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Elk
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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud


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Art (the "Ironic Bunny") Dudley.


Xenophanes
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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud


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Might I offer a humble suggestion, concerning the audible differences among wires?

Plug 'em into your system. Listen. Don't worry about what the switching relays in your amplifier are (or are not) doing to the sound.

Listen for a couple of hours, to your favorite music.

Then, the next day (or night -- the presence of sun or moon MAY affect the sound, but sidereal doings are beyong our control, so don't fret), plug in another set of wires.

Did you enjoy the change more? Less? About the same?

Choose accordingly.

Resist the urge to prove everything you hear. Just plug in the damned cables and play the damned music.

Enjoy.

I missed all the ironies. And I read the book on irony (William Empson, I believe -- 7 types of irony, as I recall). This makes sense -- I am a notoriously slow learner. You don't have to explain -- just give me another shot at the anvil.

Atkinson and Fremer do, indeed, do the community proud. They listen and report. So do Wes Phillips and Art (the "Ironic Bunny") Dudley.

Enjoy your tunes. Please. Do not go forth and spin "The Anvil Chorus," especially in the name of irony.

Cheers and happy tunes.

I do precisely that: hook up my system and enjoy the music, though finding the best speaker and furniture placement is a major factor. I certainly don't need to worry about the wires.

But you see, there are people who do worry about their wires and try to get others to do so. Many even report on completely invalid tests to try to convince themselves and others they make an audible difference.

Your method may work quite well for forming a preference, though.

andy_c
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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud


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Might I offer a humble suggestion, concerning the audible differences among wires?

Plug 'em into your system. Listen. Don't worry about what the switching relays in your amplifier are (or are not) doing to the sound.

Well, to the question of "What is the best way to select cables for my system?", the appropriate answer seems to be "However you see fit". But that is not the subject of this thread.

The subject of the thread is a specific experiment that was performed by Gomes from the Wall Street Journal. This experiment purports to be a controlled experiment. So how did relays enter the discussion?

If one tries to conduct a controlled experiment to determine the effects of X, the proper way to do this is to change only X (or to get as close to this ideal as possible). Clearly the author failed to do this. He changed the entire system, including having two sets of speakers, which must have different positions.

The discussion of doing a better job controlling the experiment led to the assertion that putting relays in the speaker cable path, such that switching the relays changes only the cable, would control the experiment better. It's been a common argument among cable proponents that putting a relay in the cable path to detect differences will obscure the alleged differences. Yet some cable proponents are selling cables and claiming that you will hear differences. If you accept as true the assertion that relays in the signal path will obscure all differences in cables, this leads to the conclusion that you will not hear differences in cables for most solid-state amplifiers (because their internal circuitry contains such relays already). This contradicts the assertion that you will. So that line of argument leads to a contradiction.

Gomes purports to conduct a controlled experiment. But the typical audio buff doing their own experiments generally isn't claiming them to be controlled, nor applicable to anybody else. Such an audio buff has nothing to prove to anybody. But if there is a claim that the experiment is a controlled one, this will naturally lead to investigation of just how well (or poorly) it was controlled.

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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud


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Also, keep in mind that almost every solid-state power amp on the market has a relay at its output. The relay usually serves at least two purposes. At power-up, the relay temporarily disconnects the speaker from the amp's output to prevent turn-on thumps. A similar thing happens at power-down. Also, there is often DC detection at the amp's output. If excessive DC is detected, the amp's protection circuitry opens up the relay, which disconnects the speaker to keep it from being damaged.

Thanks andy_c. I was not aware that most amps have a relay. I was aware that some do as a safety measure for the speakers, just as you mentioned. I have not researched whether the amps used in the WSJ article has a relay or not. Fortunately, my own power amp is DC coupled, and no relays. I'll take a look at the PDF article you mentioned.

Elk
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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud


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The subject of the thread is a specific experiment that was performed by Gomes from the Wall Street Journal. This experiment purports to be a controlled experiment.


I generally agree with what you are saying, but to be fair I think this was meant as a fun little informal experiment, not a scientifically regorous test.

If nothing else, it helps establish that there are those that readily can hear differences that others cannot. I suspect that this is part of why some argue for and some argue against cables and other modest tweaks.

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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud


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I generally agree with what you are saying, but to be fair I think this was meant as a fun little informal experiment, not a scientifically regorous test.

If nothing else, it helps establish that there are those that readily can hear differences that others cannot. I suspect that this is part of why some argue for and some argue against cables and other modest tweaks.

Informal test? Well, he seems to have thought it was good enough to pick up cable differences--but it had too many uncontrolled variables to do that as andy c pointed out. It wouldn't even be good enough for a sighted pre-audition, as one would still want to change only one variable at a time.

Do you really need to establish that some people can hear better than others? As far as I know, no sensible person doubts that.

As for it being a reason why some people are sceptical about the advantages of special speaker cables, that is possible. So what? There are other reasons. Lack of proof is the chief one. Where is the proof that special cables work better than the ones from the hardware store?

gkc
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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud

People worry about their wires. I am tempted to leave this one to speak for itself. Good God! People worry about their wires?

You all will forgive me if I remain unsympathetic. The world banking system is falling apart. Pakistan and Iraq are getting worse. Britney's twat, and its need for the stuffing du jour, is growing sere as we speak (time heals all wounds, we are told -- yeah, right), and both Democratic front-runners want to not only cancel existing tax cuts, but levy more.

And people worry about their wires. I guess this makes me subhuman, because my wires are in the system and pumpin' tunes anonomously.

The "proof" is always in the listening. Stop worrying about your wires, brethren, and go forth and listen.

There is only one cure for insecurities multiplied by audophile nervosa-- more booze and better music.

People worry about their wires. Oy.

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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud

Clifton said:
People worry about their wires. Oy.

I worry about getting wired, until I get wired , then I worry about getting caught, until getting caught, then I worry about making bail, till I make bail, then I worry about the trial, or fleeing to Mexico, then I worry about moctezuma's revenge, at least I don't worry about speaking Spanish, because I'm fluent, but I worry about speaking with the Castillian lisp because the mexican's might think I'm gay (not that there is anything wrong with that) but I worry the mexicans might get the wrong idea, then I worry about knocking up some latina hottie and living happily ever after. cause then I wouldn't have anything to worry about.

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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud

Clifton and I agree on "more booze and better music."

I have "More Booze and Better Music" scarified on my right butt cheek. My left cheek, well, that's private.

To quote my favorite literary characters..."More booze and better music will get you through times of average cables better than high end cables will get you through times of no booze and lousy music."

Clifton, time for a black and blue filet, mon ami.

Elk
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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud

We all appreciate your unwavering bias; it was obvious from your first post. Everyone accepts that you hold a religious belief that wire cannot make a difference - nothing will shake you from your convictions.

Similarly, no one disputes that you are unable to discern a difference between cables and interconnects. We won't try to convince you otherwise - you can't hear what you can't hear.

The subject has been beaten to death here and elsewhere. Your objections and citations are not new.

There are people that believe that Bose radios are the height of fidelity, that all CD players sound the same, etc. Your energy would be much better spent exposing these people to what is possible in sound reproduction.

andy_c
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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud


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To quote my favorite literary characters..."More booze and better music will get you through times of average cables better than high end cables will get you through times of no booze and lousy music."

This is a misquote of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers! Sacrilege!

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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud


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We all appreciate your unwavering bias; it was obvious from your first post. Everyone accepts that you hold a religious belief that wire cannot make a difference - nothing will shake you from your convictions.

Similarly, no one disputes that you are unable to discern a difference between cables and interconnects. We won't try to convince you otherwise - you can't hear what you can't hear.

The subject has been beaten to death here and elsewhere. Your objections and citations are not new.

There are people that believe that Bose radios are the height of fidelity, that all CD players sound the same, etc. Your energy would be much better spent exposing these people to what is possible in sound reproduction.

Where have I ever said wires cannot make a difference? Apparently you failed to read what I said above. Please pay attention this time:

"No one says that different speaker cables never make an audible difference under any circumstances since under some circumstances some they do."

That some cables will sound different under some conditions is implicit in the essay on Roger Russell's site. As well, here are a couple articles which concluded cables can sound different under some circumstances:

Fred E. Davis, "Effects of Cable, Loudspeaker, and Amplifier Interactions," JAES, Vol. 39, No. 6, 1991 June.

Laurence Greenhill, "Speaker Cables: Can You Hear the Difference?" Stereo Review, August 1983. The basic criticism of the data is that they did not level match between the Monster and the 16 gauge (30 foot length). Larry Archibald missed that point, but gave his critique at the following link, which also contains a link the the SR article:

http://www.stereophile.com/historical/1283cable/index.html

There are, of course, quite a few articles on cables and cable comparisons at Audioholics.com:

http://www.audioholics.com/education/cables/

You have no idea how well I can hear, not that it's relevant. What is lacking is proof that you or anyone else can hear the differences between cables suitable for high fidelity use in lengths of 10 feet or so.

The subject has indeed been beaten to death. Some people claim they can hear differences in their wires but provide no good evidence, and some people point out the lack of evidence for their claims. Is there something wrong with pointing out that some claims lack justification? But it seems that for you a request for evidence is an indication of bias--very strange.

rvance
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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud


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To quote my favorite literary characters..."More booze and better music will get you through times of average cables better than high end cables will get you through times of no booze and lousy music."

The FFFB"s??!! Too totally bitchin'! "What's it all mean Mr. Natural?" "It don't mean SHIT!"

Buddha
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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud

You guys are awesome!

We have a very literate crowd here!

OK, so we are talking about cables, I think...

When the cable craze took of, I tried rolling my own, too. Went to Home Depot or whatever the equivalent of Home Depot was at the time, and loaded up with all kinda different wires and solders and stuff.

Bought some "Tiffany" connectors and spent some dough on other cable "parts" by Vampire Wire, too.

Then I started experimentin'.

What really snapped me to attention was the fact that I could make TERRIBLE interconnects.

The worst set was made using that kind of wire that used to be connected to things like space heaters...that dark grey "wool covered" stuff that you'd expect to see when you see a movie or TV show of how electrical cords used to look, or that you'd see if you visited your grandma.

Good solder, good connectors, bad sound.

I compared this to other wires I made with the same solder and connectors, and this set was the worst thing I'd ever heard. "Fuzzy" treble, lower sound levels for the same volume settings, it almost sounded like an amp with a bad capacitor - or when you are playing music and the power goes out...you know, that few seconds of grundge as the capacitors empty?

Anyway, I proved for myself that cables can sound bad.

Well, that, of course, raised the question about cables sounding "good," and I had to wonder, at what point of trying to make cables sound better does improvement cease to exist?

The answer is, "As long as someone can hear an improvement."

I agree with Clifton and Elk on this issue. If Clifton says he can hear it, who am I do disagree?

Questions of "value" and "worth" come into play, as well; but, again, if someone says he thinks cable "X" is worth the cost or, in his opinion, offers value, who am I do disagree there, too?

These value statements aren't really objectively 'proveable,' either.

If someone likes a cable, all you can do is congratulate him on finding the right cable for him and go about your business.

Cables are like spouses. After extensive auditioning and acquisition, a person is pretty much allowed to state his level of satisfaction without fear of objective rebuttal.

How would one rebut, "A taste is a taste?"

Now, if one's ears require the knowledge that the cable only has a ten percent mark-up in order to feel good about listening to the cable, then that's up to the user, too, and can't be argued against. If a product's apparent profit margin can affect how an audiophile perceives its sound, then that audiophile is guaranteed his right not to have to buy or listen to that cable.

My in laws don't even see the value in a starter system, so by their standards we're all just crazy people arguing amongst ourselves about who's crazier.

(I'll save the rest for later, but I also think the phrase "Love is the delusion that one woman/man differs from another" comes into play at some point, too. )

Elk
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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud


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Cables are like spouses. After extensive auditioning and acquisition, a person is pretty much allowed to state his level of satisfaction without fear of objective rebuttal.


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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud


Quote:

Quote:
Cables are like spouses. After extensive auditioning and acquisition, a person is pretty much allowed to state his level of satisfaction without fear of objective rebuttal.


Perhaps you should follow your own advice. You have a level of satisfaction with your cables, and I have virtually complete satisfaction with mine as far as the sound goes. I don't think anyone disputes your preferences for cables.

But no, you go on to use some ad hominem arguments: you argue that I must not be able to hear the differences whereas others can--without any evidence; and that I have a religious belief that cables cannot make an audible difference, which is both false and an insult to religious belief.

Elk
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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud

I suggest some deep breaths and a visit to your happy place.

There...feel better?


Quote:
You have no idea how well I can hear, not that it's relevant.

It is and it is not.

If you are unable to discern any difference between various wires no one will argue with you. If you could hear a difference your quest would be to seek an explanation, not demand "proof".

Again, if you cannot appreciate a difference, why put such effort into arguing with those that can?


Quote:
What is lacking is proof that you or anyone else can hear the differences between cables suitable for high fidelity use in lengths of 10 feet or so.

Define "proof". There is proof. What we need is a full explanation.

All scientific knowledge begins with a fact, occurrence, or circumstance observed as phenomena. Through observation and study we hope to subsequently explain these observations.

There are thousands who have no difficulty appreciating differences in wire. This is substantial and irrefutable proof.

The subject has indeed been beaten to death.


Indeed.

Yet it is routinely brought back from the dead by those that have an unshakable religious conviction that differences are impossible. It is the cable non-believers' resurrection. Unfortunately it is not limited to only once a year.


Quote:
Some people claim they can hear differences in their wires but provide no good evidence, and some people point out the lack of evidence for their claims. Is there something wrong with pointing out that some claims lack justification? But it seems that for you a request for evidence is an indication of bias--very strange.


Only those that have convinced themselves that a discernible difference is impossible approach the question from this vantage point.

There is a great deal of good evidence. All that is a lacking is an explanation that is acceptable to non-believers such as yourself.

However, scientific exploration marches on and we may some day arrive at this explanation. There are many sensory experiences that we have had difficulty accepting and explaining.

This argument over wires is analogous to photography's argument over bokeh. Bokeh is the appearance of a photograph away from the point of best focus.

Some could see and appreciate the subjectively better appearance that some lenses had over others. Others could not discern a difference.

The better appearing lenses often did not objectively measure as well as other, newer lenses made with "better" technology It took quite some time for photographers to understand what is happening in lenses that produce better bokeh.

Of course, there remain those that argue that bokeh does not exist, and if it does it is a result of flaws in the lens, and the better measuring lenses are the best - period.

There are also those that know better.

Xenophanes
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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud


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I suggest some deep breaths and a visit to your happy place.

There...feel better?


Quote:
You have no idea how well I can hear, not that it's relevant.

It is and it is not.

If you are unable to discern any difference between various wires no one will argue with you. If you could hear a difference your quest would be to seek an explanation, not demand "proof".

Again, if you cannot appreciate a difference, why put such effort into arguing with those that can?


Quote:
What is lacking is proof that you or anyone else can hear the differences between cables suitable for high fidelity use in lengths of 10 feet or so.

Define "proof". There is proof. What we need is a full explanation.

All scientific knowledge begins with a fact, occurrence, or circumstance observed as phenomena. Through observation and study we hope to subsequently explain these observations.

There are thousands who have no difficulty appreciating differences in wire. This is substantial and irrefutable proof.

The subject has indeed been beaten to death.


Indeed.

Yet it is routinely brought back from the dead by those that have an unshakable religious conviction that differences are impossible. It is the cable non-believers' resurrection. Unfortunately it is not limited to only once a year.


Quote:
Some people claim they can hear differences in their wires but provide no good evidence, and some people point out the lack of evidence for their claims. Is there something wrong with pointing out that some claims lack justification? But it seems that for you a request for evidence is an indication of bias--very strange.


Only those that have convinced themselves that a discernible difference is impossible approach the question from this vantage point.

There is a great deal of good evidence. All that is a lacking is an explanation that is acceptable to non-believers such as yourself.

However, scientific exploration marches on and we may some day arrive at this explanation. There are many sensory experiences that we have had difficulty accepting and explaining.

This argument over wires is analogous to photography's argument over bokeh. Bokeh is the appearance of a photograph away from the point of best focus.

Some could see and appreciate the subjectively better appearance that some lenses had over others. Others could not discern a difference.

The better appearing lenses often did not objectively measure as well as other, newer lenses made with "better" technology It took quite some time for photographers to understand what is happening in lenses that produce better bokeh.

Of course, there remain those that argue that bokeh does not exist, and if it does it is a result of flaws in the lens, and the better measuring lenses are the best - period.

There are also those that know better.

Your speculations as to what I can hear or as to what my motives might be are quite beside the point: it is eminently clear that you have no proof that you or anyone else can hear the differences between the cables you have tried.

You are not paying attention: how many times do I have to tell you that under some circumstances cables do make an audible difference. I even provided some references. How then can I be a nonbeliever in cable differences?

"There is a great deal of good evidence. All that is a lacking is an explanation that is acceptable to non-believers such as yourself."

Actually, there is a readily available explanation for perceiving differences: perceptual bias. You can download the debate where Arny Krueger wiped the floor with John Atkinson from the page linked below:

http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/index.html

Poor Audiophile
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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud

Wiped the floor? Did you really say that?
This is a dead horse as I've heard about it since my days reading S.R.
Anyway, I have what is probably a terribly naive question.
If someone thinks they hear a difference in a cable & wants to spend gobs of their money on it, why does it matter to someone who thinks its all nonsense? Just asking.

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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud


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Wiped the floor? Did you really say that?
This is a dead horse as I've heard about it since my days reading S.R.
Anyway, I have what is probably a terribly naive question.
If someone thinks they hear a difference in a cable & wants to spend gobs of their money on it, why does it matter to someone who thinks its all nonsense? Just asking.

Where have I said I care where audiophiles spend their money? Indeed, I suggest people get the equipment they prefer. That's what I do--I just like to have accurate information.

gkc
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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud

"I just like to have accurate information."

Okay. "Accurate" against what standard? The live acoustic experience (now, mind the software...)? The latest abstract measurement du jour ?

What is your standard for "accuracy"? Mine is the memory of the live acoustic event. And I'm stickin' to it. This desideratum also governs my buying decisions concerning software (and other hardware). Sigh. MOST of the time. Still, there are those irresistable performances of irresistable music that have been badly put to disc. Damn. Why can't life be neater? I guess I'm gonna have to start a new thread -- irresistable performances of irresistable music, done badly by some ham-fisted twit in earphones, at the console.

Accuracy. A loaded term, to be sure.

Elk
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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud


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...it is eminently clear that you have no proof that you or anyone else can hear the differences between the cables you have tried.


Again you are confusing evidence with confirmed hypothesis. There is a great deal of convincing evidence. There also exist a number of hypotheses - but no consensus yet as to the physical source of the perceivable differences.

Observation always precedes explanation. Observation also always precedes measurement; we do not know what to measure until we have something to look for.

There are many things that measure the same but sound quite different. A simple example is CD players - they all produce an incredibly flat frequency response, yet can sound very different. Some of this may be jitter - but we can measure this also and most players do quite well with jitter as well. Yet CDPs sound different. (Well, at least to many of us).

The fact that you have not heard differences between competent pieces of wire does not establish that others do not. As you have acknowledged, people have varying decrees of hearing acuity.

Flat-earthers are an amusing lot: "A four minute mile is impossible", "If we fly over the speed of sound the plane will explode", "All CDPs sound the same", "Amplifiers are indistinguishable."

I won't try to convince you that you can hear things that you cannot. Why try to convince others that they cannot hear what they do in fact hear?

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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud

Interesting essay. http://www.highendnews.info/technology/speaker_cables.htm

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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud

Elk,

I think a more accurate summary of xenophane's position is that in the absence of stringent DBT's one cannot rule out the possibility of the placebo effect or expectation bias. I think he also holds that no such tests have demonstrated a difference exists.

While I am on the fence in this debate( and I am more a sub than ob) it does seem strange to me that so many subs discount the placebo effect.

Buddha
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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud


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Elk,

I think a more accurate summary of xenophane's position is that in the absence of stringent DBT's one cannot rule out the possibility of the placebo effect or expectation bias. I think he also holds that no such tests have demonstrated a difference exists.

While I am on the fence in this debate( and I am more a sub than ob) it does seem strange to me that so many subs discount the placebo effect.

Good point.

It is almost vanishingly rare to see an audiophile admit to having succumbed to bias effect or placebo effect.

There's also the "different = better" phenomenon.

The good news is that these effects, in general, have a limited lifespan, so perhaps prolonged satisfaction would be a good indicator of efficacy.

I like to watch reviewers' reference system listings looking for things like this. For a great example of what I think to be a placebo effect, go back through some old Fremer reviews and look at his comments about Tice clocks and a similar brand. As I recall, he pronounced one clock or other the "most effective," but all such clocks disappeared from his reference system not too long after the raves.

I do not mean to indict his ears, just looking for evidence of human nature.

For a more positive example, check out Jeff Wong's history with the Shakti Stone. It has remained in his system over the long haul and he has not lost his appreciation for it. To me, that would bode better for an item's effectiveness than if he had one, raved about it for a month or three, went through a quiet phase, and then posted a picture of his room with the stone on his desk holding down his drawing paper.

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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud


Quote:

Quote:
Elk,

I think a more accurate summary of xenophane's position is that in the absence of stringent DBT's one cannot rule out the possibility of the placebo effect or expectation bias. I think he also holds that no such tests have demonstrated a difference exists.

While I am on the fence in this debate( and I am more a sub than ob) it does seem strange to me that so many subs discount the placebo effect.

Good point.

It is almost vanishingly rare to see an audiophile admit to having succumbed to bias effect or placebo effect.

There's also the "different = better" phenomenon.

The good news is that these effects, in general, have a limited lifespan, so perhaps prolonged satisfaction would be a good indicator of efficacy.

I like to watch reviewers' reference system listings looking for things like this. For a great example of what I think to be a placebo effect, go back through some old Fremer reviews and look at his comments about Tice clocks and a similar brand. As I recall, he pronounced one clock or other the "most effective," but all such clocks disappeared from his reference system not too long after the raves.

I do not mean to indict his ears, just looking for evidence of human nature.

For a more positive example, check out Jeff Wong's history with the Shakti Stone. It has remained in his system over the long haul and he has not lost his appreciation for it. To me, that would bode better for an item's effectiveness than if he had one, raved about it for a month or three, went through a quiet phase, and then posted a picture of his room with the stone on his desk holding down his drawing paper.

Buddha and Tom,

As happens in many controversies, opponents may not accurately state someone else's views. In this case, I have now told Elk several times that under some circumstances different cables have been shown to be audibly different. I have even provided some references that he or anyone else can peruse.

However, I have grave doubts that different speaker cables are likely to sound different in 8-10 foot lengths in a competently designed system.

Placebo effect can cover many things, expectation bias being one. It simply seems that our perceptual apparatus is designed to perceive differences. This cannot be willed away and still shows up in blind tests. Will, knowledge, and training evidently do not completely remove perceptual bias.

Long term use is one way of forming a preference. However, it is not a valid way of determining whether small differences are audible as such auditions are not falsifiable.

More relevant to the topic of the thread, I have argued that the blind test done by the WSJ journalist was not set up so as to validly test whether cables sound different. All that could be concluded was that the systems sounded different in that set up.

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"I just like to have accurate information."

Okay. "Accurate" against what standard? The live acoustic experience (now, mind the software...)? The latest abstract measurement du jour ?

What is your standard for "accuracy"? Mine is the memory of the live acoustic event. And I'm stickin' to it. This desideratum also governs my buying decisions concerning software (and other hardware). Sigh. MOST of the time. Still, there are those irresistable performances of irresistable music that have been badly put to disc. Damn. Why can't life be neater? I guess I'm gonna have to start a new thread -- irresistable performances of irresistable music, done badly by some ham-fisted twit in earphones, at the console.

Accuracy. A loaded term, to be sure.

Indeed, that is a different topic. The accurate information here is the much more modest question of under what circumstances cables designed for high fidelity applications have been shown to sound different.

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Quote:
The accurate information here is the much more modest question of under what circumstances cables designed for high fidelity applications have been shown to sound different.

The modest answer is, in one instance, the circumstances that Atkinson and Fremer aptly demonstrated their ability to perceive these differences.

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Quote:

Quote:
The accurate information here is the much more modest question of under what circumstances cables designed for high fidelity applications have been shown to sound different.

The modest answer is, in one instance, the circumstances that Atkinson and Fremer aptly demonstrated their ability to perceive these differences.

Not at all. They might have been lucky guesses with only one trial apiece. As well, two systems were involved and so the only thing they could be said to identify were the two systems. There are too many variables to conclude the differences perceived were due to the cables.

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The good news is that these effects, in general, have a limited lifespan, so perhaps prolonged satisfaction would be a good indicator of efficacy.


Indeed. This is one of the reasons that brief exposure DBT can be ineffective when studying certain forms of human perception.

DBT testing is good at testing certain things. It is very great for determining whether a meaningful percentage of a large sample group of people can perceive a known, reliably repeatable difference in samples.

DBT is not however the litmus test for determining the validity of every phenomena. It is simply one limited tool.

The Clark paper describes testing the audibility of adding a distortion box to a musical signal. He knew that one of the samples induced distortion and how much distortion was being introduced. The sample listeners also knew what they were listening for. All that was being tested was whether this know difference could be reliably perceived by a meaningful percentage of a sample group. This is what DBT is designed to accomplish.

He found that quick A/B/X switching more readily revealed this particular known difference: "The A/B/X test was proven to be more sensitive than long-term listening for this task". He did not conclude that A/B/X or quick switching is the proper procedure for all audibility testing.

Interestingly, we do not have these arguments regarding DBT of CDPs. Yet many of us have had the experience of demonstrating two different CDPs to someone and our poor victim cannot perceive a difference. To us and our audiophile buddies the difference is incredibly apparent.

Is this a result of mass perception bias and we audiophiles all just think we are hearing a difference? Are we all fooling ourselves?

So if most people can't hear the difference, do we conclude that the difference doesn't exist?

Of course not. We can hear a difference. The difference is readily apparent. We do not need blind testing to tell us this there is a difference.

Also perception bias shows no favorites.

If you are firmly convinced that no difference exists, you are not going to hear one.

I am very comfortable in predicting that Xenophanes has never heard a difference between 8-10 foot lengths of reasonably gauge/appropriate speaker cable nor between reasonably competent normal length interconnects.

Xenophanes, am I wrong? Have you heard such differences?

If not, can you devise a test to make sure that this is not a result of your own perception bias?

Thus, I trust Xenophanes when he states (or will state) he does not hear such differences. I will not insult him by asserting that he does not hear differences simply because he has convinced himself that he cannot.

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A most excellent post, Elk. Thank you.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Interesting essay. http://www.highendnews.info/technology/speaker_cables.htm

I wrote a less technical piece on this topic back in 1995: see www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/84

I also did some SPICE modeling of the amplifier/speaker cable/loudspeaker interface using lumped parameters back then, but got results that, frankly, I could not comprehend.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Quote:

Quote:
Interesting essay. http://www.highendnews.info/technology/speaker_cables.htm

I wrote a less technical piece on this topic back in 1995: see www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/84

I also did some SPICE modeling of the amplifier/speaker cable/loudspeaker interface using lumped parameters back then, but got results that, frankly, I could not comprehend.

One thing that's pretty surprising is how poorly lumped parameters model transmission line behavior, even at frequencies as low as the high end of the audio band. The author of the linked page is apparently a telecommunications engineer, so he should know better than to use lumped parameters.

For SPICE modeling, the model of choice at present is called LTRA. This is a true distributed model that actually takes into account wave propagation, directly simulating the telegrapher's equations for transmission lines. One limitation of the model is that R, L, C and G must be constant with frequency, so it cannot model skin effect (which implies a series R that increases with increasing frequency).

I have some SPICE simulations that use LTRA, together with a power amp output impedance model that uses the parallel RL network found in the Bryston schematics that are available online. Transmission line parameters were taken from cable measurements done by audioholics.com, and the speaker model used was the Stereophile model used in amp reviews.

The simulations show the variation from flat frequency response, similar to the Stereophile amp reviews. Results make reasonable sense. I was doing this as an analysis of the effects of high-capacitance cable on amplifier stability.

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Quote:

Quote:
The good news is that these effects, in general, have a limited lifespan, so perhaps prolonged satisfaction would be a good indicator of efficacy.


Indeed. This is one of the reasons that brief exposure DBT can be ineffective when studying certain forms of human perception.

--Where is the proof for these assertions? Do you have any examples that will stand up?

DBT testing is good at testing certain things. It is very great for determining whether a meaningful percentage of a large sample group of people can perceive a known, reliably repeatable difference in samples.

--Nonsense. A single individual may show they can detect audible differences to a high degree of probability.

DBT is not however the litmus test for determining the validity of every phenomena. It is simply one limited tool.

--This is too vague to add anything significant to the discussion.

The Clark paper describes testing the audibility of adding a distortion box to a musical signal. He knew that one of the samples induced distortion and how much distortion was being introduced. The sample listeners also knew what they were listening for. All that was being tested was whether this know difference could be reliably perceived by a meaningful percentage of a sample group. This is what DBT is designed to accomplish.

--Nope. There are individual results recorded.

He found that quick A/B/X switching more readily revealed this particular known difference: "The A/B/X test was proven to be more sensitive than long-term listening for this task". He did not conclude that A/B/X or quick switching is the proper procedure for all audibility testing.

--Omigod. Clark shows a result in a limited test and you try to use it against the procedure. You still haven't shown what sorts of audible differences that cannot be detected in a DBT.

Interestingly, we do not have these arguments regarding DBT of CDPs. Yet many of us have had the experience of demonstrating two different CDPs to someone and our poor victim cannot perceive a difference. To us and our audiophile buddies the difference is incredibly apparent.

--Why should I have gone into CDPs and amplifiers. Some CDPs sound different and some amplifiers do. I will say the the WSJ test set up would not be valid for testing CDPs or amplifiers, either. Look up Banks and Krajicek's article on the Stereophile site for a description of a good amplifier DBT.

http://www.stereophile.com/features/587/index.html

Is this a result of mass perception bias and we audiophiles all just think we are hearing a difference? Are we all fooling ourselves?

--If you say you can detect a difference in a sighted audition, you already know the answer before listening. It doesn't prove you can detect a difference based on the sound alone.

--I haven't claimed what you "all" do not hear. I just point out that proof is lacking. And of course, not all audiophiles claim to hear such differences so your question is somewhat tendentious.

So if most people can't hear the difference, do we conclude that the difference doesn't exist?

--How would we conclude that most people do not hear a difference without doing DBTs?

Of course not. We can hear a difference. The difference is readily apparent. We do not need blind testing to tell us this there is a difference.

--You are right in saying that of course because most people don't perceive a difference that there might be some others who could. Who denies this?

--But then, how could it be proved that you hear a difference without doing a DBT or showing that the measured differences exceed known Just Noticeable Differences (JNDs)? But if you don't want to apply scientific methods, don't. But then don't be surprised if sometimes some don't take your word for your hearing abilities.

Also perception bias shows no favorites.

If you are firmly convinced that no difference exists, you are not going to hear one.

--That's a big "if"! Well, the really strict scientific tests screen out poor subjects.

--There are informal screening methods, too. Presumably a person who did not perceive differences would not do a DBT.

I am very comfortable in predicting that Xenophanes has never heard a difference between 8-10 foot lengths of reasonably gauge/appropriate speaker cable nor between reasonably competent normal length interconnects.

--I am quite confident you have never proved you can hear differences between such cables.

Xenophanes, am I wrong? Have you heard such differences?

--You accuse me of being close minded, but your mind is so set as in an iron groove that you don't bother to distinguish between hearing and perception.

--I should also point out that what you are trying to do is make an ad hominem argument based on some circumstance about me. Whether hear well or poorly, whether I can hear at all, is entirely irrelevant to the question of whether you or anyone else can actually detect such differences from the sound alone, that is, without knowing which component you are listening to.

--I do not claim to hear such differences (neither do I claim not to hear them). You evidently do claim to hear such differences. Some reviewers for Stereophile and other magazines, along with many others also make such claims. It is up to those who make such claims to prove them and there just is much proof. The burden of proof is with those claiming to hear differences. You still haven't supplied any.

--I will tell you that in sighted auditioning, I am just as liable to perceive differences as others. I claim no exemption to perceptual bias.

If not, can you devise a test to make sure that this is not a result of your own perception bias?

--Your question is extremely vague, but basically that's what DBTs do. But yes, DBTs can be designed so as to screen out poor subjects.

Thus, I trust Xenophanes when he states (or will state) he does not hear such differences. I will not insult him by asserting that he does not hear differences simply because he has convinced himself that he cannot.

Aha! You are objecting because you feel insulted that I don't believe some of your claims as to the kinds of things you can actually hear. Some bias is built in, it's simply the way our perception works. As James D. Johnston has said, our perception tends to overdetect differences.

As I said, I am liable to perceive differences in sighted auditions as anyone else. I do not regard that as insulting, just part of self-knowledge.

For some reason you try to limit the discussion to me. Again, whether I can hear well or even hear at all is irrelevant to the question of what others can hear. My hearing abilities are irrelevant to the discussion.

Claiming various DBTs have not been done well or that DBTs are not suitable for certain phenomena also does nothing to establish what people hear. If we accept your arguments (and there is no reason to do so), the conclusion still remains that you and others have not proved they can hear the differences between appropriate cables of 8-10 feet in length in high fidelity systems.

The topic was the results of a test carried out by a writer for the Wall Street Journal, ostensibly on speaker cables. Andy c and I have argued that testing two systems with different cables is not a good way of testing for the audibility of cable differences.

This remains unrefuted.

You will note that I have not questioned whether John Atkinson and Michael Fremer actually heard a difference between the two systems: a one trial test did not prove it but since the speaker placement must have been different, it is very likely they really did--but there is no reason to suppose it was due the different cables. I will add that if it were different CDPs or amplifiers that the test would have been equally invalid for the precise same reason. It would not even be a good set up for a sighted audition.

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I am unable to find any logical flaws in xenophanes post.

Thank you, X, for such a well constructed argument.

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The DUP surrogate eagerly chimes in. I noticed several logical flaws in Xenophanes' crabbed pseudo-"logical" (yuk, yuk) reply. Tomjtx, consider re-taking whatever course in rhetoric you flunked.

Begging the question --

"Where is the proof for these assertions? Do you have any examples that will stand up"? No, Xenophanes. And neither do you.

"A single individual may show they ( sic) can detect differences to a higher degree of probability ." Which individual? How high is "high"? And you accuse Elk of being vague...

"Really strict scientific tests screen out poor subjects." Wow. Not just "strict," but "REALLY strict" (emphasis mine). Put that on the Mohr Scale.

Avoiding the question.

"I do not claim to hear differences (neither do I claim not to hear them)." Well, I guess that just about says it all. Uh. Xenophanes. Uh. Reveille. Uh. Wake up! Drop yer cock and grab yer socks! Uh, you are arguing about whether differences are audible. And you are trying (folks, is this REALLY necessary????) to say you have taken a stand with no claim to either side?? Now, ain't that just Ciceronian in its logical purity?!

D'oh.

Of course, as a music lover, I would argue,

WHAT THE HELL DOES ANY OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MUSIC?

Elk, great post. Since we are dealing with music, and not logic, I award the laurel to you. I have NO idea what Xenophanes is farting off as "logic." And, why bother?

Happy tunes.

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Quote:
The DUP surrogate eagerly chimes in.

Speaking of DUP, when is coming back? Isn't it at the end of this month? I miss that old coot. These forums have been so boring and lifeless without him. The only mildly amusing entertainment being provided by JV when he calls everyone who disagrees with him "morally bankrupt". Although even that gets old after a while and it becomes like listening to someone with Turrett's being played on an old 45 telling you between expletives that the $12k electrical tape that holds your rig together goes to feed the poor and hungry dealers and manufacturers who are starving in Europe and America.

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Yes- it's been a bit more staid without the DUPster, but I have to say, particularly in the Entry Level forum, more active and much more coherent for the newbie crowd. I also feel (subjectively) that the site seems to have more posters than before.

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You insults are uncalled for, Clifton.
I am surprised to see that coming from you.

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Before we have a DBT, we must first understand the criterea of the test and whether that test is properly applied, or not. Before that can even remotely be considered to be effective, we must first understand the question that we are asking. We're not sure that question is well formulated at this time, as the DBT would not be requested if we knew the actual nature of that situation. The standard catch 22 of the answer/question dilemma.

The consensus is that the DBT tests, on the whole, are not properly designed nor represented, as they fail to illuminate the differences that hundreds of thousands of people have heard. If not over a million.

Yes I say million(s), as that is very the likely number of folks who have heard differences in cables and the like, over the time that this debate has 'raged'.

I mean, add up the number of high end cables sold all over the world- over the years- heck, even the cheaper ones. $50, $100-$200, etc. Adds up to quite the number. And they weren't all bought by the same small group of people.

All we all brain dead?

I think not.

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Quote:
Yes- it's been a bit more staid without the DUPster, but I have to say, particularly in the Entry Level forum, more active and much more coherent for the newbie crowd. I also feel (subjectively) that the site seems to have more posters than before.

I have an idea. If DUPster is to be banned again, let's just ban him from all the forums except for the rants and raves. At least here, he'll be able to vent and we'll get our entertainment for the day.

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Quote:
Speaking of DUP, when is coming back? Isn't it at the end of this month? I miss that old coot. These forums have been so boring and lifeless without him.

Boring and lifeless? These forums have never been better. Interesting, valuable, passionate conversation has been allowed to finally grow.

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Clifton,
I am hardly a DUP surrogate :-)
You are confusing my opposition to his ban with agreement with his ideas.
I agree with very few of DUP's opinions.

Your personal attacks are not conducive to civil discourse.

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Re: Atkinson & Fremer Do Community Proud

Hopefully we can agree that the only issue that is important to us as audiophiles is whether discernible differences exist between cables. If there are such differences the question becomes why do they exist.

I do not claim to hear such differences (neither do I claim not to hear them).


Then why are you arguing that those that can hear differences in cables do not hear such differences, cannot "prove" to your satisfaction that that they do, and it is impossible for differences to exist?

If you have no position, you are arguing for the sake of argument.

Be brave and take a stand: do you hear differences in cables or not?

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Hopefully we can agree that the only issue that is important to us as audiophiles is whether discernible differences exist between cables. If there are such differences the question becomes why do they exist.

--It is not up to me to decide what things are important to audiophiles. I leave such dictation up to you. As for your methodology, there are, of course, differences between cables. Those with the requisite knowledge and equipment can measure those differences. There are methods of determining what differences are audible and under what conditions they are likely to occur.

I do not claim to hear such differences (neither do I claim not to hear them).

Then why are you arguing that those that can hear differences in cables do not hear such differences, cannot "prove" to your satisfaction that that they do, and it is impossible for differences to exist?

--Please pay attention. I do not argue that those who say they hear differences in cables do not actually hear them.

If you have no position, you are arguing for the sake of argument.

--Why is asking for good evidence arguing for the sake of argument? I simply want to know what evidence there is.

Be brave and take a stand: do you hear differences in cables or not?

When you ask a question that cannot be properly answered by "yes" or "no."

I have already answered your question. I showed your question is somewhat confused and then provided good answers. Sorry you missed them.

I am amazed that apparently only andy c and I have actually discussed the set up of the WSJ test, which is the original topic. We found the test set up wanting. KBK asserted that a test with two different systems could be a valid test, but he has not shown under what circumstances this might be so, and he has not shown that that particular test was a valid way of testing the audibility of cable differences.

Do you perchance have any comments on the WSJ test?

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xenophanes,
I agree that the WSJ test was flawed.
Speaker placement alone could account for the differences.

If they had switched cables in the same system the results would be more compelling. As it is there are too many variables for me to take that test seriously.

I don't see why people get upset over these differences of opinion.

If I think a cable sounds better and I want to spend the money I will buy it. I don't care if the dif I hear is real or not. If it's "real" to me it doesn't matter to me if I can prove it.
OTOH, I have no problem at all accepting my susceptability to the placebo effect in the abscence of a blind test.
Being aware of the placebo effect can save an audiophile money in some cases and I have no argument with that

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Quote:

Boring and lifeless? These forums have never been better. Interesting, valuable, passionate conversation has been allowed to finally grow.

Nah, it's the same old, same old. You have the following discussions:

"Manufacturers and dealers can do no wrong"

"The price is driven by market forces. I know because I'm a financial guru."

"LP better than CD"

"My cable is better than your cable"

DUP added a zing to the conversations. He would interject with off the wall statements that would get everyone riled up. It was great.

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Quote:
The DUP surrogate eagerly chimes in. I noticed several logical flaws in Xenophanes' crabbed pseudo-"logical" (yuk, yuk) reply. Tomjtx, consider re-taking whatever course in rhetoric you flunked.

Begging the question --

"Where is the proof for these assertions? Do you have any examples that will stand up"? No, Xenophanes. And neither do you.

--Elk asserted: "This is one of the reasons that brief exposure DBT can be ineffective when studying certain forms of human perception." Now, Elk is the one making that assertion so why should I be expected to provide evidence for it? But I note that you supply no examples, either.

--N. B. I should point out that one arrange test circumstances so that one can listen as long as one desires to each choice.

"A single individual may show they ( sic) can detect differences to a higher degree of probability ." Which individual? How high is "high"? And you accuse Elk of being vague...

--Elk is one who said DBTs were only good for groups. I simply pointed out that individuals can do them, too.

--The usual standard is 95%. If you had bothered to even read the articles I linked, let alone other references, you might have found that out.

"Really strict scientific tests screen out poor subjects." Wow. Not just "strict," but "REALLY strict" (emphasis mine). Put that on the Mohr Scale.

Avoiding the question.

--So now you are deciding what "the" question is--even thought the thread topic has to do with a poorly set up DBT done by a journalist writing for the WSJ. Strange you have nothing really to say about the set up of said DBT.

"I do not claim to hear differences (neither do I claim not to hear them)." Well, I guess that just about says it all. Uh. Xenophanes. Uh. Reveille. Uh. Wake up! Drop yer cock and grab yer socks! Uh, you are arguing about whether differences are audible. And you are trying (folks, is this REALLY necessary????) to say you have taken a stand with no claim to either side?? Now, ain't that just Ciceronian in its logical purity?!

D'oh.

--The quoted statement had to with, in Elk's words, "a difference between 8-10 foot lengths of reasonably gauge/appropriate speaker cable nor between reasonably competent normal length interconnects." Now, under some circumstances, it has been shown there are audible differences, but those weren't the circumstances.

--There is no need to take sides. I just want some good evidence. Lacking such evidence, I suspend judgment.

Of course, as a music lover, I would argue,

WHAT THE HELL DOES ANY OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MUSIC?

--Gosh! And I always thought that performers made music. Again, I always thought high fidelity equipment reproduces it or other program material input into it.

Elk, great post. Since we are dealing with music, and not logic, I award the laurel to you.

--Did Elk say something about music?

I have NO idea what Xenophanes is farting off as "logic."

--That's fairly obvious!

And, why bother?

--You'll have to answer that for yourself.

Happy tunes.

I enjoy listening to music on my system. I hope you do, too.

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Where is that "roll eyes" icon?

As I expected, X's presence is purely to be argumentative.


Quote:
It is not up to me to decide what things are important to audiophiles. I leave such dictation up to you.


Again, then why are you here?

And why won't you state whether you hear a difference between cables - directly and without prevarication?

(BTW, I already commented on the WSJ article.)

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Quote:

Quote:

Boring and lifeless? These forums have never been better. Interesting, valuable, passionate conversation has been allowed to finally grow.

Nah, it's the same old, same old. You have the following discussions:

"Manufacturers and dealers can do no wrong"

"The price is driven by market forces. I know because I'm a financial guru."

"LP better than CD"

"My cable is better than your cable"

DUP added a zing to the conversations. He would interject with off the wall statements that would get everyone riled up. It was great.

Yeah, without his perpetual repetition about watts, cables, digital uber alles, AVA, Legacy, and Matt Oreo, this site will wither and die.

The last few months without DUP here have been like how the party would have been had the drunken uncle not shown up.

Maybe instead of allowing DUP back in, Stephen could arrange a 'random repetition reply' algorhythm that could randomly spam threads with one of DUP's six replies. It would save DUP the risk of carpal tunnel.

I will mourn the coming of March and our return to the era of spammed threads and relentless repetition.

I'd rather see ten threads upon which I can't relate to the discussion being allowed to blossom than see one with DUP's trademark bullshit.

Question: If DUP's style and content are so worthwhile, then why is his presence welcome at exaclty ZERO Hi Fi forums? With your regard for him, I would expect that he'd be so busy acknowledging accolades on other Hi Fi forums, that it would be hard for him to find the time to honor us with his un-insights at all!

Seriously, where is DUP on every other Hi Fi forum, especially since you consider him to be such an MVP kind of poster?

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