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Jan Vigne
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at

May, I'm sure you realize thirty years of reports are much more difficult to refute than one event. If you don't want to be dragged into the present you stand in front of any doorway that leads there. These are the George Wallace's and the brick throwing rednecks of audio who are putting up the barricades.

Clifton, you are a distraction and a detraction to any argument you make. Clean up your act.

judicata
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at

Jan and May - did you guys seriously just criticize someone for being inquisitive and asking questions that would help determine whether the study/event/test (choose your preferred term) was valid? Assuming there are a plethora of tests throughout the last 30 years suggesting that cables sound different, are you suggesting we should just assume, without question, that this particular test is valid without inquiring?

If you take that approach, you're damaging intellectual discourse AND harming your cause("cause" may be a poor choice of word; I mean that you are harming the argument for cables making a difference). If you always take that approach, we will be left with test after test (whether they indicate cables make a difference or not) that were not scrutinized, detailed, or analyzed. If these tests are held to such scrutiny, they can be represented that way and will be much more helpful to your argument. Furthermore, don't you think it would be helpful to know all the variables to determine how exactly to repeat the result (whether that be another test or choosing to buy a new cable)? Perhaps you already know what all these variables are, but I sure don't.

Ironically, you suggest that these questions come from the "rednecks of audio" (which, I can only assume, implies ignorance), but your very criticism is anti-intellectual. We can debate about where we stop scrutinizing a test and accept it, but it seems embarassing to glibly accept something simply because someone said it and you want it to be true.

I'm not arguing that everyone is genuinely inquisitive, but some people are. Also, you can't justify dodging questions simply because you question the motivation of the source.

Buddha
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at


Quote:

Quote:
Buddha, I don't give a menstrual fuck whether or not you "believe" ANYTHING I say.

I, at least, have the innate and nurtured sense of decorum

A definite ROTFLMAO!!!

I brought in a cup of coffee to read this?!

Hmmm, Ethan's video is 'offensive,' butsomeone saying he doesn't give a "menstrual fuck" is ROTFL with morning coffee?

Redwings are now funny AM chat?

Glad we are loosening up, I guess!

(This is meant purely as jovial banter and not intended as argument.)

Personally, I was a little worried for Clifton. He didn't reference his income, his number of LP's/CD's, or the price of his gear; and barely got in his required concert going reference.

I think Ethan really had him fired up!

Jan Vigne
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at

Buddha, you have wonderfully and intentionally mistaken my intent. I suppose one and one half hours isn't sufficient time for you to digest my last post. I am ROTFLMAO at what passes for discourse on this forum without comment by anyone. This forum becomes more surreal every day.

There is nothing I find inventive or acceptable in either Winer's video, Winer's linking me to Nazi's or Clifton's postings, all are equally offensive and do not belong in public view. Amazing you couldn't figure that out. Have some more coffee, guy, and pull up your priciples, your crack is showing.

Buddha
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at

Ethan linked you to Nazis?

I gotta keep up!

KBK
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at


Quote:

In all fairness to Ethan, I think he tries to introduce a semblance of sanity in what otherwise turns into a discussion of magic potions and talismans.

I do agree with him in that if it can be heard, it can be measured. If we can agree with that, then the entire debate can have a foundation to which everyone can come back.

If you don't subscribe to that notion, than every discussion will become nothing more than a giant pissing match.

Th reality is that what we hear and know about human hearing cannot be measured, when it comes to the artifacts we hear in the world of high end audio.

And no, we are not deluded.

It is just that both Ethan and you have yet to get to the point where you have trained your brains and ears as a combination, to hear what we do.

That is a very long path, my friend.

So don't fault us in your ignorance, if we happen to be bit further down that road.

I have tried in many ways to get you and Ethan to understand the more simple psychological parameters that govern these aspects of your own desires to remain ignorant of these points in logic, but both of you remain steadfast in your refusal to even look there, in your minds - at the root of these issues.

Too painful. Part of your psychology would have to wither and die and be recreated as something more inherently logical, forward thinking, and truthful.

So you attack us instead,trying to get us to be aligned with your internal desires to shape logic to your ultimately emotionally based logic system.

The key point lies in thinking that everything that we hear can be measured and correlated-at this time. This is far from the truth. Hell, Ethan and you don't even know the question at hand, never mind the answers.

Ethan, Alex..we are not at fault.

The two of you are.

That's about as nicely as I can put it, for the ~20th time.

A big part of the problem here lies in the entirely human issue of thinking that the limits of reality, logic, answers, and questions lies specifically at the limits of YOUR OWN mind.

When nothing could be further from the truth.

The issue isn't audio at all.

It's your muddled brains that you refuse to look at or fix.

bifcake
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at

I don't think I could have found a better example of someone engaged in a pure pissing match if I had searched the 7 seas.

Thank you for your input.

Buddha
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at


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"It is just that both Ethan and you have yet to get to the point where you have trained your brains and ears as a combination, to hear what we do."

Ethan's big deal with this is that it's kind of funny to hear people say things like that...but then those same people are unable to hear what they hear without knowing the name of the device they are hearing.

For having such transcendant minds and ears, they seem so fearful of light.

That's Ethan big stick - all those finely tuned mind/ears can't do it without foreknowledge of what they are about to hear. Imagine, needing to know the name and brand of a piece of kit in order to be able to reliably describe its sound. Even Kreskin can fake it better than that.

These 'transcendant listeners' are like baseball players who claim they are All Pro, so long as they know what the next pitch and its location will be.

They report they have open and curious minds, just not curious enough to explore what they hear without a label attached.

I like the "to hear what we do" part, I guess knowing the make and model of whatever it is you are about to describe helps you drown out those inner voices?

(You left out the 'monkey brain' part, etc...)

Jan Vigne
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at


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Jan and May - did you guys seriously just criticize someone for being inquisitive and asking questions that would help determine whether the study/event/test (choose your preferred term) was valid?

Has everyone here just paid their monthly dues to the "I only interpret what I read the way I want to see it" club and you and Buddha are trying your best to get your money's worth?

The answer is, no, we have not just criticized someone for being "inquisitive". And we are not suggesting anyone should just assume something without question, though you are appearing quite good at that.

The entirety of your post is absurd and a reflection of what you care to see, nothing more.

"Anti-intellectual"? "Intellectual discourse"? C'mon! Someone posts "DBT" and your Pavlovian response is they are being "intellectual"? How "anti-intellectual" is that?

What Buddha did wasn't "intellectual" and it wasn't a proper "test", but neither are DBT's when it comes to audio. Didn't you read what Winer said? If you move your head so much as an inch, the test is invalid! But one group staunchly clings to the past and refuses to budge so much as that one sniffly inch that invalidates any audio DTB. There are so many reasons DBT's are unacceptable in audio, it has taken thirty years of debate just to list all the reasons we know to this point. Have you totally ignored the numerous articles concerning DBT's that have run in Stereophile over the years?

I know, silly question.

Of course you have ignored them, they don't fit into the "interpret only what I want to see" attitude.

If you seriously believe you or anyone from your "side" (Why are there "sides"? Is this truly a battle that must be won at the expense of the other "side" loosing? Are there captives of this war being secretly rendered to countries that torture until they renounce all past allegiances?) is being intellectual here, I have some ocean front property in Arizona you might be interested in buying. That Clifton decided to lower the bar even further is not being "intellectual" and has proven to be yet another distraction to the op.

The results of Buddha's "event" should be accepted as indicators there is something to be explored, something not to be ignored and something not to be buried in "redneck" ideology. It should be explored by those unwilling for the last thirty years to make the sligthest concessions to anything other than their blind ideology to numbers and tests that prove nothing, their psychological or physiological inability to "sharpen", their refusal to accept anything and anyone that goes against their blind faith and should not be dismissed with lame excuses, calls for more ineffective "tests", ignorance of what is now known about cables and even more ideology heaped on top of an already existing mountain of ideology.

The rest of us could have predicted the results based on our personal experience over the last three decades.

I believe the point May was making is right here ...


Quote:
What these people are NOT doing is stepping back and looking at the whole panoramic scene. They are seeing it as ONE listening event, taking part in 2009, and NOT as multiple listening events taking part over a 30 YEAR period !!!!!!!!! Describing different cables sounding different for 30 years !!!!!!!!!

But, when you choose to remain narrow minded, you cannot see the panoramic picture.

That this is so difficult for one "side" to accept is my point. That would seem to a reflect a "redneck" viewpoint that is unwilling to move forward, IMO. It reflects a side that considers itself "intellectual" even against all attempts to prove itself so. All you can do is parrot "DBT" and claim "intellectualism" while ignoring thirty years of reports to the contrary. One black student enrolled in a public school hasn't budged any redneck attitudes any more than one million black students enrolled in a public school have changed their attitudes. This one cable "event" has not further advanced the notion things have progressed into the present day any more than thirty years of such reports have changed opinions when someone has set their attitudes to "uhuh, ain't gonna change".

How "intellectual" is that?

Jan Vigne
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at


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Ethan's big deal with this is that it's kind of funny to hear people say things like that...but then those same people are unable to hear what they hear without knowing the name of the device they are hearing.

From page one of this thread, posted by Buddha ...


Quote:
Only the person changing the interconnects knew which was which at any given moment, and we changed people doing the changing so there would be less chance of a 'tell' if one person did it every time.

So, like so many of these threads, we've come full circle and we've arrived at the point where some of us are just making up shit just to make up shit.

Either the people in the room knew the cables were different or they didn't. For you to now say they did and contradict your earlier post would seem to present a problem.

Buddha
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at


Quote:

Quote:
Ethan's big deal with this is that it's kind of funny to hear people say things like that...but then those same people are unable to hear what they hear without knowing the name of the device they are hearing.

From page one of this thread, posted by Buddha ...


Quote:
Only the person changing the interconnects knew which was which at any given moment, and we changed people doing the changing so there would be less chance of a 'tell' if one person did it every time.

So, like so many of these threads, we've come full circle and we've arrived at the point where some of us are just making up shit just to make up shit.

Either the people in the room knew the cables were different or they didn't. For you to now say they did and contradict your earlier post would seem to present a problem.

Jan, my point was that people in our room did not know which cable they were listening to, yet managed to power through the terrible handicap of not knowing which one was which.

For the golden eared listeners who opine that they become deaf unless they know the specific brand and model of something they are hearing, this would possibly be quite upsetting. Now they might be expected to be able to do something like that - and likely many could not; hence, the real reason branded listening is so crucial to their profession: Fear of being found out is a true 'opposite motivator' for this kind of person.

Ethan lands squarely in the camp of expecting people to be able to hear the same phenomenon repeatably without the advantage of knowing before they listen the specific name/brand/serial number of whatever it is they are claiming to be able to describe.

No full circle.

I agree that instantaneous DBT is a lousy idea for music, but I lean Ethan's way in being dubious as to someone's claimed listening ability when all he can do is say that if he knows what piece of gear he is listening to, he can describe what he hears, but cannot do so without that foreknowledge.

"Just so long as I know which cable it is, I can tell you how it sounds...every time! Otherwise, the evil spirits of uncertainty drive me to deafness."

What poppycock.

ethanwiner
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at


Quote:
the guys with real know how.. get dismissed and/or insulted as "pimps" but the snake oil salesmen, traveling cure all potion purveyors are allowed free reign.. incredible, really.


Yes, it is incredible. And notice they never have anything of substance to refute my (or your) statements! All they have is ROTFLMAO and insults.

--Ethan

Jan Vigne
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at


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"Just so long as I know which cable it is, I can tell you how it sounds...every time! Otherwise, the evil spirits of uncertainty drive me to deafness."

Let me guess, that's a "quote" you just made up just now? Or, I should say, that's more shit you just made up to CYA.

Dance, Buddha, dance, you're playing your song - but don't let go of that ideology or you'll hurt yourself.

ROTFLMAO!!!

Why is everyone on "your side" explaining what Winer means? He knows how to post.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at


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Yes, it is incredible. And notice they never have anything of substance to refute my (or your) statements! All they have is ROTFLMAO and insults.

So you are still here. These posts get ROTFLMAO's because that's all they deserve. As to the "insults", you aren't on very stable ground with that statement. I've told you refuting BS such as, "All cables can do is affect frequency response", doesn't need or deserve a reply. Anyone who still believes that has a very red neck and is hoping to return the discussion to a time thirty years ago.

judicata
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at

Jan - WTF? Your response is nonsensical, and many of the criticisms you launch could just as easily (or more easily) be launched back at yourself.

The reason I put "side" in quotes is because it is an unpleasant and inappropriate term, but the thread has apparently divided along those lines. I agree with your assessment of the term as a whole, and would rather this not be a battle of "sides."

As for me, I'm not on a "side." I really, honestly DO NOT KNOW if cables make a difference. I really don't. I see plausible arguments on both sides. I've swapped a few cables in a few systems (certainly not dozens), and have never heard a difference, but that isn't conclusive. I completely understand that, if cables make a difference, they probably don't make a difference in every single system and under every single circumstance (and between every single different cable) - and I don't think anyone here is arguing they do - so my not hearing a difference in the few experiences I have does NOT rule out the possibility. So I'm undecided.

With that in mind, I'm always very interested in any tests/examples/auditions/experiences/comparisons (again, use whatever term you want - I don't care) that indicate an answer to this question one way or the other. Because of this, I'm also very interested in all of the conditions and variables because it is much more informative.

I never mentioned DBTs. You somehow equated my criticism and use of the terms "intellectual" etc., with "DBT", which is interesting. I don't care whether this was technically a DBT or not (I feel like we've had to have this discussion before), I'm just interested informative experiences. Regardless of whether this was a "scientifically controlled test" or whatever, it has educational value.

This is how these conversations go from my perspective:
(1) someone brings up an experience with cable
(2) Someone asks more about the experience
(3) Someone from "side" A (again, take that term with a grain of salt) says something to the effect of "cable cannot make a difference" or "cable absolutely makes a difference)
(4) Someone from "side" B responds with the opposite allegation
(5) Both people become incredibly stubborn, defensive, and obtuse
(6) People from each "side" accuse the other of being incredibly stubborn, defensive, and obtuse
(7) DBTs get brought up and the process repeats itself
(8) Hopefully some helpful information squeezed through the bidirectional onslaught.

I don't think any experience is conclusive. In other words, casual comparison, DBTs, etc., all have flaws. But they can ALL provide valuable information to some degree. Those that say casual comparison is "worthless" because of the placebo effect and other various flaws are wrong. Those that say DBTs are "worthless" because of various flaws are simply wrong. The placebo effect exists. DBTs aren't perfect. But both methods of evaluation can be useful if we can have an intelligent conversation about them, instead of this obstinate, reactionary quibbling.

SAS Audio
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at


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But they can ALL provide valuable information to some degree. Those that say casual comparison is "worthless" because of the placebo effect and other various flaws are wrong. Those that say DBTs are "worthless" because of various flaws are simply wrong. The placebo effect exists. DBTs aren't perfect. But both methods of evaluation can be useful if we can have an intelligent conversation about them, instead of this obstinate, reactionary quibbling.

Hi Judicata,

Just a slight correction if I may. I state dbts are inaccurate or worthless if performed incorrectly, and if all variables are not addressed, which is quite true.

"Habituation to Stimuli" is a real variable that makes two different sounding components sound the same when more than 3-4 ABs (back and forths) are performed per session. This is a real medical phenomonen that always skews the results towards no sonic difference, thus inaccuracies. If they would test correctly, then at least that variable is accounted for and possible valuable information can be obtained.

No offense meant Judicata.

commsysman
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at

For what it is worth:

I have found that cables can make a huge difference between Unit A and Unit B, but make none at all between Unit A and unit C.

After years of extensive research and measurements in the laboratory, I have a working hypothesis as to why it happens. It can be easily PROVED that there is no meaningful effect on frequency response, unless the cable and the equipment are so badly designed as to be WAY outside of the high-end realm altogether. Frequency effects are NOT the issue.

My experiments have led me to believe that cables sound different because of ultrasonic currents in the cable due to oscillation; this masks the audio information that the cable is passing between units.

This is similar to what happens when the bias is set too high on the recording head of a tape recorder. Distortion of the audio occurs, but it is somewhat subtle and the cause may not be immediately apparent.

The reason that this occurs would seem to be the fact that the output circuit of unit A (a CD player, for example) contains some inductance and capacitance, and the input circuit of Unit B also contains some inductance and capacitance. The capacitance and inductance of the cable, when connected between the two units, forms a very complex LCR network in combination with the two units; this creates the very real possibility of ultrasonic oscillations on the cable, whose magnitude is significant in relation to the signal passing through the cable.

It should be noted also that differences in the design of the internal circuitry of units A and B relative to ground is a major issue, which also will contribute significantly to the problem.

It is also worth mentioning that BALANCED cables are essentially immune to these problems of which I speak, for reasons that are obvious to any engineer; the balanced signal wires have a design that makes them independent of the ground wire, and furthermore the balanced circuit that receives the signal rejects all common-mode noise, oscillations or otherwise. Unless otherwise specifically noted, everything I am saying about "cables" here refers to unbalanced cables only.

Perhaps my most dramatic experience with cables in a simple listening situation was about 10 years ago when I purchased my Sony SCD-777ES SACD player. When I first hooked it up to my preamp, which was an Audio Research LS-1B at that time, I thought that the CD player was a defective unit; the sound quality was just godawful! I had used the cables included to hook it up; thay had gold-plated RCAs and seemed as if they might be suitable...wrong.

After several days of trying various cables, I could clearly hear about 4 different levels of performance from 7 different cables that I tried. Some were my own manufacture, using teflon-insulated silver aerospace surplus cable, some were manufactured. The ones that ended up giving by far the best performance were Audioquest cables with a "floating" shield that was only terminated at the preamp end, separate from the two signal conductors.

My wife and others present had NO difficulty discerning the difference in sound quality; it was NOT subtle.

The idea that cables cannot make a difference in sound quality is absolutely ridiculous to me; I have personally experienced it too many times for that idea to be credible.

Two other things that I find ludicrous, based on 40 years of critical listening experience, are:

1) any statement that describes the "sound" of a particular (unbalanced) cable. In my experience one can only describe the sound of a certain cable when it is used between a SPECIFIC source and a SPECIFIC preamp or integrated amplifier. A cable, in and of itself, has no characteristic sound.

2) The idea that there are differences in sound quality in BALANCED cables. I have never heard any difference whatsoever between one balanced interconnect and another. Balanced interconnects provide a foolproof interface between units in every case...even when they are as long as 30 feet.

Buddha
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at


Quote:

Quote:
"Just so long as I know which cable it is, I can tell you how it sounds...every time! Otherwise, the evil spirits of uncertainty drive me to deafness."

Let me guess, that's a "quote" you just made up just now? Or, I should say, that's more shit you just made up to CYA.

Dance, Buddha, dance, you're playing your song - but don't let go of that ideology or you'll hurt yourself.

ROTFLMAO!!!

Why is everyone on "your side" explaining what Winer means? He knows how to post.

Not dancing, Jan.

Ethan may be wrong about instanaeous DBT testing with musical sources, but his expectation that listeners should be able to hear differences in a consistent manner without being told in advance which product they are hearing is reasonable. Not really an egregious position. Now, his ideas on other fronts may be, but on that, I give him credit.

I started the thread pointing out that people heard differences between interconnects, and that they could do this without knowing which cable they were listening to - something that Ethan likes to insist happen before he will acknowledge differences, and something that too many subjectivists seem to fear more than vampires fear sunlight.

The only dancing required is that done by those who still insist that name/rank/serial number be known before listening/reviewing in order to form a consistent impression of something's sound.

I see no justification for that position, and a relatively random grouping of audiophiles doing a pretty casual listening test made the answer quite clear - bilnd listening does not lead to deafness.

By the way, ROTFLMAO is not exactly discourse. Maybe you could go back to your nonsequitir AL GORE stuff for variety?

As for CYA, there's nothing to cover. You are seeming to drift in and out of attention on this topic, as others are pointing out.

Snap out of it.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at


Quote:
Those that say DBTs are "worthless" because of various flaws are simply wrong. The placebo effect exists. DBTs aren't perfect. But both methods of evaluation can be useful if we can have an intelligent conversation about them, instead of this obstinate, reactionary quibbling.

I never claimed you "mentioned DBT's". I said ...


Quote:
Someone posts "DBT" and your Pavlovian response is they are being "intellectual"? How "anti-intellectual" is that?

If you mistook "you" as a personal comment and not as a repudiation of one "side's" fall-back-on-anytime-excuse for not wanting to just listen, then possibly I didn't make that clear enough. As JA states, DBT's are for many people the catch all for denying any subjective opinion of audio that varies from one's own.

With the information provide by Buddha in the op it should be a snap to decide this was not classic DBT. However, it might be more informative than a traditional DBT since the participants probably felt no urgency to be "right" and 100% is a rather impressive number in the affirmative.

I don't have an idea why my post is "nonsensical" to you. It touches on the vital points of your post, IMO. Why don't you try reading it again execpt this time pretend your on my "side".

I would agree with your asssessment of how these "conversations" go until about step #8.

May has gone through the "placebo effect" argument and when and why it can be dismissed multiple times. If you haven't caught any of her explanations, then cick on her name and, when her profile comes up, click on "Show all user's posts". Or go back into this thread.

If you have questions about whether cables make a difference, I would suggest you read again the "Sharpeners and Levelers" article in this month's magazine. You might also consider the 100% response to Buddha's "test", not everyone there could be influenced by "placebo".

If you are uncertain as to why DBT's are ineffective tools when evaluating high end audio products, I would suggest you read a few of the past articles on that subject, many of which appear in the Stereophile archives.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at


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The only dancing required is that done by those who still insist that name/rank/serial number be known before listening/reviewing in order to form a consistent impression of something's sound.

Buddha, this is your "default" position that CYA's your apparently non-existent backside ("As for CYA, there's nothing to cover"). You bring this up as your main defensive alignment in each and every thread of this nature.

I am unaware of anyone who holds this position. I think the time has come for you to name names and call people out on this. Obviously your set up proved prior knowledge is not necessary to a "blind" listening situation being 100% successful so let's get this done with.

Please, for the sake of clarity on this issue and to hopefully put this falsehood to rest, tell me who you know who must be told what component they are listening to before they can make a judgement. I know of no one in my experience who demands prior knowledge and remember I did the swapping for twenty five years. I believe you are once again reading into something only what you care to see.

As to my "drifting", yes, when you only care to see what you agree with, the other "side" seems very disjointed, doesn't it? They say so little that you agree with.

judicata
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at

sasaudio - I agree for the most part. Although if it was found that in a certain test, things sounded different even despite the habituation to stimuli phenomenon, it would be useful information, no? The habituation effect is a reason to question a negative result (that is, a determination of no difference), depending on how the test is performed. As you suggest, the significant issue with DBTs is accounting for as many variables as possible. It's a good point, and these are the kinds of things that add to the discussion and that move this inquiry forward.

judicata
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at

Jan,

First, I think we have some common ground here. I was defending my statements regarding intellectual discourse. There are several people on the forum, and I don't fault someone for ocassionally attributing statements/opinions to others they feel are on one "side." I've done the same thing. Ideally, we'd all be really careful to make sure we are only attributing to someone what is due, but in extreme circumstances that can require re-reading entire threads before making a post, and would make using the forum rather cumbersome.

That aside, I thought your post was mostly non-responsive and still feel that way. But whatever - water under the bridge.

Another disclosure: Especially when I'm on the fence about something, I tend to scrutinize everyone's claims. This generally leads whoever I'm speaking with to assume I'm "against" them. Of course, when someone is scrutinizing your statements, you have reason to feel that way. But, especially with this topic, I'm not "against" anyone (or I'm against everyone, take your pick).

I've reviewed as much material as I have time for (and will continue to do so, so I appreciate your suggestions), and have seen ostensibly persuasive evidence both for and against cable differences. I'll re-review May's posts regarding the placebo effect, which I read contemporaneously, but there is simply no way to discredit the placebo effect as a general proposition. You can limit it and rule it out in certain circumstances, but it is definitely real. I've said before it doesn't occur all the time, and likely doesn't explain everything people claim it does. I also didn't say that it explains away Buddha's test. But the effect is absolutely real. My work in recent years has required extensive examinations of clinical studies, and I'm quite familiar with this area. The only reason I brought up the placebo effect was to provide an example showing how no single test is perfect, but everything should be examined as a whole.

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sasaudio - I agree for the most part. Although if it was found that in a certain test, things sounded different even despite the habituation to stimuli phenomenon, it would be useful information, no?

Yes, if different I would think it would be beneficial.


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The habituation effect is a reason to question a negative result (that is, a determination of no difference), depending on how the test is performed. As you suggest, the significant issue with DBTs is accounting for as many variables as possible. It's a good point, and these are the kinds of things that add to the discussion and that move this inquiry forward.

Yes, without accounting for all the varibles errors could occur. The test could also be easily manipulated without suspicion.

Nice conversation.


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The only reason I brought up the placebo effect was to provide an example showing how no single test is perfect, but everything should be examined as a whole.

That statement sounds very reasonable to me.

Thanks Judicata.

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Sophistry; talk, talk. talk!

See my post above if you want to discuss the real issue.

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Sophistry; talk, talk. talk!

See my post above if you want to discuss the real issue.

I read it. Very informative and helpful, and it sounds plausible to me. This is exactly the kind of thing I'd like to listen to first-hand if I given an opportunity.

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You are welcome to come by some time, but it's a long drive from New Yawk City to Joshua Tree...lol.

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For a new twist on this oft fascinating debate, I offer you the Nocebo Effect, the Placebo Effect's ugly twin. The Nocebo Effect is defined as the expectation of Negative or Null results, as opposed to the expectation of positive results (Placebo Effect). The Nocebo Effect *might* explain why some, shall we say, "overly skeptical" individuals often have such "bad luck" with audio tests involving "controversial" (to them) items like cables. You could say the Nocebo Effect describes a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Nocebo Effect was coined some years ago when a medical study found that a group of patients, convinced they were going to die of heart disease, actually did so at *much higher rates* than those in the control group who did not feel fatalistic about their condition. Both groups had similar risks for heart disease: overweight, family history, etc.

Cheers

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I agree with this Geoff, but by extension if you want to put forth "nocebo" as real, then you have to equally accept that placebo is real! Are you prepared to do that?

--Ethan

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Quote:

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Buddha, I don't give a menstrual fuck whether or not you "believe" ANYTHING I say.

I, at least, have the innate and nurtured sense of decorum

A definite ROTFLMAO!!!

I brought in a cup of coffee to read this?!

Hmmm, Ethan's video is 'offensive,' butsomeone saying he doesn't give a "menstrual fuck" is ROTFL with morning coffee?

Redwings are now funny AM chat?

Glad we are loosening up, I guess!

(This is meant purely as jovial banter and not intended as argument.)

Personally, I was a little worried for Clifton. He didn't reference his income, his number of LP's/CD's, or the price of his gear; and barely got in his required concert going reference.

I think Ethan really had him fired up!

LOL, now thats Buddha at his best

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I've already said I think the placebo effect is real. You probably missed it. I do think it's illogical to claim that because Placebo Effect exists it explains *all* tests that don't come out the way like you'd like them to. I use the word you editorially.

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I haven't seen where anyone said the placebo effect is not real. Have you?


Yes! Here! Every single day! It's the very same people who dismiss DBT.

This is one of my favorite quotes:

"Everyone understands and accepts that the placebo effect is real, but for some reason audiophiles don't think it ever happens to them."

--Ethan

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Discussion of DBTs is only allowed in threads specifically concerned with that subject.


Really?! Why?


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Otherwise, all meaningful discussion ends as a sub-set of posters answers every expression of opinion with a cry to "put it to a DBT."


John, IMO meaningful discussion ends when posters who have nothing to contribute resort to personal attacks and insults, use ROTFLMAO instead of reasoned arguments, and all the rest I'm sure I don't have to explain. If you want to ban anything, it should be insults and personal attacks. Ya think?

I'll go farther and say if the only way a forum can deal with DBT is by banning it, that implicitly acknowledges the weakness of the anti-DBT position. Just as with all other forms of censorship.

I understand your desire to have this forum be a civil place, but IMO you're banning the wrong people!

--Ethan

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I've reviewed as much material as I have time for (and will continue to do so, so I appreciate your suggestions), and have seen ostensibly persuasive evidence both for and against cable differences. I'll re-review May's posts regarding the placebo effect, which I read contemporaneously, but there is simply no way to discredit the placebo effect as a general proposition. You can limit it and rule it out in certain circumstances, but it is definitely real. I've said before it doesn't occur all the time, and likely doesn't explain everything people claim it does. I also didn't say that it explains away Buddha's test. But the effect is absolutely real. My work in recent years has required extensive examinations of clinical studies, and I'm quite familiar with this area. The only reason I brought up the placebo effect was to provide an example showing how no single test is perfect, but everything should be examined as a whole.

It's possible May made her most clear refutation of "placebo" in a thread that has now been deleted. Without trying to speak for her the essentials are there are too many listeners with excellent qualifications and reputations to consider who are spread across the entire globe who hear almost identical changes with each item introduced to the system. They have no communication between each other and listeners often times experience similar changes before any comments have been posted.

In such an instance where common words are employed and similar experiences are related it becomes far less likely these listeners are under the spell of a general purpose placebo that could repeat itself with such regularity.

Additionally, most experienced listeners and reviewers are aware of placebo and take pains to eliminate the possibility to the extent listening time permits.

Consider that on this forum we have a few who constantly cry for DBT's and a few who claim placebo for everything they cannot discern. When DBT's and placebo becomes the scapegoat for everything they do not wish to consider, then that becomes a larger problem than a few calls for DBT's and cries of placebo.

One thing I think you are trying to do is take your experience with clinical trials where you are deciding "either A or B" (either the patient reacted to the introduction of a drug/placebo or they didn't) and transfer that to a blind test where the system is an intermediary for the music. I find this similar to the argument often given for disliking "PRaT". Those who distain the presence of pacing, timing and and rhythmic momentum are in the habit of disavowing the capacity for any audio product to "have PRaT".

Well, of course, no component has these qualities. The qualities exist in the music and the issue is whether the audio component correctly portrays their expressive nature or whether it diminishes those qualities and therefore diminishes the emotional appeal and connection to the music. In that context, an audio component does not "have PRAT" but it can definfitely get in the way of the listener feeling an emotional connection with the musical performance.

However, if a test subject has no feeling for emotional connection and listens only for frequency repsonse or "clarity" or some other priority uniquely their own (as we all do), they will take a pass on a difference between two components, one which displays excellent "PRaT" qualities and another that obscures those very elements of the performance. In such an instance for a DBT to be effective, you would need to weed out those listeners who are not listening for "PRaT" or risk a distorted outcome to the test.

That group of listeners might then miss any changes in timbre or tone, spacial improvements or dynamic contrasts, musicality or detail retrieval that are not within their priorities. That each listener brings their own set of priorities to the test makes DBT's most difficult to use when assessing how well an audio component does its most basic job - playing the music. This becomes not an "either/or" situation but a "what if?" situation.

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Sophistry; talk, talk. talk!

See my post above if you want to discuss the real issue.

As I reread your post it seems to argue why a cable might affect the performance of a system.

That isn't the topic of this thread.

Unfortunately, this thread is still stuck with the idea that cables do/do not matter and that a 100% affirmative response from a group of test subjects surprised the op.

That would make the topic of this thread, still, cables do matter or cables do not matter. Until we get beyond the discussion of whether the patient is dead or alive there is no reason to discuss whether the patient might succeed as a rock drummer.

I'll put you down as someone who is on the side of "cables do matter".

I would disagree however, that balanced cables are immune to differences in performance.

If you would care to discuss this point, then I would suggest you begin a new thread with that as the topic.

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... posters who have nothing to contribute resort to personal attacks and insults, use ROTFLMAO instead of reasoned arguments, and all the rest I'm sure I don't have to explain.

You take ROTFLMAO as an insult? But linking someone to Nazi's is OK?

ROTFLMAO!


Quote:
If you want to ban anything, it should be insults and personal attacks.

I can't agree with that. I don't believe the Stereophile forum should ban "anything" willynilly (though a certain video shouldn't be allowed on this forum). People however are a different matter. To that I wholeheartedly agree.

Are links to Nazis and calling someone an "asshole" without provocation insults or personal attacks? Don't you agree no matter which category they fall into they should be banned and the poster should be gone with them? I can't imagine you believe attacking another member's system is not an insult and a personal atttack.

Oh, what am I saying? You do that almost every week, several times a week and you're still here.


Quote:
... but IMO you're banning the wrong people ...

Since only one member has ever been banned from this forum, I would disagree. Someone, however, will try to convince me they are allowing the wrong people to stay.

Get over it, Winer. Stop disrupting threads with this BS.

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Unfortunately, this thread is still stuck with the idea that cables do/do not matter and that a 100% affirmative response from a group of test subjects surprised the op.

Did my op have a sense of "surprise?"

I posted because I found the result interesting and wanted to share the experience. I know it is a controversial topic.

As someone who has some brand name preferences in interconnects, the 'testing' was an act of interest, not something that happened that caused surprise or consternation.

Even Ethan would agree that 'cables matter,' his point of contention is 'how much do they matter?'

I do not stand with Ethan on 'measurement ubber alles,' but I can understand his skepticism. Maybe he would show the gumption to run some tests on a variety of cables?

_____

The trouble with talking about blind listening trials is that both sides assume instantaneous DBT is the subject. That is its own demon.

It's a busy day, but I have some stuff I would like to post about DBT and see if we can but that restless evil spirit to rest.

DBT is a gross measurment, at best. I wouldn't say it qualifies as a "Hi FI'" endeavor - and I plan to get Ethan to agree!

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------------------------------------------------------------------------
I haven't seen where anyone said the placebo effect is not real. Have you?
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yes! Here! Every single day! It's the very same people who dismiss DBT.
This is one of my favorite quotes:

"Everyone understands and accepts that the placebo effect is real, but for some reason audiophiles don't think it ever happens to them."

Nathan - Sorry but the quote you supplied doesn't support your thesis that anyone, much less the anti-DBT crowd, thinks placebos are *not* real. It supports the opposite, actually.

Cheers

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Quote:
Discussion of DBTs is only allowed in threads specifically concerned with that subject.


Really?! Why?

I thought I gave a reason, Ethan. Ah yes, I see that I did because you quote it:


Quote:

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Otherwise, all meaningful discussion ends as a sub-set of posters answers every expression of opinion with a cry to "put it to a DBT."

John, IMO meaningful discussion ends when posters who have nothing to contribute resort to personal attacks and insults, use ROTFLMAO instead of reasoned arguments, and all the rest I'm sure I don't have to explain.

Well...I have to say that some of what you characterize as "personal attacks" is people responding in kind.


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If you want to ban anything, it should be insults and personal attacks. Ya think?

Not really, as that tends to be self-defeating.


Quote:
I'll go farther and say if the only way a forum can deal with DBT is by banning it, that implicitly acknowledges the weakness of the anti-DBT position. Just as with all other forms of censorship.

With all due respect, as we have broken bread together Ethan, on this you are just plain wrong. There is a subset of Internet bullies who employ the "put it to a DBT" cry much as the sheep bleated "4 legs good, 2 legs bad" in "Animal Farm, ie, to drown out discussion.

Like you, I am against censorship, which is why DUP was allowed to keep posting long after moderator Stephen Mejias felt DUP had passed the point of terminal abuse of our hospitality. Segregating DBT discussions to threads that are specially concerned with that subject seemed the ideal compromise.


Quote:
I understand your desire to have this forum be a civil place, but IMO you're banning the wrong people!

Good thing you're not the moderator then, Ethan. :-)

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

judicata
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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at

Regarding your later post, I think a discussion regarding the hypotheses for why cables matter is certainly informative and worthy of discussion - even if some people are convinced that they don't. I'm interested, and I think it would help guide me to a conclusion.

No doubt there are problems with DBTs. But there are problems with every single method of deciding this question. You're right, we have to account for the abilities of the subjects. Do not assume (and I'm not sure that you did, but just to make sure) that clincal trials are less complicated than audio trials. I was shocked to see all the variables that have to be accounted for, and must be accounted for in such trials. The variables that cannot be directly addressed are accounted for by such methods as "statistical significance." I'm not saying the audio is significantly less complicated, but I seriously doubt it is more so. Both often have to address subjective measurements (more pain/less pain - sounds better/sounds worse), although some clinical trials are objective (higher bloodpressure or lower, etc.). And this is why trials must use many subjects, the results must be reproduceable, etc. Unfortunately, the honesty of test subjects certain affect the quality of the test. We'd almost certainly want to include both people who believe cables make a difference, those who do not, and those who are undecided/neutral at least to some degree. I think it would be a lot of fun to design some DBT and non-DBT tests.

I don't think my experience with clinical trials has made me inflexible. Different trials are very different and require flexibility and creativity in design. There are some very, very clever people out there designing these things. Although, they do screw up on ocassion, which is why, even a handful of DBTs (positive or negative) are not absolutely conclusive, but are very informative.

The more information we have the better. There is a common problem with trials -- there are people on both sides that don't want to have them. A single test (DBT or otherwise) cannot be held to be Gospel, but your (whoever you are) ideologue opponents will declare it to be so anyway. I understand that. This is a problem in more industries than audio, that's for sure. But this shouldn't be an excuse for not exploring when there is exploring to be done. The ideologues will be preachy anyway.

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There is a subset of Internet bullies who employ the "put it to a DBT" cry much as the sheep bleated "4 legs good, 2 legs bad" in "Animal Farm, ie, to drown out discussion.

As is often the case, Art Dudley wrote most intelligently abut this phenomenon. I meant to post the link to his essay in my prior response, but I couldn't remember the URL. It was his August 2006 "Listening" column: www.stereophile.com/artdudleylistening/806listen . Good stuff!

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Regarding your later post, I think a discussion regarding the hypotheses for why cables matter is certainly informative and worthy of discussion - even if some people are convinced that they don't. I'm interested, and I think it would help guide me to a conclusion.

No doubt there are problems with DBTs. But there are problems with every single method of deciding this question. You're right, we have to account for the abilities of the subjects. Do not assume (and I'm not sure that you did, but just to make sure) that clincal trials are less complicated than audio trials. I was shocked to see all the variables that have to be accounted for, and must be accounted for in such trials. The variables that cannot be directly addressed are accounted for by such methods as "statistical significance." I'm not saying the audio is significantly less complicated, but I seriously doubt it is more so. Both often have to address subjective measurements (more pain/less pain - sounds better/sounds worse), although some clinical trials are objective (higher bloodpressure or lower, etc.). And this is why trials must use many subjects, the results must be reproduceable, etc. Unfortunately, the honesty of test subjects certain affect the quality of the test. We'd almost certainly want to include both people who believe cables make a difference, those who do not, and those who are undecided/neutral at least to some degree. I think it would be a lot of fun to design some DBT and non-DBT tests.

I don't think my experience with clinical trials has made me inflexible. Different trials are very different and require flexibility and creativity in design. There are some very, very clever people out there designing these things. Although, they do screw up on ocassion, which is why, even a handful of DBTs (positive or negative) are not absolutely conclusive, but are very informative.

The more information we have the better. There is a common problem with trials -- there are people on both sides that don't want to have them. A single test (DBT or otherwise) cannot be held to be Gospel, but your (whoever you are) ideologue opponents will declare it to be so anyway. I understand that. This is a problem in more industries than audio, that's for sure. But this shouldn't be an excuse for not exploring when there is exploring to be done. The ideologues will be preachy anyway.

Thank you, judicata, for one of the best posts I have ever seen on this subject.

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Did my op have a sense of "surprise?"


Quote:
WTF?



Quote:
Double WTF?



Quote:
Triple WTF?

Maybe it's just me and how I interpret "Triple WTF".


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I know it is a controversial topic.

Only to a diehard few here on this forum.


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Even Ethan would agree that 'cables matter,' his point of contention is 'how much do they matter?'

Really?!!! I've never seen Winer post that opinion. All I can remember seeing from Winer is, "If it sounds different, it's broken."


Quote:
The trouble with talking about blind listening trials is that both sides assume instantaneous DBT is the subject.

Really?!!! I've never seen that opinion either.


Quote:
Maybe he would show the gumption to run some tests on a variety of cables?

What good would it do if he doesn't know what to measure? Measuring frequency response outside of a system isn't going to provide answers and measuring frequency response within a specific system isn't going to tell the whole story. I don't know about you but since the mid '90's I've not heard a cable that significantly altered the perceived frequency response of a system. Provided a sense of deeper bass beneath the music or more open highs with greater air and ambience, yes, but that isn't something that changes the frequency response by extending the limits up or down another octave. Measuring only frequency response because you think that's all a cable can affect is missing most of what a good cable can afffect.

Only measuring frequency response is more likely going to tell you the cable is "broken" as far as that system is concerned than it will tell you anything of value. You still seem to think this is all about simple Ethan-style measurements. If it were that simple, how many cable companies do you think would be around? Like amplifiers or speakers, they'd figure out the right "frequency response" and sell that to everyone. That there are so many should suggest - as May has pointed out - there are more than a few concepts of what is important in a cable and what accounts for their "sound". Just as there are more than a few opinions about which components are the best.

JA has for years now been promising a compilation of measurements that relate to sound quality. Maybe I'm wrong but I suspect everytime the tally starts up for one item there's another that suggests it is equally or more important. I suspect this is true if only because audio "qualities" are a subjective thing and thus prone to change somewhat from listener to listener.

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Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at

Buddha and Alex, there is always hope. JBL designs, over the years, always had great bass response and were built to last. So, as I said, there is always hope. So, yes, I have hopped in for a listen to the latest models, from time to time over the years, curious to see if they had evolved with the rest of the industry.

Nope.

Those of us who always want to listen to the latest iterations of designs we knew in the past are, in a sense, "gluttons for punishment." However, the good news is that you don't have to hang around for more than a couple of minutes to hear that nothing has changed.

I haven't heard JBL speakers since 2004. I can't remember the model number, but the cost was around 3 grand. I was surprised to hear that the upper-midrange spike was less severe, but, nevertheless, it was still there ... at least, compared to the more neutral models designed by others.

Alex, you don't have to apologize for Ethan's system. You already did that voluntarily, noting that it wasn't musical, but "served his needs."

The larger point, it seems to me, is Ethan's need for pseudo-scientific proofs, in the face of the "ignorance" of the rest of us, that establish scientifically-verified validation for his products. This, in the face of owning a system that is not "musical."

Cables? Double-blind or no double-blind? NONE of the debunking or exalting that goes back and forth can be "proved." We all wear different heads and ears, and we all enjoy different musical experiences. This is a subjective pursuit. Neither you, Alex, Ethan, or anyone else can turn it into an objective science. The problem is finding out what YOU like and what YOU want in YOUR living room. If I can hear differences among different cables, it doesn't matter whether I can see 'em or not (who wants to look at a freakin' CABLE?). Because I simply do not feel any great necessity to convince anyone of a particular wire's ability to contribute positively to the sound of my system. Cost? Cheap and good is best. Expensive and good is fine, if the sound justifies the cost.

Happy tunes.

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Alex, you don't have to apologize for Ethan's system. You already did that voluntarily, noting that it wasn't musical, but "served his needs."

I didn't know that I was apologizing for Ethan's system. His system is what it is. I don't feel the need to apologize for it, and I would venture to guess that he doesn't feel the need either. My point was that Ethan's system was not a system necessarily to sit and listen to. Rather, it's there to be able to monitor the recordings and assess various effects and changes to those recordings. It's a tool, much like a race car, rather than a sports car.


Quote:

The larger point, it seems to me, is Ethan's need for pseudo-scientific proofs, in the face of the "ignorance" of the rest of us, that establish scientifically-verified validation for his products. This, in the face of owning a system that is not "musical."

I don't see how Ethan requires "pseudo-scientific" proofs. Any product requires scientific validation. Otherwise, the consumer opens himself up to all kinds of charlatans.


Quote:

Cables? Double-blind or no double-blind? NONE of the debunking or exalting that goes back and forth can be "proved." We all wear different heads and ears, and we all enjoy different musical experiences. This is a subjective pursuit. Neither you, Alex, Ethan, or anyone else can turn it into an objective science. The problem is finding out what YOU like and what YOU want in YOUR living room. If I can hear differences among different cables, it doesn't matter whether I can see 'em or not (who wants to look at a freakin' CABLE?). Because I simply do not feel any great necessity to convince anyone of a particular wire's ability to contribute positively to the sound of my system. Cost? Cheap and good is best. Expensive and good is fine, if the sound justifies the cost.

Happy tunes.

If this is an entirely subjective experience, than any product is as good as any other product. If this is a purely subjective experience, then objectively, all hi-fi products are the same. In fact, if this is a purely subjective experience, then there can NEVER be bad products because there will always be someone who doesn't find it objectionable.

There is no way to design and produce a consistent product if you don't measure it. How would you know if one batch is the same as another? Are you going to listen to it or are you going to measure a specific performance parameters? If it can be heard, it can be measured. Once everyone agrees with that notion, we can start arguing over which parameters are most important to musical enjoyment and whether specific distortions actually enhance our musical pleasure. That's really the debate.

Furthermore, once everyone agrees that product performance can be measured, you'll see many products, which are based on pseudo science magically disappear.

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You know, I hadn't thought of those WTF's as surprise. I kind of thought of them as a "call to Ethan" about the topic!

Thinking back to the trials, it just felt like a good time to get feedback from a good 'food source' of audiophiles!

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Quote:
I said that if there are people who don't feel inclined to take my word when I review a product, then those people shouldn't read my reviews. It would be a waste of their time."

The Dudley column brings up the question of why anyone willingly wastes their time on a forum dedicated (I think) to celebrating the extreme diversity made possible in audio by inventive and intelligent enthusiasts when that person has built their persona on denying in the extreme that same diversity and inventiveness.


Quote:
Class A doesn't sound any better than more practical designs ...

What is that person getting out of the experience? What do they expect will happen when they are on such a forum?

This becomes a case of the factory pig farmer on the all vegan animal rights forum.

Jan Vigne
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Joined: Mar 18 2006 - 12:57pm
Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at


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You know, I hadn't thought of those WTF's as surprise. I kind of thought of them as a "call to Ethan" about the topic!

That one's too easy. I think I'll just step around that one.

RGibran
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Joined: Oct 11 2005 - 5:50pm
Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at


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Like you, I am against censorship,
Buddha
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Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at


Quote:

Quote:
I said that if there are people who don't feel inclined to take my word when I review a product, then those people shouldn't read my reviews. It would be a waste of their time."

The Dudley column brings up the question of why anyone willingly wastes their time on a forum dedicated (I think) to celebrating the extreme diversity made possible in audio by inventive and intelligent enthusiasts when that person has built their persona on denying in the extreme that same diversity and inventiveness.


Quote:
Class A doesn't sound any better than more practical designs ...

What is that person getting out of the experience? What do they expect will happen when they are on such a forum?

This becomes a case of the factory pig farmer on the all vegan animal rights forum.

Ethan just has a different opinion about the best way to help people most enjoy their hobby, and wants to share...and share in the same manner...over...and over...and over...and over...

If he's our main 'leveller,' then great. Look back at Art's AWSI and recall that sharpeners and levellers may have the same sensory experience, and that sharpeners may really just be exagerators, reporting something as being greater than it really is. So, we need both ends of the spectrum for equilibrium.

Ethan has it down pat - he insists on DBT's or measurements before he will alter an opinion; yet when we point out differences in measurement he says they can't be heard, and when we ask him about DBT's, he says he won't do any because he already knows what the result will be. Ethan can't lose! (Much like some 'radical' subjectivists - if you don't hear what they hear, it's because of their superior hearing abilities - they can't lose either.)

smejias
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Joined: Aug 25 2005 - 10:29am
Re: Well, this should be non-controversial: Cable experiment at


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Quote:
Like you, I am against censorship,

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