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Elk
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An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

I am placing this here so that DUP doesn't thread crap; there are benefits to a strong firewall.

Raife Smith, Ph.D. (Electrical Engineering,Tulane University, Dr. Smith ) took a look at residential power line noise and the objective effects of power treatments.

Here is Part 1: Part 1

The other parts are then easy to find.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

Thank you Elk.

This is very timely for me, since I am upgrading my power distributor and cables right now. I already "knew" that I could make improvements in this area, but it's really nice to actually see some measured results.

I had no idea that the power company was actually communicating with its equipment through the lines. Makes sense, but I didn't realize it.

One more reason to believe that the Power Factor Correction in my amp is doing many good things besides merely converting AC to DC. Great stuff...

Thanks for posting in the appropriate forum.

Now, all I need is a review comparing Furutech, PS and Shuynata... fat chance.

Dave

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:
Now, all I need is a review comparing Furutech, PS and Shuynata... fat chance.


PS Audio has been working on equipment to measure the differences between treated/untreated as well as their products and others. I didn't dig around on their site, but perhaps they are making some headway.

I also hope our new resident engineer chimes in. I would enjoy reading his thoughts on the tests themselves.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

VERY interesting stuff and also confirmation to what my ears already told me. Like that guy I have a dedicated line with the PS Audio Power Port recepticle and what a difference it made for my whole system. Worth every penny and honestly it wasn't even that much.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

Terrific info!

Thanks!

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

Great catch Elk; very interesting stuff!

The measurements seem like the obvious and relevant ones to me, but as the author points out there are almost certainly other parameters that are relevant here which lie as yet undiscovered. Some of the measurements do seem slightly surprising, although I may have misunderstood exactly what was being compared with what.

All this seems to point to the benefits of synthetic power regeneration, although that is very difficult to achieve without wasting an awful lot of energy as heat. I used to have a PS Audio Powerplant P300 that not only heated my house but both my neighbours'! Absolute power comes at a price.

As Dave alludes, some components are rendered less susceptible to power irregularities by the design of their power supplies. For instance none of the aftermarket power cords/blocks/conditioners I have tried on the Boulder 1012 seem to have made the slightest difference to the sound as far as I can tell although I have settled on a Supra 'LoRad' power cord to minimize RFI with my phono cables. Test your preferred exotic aftermarket power cord with a simple AC voltage detector and you might be surprised how poorly shielded it really is!

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:
I am placing this here so that DUP doesn't thread crap; there are benefits to a strong firewall.


Alas, you overlooked the potential for me to thread-crap in DUP's stead.


Quote:
Raife Smith, Ph.D. (Electrical Engineering,Tulane University, Dr. Smith ) took a look at residential power line noise and the objective effects of power treatments.


No he didn't. At least nothing in there addresses whether the noise riding on the power line gets through the gear and is thus audible. All he showed is that power lines have small amounts of noise, which is already well known, and that the PS power cord, which apparently includes a $30 RFI filter, reduces that noise a little. The key thing missing - well, a lot is missing! - is measuring the output at the speaker terminals which is what really matters.

--Ethan

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:
The key thing missing - well, a lot is missing! - is measuring the output at the speaker terminals which is what really matters.


That seems like a very 'worthy' goal Ethan, but not a particularly helpful one. What exactly are you measuring then? Mains distortion, the ability of the power treatment(s) to mitigate it, the ability of the power supplies in the component(s) to mitigate it, power-related RFI, or something else entirely? How do you tie cause to effect? Or, put another way, does introducing a hundred additional variables make a measurement more or less useful?

I agree that what Dr. Smith has measured is only part of the story, however it is imho a relevant and important part.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:
What exactly are you measuring then?


You measure the residual noise at the speaker terminals with the amplifier (or receiver) plugged in using the stock power cord, and then again with the PS Audio power cord. If the noise level is the same, or at least 100 dB or more below the nominal signal level, then the replacement power cord is proven to have no audible benefit.


Quote:
How do you tie cause to effect?


First we need to confirm that power line noise is even a problem with competent audio gear. That report failed to do so IMO.

--Ethan

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:
If the noise level is the same, or at least 100 dB or more below the nominal signal level,

Only 100dB down? I bet those golden ears out there that can hear the difference in a system that extends to 100kHz compared to one that only goes to 20kHz would not be satisfied with a signal to noise ratio of only 100dB. I mean that is only a power ratio of 1 to 10000000000.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

Ethan-

So empirical experience supported by scientific data isn't enough?

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:
Ethan-

So empirical experience supported by scientific data isn't enough?

No, not when applied incorrectly.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:
You measure the residual noise at the speaker terminals with the amplifier (or receiver) plugged in using the stock power cord, and then again with the PS Audio power cord. If the noise level is the same, or at least 100 dB or more below the nominal signal level, then the replacement power cord is proven to have no audible benefit.


But this only gives you a measurement relevant to that particular amplifier or receiver. I agree that this is the most relevant measurement for the owner of that particular gear but by the same token is completely irrelevant for everybody else. Maybe with enough such measurements one could begin to generalize and draw broader conclusions, e.g. switch-mode power supplies tend to do this or this type of regulation strategy tends to do that etc.


Quote:
First we need to confirm that power line noise is even a problem with competent audio gear. That report failed to do so IMO.


I agree, this was an assumption implicit in the report which may or may not be valid.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

Interesting link.

When I go up a level there are other posts by this author on similar topics that seem to be blank. Do you know why?

You have linked the poster to a person at a university but, unless I have missed it, this does not appear to be in the posting?

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

Ethan, have you looked at part 2 where he considers his power amplifier and different speaker cables? Some of his statements and conclusions are even more interesting.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

> So empirical experience supported by scientific data isn't enough?

Empirical experience is wholly irrelevant to the scientific method. But knowledge of previous hypotheses/laws that appear to hold and which have a bearing on the area of interest is most certainly relevant.

If the data is scientific then there is enough information supplied to independently repeat and confirm the measurements.

You would appear to be failing to make a distinction between the data and the conclusions drawn from the data. The data may well be perfectly reasonable but the conclusions nonsensical. The scientific process deals with this by publication and discussion.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

One crucial sentence in the link you gave.

>>> "In my audio life, I prefer to use my ears as the primary measurement tool for the evaluation of good sound. Many of the desirable attributes of good sound can not be measured by currently available testing methodology and equipment." <<<

This shows the difference between EE engineers - who "use their ears as the primary measurement tool for the evaluation of good sound" and other EE engineers (of equal standing and technical expertise) who claim "What you describe hearing CANNOT be happening - because of ........my expert knowledge"

Can I also respond in this Tweakers section for the same reason you have given, Elk ? And, using the same reason, transferring my response to some of Ethan's latest postings on the General Section to this Tweakers section !!

To quote from Ethan.
>>> "Right, it's not only room acoustics, but that's at least a scientific reason for the sound to really change. However, I'm convinced the more common reasons are faulty perception, wishful thinking, and justification for spending money on audio jewelry.

We're talking about audio fer chrissake, not particle physics! Everything that matters with audio has been fully understood for more than 60 years. Just because some people here don't understand it doesn't mean that nobody understands it!" <<<

This is where Ethan couldn't be more wrong. Everything that matters with audio is NOT fully understood !!!!!! With his 'faulty perception', 'wishful thinking', 'justification for spending money on audio jewellery' approach he is arrogantly dismissing hundreds (if not thousands worldwide) of people's experiences with a wave of his hand !!

People are NOT understanding why different AC power cords can give different sounds.
People are NOT understanding why different interconnect cables can give different sounds.
People are NOT understanding how the same cable or wire can 'sound' different when connected the opposite way round.
People are NOT understanding why different capacitors - even though they have identical technical specifications - can sound different.
People are NOT understanding why such things as Mpingo discs, Harmonix Discs, Shakti Stones, Tiny resonators, crystals etc can 'affect' the sound.
People are NOT understanding how the 'sound' can be affected by de-magnetising CDs and vinyl records etc.

When I use the term 'hundreds (if not thousands worldwide) of people' I am referring to people who have had decades of technical electronic, audio and acoustic experience, so should (and do) know conventional electronic and acoustic theories forwards, backwards, sideways and upside down but who are STILL faced with changes to their sound which cannot be explained from those very conventional theories !!! And, yet Ethan, with a wave of his hand or with the dismissive (to quote Ethan):-

>>> "They do not have the talent to play or write music, so they throw stones at those who can. They don't know how to design and test electronic circuits, so they insult the engineers who can calling them foolish meter readers........... But I bet not one of them can sing or play a musical instrument competently, and I bet not one of them has a decent sounding hi-fi setup. These armchair quarterbacks have strong opinions on everything related to their hobby, but their opinions are based on fantasy." <<<

Ethan, in effect, is denying so many people their experiences.

KBK said "But if the engineer or explorer of these issues does not step beyond the situation where the numbers and observations simply do not jibe... then they will never figure out what is going on. It is easier for the 'monkey inside' (in whatever person it may be) to say that audiophiles are full of shit and need to see a doctor, than it is for them to go back and start anew, looking for the missed points or the new science."

To which Ethan replied "Nah, they only think they hear a difference."

So, in Ethan's world, these hundreds (if not thousands worldwide) only THINK they hear a difference. How dismissive can one get ???

KBK uses the term "the monkey inside preventing them looking". To quote KBK

>>> "But if the engineer or explorer of these issues does not step beyond the situation where the numbers and observations simply do not jibe... then they will never figure out what is going on.
It is easier for the 'monkey inside' (in whatever person it may be) to say that audiophiles are full of shit and need to see a doctor, than it is for them to go back and start anew, looking for the missed points or the new science." <<<

Rvance describes it as "If you cling too tightly to what you think you know, there is no hope for learning what you don't."

The psychologists use the term "cognitive dissonance".

I agree with those but personally use the description "the fear of having their belief structure challenged is greater than their desire for good sound".

What is so relevant in the link you gave, Elk, is that the person (engineer) 'joined the queue' in saying that 'if different power cables can change the sound, then there is something going on which needs explaining'

You said, Elk, "I also hope our new resident engineer chimes in."
What are you expecting him to say other than what he has already said ? i.e :-
"I am feeling my way on this board so sorry about that, but being a somewhat knowledgeable electrical engineer who was immersed in this hobby some 40 years ago, I can't help but be somewhat pragmatic with opinions. Sorry but I can't take the exotic power cable claims seriously. From an engineering point of view it's illogical."

Surely he is only going to continue to say the same ? I.e that is it illogical ?
Regards,
May Belt.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

Again, I am transferring my reply to you, Elk, to the Tweakers section.
Elk, you say in a reply on the CBS Evening News Byline section
"I greatly enjoy Keith Howard's articles."

So, Elk, just who are you prepared to take serious notice of ? Ethan Winer who dismisses cryogenic products and processes :-
>>> "magic hockey pucks, too-small room treatments that defy all that is known about physics, cryogenic products and processes," <<<

OR Keith Howard who said in 2001 :-

>>> "I must say, even after the conversation with Ed Meitner, I remain puzzled. Having heard for myself the astonishing effect of cryogenically treating the copper in speaker and interconnect cables, I can't imagine how this process and its benefits could fade into obscurity. As Ed Meitner himself says, it can't be due to cost because - in the context of high-end gear, at any rate - it is swamped by all those digits in the price tag. Although Meitner still uses cryogenic treatment himself, for everyone else in the audio industry it appears to have been a case of NIH (not invented here) or maybe IDU (I don't understand)." <<<

You say you play a musical instrument Elk. Who are you going to take serious notice of ? Ethan Winer who dismisses 'cryogenic products and processes ?
OR such as the people mentioned in the 1999 New York Times article "For the Musical Alchemist, a New Tack: Cryogenics" ?
There is a link to this New York Times article below, linking to the list of Internet Articles on our P.W.B. Home Page.

http://www.belt.demon.co.uk/#InternetArticles

Regards,
May Belt.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

I have a cryrogenicly treated trumpet. There's exactly the same debate among trumpeters about the true worth of that process as there is here. With trumpet there have been several seriously flawed experiments to try to prove or disprove cryrogenics, but they proved nothing. There are real problems making mechanical lips that don't compensate for test trumpets' difference (real trumpeters will adjust their blow to get the sound in their head).

I can't offer any opinion about cryrogenics and my own C-trumpet, because I didn't own it when all that was done. Also, the cryrogenic treatment was part of an overhaul by one of the most talented brass techs in the world, Wayne Tanabe. Wayne redid every brace to remove mechanical stress, changed several parts and aligned everything to very close tolerances. The bell was annealed AND cryro treated. All I know is that it's a wonderful C-trumpet (Elk, it's a 229 with a Blackburn leadpipe).

With electronics, are they unable to measure any difference after cryro? I haven't read that yet. Cryro does seem relatively broadly accepted and I see it in some pro parts, so I was thinking that someone might have demonstrated that it has an impact.

In trumpet we would look for a change in impedance and/or a change in the resonating pattern of the bell. Either of those will be perceived by the trumpet as a change in the "blow". Great trumpets tend to resonate more freely, with less physical effort.

Dave

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

I, personally, don't know of any measurements done after things have been cryogenically treated. All I know, logically, is that if ANYONE had obtained any measurements to prove the effectiveness of cryogenically treating things, then those measurements would have been shouted from the roof tops !!

In Robert Harley's article (Stereophile October 1990) he refers (amongst other things) to cryogenically freezing musical instrument strings. We have tried the simpler freezing/slow defrost technique (using our domestic deep freezer) on our own guitar strings with success.
Regards,
May Belt.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:

Quote:
First we need to confirm that power line noise is even a problem with competent audio gear. That report failed to do so IMO.


I agree, this was an assumption implicit in the report which may or may not be valid.


Exactly. What sort of lamer would design a preamp or receiver etc that doesn't sound its best when connected to a typical AC power source? Adequate power line filtering is trivial to achieve, and is a standard part of every power supply. Unless you have obvious clicks and buzzes from solid state dimmers or when the fridge turns on, there is no benefit from a "power" product. The idea that a replacement power cord can subtly improve clarity and fullness and imaging etc is nonsense. That people buy these products anyway shows just how strong the power of suggestion really is.

--Ethan

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:

What sort of lamer would design a preamp or receiver etc that doesn't sound its best when connected to a typical AC power source? Adequate power line filtering is trivial to achieve, and is a standard part of every power supply. Unless you have obvious clicks and buzzes from solid state dimmers or when the fridge turns on, there is no benefit from a "power" product. The idea that a replacement power cord can subtly improve clarity and fullness and imaging etc is nonsense. That people buy these products anyway shows just how strong the power of suggestion really is.

Interesting thought Ethan, but I think the answer is that very few makers consider the interaction with the mains their responsibility. If you visit their shops, they've all got power treatment in front of their amps when they demonstrate. (I've only been to three, but that's what I saw).

Rowland is the only one I know that employs Power Factor Correction, which presents an even load (sinewave-like) to the mains (rather than allowing spiking as a Class D amp would want to do)converting the AC to 385 volt DC and presenting the amp with DC.

Some of the PFC units that Rowland uses were designed for microwave equipment used in cell towers. I doubt that the cell engineers are throwing in PFC just for the hell of it. Whether their concerns were about audability or not, I have no idea. Any cell tower engineers here??

Also of interest, Rowland doesn't recommend a particular power cord, but he'll tell you that EMI and RFI are very real factors, particularly when you hook up an amp, preamp and CDP in close quarters. The quality of the connections, the geometry of the wire and the shielding all have undeniable impact on RFI/EMI rejection/generation.

Dave

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:
Also of interest, Rowland doesn't recommend a particular power cord, but he'll tell you that EMI and RFI are very real factors, particularly when you hook up an amp, preamp and CDP in close quarters. The quality of the connections, the geometry of the wire and the shielding all have undeniable impact on RFI/EMI rejection/generation.

All very true, particularly with class D amps which Rowland manufactures and are notorious for generating and absorbing
these evils. Unfortunately, when they begin to spew hash these manufactures can be all to anxious to point fingers at the proximity of other components or cabling which are not always the culprit.

RG

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:

All very true, particularly with class D amps which Rowland manufactures and are notorious for generating and absorbing
these evils. Unfortunately, when they begin to spew hash these manufactures can be all to anxious to point fingers at the proximity of other components or cabling which are not always the culprit.

It is true indeed, if you take Class D, throw it in a folded-metal chassis, keep point-to-point wiring long, don't isolate and shield critical components, ignore mains interaction, don't offer true balanced operation and generally ignore ground behaviour, then you can get one nasty machine. Rowland, OTOH addresses all these issues. For example, his billet aluminum chassis is more than a high-cost marketing ploy, instead it's a critical part of RFI/EMI shielding AND containment.

This may partly explain the mixed reputation of Class D devices. In the hands of a gifted, focused designer, Class D can be true SOTA.

Dave

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:

Quote:

All very true, particularly with class D amps which Rowland manufactures and are notorious for generating and absorbing
these evils. Unfortunately, when they begin to spew hash these manufactures can be all to anxious to point fingers at the proximity of other components or cabling which are not always the culprit.

It is true indeed, if you take Class D, throw it in a folded-metal chassis, keep point-to-point wiring long, don't isolate and shield critical components, ignore mains interaction, don't offer true balanced operation and generally ignore ground behaviour, then you can get one nasty machine. Rowland, OTOH addresses all these issues. For example, his billet aluminum chassis is more than a high-cost marketing ploy, instead it's a critical part of RFI/EMI shielding AND containment.

This may partly explain the mixed reputation of Class D devices. In the hands of a gifted, focused designer, Class D can be true SOTA.

Dave

There are two ways to transfer noise. Conducted and radiated. In the field of audio, conducted emissions is the main path. Radiated emissions are based on size of the wavelength vs. the size of the opening. In the field of audio, even digital audio, the huge size of the wavelength makes shielding gaps insignificant. A cool looking billet machined chassis certainly won't hurt anything and does indicate an attention to detail.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:
I think the answer is that very few makers consider the interaction with the mains their responsibility. If you visit their shops, they've all got power treatment in front of their amps when they demonstrate.


Maybe boutique vendors, but I've never seen anything like that with pro gear like Crown and Bryston etc. You plug them in and the sound out is exactly the same as the sound in only louder.

--Ethan

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:
So, Elk, just who are you prepared to take serious notice of ? Ethan Winer who dismisses cryogenic products and processes :-
>>> "magic hockey pucks, too-small room treatments that defy all that is known about physics, cryogenic products and processes," <<<

OR Keith Howard who said in 2001 :-

>>> "I must say, even after the conversation with Ed Meitner, I remain puzzled. Having heard for myself the astonishing effect of cryogenicly treating the copper in speaker and interconnect cables, I can't imagine how this process and its benefits could fade into obscurity.


Hi, May! Welcome back.

Actually I take both seriously, read their thoughts and experiments, try things myself and go from their.

As Dave mentioned, as trumpet players we have argued over cryogenic treatment of our instruments for quite some time. I also dabble in target shooting were some are convinced that treating the barrel makes a gun more accurate.

There is no question that cryogenicly treated brake rotors work; they last longer on the race track. I love the things. At least here there is a solid explanation based in metallurgy so we know why this works.

(Excellent choice in C trumpets, Dave! I love Blackburn's work, I am toying with getting one of his leadpipes for my Scherzer piccolo trumpet - as if the three leadpipes the horn comes with are not enough.)

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

Very interesting thread. I am not flush and have to consider my tweaks very carefully. I bought basic PS audio power cords an have been very surprised by the changes in my system, as I have posted elsewhere, This is the first thread that seems to explain what I am hearing in terms beyond voodoo.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:

Quote:

Quote:
First we need to confirm that power line noise is even a problem with competent audio gear. That report failed to do so IMO.


I agree, this was an assumption implicit in the report which may or may not be valid.


Exactly. What sort of lamer would design a preamp or receiver etc that doesn't sound its best when connected to a typical AC power source? Adequate power line filtering is trivial to achieve, and is a standard part of every power supply. Unless you have obvious clicks and buzzes from solid state dimmers or when the fridge turns on, there is no benefit from a "power" product. The idea that a replacement power cord can subtly improve clarity and fullness and imaging etc is nonsense. That people buy these products anyway shows just how strong the power of suggestion really is.

--Ethan

I have to disagree. How does one explain a completely new sound on a track in a CD one knows well after a power change? I have a CD with a track in which an instrument has suddenly appeared out of the either that was not there with the stock cord. Stand by for a precise musical term...there is a thingy on track 5 of a Govi CD of acoustic music, a thing that sounds like a very small triangle, that was completely lacking before the power cord change and is now clear. How can one explain such a change? How can the appearance of a new instrument in a CD be called wishfull thinking or a placebo effect??

It was not there, or was so lost in the mix as to be unremarkable, and then it was, clear and present.

I cannot explain this except to say that is simply 'is'.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:

Quote:
I think the answer is that very few makers consider the interaction with the mains their responsibility. If you visit their shops, they've all got power treatment in front of their amps when they demonstrate.


Maybe boutique vendors, but I've never seen anything like that with pro gear like Crown and Bryston etc. You plug them in and the sound out is exactly the same as the sound in only louder.

That's very, very funny Ethan. I've owned Bryston and worked with Crown on pro music gigs and both sound very hard edged in comparison to my Rowland gear. Of course, Rowland has actually done something to address the mains interface. Crown and Bryston are well protected from shorts, but they've done nothing that I'm aware of to condition the sound for best audio.

Dave

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

Yes, Blackburn is a genius. I'm amazed at the number of "top line" trumpets that are literally transformed from almost unplayable to magic by adding one of his leadpipes (I've got his tuning crook also). It's like the other guys are literally shooting in the dark, yet he knows exactly what to do.

Dave

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

If you go the the Bryston website, you will now note that they are VERY concerned with AC line quality. They advocate and support the use of 'Torus' branded AC balancing transformers and similar type gear from Torus.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:
How does one explain a completely new sound on a track in a CD one knows well after a power change?

In that other thread I asked you to try the original wires and report back:


Quote:
The next thing you should try is going back to your original fuses and wires, to see if you still hear the clicks and bumps. I bet you'll find those details were audible before too, but you never noticed them until you listened more carefully. Please try that and report back.

Well?

--Ethan

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

I did. The question remains. Even if the sound is in the original mix, which it was not, or at least could not be heard by me, it is loud and clear now.

The differences were, the separation of a series of bumps and thumps from background noise on one track when I replaced the fuse. Not with any clarity, just enough to know it was there. When I changed the power cable, the bumps and thumps became clearly the sound of the musicians thumping either their guitars or a small drum softly with their fingers. In addition, with the new cable, a sound like a tiny triangle (note the serious use of proper musical terms) appeared on another track. I have less than 5 hours on the cable and under 20 on the fuse so far (relatives visiting) so I cannot say how the sound will end up with serious hours on the stuff but I can say I hear a change on my system with my ears.

That does not mean anyone else would hear the same on their gear or in their room, but I did and was srprised enough to order another PS Audio power cable for the CD player.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

Poor sap, wait till he gets a month down the road and realizes what's missing!

RG

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Thank you for the welcome back. I am back because I am challenging Ethan's "Everything that matters with audio has been fully understood for more than 60 years" just as I responded a year ago when Ethan was dismissing a whole list of devices and procedures with "I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear me say that I consider all of the products sold by both of these companies to be total bullshit with no foundation in science or anything else beyond wishful thinking."

Elk, I am presuming what you mean when you say "Actually I take both (Keith Howard and Ethan Winer) seriously, read their thoughts and experiments, try things myself and go from their", is that you listen to and take notice of both, equally, and do not DISMISS either. But, how long, particularly on the subject of 'freezing' is it going to be before you have to begin to take one MORE seriously than the other ?

Yes, Elk, as you say "as trumpet players we have argued over cryogenic treatment of our instruments for quite some time."
And, as Dave mentioned, "I have a cryrogenicly treated trumpet. There's exactly the same debate among trumpeters about the true worth of that process as there is here".

Yes, exactly as Dave says - the same parallel argument has gone on in the musical world as in the audio world i.e. Some musicians of excellent status and reputation saying that they 'heard' instruments which had parts which had been cryogenically treated 'sound better' and other musicians saying "Oh no, that is not possible. They must be mistaken, they must have imagined it."
Some people in the world of audio (of excellent status and reputation such as Ed Meitner and Keith Howard) saying they can 'hear' interconnects etc which have been cryogenically treated 'sound better' and other people in the world of audio saying "Oh no, that is not possible. They must be mistaken, they must have imagined it."

I responded to your posting because the reference you introduced was about someone who, yet AGAIN in audio, had HEARD different power cables change the sound and was trying to find some measurements which would correlate and explain what he had heard. Whether his measurements could/would shine any light on the subject was not MY point. The point I was trying to make was that here was yet another person who had heard a power cable sound different. How many similar people does there have to be before they stop being dismissed ? In exactly the same way, "How many does there have to be who can hear the cryogenic treatment of musical instruments give better sound before other people will stop insisting "Oh no, that is not possible. They must be mistaken, they must have imagined it.?" And by so doing (saying) denying and dismissing other people's experiences.

Quote by dcstep
>>> "Also, the cryrogenic treatment was part of an overhaul by one of the most talented brass techs in the world, Wayne Tanabe." <<<

Now, Elk, imagine that such as Wayne Tanabe who dcstep regards as 'most talented brass techs in the world', was then dismissed as 'being mistaken', as 'imagining it' because he had heard the cryogenic freezing treatment improve the sound. At some point you would have to regard one side more seriously than the other. How long would it need ?

To my knowledge the debate around the 'freezing process improving the sound' has been going on for over 20 years. I would have thought time enough for you, Elk, to have formed a more definite opinion than "I take both (sides) seriously" !!!!!

So to quote you, having "read their thoughts and experiments, try things myself and go from their", what are your conclusions regarding the effect of the freezing process on 'sound' ?

Similarly, in another area, who are you going to take MORE seriously ? The EE engineer with over 40 years involvement in audio who says :-

>>> "I must confess that I have yet to really sit in the sweet spot and listen for differences with my new DIY "exotic" power cables.
I suppose that I should apologize for pulling the scab off what must be a slow-to-heal power cable wound. I am feeling my way on this board so sorry about that, but being a somewhat knowledgeable electrical engineer who was immersed in this hobby some 40 years ago, I can't help but be somewhat pragmatic with opinions. Sorry but I can't take the exotic power cable claims seriously. From an engineering point of view it's illogical." <<<

OR such as Julian Vereker of Naim who in 1995 said :-

>>> ">>> "Everything that we do to our hi-fi systems affects the way that they sound; Some of these things are simple to measure while others are not so straight forward.
When we were designing the Naim loudspeaker cable, we specified all the parameters that we thought were controllable in manufacture, but when we came to listen to some music on a system using the new cable, we were somewhat alarmed to note that the sound was rather 'phasey' - lacking in a coherent soundstage.
This was such an obvious characteristic we felt sure that we would be able to measure something. But we looked from DC to 500kHz (down to -1440dBV) then up to 500 MHz and down to -100dBV at low currents, high currents, low voltage and high voltage and we could not find anything different in any respect between this new cable and the old design or in fact the new cable and our current loudspeaker cable, NACA5.
We also listen to mains cables of the same specification from different manufacturers for the same reasons. We know they make a difference but have not yet been able to measure anything of consequence. So we specify exactly which mains cable the moulded lead manufacturers may use when supplying us.
I feel that if one cannot be scientific it pays to be pragmatic." <<<

And Julian supplied Naim interconnect cabling with arrows marked on the outer insulation to denote which direction it should be connected !!

And Bob Stuart of Meridian who in 1983 said :-
>>> "that care is taken in production of his new Meridian modular amp - to ensure that cable is connected the preferred way round. He (Bob) can't yet explain why it should sound better one way round than the other." <<<

Or, do people believe (as has been suggested by some) that such as the people I have mentioned were prepared to risk being ridiculed purely for a marketing ploy ?

Regards,
May Belt.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

Too all who cannot see part 2.

Part 2 contains graphs of both AC line noise and output noise. Also, power supplies are not simple, but are complex and are not constant impedance, or zero impedance. One also has to worry about the grounding scheme of the design.

Now back to your regularly schedule posts.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

May,

I am not quite sure what you are asking.

As to trumpets, I have played cryogenically treated trumpets. It is essentially impossible for me to judge whether they are the same, better or worse after the treatment as all trumpets vary - even by the same manufacturer and even when the production line is highly automated. I have never had one of my own instruments treated to potentially be able to judge the difference.

Similarly, I cannot judge whether a trumpet sounds better because of the treatment or not. Take the variability of trumpets, add in the variability of players and who knows?

Whether the treated instrument sounds better is somewhat besides the point. What really matters is if the individual player can play better; is the instrument more responsive, more controllable,etc.? If so, it is better for that performer.

Truth does not depend on the number of persons saying a given thing. If a thousand men say a foolish thing it is still a foolish thing.

If however someone I have at least some respect for recommends a tweak or treatment I will at least check it out.

On a more generic level, I think that it will take some sort of demonstrable measurable proof for those who do not hear a difference between power cables to accept that there is at least the potential for power cords to affect the sound.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:

Yes, Elk, as you say "as trumpet players we have argued over cryogenic treatment of our instruments for quite some time."
And, as Dave mentioned, "I have a cryrogenicly treated trumpet. There's exactly the same debate among trumpeters about the true worth of that process as there is here".

Yes, exactly as Dave says - the same parallel argument has gone on in the musical world as in the audio world i.e. Some musicians of excellent status and reputation saying that they 'heard' instruments which had parts which had been cryogenically treated 'sound better' and other musicians saying "Oh no, that is not possible. They must be mistaken, they must have imagined it."
Some people in the world of audio (of excellent status and reputation such as Ed Meitner and Keith Howard) saying they can 'hear' interconnects etc which have been cryogenically treated 'sound better' and other people in the world of audio saying "Oh no, that is not possible. They must be mistaken, they must have imagined it."

I responded to your posting because the reference you introduced was about someone who, yet AGAIN in audio, had HEARD different power cables change the sound and was trying to find some measurements which would correlate and explain what he had heard. Whether his measurements could/would shine any light on the subject was not MY point. The point I was trying to make was that here was yet another person who had heard a power cable sound different. How many similar people does there have to be before they stop being dismissed ? In exactly the same way, "How many does there have to be who can hear the cryogenic treatment of musical instruments give better sound before other people will stop insisting "Oh no, that is not possible. They must be mistaken, they must have imagined it.?" And by so doing (saying) denying and dismissing other people's experiences.

Quote by dcstep
>>> "Also, the cryrogenic treatment was part of an overhaul by one of the most talented brass techs in the world, Wayne Tanabe." <<<

Now, Elk, imagine that such as Wayne Tanabe who dcstep regards as 'most talented brass techs in the world', was then dismissed as 'being mistaken', as 'imagining it' because he had heard the cryogenic freezing treatment improve the sound. At some point you would have to regard one side more seriously than the other. How long would it need ?

To my knowledge the debate around the 'freezing process improving the sound' has been going on for over 20 years. I would have thought time enough for you, Elk, to have formed a more definite opinion than "I take both (sides) seriously" !!!!!

May, good questions (addressed to Elk, but I'll weigh in a little due to my prior involvement). The trouble with evaluating cryrogenic treatment of instruments is that it's very hard to do. There's a physics professor down at Rollins College in Orlando that has developed some artificial lips that can reliable produce "musical" sounds from trumpets and remove the player from the equation. He's also developed a spectographic photographic method for observing the resonance patterns on the bells of trumpets. Unfortunately, he's never applied his tools to compare cryrongenicly treated trumpets, before and after.

A trumpeter automatically will adjust his or her "blow" so that the trumpet will sound like and image in his or her head. What he or she thinks they feel is hard to consider reliable because the delay between starting cryrogenic treatment and completion is hours. Every time a trumpeter starts or stops playing the lips will swell or shrink, muscles will stiffen so that the next trial will ALWAYS feel different.

I know professional trumpeters that played the same trumpet for decades and then had it cryrogenically treated. Everyone of them (three guys) felt a difference, toward the positve, reducing stress in the ease of resonating. I have high confidence in that result, but I'd love to see it scientifically demonstrated.

If you search around you'll find several "tests" all of which were seriously flawed, IMHO. Tufts University probably had the most credibility, but it did not establish adequate controls and used novice players, rather than a machine or pro, among other things. I'd love it if Rollins would use their artificial lips and photography techniques to put together a valid test.

As for application to audio, if a difference could be measured, then I'd believe that it's likely to be audible. If really experienced listeners think that they hear differences, then I believe that it likely is audible.

Dave

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:
I know professional trumpeters that played the same trumpet for decades and then had it cryrogenically treated. Everyone of them (three guys) felt a difference, toward the positve, reducing stress in the ease of resonating. I have high confidence in that result, but I'd love to see it scientifically demonstrated.


Dr. Moore's work is great and I, too, would love to see what he will find if he studied cryogenic treatment.

We do know that cryogenic treatment of iron physically changes the material. I have not seen anything that indicates that other metals so change.

My hunch is that if the playing characteristics of trumpets do change with treatment, it is because it changes the resonate back pressure of the nodes of the instrument. This back pressure is how we as players sense where the notes are.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

I seen studies of metals, showing, for instance, that a drilling tool might gain five-times the useful life with cryogenic treatments. That's due to changing the metallic structure. With trumpet, I'd think that will change resonating characteristics. With wires and switches, I'm not sure that a change would be heard, but it seems plausable.

Dave

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:

Quote:
I know professional trumpeters that played the same trumpet for decades and then had it cryrogenically treated. Everyone of them (three guys) felt a difference, toward the positve, reducing stress in the ease of resonating. I have high confidence in that result, but I'd love to see it scientifically demonstrated.


Dr. Moore's work is great and I, too, would love to see what he will find if he studied cryogenic treatment.

We do know that cryogenic treatment of iron physically changes the material. I have not seen anything that indicates that other metals so change.

My hunch is that if the playing characteristics of trumpets do change with treatment, it is because it changes the resonate back pressure of the nodes of the instrument. This back pressure is how we as players sense where the notes are.

That would seem easily testable.

Do the trumpeters need to know which trumpet is treated in order to feel the difference?

A small set of 'identically' made trumpets, treated and untreated, with players trying out each and reporting on their preferences and experiences should do it.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:
My hunch is that if the playing characteristics of trumpets do change with treatment, it is because it changes the resonate back pressure of the nodes of the instrument. This back pressure is how we as players sense where the notes are.


Quote:
That would seem easily testable.


Yes. He could measure an instruments characteristics before and after treatment. I hope he does this at some point.


Quote:
A small set of 'identically' made trumpets, treated and untreated, with players trying out each and reporting on their preferences and experiences should do it.


One would think so. Unfortunately there are no identical trumpets. Even the most carefully handmade instruments are a bit different and play differently.

It's actually somewhat frustrating in that you often need to go to the shop to try out a bunch to see which one you like, or order a nice sampling and sending all but one back.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:
It is essentially impossible for me to judge whether they are the same, better or worse after the treatment as all trumpets vary - even by the same manufacturer and even when the production line is highly automated.


Yep, and not being able to test something is a sure-fire catalyst for endless arguments having no substance or evidence to back up the claims.


Quote:
Truth does not depend on the number of persons saying a given thing. If a thousand men say a foolish thing it is still a foolish thing.


Amen to that!

--Ethan

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:

A small set of 'identically' made trumpets, treated and untreated, with players trying out each and reporting on their preferences and experiences should do it.

This is what Tufts tried to do and actually published "results", but any trumpeter knows that no two trumpets blow alike, except by pure random luck.

You need to take a control trumpet, measure its "effort" with a set of mechanical lips, graph it's impedance, take spectral photographs of its resonance patterns and measure its frequency amplitude prior to cryo and after. It CAN be done, but no one has done it, that I know of.

The Bb trumpet I now play was hand picked at the Schilke factory in 1960 by a pro trumpeter from Dallas (Tommy Loy). I played it, fell in love with it, but the owner wouldn't sell. I tried half a dozen of the same model from Schilke and none played as well for me. Finally, my friend decicde to sell and I was able to buy it.

Dave

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:
I tried half a dozen of the same model from Schilke and none played as well for me.


I can relate. Unfortunately.

The irony is that I don't think Schilke has ever made a bad trumpet, especially piccolos.

I also really hope that someone carefully objectively tests before and after cyro treatment. It would be interesting.

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Quote:
I also really hope that someone carefully objectively tests before and after cyro treatment. It would be interesting.


My guess is if there is a change it would be very small, akin to identical trumpets off the same production line. The main sound generation mechanism for a trumpet is the air inside the tube as excited by the player's lips and embouchure. Versus vibration of the metal itself. Even if the metal's vibration is a factor, I can't see why freezing and thawing it would have much effect. And even if it does, the change is just as likely to be worse as better.

--Ethan

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

Actually the characteristics of the metal matters a lot. In particular, trumpet bells can be made of a variety of materials and the metal alloy chosen directly affects the sound. Changes in leadpipe metals and thickness, as well in the rest of the horn, also changes the playing characteristics a great deal.

I also suspect that the changes are akin to production variations - but this is actually a pretty big deal to a serious trumpet player.

As applied to iron, cryo treatment changes the metal, vaguely akin to tempering. Thus, the changes are not random. Anything that eases tension in worked metal often improves functionality. Thus it makes sense that it could uniformly improve the instrument.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

>>> "As for application to audio, if a difference could be measured, then I'd believe that it's likely to be audible. If really experienced listeners think that they hear differences, then I believe that it likely is audible.
Dave" <<<

>>> "If really experienced listeners think that they hear differences, then I believe that it likely is audible." <<<

That is THE crucial sentence Dave and thank you for your reply. The point I was trying to make to Elk was that if EXPERIENCED musicians (of whatever instruments they played) - i.e musicians of respect and stature - one by one began to say that when they had their instruments 'frozen' they 'sounded' better, and Elk is a musician himself, YES, he will listen to what different people are saying, and listen to different viewpoints but surely he will reach some point in time when he has to consider one viewpoint more seriously than another. He surely cannot carry on placing EQUAL seriousness on one musician saying that 'freezing' the instrument gives better sound and another musician dismissing the whole 'freezing' process improving sound as nonsense - "It cannot happen, therefore it does not happen." Surely at some point Elk would have to challenge himself and decide "Shall I try the 'freezing' technique myself or shall I go with the person's opinion who said it was all nonsense and do nothing ?"

I do not play a brass instrument or such as a clarinet. I play the piano, the piano accordion, the electronic organ and electronic keyboard and have tried to play the guitar but my finger ends became sore and tender long before I had chance to develop a suitable technique !! You can improve the sound of a guitar (or such as a double bass) by putting the strings through the freezing/slow defrost process, and it is a fairly simple technique to assess whenever you feel like changing the strings because (if you have the patience and WANT to know) you can fit a set of strings before freezing them, play the guitar, then put these same strings through the freezing/slow defrost process, put them back, play and judge the comparison in sound !!

Now, knowing what improvement I can make with a guitar, as I pointed out, I do not need to be able to play a brass instrument or a reed instrument to be able to recognise and appreciate just what other people are describing after 'freezing' THEIR instruments !!

In exactly the same way. I know that different capacitors can sound different - even though they can have identical technical specifications. I know that different cables can sound different - even though they can have identical technical specifications - so I do not need to have tried the actual Naim cable to know and understand what Julian Vereker was describing. I know that some cables, when connected the opposite way round can 'sound' different - so I do not need to have tried Bob Stuart's actual cable to know and understand what Bob was describing. I know that different AC power cables can 'sound' different so I do not need to have tried EVERY different AC power cable to be able to recognise and understand what other people are describing.

>>> "I know professional trumpeters that played the same trumpet for decades and then had it cryrogenically treated. Everyone of them (three guys) felt a difference, toward the positve, reducing stress in the ease of resonating. I have high confidence in that result, but I'd love to see it scientifically demonstrated." <<<

Yes, of course you would love to see it scientifically demonstrated but how long would you wait for such proof before trying the technique for yourself ? You would not need to know a huge number of musicians who had used the freezing technique with success before you began to take MORE seriously the viewpoint that there 'was something in this freezing technique' rather than the other viewpoint that the process was nonsense.

Regards,
May Belt.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"

>>> "Whether the treated instrument sounds better is somewhat besides the point." <<<

No it is not beside the point !!! That is EXACTLY what playing musical instruments is all about - producing the best sound you can - which in turn gives you the most pleasure in playing that instrument !!

>>> "Truth does not depend on the number of persons saying a given thing. If a thousand men say a foolish thing it is still a foolish thing." <<<

Obviously !!! Surely it is taken as read between intelligent people and it goes without saying between intelligent people. I was not talking about fools !!! It was not the sort of truism sentence I would have expected from someone like you, Elk.

However, the point I was trying to make regarding 'numbers of people' is this.
Regarding the cryogenic treatment and regarding how seriously you (anyone) listens to and takes notice of what people are saying. You said that you take EQUALLY seriously what Keith Howard says and what Ethan Winer says. OK so far, because that is what people normally initially do - weigh up the pros and cons of each point of view.

But, at SOME point, without any measurable PROOF, surely you are going to have to reach a position where you will take one of the viewpoints MORE seriously - and that point will be reached by numbers !!! The NUMBER of people, particular the number of people whose opinion you respect. I am NOT saying you will suddenly believe outright, I specifically used the words 'take more seriously' !! - i.e

Keith Howard (I have already quoted what he said about the cryogenic process) and

Ed Meitner who said:-
"As well as freezing CDs another thing that happened which was probably more interesting was that Analogue Devices came to us and we treated some 20-bit DAC chips. They sent out untreated and treated chips for people to try and again the same thing happened: the treated ones sounded better......... There was never a failure. We treated tons of solid-state stuff, whole circuit boards, and the only bad thing that happened was that the electrolytic capacitors would lose their shrinkwrap. That was it. We even treated speaker voice coils.
What I've found over the last 15 years of being in high-end audio is that most of the minds are pretty closed. And this is strange it's the opposite of what you would expect..... What's even more puzzling is that you have all this megabucks equipment out there where the cost of the treatment would be of no concern. It would be a tiny fraction of the overall cost."

and

Robert Harley (who wrote the article on cryogenic freezing in Stereophile and said at the end of his article)

"Furthermore, I see CD tweaks as a Rosetta Stone to an audio engineering establishment that dismisses the possibility that freezing a CD, or painting it black, or putting green paint around the edge, or making it from a different material, could affect its sound. Because these treatments are considered the epitome of audiophile lunacy and because they are readily audible, some measurement-oriented scientists may, if they listen for themselves, realize that audiophiles are not always the demented mystics they are often accused of being. Consequently, some scientists may decide to turn their considerable analytical skill toward other areas of audio reproduction, long cited by audiophiles as important, that are far less bizarre than freezing CDs."

Followed by the numbers of musicians referred to in the New York Times article.
Followed by the numbers of the musicians (including the numbers of musicians who such as Dave mentions) who are claiming that cryogenically freezing their instruments improved the sound from those instruments.

Whereas, someone with the other viewpoint is such as Ethan Winer who dismisses cryogenic products and processes.

Your quote Elk :-
>>> "If however someone I have at least some respect for recommends a tweak or treatment I will at least check it out." <<<

Of course. Why not ? But, having tried the tweak which someone you respect has recommended and found it to be successful, you surely cannot then carry on having EQUAL respect for (take equally seriously) someone who continues to claim that that particular 'tweak' is nonsense, rubbish, is part of a person's imagination etc ?

>>> "On a more generic level, I think that it will take some sort of demonstrable measurable proof for those who do not hear a difference between power cables to accept that there is at least the potential for power cords to affect the sound." <<<

Again, without DEMONSTRABLE measurable proof that power cords can affect the sound, would you still give consideration EQUALLY to people who you respect who told you that THEY found power cords can affect the sound AND to people who said it was 'nonsense' ? Surely you would begin to give UNEQUAL consideration to only one of the different viewpoints ? You have just said "If however someone I have at least some respect for recommends a tweak or treatment I will at least check it out." If, after you HAVE checked it out and find the 'tweak' works for you also, surely you cannot continue to have equal respect for people who continued to say that that 'tweak' was nonsense ?

>>> "I also really hope that someone carefully objectively tests before and after cyro treatment. It would be interesting." <<<

Of course it would be interesting. That again goes without saying !!! But, supposing objective test results are not forthcoming ? How long would YOU be prepared to wait Elk for such results ?

Back to your comment "Truth does not depend on the number of persons saying a given thing. If a thousand men say a foolish thing it is still a foolish thing." I do not expect such a simplistic comment from intelligent people like you. I am still surprised you would use such in our discussion. NUMBERS have been important, many times, throughout history.

One excellent subjective example comes to mind. It was probably going back thousands of years when the odd person (isolated and not in contact with others - so would know nothing of other people's experiences) would visit their physician and describe hearing noises and ringing in their ears. They would be met with the physician telling them that "It could not be so. That there were no sounds in the room, the room was completely silent, the physician could hear nothing, so the person must be imagining it." ONLY after similar things were being reported, gradually, over hundreds of years would the NUMBERS of similar reports make the physicians gradually take more notice. There was (and still IS) NO visible signs of Tinnitus - only subjective descriptions by the persons themselves - so it would only be by sheer numbers reported that the physicians would decide to take more notice !!

Regards,
May Belt.

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Re: An EE's "Studies On Residential Power Line Noise"


Quote:
trumpet bells can be made of a variety of materials and the metal alloy chosen directly affects the sound ... cryo treatment changes the metal, vaguely akin to tempering.


If tempering were desirable, why don't the trumpet makers simply temper the metal? Or use a stiffer type of metal? And why cryo? They could just temper it or choose an appropriate stiffness and be done with it, no?

--Ethan

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