I must have been on my hols when that was linked to. I'm sure any obfuscating response of mine to it couldn't be any worse than your two just now. And I did so well for about four days staying off these threads....
Masticate (or obfuscate) on this: http://www.nordost.com/default/pdf/hifiplus_issue34.pdf Welcome back, BTW!
I've now read this article and, you may not be surprised to hear, have plenty to say in response. However, before I do I was interested in knowing what conclusions you are drawing from it?
The 'hypothesis' (if I may) is that more expensive cables are better ('to . . . test the validity of those claims made for the sonic benefits of superior cabling') and specifically that Nordost Valhalla is the best ('I wanted to include our benchmark designs, by way of corroboration and confirmation of our faith in their performance and value.'). The author appears to conclude that both of these points were proved.
It seems to me the possible conclusions someone on your side of the argument may be trying to draw from this article are, in hierarchical order:
(i) Differences were identified between these cables,
(ii) There were audible differences between these cables;
(iii) There were audible differences that can objectively be identifed as being better;
(iv) Specifically, the more expensive the cable the better it was.
Where do you fall in those conclusions Cno?
HiFi / A/V / Bedroom
I have always found TNT's site interesting.
Not because I think they are always right but there is some science and objectivity mixed in there together with the usual subjectivity and the broad spread of opinions gives every camp something to celebrate ... ahem.
Here is a link; http://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/diycables.html
Perhaps take the time to read the other cable (or otherwise) reviews/threads if you can. Interesting site.
PS. If this has already been mentioned, my apologies. I haven't actually read the whole cable fantastic thread ... never do.
Pretty ... and pretty proud of it
I'm afraid that's not actually true.
I admit that I'm not an expert and that my knowledge of electronics is limited. However I do have an understanding of the basic principals of electronics which is sufficient enough for me to be able to see that some of the things that Cardas says is just plain wrong.
Cardas also says that a cable holds a bit of residual charge and it takes several days for this charge to dissipate before it will sound any good.
Yep, ok fair enough. But what do you think happens when you play music? The amplifier introduces an alternating current that goes through the cable. But according to Carda's logic you have to wait for any residual charge to dissipate before the cable will sound any good. This would mean that every time you put a current through the cable by listening to music you would then have to wait for another several days for the cable to dissipate any residual charge before it sounded any good again.
Maybe I'm missing something here but that just doesn't seem to make any sense.
I am not saying that you have no clue, but that you don't have the scientific background to fully evaluate the effect of the likes of VOP, Matched Propagation, Resonance in the strands of a Conductor, and the way different types of dielectric effects the sound...to name but a few.
I have read a lot of reports, from many reviewers across different mags / review sites, where the sonic character of certain cable changed with use.....in some cases, to such degree that the reviewer recommended not even listening to it for 100 hours or so before assessment
This isn't proof of any kind, but it happens often enough to at least take the possibility of break-in seriously.
George Cardas claims dielectrics produce an electrical effect that interferes with the audio signal......they accumulate and release an electrical charge in response to the current flow in the conductor (much like the charging and discharging of a capacitor). The problem is the electrical discharge from the dielectric is out of sync with the electrical signal in the conductor, which causes a smearing of low level information.
You asked for reasoning behind cable break-in, and I gave you some:
- "If you measure a new cable with a Voltmeter, you will see a standing voltage, because good dielectrics make poor conductors".
- "Cable that has a charge is measurably more micro-phonic and an uneven distribution of the charge causes something akin to structural return loss, in a rising impedance system".
- "A new cable, out of the bag, will have a standing charge when uncoiled. It can have as much as several hundred millivolts. If the cable is left at rest, it will soon drop to under a hundred, but will take days of use in the system to fall into the teens.".
Your heavy skepticism biases the way you read something like this, and so latch onto anything that might prove your POV....this is not a criticism per se, as we all do it, but if is very difficult to keep a truly open mind. The whole article was trying to explain why / how the standing charge gets there in the first place, and then dissipates with use, until it gets down to a few MV (but never zero)....in fact keeping a very low level signal in the cable at all time helps.
Are you really knowledgeable enough to dismiss this explanation out of hand as mumbo jumbo?
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
CNO, mate, you need to calm down, take a deep breath and realise it doesn't matter. If people want to spend thousands on cables, fair enough, if others think they sound the same, fair enough, too.
I know which one is cheaper, but: you've probably spent more on cables than I've spent on my current system!
Steve posed a question at the start of this thread, and I have done a reasonable amount to provide food for thought in terms of explanations, measurable effects and blind tests
It is not my intention to do anything other than peak enough interest in others, so as to encourage them to go and have a listen for themselves.
My position on cables is:
- Some cables in some systems have a dramatic effect.
- In general, the expenditure on cables should be in balance with the overal cost of the system
- Less revealing systems generally don't show up the full extent of the improvement that an expensive cable can bring
- NEVER spend more on cables, than would bring a bigger improvement by spending it elsewhere in the system
- Some expensive cables are not worth the money
- There can be a synergy that doesn't work, as happened in the blind test with Siltech in one of the systems.
- It's so subjective, that one person's "dramatic gain", is another's very subtle improvement.
- No meaningful personal conclusion can be drawn until a practical demonstration has been undertaken.
AL, if I wasn't calm, you would all certainly know about it.
I have given detailed and reasoned answers to the questions that people keep putting to me. If I wasn't convalescing, with little better to do, I wouldn't be spending so much time on it.
If it encourages just one sceptic to go and listen for themselves, it will have been worth it.
This is incorrect. A cable is generally modelled as a series inductance and resistance, and parallel capacitance and conductance across the pair.
As such a high capacitance will attenuate the high frequencies - hence bass is less affected than high frequencies.
Why are speaker cables modelled as parallel capacitance and not series capacitance?
Just thinking out loud here: surely what you have is the capacitance of the positive conductor of the cable in series with the positive terminals of the amp and speakers and the capacitance of the negative conductor of the cable in series with the negative terminals of the amp and speakers? So all you need to do is measure the series capacitance of one conductor and double it for the total in series capacitance effect?
I suppose this is something that anyone could test by simply buying 2 fairly large (or 4 for a stereo pair) capacitors and placing them in series between their speaker cables and either amp or speaker terminals, and then playing some music to see what effect this has had.
The capacitance is across the pair of conductors, hence between the positive terminal and negative terminal of the amplifier.
As you proceed along the cable, you have series resistance and series inductance, but parallel capacitance and parallel conductance.
They are not lumped - they are distributive elements - and the usual method of specifying them is in per metre lengths to quantify them in meaningful terms.
I didn't think you'd actually answer the question about the article, so if you don't have any conclusions to draw from it then there's not really anything for me to respond to and I won't bore everyone with my lengthy thoughts on it.
I was though particularly struck by the generous excuse given to the siltech. I can't see what leads the author and in turn yourself to conclude that this was an unfortunate case of synergy (your point 6) rather than an example of an expensive cable not being worth the money (your point 5). On the face of it the siltech was the worst cable, rather defeating the stated aim.
Edit: that was re post 5, but baby distractions meant it took a while to post!
I didn't make the link to the article to do anything other than let everyone make up their own mind.....I thought the results of the thing were fairly self evident.
- There was a clear preference for the most expensive cable
- There was an apparent (and reassuring) gap between the expensive cables and the QED
- The mid-priced Chord, which came third, performed well above its price....so price is not always a good indicator of performance.
- The Siltech came last in one system and second in the other, showing likely incompatibility with the first system.
The conclusions I draw from this is that cables sound different, and dearer cables can often sound better, but not always give better vfm. There is also a subjective element to this, of course, and certain cables don't work with certain systems. This is pretty much what I said in my last response.
Now, give my head peace!
I suspect you would prefer Cardas Clear / Clear Beyond.
While I may not be an expert on the subject, my knowledge is sufficient enough for me to be able to see that at least some of the things that Cardas says in that link are wrong.
A couple of days ago I posted your Cardas link on the AVI forum and this is the comment that Ashley James responded with:
"If I bought any of that daft rubbish I'd use it to hang myself because I'd know I'd lost it!"
You may not think that I'm competent enough to comment on what Cardas says but I do think that Ashley is qualified enough to comment on it with some authority. After all he has spent the last few decades successfully designing amplifiers and speakers for AVI and ATC.
PC > AVI Neutron Five 2.1
32GB Sony NWZ-A846 Walkman > Westone UM3x
BTW Cno. You never really did answer BenLaws question.
Do you think that there's even the remotest possibility that Cardas may actually be right when he says "the walls of the room, must be relaxed in order for the system to sound its best"?
If you want clarification as to what exactly George Cardas means by that statement, send an email to Brian Von Bork. Without further elaboration from Cardas explaining exactly what he means, any observations I have would be a guess, and so of not much relevance....except that it allows further ammo for the band of sceptics to discredit my argument, over a single statement (which wasn't the main crux of the article) that on the face of it, is controversial.
You too have nicely avoided explaining why all the other points I've mentioned make much difference.....other than you say they just don't.
I'm now tired of being hauled over the coals, held to account and interrogated by those who haven't heard many (any?) expensive cables. You started this thread, and like the gullible fool that I am, tried to add something constructive to the discussion. I'm not sure you actually want to consider anything that conflicts with your view.
I'm happy to admit I don't know what is important.....so I go and listen for myself.
I have nothing further constructive to add, so I'm out.
Weird. Any cable with a charge would be simply discharged by touching it. Someone is talking utter nonsense and should be treated as nothing less than a charlatan (IMO).
“Out beyond ideas of wrong and right, there is a field.
I'll meet you there."
I hope I haven't overstepped the mark and offended you Cno.
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