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  1. #1

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    Default Fun quote of the day - Headphone cable review

    The article is well worth a read (posted at the bottom), but I found the following sections interesting..

    First part of the article....

    Yesterday I tried two different cables I got from my Japan trip on two widely popular IEMs: one was the Triple.Fi 10 and the other was the Shure SE215. I bought them in Japan just to see what sort of an improvement I can get from these cables. The sound changes was quite shocking.
    The part I enjoy...

    The Sceptic’s Response

    Now I know that some people are already thinking about what objective response they should be typing in reply to that first paragraph I just wrote. But this time I would place the burden of proof on the skeptic: Can you proof that changing audio cables indeed doesn’t make any difference to the sound quality?

    Answers such as “I can’t hear any changes” need not apply as it doesn’t proof anything either other than that your ears may not be sensitive enough to pick up the differences or that you already started the audition with a closed mind that simply refuses to believe that cables do make a difference.

    The next answer that is quite likely to be proposed, that the electrical measurements done by the EE graduate do not show any difference also falls short from being a solid argument by the same logic of the first answer.

    I look forward to a healthy discussion but any argument given that follows a similar logic as the two above would be conveniently ignored.


    What’s Really Happening?

    How do these audio cables make a difference? I absolutely have no idea, but my ears tell me that there are differences. Of course my empirical observations are far from being the standard of truth, but combined with hundreds and thousands of testimonials from other audio enthusiasts out there, there may be something more than a simple case of placebo being observed here. Of course it’s hard to prove that this is more than a placebo, but so far we also haven’t seen any convincing proofs that these are indeed false phenomenons.

    There are a lot of things observed in nature that we have no idea why they are so but still we accept them as truth. Like how the bicycle is able to stabilize itself when moving but not when stationery, or why small objects follow the quantum mechanics theory of physics instead of traditional newtonian physics. One thing that we know for certain is that our understanding in science is simply not enough to explain all the phenomenon observed in nature, and just because science has yet to come up with an explanation for it doesn’t mean that it’s an act of magic or worse, trickery.




    Full Article is below
    __________________________________________________ _________


    Yesterday I tried two different cables I got from my Japan trip on two widely popular IEMs: one was the Triple.Fi 10 and the other was the Shure SE215. I bought them in Japan just to see what sort of an improvement I can get from these cables. The sound changes was quite shocking. The cable for the Triple.Fi 10 (pictures later) altered the tonal change of the 10 to be more UE900 like, though not quite. Gone is the typical treble attack of the 10 continued by the dry mids and the suddenly fat bass, replaced by a smoother tonality curve from top to bottom with almost non existant treble attack. The soundstage widens and the sound becomes softer and more refined. The 10 becomes a softer and slower IEM too, losing quite a bit of snap, attack and PRaT in the process. It’s as if you’ve mated an UE900 tonality with a Westone 4 smoothness. Meanwhile the cable for the 215 adds some bass body to make the bass less of a roll off in a stock 215, and like the TF10 cable smooths out the rest of the frequency, most notably the mids, enlarges the soundstage, though it adds an unpleasant metallic and peaky high frequency.



    The Sceptic’s Response

    Now I know that some people are already thinking about what objective response they should be typing in reply to that first paragraph I just wrote. But this time I would place the burden of proof on the skeptic: Can you proof that changing audio cables indeed doesn’t make any difference to the sound quality?

    Answers such as “I can’t hear any changes” need not apply as it doesn’t proof anything either other than that your ears may not be sensitive enough to pick up the differences or that you already started the audition with a closed mind that simply refuses to believe that cables do make a difference.

    The next answer that is quite likely to be proposed, that the electrical measurements done by the EE graduate do not show any difference also falls short from being a solid argument by the same logic of the first answer.

    I look forward to a healthy discussion but any argument given that follows a similar logic as the two above would be conveniently ignored.



    What’s Really Happening?

    How do these audio cables make a difference? I absolutely have no idea, but my ears tell me that there are differences. Of course my empirical observations are far from being the standard of truth, but combined with hundreds and thousands of testimonials from other audio enthusiasts out there, there may be something more than a simple case of placebo being observed here. Of course it’s hard to prove that this is more than a placebo, but so far we also haven’t seen any convincing proofs that these are indeed false phenomenons.

    There are a lot of things observed in nature that we have no idea why they are so but still we accept them as truth. Like how the bicycle is able to stabilize itself when moving but not when stationery, or why small objects follow the quantum mechanics theory of physics instead of traditional newtonian physics. One thing that we know for certain is that our understanding in science is simply not enough to explain all the phenomenon observed in nature, and just because science has yet to come up with an explanation for it doesn’t mean that it’s an act of magic or worse, trickery.



    The Boutique Cable Designers

    Which brings me to another question: how do the cable designers come up with all these aftermarket, sound customising cables? For instance we have a lot of DIYer in our community who build cables for the TF10 and the Shure IEMs, but none were able to offer the revolutionary changes I heard in the TF10 and the SE215 cable I listened to last night. This makes me to think that the designer for the two cables I got in Japan somehow was able to engineer cables to a level of superiority unmatched by the common DIY builders.

    How do they come up with these stuff? The easiest explanation that we can come up with is either by the purity grade of the cable and/or the material used for the cable. Still a lot of manufacturers these days offer high grade 99.9999% pure cables that anyone can buy and use to build a cable (which a lot of the DIYers have tried to use for headphone cables but with different results) so that can’t possibly be the only secret ingredient boutique cable designers have up their sleeve.
    Last edited by EndersShadow; 06-07-2013 at 05:05 PM.
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  2. #2

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    Dude needs to learn the difference between the words "proof" and "prove".

    Maybe that's why he refuses to accept anything that proves his argument and findings to be invalid and states they will be "conveniently ignored".

    Can't accept proof if you don't know the meaning of the word "proof" or "prove" for that matter.
    You're just jealous 'cause the voices don't talk to you!

  3. #3

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    Missed the second page so here it is:

    From The PRO Crowd

    Once I’ve talked to an award winning recording professor that uses strictly custom cables for the entire length of all the microphones he use for a recording session. Meanwhile his recording consoles and mixers are powered by an audiophile grade, water-hose diameter power cable. You think he received money from his sponsors to use these audiophile grade cables? Well, he may, but he never told me what brand cable he uses; he simply referred to them as “custom-built”. If you talk to monitoring and mixing experts, many of them also swear by a certain brand cables, some even quoting up to 1-2dB of boost when going with a certain cable brand. Of course, the majority of pro applications I’ve seen simply use standard issue Canare or Mogami cables, one of the reason being it’s utterly expensive to use boutique cables as they need hundreds of meters long of those cables to cover the work that they are doing.



    Blind Tests

    If you play around with headphone modifications, sometimes you notice that a different cable is able to change the sound more significantly than a change in the enclosure damping or housing material. And that small mini to mini cable people use to hook up their player to their amp may also change the sound more than say changing between different Ipod variants with their different D/A chips. In high end home audio, the garden-hose power cables changes the sound of the system a great deal more than say the difference using FLAC, AIFF, or WAV on your media player. How can you know I wasn’t simply on a placebo?

    The method of doing blind tests have often been weapon of choice for disproving the benefit of boutique cables, so let’s talk about it for a minute.

    One, if a subject fails to pass a blind test, does that immediately proof that the cables really have no observable difference in sound quality? Going by the same logic I explained in the third paragraph, we can conveniently reject a failed blind test result as a valid argument.

    Two, the factor of pressure. The thing with blind tests are that they put some sort of a psychological pressure to the subject that often tenses up the senses, making them unable to perform as if they were in a normal relaxed condition, hence making it more difficult to notice any difference that may have been present.

    Three, the factor of time. A pair of jeans may look good while you’re trying it in the changing room, but after wearing it for a week you start to notice that it’s making you look shorter than you really are. Sometimes it may take a long listening time to pick up the differences and this is usually not the luxury you have in a blind test.

    Four, the change blindness phenomenon. A recent research by three psychological scientists in Boston showed that even trained experts aren’t free from the phenomenon of change blindness (aka people are not able to pick up the differences if they weren’t told that there’d be differences earlier).

    Of course I’ve had blind tests done on me a few times and on the times that I was really able to relax and let go of any pressure, I was able to pick up differences in the sound of audio cables as some of them are very obvious. Now, while failing a blind test doesn’t really proof anything (by the same logic I explained previously), passing a blind test becomes a much more difficult phenomenon to explain by the skeptic. How does one pass a blind test if there was no difference in the cables? Oh well, maybe the subject just did it out of pure coincidence. They must’ve.



    End Words

    I think it’s about time that the enthusiast community starts to have an open mind about audio cables and in their role in shaping up the final sound quality you hear on your ears. Just because one or two cable builders are crooks who tried to sell the average cable at four-digit prices doesn’t mean that the entire boutique cable industry is guilty of the same fraud. Let your own ears be the judge. If you can’t pick up the difference, then don’t spend the money. At the same time just because you can’t pick up the difference, don’t assume that your mate also can’t pick up the difference.

    Of course the story of how a reviewer claims that his Sansa Clip sounds better than the Hifiman HM-801 continues to be a good joke told among the enthusiasts. And we don’t even have to go all scientific about how to devise a proper test for audiophile-grade players since the average person with an open mind would immediately be able to notice what a good player sounds like. The moral of the story here is to trust your ears and not the babble of the internet forum scientists.
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  4. #4

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    I think this is very telling:

    Answers such as “I can’t hear any changes” need not apply as it doesn’t proof anything either other than that your ears may not be sensitive enough to pick up the differences or that you already started the audition with a closed mind that simply refuses to believe that cables do make a difference.


    If you can't hear the difference, then don't bother. If you can, then by all means spend as much on cables as makes sense within your budget. I'd agree with the general theory though, that it's scientifically impossible for a doubter to prove that cables don't make an improvement. I guess it's also "where is your system" as well. I still don't have an amp, so I'll definitely buy an amp prior to upgrading my cables, as that would give me more noticeable bang for my buck I think (though I'd consider good quality interconnects to compliment a good amp when I get one.)
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jstas View Post
    Dude needs to learn the difference between the words "proof" and "prove".

    Maybe that's why he refuses to accept anything that proves his argument and findings to be invalid and states they will be "conveniently ignored".

    Can't accept proof if you don't know the meaning of the word "proof" or "prove" for that matter.
    Maybe he just forgot to proof it.

  6. #6

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    The prove is in the puddin'.....
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