselves and to others to once and for all do some double blind ABX tests.
I mean, look at the points that Ben and Strapped have made, the evening with Mr Moghaddam may well have been very enjoyable, and harmless I might add, but it was yet another one of thousands before it where the people standing to make the money devised the whole thing the same old way.
They started with budget cables and gradually introduced more expensive ones, and the audience believed they heard incremental improvements, it's been done to death. Yet when double blind ABX tests are done the incremental improvements vanish, as do the bigger improvements that people usually observe at the end of these type of events, when the really expensive cables are used.
The paticipants of most of these events are cable believers, they expect to hear differences, and they do. Some also want to hear improvements, I feel, so they can validate their beliefs to themselves and others, and they do, they always do. But these differences vanish during double blind ABX tests, always!!
So, what I'd like to ask you is, would you consider trying to locate a similar event, but one where you'll be able to participate in double blind ABX tests? Wouldn't you like to know for sure, once and for all, whether the differences you perceive between cables are real or imaginary? Surely, given all that you've seen and heard on threads on here, you're aware of the very real possibility that you've been fooled by expectation bias? Given the fact that those standing to make money from cables always claim differences between them, the way that these demonstrations are always structured, etc.
I think that even though you're so pro-cables, you're too honest a person to pretend you passed the blind ABX test, and that you will tell us all exactly what happened. And I think it would be a big benefit to others on this forum if you were advising against expensive cables.
I think you owe it to yourself to take a double blind ABX test of cables.
Thanks for reading
I was very aware of where you were coming from, but wanted to clarify further how/why I came to the conclusions that I did. With this most impersonal of mediums, it is very easy to get picked up wrong.
I appreciate your comments
The ABX thing has been done to death and I'm sure Cno will politely refuse. You make a good point about responsibility tho. Cno defends his position saying that he's just suggesting products and people should listen for themselves. It seems only right to me that the same people who might happen across the thread be given the warning that it may all be a trick. As long as it's all kept polite and friendly, Cno might even not disagree with that
Since there's nith loose definitions of what these terms mean, the terms remain highly intangible.
You say on the one hand that the point about differences vs improvements is a valid one, yet what you are saying ultimately boils down to a 'golden ears' argument. You are not saying these were mere tonal changes but bring improvements in fairly objective ways and would do so with any system. Your suggestion that others should listen then is not predicated on the basis that the cables may not have this positive effect in another system but that someone else may be so cloth eared in comparison to yourself that they may not hear these (to you obvious) differences.
My previous post underwent a curious translation when quoted.
I'll put it down to a system glitch.
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