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Nestor
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In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

After perusing some of these threads, I feel I must weigh in on a couple of issues.

First, people seem quick to put DUP on the ignore list. While his shrillness is such that I think my dog can hear it when I read his posts, and his run-on sentences and grammar could use a refresher lesson from his grade 10 English teacher, he does bring up some worthy points.

Sifting through his posts, he has provided some links which (for me at least) have provided food for thought.

Second, another thing I notice is some of the posters like to question credentials of other posters. Please stop that. The ole "You can't post that because you don't have a masters at blah-blah U" just serves to reinforce the perception that this forum is full of "audiophile snobs". One may wish to perform some navel-gazing before lobbing this criticism.

I'm of the school that "if it can't be measured, it can't be heard". A poster who tries to find an objective answer to his (or other posters') subjective findings is the one who receives my kudos. It is too often I am seeing people stubbornly clinging to the "these amps go to eleven" mantra to defend what their ears (allegedly) detect.

Companies like Monster Cable at one end, and Audioquest at the other do this industry a disservice. Dismissing decades of peer-reviewed papers by the AES,IEEE, et al are meant only to serve the bottom line on their quarterly profit and loss statements.

I'm not an engineer, though I have a technical background as an electronics technologist. I have, on occasion, gone to the nearest univ library to investigate various journals on some of these subjects.

I believe most of us have the same goal: Audio nirvana. We are a small and esoteric group though, deeply submerged in a sea of nasty 128kb/s mp3's and distressingly over-compressed cd's (loudness wars). I suggest we divert our energies to these issues in the hope of leading the industry as whole down the path of audio enlightenment.

As an aside, if people find DUP shrill, maybe he needs to be heard through the latest Audioqest DBS cables or even through The Glob

Jeff Wong
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

Nestor - Welcome to the forum. Your post is an articulate and reasoned one, but, speaking as someone who has put DUP on ignore, I feel it's important to let you know that I'd read over 1000 of his posts over the course of the last year before doing so. I'm one of the few people who has actually met the man in the flesh, and found I liked him more than I expected, but, his repetition of themes and insistence on posting off topic, unhelpful entries got to me. I found myself getting annoyed, rather than informed, and chose to relieve myself of the discomfort. I seem unable to avoid reading his writing anyway, since people seem to like to quote him, so, I may eventually opt in again.

ethanwiner
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

Nestor,


Quote:
I believe most of us have the same goal: Audio nirvana. We are a small and esoteric group though, deeply submerged in a sea of nasty 128kb/s mp3's and distressingly over-compressed cd's (loudness wars). I suggest we divert our energies to these issues in the hope of leading the industry as whole down the path of audio enlightenment.


Well stated. In the end we are all after the same thing. Name calling and accusations and other infighting just diverts attention from the real issue, which to me is investigating what really matters with audio fidelity and what does not.

--Ethan

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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

I'm with you Nestor. I enjoy DUP's postings and opinions even though I am more of a subjectivist.
There is a lot of snake oil out there and DUP always provides a good reality check in an entertaining way.

Nestor
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...


Quote:
Nestor - Welcome to the forum. Your post is an articulate and reasoned one, but, speaking as someone who has put DUP on ignore, I feel it's important to let you know that I'd read over 1000 of his posts over the course of the last year before doing so. I'm one of the few people who has actually met the man in the flesh, and found I liked him more than I expected, but, his repetition of themes and insistence on posting off topic, unhelpful entries got to me. I found myself getting annoyed, rather than informed, and chose to relieve myself of the discomfort. I seem unable to avoid reading his writing anyway, since people seem to like to quote him, so, I may eventually opt in again.

Threadjacking is always a bad thing, and I hope the mods keep an eye on that, regardless of the poster. Seems DUP is quite ubiquitous in this forum, and I can't blame you for tiring of him.

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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...


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Companies like Monster Cable at one end, and Audioquest at the other do this industry a disservice. Dismissing decades of peer-reviewed papers by the AES,IEEE, et al are meant only to serve the bottom line on their quarterly profit and loss statements.

I understand where you are coming from, Nestor, but "decades of peer-reviewed papers"? I can only recall one article on cables in the Journal of the AES, by Fred Davis, in all that time. And as for some AES members' position on cables, I suggest you read http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/107/ for some enlightenment.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
(AES member since 1981)

tandy
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

A couple of points Nestor.

1) Read DUP's posts again. Over and over, DUP clearly indicates wires do not sound different. A little different than you portray Nestor.

2) "The ole "You can't post that because you don't have a masters at blah-blah U" just serves to reinforce the perception that this forum is full of "audiophile snobs"."

Not true. We merely took DUP off his pedestal/experts/scientific statis. How many times has DUP claimed the term "scientific" to himself? How many times has he insulted us? Now we find out he is nothing more than the great imposter.

And you are whining about it?

It is one thing to state opinion. It is another to lord it over us, and insult us. It is also another thing to claim to be "scientific" when DUP is clearly not.
I am sure you will be playing this game concerning me. Well, if you had read my other posts, I have already given my qualifications.

Like JA, I would like to see all these papers. I have been requesting any info over and over, but to no avail.

Nestor
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...


Quote:

Quote:
Companies like Monster Cable at one end, and Audioquest at the other do this industry a disservice. Dismissing decades of peer-reviewed papers by the AES,IEEE, et al are meant only to serve the bottom line on their quarterly profit and loss statements.

I understand where you are coming from, Nestor, but "decades of peer-reviewed papers"? I can only recall one article on cables in the Journal of the AES, by Fred Davis, in all that time. And as for some AES members' position on cables, I suggest you read http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/107/ for some enlightenment.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
(AES member since 1981)

If you will note, AES was mentioned "et al". Some of the "science" being touted by cable manufacturers contradict basic electrical theory as well. Also, I find it telling that the AES has only one paper on the subject of cables. It's also troubling to me. If these manufacturers thought their theories could stand the rigours of peer review, then let them submit a paper.

I should elaborate. I used cables as an example, but it's not the only aspect of this industry where the limits of credible science are pushed. One only needs to check this forum to see the numerous examples. And no, I'm not picking on this forum. I see it in most other related sites.

Interesting article, by the way, John. I don't defend David Clark's closed mindedness during the presentation, and I also don't defend any poorly run experiment. The article is correct in stating that the AES should be ashamed of itself.

A number of esoteric audio equip/component manufacturers misrepresent scientific fact in an attempt to explain the sonic qualities they themselves believe exist in their products. I have a huge problem with that. Want to sell cables at 1000.00/ft that claim sonic superiority? Fine, be my guest. Don't take basic electrical theory and stretch it to the limit to make that claim though. THAT is worth a look by CPA.

Nestor
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...


Quote:
A couple of points Nestor.

1) Read DUP's posts again. Over and over, DUP clearly indicates wires do not sound different. A little different than you portray Nestor.

2) "The ole "You can't post that because you don't have a masters at blah-blah U" just serves to reinforce the perception that this forum is full of "audiophile snobs"."

Not true. We merely took DUP off his pedestal/experts/scientific statis. How many times has DUP claimed the term "scientific" to himself? How many times has he insulted us? Now we find out he is nothing more than the great imposter.

And you are whining about it?

It is one thing to state opinion. It is another to lord it over us, and insult us. It is also another thing to claim to be "scientific" when DUP is clearly not.
I am sure you will be playing this game concerning me. Well, if you had read my other posts, I have already given my qualifications.

Like JA, I would like to see all these papers. I have been requesting any info over and over, but to no avail.

I'm not defending DUP's methods. I mentioned that I find him as shrill as anyone else in this forum.

If you wish to consider my opinions as "whining", that is your perogative. At least John seems to be willing to debate with me without resorting to such language.

As for "papers", you tell me. Where are the revelatory papers by the very manufacturers you defend?

One example is "skin effect", a well known phenomenon known to the power/microwave transmission industries, now embraced by some audiophiles as a sonic issue. Knowledge of mathematics and electrical theory can debunk this.

Scooter123
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

John, I completely understand the point of the article that you posted a link to. As described that presentation was so divorced from any application of Science, or Scientific Method, that it bordered on fraud. Frankly, that presentation was such a travesty that I hope that the AES censured Mr. Dugan in some manner for putting it on.

However, I think that the Audio Press has ascribed much too much importance to the effect of cables on an audio system. I think that, in terms of bang for buck, spending 4000 dollars on a pair of loudspeakers will yield a much greater improvement in sound than spending the same amount on a set of speaker cables. I think that if you read the reviews of various types of cables that your magazine has published you

Nestor
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

Well said Scooter!!

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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

Scooter is one of the good ones, for sure.

Scooter, you raise an interesting point. I wonder if cable/interconnects could become and "active" component.

I'm trying to imagine it. Or, could equipment designers design an "active" interconnect in systems they design.

It's what the electric company does, isn't it?

Cheers, amigo.

Shadorne
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

Scooter123,

Well said! I have read Fred Davis AES paper ( Effects of Cable, Loudspeaker, and Amplifier Interactions) years ago. Fred tested 12 types of cable. The findings are very much what would be expected by anyone with an electrical engineering degree. Some amplifiers are indeed more sensitive than others to cable properties but in the majority of cases 12 gauge wire is more than sufficient. AES ought to have much more speaker cable papers given all the industry money spent on cable marketing, at least if improvements were bona fide scientific or engineering pursuits, as companies with new improved technologies would jump to publish peer reviewed papers in order to prove the technical improvements behind their designs( and to file patents to protect their groundbreaking ideas ).


Quote:
frankly I think a bit of Myth Busting is long overdue

People have tried to debunk audio myths but they usually get derided by those with a vested interest in perpetuating myths....check this out;

Debunking Audio Myths

martin_n
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

Well said! However this section is for general Rants and Raves?

I have perversely(?) enjoyed trying to decode some of the more vociferous postings, because all opinions matter. (Granted

tandy
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

"I'm not defending DUP's methods. I mentioned that I find him as shrill as anyone else in this forum."

>>If you mean by this statement that DUP claiming to be "scientific" is wrong, yes, I agree. IMO, DUP is not the least bit scientific.

"If you wish to consider my opinions as "whining", that is your perogative. At least John seems to be willing to debate with me without resorting to such language."

>>IMO, for anyone to support DUP's behaviour is outrageous. If DUP is going to police the cable industry by claiming to be "scientific", who is going to police DUP? IMO, he is even more guilty than any cable company of spewing misinformation and willingly claiming to be something he is not. DUP even refuses any suggestions for reading material from accepted college texts.

"As for "papers", you tell me. Where are the revelatory papers by the very manufacturers you defend?"

>>Well, guess what? Another objectivist who can't produce any papers/information to inform us. This has gone on for years at other forums as well. With all the expertise, one would think "papers" would be at their fingertips. (By the way, if you had read all the strings and back posts, I have suggested material several times, but with no response from DUP.)

>>So you actually have no papers to present??

>>Looking, in just this forum, one sees the same patterns from the objectivists as objectivists have done on other forums over the years. Seems the objectivists are well rehearsed.

>>No wonder many of us think the objectivist point of view is nothing more than a well rehearsed PR campaign to push an adgenda. (If this does not apply to you, personally, then my apologies.)

"One example is "skin effect", a well known phenomenon known to the power/microwave transmission industries, now embraced by some audiophiles as a sonic issue. Knowledge of mathematics and electrical theory can debunk this."

>>Maybe you should look at DUP's tatics as well to be fair. And maybe you should look into other disciplines, such as chemistry and high level physics.

Yiangos
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

Debunking audio myths.Yep,i've read this before and my opinion has not changed.The guy is using the old "cliche" method of making anyone who reads it feeling guilty or stupid to say it is wrong and also using a few undisputed truths together with lots of craps to make his statement believable. I'd rather trust my ears

tandy
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

I agree. No problem with opinion, but the tone was quite dogmatic and condescending considering he couldn't back up one of his points.

ohfourohnine
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

Welcome to the forum, Nestor.

Let me offer some information and suggestions in reply to your initial post:

1- Most of us have been anything but "quick" in putting DUP on the ignore list. You might find that difficult to measure, but it is a fact. I, for one, have taken him off that list a couple of times assuming I'd been too quick to judge him. I learned the hard way that that was the wrong thing to do.

2- There is a fair amount of patience here with the religiously held belief that if it can't be measured, it can't be heard. You will have to suffer some disagreement with that proposition, however. With a few exceptions, DUP being notable among them, disagreement here is conducted in a most civil fashion.

3- Such condescending phrases as, "Please stop that." and "I suggest we divert our energies to these issues..." aren't likely to lead to fruitful discourse.

4- You might do well to peruse the threads of this forum at greater length before drawing the conclusion that the posters here need your guidance regarding their behavior. Your comment that, "....some of the posters like to question credentials of other posters. " , reveals how few of the forum posts you've read. Read some more, especially those where our friend DUP isn't heavily involved, and count the instances where credentials are involved (measure them, if you will, since you rely so heavily on measurement). At least make an effort to know us a bit better before presuming to criticize our behavior.

If, as you say, your goal is Audio Nirvana, you'll probably like it here. Lots of us with similar goals do.

Best of Luck.

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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...


Quote:
but the tone was quite dogmatic and condescending considering he couldn't back up one of his points.

Yeah, just like the AES folks who are so dogmatic and condescending about cables. These engineers and scientists are totally brain washed with dogma from engineering and physics text books. Their attiude is despicable in face of the overwhelming anecdotal evidence and personal testimonials of people who have tried cable "elixirs" and heard miraculous improvements. How engineers and scientists can dare to tell people what technologies will or will not make a significant audible difference is beyond me, after all what do they know? I mean where is the proof!

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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...


Quote:
a few undisputed truths together with lots of craps

That just about sums it up perfectly! "Debunking Audio Myths" presentation is a complete con! A bunch of Snake Oil!

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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...


Quote:

Quote:
but the tone was quite dogmatic and condescending considering he couldn't back up one of his points.

Yeah, just like the AES folks who are so dogmatic and condescending about cables. These engineers and scientists are totally brain washed with dogma from engineering and physics text books. Their attiude is despicable in face of the overwhelming anecdotal evidence and personal testimonials of people who have tried cable "elixirs" and heard miraculous improvements. How engineers and scientists can dare to tell people what technologies will or will not make a significant audible difference is beyond me, after all what do they know? I mean where is the proof!

After surviving the last couple decades in this country, I'm surprised that anyone puts their faith in either side of almost any public discussion.

The trouble is, both sides are so often full of crap that we shouldn't trust any of the bastages.

Objectivists DO NOT prove the validity of their point whenever a subjectivist says something stupid; and vice versa. Let's demand more.

I propose we all meet in the middle and demand more from both sides.

Spare me the 12,000 elevation "Vacuum" bullshit, and I won't insist that Home Depot zip cord is the last word in signal propogation.

We have a cool group of members of both sides of the debate here, how about a listing of what we think the most important parameters of cable should be and why we think that? I bet we'd all agree on quite a bit of it! Heck, I bet we agree on almost everything.

I'll even go first.

1) I think the most important first thing a cable should do is maintain as solid, secure, and stable-over-time connection to the components at each of its ends as possible.

The greatest cable in the world can't make up for a connection that degrades quickly or can't translate the cable's propogation capabilities onward to the downstream component.

2) I happen to believe that the crappiest link in the cable chain will pretty much define the cable's limits.

If an 8 gauge cable ends with a 50 gauge little solder joint at the base of the connectors, then we ain't gonna hear the benefits of the cable. We'll be listening to just how good a 50 gauge solder joint may be. So, second on my list is maintaining the highest quality of "connection" between parts of the interconnect.

Same goes for those mondo mui macho speaker cables that end in skinny little pins. I want the electrical freeway to be running all 8 lanes right up to my component's internal circuits, not stopping and putting my music signal on a one lane connector 3 inches from paydirt.

So, my first two criteria could be summed up as "keep the pipeline open."

tandy
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

http://signal.ece.utexas.edu/members/tom/

For those interested.
Resume. Notice the only 2 classes close to audio are digital courses, mostly for computer. EEs typically take only a limited few courses in electronics. His field of expertise is obviously not audio, but computer.
Reading his "Myth webpage" bears that out.

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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...


Quote:
....Same goes for those mondo mui macho speaker cables that end in skinny little pins. I want the electrical freeway to be running all 8 lanes right up to my component's internal circuits, not stopping and putting my music signal on a one lane connector 3 inches from paydirt.

So, my first two criteria could be summed up as "keep the pipeline open."

Good call Buddha,

I would think that an analogous thing is happening with those mammoth power cords which ultimately connect to the crappy romex running in the walls of your of house. Just how much of the electrical power path are you actually improving?

There is something to what Scooter said about cables trying to be made into "active" components. Active components, whether the objectivists like it or not, have very distinct properties and these properties can be tested, measured and heard. With passive components the properties tend to be much harder to test, measure and often times to hear.

But here's the really wacky part. Many objectivists don't even believe that differences exist between active components, i.e. power amplifiers, let alone passive components!! So instead of closing the gap, the gap is widening into a chasm.

Audio is so much fun!!!

Buddha
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...


Quote:
There is something to what Scooter said about cables trying to be made into "active" components. Active components, whether the objectivists like it or not, have very distinct properties and these properties can be tested, measured and heard. With passive components the properties tend to be much harder to test, measure and often times to hear.

But here's the really wacky part. Many objectivists don't even believe that differences exist between active components, i.e. power amplifiers, let alone passive components!! So instead of closing the gap, the gap is widening into a chasm.

Hi, Jazzfan!

You made me think about something.

In a way, an "active" component is built to "defend itself from the slings and arrows out outrageous current."

"Active" components are designed to take the incoming electricity and "actively" do something with it. "Active" components are actually "pro-active!"

Poor passive cables are left to their own devices when it comes to what they face, and have to strive to merely, yet perfectly, pass on what's been handed to them. But, they can also be "passive aggressive," in that they possess characteristics that affect the upstream and downstream components....inductance, resistance, etc...

So, anyway, that lead to wonder what we can try to surmise about all this crazy talk.

1) AC Cables and power conditioners (general term). Well, active components are designed to take grape flavored electricity and turn it into the fine wine we listen to.

Now, what if a device, cord or conditioner, could affect the incoming electricity in such a way that the component it leads to has an easier time changing that electricity into signal? maybe we'd be putting less demand on the component and it may sound better. So I can at least "in theory" see how such devices may have a beneficial impact.

Fair?

Then, I wonder how to "prove" this.

Well, we could do an experiment with crappier and crappier electricity and and see how a component translated that into signal with or without the device in question.

We could also use a crappier and crappier power cord until we heard a decline in sound. Then we'd know that at some point, that cord did impacts the sound. Then, the question becomes, at what point do we reach the point of "no additional improvement" and see where that occurs.

In a way, I hope we are all making this decision for ourselves.

So, I'm OK with "pre-system" improvements.

(I also think that audiophile nervosa occurs in those who can't really hear differences, but feel the need to. Hence, they are always (and easily talked into) trading up. The equation between cost and performance seems to be a powerful automatic component of their audio chi, as well.)

2) In a given system, we will have at least two active signal generators and at least two passive devices connecting things. (I figure a minimum of one active source to a passive interconnect to an active component to a passive wire to the speakers. Many systems have many more of the

Jeff Wong
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

Wes' recent blog entry got me wondering if Millikan's Oil Drop Experiment could offer some insight on the performance of interconnects since plastics are oil based products and we're dealing with changing voltages...

martin_n
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

I say, get a coat hanger with RCA plugs weled on, and show that at some point a shitty enough cable can be heard, then we

Buddha
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...


Quote:
I say, get a coat hanger with RCA plugs weled on, and show that at some point a shitty enough cable can be heard, then we
cyclebrain
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

I think that DUP is a positive on this site. Willing to question everything. Uses a combination of sarcasim and intuition to question some of the outrageous claims made by the snake oil salesmen. Someone needs to point out that "the emperor has no clothes" even though it will make others look like sheep.

Monty
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

I wonder why we never see this sort of debate flare up over the sonic differences of vacuum tube brands? If electrical specifications are the absolute in terms of sonic perceptions, then a Valvo, Mullard, Telefunken, Siemans, Amperex and Shunguang should all sound the same.

Try that arguement at a tube site and you'd be laughed off the internet.

I think the delicate nature of an audio signal is entirely unappreciated. If the construction techniques of a vacuum tube can so alter the sonic signal then what's so hard to fathom that 20 feet of capacitors in an audio system just might alter the sonics?

And I thought that 4 hr flight sitting next to a Jehovah's Witness who worked for Amway was exhausting?

Shadorne
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...


Quote:
Notice the only 2 classes close to audio are digital courses, mostly for computer. EEs typically take only a limited few courses in electronics. His field of expertise is obviously not audio, but computer.

Exactly. A great example of a con man. This guy took a few college courses in EE 384N Acoustics I, EE 384N Acoustics II, ME 384N Nonlinear Acoustics, ME 383Q Wave Propagation in Continuous Media, EE 384N Electrical Sensors and Actuators, PSY 394 Psychoacoustics and then went on to do a Master's Degree in Acoustics and yet he deigns to pretend to know something about audio (I have been listening to music since I was a kid and I got great ears that tell me all I need to know)!

Furthermore the guy has a PHD in Electrical Engineering "Image Prodcessing" and has published two papers in the Journal of the Acoustic Society of America.

This hardly qualifies him to make such dogmatic unsubstantiated statements about CD players, digital versus analog, amplifiers and cables...I'd bet he has "tin ears" and can't hear a better cable from a zip cord!

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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...


Quote:
I wonder why we never see this sort of debate flare up over the sonic differences of vacuum tube brands? If electrical specifications are the absolute in terms of sonic perceptions, then a Valvo, Mullard, Telefunken, Siemans, Amperex and Shunguang should all sound the same.

Try that arguement at a tube site and you'd be laughed off the internet.

I think the delicate nature of an audio signal is entirely unappreciated. If the construction techniques of a vacuum tube can so alter the sonic signal then what's so hard to fathom that 20 feet of capacitors in an audio system just might alter the sonics?

And I thought that 4 hr flight sitting next to a Jehovah's Witness who worked for Amway was exhausting?

They probably all do sound different, being a completely unstable device. Then add a nonlinear output device (transformer).
So much for the delicate nature of an audio signal.

tandy
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

Are you kidding??
Recently heard tube amp kick the butt off a SS amp with much superior specs. Much cleaner, see around the instruments much better, more natural sounding, like being in the studio vs an imitation. The owner said, "That's amazing".

"I think that DUP is a positive on this site. Willing to question everything. Uses a combination of sarcasim and intuition to question some of the outrageous claims made by the snake oil salesmen. Someone needs to point out that "the emperor has no clothes" even though it will make others look like sheep."

>>And who is going to catch the snake oil salesmen making outrageous claims in the objectivist camp? I see you guys aren't.

bjh
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

Defense of idiocy is ... idiocy.

CECE
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

Is it true that "snake oil" is used as a contact cleaner/enhancer? Is it squeezed, or ground into a pup? I will egin selling "snake oil" contact enhancer. Has all teh propertys tht is needed, to do what is claimed. If it doesn't work, well...what did you expect? $17.95/1 oz. CHEAP. It will come with a certificate of authenticity, proving it is truly SNAKE OIL. Can't loose, if it does seem to help, then you are one of the....ones that it works for. If it doesn't, well, do you think these product names are just pulled out of a hat?

Editor
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...


Quote:
I do not believe that we are able to measure everything that needs to be measured, or, in some cases, are even aware of what to measure yet!

I just posted an essay I wrote in 1988 -- see www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/988awsi -- and while I have measured many many products since then, my thinking hasn't changed too much in the 19 years since.


Quote:
To use a totally loopy analogy...Measurements seem to be at the level of talking about the presence of forests, but can't really measure the presence of trees.

Not loopy at all.


Quote:
I'd like JA to try and do some comparative cable measurements and see what he can see!

The problem with cables is deciding what to measure. However, Bill Waslo has sent me a program that allows the exquisitely detailed comparison of two digitized signals that I am hoping will be revealing of cable differences using music as the signal source.

All I need now is the time to experiment with Bill's program. The April issue's "Recommended Components" looms, and that leaves little time even for such thngs as sleeping. :-)

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Elk
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

Excellent essay, John. Thanks for posting it.

The program you mention for comparing signals sounds fascinating. I, for one, look forward to hearing about what you learn.

Thanks for keeping a skeptical, questioning, yet open mind.

cyclebrain
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...


Quote:
Is it true that "snake oil" is used as a contact cleaner/enhancer? Is it squeezed, or ground into a pup? I will egin selling "snake oil" contact enhancer. Has all teh propertys tht is needed, to do what is claimed. If it doesn't work, well...what did you expect? $17.95/1 oz. CHEAP. It will come with a certificate of authenticity, proving it is truly SNAKE OIL. Can't loose, if it does seem to help, then you are one of the....ones that it works for. If it doesn't, well, do you think these product names are just pulled out of a hat?


Of course your product won't sell. Your price is much to low to be taken seriously. Come on, get creative. "Made from electric eel oil". Special conductive formula created by nature. Has optimum energy transfer between the wire (eel) and the load (water).

ROLO46
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

If you saw Carl Engebretsen in the supermarket , you might well edge away in trepidation of a nutter, sweat pants at half mast, slightly beligerant stance .
However if you clocked his system (JA's Road trip to DUP)
minds could be changed.
He is a nutter , but a HiFi nutter.
That helps explain his posts.
Roger

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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...


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I'm of the school that "if it can't be measured, it can't be heard". A poster who tries to find an objective answer to his (or other posters') subjective findings is the one who receives my kudos. It is too often I am seeing people stubbornly clinging to the "these amps go to eleven" mantra to defend what their ears (allegedly) detect.

The Glob

Nestor,

I generally follow the same type of skepticism regarding claims of audibility. I prefer to look at the audibility slightly differently - "If I can hear it, it can be measured." It's easier to work in the affirmative than the negative, especially in terms of proof.

What I specifically mean is that there are things I hear, and I think it reasonable to think that those things heard are measurable. How it's measured is another matter.

An example is that two violins sound different from each other. Two pianos sound different from each other. I can describe the sound of each and I tend to think that measurements will confirm that differences exist. Those measurements may not completely explain the differences I hear, because the measuring equipment does not hear and interpret the music as I would (my ear, nerves, brain, etc., is a different measuring instrument than a voltmeter, oscilloscope, or spectrum analyzer - although there are some similarities in function).

If a person can hear the difference between two violins for example, and let's say the difference is very subtle, why would we doubt the same person when he reports a difference between two amplifiers, or two speakers, or two cables?

Regarding standard scientific knowledge, the textbooks are generally correct in the theory as taught in school. The behavior of real-world is anything but simple theory as taught. We all have to be very careful in claiming that two pieces of equipment sound different, because their source of difference may be very surprising to both "objectivists" and "subjectivists" alike, and different from what each may have thought.

A specific example of my own experience is that different capacitors can sound different (improved in my judgement). Well, often the difference is attributed to the capacitor type, when in fact, the capacitor is different in size, the construction is different, the leads are different, the solder used has changed, the physical location of the device is different, the mechanical stability of the device has changed, and so on. Without controlling for, or at least establishing that factors other than "type" do not matter, then the conclusion of "type of capacitor used caused the improvement" is flawed. However, if the result of the change is hearing better audio, then the improvement is worthwhile.

Yes, I would like to identify what scientific measurable changes provided the improvement I heard. My experience is that to do so is very difficult to do correctly, even if I had the right equipment to do so (which I don't have). But to achieve that connection between what change makes it better means I (or anyone else) can reliably reproduce that change for the betterment of audio community. Wouldn't that be nice?

commsysman
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

John;

I think that the approach most people take when discussing cables entirely misses the point.

People constantly talk about which cable "sounds better", without any reference to which specific equipment it is connecting; I think that this completely misunderstands the real issue that must be addressed!

I think, based on 20 years of building and testing cables and trying to find some scientific basis for differing sounds when comparing cables, that the issue is HOW A GIVEN CABLE INTERACTS WITH THE INPUT CIRCUITRY OF A PARTICULAR PREAMP (or integrated amp, etc.), and, to a lesser degree, with the output circuitry of the source component.

I have repeatedly observed that some combinations of components are relatively insensitive to changes in cables, while other combinations will give 5 different levels of distortion with 5 different cables; the distortion that occurs in the worst cases can render the system almost unlistenable.

When Cable A "sounds better" than Cable B, in a specific interface, we are talking about two different levels of distortion that are occuring due to the network characteristics of the entire combination; NOT JUST THE CABLE ITSELF! (The cable is only one of the 3 variables; it may be the one we are changing at that moment, but the two devices we are connecting are equally significant.)

When I first obtained my SONY CDP-777ES SACD player, I thought it was defective; the sound was not just bad but horrible. I had connected it using the cables supplied with the player (which looked as of the quality might be fairly good) to an Audio Research LS2B preamp. Trials of several interconnects I had laying around gave great improvement, and each one sounded different (none was anything special...). This was obviously a critical situation for some unknown reason. I eventually found that the Audioquest Viper cable gave excellent sound for this equipment combination. It uses a shield terminated on one end only and two shielded signal conductors. This configuration seems to work better in many cases than a simple coaxial cable.

We are, of course, talking about unbalanced cables here; I have never heard any difference between Balanced cable A and Balanced cable B, regardless of the equipment involved.

The simple fact is that the capacitance and inductance of the unbalanced cable, combined with those of the source component and the preamp (or amp, etc.), form a complex network whose precise C, R, and L values are known only approximately and are difficult to model theoretically.

My theory, based on much experimentation and measurement, is that brief bursts of ultrasonic oscilllation occur that can swamp the input circuit and cause micro-events of distortion repeatedly in the input circuitry of the preamp or other equipment receiving the signal. This occurs due to the inherent instability of this network, which can oscillate briefly due to being stimulated by signal peaks and the complex mixtures of frequencies in an audio signal.

An example of this kind of effect occurs when excessive bias is applied to a tape record/playback circuit. The ultrasonic bias, while not audible, can drive amplifying devices into non-linear operation and cause the circuit to distort the audible signal. This occurs continuously, and can be observed on an oscilloscope. (By the way, I am NOT referring to the physical saturation of the magnetic matter on the tape, which can also be caused by excess bias, and produces a similar but different distortion.)

The type of micro-events that I am talking about in the cable/equipment interface network cannot be observed as easily because they occur briefly and then are damped out. Furthermore, the introduction of test cables tends to modify the network and make measurement or observation problematical. I have certainly made many observations in the laboratory, using a scope and spectrum analyzer, and they tend to support my conclusions, BUT there is always the intrusiveness of the measurement apparatus as a variable, so I can claim no absolute proof; the gun is smoking, but I haven't analyzed the bullet, lol.

It would seem that if the input circuit of the preamp or amp incorporated filtering to suppress all content above 20 KHZ completely that this problem could be eliminated, but how many circuits have this feature?; very few, I think.

Power amplifiers have been known to overheat due to this effect. It has been observed that large amounts of ultrasonic content in the preamp/power amp interface network can cause a power amplifier to overheat, distort, blow fuses, etc. for no reason that is immediately apparent. This can happen because of the characteristics of the cable, because of a bad ground in the cable or connection, or because of an unstable relationship between the grounding circuits of the amplifier and preamplifier.

This overheating is hard to ignore. When the same effect occurs between a source and a preamp, the effect is less dramatic, so we just say "Cable A sounds better than Cable B", and we remain ignorant of the true cause of the problem!

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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...


Quote:
I have repeatedly observed that some combinations of components are relatively insensitive to changes in cables, while other combinations will give 5 different levels of distortion with 5 different cables; the distortion that occurs in the worst cases can render the system almost unlistenable.

Agreed. However your explanation is complex. There are often simpler explanations, such as equipment with high output impedance or low input impedance (typically tubes/output transformers) or saturated signals (line level outputs that exceed line level input capabilities due to equipment mis match).

Of course, complex issues of unstable high frequency noise might be a cause of problems too, but there needs to be a source for this noise ....a radio TX or strong emitter nearby or a failed piece of electronic equipment.

I agree that XLR balanced signal and cabling is much better in this respect, night and day compared to consumer RCA connectors. Lets face it...it isn't really audio professional grade unless there are XLR balanced connections. RCA's run much greater risk of noise problems.

So agreed - it is the equipment (poor design, faulty) and stray noise that are the root cause for observations that cables make significant differences

commsysman
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

If my explanation is complex, that is because no simple answer has ever been advanced that is at all satisfactory.

When you say "there needs to be a source for this noise", you indicate that you do not understand the nature of the problem. Oscillations are not noise. They may sometimes be stimulated by external noise, but that is not what I am talking about. As I said, the oscillations I am referring to are probably initiated by signal peaks in combination with the inherent tendency of the network in question to oscillate.

The "input impedance" and "output impedance" you refer to are indeed the complex sum of the Resistance, Inductance, and Capacitance, in the output and input networks of the equipment.

The kind of simple impedance mismatches you refer to are almost never present in real-world situations with stereo equipment and I have never known them to produce any problems that would not be essentially independent of cable changes.

No offense, please, but you may need to brush up a bit on your electrical theory basics.

CECE
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

Things have changed since 88'. Now the trees are visible from satelite images,measurement equipment surely has improved. In 88 there was no GPS for consumer use, either. So certainly audio things have also come a long way, that measurements correlate to what ya hear. Speaker designers surley use lotsa measuremnts and calculations, they don't just get a driver and listen and say, OK, that one. They do after they have speced it had it made, etc. Lotsa measuremnts certainly get it to the final listening. Same with amp ckts etc. Wire scammers love to use teh excuses that their magic just can't be measured. They keep telling their victims, ooops, i mean customers, that they do make a difference, for so long, the people are of course influenced by the constant images in magazines etc. The same concept applys to how a govt' controls the masses, didn't a famous person mention, tell a lie long enough people start to beleiv it as teh truth. Current enviorment in Iraq....same applied to wires. There where no weapons, no nutin', wires, there is no difference, yet they keep telling us something is going on. Close your eyes and listen, MF or any other magic eared is gonna know what interconnect is being used, nor similar guage speaker wire.

martin_n
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

If an amplifier is correctly designed, then the impedance presented by any combination of cable and speaker should always result in a stable system. When you say that you

tandy
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

Agreed that there are some ragtag manufacturers out there. I know of a couple I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole. They either don't know how to design, or they actually copied someone else's design. I have seen it actually happen.

Mirco oscillations can easily be avoided with simple techniques, if the manufacturers know that much, which many may not.

However, even with stable designs, I can hear the differences between cables and power cords quite easily. Science has already proven differences occur on the atomic and sub atomic levels.

But as mentioned before, it does take good equipment, which some (i.e. DUP) must not have.

Let's face it, there are alot of average components out there, with fewer and fewer as we approach the best.

CECE
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

That's me, AVG. How bout the ones who can hear the difference between the wire on a carpet or on a cable "elevator".......now that's gotta be SPECIAL!

CECE
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

What do line cords sound like anyway?

tandy
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

Some cords wooley up the bass. Cryoing cleans that up so the bass is more taught and punchy. Easily heard on a good system.

Others cords cause a thin sound. Does your components have IEC power jacks or captive cords?

ps. If you often listen at 115db, as you have mentioned before, your hearing is very suspect.

commsysman
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

Let's face it; when it comes to the differences in sound quality that everyone but DUP hears, with regard to unbalanced interconnects in some cases, it is obvious that he either:

1) Can't hear

2) Won't hear (for religious reasons)

3) Has a system with such low resolution that there really ARE no significant differences that anyone could hear

Personally, I lean toward #3.

tandy
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...

Nice comment Comm.

Years ago I got to hear a system in which some whispering in the left channel could not be heard. Yet in another system one could easily hear the whispering. In the same room by the way.

bjh
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Re: In defense of DUP and other ramblings...


Quote:
... differences in sound quality ... with regard to unbalanced interconnects in some cases...

Not just unbalanced. This past weekend while visiting with an audiophile friend to lend a second opinion for some cable swapping we both heard obvious differences when swapping balanced interconnects. Oh, without getting into details let me say that Cardas Golden Reference is a very very good interconnect, damn expensive however.

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