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gkc
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Let me see. Audible, useful, and desirable (not desirable). As I said, they bring the sound in my living room closer to what I remember from the concert hall. Period. I know nothing of this "ringing" you describe. I only hear bells when they are on the program. To me, all this makes the Acoustic Lens audible, useful, and desirable. My listening experience centers on the concrete, not on abstract "coulds" and "oughts." Again, if it helps my system get closer to the live experience, I'm on it. If it doesn't, I couldn't care less whether it ought to on principle. I just listen. Everything else is philosophy.

tandy
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Ethan, your previous post concerning comb filtering provides the evidence that blind testing and dbts are inaccurate.

At this point you have completely lost me. Obviously double blind tests are valid and useful, and they are used by legitimate science all the time."

>>Not all the time. And who says they are legitimate? Who says audio, subjective blind testing is "factual"? One cannot take license by overinflating the importance of blind testing when the administrators will not even do so in their conclusions.

You also just cited one example, comb filtering that would render blind testing worthless. If it were legit, then the administrators of the tests would conclude they are "fact". Yet I have not seen one conclusion state it as such. Show me a study that concludes the results are "fact" and NOT "seems to appear", "seems reasonable", "seems to indicate" etc.

I think most have never seen printed studies. I have over the years and have never once seen the conclusions stated as "fact". This may surprise many who have relied on others who claimed to be "informed", or "scientific" and who claim studies prove their positions.

"In this case, the differences between changes due to comb filtering and changes due to real differences in frequency response and distortion etc are sorted out through multiple tests. A proper test is not run just once, but many times."

>>If high distortion and obvious frequency response abnormalities are present in one component vs another, possibly, but that is not a guarantee. But at what point does a difference show up in a blind study? When will comb filtering affect the conclusion? There are also other problems due to the hearing mechanism, both physical and mental, and other mental conditions that contaminate the results. At what "volume" should the test be conducted at etc?

Multiple testing won't solve anything. If the same mechanisms are in play, the results will be identical, wrong. This does not prove anything.
If you mean multiple "back and forths", the same mechanism is in play, plus other problems, so the 50/50 comes into play, again skewing the results.

Certainly blind testing will not show proper results when checking wire, cables, amps with similar FR and distortions measured. When similar distortions and FR are measured, then blind testing is worthless at best and skewed and misleading at worst for the very reason you cited, comb filtering.

"Also, many things transcend the comb filtering. For example, 30 percent distortion, or a steep roll-off above 5 KHz. Those are easily identified, and it doesn't even take a blind test to hear that."

>>That is right, so blind testing is not even necessary. So when is blind testing actually necessary? At what point does comb filtering interfere with the results? How sensitive a test is blind testing, really?

"Other things are less blatant, such as slight ringing at 18 KHz in a D/A converter, so blind testing is a good way to separate truth from fiction in those cases."

>>Well, why blind test when one can hear ringing to begin with? Don't purchase the product if one detects a problem.

Besides, at what point does comb filtering, which could change the amplitude of the ringing, come into play, interfering with the results? One time, "A"s ringing could sound worse than "B" and at another time "B"s ringing could sound louder. Comb filtering can easily change the results. Again, one would be left guessing whether "A" or "B" is ringing most. Blind testing is again worthless.

--Ethan

Scooter123
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Ethan, I suspect that the Acoustic lens doesn't resonate at a specific frequency, it's probably designed to damp out specific frequencies. Like the typical standing wave formed between a floor and ceiling. Of course not all ceilings are the same height so a one size fits all means that they won't work for everyone. However, it is a rather clever idea, I just think they are overcharging a lot for the idea.

gkc
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

"I suspect...", "...it's probably designed...", "I think..." There is an awful lot of conjecturing going on here, when (apparently) nobody has even bothered to listed to the things. Just listen. If it helps your system enough to justify a piece of your budget, then buy it. If not, send it back for a refund -- I bought mine from the Cable Company, and I can assure you that your money will be cheerfully refunded on any purchase that dissatisfies you. Then you won't have too stumble around in the dark, blindly conjecturing about what it might be, or might do, or might not do, or about how it works. As I said, I don't care about any of the theorizing or abstract hypothesizing -- I am only interested in the concrete experience of listening to the music.

clarkjohnsen
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio


Quote:
The blind test is inherently flawed from just this one point and the result will be heavily skewed to conclude "no sonic difference".


That's a damn good point!

We already knew the skewing was there, but here's a proponent hoisted on his own petard: if comb filtering obviates any (offensive) claims of differences among wires, say, it similarly disqualifies all DBTs. Beautiful!

Methinks someone will have to rethink his position.

clark

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Re: May, you missed my point


Quote:
The simple truth is that I now have a system that is just a bit too revealing, so no thank you I DO NOT want to make it any more revealing.


Yes, the Pandora's Box dilemma.

Few know... the rest of the story.

Pandora opened the box and let out a flight of frights. She was scared.

But at the bottom, once trapped by all the fears, lay Hope, now freed.

clark

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio


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That is right, so blind testing is not even necessary. So when is blind testing actually necessary? At what point does comb filtering interfere with the results? How sensitive a test is blind testing, really?


Good questions! And ones that we've been asking for years, decades even.

There are no published (or known) data concerning the sensitivity to change of such a testing regimen in audio. At no time has any reference level of confidence been established vis-a-vis any parameter. Its promoters proceed blithely along on argument by assertion.

It gets worse. The one aspect of audio that has been proved (and several times) to exist via DBTs -- the audibility of acoustic polarity -- remains generally ignored. So much for the power of DBTs.

Plus, were the promoters genuinely interested in proliferating better audio, rather than defending their own little negative cubbyholes, they would be trumpeting Absolute Polarity as a Proven Fact and Thank You DBTs!

clark

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio


Quote:

Quote:
That is right, so blind testing is not even necessary. So when is blind testing actually necessary? At what point does comb filtering interfere with the results? How sensitive a test is blind testing, really?


Good questions! And ones that we've been asking for years, decades even.

There are no published (or known) data concerning the sensitivity to change of such a testing regimen in audio. At no time has any reference level of confidence been established vis-a-vis any parameter. Its promoters proceed blithely along on argument by assertion.

It gets worse. The one aspect of audio that has been proved (and several times) to exist via DBTs -- the audibility of acoustic polarity -- remains generally ignored. So much for the power of DBTs.

Plus, were the promoters genuinely interested in proliferating better audio, rather than defending their own little negative cubbyholes, they would be trumpeting Absolute Polarity as a Proven Fact and Thank You DBTs!

clark

Hey! We're agreeing on something!

What the Hi Fi world could really use is a set of DBT results to establish some evidentice based "thresholds" of DBT audibility.

How eye opening would that be?

If we were to change a known parameter and can identify DBT's ability to identify those changes, then that would give us a great idea of how much or how little to expect from those kinds of tests.

Yup, nothing like a good set of positive controls to make the DBT uber alles crowd chill out.

(I'm pro-DBT, but I look at it as a fun personal challenge rather than a universally accurate procedure for Hi Fi reviewing.)

______________________________
______________________________

Side note:

I've known audiophiles who are very adept at A/B instantaneous blind absolute polarity identification, but then they lose that ability in non-instantaneous listening!

ethanwiner
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Clifton,

> To me, all this makes the Acoustic Lens audible, useful, and desirable. <

Then you should absolutely buy one, or build a clone or whatever. This is one place subjective beats objective every time, because nobody can tell someone else what they like or should like.

> I just listen. <

I listen too and I've heard both room lenses and those things that look like a wood candelabra (I forget what they're called.) I heard no difference at all, but I can see how a room lens could add ringing at whatever frequency its pipes resonate at. After all, that's exactly what it is - pipes. If you like that effect, more power to you. And I'm absolutely serious.

--Ethan

ethanwiner
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

301,

I hate to say it but at this point I have to give up and admit defeat. I have asked repeatedly for a "better explanation" as to why someone might report hearing a difference when none can be measured. If you ever have something to offer on that, please post it to the thread. Thanks.

--Ethan

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Scooter,

> I suspect that the Acoustic lens doesn't resonate at a specific frequency, it's probably designed to damp out specific frequencies. Like the typical standing wave formed between a floor and ceiling. <

That might be a design goal, but a room lens is not physically large enough to do anything at those low frequencies. Sort of like those "bikini corners" as I call them that claim to be bass traps. Room treatment is by necessity large. A typical room has hundreds of square feet of surface area, and you need to cover some reasonable portion of that surface to affect the sound by a useful amount. This is pure physics, though I supoose some here might deny that too.

--Ethan

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Clark,

> Methinks someone will have to rethink his position. <

I'll consider that as soon as you explain how listening to one channel avoids the comb filtering that results from a wall or ceiling reflection.

--Ethan

gkc
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

You need a DBT session -- with and without walls and ceilings.

Didn't we once kill the DBT issue ("Why is DBT such a hot button...", I believe, was the thread). We bludgeoned it to death. Nothing new has been added here. Jeff even posted the corpse -- a poor ol' dead mule being being clobbered with an ax.

We certainly haven't done comb-filtering in, though. Jeff? Oh, JE-EFFFF!!! Be a saviour, once again, and give us a comb-filter, eh?

tandy
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

"I hate to say it but at this point I have to give up and admit defeat. I have asked repeatedly for a "better explanation" as to why someone might report hearing a difference when none can be measured. If you ever have something to offer on that, please post it to the thread. Thanks."

Because we all hear it, in our own living rooms. Sometimes the better looking sounds worse, so NO sighted nonsense is in play there.

The point is that audio subjective blind testing has been shown to be no more accurate than simply listening, so why waste our time?
In fact, subjective audio blind testing is nearly always flawed and skewed, so probably less accurate than simply listening. (See previous posts.)

I would rather just listen and come to my own conclusions than have some dictator try to push his opinions on me whether I like it or not. And I think it has been shown those dictators really don't know what the hell they are talking about anyway. I also have alot of suspicion that these dictators have ulterior motives as well. When was the last time one saw a subjectionist start a fight on a forum, esp ones like Audioholics? Virtually never.

I can show time after time at different forums, it is the dictators who always started the fight with arrogant comments. And later we find those same people don't have a clue what they are talking about and cannot site one study to back their claims. Reminds me of PR people.

And PR people always represent someone or company in the backround.

tandy
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

You mention providing evidence to support my claims? I did, back on page 14 I believe.

"> So his replies will always be a guess, random as you stated, 50/50. He could guess either way since what he hears is not either X or Y, unless his head is exactly in the right place by chance. But wait, a "proper test" needs a 90% correct answer, not 50%. <

Exactly. And that's my point BTW."

>>I showed, using your own evidence of comb filtering that blind testing was not accurate. I then suggested books, delving into physics, medicine (hearing) for more learning.

> Your measurements may be scientific but is it the complete picture <

Yes, until someone shows otherwise. Yet again, again, if you have any compelling evidence that there's more to it, this would be the time to present it."

>>Again I suggesting reading material and delving into physics, medicine to obtain a more complete picture on the subject.

> Did you read the book I suggested in the "cable forum", as a beginning? Have you continued reading physics, chemistry, medical information on hearing, physical and mental processes? <

What does that have to do with the subject at hand? I think it makes more sense for us to stick to the current discussion and argue the facts on their merits. Rather than drag books about chemistry and brain function into it."

If you don't understand why one would need to study these other disciplines, I can't help you any more. The answer would seem obvious to me.

gkc
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Amen, 301. You don't listen to a live concert blindfolded. In fact, visual and audio stimuli reinforce each other, and this complete mental picture helps me recall the sound I am trying from memory to imitate in my home system, later. Blindfolding cuts off important information -- we all need memory for comparisons, no matter how far apart in time the compared events happen to be. The blindfold issue has been stomped to death and DBT has been shown to be inherently flawed in a thousand different ways. I agree with your comment about PR people. The adherents of blindfolded listening (except for people like Buddha, who do it for fun and get a kick out of it) always seem to have an agenda that smacks of commercial interest.

May Belt
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

>>> then you need to provide the same level of verbal explanation and the same level of hard evidence as I did. <<<

I am sure many of the early pioneers of science would have LOVED that luxury of having "hard evidence" before they presented their observations !!! It would certainly have shielded them from so much attack and ridicule. I am afraid, in the beginning, all they had to use was "I wonder if........ ?? Could it be...... ??" Followed by numerous experiments !!

We do not have the hard evidence you crave for but we have certainly presented verbal explanations for over 20 years now. What I am going to explain is, and has been, in the public domain for anyone who was interested to find out.

I cannot describe the past 25 years experience in a few paragraphs so I am going to have to be simplistic in my approach. For that I apologise in advance. I will also have to take in it various stages - what I will call 'instalments'. By being simplistic I mean that I will use concepts. As I have said many times before, I regard concepts as 'stepping stones' which enable one to explore and, providing you remember to put up a marker flag at any point where you start to divert, you can return to any part you wish.

One other thing I wish to make clear is that I will be talking about how we (human beings) resolve the wealth of information which is already in the room. So, any effect on the actual audio signal by capacitance, resistance, inductance, etc. etc. doesn't come into it - the information I will be talking about is already in the room - meaning that it has already been 'handled' by the equipment.
A common reaction from people when I say that is "Oh, May, then what you are talking about is probably only about 5-10 % of the problem, whereas we, the engineers, are concentrating on the other 90 % of the problem (how the equipment handles the audio signal). When we have solved THAT major problem, then we will have a look at what you are on about !!!" I would suggest, from the experiments we have done, that it is, quite possibly, the reverse.
Regards,
May Belt.


Quote:

gkc
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

"Instalments (sic)"? "Stepping stones"? "Concepts," in the name of "simplicity"? "Marker flags" when we "divert"? "Experiments"? May, what the hell you talkin' about??? Saayyy. You tryin' to sell me somethin'? Okay. What is it, and how much?

May Belt
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Clifton, my reply was to Ethan. Ethan had asked me that if I had an explanation, would I please give it. I have recognised, from the way he writes, that Ethan is someway along the path - that he recognises that there is a considerable amount of information already in the room which we are not resolving correctly. Ethan has been prepared to describe what his concepts are, has been prepared to put his ideas on the firing line - which I have respect for even though I do not think he is going far enough in his thought process and it is because of this respect that I am prepared to give my explanation to the question which a few people are beginning to ask. "Has anyone any idea what is going on ?"

I expected knee jerk reactions from some people but I did not expect them so early !!

If Ethan's request was merely a rhetorical request then no doubt HE will have the courtesy to tell me before I go any further.
Regards,
May Belt.

gkc
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Sorry, May. I thought it might have had something to do with the thread. Actually, we process everything in the room. Some data, of course, get screened out as insignificant or irrelevant to each individual's particular focus.

Buddha
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

This is an interesting direction.

Question for reference:

If there is "missing information" that is already in the room, what percentage of what we are missing is "already in the room" vs. "not being put into the room?"

Does that make sense?

For a system of reasonable quality, I'd go with 75% "room" and 25% "pre-room."

Jeff Wong
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Logically speaking, I'd say we would be talking about obscured information as opposed to missing information.

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio


Quote:
Logically speaking, I'd say we would be talking about obscured information as opposed to missing information.

Acceptable.

Thank you, Spock.

I'll rephrase:

If there is "obscured information" that is already in the room, what percentage of what we are missing (as in "not perceiving") is "already in the room" vs. "not being put into the room in the first place in order to be obscured?"

I guess I should say, "What percent of the signal is obscured vs. what percentage of the signal is not put out into the room at all?"

I'll keep my 75/25 answer.

Jeff Wong
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

I don't think this question can really be answered with a blanket statement of fixed percentage. What level is obscured will be system dependent. My main rig with its EMI treatments (sounds so Eno-esque) and power conditioning might be far more transparent (less obscured) than someone else's. Someone with Mark Levinson 33H monoblocks with built in AC regeneration might not need some of the "treatments" I do. Will his (or her) base percentage be different pre-tweak?

gkc
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Let me get this right. There is a fixed quantity of information, coming from my system into the room. Let's call that 100%. I am perceiving, say, 90% of it. So 10% of it is floating around unperceived, due to not only my sensory limitations (all sound above 16 kHz, say, is in the room but I can't perceive it), but because my powers of concentration are constantly focusing on some details at the exclusion of others. By anticipating the coda ten bars down the road, I am excluding some information in the current transitional phrase that leads up to the coda, simply because I am not 100% focused on the present passage (music, after all, unravels over time, and one has to be in the past, present, and future to "understand" the whole of the piece as it plays out). Now, you are saying that there is another 25% of a GREATER 100% (that includes, what, the POTENTIAL sound that COULD be in the room, with a somehow perfect system?) being excluded by system limitations? Aside from the impossibility of quantifying a negative (DUP, for instance, curses expensive wire because he can't hear what it's supposed to be doing to make his system better), how does one even begin to quantify the positive (the music in the room) if the limitations of our process of "knowing" it prevents us from fully hearing the present notes?

Now I know what Keats meant by "...heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on...Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone."

I'm outta here!

May Belt
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

>>> I don't think this question can really be answered with a blanket statement of fixed percentage. <<<

I fully support the effort to clarify some ground rules as to what exactly we are discussing. Unfortunately it is difficult to do it in fixed or approximate percentage terms. I would agree with Jeff Wong's sentence quoted above. Let me try to explain why.
It is very similar to the position 100 years ago in medicine. The Doctors and Surgeons of that time had been taught and believed that the micro-organisms which caused septicaemia were in the patients own blood and that it was pure chance whether these micro-organisms erupted spontaneously or not.
Joseph Lister (also a doctor and surgeon) had begun to realise, from being told of Louis Pasteur's discoveries when making his own wine, that the micro-organisms causing septicaemia could be 'in the air'. It is like all the doctors and surgeons 100 years ago asking "What percentage of the micro-organisms are in the patients own blood, what percentage are 'in the air', what percentage are on the surgeons unwashed hands, what percentage are on the unwashed instruments and what percentage are on the dirty, filthy, blood stained, pus stained frock coats worn by the surgeons ?"
The answer then would have to have been "We just don't know."
So, I am afraid that my answer to the question "What percentage ?" has to be the same "We just don't know."

I know the technical reasons why a percentage of the information, on the disc, might not get through the audio equipment. So, we have to look at what information is finally presented into the room by the speakers. That is the information which will reach the ears in the form of acoustic information. Yes, some of that acoustic information will be affected by reflections, by peaks and nulls in the room. What I would like to discuss is what happens to the acoustic information which finally does reach the ears and the journey that this information has to make in order to be resolved by the working memory as a 'sound picture'.

From the experiments we have done over these past 20 years, we have been forced to come to the realisation that all this wealth of information, already present in the room, is not being resolved correctly by the working memory. The more experiments we have done the higher becomes the percentage of the information NOT being resolved correctly.
Regards,
May Belt.

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

I'm a newbie at this, just putting together my first "grown-up" system, and I've read a lot of discussion on the reality of the difference super high-end audio components can make - from the usefulness of ABX testing to articles on total quackery. Since the point is to recreate/reproduce a live performance, has anyone done the "is it real or is it memorex" test on any of the $100,000 systems out there? Can a "super system" reproduce say, a single note played live on a violin, well enough to make the distinction impossible? Any anecdotes?

gkc
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Pus stained frock coats aside, your last statement caught my eye. What is your standard for "correctness" when you say "...information NOT being resolved correctly"? How do you get a handle on "information" that is not being resolved, if isn't yet within the ken of your sensory/evaluative apparatus?

This is all hopelessly abstract, May. Last week, when I was listening to Blomstedt's translucent reading of the Schubert 9th ("The Great"), from a perfect vantage point at Disney Hall (dead center, a dozen rows back), there was an empty seat to my left. At the time, I wondered why anyone would pay $150 for such a great seat and then stay home. Was he dead? Now, after reading all of your considerable spilt ink on the metaphysics of presence and absence, I am wondering what unresolved information would have become resolved, had the seat been filled with a human butt. Would a more hauntingly mellow sound have emerged from the plaintive oboe in the second movement, within this new matrix? Or would the bite of the trombone been muffled a bit by the additional wool and hair damping provided by the clothed body now present? What would happen if the entire audience showed up buck naked? I'm for that! No, wait a minute...not THAT crowd. Half of 'em belong to the AARP, for crissakes. Sorry I even thought of it.

Jeff, dammit, where's that comb filter?

Windzilla
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

I think this discussion is interesting, its too bad that our friend the engineer who started this seems to have stopped comming by.

I don't know much about how humans interpret sensory information, but as a first year med student I have learned that in generall most researchers/physicians don't either.

some neat things that definatly come into play in the discussion of what it means to "buy into" some component relate to the processing of sensory information, all sensory information is processed MODIFIED and interpreted by the brain. for example, they eye has a blind spot on it right in your visual field, and your brain creates an on the fly patch from external information and previous experiance to fill that hole in your vision.

sound perception has analogues to this and, moreover musical perception is subject to all kinds of interesting tricks and cross sensory stuff.

this website seems to have some interesting auditory tricks for ya
http://www.kyushu-id.ac.jp/~ynhome/ENG/Demo/illusions.html

I also wanted to correct something i saw on the OP's (scooter?) website*, that nobody can hear anything above 20khz, I believe this is untrue. 20khz is the 95% of the guassian distribution, a point at which the vast majority of people cannot hear higher frequencies. However there remains a small minority who can actually hear above that. Also, if we talk about kids, many of them can hear well over 20khz. I can pull up some articles on medline or ovid about it if someone wants.

anyway I like the thread, would write more, but have to go learn about the bones of the ear today.

*which i found to be an informative and interesting read, regardless of weather I may take exception to parts of it.

Buddha
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Hey, Windzilla!

Good point about "perceptual filling in."

I've always wondered about us audiophiles...I think maybe we are the ones who are bad at perceptual filling in, and the music lovers out there who are completely content with a BOSE radio, music via the TV, or any of a number of "low fi" music sources are the ones who are able to perceptually fill in what they hear and automatically enjoy the sound.

Perhaps, that is what the majority of listeners out there can do, and we are a minority of "genetic defectives" who need better Hi Fi rigs to get what "normal people" can hear from a car radio!

Maybe we are an inferior minority.

This has even come up in the audiophile magazines in the past.

Cheers!

Jeff Wong
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio


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Jeff, dammit, where's that comb filter?

Scooter123
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I'm still around

Been reading this thread with interest. Here is my take on the recent discussions.

One is that most of May's arguments seem to boil down to altering our perception and using aids that allow us to better percieve what is already in the room. For that, my preference would be a good single malt scotch. It's certainly a lot less expensive that an LP demagnetizer and tastes better to boot.

I also find it interesting that so few respondents are as outraged by the high costs of these tweaks as I am. I'll conceed that tweaks like a 2000 dollar power cord may have some measureable benefit, for a component with a poorly designed power supply. What I don't get is why so many are willing to fork over 2 grand for a power cord that corrects a design deficit. I happen to think that our power supplies should be able to cope with whatever power is supplied at the wall outlet. With what these hi end CD players, amps, turntables, etc. cost a decently designed power supply should be a "given". If I found that any of my gear required suplementary power conditioning I would be calling the manufacturer and complaining, LOUDLY. So far, I haven't had to make ANY calls so maybe those 2000 dollar power cords are just Art that you hang on the Stereo instead of a wall.

Then there are all the claims made by the manufacturers of these tweaks. Can we really believe them? I don't think so. I suspect that most of these claims are used simply to justify the high cost of the tweak and that's it. They don't care if the tweak actually works or not, they just care that they can get enough customers to shell over the money. Which is, I believe, a very good definition of a CON.

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Here goes with my explanation as requested by Ethan.
Let me try to start you along the path (along the stepping stones).
Chapter One - Establishing a Foundation.

You walk into a room, a room full of people. Immediately you sense that there is tension in the room - you sense an atmosphere in the room (to use an expression) "one you could cut with a knife". Later you describe this to someone and they tell you that they felt the same atmosphere and you both ask each other the question "How did we sense that ?" But, someone else, overhearing this conversation but who was not there, comes up with the simplistic answer "Aha, the explanation is that you were able to hear the tension in people's voices as they were speaking." But, that means that a deaf person, entering that same room, would not be able to sense that tense atmosphere - but they CAN !
Someone else ventures the explanation "Aha, the explanation is that you were able to see the tension on people's faces." But, that means that a blind person, entering that same room, would not be able to sense that tense atmosphere - but they CAN. You cannot taste a tense atmosphere, you cannot touch it, you cannot smell it - so how are you able to 'sense' it ?

If you believe that it is because we can 'hear' the tension in people's voices, then read no further. If you believe that it is because we can 'see' the tension in people's faces, then read no further. If you believe that we CAN 'sense' a tense atmosphere but cannot 'hear' it, cannot 'see' it, cannot 'taste' it, cannot 'smell' it, cannot 'touch' it, then continue.

You might, at this point, have to invoke the concept of a 'sixth' sense. There is no reason why we cannot use concepts to explore - like stepping stones - providing you remember to put up a marker flag at the point where you begin to explore - so that you can return to that place later if you so wish.

You might even believe that yes, we human beings CAN sense a tense atmosphere but when I then go on to say that if there was music playing in that room, then the sound would be awful - harsh, aggressive and shouty - and whilst ever the tense atmosphere was present in the room, you would never hear the music get any better. How on earth could this be ? How on earth could the atmosphere, in the room, affect the acoustics of the room ? The concept I suggest is that the tense atmosphere is not altering the acoustics of the room in any way, it is you, the human being, who is being affected and, in turn, affecting how the information is resolved by the working memory. Because the initial sound (which IS acoustic in the room and which DOES reach the outer ear as acoustic information) has to go through many hurdles before this information reaches the working memory - to then be correctly identified (a 'sound picture' created) and then that information passed on to the brain from the working memory.

So, to recap. The information reaching the working memory, to be resolved into a 'sound picture' by the working memory, may not be identical to the acoustic (sound) information which was present in the room and which originally reached the outer ear.
This is where I have to pause and recommend that you put up a marker flag so that you can return to this point later.
Regards,
May Belt.

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

could you tell me what equipement makes up this super revealing system so i can make sure i DONT BUY IT !!!

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

May, I do hope that you don't mean to imply that psycic abilities actually exist. They don't. If they truly existed I am quite certain that there would have been at least one psycic who had taken advantage of all the various lotteries out there by winning them.

People can sense a tense atmoshpere in a crowd for one very simple reason, SURVIVAL. How they do this is very simple, they employ all of their senses, sight, sound, smell, touch, and hearing. So what if they have a sensory deficit? It's simple, they learn how to use their remaining senses to make up for the loss to the greatest extent possible. BTW, don't discount the sense of smell. humans may not have the nose of a bloodhound but on an instinctual level it's still pretty good. The research done on the sense of has confirmed that smell can be a very important sense even when we cannot identify a particular scent. The old saw about the "smell of fear" is actually quite true. Nobody can describe that smell but almost all of us are capable of sensing it.

As for the quality of the sound in that tense atmosphere, here you get into basic human response to a survival situation. Basically, your "fight or flight" survival mode is triggered and this leads to a whole host of biological adaptions. Of which one is that you will normally not listen to the background music at all. In fact, you may percieve it as being an irritating distraction. So yeah, when your blood pressure's elevated and your pulse is racing because some nut case is waving a gun around you might percieve the finest audio system as sounding just horrible.

However, we are discussing relaxed mode listening here, or listening to relieve tension. I'll grant that a persons blood pressure and attitude can strongly influence the listening experience. For that there is scotch, Yoga, biofeedback, or just petting your dog. If I am reading you right, your tweaks are just variants of these more traditional techniques for relaxation. All I ask is that you be honest about them and don't charge too much for the "relaxation techniques".

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"I'll conceed that tweaks like a 2000 dollar power cord may have some measureable benefit, for a component with a poorly designed power supply. What I don't get is why so many are willing to fork over 2 grand for a power cord that corrects a design deficit. I happen to think that our power supplies should be able to cope with whatever power is supplied at the wall outlet. With what these hi end CD players, amps, turntables, etc. cost a decently designed power supply should be a "given". If I found that any of my gear required suplementary power conditioning I would be calling the manufacturer and complaining, LOUDLY."

I would not call it a power supply design flaw. For those new to the hobby, using large filter capacitors to supply instantaneous power also has the liability of sonic degradation inherent in the part. So pick your poison, music colorations due to large capacitors, or the need for excellent power cords etc.

A few years ago, there was an article entitled "Picking Capacitors" by Walter Jung and Richard Marsh.

Measurements of filter capacitors found that large values (if I remember correctly a few hundred UF or less) can have series resonances as low as a few KHZ, well within the audio range. Above the series resonance frequency, the capacitors become more and more inductive. Hardly what would be considered proper for a good power supply.

One could use more stages of smaller caps, but for SS amps, this becomes very difficult because of current draw. Tube amps are easier.

May Belt
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

>>> Nobody can describe that smell but almost all of us are capable of sensing it. <<<

No, Scooter123, I am not suggesting that there is anything psychic involved - in fact I am firmly on exactly what you have described - the survival instinct !! But, I am taking it much further and in far more depth !! But, Scooter123, at least YOU are already travelling along many of the stepping stones. You are much too late (in evolutionary terms) with your reference to the sense of smell being a factor regarding sensing 'an tense atmosphere' in a room. If you 'hone in' on the sense of smell as being the thing which allows one to 'sense an atmosphere', then this means that a person who has lost their sense of smell would not be able to detect this 'tense atmosphere'. But they can. Yes, you are correct, that if one sense is not functioning correctly, then other senses will 'step in' and you can have an amalgam of senses 'helping' towards to survival. But, you have to think further back in evolution. The earliest creatures must have had some form of a successful survival mechanism. Their survival instinct was successful, was strong, LONG BEFORE the sense of smell (or sight, hearing, touch and taste) ever evolved !!

Your sentence "Basically, your "fight or flight" survival mode is triggered and this leads to a whole host of biological adaptions." is a very significant one. Keep that in mind during my next Chapters !!!

Now to your sentence "So yeah, when your blood pressure's elevated and your pulse is racing because some nut case is waving a gun around you might perceive the finest audio system as sounding just horrible." I am sorry Scooter123 but you will have to explain WHY and HOW the sound could be perceived as horrible. You cannot just leave that sentence in mid air. You have to try to find an explanation as to what has happened to the 'sound information' to make it 'horrible' ? The belief structure of the audio industry is that IF the acoustic information is in the room, then that is what will reach your ears - that is what will be processed by the ears - and that is what will reach the working memory to be identified. If, suddenly, exactly the same acoustic information is perceived as 'horrible' then what exactly has affected it ? And, where exactly has it been affected ? It is questions like these which Peter and I have struggled with over these past 25 years.

The term "psychic" is usually banded about as a discrediting term. To be psychic (in my terms) would be having the ability to detect a 'tense atmosphere' in a room ONE MILE away !!
I do not object to you questioning the price of 'tweaks' and asking if they are over priced. That is not why I am responding. It is a perfectly reasonable question to ask. I am responding because the question regarding PRICE is way down the 'pecking order' of what are the serious questions one should be asking.
It is irrespective whether you find a 20 dollar power cord or a 2,000 dollar power cord improves your sound - the serious question should be "What on earth is happening that ANY change of power cord can affect the sound ?"

I am not suggesting that this is the case with you, Scooter123, but quite often it IS the case that some people will use such questions as distractionary (if there is such a word) questions. Meaning that they find it less fearful to concentrate on such as the price of things rather than be forced to confront something they do not understand or be forced to confront something which is perceived as too challenging for them to think about.
In the latest (October 2006) article about Peter Belt and his techniques, http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2006/Oct06/Brain_Cramp.htm Bill Kenny refers to the psychological term "Cognitive Dissonance", describing it as "that perception of conflicts between elements of knowledge can produce uncomfortable personal tensions in people." I much prefer MY interpretation of Cognitive Dissonance as "the fear of a person having their belief structure challenged is GREATER than their desire for better sound." And this reaction so many times takes the form of mockery, ridicule, attack etc. - exactly as Bill Kenny describes.

Stand by for my next Chapter.
Regards,
May Belt.

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Re: I'm still around

from 301

"I would not call it a power supply design flaw. For those new to the hobby, using large filter capacitors to supply instantaneous power also has the liability of sonic degradation inherent in the part. So pick your poison, music colorations due to large capacitors, or the need for excellent power cords etc."

Tell me this. How can a 2 meter power cord have any effect on the instantaneous power supply? Keep in mind that what is on the other side of that wall outlet will be either a 15, or 20, amp circuit in most homes.

The simple fact is that these power cords can only do one thing, that is provide some extra noise rejection between the outlet and the device. They can't increase the Voltage or Current, what is available at the outlet is all there is. As for noise filtering, that can be done much more efficiently in the power supply of the device, where the effects of that noise filtering can be controlled by the manufacturer. It's also quite possible that adding external reactance, in the form of a power cord, has as much chance of a negative impact as a positive. One would expect that some components would react in a negative fashion to some of these power cords simply because there is such a large variety of designs available. Since I have yet to see ONE report of a negative interaction for any of these high dollar power cords, I can only assume that any reactance in these cables must be of very low order. Which leads me to the conclusion that any benefit of these 2000 dollar power cords must be of a correspondingly low order.

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Quote May: "I much prefer MY interpretation of Cognitive Dissonance as "the fear of a person having their belief structure challenged is GREATER than their desire for better sound."

_________________________________
_________________________________

We need to be careful avoiding circular arguments.

This definition by May approaches the area of "begging the question" or "circular argument."

For any assertation, there should be a way to disagree that is not "pre-defined" by the premise.

May's cognitive dissonance makes one either on her side, "desire for better sound," or not on her side - we cannot "honestly" disagree. We are, by definition, reacting only because of our fear of challenging our belief system.

Audiophiles, therefore, either agree with her, or they are held back by their own fears.

Win/win for her, lose/lose for any who dare to dissent.

Her definition does not allow for the possibility of error on her part, or acknowledge the possibility of her being incorrect at any point.

Disagreement is considered an attack, or to be mocking her, and takes on some other emotional connotation that, again, only includes the possibility of her being correct and all others left as Luddites, only capable of throwing stones at the enlightened.

Please proceed, but be careful to include the possibility of fallability.

Please also compare and contrast these types of statements with things like the things we hear from Scientology or the "logic" of other "infallible" sources.

I better stop, I'm starting to feel a tense atmosphere in a room 4,000 miles away.

____________________
____________________

I am still waiting for Mr. Johnsen to come back and tell us of his experiences with tweaks that don't work and how they have been incorporated into his "reviews" and publication history.

Again, if we are to take someone seriously, we should see a more complete picture and be able to discuss what does and doesn't work. If "everything" works, then we enter the realm of "everything" being a tweak - which is the one place DUP is sometimes right...where do we draw any line? Hi Fi hairspray? High End Listening Shirts? Audiophile grade Ahi?

Why should we give credibility where no ability to discern has ever been demonstrated?

At some point, we cross into the realm of nonsense. I'd like to see where some of these people draw their lines.

I worry that, just as in life, we have in audiophile land a few "Hi Fi Hypochondriacs" who "hear" diseases that don't actually exist.

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Continuing my reply to Ethan.
Chapter Two - A different set of stepping stones.

By 1980, Peter had been involved in the audio industry for 30 years - working completely within conventional electronic and acoustic theories. First as a Hi Fi Retailer in the 1950s (at the time when there were only valves - no transistors and audio was still only mono - stereo was just emerging) and then as a manufacturer of moving coil, electrostatic and orthodynamic headphones and also moving coil and orthodynamic speakers.
In 1981, he designed and produced an orthodynamic tower speaker system with 105 orthodynamic drive units - powered by it's own amplifier with a separate bass unit - also powered by it's own amplifier.

Some magazine reports from the 1981 London Hi Fi Show
"This (PWB) system was certainly supplying some of the best detail and stereo imagery to be heard at the show." - Hi Fi News.
"We found ourselves wondering if Decca themselves had ever heard it (their Record of the Year) so well reproduced." - Gramophone.
"The sounds were exceptionally stable and glittering and ethereal on choral music. One to watch." - Practical Hi Fi.

After exhibiting at this London Hi Fi Show in 1981, Peter decided that, before he continued with any further development, he would investigate some peculiarities which occurred whilst building these towers. Whilst wiring up the 105 drive units, he found that different wires sounded different (including wires only a few inches long). That exactly the same specification wire but with different coloured plastic insulation material also gave different sounds so Peter decided to investigate why.
He listened to different (bare) metals used as the conductor (copper in all it's configurations, silver, brass, steel baling wire and finally the best sounding metal of all - pure Lead (Pb). But, he also found that as soon as he placed any plastic insulation around any of the bare metals, the sound deteriorated !!
This is a story in itself coupled with his investigations of many other things which were being described in the various Hi Fi magazines as 'affecting sound'. Again, this story is well known and too long to repeat here.

During a rest, a coffee break, Peter noticed that there was a nasty stain on the occasional table in the room (one of the children must have spilt something on it). Peter decided to try to deal with this stain and, searching the workshop, found a chemical to apply to the stain. He had no success, the chemical did nothing to the stain. He shrugged his shoulders saying "Oh well, at least I tried. We will just have to live with the stain on the table."
After finishing our coffee, we carried on with the listening experiments. But, now the sound was dreadful, it was appalling and nothing that Peter did, checking, this, checking that, could bring the sound back to being good. Peter knew that the only thing different he had done in the listening room in that last half hour was to apply a chemical to the stain on the table in the room. We realised that we could not carry on with our listening experiments with the table still in the room, so the table was banished to the garage and, after that had been done, the sound returned to being good again. We had no explanation as to why the sound had deteriorated so much but we remembered what had happened because it was so strange.

It must have been a couple months later when I was reading an article in a magazine. It was an article about plants and in the middle of the article it mentioned that when the such and such a plant was under stress, it produced the chemical ????. The chemical mentioned was one of the ingredients in the chemical we had used on the stain on the table and here was the chemical we had used now being described as a "stress" chemical !!! I read this out to Peter and we looked at each other. Peter said "I wonder if it was us (human beings) who were sensing the stress chemical and therefore going 'under tension'. Was this what had made the sound so dreadful ?"
Peter hunted out the table again and brought it into the room. We listened. The sound was back being dreadful again. Peter decided to try other chemicals. He did what all good experimenters do, he searched every cupboard, every drawer, every shelf and tried every chemical he could get his hands on. Some of these chemicals were not as bad as the original chemical but none of them brought the good sound back and then he tried Chemical X - fully expecting it to have a similar effect on the sound as all the others. He applied Chemical X to the stain area on the table and listened. It was not simply that we had the good sound back, Peter judged the sound to be BETTER than we had had before !!

Peter now began to reason out. "We must have been sensitive to something about the table before we had applied the original chemical but were not aware that we were sensitive. Applying the original chemical had merely made matters worse. So, if that is the case, what else in the room are we sensitive to but are not aware of ?" Peter applied some of the Chemical X to a small part of the central heating radiator and we listened. Wow, the sound was even better. He applied some of it to the wall lights around the room and we listened again. Even better sound !! He applied some of it to the piano in the corner of the room and we listened. WOW - we now had the best sound we had ever had. Peter was devastated. You would think he would be thrilled to bits but he wasn't - he was devastated. He had just spent the past 30 years of his life trying every which way to produce good sound and he suddenly had the best sound he had ever had in his life - by applying a chemical to (non audio) things around the room !!!!

Peter decided to return to some earlier experiments he had carried out. Some of these I have described in an earlier posting. He found that when all the things which had earlier been shown to have an adverse effect on the sound (plastic insulation materials, magnets, batteries, telephones etc) had the chemical X applied to them, then they were no longer a problem. They could remain in the room without any adverse effect on the sound !!!

Peter and I were in a state of disbelief for quite some time. You cannot be otherwise when, after 30 years of working within conventional theories you are suddenly confronted with what we had been confronted with. We pushed, pulled, stretched, squeezed conventional electronic and acoustics theories to try to find explanations for what we and others had reported could cause changes in the sound. The only concept which fitted all these experiences was the concept that it was us (human beings) who were being affected - not the audio signal and not the acoustic air pressure waves in the room !!!

Peter then began to reason out further. If there was such a thing as a 'stress' chemical, could there be such a thing as a 'friendly, relaxing, reassuring chemical ? Is that what he had discovered with Chemical X ?
We were able to make the chemical into a Cream for easy application and, in addition, we also discovered how to induce certain energy patterns into the Cream to make it even more efficient.
This second set of stepping stones is now converging on the earlier 'marker flag' at the end of the first set of 'stepping stones'.
Regards,
May Belt.

Jeff Wong
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My problem with May's recent offering is the assertion that the sensory impaired people in the "tense" room can detect the tension. How does May know this? It's presented as fact and we're supposed to gloss over this point when May's argument hinges on this tidbit as fact. I don't necessarily disagree that this is possible because I've gotten vibes from situations, but, I've got full use of my 5 senses... is there proof for May's assertion?

Buddha - Is my frozen photo of you and Mike helping?

May - It's no surprise that humans are a greater variable than gear and that chemicals alter our perception of sound. This is why some people get high, or have a single malt scotch when listening to music.

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Thanks alot Jeff! Now I have a cold!?!?! Anybody out there have some audiophile echinacea? May? Oh yeah, we're not the only group that has snake oil pushers!
Big Mike
http://infectious-diseases.jwatch.org/cgi/content/full/2005/819/1

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Jeff, now that's more like it. I'll take a dozen. Do you have anything on the other side of your coat that will grow hair? If so, I'll take a dozen of those, too. Also, I'll need some scissors. Put it on my account, but don't run the tab past 20 grand -- after all, it's coming out of your campaign funds kitty. Still, if it helps more unheard music enter the room...

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

May, until you can define terms such as "dreadful" (as in "sounded dreadful") and "correct" ("correct" sound) relative to actual music and precise changes in the sound from situation to situation (the chemical that causes tension in the plants -- were there PLANTS in the room? Could you feel their pain?), this is all going to sound like it's coming from the Great Abstract Ether. And the path, the stepping stones, O Grand Mage -- no matter what the source and the objective, there is no helping hackneyed metaphors. Next, you're going to tell us that your pointy hat, wand, and gossamer gown -- "...bell, book, and candle"? -- are available for wannabe novitiates into the Greater Order of Sonic Spooks, for $19.95 (plus shipping and handling). What hogwash. Give us something concrete. Give us a specific guitar...or dulcimer, if you wish. But give us a musical example so that we, trapped unfortunates in the nether world of sonic pleasure and pain, can hook into your (so far) over-aerated drivel and properly evaluate what you have to say.

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"Tell me this. How can a 2 meter power cord have any effect on the instantaneous power supply? Keep in mind that what is on the other side of that wall outlet will be either a 15, or 20, amp circuit in most homes."

Do some research, read my suggested book(s) in the cable string. Maybe it has to do with timbrel change, not necessarily instantaneous power, or some other change in the way music sounds? If you do not notice a change, fine. Others do.

"The simple fact is that these power cords can only do one thing, that is provide some extra noise rejection between the outlet and the device."

It is not a "simple fact" of "do one thing". There is more to it. I would suggest investigating the disciplines in Physics, Chemistry etc. You will find that it is much more complex than what electronics books indicate. Electronics is not physics or chemistry and is not designed to delve deeply into these areas.

Also, audition. I find both top notch SS and tube equipment benefits from power cords. I won't give a price as I have not expended alot of money, but even modest priced cords can make a moderate or more sonic difference vs radio shack, generics.

"They can't increase the Voltage or Current, what is available at the outlet is all there is. As for noise filtering, that can be done much more efficiently in the power supply of the device, where the effects of that noise filtering can be controlled by the manufacturer."

Your response indicates a very novice knowledge and experience in electronics. Is there space available for proper filtering? Have you experimented yourself in this area?

"It's also quite possible that adding external reactance, in the form of a power cord, has as much chance of a negative impact as a positive. One would expect that some components would react in a negative fashion to some of these power cords simply because there is such a large variety of designs available. Since I have yet to see ONE report of a negative interaction for any of these high dollar power cords, I can only assume that any reactance in these cables must be of very low order. Which leads me to the conclusion that any benefit of these 2000 dollar power cords must be of a correspondingly low order."

I have heard power cords over the years that actually made equipment sound worse than better. I have also seen comparisons between cords on different pieces of equipment. I would suggest that just as there are audio components that do not sound very good, there are also cords/ICs that are also not very good, even though they can be very expensive.

But I have heard of cords improving the sound of one component and degradating the sound of another. Frequency response is a factor. One does not want to mate a "full" sounding cord with a "full" sounding preamp. Thus I do not think many people want to post negatives understanding the complexities involved.

Jeff Wong
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I've played with a number of power cords (some very expensive, some not so) over the years as well, and have heard good and bad results at both price points. There were some power cords that my friends loved that presented thundering bass impact and a lush midrange (which I found appealing, but, ultimately, overly ripe.) Others had a better rhythmic sense, but, a smaller soundstage. Some were balanced, some were bright sounding. It all boils down to choosing what is important to you and what you feel achieving the desired sound is worth. When I find that special product that gives me that nth degree of resolution that makes the music more convincing and enjoyable, sometimes I'm willing to lay down some extra green.

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Quote:
I've played with a number of power cords (some very expensive, some not so) over the years as well, and have heard good and bad results at both price points. There were some power cords that my friends loved that presented thundering bass impact and a lush midrange (which I found appealing, but, ultimately, overly ripe.) Others had a better rhythmic sense, but, a smaller soundstage. Some were balanced, some were bright sounding. It all boils down to choosing what is important to you and what you feel achieving the desired sound is worth. When I find that special product that gives me that nth degree of resolution that makes the music more convincing and enjoyable, sometimes I'm willing to lay down some extra green.

Just to get and idea of degree, just how "thundering" or "lush?"

Sometimes our audiophile hyperbole could lead one to think that we should toss out our amps and listen to the cords.

I love the fact that you take the time to try and discern these differences, but I need a better handle.

When we talk about these changes you hear, I can't tell if you mean "thundering" as in "the difference between a 6 inch woofer and two ten inch woofers," or a dB or two.

Is it on a par with adding a subwoofer?

If the bass did "thunder" better/more, I bet JA could easily measure "thundering" on the frequency response curves!

In this realm, degree of change is something we should try to be very precise with. Adding a descriptor for the degree of "thundering" would help. With all your listening experience, what would this change be similar to in terms of differences you've heard in terms of more amplifier power or speaker differences?

I've never heard a "thundering" cord, is it like an amp with a better transformer or some other change I might hace heard to compare to?

*Absolutely no sarcasm, "attack," "mocking," or other negativity intended. I just want to get a better idea of degree.

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Re: I'm still around

That particular cord was tried on solid state amps at both ends of the spectrum (a Krell FPB and a Creek), among others. The effects were similar with all the amps we tried them with: the bass with this cord had improved pitch definition, and several of us felt it seemed close to an octave deeper compared to stock and other aftermarket cords. I'm not sure if it would measure so, but, the difference was dramatic enough that it was that noticeable. The midrange became much richer & more 3 dimensional like what you hear from a 300B tube amp... it was amazing for just swapping out a cord. I'm not sure what would cause these changes, but, the results were repeatable and consistent. You'd have no problem with a DBT (DUP, I'm not so sure about.)

As impressed as I was, I opted for a cord that had a more balanced presentation that didn't seem to exaggerate any one aspect over the other. I felt like this lush midrange was more of a colouration and I was interested in aiming for neutrality. I wasn't convinced that the bass was realistic. My friends thought I was nuts for buying a different set of cords, especially since they were close to the same price. I lived happily with my choice for about 10 years, before changing to a brand that impressed me more, but, I still use the old cords in 2 of my systems.

Buddha
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Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: I'm still around

Excellent, thank you!

So, what do you think that cord did?

I'm not sure what to guess about its properties.

Has anyone measured power cord differences?

I suppose the usual suspects would appear...but I'd really like to hear from some equipment designers. Here we are with these power cords that have these vast effects, yet we never really hear from the people who make the gear.

Perhaps they should start talking about their experiences and which cords they use to design their equipment.

Would the "best power cord" be a continuation of the cord going into your outlet, only bypassing the outlet and going directly to the gear?

Maybe with soldered/welded connections instead of connectors of any kind?

Jeff Wong
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Joined: Sep 6 2005 - 3:28am
Re: I'm still around

I'm not sure what it did, but, I believe that cord (at the time) employed ribbon conductors of roughly 10 gauge with a very thin dielectric. The conductors were very close together, and I suspect this resulted in a high capacitance design. I wonder if this would be enough to alter the performance of the power supply in the amps, or if the high capacitance provided a bit of a boost of stored energy if needed, like a battery*... I don't know. But, your question did prompt me to dig out some power cords on hand. I did some quick measuring of the capacitance across the 2 prongs of the following 2 meter power cords:

PS Audio xStream Statement (6 gauge with 15 amp IEC) - 1.795 nf

ESP Essence (maybe 10 gauge? with 15 amp IEC) - .684 nf

12 gauge generic (from Audio Power with 20 amp IEC) - .400 nf

18 gauge generic (from VPI motor with 15 amp IEC) - .314

I'm not sure how capacitance might affect the sound, but, there's clearly a difference in the properties of these cords. It would be interesting to compare several gauges of a cord with the exact materials and construction to cut down on variables to see/hear if there is a significant difference.

I would think your idea of hardwiring the gear would be best, but, impractical in terms of flexibility.

*I wonder if this added capacitance could act like a smoothing or bypass cap and filter out some ripple or noise on the line.

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