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dcstep
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

Thanks for the link.

Man, what a fraud Sam is!! Too bad his blog doesn't allow for "discussion" or even posting a link to this discussion.

Dave

dbowker
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables


Quote:
Thanks for the link.

Man, what a fraud Sam is!! Too bad his blog doesn't allow for "discussion" or even posting a link to this discussion.

Dave

Yeah- obviously he's so "sure" of himself he can't imagine anyone actually disagreeing with him- or is that just afraid of being wrong? Jan was right on this one, the guy really was just a Troll. But I'm kind of glad I did his test though as it confirmed that I CAN hear differences in a DBT even when it's set up poorly like this one was. It almost makes me want to have more of those DBTs to finally shut up all the naysayers that say a coat hanger sounds just like audio wire. If you can't tell the difference between something like that you need a hearing aid!

I doubt the two sides will ever come together. But I don't care that much either!

digital
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Stereo System Power-cables

Testy, testy! No

digital
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

I'm thinking of this for the audio-card:

http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Audiophile192-main.html

...this software for recording:

http://www.adobe.com/products/audition

dbowker
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

Well- your response post did do a little to restore your sincerity so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. That card link you posted looks nice, and having the components externally mounted is good too.

BUT!... I'm sorry to say that none of it close to the system set up I have in my home system or most of the guys here. I mean, it's like you are tricking out your VW Jetta as much as possible (which I have BTW so it's nothing against VW) in order to evaluate a product that is mostly made for a Porsche or better. I agree- you'd have to be a little crazy to spend $300 on a cable for a computer! The power supply itself sucks (they ALL do), other than providing a lot of muscle. The only reason why a PC works at ALL is the massive amount of error correction, redundancy, the fact that the chips are insanely sophisticated and actually use very little power overall.

The power supply serves about 15 masters- the USB bus, the PS bus, the IDE or SCSI buses, the chips, the cards, the various PCI slots, the fans, the CD-ROMs, and on and on, and on.

Now...take my amp. One massive, extremely tight tolerance toroidal transformer and power supply that is highly regulated. It feeds the two channels separately and every last thing is isolated and every part the best in it's range. My CD player- also has highly regulated power supply with discreet channels of power and signals. Even my DAC (which plays second duty to my CD player) has an outboard, separate power supply. So if you're talking power cords, those are the kind of components that truly benefit from an upgrade. I don't think any of the after market cords are cost effective or made for plugging into a computer's $50 power supply. The cost ratio is ludicrous honestly, even if it did show differences as in your first test. I'd guess it will in subsequent ones too, but again, it's not exactly the realm to evaluate their full potential. The best way will always be in a direct comparison via listening ('cause if you can't hear it it's not worth it anyway) and maybe a dedicated recorder as an aside. Best of luck!

tom collins
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables


Quote:
Now...take my amp. One massive, extremely tight tolerance toroidal transformer and power supply that is highly regulated. It feeds the two channels separately and every last thing is isolated and every part the best in it's range. My CD player- also has highly regulated power supply with discreet channels of power and signals.

you sir, are a great writer of audiophile smut.

tom

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Re: Stereo System Power-cables


Quote:
" . . .which should also drive home the point that power cables aren't a factor in PC audio system performance."

My impression was that the purpose of the test was to push this viewpoint to include any power cables in an audio system. Is the test really limited to just PCs?


Quote:
"I really can
KBK
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables


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You have proven there is a difference. Let's explore why this is the case.

I think I've already covered that part in and across multiple threads.

digital
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

Nope: Full credit to you Elk.

I

dbowker
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

That setup would be better but, where is the power cord going into again? The computer or the Pioneer player? You're going to get better results swapping cords in the CD player than the computer IMO.

dcstep
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables


Quote:
That setup would be better but, where is the power cord going into again? The computer or the Pioneer player? You're going to get better results swapping cords in the CD player than the computer IMO.

I agree, switch the cord on the player. Using SACD is an excellent idea. I've got a modded Pioneer and it's very revealing, even stock.

I don't know sound cards well enough to comment, but M-Audio in general makes good stuff. I suppose the "192" means it'll run at 24/192. That's certainly enough for comparing cords, assuming there's no corruption in the path otherwise.

DAve

Elk
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

I don

Monty
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

I haven't even tried his demonstration as my computer speakers cost $12...brand
spanking new, including power supply. Computer sonics aren't exactly high on
my priority list. I don't even turn them on except for the rare occasion when
someone links something that includes sound. The speakers in my laptop are about
the size of a dime so I don't think they would suffice for critical listening.

You are correct in your assumptions about his motives for the test, I suspect.
However, I do applaud his considerable efforts and time experimenting. Even if
his motives are misguided.

You can learn a lot being wrong, if realizing you've been wrong
means you know something that you didn't know before.

Elk
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

Excellent points, Monty.

Plus playing with sound is just plain fun.

dcstep
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

It is a little ironic, isn't it? Sam's blog is about music and giving advice, yet he's apparently never heard how good it can sound. Strange indeed.

Dave

digital
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

Etc (et.all)

Of course I

dbowker
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

The details you present certainly get more interesting as times go on. My question to you is this: Why not do a DBT yourself? You obviously DO have a decent rig, and any one of those components would be perfect to do a DBT of power cables. It's SO easy really- just have them both plugged into a strip and have a friend randomly change them for you, listening to the direct source off you SACD. Play some shorter passages but then also full songs too. I'd be quite surprised if you couldn't hear obvious differences.

The only thing you have against you is that you're a rock musician and they usually suffer some (or a lot) of hearing damage, and that you are biased against hearing cable differences. Open your mind, relax and listen.

BTW- I'd do your experiment but I don't have a recorder I consider worth using so I'll have to pass.

dcstep
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

Well Sam, it seems clear that you've got a hearing problem. Elk and I are musicians (classical, rock, funk, soul, big band, etc.)also and we easily hear the differences that you claim don't exist. Your samples measured as different and yet you persist in saying there's no difference.

Either you can't hear or you chose not to hear is a conclusion we're forced to reach.

I agree that one can enjoy music without full resolution. That happens to me every day in my car. Still, a few times a week I like sitting down to hear my music sounding as good as it possibly can within my budget. That's a different level of enjoyment that not all will aspire to, in fact most will not. I have no problem with that, but why should a non-caring listener come in here and criticize me for my choice? I don't understand that. Maybe you're just trying to be fashionable or stir up some co

I would guess that most of your blog readers don't care, but I'll guarantee that there's a subset that does care. I don't think they'll abandon you if some of them also gravitate here or to Head-Fi.org or Audiogon.com. That only enhances your blog in my estimation.

Elk
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

Andrew, good thoughtful post.

I see what you mean, my comments regarding the soundcard do appear a bit contradictory.

Prior to listening to the samples, I raised concern with respect to the transparency of the recording chain. The sound differences, if any, between power cords is subtle. I was even more concerned when you noted

Elk
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

As a separate matter, is there any consensus between the rest of the forum members as to where a power cord makes the most difference? CDP? Amp? Preamp?

I might get myself to try recording a couple of snippets with my Tascam. I only have really basic "better" power cords however. If I tackle this project, what equipment should I record? What music would be best? Was Spanish Harlem a good test subject?

I am not a big believer in power cords, having a set of short PSAudio entry level cords that replaced "standard" cords. My setup sounds better, but I imagine this is as much of result of the shorter cords exposing the interconnects to less power fields and the fact that I payed a lot of attention to cable dressing when I did the swaps (all at once). Thus, I am pretty much an agnostic on the subject.

dbowker
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

Personally I think upgrade cords make the most difference at the pre-amp or source level, assuming your amp has a substantial transformer.

dcstep
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables


Quote:
As a separate matter, is there any consensus between the rest of the forum members as to where a power cord makes the most difference? CDP? Amp? Preamp?

I've never had bad power, so I find that amps and preamps have more impact than their cords. A speaker that needs a lot of amp damping isn't going to have better control of the bass no matter what cord you use.

Don't get me wrong, I think power supply is important and that it's part getting the last few increments of resolution. Maybe if I had a poor power company I'd feel differently.

My cords are a the lower end of audiophiledom, generally costing $90 to $250.

Dave

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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

Dbowker;

Been there, done that

digital
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

PS: You guys might also get a kick out of this:

"XP vs. Vista - Can You Hear A Difference?"

The only audio-related item involved (unless you consider the PC's PSU / motherboard / HDD as a component of the overall sound), is the Asus Xonar card, and the whole process is much more streamlined.

Andrew D.

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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

"My cords are a the lower end of audiophiledom, generally costing $90 to $250."

That's a whole discussion too I guess. I pretty much cap my cable spending to around $250 per "unit" anyway because I feel like it needs to make sense in the overall system's price breakdown. I did spend more on speaker wire (Stereovox Firebird, about $450) and felt it was worth it since EVERYTHING goes through it. I have not tried any of a stratospherically priced power cords since they would cost as much as some of individual components!

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Re: Stereo System Power-cables


Quote:
"My cords are a the lower end of audiophiledom, generally costing $90 to $250."

That's a whole discussion too I guess. I pretty much cap my cable spending to around $250 per "unit" anyway because I feel like it needs to make sense in the overall system's price breakdown. I did spend more on speaker wire (Stereovox Firebird, about $450) and felt it was worth it since EVERYTHING goes through it. I have not tried any of a stratospherically priced power cords since they would cost as much as some of individual components!

Just like Sam, I suppose that we all have a point of increasing resistance. In economics seems like it was called marginal propensity to consume, where the price/benefit ratio starts to diminish, no matter how perceived.

People that can't hear any difference, like Sam, have a real low price point and think that all the rest of us are crazy, even at $90. Some of us hear the difference, but it hasn't been earth shattering, so we pay up, but stop the search only a few steps up the ladder. Some others must hear more difference, so they pay more.

There is the "piling on" economic event. Some people can't hear any differences but they want to be part of the crowd so they take their cues from the crowd they want to join and spend whatever they can afford. This saddens me, and I suspect it upsets "Sam", but it's part of almost all endeavors. People that can't drive go out and buy $500,000 cars and then Elk mops them up with his $70k 'vette, etc., etc.

Is it our job to protect people from foolish purchases? I think so, to a degree, at least we should get them to think. Sam is helping in this regard. I don't think he's swaying any caring listeners, but his kind of dialogue gets people to think for themselves. I read a couple of blogs that I like despite the author being full of sh*t in many regards. That's because I think they do certain other things well and/or I'm curious to read another perspective.

Anyway, every hobby is full of choices. How we decide to spend how much and when is useful to observe. Are we spending so much that we're harming other parts of our lives? Are we "wasting" money that would be better spent by The Salvation Army or Operation Smile? No matter how much we have, we need to think of these things.

Dave

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Re: Stereo System Power-cables


Quote:
I don
digital
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

I hear a difference in amplitude between the original CD and the .wav files. I'll admit; I set the recording levels too low, will not do so next time around.

With regards to 'lying' about the first round specifications. I tossed the morality of audio manipulation back and forth considerably before posting it; on one hand I knew that I would hear the exact sentiment as you've expressed when I revealed the facts. However, there simply no other way to find out if folks would describe artifacts / audible differences that didn't exist

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Re: Stereo System Power-cables


Quote:
I hear a difference in amplitude between the original CD and the .wav files. I'll admit; I set the recording levels too low, will not do so next time around.

Of course. They are about -12dB quieter, a huge difference.

But this isn't my question. After accounting for the difference in volume, do you hear a qualitative difference between the two recorded files and the original CD?


Quote:
With regards to 'lying' about the first round specifications. I tossed the morality of audio manipulation back and forth considerably before posting it; . . . Is that any more deceptive or vile than common DB placebo trials, I dunno
dcstep
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables


Quote:

I plan to try this when I have energy/time.

I have a Sony SCD-XA777ES. Not the best, but a good solid player. My thought is to record the analog two channel out while playing an SACD, perhaps the same recording of Spanish Harlem.

I don't have exotic power cables, just very basic entry level, and would compare this to a stock basic shielded cable. The recording would be done with a Tascam DV-RA1000. I am thinking 24/96.

Thoughts? For example, should I change the cord on just the SACD player or should I also change the cord on the Tascam?

Andrew, would you post the files? I don't have anywhere to put them.

Again, there really is no such thing as a mega-quality audio card. Good ADCs are stand alone units. Unfortunately I don't have such a critter, but the Tascam is quite good.

Thank you Elk, that should be a nice test. Of course, an amp or preamp will likely show the biggestest difference due to a power cord. You might just experiment by taking the SACD direct to the Sony or putting a preamp in between and seeing which has the most impact.

I don't have any "exotic" cords, but I could loan something in the $200 range if you need it.

Dave

Elk
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

Hmmmm...

I could change the cord on both the CDP and preamp and record the fixed record outputs of the preamp.

One thing fun about this test is that it gives me a way to partially test if the power cords make any difference in my particular system.

Elk
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

Another thought:

While 24/96 would be nice this results in 30MB per minute of data. Any reason such resolution is necessary? If cables make a difference this should be readily apparent at 16/44.1, yes?

dbowker
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables


Quote:
Another thought:

While 24/96 would be nice this results in 30MB per minute of data. Any reason such resolution is necessary? If cables make a difference this should be readily apparent at 16/44.1, yes?

In my experience YES.

digital
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

I

Elk
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

I believe that the nice entry level power cords I have are also the PS Audio Prelude, original version. I bought them on closeout for a great price.

I think the best comparison is with basic comes-with-the-product power cords, the kind of cords that we all have a bunch of sitting somewhere.

There are wonderful internal soundcards and you identify some excellent manufacturers. However, "real" studios do not record to a soundcard; they employing a standalone ADC. These critters can easily cost $3k/channel. Many are custom made or modified. The PCI card in these setups is simply a bridge to the PC so that the data stream can be recorded. OTOH, many/most project studios do indeed use internal soundcards - they are cheaper and budget is critical to a hobbyist/ very small or start-up studio.

Even during good quality remote recording the A/D is external. As an example, an affordable common example is the Metric Halo Mobile I/O 2882, a firewire based mic pre A/D combo unit. 2882

A good internal card can indeed produce a nice recording. However, my concern in our particular circumstance is that the two files you posted do not sound near as good as the original CD, and there is the the presence of power supply spuria. Additionally, you indicated that you cannot get identical results when recording the same track and configuration a second time. There is obviously a problem. These facts make me suspect the soundcard and/or DAC that was employed.

I am very impressed with the efforts you took to keep noisy components away from the card. As I stated before I still suspect there is a grounding/ground loop issue somewhere. These can be very pesky. I am also suspicious of switching power supplies to power sensitive digitally based recording equipment - but this may very well just be my bias.

I do own a Tascam DV-RA1000, am a musician and record. this is far from my day job however. I don't hold the Tascam up to pro quality converters but it has excellent sound. I just wish I had an external DSD converter to stream to. This would be fun to try.

I agree with the thought that any improvement should be readily discernable at 16/44.1. One should hear more/discern more at higher resolution - but such resolutions should not be "necessary".

What do you think of the idea of swapping the cords on both the CDP and preamp, and recording the preamp output? At least some believe the difference is more important on amplification equipment so I like the idea of including the preamp. I also like the idea of including the CDP as it is digital.

I am curious myself as to whether there would be a difference once one is careful with cable dressing.

KBK
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

The power cord issue rears it's head across the levels from low to high with respects to 'transient current demand or draw pulsing'. This distorts the balance of transients, across differing volume ranges or the sonic envelope in any given signal (at one time,at a given 'volume' or level.

This requires very low jitter clocking systems be employed in the given digital recording devices to maintain the base correctness of the components of the signal that are most affected. This is obviously the area where the ear is listening for such issues. Hand-in-hand with our ability to hear jitter, it is.

Elk
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

KBK,

Any thoughts on how to best record the resulting differences in sound?

digital
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

With respect to KBR / Elk, I'll jump in here with a suggestion regarding presentation of differences:

http://www.libinst.com/Audio%20DiffMaker.htm

Additionally, I don't know if we really need to get into uber-equipment, as many folks on forums who support / report 'power-cable differences' are running so-called 'mid-fi' kit - even basic receivers...

Andrew D.
www.cdnav.com

Elk
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables

I've seen Audio Diffmaker before but haven't played with it. It's easy to do the same thing with any decent sound recording/editing program - it's fun.

I agree that if power cords make a difference it should be apparent on any good quality system and at 16/44.1, everything else being equal (same quality of power, etc.)

Now to find some time to play. I am quite curious to learn what I will find when I record the two setups. I also plan to record each setup twice to verify that the recordings/findings are repeatable.

KBK
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Re: Stereo System Power-cables


Quote:
KBK,

Any thoughts on how to best record the resulting differences in sound?

My first attempt might involve battery powered A/D with high sample rates, and if that does not prove to be effective enough, a similar unit with re-clocking. I suspect the battery powered system might provide enough isolation from the source issues to show the effect well enough.

The effects of power cords tend to be less noticable on gear taht has pulse power supplies, but it is still noticable.

With big power amps, with regular type rectifying/transformer/capacitor type power supplies, the power cords..due to standard electrical theory..will have a sonic effect that is almost identical to they way they'd sound if they were used as speaker cable.

This is due to them being directly connected to the signal generating hardware during the 'conducting/charging' cycle of the sine waves that are coursing through the 'AC power line - AC power cord - fusing - power switch - transformer - rectifier - charging caps - output transistors - speaker cable - loudspeaker driver' - then...your ears.

That chain is a DIRECT connection during the power amplifier's 'charging cycle' which is actually..about 95-90% of the time. It's as sensitive as changing a speaker cable and or interconnect. This is standard electrical theory and function, here.

No magic, just common sense. The power cable becomes a standard analysis 'complex LCR filter'-in the middle of a standard 'whole signal' series connected variable AC frequency electrical system.

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