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scottlf
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The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

This may get various reactions, but it's a humor-tinged essay on the idea of sort-of audiophiles, i.e., people such as myself, while taking some well-aimed potshots at the extremists. (Heck, I'm even a Stereophile subscriber!)

Here it is, from my blog for the SF Examiner: http://www.examiner.com/x-373-SF-Classical-Music-Examiner~y2008m7d25-How-to-be-an-audioquasiphile

Buddha
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

Hola!

Welcome.

Thanks for posting that.

I know someone in the Bay Area you need to get to know.

Look up Jason Victor Serinus here and drop him a message. He writes for Stereophile, is active in the Bay Area Audiophile Society (BAAS) and is about the nicest audiophile on the planet.

I bet he'd be able to offer much nutritious blog inspiration.

Hope you stick around and join the ranks of the "crazies" and learn to love records and record players. [Evil quiet chuckle, like Muttley used to do.]

scottlf
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

Thanks for the nice welcome -- and I'll definitely look up Jason!

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:
it's a humor-tinged essay on the idea of sort-of audiophiles

Great essay. The only thing I'd add is in your summary you said to focus most on loudspeakers, which I agree with. But you omitted something that matters at least as much if not more - room treatment.

--Ethan

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

Hi Scott,

Nice article! I enjoyed reading it. It reminded me a lot of an article from 1981 called "Hi-fi Fetishism". I had great fun reading that one as well, although the latter article in my view unfairly criticizes fringe audiophiles as being more interested in the equipment than the music. I actually haven't met any audiophile like that. However, I think his comments about "aggrandizing the object" are spot on. The thing audiophiles often say about equipment "conveying emotion" is to me an example of that kind of aggrandizement.

Great to see some common sense writings out there. Audiophilia is really lacking in that area. Keep 'em coming .

absolutepitch
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

Welcome Scott.

I personally, and this forum I presume, would welcome your views regarding the choices you made, or the decisions you had to make to judge a stereo system as good enough to satisfy your sonic senses. There is a lot of opinion on what equipment gives good sound. There is (imo artificial) the division between "subjectivists" and the "objectivists". There are those that think double-blind-testing is the only way to distinguish between equipment, the the opposing group that says that listening is the only way to do that, or somewhere inbetween. This list can go on and on.

I have both a musical and science/engineering background that helps me judge, drawing from "both" sides of experience. Hope to hear from you more. Again, welcome.

scottlf
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

I understand what you mean, and I'm happy you liked my little essay.

Judging from the experience of my representative audioquasiphile (i.e., me) it would seem that audioquasiphiles expect the speakers to ingratiate themselves with the room as given, rather than the other way around.

That's certainly true of my own living room (not 'listening room'), which is not only a high-ceilinged shallow rectangle bristling with Victorian irregularities (nooks, crannies, insets, projections, etc.,) but is also filled to bursting with stuffed furniture, cabinetry, carpeting, plants, etc. I have little doubt that it's an acoustic charnel ground. But it's a dandy living room, provided one has no beef with Victoriana.

But that's an audioquasiphile for you...

Buddha
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

Stopping a while to ponder your gear, I have decided to deny you your premise. You, sir, are an actual audiophile. Full fledged.

To wit:

"...that bass-blasting tin-thrashing raucous pandemonium that suffocates trash emporia like BestBuy can leave me distinctly nauseated or itching to punch the lights out of the first little old lady I encounter."

Only audiophiles talk like that. Only audiophiles are capable of expressing how existentially nauseating mediocre sonics can be.

Also, you are aware of, and shop at, high end audio salons.

B&W...did you shop at San Francisco Stereo?

Onward.

Rogers speakers, two channel audio, Rotel, Arcam, Grado, being able to "easily distinguish a $4000 stereo from a $40,000 one..."

All signs point toward "audiophile," sans "quasi."

You've come to the right place. Here, you can be yourself. Here, you can let down your veil of denial and just be an audiophile, without qualification.

Audiophilia is a quantum state. There is as much "quasi" in your obvious audiophilia as there are degrees of pregnancy.

You are one of us.

scottlf
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

Hello WTL, and thanks for the post --

The stereo that I bought had to satisfy not only my ears, but also budget and also had to fit inside a very cluttered living room.

I actually started out the process already having decided to buy B&W speakers, unless my casual experience of them in various folks's homes and the like turned out to be misleading.

But having some listening time with them showed that my initial impressions hadn't been wrong; what I liked is that they got out of the way. The "box" around the speaker isn't such a big deal.

In addition there is a kind of organicism, similar to the difference between a good acoustic piano and a high-quality digital piano. No matter how good the digital piano is, it remains a dead thing while the acoustic piano has wood in it, and felt; it swells and shrinks with temperature and humidity, and in general has a sense of life about it. (Even though it's technically just as dead as the digital one.) There's something vaguely animate about the B&Ws, at least the ones in the 800 series I've heard.

Choosing the 805s was a matter of budget and room size; they work well in both regards.

I listen at "concert hall" levels -- i.e., quiet -- and so the speakers ability to stay unboxed and 'organic' at low levels was an important consideration.

I don't know if this means anything, but I vastly prefer the German Steinways to the American. I prefer the mellowness of the German, and I find the American instruments to be typically overly aggressive in the bass and thus imbalanced. Most Japanese pianos impress me as sonic purgatory, although I have fond memory of a Yamaha CF3 in one hall.

In a stereo, this means that I'm going to prefer something that sounds the same pretty much through the range -- i.e., no sudden boom in the bass or noticeably bright treble notes. A bass drum will of course need to have all its low frequencies, as do the double basses; a dink on a triangle needs its shimmer of bright harmonics and all that.

So I would say that I'm almost entirely subjective.

Certainly I would never buy a stereo based on just measurements, any more than I would select a piano just because it's a German Steinway or whatnot. I need to play it and find out if we can make music together. There's no way to measure that; it's purely subjective and probably a combination of so many different variables as to be unmeasurable.

So I found that I could "make music" with the B&W speakers.

Interesting side note: I have a pair of Grado RC1 headphones, which I bought after a pretty solid listening period, but I've found that for whatever reason we've just never bonded. This is really like that very good piano that, for some mysterious reason, just doesn't like to dance with me or I with it.

I was going to buy a pair of Sennheiser 650s (I had Senns before the Grado and loved them) but then I tried out those new Monster/Dr. Dre Beats and found that we made music immediately. Quick, immediate comfort and bonding. And they're OK with an iPod, definitely not the case with Senn 650s. So I adopted a pair.

Well, a few thoughts anyway...

scottlf
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

--Stopping a while to ponder your gear, I have decided to deny you your premise. You, sir, are an actual audiophile. Full fledged.

Hmmm.......maybe it's a case of the gentleman (me) protesting too much??

--B&W...did you shop at San Francisco Stereo?

Yep. The manager, Derek Davis, was incredibly helpful -- and also handled a troublesome issue wonderfully when one of the speakers arrived with a damaged tweeter core.

--All signs point toward "audiophile," sans "quasi."

--You've come to the right place. Here, you can be yourself. Here, you can let down your veil of denial and just be an audiophile, without qualification.

--Audiophilia is a quantum state. There is as much "quasi" in your obvious audiophilia as there are degrees of pregnancy.

--You are one of us.

Hmmmm.........but I won't buy a fancy AC power cable, I won't, I won't.

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:
Hmmmm.........but I won't buy a fancy AC power cable, I won't, I won't.


That's OK, we won't make you.

P.S. Your essay is a hoot! Thanks.

mrlowry
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

Once again, Buddha hits the nail on the head. As far as AC cords, your loss. I feel that the sonic difference is very NEARLY as big as speaker cables. If you are interested in my thoughts on power cords click here.

(Shouted by the director through a megaphone)". . . and Cue DUP!"

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

Mr. Lowry, you just luv to keep pushing the stick through the cage and annoy the wire BEASTS. If your equipment is changing so much audibly, by what piece of wire you have at either the input or output, on the AC line, I suggest you get the stuff REPAIRED. It is obviously unstable, and has a defect. I am refering to using the correct wires for the purpose. Correct GUAGE for whatever length for speakers, and input good connection, not loose, poorly soldered, junk. Maybe that's why you hear all these changes, you have some defective connectors, and you can't figure it out, so you moved something and now it works, until it loosens up again or oxidizes. If you keep to basic electrical concepts, you will understand the reality of what you think (imagine) is happening.

Buddha
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

Hey, man. We have company. Save the dysfunctional family dynamics for when he comes over for Thanksgiving.

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:
The stereo that I bought had to satisfy not only my ears, but also budget and also had to fit inside a very cluttered living room.

I understand. My first system was placed in a live room with vinyl floors. Later that system got better with upgrades. I then moved several times, finally to a house with a large "bonus" room of 25' x 17'. Unfortunately, the dimensions are nearly in a ratio of 1:2:3.

Perhaps the system should have been placed in the living room which has a vaulted ceiling to break-up the room modes. But, I do have a Boston piano in the living room; would have preferred a Steinway, but that costs 2.4x as much. Same $$$ problem as in stereos.


Quote:
Certainly I would never buy a stereo based on just measurements, any more than I would select a piano just because it's a German Steinway or whatnot. I need to play it and find out if we can make music together. There's no way to measure that; it's purely subjective and probably a combination of so many different variables as to be unmeasurable.

Same issue with having to play the piano to hear its sound and then deciding if that's the one I would buy. It turns out (I'm sure you well know) that after some tuning and settling, the sound of the piano can be different upon each retuning, and tuned by different tuners. When right, you bond with it as you said, and the instrument really sings.

Not buying purely based on measurements and heavily based on listening, you and this magazine's founder share that feeling, as do many of us here in this forum. One method I use is to look at measurements; that has to be good. Then I go listening, primarily to hear which component "sings" or sounds live-enough, and one that I can stand to listen to all day, within the amount I wish to spend. In a sense, I am demanding that the gear first be technically good, then sound right too. I guess that this is a widely shared goal here.

I seem to have fairly good pitch discrimination/memory, and sonic detail is important in making music, which helps a lot in picking instruments or stereo gear. In some tweaking of the equipment that I have personally done, I have heard instruments come into focus better than before those tweaks were applied. It is not an easy thing to explain. The closest I can come to a description is that the sound of each instrument in a small combo becomes more independent of each other, that one instrument interferes less with the sound of another, and is solidly placed in virtual space in the listening room. When asking the manufacturer of those electronics they guess that intermodulation distortion was reduced, but those equipment already was designed with low IM-distortion. Maybe it's another effect. Do you notice this instrument independent effect when comparing stereo with live sound?

absolutepitch
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:
Hmmmm.........but I won't buy a fancy AC power cable, I won't, I won't.

I haven't tried this tweak, that is, a larger power cable than that supplied with the original equipment, say a power amplifier. Some would argue you need a "fancy" cable costing thousands of dollars. I would go with a larger gauge first to see if there is an improvement, and go from there if needed.

I have a friend who's opinion I do trust, and he tried a larger AC cable. He says that it makes a significant audible difference, an improvement. The scientist/engineer in me says to do a double-blind test with two identical-model, identically-sounding amplifiers (ascertained beforehand), and modify one of them and do a listening test and measurements. On the other hand, we (poor $$$) audiophiles only have one of those amps, so we do a before and after comparison based upon what we remember of the sound before to compare to what it is after. Depending upon my musical background, I heard difference in some of these other tweaks, such as for interconnect cables and capacitors, and usually for the better. Some tweaks do not make any difference, and a few are worse than before.

Power cords, I don't know, yet. I have bought larger AC cable for my power amp, but have not had time to try it. Can't seem to get a block of time long enough to do the work, which is also why I'm an infrequent poster on this forum.

gkc
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

It sounds like we're about to resurrect the wire controversies, once again. I just listen. If it sounds better, I buy it. If it doesn't, I don't.

Most of the time, pricier AC cables have improved the sound in my systems. I just hate that, when more money actually means higher quality. Sigh. But only up to what I will (somewhat arbitrarily) define as the $250-$500 level. I have listened to $2000 AC cables that sound worse than my $250 Synergistic Research models (now, at least 8 years old...).

The interaction between the system and the twin-pronged holes in your wall is never simple, it seems. I have dedicated power in my house in the mountains, and (even though the system is very high-resolution), power cords don't seem to make a lot of difference, IF they aren't the stock models that come boxed with the gear. I have only ONCE heard a stock cord sound superb -- that was the one that was captive-wired to the original AR phono preamp. When AR came out with the improvement model, which had the option of a power cord upgrade, it never did, to my ears, sound as good as the original, no matter how expensive the AC cord I tried.

At my apartment in LA, I have no dedicated power. And, here, AC cords make a HUGE difference, in life, space, and the overall illusion of live presence. Someone on this thread noted more separation between instruments. That is what I hear, primarily, along with greater depth and width of soundstage. These things are important to me. So I don't mind paying extra.

scottlf
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:
The closest I can come to a description is that the sound of each instrument in a small combo becomes more independent of each other, that one instrument interferes less with the sound of another, and is solidly placed in virtual space in the listening room. When asking the manufacturer of those electronics they guess that intermodulation distortion was reduced, but those equipment already was designed with low IM-distortion. Maybe it's another effect. Do you notice this instrument independent effect when comparing stereo with live sound?


This makes sense, although I of course wonder just what's going on. After all, the AC cable is just the last few feet of a very, very long wire extending all the way back to the power station. So there must be some kind of filtering happening -- but what is it?

I definitely notice a difference in spatial presentation between concerts and stereo listening. Sometimes, the audio system does a slightly better job of spatial relationships, I think; it rather depends on where I was sitting in the symphony hall that night; each hall also has its own particular way with that.

For another thing, audio systems don't "do" vertical. The SF Symphony is placed on risers, and the seats in the hall are of course raked. This means that the vertical location of instruments tends to move in relation to one's location in the hall, and the farther away from the stage one is, the less pronounced the effect. But they're all at the same height on a recording, even if I'm so accustomed to hearing the brass section a bit higher at the SFS that I think I instinctively place them a bit high at home, as well.

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

"For another thing, audio systems don't "do" vertical."

There's lots of folks who haven't heard a system that can produce excellent soundstage height. Course, lots of folks haven't heard a system with excellent depth either, so....

~ Cheers

gkc
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

Scott, both of my systems "do" height very well. Of course, you would expect the 7' tall Magellan models to project a realistic similitude of concert hall height. Yet, that model has the tweeter located lower (about 45" off the floor) than the tweeter on my much smaller Volante models (about 48" off the floor, even though the speakers are 2.5 feet shorter in overall height). My old Mirage M-1si models (now defunct) also went floor to ceiling. All of these speakers, although different in design) feature rear-firing tweeters and midrange units, so I am wondering if that is a factor.

Concerning AC wires, you didn't even mention the terminations, to both your wall and (if you have one) your power conditioner end, and your equipment end. Terminations are extremely important in eliminating noise and the (sometimes seemingly inaudible) electronic thickening or haze that inhabits many poorly-terminated designs, whether they be AC, interconnects, or speaker wire.

This is not a simple interaction. Power cords do much more than just plug your system into the AC line. Often, TOO much more...

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:
This makes sense, although I of course wonder just what's going on. After all, the AC cable is just the last few feet of a very, very long wire extending all the way back to the power station. So there must be some kind of filtering happening -- but what is it?

The "all the way back to the power station" statement that you sometimes hear is somewhat of a misnomer. In the US, the "pole pig" transformer from the power line to your home steps down the 10,000 Volts at its primary to 120 Volts for each half of its center-tapped secondary. This means that the turns ratio (primary/secondary) is 10,000/120 = 83.33. Now, the impedance that the pole pig "sees" looking back toward the power station from its primary is divided by the square of this turns ratio at the secondary of the pole pig. So there is an impedance step-down of a factor of 6944 affected by the pole pig. Of course, some impedance from the transformer itself is added back in, along with impedance of the wiring from the transformer to the home service.

So there's a big impedance step-down occurring here that gets you almost back to an ideal voltage source at the output of the pole pig. Conceptually, it's like everything starts afresh at the pole pig output - almost.

Elk
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:
After all, the AC cable is just the last few feet of a very, very long wire extending all the way back to the power station.


Or the first critical meter or two coming from the piece of equipment.

I do not want to like power cord upgrades. Yet, I have heard improvements.

It's annoying.

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:

I do not want to like power cord upgrades. Yet, I have heard improvements.

It's annoying.

It's all in your head. That's why your antlers are so big.

mrlowry
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

The main argument against power cords being able to create audible difference is that the power cord is NOT in the signal path, this is false. An amplifier, for example simply modulates the power coming out of the wall to produce a larger version of the signal that it receives as an input. Hence the power supply is in the signal path. Hence, in my opinion the power cord IS in the signal path in a very real sense.

Interestingly this theory of mine was helped to form by McIntosh labs who believes that their power supplies are in the signal path and are major contributors to that "MAC sound." What's ironic is that McIntosh doesn't believe in highend speaker cables or interconnects, let alone power cords. Mac has been very public about this belief. Only recently at trade shows did they start using better interconnects and speaker cable, just to "shut people up." The IEC socket of a removable power cord does compromise the connection slightly but allows for much better power cables to be used, a slight step backwards for the possibility of a couple of major steps forwards. But the same cord soldered directly to the power supply versus being removable and connected to an IEC socket would be the best solution.

Other arguments brought against power cords have to do with the fact that the last 6 feet can

Buddha
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

Beautiful post, man.

Well said.

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:
Beautiful post, man.

Well said.

Thank you very much. I plagiarized myself, that was written about 2 years ago for my blog.

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:
Beautiful post, man.

Well said.

Just one problem. His arguments have no relationship to physical reality whatsoever. They are outright bullshit.

CECE
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

Absolute BS. Faster cords, cus they are thicker...now that's a gud von.....yup, nothing like the absurd 10 ga wires on a 23W CD player, and of course it's an audible improvement......

mrlowry
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

"Outright bullshit" really was a inappropriate choice of words.

After market power cords:
-DO have connectors that make better contact
-DO use a thicker gauge cable
-DO have better shielding

My description of how the power reaches us from the power company is accurate. In fact it's in total agreement with your statement.

Quote:
The "all the way back to the power station" statement that you sometimes hear is somewhat of a misnomer. In the US, the "pole pig" transformer from the power line to your home steps down the 10,000 Volts at its primary to 120 Volts for each half of its center-tapped secondary. This means that the turns ratio (primary/secondary) is 10,000/120 = 83.33. Now, the impedance that the pole pig "sees" looking back toward the power station from its primary is divided by the square of this turns ratio at the secondary of the pole pig. So there is an impedance step-down of a factor of 6944 affected by the pole pig. Of course, some impedance from the transformer itself is added back in, along with impedance of the wiring from the transformer to the home service.

So there's a big impedance step-down occurring here that gets you almost back to an ideal voltage source at the output of the pole pig. Conceptually, it's like everything starts afresh at the pole pig output - almost.

As is the fact that the electrical wiring in the wall is shielded by conduit (unless you live in the middle of nowhere or there are massive code violations.) You MAY disagree with whether or not these things make a sonic difference but all of the FACTS that I used to support my OPINION that power cords affect the sound quality of high-performance audio gear are accurate. I use a number of facts that any reasonable person would acknowledge to be true to support a theory. Which means, that at the very least my opinion is plausible. People do it all of the time.

scottlf
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:
So there's a big impedance step-down occurring here that gets you almost back to an ideal voltage source at the output of the pole pig. Conceptually, it's like everything starts afresh at the pole pig output - almost.


Just fine and dandy, but then from pole pig to the plug in the wall...the current has to get to the house, which means a certain length more of wire which is as it is.

And in my house's case, that means a mix of various vintage wires; the house is a century old and has been upgraded to modern wiring in stages.

So anything plugging into a wall socket -- whether directly or through a conditioner -- is getting its power through those wires in the wall, which then go on out and up to the power pole. So there's still more wire involved than just the AC power cord.

Thus I remain puzzled how the last, (or first...) few feet are going to make a difference, provided that those few feet aren't grossly inadequate in some way (i.e., just can't conduct that much current safely.)

Note that I'm not denying the possibility of changing the AC cable having an impact on sound (again providing the original cable was not actually insufficient); I'm just at something of a conceptual loss as to what could be really happening.

Given the discussion that has been engendered, it seems to me that I'm not the only person in this boat.

gkc
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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

Don't sweat it, Mrlowry. The troll just emerged from under the swamp, grunting illiterate and illogical sounds and characters. Over 3200 posts, and not ONE of them has made any sense.

Anything you write, no matter how much logic and experiential weight is involved, will be greeted by the same troll-grunt.

Your post makes a great deal of sense, and it squares up with my listening experience. No matter how the troll grunts, we appreciate your efforts to educate us in the arcana of current flows and the blocking phenomena that impede them.

Regardless of what the troll grunts. Obviously, he has been self-sent to his self-appointed mission with half a brain, and less than half an ear. Ignore him or revile him. It doesn't matter. His gibberish speaks for itself.

Give us more, since you are obviously up on the subject.

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:

As is the fact that the electrical wiring in the wall is shielded by conduit (unless you live in the middle of nowhere or there are massive code violations.) You MAY disagree with whether or not these things make a sonic difference but all of the FACTS that I used to support my OPINION that power cords affect the sound quality of high-performance audio gear are accurate. I use a number of facts that any reasonable person would acknowledge to be true to support a theory. Which means, that at the very least my opinion is plausible. People do it all of the time.

Why not then just build a power cord with the same characteristics as indoor wiring? In fact, make it from the same cable and shield it the same way. That would bring it in line with the rest of the wiring and it wouldn't cost a small fortune. I assume that using a good outdoor extension cord cable should do the trick. Am I missing something?

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:
An amplifier, for example simply modulates the power coming out of the wall to produce a larger version of the signal that it receives as an input. Hence the power supply is in the signal path. Hence, in my opinion the power cord IS in the signal path in a very real sense.


The key thing missing from the above statement is that a power supply has a filter capacitor. Assuming the capacitor is large enough for the job, which it should be in any competent circuit design, this completely removes the AC power source from the equation. Noise, pulses, microsecond dropouts, and any other "dirt" one might fear is present in the AC power source, is replaced with relatively smooth DC. This is a bit of a simplification, and I can elaborate if needed. But the basic premise of capacitor filtering is correct as stated. Therefore the AC power source really isn't in the signal path.


Quote:
the thicker the gauge the faster large amounts of current can be delivered to the component.


This is also incorrect. Electricity travels at one speed. Now, power supply capacitors can take a bit of time to charge, but that's the whole point! The capacitor charges and serves as a reservoir so the AC source doesn't have to be "fast," to use your wording.

--Ethan

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:
Noise, pulses, microsecond dropouts, and any other "dirt" one might fear is present in the AC power source, is replaced with relatively smooth DC.


True. However, power supply ripple still exists; the DC is only "relatively smooth".

Of course, some power supplies are better than others.

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:


Quote:
the thicker the gauge the faster large amounts of current can be delivered to the component.

This is also incorrect. Electricity travels at one speed. Now, power supply capacitors can take a bit of time to charge, but that's the whole point! The capacitor charges and serves as a reservoir so the AC source doesn't have to be "fast," to use your wording.

--Ethan

Ethan, he didn't mean "faster" as in miles per hour.

Perhaps then we should use 30 gauge wire to carry electricity from the main station and save on materials. Since it all travels at the same speed and all.

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:
power supply ripple still exists; the DC is only "relatively smooth".


Yes, but my point was to correct a technical inaccuracy - that a power amplifier modulates the raw incoming AC power and is subject to all noises on that power source. That is wrong. Even if some ripple gets through, which is inevitable, the balanced nature of modern amplifiers inherently rejects the ripple. Yes, very high frequencies are rejected less, but that's already been taken care of by the main filter capacitor and smaller HF bypass caps.

--Ethan

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:
he didn't mean "faster" as in miles per hour.


What else is there?


Quote:
Perhaps then we should use 30 gauge wire to carry electricity from the main station


I didn't say that. Of course you need wire heavy enough to carry the current needed. But that's a far cry from suggesting that an AC power cable is in the signal path. It is not in the signal path in any way one could assess the meaning of "signal path." This may seem nit-picky, but technical accuracy is important in discussions like this because AC power cables do not have a sound, or affect the sound, unless they're broken. My objection is to bending the facts to make the case for replacement AC power wires.

--Ethan

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:

Why not then just build a power cord with the same characteristics as indoor wiring? In fact, make it from the same cable and shield it the same way. That would bring it in line with the rest of the wiring and it wouldn't cost a small fortune. I assume that using a good outdoor extension cord cable should do the trick. Am I missing something?

AlexO-Theoretically I agree. The logistical problem would be that the cable would be really inflexible if you were to use the solid core wire that they use in the house then a (semi)flexible conduit. The conduit usually used in the wall is in no way flexible. It's quite literally metal pipe. As long as high quality ends like Wattgate or equivalents were used this DIY would probably outperform a standard power cord by a significant margin. It would just be a real pain in the ass to use. If an extension cord had good shielding and a really think gauge one could also cut the ends off and replace them with Wattgates or equivalent.

For the record I'm not advocating $1500 power cords. As with anything cable related the majority of the benefit is to be had in the middle of a given product line.

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

Ethan, you "need" what gets you closer to the music, in spite of the theoretical definitions of electronic "speed" and the tropes required to invoke such definitions. Some power cords degrade what I have heard, compared with what I have heard with others in the system. Others improve the sound. It doesn't really matter why, since even the most advanced theoretical physicists constantly argue about the behavior of sub-atomic particles.

In my own experience, superior-sounding wire costs more than the stuff you buy at Rat Shack and Ace Hardware. Believe me, I have tried them all. Quality control and attention to the terminations eat up man-hours and materials costs.

The sweet spot, for me, has been in the $200-$500 range (subtract about a hundred if you find what you like and can buy it used -- why not? It's already broken in!). Your mileage, as they say, may vary. I have tried wire in the $2000 class, as well as the $.50 per foot variety. The super expensive stuff has offered no consistent improvements. The cheap stuff can sound grainy, incoherent, thick and veiled, or simply noisy. Name your poison.

Steve McCormack, a ground-breaking amplifier designer, who fought hard to keep the costs down on his equipment (and went bankrupt when he lost the fight), is more than competent when it comes to practical electronics and component design. He was constantly experimenting with different power cords, with costs in mind. When you took your McCormack down to San Diego for the "A" modification, he always let you listen to different power cord options, and (being an experienced listener and music lover) always had a few recommendations. If Steve says power cords matter, they matter, in terms of the technical side of things. If I say they matter for my listening, they matter. I have no need to lie or exaggerate. Neither Steve nor I work for anybody who makes after-market power cords.

The theory doesn't help. I don't care whether a tau neutrino can outrun a muon (Team Lepton, in the trials for the Invisible Olympics), or whether a pion can outrun a kaon (Team Meson), in the 30-micrometer dash -- all I can do is just listen.

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

Clueless indeed. You really don't understand even the basic principles of electrical ckts or concepts do you Cliffy? You hear all these radical improvemnts cus' you are awash in advertising images, it's like when the judge tells the jury to disreagard that comment!! HUH? They said it I heard it, it will always be regarded, it's in there. I love teh current gets there faster with thicker wires!!! Man, perfect cusotmner for BS wires....you have graduated from teh BS school of wire technology, line up and buy some magic cords, you know they sound better right? WattGate, oh yeah, of course they SOUND better, cus' they are advertised to sound better..........You couldn't HEAR a WattGATE at what ever absurd price they get over a Leviton Home Depot 69 cent standard grade outlet, wanna bet? you can hear outlets and AC line cords. Not without audio GRADE fuses you won't!!!

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

VanAlstine AVA www.avahifi.com who is STILL in business almost 40 years as these wire gurus like McCormack are not!!! AVA says, wires don't matter, and Radio Shack or MCM or Parts Express work fine, I think AVA knows better, since he didn't go out of business, cus he spends his time on superior electrical ckts, and says use the wire that reaches and fits, the sound ain't in the wires, it's in the ckts.....those who know, know better. I prefer Parts Express wires over Radio Shack, great quality, great sales, great sounds, liek MCM too. High End, because they have wires that are teh right length, and teh right type for it's use, and they are priced for mortals, that can't hear what a Hubbell sounds like compared to a Leviton....cus mortals can't hear that, so buy where mortals shop, reality based products...what a concept!!!

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

Excerpt from Wikipedia....one wonders if editors are bona fide audio gurus....hmmmmmm The entire Wikipedia Audiophile section can be found at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audiophile

[edit] Accessories

"Some audiophiles use a wide variety of accessories and fine-tuning techniques, otherwise known as "tweaks," to improve the sound of their systems. These tweaks include: filters to clean the electricity; equipment racks to isolate components from floor vibrations; specialty power cables, interconnect cables (e.g., between preamplifier and power amplifier), and loudspeaker cables; loudspeaker stands (and footers to isolate them from the stands); and room treatments

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:
XXX who is STILL in business almost 40 years as these wire gurus like McCormack are not!!!

Careful, DUP - your ignorance is showing.

Steve McCormack has never been a "wire guru".

He is also still very much in business.

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:
Steve McCormack has never been a "wire guru".

Yes and no. When I reviewed the Rev A DNA-1, he insisted that I use a specified power cable.

Kal

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

Seems to me if the dude wants you to review his equipment with a specified accessory, then that accessory should be included with the equipment. Otherwise, all bets are off.

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

Interesting info, Kal. (I interpreted DUP's use of "wire guru" as someone selling cables - not simply recognizing their efficacy.)


Quote:
Alex declared:

Seems to me if the dude wants you to review his equipment with a specified accessory, then that accessory should be included with the equipment.


Yes and no.

We all know that system synergies exist. Yet most people will not want to pay for a specific cable, either not believing in after-market cables or preferring other cables. Under these circumstances it seems best to simply advise the customer and let the buyer make his/her choice.

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

If I were an high-end equipment manufacturer there would be no power cord in the box. Just a note affixed to the outside of the box explaining that the absence of the power cord was intentional, not an oversight. Then encouraging the buyer to check out after market cords. Of course this would have the potential to some alienate customers, which is probably why they don't do it.

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia


Quote:
If I were an high-end equipment manufacturer there would be no power cord in the box. Just a note affixed to the outside of the box explaining that the absence of the power cord was intentional, not an oversight. Then encouraging the buyer to check out after market cords. Of course this would have the potential to some alienate customers, which is probably why they don't do it.

I'd wanna buy the power cord the unit was designed with.

On the cord front...

I do admit some bias toward being wary of cord-bullshit. Not that cords are bullshit, just that maybe that part of the industry has a higher BS to Non-BS ratio than some other parts.

If Krell can design and build a high end preamp for less than the cost of one of those 'special' power cords, it does activate my incredulity gene.

There is likely a combination of engineering and imagineering that is taking place. It's just up to each of us to decide where one ends and the other begins.

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

DUP, you're stuck in an endless loop. I have had both Van Alstine and McCormack amplifiers in my systems. There is no comparison. The McCormacks are neutral and spacious. The Van Alstines are colored and constricted.

You deserve to spend eternity in the audio hell to which you have willingly consigned yourself.

You wouldn't know a well-designed AC snake if it bit you in the ass.

Your attempts to logically justify your points would be laughable at the kindergarten level. From a (supposed) adult perspective, such attempts merely amplify the need for universally mandatory basic education, even for self-motivated morons.

Give us some more "proofs." Snicker. Do yourself proud.

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

How come computer mfg's don't suggest you use a "better" power cord to improve performance, on the monitor or computers? they all have IEC connections.....hmmm, audio scammers call that setup for cable swapping to improve sound, computer mfgs and others use it for shipping and maintainace issues, like if the cord is damaged it's readily replaceable, and they can ship boxes with out issues of cords getting tangeled etc during assy. But audio mfg's use it for marketing BS, that you can swap cables for sound.....think about how absurd the entire AC power cord "sound" issue is. My 14 ga piece of wire "SOUNDS" better than the other brand of 14 ga wire.

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Re: The middle ground of audioquasiphilia

Of course you have had both and the McCormack was better. What other response would I expect. you are caught in a tireless loop. Which AVA did you have, what where you trying to power with them, which McCormack, let's do specifics here. And of course I wouldn't know anything about AC line cords, the stuff I work on is not AC line cord sensitive, nor have any sound ratings or NEMA codes listed for such use. Since in the real world, there is none...it's only in the colorful ads, that you look at, and think that is design work for electrical engineering and electrical products. You wouldn't know a code issue or UL or NEMA standard if it bit you in your ass. How many code compliant AUDIO GRADE wall devices are available in tamper proof designs, soon to be required. How are audio scammers selling you $2 wall devices for $145, gonna sell their non compliant OBSOLETE non tamperproof products? Watch how you good sounding wall outlets are going on closeout from all the scammers as they scurry to try and dream up "audio grade" tamper proof devices. Yeah, a well designed good sounding outlet and cord.....is your middle name clueless or just dopey? Which UL standard or ETL or NEMA stanard are YOUR well designed AC cords designed to meet? Probably the one that had the nice picture of a river or maybe a mountain? How many air gaps are in your wires, and more importatnly in your head? You really are cluelss ain't ya?

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