What comes out of your hifi can never be better than what is recorded in the studio. Have you seen what sort of cables they use?
Regarding digital cables; exactly, or even vaguely, how do you think those ones and zeroes get modified by a cable?
Its just so ridiculous.
If you have studio experience, you will know that it is common practice to have a studio 'master clock' which is used to keep all digital devices in sync. This helps to avoid jitter being introduced by daisy chains of devices, each introducing a little more jitter as the clock goes along the chain.
In a domestic situation the clock is embedded into the datastream in the S/PDIF link. So it isn't just 1s on 0s going down the link, there is also a clock signal. While the data is robust, the clock signal is fragile and can be subject to phase errors caused by mismatched cable / termination effects. This in turn can introduce jitter which MAY effect DACs that are sensitive.
So while you are right that is is unlikely that a cable will be so poor as to cause data errors (wrong 1s and 0s) it is quite possible for a cable to cause clock issues.
As explained above, this is generally avoided in studios by using a master clock, distributed separately from the audio data.
No, I'm being dead serious, Subtle difference affect what is heard in a huge way - frankly I'm suprised you cannot accept how the different properties of cables will not have an effect on an electrical signal and that can be detected by the human brain - try that repeat play test and then think about what I said.
What "properties" are you referring to?
If there was any effect on the electrical signal it would be measurable. Measuring instruments far more sensitive than the human ear can't seem to find any differences.
There have been many blind tests carried out that show conclusively that even the most revered audiophiles can't tell the difference between cables.
The effect of expectation bias and the extremely transitory nature of human audio memory are accepted scientific facts.
By all means keep spending your money, just don't advise others to do the same. Let them spend it on what really does make a big difference - speakers.
Why is it that only Hi Fi Nuts can hear differences in cables, when nobody else can? (And that includes those that make and produce the music you listen to)
Answer is simple ; hi fi nuts want to hear differences.
I also agree with pauln...........buying new speakers will make a difference. Cables will not.
buying after market cables won't enhance the system electronics but poor / mismatched cables can certainly hold a system back
Enjoy the music!
What worries me is that nearly everyone believes that ABX testing works. FWIW, I'm far from convinced for two reasons. Firstly, the reliance on short-term memory. It seems to be little more than an assumption that we can remember anything worthwhile - auditory memory is UNRELIABLE in the short term! Someone please direct me to some scientific prove that states otherwise. Secondly, the lack of symmetry in the test method. Surely any scientific test method should not favour one outcome over the other?
Lets assume an ABX test of two amplifiers using the same technology with similar measured results. The tests are conducted in winter where many of the subjects are suffering from colds that effects their hearing acuity. Surely any proper scientific method would need to exclude those subjects from the test results? Would not the test method need to determine whether or not any subject can hear & report on repeatable and measureable differences BEFORE they can report on differences that are subtle or non-existent according to some? Without some sort of means of determining what subjects CAN hear, the results will not show up false negatives to the same extent they will show false positives! Surely any bias MUST be designed out of the test for the results to be considered valid? Hence symmetry.
As for expectation bias, anyone saying that they are immune to it, should not be taken seriously. Once you know it exists, you can help to lessen its effects. A simple example would be to reverse a change - does it reverse the perceived difference? If not, question the conclusions. Do the original conclusions stand up to repetition?
My own experience of informal and uncontrolled testing is that many of the perceived differences were often only imagined. Many of the differences i'm happy to admit to were only noticed after weeks or months not seconds!
"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds - the pessimist fears this is true."
James Branch Cabell
MAIN: Apple TV2, Mac Mini & iTunes Match, CA Azur 751BD or Panasonic P42V20B into audiolab M-DAC, feeding a Primare A34.2 via XLRs, 2x 5m of Atlas Ascent 2 firing up Totem Arros.
ON THE HOOF: iPhone 5S/Sennheiser MM450.
Cables can distort the square wave form of the digital signal to produce jitter however a decent quality cable of reasonable length should not introduce anything that's audible; if it does, it's probably faulty. There's certainly no need to spend silly amounts of money on exotic cables.
Good quality DACS have ways of reducing jitter to inaudible levels.
This is my last post on this, and it is only as a matter of accuracy. I was suggesting that the OP demo some cables, preferably at home, not that he spend huge sums of money on cables. That might involve some expenditure on postage, unless he has a decent dealer within easy reach (and even then, one could argue, it will cost on transport). That way the OP can hear for himself whether cables make any difference, rather than trust the opinions of people like me - who maintain they do - and others, who are vehement that they do not.
One final point, and this one for clarity. I did not mean to suggest that changing cables will improve the sound as much as buying different equipment would. This is one of the reasons I have been careful to demo cables, and to keep to a sensible budget (though the detractors clearly think that spending anything more than the cost of a decently made cable (£5+) is a waste of time, so me spending £25 on a digital coax cable, or £70 on a 1m stereo interconnect is the height of madness). The differences made by good cable are subtle, not vast. Whether as a result of a subliminal perception based on shelling out cash or not, I do maintain I hear a difference with the cables I have selected and I don't feel I've wasted huge amounts of money in doing so.
This sort of topic always appears emotive, hence I've refrained from contributing in the past, as to do so invites ridicule, given the strength of feeling aftermarket cables evoke. The best way to find out whether one thinks one hears a difference or not is to try listening. Audio reproduction is a very subjective thing - one person's ideal sound balance is another person's idea of audio hell. The lack of objective standards in audio, that exist in video (such as reference standards for colour reproduction) is one of the reasons there are so many different equipment manufacturers and why, I'd suggest, there is an industry in after market cables and other tweaking products. I'm sure there is a lot of snake oil out there, and also some ridiculous claims made about the impact of products on sound. That is marketing hyperbole, and not something that is unique to the hifi industry. Whether something makes a difference is down to each individual customer, but it is the existence of such tweaks, and, dare I say it, the joy of sometimes dipping in to try them out, which makes hifi a hobby. The danger is, I think, that focusing angst on different cable types and, in fact 'better' equipment choices can mean that hifi becomes more important than listening to music, which is, after all, why we all invest in equipment in the first place.
I look forward to reading how this thread develops, but I won't be posting on it anymore, as I don't think I can add any more of use to the OP.
AV: LG 50PM670T, Yamaha RX-V2067, Oppo BD103EU(MR-BD/DVD), Tosh EP30 HD-DVD, Apple TV, Humax HDR-T2 PVR, M-S Premiere(5.1)+ BK Gemini II, MS 360, PS3 (+PlayTV), Wii U, Harmony Touch, BDI Avion II 8928
Hi-Fi: Cyrus 6XP, 6SE, Stream X2 & N-remote, Dac X+ & PSX-R , Oppo BD83-SE SACD/DVD-A, Pro-ject Genie Mk III + Pro-ject Phonobox II + Project Speedbox II, PMC Twenty 21s (+ PMC stands), Burson Audio Soloist SL, AKG Q701s (+ RA 3m headphone cable), Sennheiser HD650s.
Hi-Fi Cables: Van Damme LC UPOFC (4x2m) + interconnects (x2); DMN solid core interconnect, Cyrus Audio interconnect, CA Pacific interconnects (x2), Black Rhodium powwrcorda (x4), RA Powerkords (Reference, Classic), RA Ultrapurifier 8way block, RA 4way yello block.
There's more in here than the rest of your very patient, polite, clearly written post...
Formerly known as al7478...
HC: Panasonic PXP 42 V20; Panasonic DMP BD35; Humax Foxsat-HDR
Music: Optical out from Asus P7H55-M Motherboard into AVI ADM 9.1 speakers.
"Music will provide the light you cannot resist"
New to all this so I can honestly say I don't have a clue whether cables or wires make a difference, though having my first system for 30 years sat in the boxes unused in front of me I am in a position to do some testing for my own interest.
I would start by saying that I am probably in the sceptical camp on this due to reading posts on here from those in the industry / engineers, however, when ordering my kit I asked the retailer about what interconnects and speaker cables to go for, if any,and interestingly (well to me anyway) he said I should look at products between £ to £ and cable in the £m to £m catagory but didn't point me in the direction of his own stock. I assumed that he felt there was a difference between items and I should search/try out various options from various brands and that maybe I'd hear a difference and find what suited my system ?
Secondly, WHF is a valuable point of reference for people like me setting up a new , infact first, system. B ychoosing and buying the mag I am therefore trusting the reviewers of the products to give me truthful advice. Now I accept in's a paying job and we all need employment but I would wager these people really love going to work most days and are passionate about what they do, hence I am struggling to believe that proffesionals at WHF would intentionally hoodwink or blatently lie about the effects of cables ?
Still sceptical but wavering at the moment.
There are people who think cables are making a difference and people who don't. The only thing I can conclude from that is that if there are differences, they are negligible. Otherwise everybody would believe that cables make a difference if it was so obvious to hear.
I think it's important to point out that all properly designed modern DACs will deal very effectively with even unusually large amounts of jitter.
Main: SqueezeBox Classic>AVI ADM40
Second: SqueezeBox Touch>AVI ADM9RSS
Cypher, if you've got this far, you will have seen my previous post on this subject (page 1 of this thread). What I heard when I changed the interconnects was not negligible on my system. What my wife heard (completely unprompted, unaware that there had been a change, totally 'blind' to an experiment taking place) was not negligible. To me (and my wife) it was perfectly obvious. My wife told me she could hear a difference even though I told her there had been no change.
What I heard in the shop when comparing (analogue) interconnects was that there was a big difference between the ~£15 cable that I had previously been using, and a £135 (RRP new) cable, on a system of separates valued at approx: £3,500 (RRP new). Moving from a £135 cable to a ~£250 cable produced a noticeable, but much smaller, difference on that system and listening to the music that I had available (not hi-res, not world-class recordings, etc.). If I was listening to a £50k system with the very best hi-res recordings available, perhaps the £250 cable would have made more of a difference.
What I conclude from this is that the overall system needs to be 'balanced' in terms of the expenditure on the various components - source, interconnects, amps, speakers. I suggest that there is little point spending hundreds of pounds on a cable for a system costing a comparable amount.
Based on what I have heard with my own ears, and what I observed in the (apparently quite common) situation with my wife is that changing components (even interconnects) makes a difference to the sound. Why you believe that this is not the case is beyond me, espcially when the mechanical properties of the interconnects (In terms of their metallurgy) can be so different.
Because these differences have never (as far as I know) been observed under scientific double blind testing and never measured using measuring instruments far more sensitive than the human ear.
Perhaps you fell for the old trick of having the volume increased slightly with the more expensive product? Accurate level matching is vital when comparisons are made. That has been proven. The story about your wife could be down to the same reason and she also may have been getting subtle cues from you - unconciously. Thats why the tests are double blind not blind.
Show some properly done tests and real measurements and I'll believe it. There are several instances of respected audiophiles failing to distinguish between free interconnects and those costing £100's - Google it!
Again I'll say, feel free to spend whatever you want, it's your cash. If it makes you happy, fine.
If it can be heard, why can it not be measured?
Apple Lossless - ATV3 - AVI ADM 40 also ATV3 into AVI ADM 9T [my wife's system]
and Grado SR80i
pauln, I am not trying to get into "The Great Cable Debate" here - I was just putting forward an alternative view to the one that was offered early on that said "...you won't hear a difference". I CAN hear a difference between the cables that I changed in the system that I have, so please do me the courtesy of accepting that. I f you can't hear a difference, I'm sorry for you in one way, but delighted in that you won't find the need to 'waste' your cash on cables. You are welcome to come and hear for yourself, if you like.
relocated, I GUARANTEE that the difference between (for example) a copper cable and silver cable can be measured. Look in any materials reference book, and you will find electrical properties - normally limited to just resistance in most handbooks - but others exist, too. Changing the alloy of the materials will affect many properties (tensile strength, resitance to oxidation to name but two), but resistance is one that can very easily be measured using relatively simple and quite readily available equipment. Therefore, fitting cables that have a different material (metallurgical) content will have different properties. That is a fact (not my opinion) that is measurable. To claim otherwise is to dispute what scientists have known for many centuries.
As for the widely-quoted inability of audiophiles to be able to differentiate between cables, a (very) quick Google search (I have other things to be doing!) revealed only a number of half-baked non-scientific quotes such as Monster Cables not wishing to be involved in such an experiment. If you can provide actual fact-based scientific study such as this, then I will be more than happy to read it. It seems that if someone were willing to fund such a study, it would be very interesting to investigate the full range of electrical properties of different cables in addition to 'simple' measurements such as resistance across a frequency range extending well beyond 'normal' human hearing. Such things might include inductance, response to very short-term transient signals (time taken, amplitude, interference), susceptibility to interference, etc. Then we would be able to say once and for all whether there are differences or not. Given what I know of metallic properties and how they change with alloy, processing and manufacturing, it makes perfect sense to me that there would be a measurable difference.
Having said all of that, I just hope that the OP has received something useful from this thread.
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