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CECE
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Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/magic wires

At most live venues, key is to have RELIABLE good sounding equipment, cables that work, hold up to stress and abuse. Yet when "audiophiles" need wires, they somehow need some bizzare concepts, and some kind of nonsense to reproduce the music that was originally done with just heavy duty, reliable, strong, walked on, not lifted off the floor, since I guess the floor in a studio or live venus has different attributes than an "audiophiles" listening area. How come the "audiophiles" floor needs wires lifted off it, while real musicans, and sound people just let it hang.? so who is more credible? Same goes for pro electronics, versus "audiophile" electronics, with all kinds of magic isolators, insulations, magic outlets, etc.

nrchy
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

I read a comment once about a gentleman who opened his mouth every once in a while to exchange feet.

dud, you are simply wrong. As I already wrote in the comments you ignored while going on with your unfounded rant, pro musicians are avid tweakers. I was told this by a real live musician who does play with cords, and roll tubes, because he wants his Marshall amp and fender guitar to sound great, not just give great sound.

I have not seen anyone/anything so willing to ignore the facts since Capernicus fought with the church. They were both wrong, you, dud are the center of the universe.

CECE
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Musicans I know that play professionaly have used the same tubes in their amps for over 2 years!!! Even they are amazed how long they last. Been using teh same guitar cord for years, same with the mic cords etc. They ain't a bunch of whackos chasing electrons jumping from strand to strand. They do have a pro ear, they do know differetn speakers sound different with differetn guitars, yet RELIABLE quality sound if in the forefront, not chasing mystical nonsense. They don't life cords off the floor with magic lifts, no do they pay $1000 for a useless 3 feet of wire. No do they hear a difference in which outlet they plug into at the show...they want an outlet that won't overload and shut down on em. They don't freeze their wires, or ext cables. The term "audiophile"' denotes more of a flake than knowing anything about proper audio ...

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Did he replace his Marshall amp line cord with some magic wire? Did he pay $2,000 for a piece of line cord? Don't think so....did he check the insulation type in teh internal wiring of teh amp, to see if it was "teh proper type for good sound, you know PVC sounds different than PTFE, according to some....hmmmm, when ya engage teh fuzz box, or use a Leslie, which cord should I use ? does one insulation make the fuzz better, does teh Leslie need bi furcated cyro treated magic wire? Hmmm, I don't think to...and I looked in my Marshall amp head, my Marshall JMP-1 pre, my many many Haflr guitar amps G300, G150 T3, T2 Razor preamps, no magic wires in there, no magic AC lines....Damn, the Marshall don't even have audio grade line cords!! Now come on, I guess they need tweaking

JoeE SP9
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

You don't like audiophiles. What are you doing on an audiophile site? Your one brand monomaniacal refusal to believe anything sounds different, narrow musical taste and know everything attitude are just plain wrong. People here believe the exact opposite of you. Have you ever read Stereophile? Try reading some of JA's editorials. That different things sound different is the bedrock of the magazine. Maybe you should check out Audioholics. The majority of posters there believe all things sound the same. You will have plenty of like thinkers for you to sell AVA gear.

It has been my observation that "professional" musicians tend to have the worst midfi sytems in captivity. They make music, not listen to it. I know quite a few. I work on their tube amps. Some just want them fixed. Others ask for changes by describing what they want soundwise. A very few also have decent rigs. Those are the ones who hear the same things we audiophiles hear.

CECE
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

One brand, homie don't think so. VanAlstine/Hafler/BenchMark, MagnumDynaLab/Philips/Rane/VPILegacyAudioResearchCreek/Shure/Stanton/Sumiko/Tascam/HHB I thinks I have a littel experience, not in just one brand.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Remove "one brand monomaniacal" from my post. Any questions?

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Hi, Joe -- howsabout "multibrand stereomaniacal"? Hey. I think I just made up a word. DUP's a stereomanic if he thinks "prosound people" (I'm not sure how he would limit that term...is a hooker who bounces to bop a "prosound person"? She's certainly a pro...) are "credible" when it comes to recommending home gear for music lovers. I'll assume he means performers who stage pop concerts, who have to cart their gear around, throw it off the truck and onto the stage, then check the mikes for feedback. These are the LEAST credible. The prime test for reviewing a "prosound people" product would be to measure how high it bounced after a 2 story drop. Do the voice coils melt at 130 db? No? Definitely Class "A." Can you say, "Cerwin-Vega," the ultimate in easy listening? Now, I understand that a few of these people are quite discriminating when it comes to sound quality, but even these few couldn't care less about "credibilty" in recommending gear for the ears of others -- they have a "sound" in mind, distorted or not, and will boost, cut, or outright butcher any frequency band in the spectrum to get that "sound," regardless of how a listener might perceive it. And these are the discriminating ones! A vast majority among them fried their cochlea and busted their eardrums long ago! DUP has taken a few too many hits to the inner ear, stood too close to the air-raid siren, beta-tested too many 105 Howitzers, to recommend anything for MY living room. Happy tunes, anyway...different hits for different twits, eh? Clifton

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

SLS, www.slsloudspeakers.com pro used in studios and live venues. And in homes. Now if I get this straight. pro sound guys, and I include studio pros, don't ahve the ability to recomend what you use to listen to stuff they created, BUT "audiophile" nuts with experiences of hearing teh sound of a wall outlet, and the effects of freezing a piece of metal are the credible ones to get advice from, who is the nutty one the one who takes that advice or the one who gives it? Only way I have seen pro stuff get frozen is in teh truck when it was being transported, and hauled up to an open air stage. Hmmm, do you think "audiophile" live freezing is yet another TWEAK? When music is created by for examp;le a Marshall amp, recorded and then reproduced in your home, in your home you need wire lifts, magic cable with magic powers of electron jumping repelant, and frozen outlets, BUT when they created teh sounds, they used just good old exptensions , wires that are robust, and the wires touched teh floors, maybe even teh evil carpet material, which I understand is a problem in the world of "audiophila" something bout' it distracts or distorts a certain electron, maybe teh ones that are slowed down by the wire having teh wrong type magic blend insulation? Why if you create with normal stuff, do you need all these whacky treatments to reproduce it? And do teh electrons know, what time it is? Producing or reproducing, and thusly it knows when to strand jumps or not.

commsysman
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

One thing pro sound people definitely get right is that EVERY interconnect is a balanced interconnect (mikes, pickups, amps, whatever); and it makes little difference whether it is 20 or 30 feet or long 3 feet long.
I never used a properly assembled balanced interconnect that wasn't perfect.
Unbalanced is a crapshoot because the ground shield is also
a signal wire, and that IS a crapshoot; very easy to get problems with unbalanced cables (especially when the two connected pieces of equipment have different internal ground schemes).
I know for a fact that unbalanced cables can make a big difference in sound IN MANY CASES, but I have NEVER heard any BALANCED connection sound less than perfect.
I can fabricate a balanced cable in 15 minutes and defy anyone to hear it sounding any different than some high-priced "audiophile" balanced cable.
In pro audio and also in industrial instrumentation any engineer would be horrified by the concept of an unbalanced cable; just ASKING for bad noise, hum, and RF pickup trouble, which can mask and corrupt signals!
So, then, why does ANY "audiophile" equipment have unbalanced outputs or inputs??? It sure as hell shouldn't!!!
IT IS INCREDIBLY STUPID FOR ANY EQUIPMENT THAT CLAIMS TO ASPIRE TO HIGH SOUND QUALITY TO GO WITH THE INHERENTLY FLAWED SYSTEM OF UNBALANCED INTERCONNECTS.!!!! JUST BECAUSE THEY can WORK WELL SOME OF THE TIME WITH SOME COMBINATIONS OF EQUIPMENT AND WITH THE RIGHT CABLE DOES NOT CHANGE THE FACT THAT FROM AN ENGINEERING STANDPOINT IT ABSOLUTELY SUCKS!!!!
I call on audiophiles to DEMAND equipment with balanced output and inputs across the board; boycott anything that doesn't, and you will take one huge variable out of the equation when assembling a high-quality sound system. And it is also time for the audiophile press to quit pussy-footing around this issue and educate the public about the second-rate flawed nature of unbalanced interconnects. Of course they will stop getting ads for cables in the magazines, because cables will become a total non-issue once everything goes balanced; a little downside there.
SO, AUDIOPHILES, ARISE AND REJECT UNBALANCED EQUIPMENT!!!!

Monty
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

I've read reviews where the reviewer actually preferred the unbalanced connections over the balanced ones. Conrad Johnson is notorious for preferring unbalanced connections in their equipment.

I've not compared any gear that offered both and have no opinion one way or another, but there does seem to exist a difference in opinion by well respected audio folk.

CECE
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Right from the dude himself, lower MEASURED DISTORTION ya know teh amp will SOUND better. gee, he knew this in 1965!! How come the 21st century "audiophiles" don't get it? http://www.stereophile.com/historical/565may/

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Best post in a long time, and actually makes SENSE, I agree. Balanced is the way to go. I use some balanced items, then to interface them into the stuff that ain't it needs to go through a RANE Balance Buddy. Great stuff. Now you will of course tell me, you are negating teh purpose of having balanced by then going back to unbalanced. Yup. but soem products don't have all balanced, teh RANE DQ60 L does, so I needed Balance buddy from RANE in order to make them work together. Balanced takes all teh "magic" out of cables. I use www.procosound.com differetn price levels for different levels of mostly physical strength, pro use abuse, live work etc, I went middle of the road, since no one is walking on the stuff once they are installed, the HHD and Tascam CD units are Balanced as is the Audio Research Balanced Line driver switcher.

CECE
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Get the book from RANE All about sound systems, and what matters, www.RANE.com. It's not filled with "audiophile" jibberish, but all aspects from a pro point of view, very very informative. For example, how audiophile magazines advertise active crossover prodcuts, well if you ain't doing live sound or sound in a LARGE LARGE room, where there are numerous speaker cabinets, all in differetn acouctic envirorments, as in a large LIVE event, active crossovers is not needed when your speakers are 10 feet apart. In a 20X 20 room. The audiophile push for electronic crossover, is just push stuff to sell, it's useless at home setups. Bi-Amping using teh internal crossovers is just fine..Quad amping is even better. 2 mono per side, makes it ALIVE!!! 2100W each side.

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

This is the bible to learn from. Not magazine ads. http://www.rane.com/ranestore.html Why don't Streophile try to get RANE to advertise? they make some great stuff, suitable for home use, with pro quality and designs..the stuff is terrific. The DQ60 L is great

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Conrad-Johnson, in my opinion, has never made any serious attempt to produce anything but products that seriously "color" the sound of music rather than reproduce it accurately. I know a lot of audiophiles who do not even consider Conrad-Johnson a true audiophile product for just that reason. Since their designs seem to avoid accuracy and low distortion, it is not surprising that they also avoid balanced operation.

Monty
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

I don't think anyone would disagree that balanced connections offer the opportunity for superior shielding and rejection of extranious noise. The problems seem to arise from converting from balanced to unbalanced numerous times between the components and the additional circuitry that this imposes on the signal.

I don't know what Lew Johnson's major concern is in having balanced designs, but there is clearly as much opportunity to degrade the signal as there is to maintain it.

Perhaps his thoughts are to spend more on other areas that improve the sound while maintaining his price parameters?

A cost no object design would more likely employ balanced circuitry and have a harder time defending not using it. When deciding what areas to spend the money on a cost is important design, everybody seems to have their own ideas as to what is most important. This is where the majority of audiophiles live.

I think manufacturers that intend for their products to be partnered solely with their other products could take advantage of employing balanced designs so as to avoid unnecessary transfers between unbalanced and balanced signal delivery. This would avoid the potential problems of phase inversions between the components and speakers.

In the end, if I were to decide to offer an amplifier at a price point of $1000, would I spend money on a balanced design, better caps, wiring, binding posts, chasis design and damping, power supplies, extruded heat sinks, chrome, point to point terminations...etc, etc?

Condemning a company like CJ for their engineering designs because of colorations is a bit stiff considering everyone compromises and colors their gear based on price points.

nrchy
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

I run a balanced 4m pair of Purist Dominus between my pre-amp and amplifier. I just took a balanced pair of Virtual Dynamics Revelation off of my phono stage and replaced it with a pair of Purist Venustus RCA because the RCAs sound better.

It seems to me that if equipment isn't built balanced, there is little benefit to running balanced cables, but I could be wrong about that.

gkc
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Hi, Monty,
Yes. You are absolutely correct. All sound reproduction equipment colors the sound. Period. Different folks prefer different colorations, and most of us try to minimize them, but there is no one perfect approach and certainly no uncolored component. Balanced connections help with noise rejection, but such help may not be needed in well designed electronics that use short runs of wire. There is nothing inherently superior in balanced connections UNLESS YOU CAN HEAR IT. I have heard CJ gear that sounds as close to live as you can get, and I have heard CJ gear that sounds colored. DUP appears to equate "live" with "present on the stage." Not so. Any live event that pipes sound through microphones, cables, and speakers (especially PA speakers), and EQUALIZES it for special effects, is NOT "live." There may be live people doing strange calisthenics in front of you, lights may be flashin' on and off, and they may be whackin' various sound-producing boxes and strings, but the SOUND ain't "live." I, too, enjoy these concerts, but I'm damned if I want to LIMIT my home music equipment to reproducing electronically-enhanced (or degraded, depending on who's doin' the whackin' and the equalizing) sound. The basis for neutrality is the acoustic, unamplified event. If your equipment adds electronic equalization and/or distortion to software that has already been equalized and distorted at its source, you may or may not enjoy the result, but any sense of neutrality is lost. DUP's assumption that "professional" distorters are the last word in judging system neutrality, just because they know how to string wire and bias tubes, flies in the face of logic AND musical enjoyment. If you love rock, then near-neutral components will reproduce it better than badly colored ones, even if the original performance was canned (and thus colored) at the source. Adding distortion to distortion can only make the sound worse, unless you get lucky with some cancellations. I disagree with Commsysman's dictum that balanced connections are the only way to system neutrality. I've heard too many balanced designs that sound MORE colored than SOME well-designed single-ended designs. It all boils down to the competence of the designer, not the choice of a design approach, and there will always be more than one way to get the job done in this VERY subjective pursuit. And, Monty is correct -- balanced designs cost more to implement than single-ended ones. Happy tunes, all! Clifton

CECE
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

I forgot to log in for them previously

CECE
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

You realize when they call it METERS and not FEETS, they charge more? That's "audiophile" marketing school 103b. I use some 10FT, 6FT,3FT runs of XLR (do you know what that denotes)?, www.procosound.com Of course they don't have that model label Distinctus Mostest Expensivus MKIIa. BUt it do have Nuetrik plugs at the ends. Which are in fact not loaded up with magic materials, just high end, high quality stuffus. Buy your wire labeled feets, it'll save you money from the overcharging marketeers.

commsysman
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

There are 1000 ways to make any system sound bad; and a lot of them sure do.
That does not change the fact that unbalanced connections are inherently second-rate, and can cause problems that make it harder to assemble a good-sounding system.
In a situation where someone claims that an unbalanced connection sounds better than a balanced connection, I will bet you that we are talking about about a piece of equipment that was designed from the ground up as unbalanced, and the balanced connections were an engineering afterthought. In that case, the balanced circuits in the equipment may have inferior parts or circuit elements used; I have certainly seen this.
Balanced connections are no guarantee that the equipment is truly a balanced design, or that it is worth a damn at all;
but unbalanced designs still have a second-rate, problematical connection to deal with, no matter how good the internal circuitry may be.
That is why a whole snake-oil industry exists to manufacture expensive unbalanced cables; I constantly read reviews where the total cost of the unbalanced interconnects being used has to be at least several thousand dollars (the reviewers get them all free, of course...but we have to pay...). The only reason for this is because the unbalanced connection is inherently flawed, so you have to resort to these ridiculously expensive "band-aids" to try and work around the inherent problem.
I will bet that reviewers would take a whole new attitude toward cables and this whole issue if Stereophile and other high-end magazines only allowed reviewers to use and/or recommend a cable if they personally PAY FULL PRICE for it; let's see how glibly they recommend thousand-dollar cables when THEY have to make the decision that the cable is good enough to warrant the expenditure from THEIR wallet!!
You can take standard XLR connectors and standard AES/EBU cable (inexpensive) and build balanced cables all day, any length you want, and you will never have anything but perfect signal transfer if you can solder; the cable companies DO make some expensive balanced "super-duper" cables, but I have never seen anyone bother to buy them; the only ones using them are the reviewers who get them free. Any balanced cable works perfectly; but the circuitry driving them certainly does not have to be properly designed; no guarantee of that.
In general, though, if equipment is designed around balanced connections and the circuitry is also inherently balanced , designers have historically generally done a good job. Reviewers can certainly identify those products that are true balanced DESIGNS (or not) when they do a review, and readers can take note. Until the industry gets their act together, you will still probably have some equipment in your system that is unbalanced, and not be able to go fully balanced at all points. But personally, I live for the day that every unbalanced connection is OUT of MY system!
Every audiophile should encourage balanced designs with their wallet; when manufacturers find that audiophiles will no longer pay high prices for unbalanced designs, we will save millions of dollars per year on cables, and the money saved can pay for that equipment that is better-designed from the ground up! Put the money into well-designed equpiment, not into ridiculous overpriced cable designs, and the whole industry and the consumers will be far better-off (except, of course, for the cable companies who profit from the present muddle with their pseudo-scientific claims and snake-oil approach to the issues)!!!

Monty
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

I found an old Stereophile article digging through 'Phile's reference section that addresses this very discussion we are having. Great reading!

CECE
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Less noise, Balanced is better. Electrically it just starts out better in teh design. Lower noise, is always better. Ain't audiophiles buying AC magic outlets and conditioners to eliminate noise and AC artifacts? Balanced connections eliminate noise in teh signal lines and ckts. Balanced ckts are a proven design parameter, magic wires with special insulation of teh month is not. I've read claims that people can hear the difference between PVC and PTFE wire insulation. Teh balanced advanatge is audible an dmeasurable, not much along those lines can be said about magic wires, with special insulation and twists.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Just what is a balanced circuit? Inquiring minds want to know.

CECE
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/
Buddha
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

An appeal to "the pros"???

Dup, if you've listened to anything with a wider frequency response than a Peavey guitar amp or a generic stage monitor, you should know that a huge percentage of what the "pros" are foisting on us audiophiles is most often a crap sandwich of compression and bass boost.

I hear more crappy recordings made by "pros" than I hear crappy reproduction on people's home gear.

You've said the same on another post, about your home gear sounding "better than live", then you stroll into this thread and talk about how the "pros" are the ones to be trusted?

The "pros" are the ones who are only interested in a 5 dB dynamic range.

The "pros" are the ones WITHOUT AVA 1200 watts, times two, per channel, yet you appeal to their expertise as they mix on speakers that aren't Whispers.

You then proceed to tell me that they know wire better than anyone. So, when what they do fits your belief system, they are geniuses of practicality with discerning ears, but when they don't, all they are doing is acting as purveyors of sonic smear.

You should have a bright future in red state politics.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

I know exactly what it is. I was just wondering if you could describe one yourself. I guess not. Can you say differential amp?

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Yo, Buddha..."Pro," as in prophylactic, for the prevention of the transmission of sensuously-transmitted subtleties of the sound originally miked at an acoustic event. Known to mask all overtones of the composer's original vision of ensemble complexity and coherence with a whanging, 50 db peak in the 5-8 Khz band, and thus obliterate any possibility for the listener to recognize the composer's intimate contact with his wide-band muse. Recommended for the hearing-impaired. Note: 1200 watts, over a minimum of 30 minutes of uninterrupted pain, may be required to realize the full benefits of this "PRO-CERTIFIED" PRO-duct. Consult your otologist before trying. Rock on. Clifton

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

In a balanced connection, there are two wires carrying the signal current to the destination device (load); neither of these wires is at a fixed electrical potential (ground).
Any noise or interference picked up is picked up equally by both wires (common-mode noise), so there is no Difference at the load to be picked up and amplified; the noise or interference present is equal and in the same phase on both wires so it is invisible to the receiving circuit(load). Only the unmodified signal is picked up and processed at the receiving end; essentailly noise-free.
A third wire normally is used as a grounded Shield to further protect the two wires from any possibility of interference, and it has no current through it; it carries no signal.
In most unbalanced cables, the outer shield normally is one of the two wires carrying the signal current; it is not connected to a true ground, only to the "circuit ground" of the sending circuit and the reciving circuit (load). There is always a "grounded" or "low" side and a "hot" or signal wire; both carrying signal current.
In an unbalanced circuit, the "low side " conductor can ONLY be TRULY grounded at one end (and that is seldom done), since TRULY grounding both ends would "short" the "low side" wire and no potential would exist to produce signal current in that leg of the circuit and the signal would be totally shorted out in that leg; no signal. Since the shield is therefore a sort of "floating ground" in all unbalanced circuits to allow the signal current to flow in it, the signal current is almost always corrupted to a significant degree by various spurious sources.
One approach that can help some is to build an unbalanced cable with two wires surrounded by a shield which is only grounded at the load or receiving end and NOT connected at the source or sending end. This does not eliminate the fundamental problem of the two WIRES being an unbalanced connection, but it makes the shield much more effective and interference pickup can be somewhat reduced compared to a simple coaxial cable (cables of this type, such as the Audioquest Diamondback etc. etc. must be labeled directionally with arrows, since the shield is always grounded at only the terminating end or "load").
Allegations that "high purity copper" or silver conductors significantly improve signal transmission or that capacitance or inductance in audio cables are significant issues are absolutely ludicrous, and evade the truly significant issues; anyone can do the math and find that these claims are silly to the extreme (except in certain specific extreme cases involving cables over 3 meters in length and unusual load parameters). Anyone who promotes a cable on one of these bases is either very ignorant themself, or more likely just totally dishonest and willing to use any pretext to justify the 1000% markup on the product they are selling (one exception must be noted; when a cable is directly connected to a phono cartridge, capacitance IS an issue). Silver and "high purity copper" are absolute "snake oil" and will tell you who is full of crap if they are making claims for it!
Any interference picked up from radio frequency sources or spurious oscillations can appear on the shield of ordinary coaxial cables (98% of the unbalanced cables on the market) along with the AC signal current, and can audibly interfere (hum and noise) or more subtly interfere by masking it due to large inaudible signals which "swamp" the signal and distort it in more subtle but equally harmful ways.
This is why you will never see unbalanced connections used in commercial or industrial applications or in a recording studio; the signal is invariably corrupted by interference.
The only reason that unbalanced connections have been used for so many years in home audio is because the signal voltage is usually large enough relative to the noise that is picked up that you do not hear the degradation that occurs to a great degree in the "average (cheap)" home system.
In high quality systems, however, that "good enough, probably, most of the time" philosophy becomes bankrupt.
Unbalanced connections ARE NOT good enough to do the job, because the listener has become more critical, and the reproduction equipment has become more revealing.
Balanced connections are now required if the signal is to be adequately preserved and protected from degradation.
Unbalanced isn't "good enough" for this level of reproduction.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Hi commsysman,
That question was not for you. The one it was aimed at is very quiet.
I became interested in balanced connections because most medical electronics use differential opamps for the input stages of most monitors. The self cancelling noise feature of all differential amps piqued my interest in audio applications of this kind of noise cancelling front end. Differential inputs require a balanced signal to function properly. The term CMRR [common mode rejection ratio] is a figure used to express the amount of cancelling of noise common to both lines with reference to no signal.

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Oh...I see.

Yes, Common-Mode Rejection Ratio was one of the calculations my electronics students did every semester in the lab when they were working with op-amps (and on exams). I am a Retired electronics professor now, however...very lazy and slothful...lots of time to read, listen to good music and golf, heh-heh (and no more #*&@*%^**#%administrators to interfere with the transfer of knowledge).

And actually, one could say that all balanced amplifier circuits are essentially differential amplifiers or, in a loose sense, operational amplifiers (although the original idea of having an "op-amp" was to have a building-block kind of circuit, in analog computers, where the open-loop gain and/or bandwidth approached "infinity" and the external feedback loop components reduced gain and response to the desired values for modeling of a given real-world system to be simulated; the original Beckman analog computers I worked on at Douglas Aircraft used huge vacuum-tube op-amps to model the response and resonance of various aircraft controls and structures. Man, were they high-maintenance.).

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/


Quote:
the original idea of having an "op-amp" was to have a building-block kind of circuit, in analog computers, where the open-loop gain and/or bandwidth approached "infinity" ...

The first op-amp chip I ever built a circuit around was a 709 back in 1971, where the concept of "infinite" open-loop gain was one heck of a stretch!

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Balanced ckts are better, broadcast, studios, live stuff. Actually the poor sound is NOT the equipment but teh muted ears of teh guy running teh board. I have mentioned to the guy behind teh massive board, WHY is teh bass all 80Hz, BOOM, there is no detail, teh BASS BOOM is oblierating teh vocals and guitar details...to which teh genius replys, oh, it's supposed to be like that. The equipment can be teh best there is, mal adjusted sounds like crap. Reliable is extremely necessary, they couldn't survive with idiosyncratic "audiophile" fragile BS stuff. The stuff is used everyday in a harch enviorment, it better work, or teh audience goes home, guess what, they can't get paid...Crown, QSC, EAX, SLS, no magic 3 watt amps that cost $20,000 unuseable. My system does sound better than most live venues, it's properly set up, lotsa watts to make it LIVE....I also know that these speakers ain't designed for the abuse pro models endure in everyday use, the Whispers would be destroyed. the electronics would survive they are based on Hafler PRO models rebuilt by VanAlstine, OmegaStar EX ckts Ultra Hybrid ckts 4200W total 2 Pro 500 at 1200ea and two DH500 at around 900 each. Matter of fact, it's time to go get my dose of LIVE guitar wailing for teh night, gots to go. It's LIVE!!!! It's BALANCED hookups. With cords that get walked on, no cable lifts to keep them off the floor nonsense.

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

You must listen full vol on a clock radio? Now THAT's REAL. can't move air like a LIVE event without WATTS and Drivers to move teh air. When a bass drum sounds like a bass drum, while teh cymbals sparkle and shimmer while the guitar bends them strings, like SRV, it's in need of WATTS and Drivers...try it on a real system one day. you'll be impressed. I know i am!!!! 3db double teh level takes 10X the power..always rember, ya wants live uncompressed music, WATTS it is. Into superior drivers like Legacy WHISPER

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

DUP,
When are you going let it sink in that many of us HAVE heard your precious Whispers? If I had LIKED them, I would have BOUGHT them. Got it? Actually, I thought the Focus was a better, more balanced sound, for less than half the price. More music got out of the box. The Whispers sounded a bit muted and boomy, and did not "disappear" into the soundstage. Channel "A" stayed in the left speaker and Channel "B" stayed in the right speaker. There was decent enough center fill with soloists occupying center stage, but neither the Whisper nor the Focus left the illusion of wall-to-wall, speakerless sound that I crave. I also tried a Van Alstine preamp...their most expensive model (around 2 grand). It was okay. But it wasn't as transparent or neutral as the Adcom GPF-750 I had in my system at the time. You should consider a cease-fire: stop trying to sell everyone YOUR system and just listen to it yourself -- again, if I WANTED your system I would have BOUGHT one identical to it long ago. I don't and I didn't. Okay? I know it is, somehow, very important to you that everyone out here praise your gear and congratulate you on your wonderful taste. But it's not going to happen, if it hasn't happened by now. We all have our individual reasons for putting together the systems we currently enjoy. I will communicate my reasons enthusiastically, because I am excited about the way it plays music. But it doesn't bother me a whit when someone else out there says he or she prefers, say, Quads, Dynaudios, or Sonus Fabers -- or, yes, Legacy Whispers -- to my setup. It shouldn't bother YOU that no one wants YOUR system. Yet you persist. I wish I could recommend a good shrink, to help you resolve these insecurity issues, but I don't know anyone who specializes in frustrated head-bangers with megawatt obsessions. Hell, any shrink who's worth his salt would declare us ALL beyond hope. But, you never know, the way medical science keeps pushing the boundaries. Maybe the Yellow Pages? You need help, man. We're all pulling for you to get through this crisis and get on with your life. Happy tunes, Clifton.

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Lotsa WATTS don't mean shredder guitar playing, neither does it mean head bangers...You have a mis conception about what a soudn system is. I had teh FOSUCS, teh WHISPERS are far better imaging, mid range clarity etc. If you thought teh Focus was good how can you think the Whispers is boomy, IMPOSSIBLE. Whispers are designed not to boom, Focus had a tendency to be bass heavy especially if they have to be in the corners. I controlled room boom with teh RANE...The Whispers have their own Low frequency damping control. Ain't no boom. you ain't heard VanAlstine Hybrid Ultra EC, Adcoms aren't in teh same leauge. Whatever.

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/


Quote:
You should consider a cease-fire: stop trying to sell everyone YOUR system and just listen to it yourself...

An excellent post, Clifton. DUP's postings raise the question as to when justifiable pride in one's own system, driven by the need for external validation, cross the line dividing that behavior from blatant shilling for the brands and products involved. :-(

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Yup, I am now subscribing to " Physcology Today", not StereoPhile, to figure out my disorders, my need for validation,fear of magic wires, mystical wood blocks phobias....and anxiety attacks. I have a new disorder for the physcologists to figure out....Wood Block Syndrome. Makes me mental. I keep muttering to myself, how can this be....how can this be?....how can this be....people really go along with this? people really go along with this...? Great issue May is, got a lot of chuckles, di dI mention i have been a StereoPhile reader subscriber since teh days of G daddy Holt, matter of' fact he used to review stuff mortals could get, Dyna, Haflers,AR,Then started pushing the range into Audio Research, etc...didn't have many magic blaocks back then...Mushc bettter ads now adays, colorful, creative, and teh new ads each month have another breakthrough in magic wire, cores, insulations,space/strand jumpers...every month is an amazing cornucopia of amazing breaktrhoughs, latest 72V AudioQuest is fantastic!!! I guess 36Volt will now be at HCM for 80% off list, for a real deal indeed. July issue should have the 120V ones available. Keep up the great work. I need a $120,000 turntable review, surely the $90,000 one is obsolete by now.

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

After all this verbage, I have concluded yes, the "pro" aspect of audio has much more credibility. Less BS, less magic incantations, less bending of the laws of physics, less twisted engineering logic, less if not any utter nonsense. Ain't seen any magic wood blocks advertised or reviewed in many pro audio publications. Great sound, reliable, usually built to a standard to be compatible with other products, ie. rack mount, blanced connections. Pro audio, less BS, more actual electrical/acoustics engineering. I have not seen a pro version of a MAPINGO Disc, yet......StereoPhile please get a Tascam HD-P2 review going, incredible under $1000 street. It didn't have any magic blocks under it at a recent live venue the guy was recording, slick unit. Let's have StereoPhile join the world of REALITY, and review stuff of usefulness, not $90,000 TT. Or $75,000 amps that DON'T meet SPEC!!! Then written off with, what's a missing 500 watts, when it already gives ya 500W. DUH!!! Credible? Hmmmmm, as soon as that faulty product didn't meet specs, it should have been returned and given a big negative review, not covered up, with glowing verbage. credibilty lacks in consumer auido worlds.

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Re: The Martin Colloms article on unbalanced vs. balanced

Martin Colloms article which you reference is certainly informative on the basics of balanced operation vs. unbalanced.
It seems to me, though, that he gets a bit vague and contradictory as the article proceeds; a little unsure just where he is going with the article, and gets on some tangential issues perhaps, with no real resolution of some major issues.
On one hand, he acknowleges the technical superiority of balanced operation, but then he makes statements where he is complaining that some balanced equipment is not really fully balanced circuitwise so that is a problem (obviously it IS then compromised precisely because it is partly UNBALANCED...but how is that a valid criticism of TRULY balanced equipment designs???).
Also, he makes some very vague statements about "balanced equipment" (he is very general here) not sounding as focused or dynamic or whatever as unbalanced equipment; I think he perhaps should have been more specific if he had examples to cite, but it is mostly generalizing if I read it correctly.
That is the opposite of my experience, but that's just what I hear when I listen.
Then he gets off onto the neccesity to mix unbalanced equipment with balanced equipment and how that causes problems for him as a reviewer; I would answer that this is hardly an argument one way or the other for either system; just a problem that occurs because you have two competing systems with some compatibility problems (if everything was balanced in a system, no problem, huh?).
Isn't that kind of like complaining that your new high-performance tires are not very good because they don't properly fit the wheels that are not wide enough that you are stuck with?
My feeling is that you can work around the disadvantages and technical inferiority of unbalanced connections to finally get the sound you desire, in most cases, but you are coming at it the hard way.
When I used to be involved in SCCA sports car racing, there were basically two types of cars out there; ones that were designed from the ground up as race cars, where all components were no-compromise designs in terms of materials and quality, and then there were the production cars that had to constantly be massaged, tweaked, repaired incessantly, and were just generally compromised from the word go by inferior components and design. Obviously the true race cars cost more to start with, but some of the cheaper cars cost about as much by the time you upgraded and maintained them to racing standards.
Sometimes the production cars could win; but you had to work a lot harder to get that performance out of them because they were doing a job they were not originally designed for and had to be tweaked and upgraded incessantly.
That is how I see high-end audio right now.
On one hand, you have balanced equipment, which is slightly more expensive to make, but is far better for the high-performance needs in high-end and studio audio systems and needs no tweaks to give superior performance...and then on the other hand you have unbalanced equipment, which is technically compromised but if you spend lots of money on special cables, power conditioners and other tweaks of all sorts to try and sort out the ground-loop issues, maybe you can get this stuff to sound as good. Is that really the way to go?
The manufacturers who produce unbalanced designs make a cheaper product, which seems like a better deal, but it is really incomplete; it needs more money spent on expensive cables and power conditioners to make it work to your needs and requirements. Do you come out ahead?
It seems to me that all the money spent on cables and other tweaks to get unbalanced gear to sound good (maybe), would be better spent at the design and production end to make all high-end equipment balanced to start with. Don't need no stinking special cables and tweaks then, senor.
They equipment will be more expensive because of its balanced circuitry, but I bet you save that much by not having to tweak and massage it; or is that taking all the fun out of it, if you don't have to bang your head aginst the wall till you get it tweaked, hehe?

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THE OP-AMP

I was referring to the CONCEPT of an op-amp, where the ideal op-amp has infinite gain and bandwidth. In realty of course, you have typically 3 types of real-world designs:

Instrumentation OP-AMPS usually have very limited bandwidth and are optimized for ultra-low noise and modest open-loop gain.

General-purpose OP-AMPS, which usually have open-loop gain over 100db, but have limited bandwidth and fairly good noise parameters.

RF designs, which of course have maximum bandwidth and limited performance in other respects.

Naturally, there are limitless variations on those themes.

You would have loved those old vacuum-tube op-amps; the graveyard shift techs took all night every night to align them and ajust the bias, change tubes, etc. so the engineers could use them all day. They were about the size of an old Mac mono amp with flanges on the ends for rack-mounting. Our Beckman computer had two rows of racks about 100 feet long. Kept the aircraft hangar warm in the winter though....

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Thanks for clarifying some of the points I was trying to make. I was distracted by some guy playing a pair of Legacy speakers louder than the law allows. I wanted to bring a point of view to his attention but I guess he can't hear anything with all that noise from some "whispers".

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Yo, Monty -- yes, I remember that piece by MC. If I recall correctly, there was quite a bit of debate on this topic (balanced vs. single-ended) during the mid-nineties...even a pro vs. con debate in one issue (I'm just too lazy to go back and find it, although I may try). This has certainly become an interesting thread. We have proceeded from "pro-sound vs audiophile sound," an issue presumably initiated by DUP for the purpose of debunking Stereophile as an authority for rating/reviewing components, through a couple of mildly psychotic episodes of spittle-spewing bluster, to a sort of focus on "balanced" as ONE ASPECT of "pro-sound" that is worth pursuing. The anonymous gentleman who is having a frustrated time getting a good sound-reinforcement system into his church set-up has not gotten much useful advice from US, eh? I certainly defer to the technical arguments in favor of balanced circuits as put forth by JoeE and Commsysman -- they obviously know a lot more about amplifier design and how the elves run through the wires than I do. I am assuming that JA, who also has superior technical knowledge, is more or less neutral on the "balanced" issue, even though his Levinson gear is balanced and he probably has to cope with long runs of wire in his recording ventures. In terms of "audiophile vs. pro," as an authority for good sound in the home, you know where I stand. I'm with the anonymous gentleman -- "pro," to me, means practical and portable, and as he mentioned, the priority is to project voices clearly into the back of the hall ("pro" as in "PA") at maximum volume. Not in MY house, but to each his own. DUP wants to make this into a credibility issue (my reading of the subtext), which gets us into the "double blind testing" debate via a different door: audiophiles are selling snake oil, and none of this expensive gear is worth all the fuss and money, and it's up to "science" to save the day (even pseudo-science). The reason I addressed this to Monty, is that I believe he agrees ultimately that one has to go by one's own listening habits and experiences in order to assemble an optimum system. I don't NEED long runs of wire in either of my 2 abodes, and I can't HEAR any difference between well-designed balanced components and well-designed single-ended components. I have tried 'em all. Believe me. There ARE subtle differences among different components in terms of timbre and spatial presentation, but I'm damned if I can correlate and align them within the balanced/single-ended matrix. Some balanced gear sounds too bright or dull, or too spatially constricted, while other balanced gear sounds superb. Ditto single-ended. I'm not interested in the "authority" issue, beyond my sincere admiration for people like JoeE, Commsysman, and JA, all of whom obviously speak with the authority of great learning in this field: I stopped losing money in the markets a LONG time ago, to bring in an analogy, when I stopped blindly following authority and started mapping out my own trading strategies, and I have had a similar experience with musical enjoyment in my home. I rely on Stereophile (and my old roomie, Bob Harley) for organizing a game plan, not for making my final decisions. "Pro" sound hurts my ears, so I avoid it unless the particular designer has "audiophile" credentials in the home entertainment branch of sound reproduction. Why waste time? I put a lot of faith in people like JA (as a respected editor whose objectivity always impresses me) and Harley (as an old friend) because they have never steered me wrong, and they save me time. Most of the mistakes I have made in my own enjoyment, have come when I have been TOO frugal, and have thus wasted money on cheap equipment instead of putting it to better use on "audiophile-recommended" gear. Ten grand well-spent is better than one grand wasted -- hell, the MARKETS have taught me that much. So, with all sincere respect to the technical side of the "balanced/unbalanced" debate, I'll just keep going to concerts (the Brahms 1st Piano Concerto last night, Pierre-Laurent Aimard at the keyboard and David Robertson on the podium -- WOW! if only I could get THAT in my living room), haunting the showrooms, and (sorry DUP) reading Sterophile and Harley (it's okay, Mr. Atkinson, I don't even SCAN the other guys at that "other" mag...) for new ideas. Y'all have a good week in the listening room! Clifton

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

You don't need to know whats under the hood to drive to the supermarket. Some of us do want to know although it won't get us there any faster. It all comes down to one thing. If your ears tell you it's right it most likely is.

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/


Quote:
I am assuming that JA, who also has superior technical knowledge, is more or less neutral on the "balanced" issue, even though his Levinson gear is balanced and he probably has to cope with long runs of wire in his recording ventures.

I appreciate Martin's arguments, but for me balanced is the way to go because it separates the ground connection's role of shielding the "hot" conductors and eliminates the connection's role of providing an actual ground reference. I can't tell you how much pain I go through testing amps with unbalanced connections only, to get the lowest amount of ground-induced noise. Properly configured balanced connections obviate all this kerfuffle!

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

You don't seem to get it. so pro equipment to you is a PA system. OK, you win. that's what it is. Studio system, live venues, broadcast equipment...yupper, it's all PA stuff. www.prosoundnews.com www.proaudioreview.com there is a world out there beyond ads for magic science and frozen,baked,magic wire insulation. "Audiophile", yupper, it's a special place. Pro equipment usually is more robust, even on my Tascam RA-1000 teh button layout is better, connections at the back or numerous....HHB same way. Functionality is better also. If there wasn't a need for stuff that works and works, and does things better, studios, live events, would be using $89 power amps from Ckt City...

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

JA is right on the points of properly engineered balanced connections that can take gear to the next level. Much of this has taken form from the fact that once we demanded grounded AC in the service entrance panel and bonded the neutral to the ground leg, sometimes funny things start happening.

Is this better, yes, but it means that power supply filtering must be very good. Most highend companies do this very well, but how many of you are "cleaning up" the AC before your gear?

When we had to protect cell sites and all the expensive gear in the building at the base of the 190 foot monopole to think that this neutral and ground issue was insignifcant was foolish. The single piece, 90,000 amp MOVs we used were not the "toys" found in your Home Depot $20 surge supressor. Secondary protection, maybe. You drop this 90,000 amp bad boy on the table he makes quite a thud.

What could and would come through the ground leg of the AC could then go to the neutral leg of the AC circuit and then could run the whole AC system. You did not need a direct lightning stike to the tower to cause major problems.

I am sure that with a speaker system with tremendous resolving power (like all the reviewers of Stereophile) the differences between balanced and unbalanced can be discerned. We have managed to listen to remakable single-ended phono and CD playback for decades. It is also why most quality microphones are balanced.

As JA has admitted that noise comes in surprising ways, even when you've done all you can and finally discover the fan in your laptop is the culprit. I know that is not the AC noise, but it is always something when looking to get the most out of any audio system. AC clean up has become quite an industry. Depending upon your system's quality will depend upon how much you agonize over power conditioning.

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

DUP,
I pee on your God, www.prosoundnews.com and his evil consort, www.proaudioreview.com, and their progeny, Whisper, RANE, HYBRIDULTRAEC, 1200Watt, Crown, TASCAM, Omegastar, Teh, and Eax. I pee on them all. My bladder runneth over. May the Truth and the Way Triangle smite them all. May the snot from a thousand camels grease their way to Hell, where the Oasis of their eternal souls turneth to rat piss. Amen. Clifton, Exalted Grand Priest of the One True Way.

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

Hi, JA -- thanks for the correction. Sigh. Now, does this mean I gotta go balanced to optimize how my system SOUNDS? I have tried balanced electronics in my systems before, and I couldn't HEAR anything that got me closer to what I remember from last night's concert -- I have a "line balancer" type power conditioner (the one from CinePro that WP liked so much in his review of a few years back), and I can REALLY hear what it does to improve my system just by unplugging it and using my old Chang "Lightspeed." I have to sit up and listen when both you and Jim (not to mention Commsysman...DUP, I wasn't talkin' to you!) say balanced is best, but your post was still SLIGHTLY ambiguous, in that you were wearing your lab coat and speaking as an equipment tester. My cable runs are quite short (most are 1/2 meter, the longest is 1 meter, and my speaker cables are 8 feet). Happy tunes. Clifton

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Re: Who's more credible? Pro Sound people, or "audiophiles"? w/

The problem in your system is you have wires measured in meters and then speaker wires in feets.....that means theys is incompatiable. When wires are listed in meters in this country, it means they can jack the price, makes em' sound just so important and impressive. How come the U.S rejected going metric on stuff, yet in audio ville, the marketing gurus have decided, metric should allow us to charge absurd prices for wire.

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