The Cable Dialectic

Gregadd

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Apr 20, 2010
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six linear feet plus termination. Allow me to contiue my crusade against name calling "idot and stupid." makes people defensive and difficult to accept your point of view.
 

FrantzM

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Apr 20, 2010
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<snip> Allow me to contiue my crusade against name calling "idot and stupid." makes people defensive and difficult to accept your point of view.
I would wish the same.. Share the point of view.. Name calling won't advance any cause...
 

DS-21

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Aug 23, 2010
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six linear feet plus termination. Allow me to contiue my crusade against name calling "idot and stupid." makes people defensive and difficult to accept your point of view.
Do you seriously not accept that, given two wires of identical specification, a claim that insulation identical in every way except for color results in audible differences between the two is on its face idiotic, and leads to a reasonable inference that the claimant is (with regards to this topic) stupid?

That is the context in which those two words were used. Given your proclivity for taking terms wildly out of context in attempts to score cheap debating points, I think that's important to note.
 

garylkoh

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Sep 6, 2010
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Why would I do that? I use wire of perfectly adequate size for my speakers' impedance minima (16AWG). As it happens, a mil-spec silver-plated copper with teflon jacket like the Decware above, which I picked solely because it is the thinnest-jacket and thus thinnest-overall-diameter wire out there for a given gauge, and thinner wires are easy to conceal along baseboards and such.
So I guess that you are of the camp that as long as the wire is of adequate size, nothing else matters to sound quality. Not inductance, and not capacitance. That's a valid position to take.
 

Gregadd

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Apr 20, 2010
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In the words of Ronald Reagan "there you go again"proclivity for taking terms wildy out of context to score cheap debating points" I was not aware we were keeping score. I have taken no position on cables.
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
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Guys, please this thread is a dialectic.

"A dialectic is a dialogue between two parties (who may have conflicting viewpoints) and yet wish to seek the truth of the matter through discussion and refinement of those ideas and view points. It is unlike a debate - in which both sides wish to win the debate either by persuading the other side that they are right, or proving the other side to be wrong. It is also not a rhetoric, which is designed to persuade an audience to side with their viewpoint. An important characteristic of a dialectic is the ability to put up with contradictions - that there can be opposite viewpoints which are equally valid - whereas much of Anglo-American intellectual culture trends towards positivism."

DS-21 believes that wire is wire (and there are many on this forum with that viewpoint). There are others who believe that cables can make or break a system (and there are many on this forum with that viewpoint too). Name calling does not help advance the discussion. If DS-21 is trying to persuade others that he is right, this is not the place to be and you should start your own thread.
 
Apr 3, 2010
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Adding to what Gary said: this is an expert forum. I know it is easy to get confused where you are in a forum when answering a post but regardless, all debates independent of the expert of the forum should be taken to the general area. If you need help with moving the posts there, we can do that.
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
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It's a valid viewpoint that the specifications of a cable makes no difference. DS-21 might have let his passion got to the better of him and made a controversial statement.

If he would at least try it, and not dismiss it out of hand without first trying it out, then there is a reason for the discussion to stay on this thread. If he doesn't hear a difference, that is a datapoint. If he does hear a difference, that is a datapoint. However, color of insulation making a sonic difference notwithstanding, if he wants to debate the difference, please move the posts to another area.

Nevertheless, I thank DS-21 for participating and pointing out the technical error I made.
 

j_n

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Nov 18, 2011
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This was a very long thread, did anybody point out that 8 strands of #26 awg is actually the equivalent of #17 awg, not 8?

edit: yup, took a while to find it.

Dr_jitsu...truer words were never spoken..AVS seems to have fallen to the dogs, it's a shame.

gary..let me know if you really wanna test em..

Cheers, jn
 
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j_n

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Nov 18, 2011
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Thanks, jn.

Unfortunately, I don't think anyone built the cables and listened to them.
Shame. Although, comparison of a 25 ohm Z #17awg vs a 120-150 ohm Z #17awg is not very interesting..

I had to run a 4 ohm cat5e cable to do a test here, I needed 10 uSec risetimes of 40 volts into a 4 ohm load, so ran 6 cat5e cables in parallel, solids together and stripes together. It attached to a half inch copper stripline with 2 mil kapton insulation between, went into liquid helium to a bifilar heating element embedded in a magnet. Ran a 50 ohm stripline out of the dewar, and saw really clean 10 uSec risetimes making it to the heater through 25 feet of cat5e...twas a beauty to behold. And no, the audio amplifier I used to drive this did not oscillate. A 4 ohm cable terminated in 4 ohms resistive does not capacitively load an amplifier. Only when the load goes high impedance does the amp see the capacitance.

If you are interested in audibility testing of an 8 ohm vs 100 ohm cableset, let me know. I'll detail how you go about discernment of any changes.

Cheers, jn
 

garylkoh

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Thanks, jn. Sounds like you've already probably taken this much further than anyone in the audio industry.

I've built these using up to 4 pairs of Cat 5e cables twisted together, but I thought that the biggest audible difference was not going to thicker and thicker cables, but with the first two pair. The intent was to show that two pairs of cables using identical materials but constructed differently could possibly sound different. This was as a result of another thread on cable theory where through simulations we conclusively "proved" that while there was a difference in measurements, these measurements would be "too small to be audible".

edit: here's the other thread: http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showthread.php?1988-Cable-Theory
 

j_n

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Nov 18, 2011
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This was as a result of another thread on cable theory where through simulations we conclusively "proved" that while there was a difference in measurements, these measurements would be "too small to be audible".
I've seen that stuff before. Simulations and measurements which say "too small to be audible".

Unfortunately, our ears discern things the measurement apparatus has not been setup to find.

As an example, at 1khz we can discern interchannel differences of roughly 2 uSec. This discernment occurs despite a soundfield full of information. How would we correlate left-right within a soundfield full of spectra using an instrument? If one channel sibilance were delayed w/r to the other such that we can sense the lateral smearing of the vocal spectra, how would we ask the test instrument?

A full power spectral sweep of a single channel will not find this, so while a system says zero distortion and zero phase shift, how does that match an interchannel delay of 2 or 5 uSec during loud music?

To test two flavors of cable, do this:

1. Connect two speakers to one amplifier channel, wire type one on left, wire type 2 on right. Spacing of no concern, just symmetric.
2. Connect a third exactly in the center of the soundfield, geometric center of the other two.
3. Use a switch to go between the single center speaker and the two outers. SPDT.
4. Drive the center speaker with a full content musical program. Envision the exact center of the image, which of course, is smack center of the drivers on the one center cabinet. (What you are doing here is normalizing your perceptional location, setting a rigid spacial location to use as a reference point.
5. Switch to the two side speakers. Listen to all content.

If the wires made no difference, you will find that every single aspect of the image remains in the exact same place despite switching back and forth.

If the wire made any audible difference at all to temporal content, part of the image will move when the switch is toggled.
edit: it is first important to use two identical wires on the outer speakers to determine that the speakers are sufficiently accurate that any shift is a result of drive, not drivers. And if an audible difference is determined as found using the full setup, reverse the wires and try again.

Once satisfied that there is a difference in wires, the next step is doing it blind, swapping wires right to left either by switch or by hand. DBT bayybeee!!

Switches can be used, but one must take care...if you are testing a 25 nH cable against a 500 nH cable, the switch mechanism cannot have a few uH, that'll swamp out the tested entity..

This setup is also suitable for testing biwire..

Cheers, jn
 
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j_n

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Nov 18, 2011
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Oh, forgot to mention this.

If one cable is found to delay some of the spectral content with respect to another, a typical argument is along the lines of ""yes, but since both cables have been swapped out, the delays are symmetrical therefore the change is net zero.""

It does sound like a reasonable argument. And, if one were to use test intruments, that conclusion would be supported by results.

Unfortunately, that is not quite accurate.

For a case where a female vocal is center field, symmetric delays which exceed threshold will appear as depth change.. moving behind the primary image.

For a case where the vocal image is off axis, the same temporal shift will cause the shifted content to drift both back in space as well as to one side. Given the complete lack of audibility testing on this aspect, I cannot state whether side or back temporal shift thresholds are reached first. I suspect a complex equational relationship based on spectra, wavefront geometry (spherical, cylindrical, planar), spacial image location, angular driver seperation, horizontal speaker dispersion characterization, age of listener, and how many martini's have been consumed prior to being subjected to audibility tests...

Again, there are thresholds below which we do not care..but that has not been tested in the audio world yet.

Cheers, jn
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
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Thanks, jn. That sounds like a great test. Well thought out.... finding the matching speakers would be tough because crossover components typically vary by 10% or more and the drivers even more. Matching three loudspeakers for this to be truly representative will be tough as it can be argued that the speaker is going to swamp the differences of the cable. I gave up arguing against the measurement crowd a while ago.

In one of the Tech Talks threads, I linked to a research paper on temporal resolution of our ears. I don't think that it got to 2 uSec, but definitely 5 uSec can be discriminated by most subjects.
 

j_n

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Nov 18, 2011
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Thanks, jn. That sounds like a great test. Well thought out.... finding the matching speakers would be tough because crossover components typically vary by 10% or more and the drivers even more. Matching three loudspeakers for this to be truly representative will be tough as it can be argued that the speaker is going to swamp the differences of the cable. I gave up arguing against the measurement crowd a while ago.
Interesting. I AM one of the measurement crowd..:confused:

You only need to match two loudspeakers, the center one can stand alone. It's not a case of frequency response or phase amplitude with the center one.

As to your comment regarding speaker differences swamping the cable effect. Yes, certainly possible, but it is a data point. As I also said, it is necessary to swap the right/left cables as well, as there is the possibility of left/right asymmetry in hearing as well as within the speakers.

This test can be done using single drivers as well, making crossover matching moot. However, that does make tests of biwiring a tad difficult..

In one of the Tech Talks threads, I linked to a research paper on temporal resolution of our ears. I don't think that it got to 2 uSec, but definitely 5 uSec can be discriminated by most subjects.
Ah, I believe I recall a reference to Kunchur's work. I am not happy with his test setup, as the driver motion alters vertical dispersion patterns, and I believe that confounder was ignored. I consider conclusions based on work where confounders were ignored as suspect. (not right nor wrong, just suspect).

Cheers, jn
 
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garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
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Interesting. I AM one of the measurement crowd..:confused:
I should have said "measurements too small to be audible" crowd. :)

I'm always trying to find measurements to correlate to what I hear, and consider myself to also be part of the "measurement crowd". But if I find something audible but I don't know how to measure, I trust my ears over the instruments.

Cheers
Gary
 
Jan 23, 2011
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I read this piece with pleasure .
Although i have a bold statement about it : i dont believe in 100 K cables no matter who is using them , i look to it more like this , people who have that kind of money to spend on cables will not use a normal watch either ,but a audemars piquet or what ever ,it still is the same time on the display but oh that piece of swiss? mechanics looks and feel stunning and gives a sensation .
The cable has to be well designed/ constructed and i do have my preferences on cable construction but they are still cheap .
Cyrogynic treatment seems in the end the most logical way to improve , or heat treatment , the molecules in metal rearrange when exposed to certain heat , i dont know of a cable company making copper red of heat and tensionless.
specialized companies do it after there has been welding on high grade steel (steam) tubing , the metal gets slowly heated up to a certain temprature and then cooled down slowly , it can take up to a few days
I ve heard many systems and i dont believe cables are in a way the limiting factor to good audio , although they have to be of a certain standard off course
 

untangle

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Mar 12, 2011
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Gary - your results?

Sorry to resurrect such an old thread, but I'm about to start doing some CAT5 DIY.

This was a clever experimental design in that it was easy to do yet addressed a fundamental concern in cables - why does the theory not match the reality (or not)?

Unfortunate that your fine efforts produced 1 page dialectic, 11 pages diatribe, and zero empirical reporting.

Gary - what did these two designs tell you? Several years ago, I built the first flavor (Hi-C) and suffered poor results with that system.

Thanks,

Bob
 
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