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Buddha
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Re: Objective Measurement Results for Cables


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It's okay, bjh -- I stole it from Winer, whose scientific profundities never cease to amaze. Of course, not even he can pin down the exact point where narrative demands take over the scientific accuracy of describing the original sensory event.

I always wanted to ask a professional reviewer whether he or she could ever "hear" a component (or a system containing reviewed components), after having written about it, in the same way as was the case before the writing. All communication is thus ironic, in the most profound ways, whether it be "scientific" or "subjective" (as if there were a difference!). Jacques Derrida, my old teacher at UC Irvine, used to have a lot of fun with this one...

Attempts to somehow "purify" the described event of the language used to describe it, in the name of "science," always make me chuckle. And, yes, "science" becomes language, once it attempts to communicate its findings, whether they be communicated in numbers or the grammar of conceptual verbal statements. Language creates reality, not the other way around.

Very profound, eh?

Well, back to the music...

Happy tunes, all.

Hey, Clifton!

Good to see you!

This thread just keeps getting better. Thanks for posting!

What you said reminded me a great deal of the classic British philosophy with regard to scientific observation: That the mere act of observing something can change what transpires.

Looking at that idea from the point of listening, you are exactly right, the millisecond after the sonic-sensation begins the sonic-evaluation, and once changed or defined in a certain way, it irrevocably alters what we hear. We can

bjh
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Re: Objective Measurement Results for Cables

Buddha,

Risking the impression of kissing up I must say I really connect with your description of that listening experience. To put it simply that's the way it works, and moreover it seems to me that it is the party who has his senses awakened who is the more likely to experience the Wow!; i.e. if someone points out something to me I'm likely to have "Oh yeah! I see [hear] that now!" while the other party noticed all along.

I agree as well about cutting the reviewer some slack. Take Fremer's review of the Tara cable products, he has a *killer* system, the cables already cost more than most peoples entire systems, he's plays a favorite recording and it sounds just fantastic, swaps a single 1m interconnect starts the same music and ...


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What I then heard from that familiar recording I will never forget. That one stupid interconnect had completely transformed not only the sound of that recording, but my expectations of how close the playback of recorded music could come to live music. I understand that all of the cable in the chain, from the recording gear in Kingsway Hall to Bernie Grundman's mastering room, was not this new interconnect. I understand any skepticism about how one piece of wire could so dramatically alter the sound of an audio system. But it did.

... has a Wow!

I guess all I'm saying is that if he had a Wow! then why not write about it? Obviously not all events strike him with such force, e.g. witness the very sedate description of differences found in his recent review of the Esoteric SA-60 when comparing to his own Ayre player.

I'm just interested in the tale, the communicating of the experience, it's entertaining... I mean it's not like I would even consider (for even a nanasecond) actually purchasing such a product, hell no! But that's irrelevant.

Monty
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Re: Objective Measurement Results for Cables

I can relate to the "wow" of an interconnect or cable change. Sometimes it's "wow, that cable sucks" and sometimes it's "wow, I can't believe a cable can make this much difference." In fact, I've had more "wow" moments with wire than I have with gear changes.

I simply can't relate to the notion that wire doesn't make any difference. I'm completely dumfounded that this is still an issue of debate. I'd still like to see the "why" explored further. I have a little bit of hope in finding some answers as the switching amps gain in popularity.

KBK
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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

"Michael did indeed purchase the Continuum LP player following his review, as he had the Wilson MAXX2 loudspeakers. Both products sound as good in Michael's system as he described in his reviews."

You are welcome, Mikey. (pass this along to him). We had our corner trap devices in the room (at the show) that had that particular turntable in it. It was what transformed the awful acoustics to something considerably better. This helped the qualities of the turntable and system shine through..and helped the review end up taking place. Those guys loved our traps....

Due to the way the pair were packaged and put in the room, they were as effective as aprox. 6-8 ASC units. With better frequency range, absorption, and dynamic linearity in that absorption too boot. They have been used exclusively to do film and professional work for many years. They are still not available to the public.

Editor
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Re: Objective Measurement Results for Cables


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I always wanted to ask a professional reviewer whether he or she could ever "hear" a component (or a system containing reviewed components), after having written about it, in the same way as was the case before the writing.

No. Once you have "collapsed the wave function" by committing your feelings to print (and most often you didn't even know what those feelings truly were until you started to write the review), it is impossible not to hear what you wrote. Sometimes I feel like a morning "mind wipe" might not be a bad thing :-)

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

gkc
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Re: Objective Measurement Results for Cables

Thank you so much, John, for your candor. This is why I have been a 20-year subscriber to Stereophile . You ask an honest question, you get an honest answer.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with trying to describe what you audition. It is a lengthy process, over time, when done right. So the prose does get as close as possible to the event. But what Frank Kermode described as "the necessities of upspringing" (the quote is from Finnegan's Wake and means, roughly, the necessities demanded by narrative coherence) tend to move one away from the spontaneity of the original event.

All the writers at Stereophile seem to be on top of these problems in ways that other analysts in this murky field can't fathom.

Happy tunes.

gkc
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Re: Objective Measurement Results for Cables

Yeah, Buddha. Sooner or later, all of us get trapped in our own language. It doesn't even have to go public. Many times, I have come home from a live concert, with the memory having been reduced to adjectives. Then, you walk into a situation where you are trying to audition a speaker, amp, or source component, a day later, and you remember the adjectives. Of course, the key words can "lead" you back to a memory of the live event ("I remember a brighter sound, last night, than this..." or "this isn't as deep as the bass I heard last Tuesday, but it sounds blobbier" -- and the beat goes on). Whenever I sit down in front of a live symphony orchestra, and they start tuning up, I am always surprised at the predominance of the "presence" part of the sonic spectrum -- the 4Khz region. Yet, when I audition components, THIS becomes the offending sound, rather than the inviting one I remember. It gets overcooked in much equipment design, yet, if you hear a lot of live music, you can understand why -- it is the soul of the live experience. But, overdone, in an "electronic" way, the memory becomes reduced to an irritating screech.

This is why I like tubes (there are other reasons, too...). Tubes capture that tipped-up presence area without overcooking it. The Vandersteen Model 5's (latest iteration) also capture that memory. Of course, I think the Triangle models I own also communicate this important "life." It is very difficult to verbalize these things, obviously, but that is what one has a right to expect from folks pretending to be golden ears.

MF, JA, ST, AD, and, yes, Stephen (we're gonna make a reviewer out of him yet), KR, JM, and the other good folks at stereophile all seem able to walk the tightrope between irony and seriousness. I still subscribe to TAS, mostly because of Bob Harley, but their writers just don't know how to balance the auditioning/recording process. I want to say they take themselves too seriously, but that doesn't quite capture it...

Monty, I agree. How could anyone even ARGUE that cables don't make a difference? Maybe nobody goes to live concerts any more.

CECE
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Re: Objective Measurement Results for Cables

No, maybe soem do, an di see wires and cables all over teh floor, walked on, trampled, and they don't effect the sound of teh concert, only when they fail do they have a "profound" effect. mic cables running long distances, abused, guitar cords dragged and moved around laying on teh floor, eeessshhh, what audiophile that beleives in cable lifts, cus wires on teh floor affect teh sound could ever go to a live event!!! Amps plugged into beat up AC line cords, ext boxes using non audio grade beat up outlets, eeessshhhh, how could this ever sound like music...but it DOES. The gulliable then at home think the wall outlets have sound, that wires laying on teh floor actually affect something, or that speaker wires have different sound. Advertsing wears ya down, ya start to beleive the crap they tell ya. The wires i see going into some giant EAW speakers at a live event look like heavy duty SO cord large diameter, teh wires from the guitar amps to teh cabinets are some 12ga sip cords...line cords are some generic line cords of teh proper guage, usually 16ga for most guitar amps, soem heavier cords for higher powered Crown amps driving teh large EAW flying speakers, just some great sounding generic wires and Nuetrik or SwitchCraft connectors, it's so simple, when ya see and hear mortal live music. Why back at home does it get so insane? With magic AC cords, audio grade outlets, cus it can.....

bertdw
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Re: Objective Measurement Results for Cables

DUP, I usually ignore your endlessly repetitive rants, but this time I feel compelled to comment. As audiophiles we strive to get as close as possible to the original musical event. We are, of course, limited to getting as close as possible to the original recording. If that recording was made with inferior equipment, it will surely suffer, but using inferior reproduction equipment will only worsen the situation. I believe you make a profound error in logic by stating that improvements in the playback system are worthless because the original recording is flawed.

Editor
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Re: Objective Measurement Results for Cables


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Thank you so much, John, for your candor. This is why I have been a 20-year subscriber to Stereophile . You ask an honest question, you get an honest answer.

You're welcome, Clifton.


Quote:
But what Frank Kermode described as "the necessities of upspringing" (the quote is from Finnegan's Wake and means, roughly, the necessities demanded by narrative coherence) tend to move one away from the spontaneity of the original event.

Ain't that the truth! By describing it, you are reducing it. And the description is bound by your own limitations.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

CECE
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Re: Objective Measurement Results for Cables

I like the BUG in your post, that's creative.....I can see the difference a BUG makes, it adds life to the post.

Elk
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Re: Objective Measurement Results for Cables


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Whenever I sit down in front of a live symphony orchestra, and they start tuning up, I am always surprised at the predominance of the "presence" part of the sonic spectrum -- the 4Khz region. Yet, when I audition components, THIS becomes the offending sound, rather than the inviting one I remember. It gets overcooked in much equipment design, yet, if you hear a lot of live music, you can understand why -- it is the soul of the live experience. But, overdone, in an "electronic" way, the memory becomes reduced to an irritating screech.

An excellent observation. Live acoustic instruments played in a good hall sound incredibly clean and open. You can hear as deep as you choose; to a single instrument, to a pair, to a section or to the entire ensemble with ease. Each way of listening flows effortlessly. This will never cease to fascinate me.

Another fascination for me is the sound of natural ambience/reverb. It is so sweet. I have yet to hear a DAW plug-in or stand-alone hardware processor capture this.

Monty, I agree. How could anyone even ARGUE that cables don't make a difference? Maybe nobody goes to live concerts any more.

Absolutely.

Great posts Clifton!

bjh
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Re: Objective Measurement Results for Cables


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An excellent observation. Live acoustic instruments played in a good hall sound incredibly clean and open. You can hear as deep as you choose; to a single instrument, to a pair, to a section or to the entire ensemble with ease. Each way of listening flows effortlessly. This will never cease to fascinate me.

Yes but in my experience I would say that such is enormously aided by vision input, i.e. literally coordinating what you see (e.g. bowing action) with the sound.

ethanwiner
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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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We had our corner trap devices in the room ... they were as effective as aprox. 6-8 ASC units. With better frequency range, absorption, and dynamic linearity in that absorption too boot.


Have a link? Even better, is there a link to absorption data?

--Ethan

Elk
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Re: Objective Measurement Results for Cables


Quote:

Quote:
An excellent observation. Live acoustic instruments played in a good hall sound incredibly clean and open. You can hear as deep as you choose; to a single instrument, to a pair, to a section or to the entire ensemble with ease. Each way of listening flows effortlessly. This will never cease to fascinate me.

Yes but in my experience I would say that such is enormously aided by vision input, i.e. literally coordinating what you see (e.g. bowing action) with the sound.

I agree. Looking at the flute player does increase my ability to isolate that sound. Vision and hearing do work together, at least as our minds process information.

absolutepitch
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Re: Objective Measurement Results for Cables


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Happy tunes, WTL, and thanks for introducing a bit of sanity into the proceedings.

Thanks for the compliment; I'm following in the footsteps of the Cliftons, Wongs, Atkinsons, and the like, who keep a level head in the discussions.

I never knew that Randi is so unliked by so many. He has exposed frauds like faith healing and other paranormal effects, for the good of others. So I was surprised to hear that he has been labeled as dishonest or worse. Either I can only go by what others have said, or else I'll have to meet Randi in person and find out for myself. After all these posts, I don't know, without more investigation (too bad, no time to do it, and it's a very low priority).

Perhaps it's not time for MF and Randi to do the challenge. Maybe we can do another test with MF similar to what Randi might have without Randi and the $1 mil. The money doesn't matter if what MF claims can be reliably, and objectively (i.e. without bias) demonstrated.

Happy listening to all.

gkc
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Re: Objective Measurement Results for Cables

Bert, this is so true, in my experience. How many of us, over the years, have made bad system choices ("bad" meaning disappointment, once the music plays for a few days during the quiet times at home) because we didn't listen carefully enough to how neutral the component came through on a wide variety of playback material? Typically, it seems from my memory, one gets excited over the "sound" of a particular disc that isn't representative of one's own collection. Then, on closer listening, the gremlins start coming out, as a greater variety of program material goes on the air.

As I have said many times, this is the great flaw in double blind testing. You just don't have the time. Nobody who lives in a real world of practical and recreational pursuits can "do" a component in a 20-minute session. Or an hour. Hell, ten hours. And who has the patience for that?

If the components (being "double-blinded") are even close in their casual first impressions (anybody can spot the obvious discrepancies -- it is the "close" you have to take home and live with...), it is an enormous task to sit down in different listening situations -- different moods, different software, different memories of "live" -- and choose the component that moves you. And keeps on moving you.

The double blind situation is artificial and deceptive. It is like screwing two different babes blindfolded.

Man, you gotta live with this stuff for awhile. You have to go to the Friday night subscription concert, come home and plug in a software facsimile, and sleep on it. Then, after you sober up, you have to try the component again, with different software versions. Then, you start going through your entire collection -- favorites first, then the dogs, just to get a better fix. Back and forth. It takes time, and it is NOT a process that can be adjudicated in one short afternoon.

Yes. I agree. Blaming bad sound on the software and narrowing back in on the 10% of your collection that sounds "good" just doesn't cut it.

Cheers, and happy tunes.

Buddha
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Re: Objective Measurement Results for Cables

"The double blind situation is artificial and deceptive. It is like screwing two different babes blindfolded."

Boy, you got that right. (Except you say that like it's a bad thing. Also, in addition to artificial and deceptive, you forgot "dirty.")

Babes who are into wearing blindfolds are getting harder and harder to come by. And we all know that "single blind" is just not adequate. If I tried posting about my single blind experiences, even Ethan would mock me. No, it's gotta be double blind if ya want street cred.

Plus, I'm starting to slow down. I used to be able to "perform" six or eight of those comparisons in a night. Now I'm lucky if I can manage two or three.

I also seem to have lost the ability to tell 21 year old girls apart from one another. Sighted or not!

I'm a mere shell of my former self.

In a moment of weakness I even accidentally agreed to a "double bind" test one night. Oh, my! I still have marks.

Katy tries to cheer me up and says that I may not be as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was.

CECE
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Re: Objective Measurement Results for Cables

Ever go on a double blind date? Now that was fun. but it was tough keeping teh 2 seeing eye dogs from killing each other.

ethanwiner
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Re: Objective Measurement Results for Cables


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Ever go on a double blind date? Now that was fun. but it was tough keeping teh 2 seeing eye dogs from killing each other.

Bada boom!

ethanwiner
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Re: Objective Measurement Results for Cables


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Babes who are into wearing blindfolds are getting harder and harder to come by.


Tell me about it!


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If I tried posting about my single blind experiences, even Ethan would mock me. No, it's gotta be double blind if ya want street cred.


Indeed!

--Ethan

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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Quote:
We had our corner trap devices in the room ... they were as effective as aprox. 6-8 ASC units. With better frequency range, absorption, and dynamic linearity in that absorption too boot.


Have a link? Even better, is there a link to absorption data?

--Ethan

Sorry Ethan, I just found this. The measurements were done by the head (Acoustics division) of the NRC, at NRC labs Ottawa. My friend will release product and data when and how he desires. I have no voice in it.

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