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Old 07-04-2009   #35
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Seattle, Washington
Posts: 64
Talking Re: What cables do you use?

Originally Posted by GrtGrfx View Post
While I totally agree with Dave's sentiments (I have Blue Jean and Belkin cables, as well as no-name heavy-guage speaker wiring because I'm more concerned with durability than signal accuracy; any wire I have has more than enough bandwidth and accuracy for the specs of my output equipment), I don't believe a vodka-tasting test is an appropriate analogy for scientific testing of frequency response and accurate pass-through of audio information. Asking a bunch of people to taste vodka and arbitrarily decide which one they LIKE THE BEST obviously has nothing more than personal preference as the primary criteria. Further, cherry-picking the most embarrassing result proves nothing about the test as a whole. Nonetheless, best in food and drink depends entirely on who's doing the tasting and what they are grading on.

On the other end of the testing spectrum, if you have various types of wire connected to standardized input and output devices, with a measuring device placed inline, you can see if there's a difference in what comes out the end. If your criteria for winning this test is that there's as little change between the ends as possible, then you can study any combination of interconnects and get a scientific answer. If not, you're deciding which is subjectively better, and you are no better than a guy pulled in off the street and asked, "hey buddy, which vodka tastes best to you?" I'm sure Dave will agree.


NAD, Denon and Harman Kardon sources, NHT and Panasonic audio and video output
Actually, I think the vodka analogy isn't that bad an analogy, since the dignity is about the same when it turns out that test subjects in a double blind test can't tell any audible difference in speaker cables than expensive cables, some with etherial names, and coat hangers welded together.
Remember, this discussion is whether anyone can REALLY HEAR the difference between interconnects, or whether they are fooling themselves, talking themselves into opinions and conclusions, injecting bias and affected by the power of suggestion, and other aspects of subjective conclusions. There are many, many examples of people having and expressing very strong beliefs that, when tested reliably in a controlled, scientific double blind test, turn out to be wrong, and are sometimes embarrassed. Like the guy who claimed only the most expensive vodka was the best.
This discussion has never included any claims about actual scientific tests with sensitive instruments, and used such tests to back up their opinions about interconnects. The opinions have always been well within the methods used to arrive at subjective conclusions. In fact, the arguments I have heard involve only hearing the comparisions and, if they were told that scientific tests proved a different interconnect proved to be better, the "true believers", like most "true believers", likely would stubbornly insist that scientific testing was inadequate for testing the 'etherial' nuances that their ears were hearing.
While I agree that rigorous scientific tests would likely show some differences between the interconnects, the differences would likely be in such things as capacitance and inductance (thick cables vs. thin cables) and/or resistance (thin wire vs. thicker wire, copper vs silver). However, these slight differences are operative only at MUCH higher frequencies than audio frequencies.
So, what I have been addressing has been the claims by those who say they can HEAR an audible difference between interconnects, and especially when they and the marketers of interconnects further claim that expensive cables sound better than less expensive interconnects. As Bob Carver and I chuckled about the more ethereal the name, the better the cable.
I have heard professionals mention that internet site that sells fairly inexpensive cables and praised them highly. Personally, I have purchased Belden cables and also Blue Jeans cables as they will provide me with custom length cables in a variety of colors, making tracing of cables much easier, and without the mess of standard length cables.
While I do respect opinions relating to taste, I cannot respect the spread of subjective opinions as they tend to spread ignorance at a high cost to consumers and high profit to promoters. In marketing, it is a well known rule that perception is everything. Its not a perfect world and I believe the customers/victims of this clever way to obtain excess profits mean well, not everyone can be a physicist. But I don't like to be misled or conned, whether by con artists, marketing schemes, or profiteers.
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