For anyone doubting the value of interconnects

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by markyd101, Apr 18, 2005.

  1. markyd101

    markyd101
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    Recently upgraded from a nice powerful sony dolby amp to arcam a80 and p80 amps. Spent me 900 nicker and assured the wife it would be a worthwhile investment. I got home and connected it all up, the a80 running hi end and p80 running low,and excitedly pressed play. The treble was clear and concise, the mid range and female voice clarity, lovely and warm, the bass, flat as a pancake. Wife at this point gets the hump, royale with cheese. I also am a little concerned. After much toing and throing with arcam (dealer went bust 2 days after purchase, wondered why he offered me a cash discount so eagerly) I purchased a set of van der hul interconnects worth more than some chavs stereos. I was amazed at the difference it made. The base was as i would expect it. Unfortunately my wife loves a bit of banging house from time to time and keeps asking where the base boost button is. I keep catching her playing her tunes on the dvd pro logic system due to the fat sub. Women, they just dont get it. ;)
     
  2. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Out of interest, what leads were you using before you changed to the VDH ones? :)
     
  3. markyd101

    markyd101
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    I was using some that i had actually made myself. I am electronically trained and my soldering is better quality than most that i see on rca plugs. I used gold plated connectors and what i thought was decent cable. I measured resistance and capacitance to ensure the cable was ok and had been using it for several years on my old system with what seemed like no problems. I think due to my old stereo having 'false' audio tweeks like bass boost etc i didnt realize the sub standard quality.
     
  4. CJROSS

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    Just to highlight the other side of the coin here for anyone reading about ICs, I used to hear differences between ICs of all type, gave made various types of ICs from pure silver thru 25p a metre coaxial cable, once I tried to discern any difference under blind testing conditions, I failed. Blind tests are a great way of proving “doubt” in any individual when it comes to ICs. AFAIK no-one has ever conducted a scientific test to see if ICs sound different under blind conditions, thus trying it (and I was a believer it made me open my eyes to pre-belief in what I hear or heard). YMMV. I did spontaneous a/b switching from my DAC (it had 2 sets of anlg output) and remote control switching of line inputs on my amp. Good lady noted what she was switching too in each case, I could not hear a difference.

    Ask yourself why magazines don’t test ICs and ICs manufacturers don’t sell their cables under blind testing conditions ? One blind test recently has been documented on the web it leads to some rather interesting debate :

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=168467
     
  5. robfitzp

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    HiFi+ did a blind listening test a few months ago which showed a clear preference amongst all those listening for Nordost Valhalla. Chord Signature was a clear second. Some other expensive stuff e.g. siltech did not do so well IIRC.

    I personally think there are clear differences between cables just as there are between components.

    Cheers
    Rob
     
  6. Jules Tohpipi

    Jules Tohpipi
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    Quite so. There have been many cable tests done blind in the magazines over the years, and that's how Hi-Fi Choice conduct any of their group tests (for any component), as I've sat on a fair few of them.

    Furthermore, knowing the bosses of a fair few cable companies also, I know most of them (particularly the reputable ones) conduct double-blind tests when auditioning new cables also - which I helped out with once.

    For CJ, it is simply incorrect to conduct one's own blindtest and, on reaching the conclusion you couldn't tell any difference, to then accuse people you neither know, nor work amongst, nor know of their practices, to be deluded and unscientific !

    They just reached a different conclusion from their tests than you. I hope one day you can get over that !
     
  7. eviljohn2

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    I would suggest that cables can sound different, but that the correctly designed cables for each application sound the same

    My experience of (marginal at best) differences in sound from cables is based entirely around using different cable geometry. :)
     
  8. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Lost Cause, I simply stated my experience of a blind test I have done (quite a few others have done on hifi/audio forums too) I also included that spectactular blind test failure of Nordost Power cables (how would Hifi+ explain that eh ?) by a blind test panel. You will note that the title of this thread is about anyone "doubting" the value of ICs well I do, Ive done my own blind tests and can discern diddly squat difference, Im perfectly within my rights to comment as such. As I one of the said "doubters". Maybe you can get over my need to air my experiences as a doubter.

    BTW the Hifi+ test of cables was the biggest load of cobblers Ive read in a long time, mind you its the only "blind" test Ive read in a mag (HFC do not do blind tests of any cable - ie that they could identify in blind circumstances - can you point me to any ? As weve discussed this with HFC staffers over on the HFC forum), it was not a standard Blind A/B test, and you will also find on many hifi fora, Hifi+s cosy realtionship with their major cable advertiser and RGs cosy reviews are laughed out of town on a regular basis dudes.
     
  9. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    I know of NO 'blind' tests that conform to what I consider proper ABX under controlled conditions and correctly identifying cables that is statically significant as endorsed by people like AES. I know of plenty who claim differences however under pseodo ‘blind' tests. I'm with EvilJohn2 on this, get the basics right like connector and joints and have the correct electrical parameters like R, C and L and make sure screening is fit for purpose. Cheap cable don't do this but reasonably costed cables do and can give you all the performance you need. Don't forget the partnering equipment ‘can' effect performance as well particularly if there is no active buffer / line driver.
     
  10. cosmicma

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    i look at this in another way
    i know if i change I/C on my system i will hear a difference if the difference is better or worse is left to debate but there will be a sonic difference
    some systems show the differences up more than others if this is a good / bad thing again arguable
    looking at the technical performance of a piece of wire will tell you nothing of how it sounds it needs to be listened to
    as for the "mains conditioner" type power leads they can only possibly make a difference with switch mode power supplies any transformer based supply would not / could not benefit ( in my opinion ) this is because switch mode supplies are reliant on what their fed with unlike transformer based that don't really care
    so is there a difference sonicly between interconnects ?? certainly
     
  11. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Cosmic, certainly for you in sighted pre-knowledge of what your listening to there is “certainly” a sonic difference. But have you ever tried blind a/b testing of say 2 ICs back to back, in instantaneous (2-3 second) a/b blind switching ? here is what you need :

    A CD source with 2 analogue outputs (I used a TAG DAC 20)
    A remote control amplifier to switch line inputs between Ics (I used a Primare A30.1) amplifiers input switches are hidden from you.
    A “testee” to switch amplifier and note down the ICs you are listening to.
    You simply have to identify the IC currently playing.

    Result for me : no sonic difference.

    I certainly could not tell a few ICs (Chord, VDH, DIY copper & DIY pure silver) apart under those conditions, if you can you’re the first person Ive ever read of who can. What we see and therefore have pre-knowledge of in IC terms IMHO influeneces as much as we here as our actual sonic perception, ie no eyes-brain interaction beforehand, don’t believe me – rig yourself up a simple a/b test as I described then pick out an IC you dislike for example. Its quite easy to do, As Nic points out no magazine has ever conducted blind tests under those conditions, certainly not Hifi Plush.

    ATB & IMHO of course.
     
  12. cosmicma

    cosmicma
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    @cjross

    i respect your findings when doing blind a/b tests but in my opinion blind or knowing which I/C i am listening to there is a difference i have spent many an hour trying different I/C in the past years not so much now adays as i have decided the upgrade path has become too expensive ( for me anyway :( ) so i don't bother testing anything lately, it might proove to tempting if you know where i'm coming from

    there's product's in the hifi world that in my opinion are just a blatent rip off but there is sonic diferences in different I/C that can and have heard in my years of listening to music

    i think there is too much emphasis on the componant value of hifi ( it took quite afew years to work this out ) all the while we are listening to the sonic quality / acuracy of the hifi we are letting the music slip us by
     
  13. cmcg55

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    Cable's simple. Really. There's only two factors that matter - insulation and conductivity. That's it (although conductivity obviously is a composite factor made up of other elements like capacitance, resistance, etc). The rest is voodoo masquerading as science that certain companies are foisting on an unknowing public who are too easily swayed by jargon if it sounds clever enough.

    I'm not saying all "expensive" cable is crap. Some of it is genuinely good kit. However, there are also a lot of really inexpensive bulk cables which perform just as well (if you can find them). Unfortunately, there are also certain companies selling cable and interconnects at premium prices on the basis of 10% fact, 90% marketing (one of those companies' name begins with "M"... hint, hint...).

    As has been mentioned so often in this thread, ever wonder why there's such an absence of independent tests peformed with statistically-valid methods? Because the big-names don't want to participate. You can find such studies if you look hard enough - only be prepared to have your eyes opened wide into the direct sunlight if you've bought into the myths propogated to date. I believe Audioholics ran such a test a few months back, and AudioQuest (another company who seriously pushes their cables' "superiority") got completely reamed.

    Next time you're buying cable, just for a laugh... when the sales droid trys to push some overpriced stuff on you, give him a challenge - pick another cable, and ask him to identify which is which with him blind and you controlling the A/B switch, the agreement being if he can consistently pick the premium stuff, you buy the cable. I seriously doubt you'll leave a penny lighter than when you went in, but you might want to have a tissue handy for him, because the tears won't be far off.
     
  14. karkus30

    karkus30
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    Have you ever put on a 'sharp' suit for a night out, suddenly you feel more confident, everything seems to go your way, you just seem to feel better about things...................your the same person underneath...............now, if you could somehow blind test the suit against a poor quality suit, my guess would be that you would feel the same about yourself no matter which one you had on at the time.

    This is probably more likely to be the cable effect, scientifically testing shows both to perform equally, but the purchaser of the higher priced cable CAN hear a difference.

    This phenomena occurs in every walk of life, its why people have lucky charms or conduct special rituals before events. Who can argue that a positive frame of mind brings better results than being negative.

    A similar test was conducted on several different motorcycles that were covered up so as not to allow the rider to guess which one was which, suprisingly virtually all of them failed to correctly identify the bikes from a list. All the bikes had very different characters so it should have been easy.

    So, in effect both arguments are correct depending on your viewpoint. Try proving that you see the same colours as your mate or taste food exactly the same as your partner. Have a bad day and your mood effects the taste, touch, sight, sound and smell of everything.

    Maybe we should have mood settings on our hifi systems to alter the sound to our liking :)
     
  15. Londondecca

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    In its most basic form cable is simple. There is however a body of research which does investigate the theoretical models of cable. Have a look at H Deletraz, M Hawksford, F Davis et al. There are some great debates on DIY Audio, Audioholics, Audio Asylum etc where the methodology and maths are questioned and evaluated. AES and others have published some interesting papers on this area.
     
  16. Nimby

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    One might suggest that our OP's experience with cables was a direct result of his better quality kit having a "cleaner and drier" bass. He needed to get a "loose and boomy" cable to get back to the bass he thought he needed.

    It is difficult to reconcile the expense of a decent subwoofer with the dry clean sound after living with a "boombox" for a good while. That is until the real subwoofer breaks all the windows and wallops you clean off the couch. :devil:

    I've been a believer in blind testing since my wife wondered whether the wonderful differences I claimed I heard from a record clamp were actually audible. I consistently failed to detect any difference when blindfolded. :blush:

    I think I can clearly hear the differences between the cheapo supplied liquorice allsorts and my £20-£30 Flashback ICs. But I would not put myself through a blind test if my life actually depended on it.

    There's lies, damn lies and cables. If double-blind testing became a legal requirement for magazine reviews half the manufacturers in the audio market would probably vanish. Until then their advertising will continue to support the magazines we love to hate.

    Nimby
     
  17. cameronl

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    ...Until then their advertising will continue to support the magazines we love to hate


    Nice :)

    CaM
     
  18. BUGANNA

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    :eek: dont be silly............

    there is no SOUND to a cable

    it just carries the electrical signal accross...............

    the same way, all those wires in your amp and speakers do !

    the only people who think otherwise, are those trying to benefit from such ludricous claims.................

    trust me, use a spectrum analysor, and test a cheap cable, and then the most expensive you can find

    there will be NO AUDIBLE DIFFERENCE, in the outputted sine wavs

    and thats a scientific fact..............

    beleive it or not, electrons dont care if they travel accross a simple cheap cable, or a twisty expensive silly cable

    all they do is travel !!

    clearly if your wire is so thin, as to cause massive resistance, then thats another issue,

    but any normal wire used in hi fi leads is MORE Than sufficient !!!

    remember when years ago hi fi mags used to COMPARE the quality of CD TRANSPORTS ?

    how they all sounded different ?

    where are they now ?

    how can an identical stream of 0s and 1s , sound different from transport to transport ?

    they cant

    same prinicipal with cables............


    and thats a fact.......................
     
  19. Nimby

    Nimby
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    BUGANNA

    Since you haven't quoted anyone it is difficult to tell who you are calling "silly".

    But I'm asure we are all dying to hear your thoughts on capacitance, resistance, inductance, metal, plating and mechanical resonance.

    Nimby
     
  20. cameronl

    cameronl
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    >how can an identical stream of 0s and 1s , sound different from transport to transport ?

    but cd players are not computers and don't have the advanced error checking. 0s and 1s they may be but error checking doesn't come into it in the physcial layer (i.e. the cables) - it comes when 2 computers do there checksums.....

    CaM
     
  21. BUGANNA

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    Thats the sillyness about cable discussions - all those properties you mentioned, do NOT effect the abilitiy of the electrons to travel along 0.75m of interconnecting wire !!!

    were talking about 75cm of cable here ! and even 5m or so of speaker cable is also such a tiny amount too..............

    the ONLY thing that can affect the signal flowing accross is RESISTANCE, and as I said, even bell wire, at 75cm length would probably be 100% suitable

    remember, when u talk about wires ( thats all they are ) youre talking about a metal material that conducts electricity.....................

    thats all..............thats all there is to it

    either it can conduct the electricity from A to B , or it cant

    as I said, if difference REALLY EXISTED, that why does no one display SINE WAVE GRAPHS to actually SHOW where the differences are ?

    theres only 1 reason why....................

    :lesson:
     
  22. BUGANNA

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    Yes, BUT its the SAME PEOPLE ( magazines etc ) that were talking BULL about cd transports, that also talk bull about cables !

    Ive read articles in these mags, that tell you how good a £ 1,000 'special carpet' is...........

    and what about £ 500 sound tuning squares, that you place in your room, and they are only about the size of a golf ball ?

    and what about the green felts tip pens, that you use to paint the outer edge of your cd ?

    and, etc etc the list is endless

    not only are they dishonest, in their fake claims, but they actually spot to fail genuine high quality items, as clearly they just go on price and whatever bribes theyve had that week !
     
  23. deanym

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    Buganna,

    A nice refreshing approach to cable theories and magazine contribution etc. keep it up!

    Just one thing - no mention of RF or EMI/EMC what are your thoughts on that?
     
  24. BUGANNA

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    guys,

    the difference between FACT and FICTION is that you can scientifically prove facts........

    you can make 100 claims about RF, copper, silver, carbon, etc etc

    it is ALL MEANINGLESS, as long as a cable can conduct an electrical signal from A to B

    as I said, all you have to do, is have a look at the SINE WAV GRAPHS, from testing each cable through a spectrum analysor

    that is ALL you have to do,

    OR you could let the magazines tell you a heap of rubbish, lies, nonsense etc, in thier single quest to generated advertising revenue

    I have 20 years of knowledge and experience in electronic prinicipals

    maybe the 21 year old, working for the magazines, telling us how good ABC-CABLE is, and how the bass sounds deeper,

    can actually show, on a sine-wav output graph, exactly which properties are causing the so called richer bass ?

    put a gun to his head, and he wouldnt even be able to tell you what cable sounds better, unless he can look at the price tag !

    its all nonsense.................
     
  25. BUGANNA

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    #

    err, can YOU tell me how £ 500 of sound tuning cubes, can tune the sound of a hi fi system ?

    or any of the other ludricous items I mentioned ?

    its the same people telling you the bull - whether its about cables, or special plugs, special stands, special nonsense !

    they tell you placing your hi fi on expensive stands " improves the sound / bass "

    NO IT DOES NOT !!!

    you could pickup your cd player or amp etc, whilst playing, and there would be NO DIFFERENCE in the outputted electrical signal !!

    theyre just a bunch of lying con artists !
     
  26. deanym

    deanym
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    Never said I disagree, read what I said again. I asked (as you work in studio) whether or not you'd had experience or problems with RF or EMC?

    Would you like to answer?
     
  27. BUGANNA

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    ok - fair point...........

    no, we dont have any problems with RF at all, because in the studio, all our equipement is BALANCED..........

    having balanced components, means that any hiss, RF pickup, etc, is automatically cancelled out, due to the 3 core nature of balanced cables.......

    for home hi fi, yes you can get RF pickup, but ANY cable can / will do that,

    and unless u have 100s of metres, theres nothing to worry about anyway.......

    oh, how I wish those magazines would PROVE to the public, their imaginery claims !!!
     
  28. deanym

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    Cool, I appreciate your time.
     
  29. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Buganna, I appreciate your comments and on the whole do agree with you, however, the properties such as LCR which Nimby mentions can and [/i]do[/i] have an effect on the signal if the cable has been poorly designed.

    By your logic we don't need waveguides or transmission theory (for higher than audio frequencies I might add) since we just need a good conductor and it will all come good. :)
     
  30. BUGANNA

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    absolutely correct !

    yes, for audio frequenicies, 'WE' dont need any of that at all

    the manufacturers who produce copper cables, design them so they work, ie conduct the electrons

    it would take a seriously poor cable design, to affect the output at audio frequencies

    ive never seen such a poor cable..............

    in the end, I think we have to agree, its fun (almost) reading those fairy tale reviews on mega cost cable, but thats all they are, hype........

    Alleged fact without substance......

    clearly, if someone has purchased an 'expensive' cable, they will always think it is better, but ask yourself, if cable was so important, than why do the best amps and speakers, only use standard industry grade OFC copper ?

    possibly because they know that they cant improve on it, regardless of cost..........
     

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