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pentode
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Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears

Greetings from an oldie, but newbie to the Forums. Thanks for having me. I like being had. (He exclaimed, after purchasing a $100,000 power cable.)

JGH and his ad-free, 20 page, colorful, black & white, booklet sized magazines had me hooked early, but I still don't comprehend the science behind power cables. Back in the 70's even signal and speaker cables were viewed with suspicion, but science did eventually come to the rescue.

Another anomaly afflicts me, too. My HF hearing is down 20dB above 3kHz, but many stereo systems make my ears bleed with excess treble. My large listening room has thick "grass" wallpaper from the 50's, full carpeting, acoustic ceiling tile and lots of plants. Still I wouldn't want more treble from my Paradigm Studio 100's.

Is it just me or do most people prefer excess HF?

Thanks for any input.

Elk
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears

Welcome!

I think many people like treble. It gives the impression of greater resolution. For many it also means "excitement."

I am with you however, too much is way too much.

mrlowry
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears

Besides the Paradigm Studio 100's what else is in your system?

smejias
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears


Quote:
Is it just me or do most people prefer excess HF?


Most people prefer excess everything.

There's also the idea that loudspeaker engineers are getting older, losing their high-frequency hearing, and therefore designing the excess treble into their speakers; or, loudspeaker engineers are designing for the aging audiophile, not taking into consideration the fact that audiophiles are often more sensitive listeners who do not need a handicap.

pentode
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears

My system is low to medium-fi at best and although it doesn't have excess treble in my room, I'd imagine it may be too bright in a small, hard, environment.

An Adcom GFA 5500 for power, Adcom GTP 710 preamp, Cambridge d500 SE CD player, Decent AudioQuest interconnects with AQ-4 used to bi-wire the speakers. Although noisy, my old Dual 1219/Shure v15 III gives some CDs competition. Now THAT's an ear opener.

When I just want LOUD, I'll turn on a Crown amp driving a bass bottom with two 15" speakers firing into thick shipping blankets in a room corner. It's OK, but a proper equalizer would help.

Some day I'd like to bi-amp even better speakers with tubed gear, as that's what I used to enjoy, in mono, back in the early days.

David_L
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears


Quote:

Quote:
Is it just me or do most people prefer excess HF?


Most people prefer excess everything.

There's also the idea that loudspeaker engineers are getting older, losing their high-frequency hearing, and therefore designing the excess treble into their speakers; or, loudspeaker engineers are designing for the aging audiophile, not taking into consideration the fact that audiophiles are often more sensitive listeners who do not need a handicap.

I hardly think that a competent speaker designer is boosting the treble response of his product just because his own high frequency hearing is tapering off they do use measurements you know to make sure what they design is what gets made. So how do aging audiophiles have better hearing than the normal person? I thought hearing loss has nothing to do with what hobby you choose to partake in

Satch
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears

Stephen's phrase, "There's also the idea....." left me wondering. At first I accepted that Stephen was advancing that notion himself and wondered where the hell he might have got it. Then I reflected on the fact that he has sometimes displayed a rather quirky sense of humor and that the whole thing might be a put-on. Still not sure, but I favor the notion that he's out to have a laugh at the expense of anyone who takes the bait.

Buddha
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears

Hi, and welcome.

After following the thread for a few days, I think I'd like to chime in.

Even though you have reduced HF 'hearing,' it may be that you have been left with some sensitivity to certain higher frequencies, that when they are present at sufficient volume, may produce great discomfort or annoyance. This has happened to many people of the rock era as they have aged.

It would be interesting if you could do some listening or testing to see if there are certain frequencies that are problematic for you.

Also, with some hearing loss, people can become much more readily bothered by certain distortions. Interestingly, some people are very sensitive to odd order harmonics, even though their hearing sensitivity is otherwise reduced.

Some people think that Thomas Edison, although nearly deaf, remained quite attuned to the discomfort of odd order harmonics, making him a good 'device' to use when trying to design circuitry - given that reducing odd order harmonics can make sound more pleasant for everyone.

Solid state devices may (or may not) bring these odd order harmonics more into play, which perhaps affects your perception of the music.

**** All of this is conjecture and chat only, but your raise an interesting topic with your treble sesnsitivity in the face of diminished hearing acuity.

It may also be worth you while to hook up with an audiologist and see how your higher frequency hearing graphs out!

Welcome, and cheers!

pentode
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears

Thanks for chiming in, Buddha, I've investigated the very things you've mentioned. Over the past 40 years my hearing was tested a number of times due to early hearing loss and subsequent employment. The HF has slowly drifted downward in its slope. I wear a hearing aid for meetings and late night TV, but not for music listening. My audiologist and doctor suggested that nerve damage has caused the sensitivity. Stereophile's test CD indicates nothing unusual however, and I've confirmed a remarkably smooth response in my room using a dB meter.

My wife, who has (confirmed) good hearing agrees with the frequency balance I prefer and she can hear me think!

Perhaps I have extremely narrow bands of good HF perception, but I'm guessing it's other distortions which irritate us.

It may be telling, in some way, that my quest for hi-fi began as a child when my dad gave me a well used multi-band RCA radio from the pre-octal base tube era. The 7" electro-magnet speaker driven by a #40 output tube exposed bass notes which I hadn't heard in music from the tinny "new" family radio we had in the 1960's. From that point it was "more bass" for me -- not cowbell.

pentode
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears

Can anyone shed some light on the power cable conundrum I suffer? After reading about cable upgrades for some years, I'm still lacking knowledge of the science behind better cables.

Do some act as filters, eliminating some of the garbage flowing through house wiring?

I suppose some work by using larger wire than, perhaps, undersized OEM offerings. It's hard to imagine good power amps having 16 gauge wire, however.

Must power cords be responsive to fluctuating frequencies of sound, with their harmonics, as interconnects are, or only the 60Hz of the power source? Wouldn't large, "stiff" power supplies mitigate the effect of frequency and merely require a "plain-Jane", but large gauge cord?

Any help understanding the legitimacy of expensive power cables will be appreciated.

JasonVSerinus
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears

John Atkinson discusses cabling in his podcast for UltimateAVMag online. Go to http://www.ultimateavmag.com/podcasts/ and scroll down to No.17. Although I haven't yet had the opportunity to listen - it's non-stop city in Serinusland as I prepare to head to China at the end of the week where, among other things, I'll conduct factory tours for Stereophile - I believe John explains why power cables CAN make a difference.

In my experience, every power cable, interconnect, and speaker cable I've reviewed or auditioned at home sounds different.

mrlowry
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears

I've posted most of this before with regards to power cords:

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

j_j
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears

The treble might have some explainations..

When you have an elevated threshold (i.e. loss of hearing), you find that loudness (i.e. sensation level) growth is very fast around the elevated threshold level, i.e. the signal goes from "can not hear" to "as loud as a normal ear" in about 10dB of intensity increase, assuming you have sensory-neural loss.

This 'pumping' effect can make treble seem excessive. There are other issues, in particular the direct vs. power response of your speakers, for instance.

David_L
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears


Quote:

In my experience, every power cable, interconnect, and speaker cable I've reviewed or auditioned at home sounds different.

Which is why I never take your opinions as worthy. You're all subjective and zero objective.

David_L
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears


Quote:
I've posted most of this before with regards to power cords:

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

David_L
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears


Quote:

Aftermarket power cords differ in a number of ways from stock units

-They are a thicker gauge wire than stock units. All things being equal, the thicker the gauge the more efficiently large amounts of current can be delivered to the component. This higher current capability leads to more controlled, more extended bass. Not to mention better dynamics.

-They have better shielding which helps reject EMI interference. This creates blacker background from which the music emerges. Improving the perception of low level detail. This is not new musical information but information that had previously been obscured. The amplifier is also freed from having to amplify the high frequency hash which gives the system a greater sense of ease.

-The plugs make better physical contact. When dealing with electricity poor physical contact between outlets and the blades of the plug causes the electricity to jump the gap between the two surfaces. This causes heat and when dealing with electricity heat equals resistance. This resistance again slows down current delivery.

Just wanted to be more specific about your points.

Yes the power cord should be of thick enough wire gauge to handle what ever current is required of it. Most if not all amp manufacturers already provide a good enough power cord for such just purposes.
Better shielding would be a plus but from what exactly? If you live where there's enough RFI to show up on your power amps outputs then I'd be more worried about getting brain cancer instead.If your amp's power supply can't filter out that high frequency hash then perhaps your amp wasn't designed by a competent engineer
Yes a good plug is very necessary but you don't have to spend mega bucks on such things to get a good one.

Orb
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears


Quote:

Quote:

In my experience, every power cable, interconnect, and speaker cable I've reviewed or auditioned at home sounds different.

Which is why I never take your opinions as worthy. You're all subjective and zero objective.

And back at you it could be said you ignore the engineering reasons that "may" (just to stress) show why cables are not consistent between audio products.
I suggest going back and finding the posts where I quoted Bruno Putzey as one example, or the podcast as mentioned by Jason that is food for thought.

Thanks
Orb

Elk
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears


Quote:
In my experience, every power cable, interconnect, and speaker cable I've reviewed or auditioned at home sounds different.


Literally? Wow.

This would be overwhelming. I'd never be able to decide what to keep, especially knowing that there is a better combination out there somewhere.

Freako
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears


Quote:
Hi, and welcome.

After following the thread for a few days, I think I'd like to chime in.

Even though you have reduced HF 'hearing,' it may be that you have been left with some sensitivity to certain higher frequencies, that when they are present at sufficient volume, may produce great discomfort or annoyance. This has happened to many people of the rock era as they have aged.

It would be interesting if you could do some listening or testing to see if there are certain frequencies that are problematic for you.

Also, with some hearing loss, people can become much more readily bothered by certain distortions. Interestingly, some people are very sensitive to odd order harmonics, even though their hearing sensitivity is otherwise reduced.

Some people think that Thomas Edison, although nearly deaf, remained quite attuned to the discomfort of odd order harmonics, making him a good 'device' to use when trying to design circuitry - given that reducing odd order harmonics can make sound more pleasant for everyone.

Solid state devices may (or may not) bring these odd order harmonics more into play, which perhaps affects your perception of the music.

**** All of this is conjecture and chat only, but your raise an interesting topic with your treble sesnsitivity in the face of diminished hearing acuity.

It may also be worth you while to hook up with an audiologist and see how your higher frequency hearing graphs out!

Welcome, and cheers!

I agree! And welcome to yet another oldtimer

I have reduced hearing also, but is rather sensitive to excess treble as well, even though I hear squat over 13k.

But tests and music are two different things I guess.

On top of that I have a mild case of tinnitus, which really bothered me with my old speakers. They were not that successfully constructed around the crossover freq, and that bothered my ears a lot with female voices in particular. My new speakers OTOH have a much simpler (and better) crossover filter, and it takes much more volume to create the same reactions in my ears as my old speakers did.

Hearing is a strange thing!

pentode
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears


Quote:

Aftermarket power cords differ in a number of ways from stock units

-They are a thicker gauge wire than stock units. All things being equal, the thicker the gauge the more efficiently large amounts of current can be delivered to the component.

-They have better shielding which helps reject EMI interference.

-The plugs make better physical contact.

I use good 20amp Hubble outlets which substantially grip all plugs regardless of their quality.

Yes, I realize power input is modulated and for that reason all upstream wiring may affect the sound more so than an expensive cord at the end. For little money I installed a dedicated 30 amp circuit to the power amps and a 20 amp run to the source equipment.

Why spend over $100 on another 14ga cord when the amp already has a good one of equal size? Given that I'm using 10ga wiring I could, perhaps, see some small logic in using a 12 or 10 gauge power cord, but even that's a stretch for only 6' of cord.

Conversely, why use a larger gauge cord if your house wiring is only 14ga?

Unless the first six feet is closer to electrical noise than the hundreds of feet leading to the amp, shielding may not have any effect. I could believe some highly engineered cords may act as filters because, often, wiring is NOT run in conduit and sometimes the conduit isn't properly grounded and will pick up noise.

It seems that many high end amps already come with decent cords so my inclination would be that high capacity, dedicated wiring could be a better value than an expensive cord. That some good and experienced reviewers disagree with that has me searching for more information.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears


Quote:

Quote:
Hi, and welcome.

After following the thread for a few days, I think I'd like to chime in.

Even though you have reduced HF 'hearing,' it may be that you have been left with some sensitivity to certain higher frequencies, that when they are present at sufficient volume, may produce great discomfort or annoyance. This has happened to many people of the rock era as they have aged.

It would be interesting if you could do some listening or testing to see if there are certain frequencies that are problematic for you.

Also, with some hearing loss, people can become much more readily bothered by certain distortions. Interestingly, some people are very sensitive to odd order harmonics, even though their hearing sensitivity is otherwise reduced.

Some people think that Thomas Edison, although nearly deaf, remained quite attuned to the discomfort of odd order harmonics, making him a good 'device' to use when trying to design circuitry - given that reducing odd order harmonics can make sound more pleasant for everyone.

Solid state devices may (or may not) bring these odd order harmonics more into play, which perhaps affects your perception of the music.

**** All of this is conjecture and chat only, but your raise an interesting topic with your treble sesnsitivity in the face of diminished hearing acuity.

It may also be worth you while to hook up with an audiologist and see how your higher frequency hearing graphs out!

Welcome, and cheers!

I agree! And welcome to yet another oldtimer

I have reduced hearing also, but is rather sensitive to excess treble as well, even though I hear squat over 13k.

But tests and music are two different things I guess.

On top of that I have a mild case of tinnitus, which really bothered me with my old speakers. They were not that successfully constructed around the crossover freq, and that bothered my ears a lot with female voices in particular. My new speakers OTOH have a much simpler (and better) crossover filter, and it takes much more volume to create the same reactions in my ears as my old speakers did.

Hearing is a strange thing!

Freako, try some ESL's. They have no crossovers.

JIMV
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears


Quote:
Thanks for chiming in, Buddha, I've investigated the very things you've mentioned. Over the past 40 years my hearing was tested a number of times due to early hearing loss and subsequent employment. The HF has slowly drifted downward in its slope. I wear a hearing aid for meetings and late night TV, but not for music listening. My audiologist and doctor suggested that nerve damage has caused the sensitivity. Stereophile's test CD indicates nothing unusual however, and I've confirmed a remarkably smooth response in my room using a dB meter.

My wife, who has (confirmed) good hearing agrees with the frequency balance I prefer and she can hear me think!

Perhaps I have extremely narrow bands of good HF perception, but I'm guessing it's other distortions which irritate us.

It may be telling, in some way, that my quest for hi-fi began as a child when my dad gave me a well used multi-band RCA radio from the pre-octal base tube era. The 7" electro-magnet speaker driven by a #40 output tube exposed bass notes which I hadn't heard in music from the tinny "new" family radio we had in the 1960's. From that point it was "more bass" for me -- not cowbell.

When one loses hearing due to age, does one lose it in a linear way or is the loss frequency specific?

Freako
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears


Quote:

Quote:
Thanks for chiming in, Buddha, I've investigated the very things you've mentioned. Over the past 40 years my hearing was tested a number of times due to early hearing loss and subsequent employment. The HF has slowly drifted downward in its slope. I wear a hearing aid for meetings and late night TV, but not for music listening. My audiologist and doctor suggested that nerve damage has caused the sensitivity. Stereophile's test CD indicates nothing unusual however, and I've confirmed a remarkably smooth response in my room using a dB meter.

My wife, who has (confirmed) good hearing agrees with the frequency balance I prefer and she can hear me think!

Perhaps I have extremely narrow bands of good HF perception, but I'm guessing it's other distortions which irritate us.

It may be telling, in some way, that my quest for hi-fi began as a child when my dad gave me a well used multi-band RCA radio from the pre-octal base tube era. The 7" electro-magnet speaker driven by a #40 output tube exposed bass notes which I hadn't heard in music from the tinny "new" family radio we had in the 1960's. From that point it was "more bass" for me -- not cowbell.

When one loses hearing due to age, does one lose it in a linear way or is the loss frequency specific?

Considering there has been done no direct damage to your ears, I'd say the hearing loss due to age should be roughly in the same range. But since so many of us have smaller damage done to our most precious sense that we probably don't even know of, and since not two people have the exact same hearing ability from the beginning, reality must be that we also show differences in the loss of the same. Just my nickel...

Elk
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Re: Power Cables, Bloody Treble & Old Ears


Quote:
When one loses hearing due to age, does one lose it in a linear way or is the loss frequency specific?


The audiograms I have seen are all over the place, with huge dips and peaks. They only go up to 8kHz however.

My understanding is that our hearing is normally full of peaks and valleys and that as we lose hearing we end up with even more variation.

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excess treble

Hi Freako, just wondered how things were developing with this issue about tinnitus made worse by certain speakers. I seem to have the same problem.

I'd be very interested to know what speakers you have found best. Kind regards.

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